Phase 2, Day 46: Cardio Core (aka The One With All the Sweat)

First, a visual from today’s workout:

Cardio Core
I’m not crying that’s just sweat in my eye

That was the end. Where I was littering drops of sweat in my area of the tennis court and couldn’t get the loops off my legs because my fingers were too slick with moisture to grab on to the rubber. I should look happy, I know. After all, it’s the last round of Cardio Core in Phase 2! Huzzah!

But honestly, this workout kicked my ass. Or maybe I kicked its ass which is why I was sweating so much. Either way, my pores opened like the Grand Coulee dam after a solid quake and it was all I could do to keep the puddles of sweat around me from growing into lakes.

The sweat fell so freely because at a certain point in this Cardio Core, I found myself embracing the hard and challenging to get just ONE MORE rep in before Autumn called time.

On the burpee push-ups, that meant trying to get at least 5 reps in.

On the stupid weird butt-kick-hop thingies, it meant going for at least 12 on each leg.

On the mountain climbers on the floor, I aimed to beat whatever number I got in the last round, which means I started at 44, then went to 45, then ended at 46.

Mission accomplished.

But just because I conquered the goals I set throughout the workout doesn’t mean the damn thing got any easier. Which is strange, I know. Just like checking boxes off your checklist, you’d think that meeting your fitness goals means that the workout gets easier to do.

It doesn’t.

Why is that? Repetition/practice in most things usually means you get better at a task that eventually feels easier. Practice typing and you become a fast typist. Practice reading and you become a speed reader. Practice shooting hoops and it gets easier to make a three-pointer.

But practice working out…there’s no corollary. Because the workout doesn’t get easier; you get stronger. Which means you have to push yourself to a whole new level to chase the burn.

That explains, I suppose, my face in the photo above. I just killed Cardio Core, yet I looked like I wanted to cry. Or throw up. And I think I actually wanted to do a little of both.

Did I feel good about finishing the workout? Absolutely. After I gathered my stuff up for the walk home. But in the immediate aftermath, I thought only about keeping down my pre-workout meal and wondering if the SPF in my moisturizer would leave weird stains on the tennis court concrete. It wasn’t until the sweat eased up and my breathing slowed that I appreciated what I did.

What was cool, though, was that others also noticed what I did, too.

To explain: See the people in the background of this photo?

Triple-looped
Check out the audience in the background.

Those peeps were there to watch two co-workers? Friends? Cousins? (Honestly I couldn’t sort out the connection) battle it out on the tennis court. They came prepared too, with lawn chairs and coolers and hats of various shades. When the co-workers? Friends? Cousins? finished their match, everyone cracked open beer and wine coolers and toasted their…success.

This was right as I was finishing up, which meant I was hurrying to get off the court before anyone noticed the mess of sweat I left. However, as I was walking away, one of the guys in the lawn chair called out, “Hey! You’re working hard there, lady!”

I shrugged and gave a half-smile, “Gotta earn that beer!” I called back.

This led to an offer to partake in one of the cool bevvies they had in the cooler, but I had no interest in sharing alcohol with strangers as my sweat left weird butt stains on my tights, so I politely declined and walked home.

There was a time when I would have been flattered by the offer of the beer. But today, it was the observation of how hard I was working that made me proud.

If you have stuck with 80 Day Obsession this long, this is when others start noticing. They notice the effort you put in at the gym and the clothes that are starting to hang loosely and the increased focus you have in other aspects of life. They notice that you perhaps stand a little straighter or speak a little firmer or give your opinion more definitively.

80 Day Obsession will spill over into everything you do. You can’t help it. The same determination you showcase in eking out one more rep of burpee push-ups in Cardio Core will start to show up at work; at home; at school. That sweat you’re putting in? It’s changing not only your body but your mindset, your life.

You started a workout program. You’re getting a lifestyle makeover. Embrace it and enjoy it and let that sweat fall where it may.

And if you want more inspo or Beachbody goods, check out the usual link. Or email me for the goods.

Phase 2, Day 43: AAA (aka Fri-Yay)

AAA is the perfect Friday workout.

It gets a good sweat going, works all the muscles, and when you go to lift something heavy when you get home and find your arm shaking, you know it got the job done. You can then head into your weekend knowing that even if you slip up a little on nutrition, you worked hard enough on Friday that it shouldn’t matter. (At least, that’s what I tell myself.)

Case in point: I had to switch out my winter tires for “summer” tires today. Which required me lugging tires to and from my parents’ storage closet. While my Mom and Dad each carried one tire, I handled two; but during the interminable minutes when my father had to sort through the key ring looking for the right key without his glasses, I suddenly realized my arms were shaking, trembling with exertion from holding up two tires.

Instead of being pissed for feeling weak, I took it as a sign that I had a great workout. Because I did.

I felt strong and steady, even though my arm threatened to give out on the plank tricep kickbacks (hate that one). I even went up to 22.5 pound dumbbells on the renegade rows:

Renegade Rows
Strong but steady wins the race.

As per usual at this point in the phase, I don’t have a lot of wisdom to share. Today’s workout scheme was three sets of 10 reps, but where you do it all one series at a time. You know what it all looks like and what to expect.

That said, I do have one pro tip.

PRO TIP #89: IF YOUR LOOP CONTINUES TO ROLL UP, ADD ANOTHER.

The exercise I’m talking about is Loops Scissor Twist, where you put a loop around your thighs, lie down on the ground on your back with your feet straight up in the air, then proceed to lower the right leg as you crunch up and twist to the left leg, which remains straight up in the air. Lower for a three count, then bring up in one; at which point you lower the left leg as you crunch up and twist to the right. Repeat for 10 reps.

I have struggled with this exercise because every time I’ve attempted it in Phase 2, the loops slide too far down my thighs to the point of being worthless.

Until today.

Today, I added a THIRD loop, so I was doing two blues and a green. My circulation, amazingly, was fine. But more importantly, this time when I lowered a leg down, the loops remained in place at that crucial spot about four inches above my knees, where I get the most resistance.

Frankly, the reason it took me so long to add a third loop was because it didn’t occur to me to do so until Autumn did so herself today in the workout. Something about doing more than two loops seems bizarre, like trying to lift with two dumbbells in your left hand but only one in the right. But it made sense today. And more importantly, it worked. I suspect I will really know it worked when I go to sneeze tomorrow and my abs let me know they are tired. Yay.

I’m keeping this short tonight because my arms are barking even just typing this. AAA got me good. Huzzah for Fri-Yay.

If you want to learn more or buy more loops, check out the link. Otherwise, cheers to the weekend!

Phase 2, Day 38: Cardio Flow (aka I Hate the Zoo)

I feel like this post-workout photo of me explains it all:

The Aftermath of Cardio Flow
Just Another Day at the Pool. I mean Zoo.

Something about the six reps of each exercise in Cardio Flow releases the sweat like no other. It was POURING off me today. I was thankful for the rubber floor as it meant I didn’t have to worry about slipping on the pools of sweat which formed with every push-up, jump, and flamingo.

I would like to think that every time I do Cardio Flow, I get a little stronger. And I’m sure I do. But nothing about getting stronger translates into the damn workout getting EASIER, which is what I want to happen. Frankly, it’s a little demoralizing to be on Day 38 and feel like you’re still struggling through a workout that hasn’t changed much in six weeks.

Also, as you’re going through today’s video, you’re going to hear Autumn talk about a “tip” for those f-ing diamond jumps: If you jump extra high, your legs get a little bit longer break, which make it just a little easier.

It’s not that Autumn is lying, it’s just that if you’re going through 80 Day Obsession for the first time, I can guarantee that getting EXTRA HIGH on those diamond jumps will be the last thing on your mind. I only just figured out how to do it – i.e. I only just got in good enough shape to jump that extra bit – last week. Realize that when Autumn gives this “tip,” it’s in response to a question/comment from cast member Jazmyne, who is easily in the best shape of the entire group. OF COURSE she can jump extra high her first time through Phase 2. Have you SEEN her abs??

Which brings me to my next point: Pictures. If you are doing this program correctly by committing to the workouts and the timed nutrition plan, you will be seeing results. You will also be growing in confidence. You may not realize it, but you will be growing more confident both mentally, and about your physical appearance. As a result, pictures will get easier to take. That is, instead of being dissatisfied with every photo, you’re going to find yourself in a “one and done” situation: Instead of deleting that first attempt and insisting that multiple snaps be taken “just in case,” you’re going to be pleased with how you look from the get-go.

It wasn’t until I looked back through my own camera roll that I saw this happening. See, when I first started 80 Day Obsession in January 2018, whenever I’d go out and take pics with my boyfriend or friends, there would be multiple clumps of pictures of me in the same pose with the same people. I remember having my phone handed back to me after a photo was taken, reviewing the image, crinkling my nose in disgust, and handing my phone back to the poor passer-by for one more attempt at an IG-worthy post.

But by the end of February 2018, those clumps of photos had decreased substantially. Instead of multiple attempts, there was just one photo per occasion. Even better, when I look back through those photos now….I’m happy with what I see. I’m happy with how I look. And when you see me smiling in those photos, you can tell that in that moment, I was happy with how I looked too.

Life throws you multiple opportunities to feel confident. But if you don’t feel confident about how you look, it’s amazing how that tends to impact every aspect of your life. 80 Day Obsession is the first time in my life where I truly feel confident about how I look, and how strong I am. That, more than anything, is why I became a Beachbody Coach and started this blog. Sure, I dropped inches and pounds during the program. But 80 Day Obsession got me on the road to being my best self. To quote a good friend of mine, I now feel as though I am living my best life.

Which means that even though I had to start the morning off at the zoo, and hate it, I still did it. What’s 38 minutes of sweat compared to feeling confident walking around town in summer clothes?

If you want to know how 80 Day Obsession can help you live your best life, message me. Or check out the link to see what other options there are. But don’t stay stuck. You don’t have to. There are things you can do, programs you can try to get UNSTUCK. I did. And I’m staying unstuck. And I’m loving every minute of it.

Phase 1, Day 21: Total Body Core (aka I Can’t Fix My Hair)

Bet you thought I forgot about this, huh?

If you were one of my zillions of followers (read: 25), you might have tuned in last night expecting yet another daily post chronicling my second journey through 80 Day Obsession. In which case, you would have been sorely disappointed with yesterday’s blog…because there wasn’t one.

Thank god.

As seems to be the usual, I ate WAYYYY too much at my Aunt’s house last night for Sunday/Mother’s Day dinner and when I got home the only thing I wanted to do was lose myself in “The Office” and weep silent tears of shame.

See? Despite my best efforts, I have bad days too.

Regardless, I realized that if I blogged yesterday, I would be off on today’s schedule in terms of the day count, and we simply can’t have that. So I took the night off and now here we are.

Frankly, I could have used another day off, because after today’s workout, I can barely type this.

Here’s the deal with today’s Total Body Core workout. You go in thinking, “ya know, I’ve done this all before, BORING! It’s old hat. Let’s move on.” But then you realize that you should really push yourself, especially since Autumn has you going through each series of exercises for two sets of 15 reps at a time, which means you can absolutely burn out the muscle before moving on. So you check you tracker sheets and see if you can lift last week’s 10 rep weight for 15 reps.

Which means, friends, that by the end of the second series of exercises, you can’t even lift your hand to push your hair out of your face.

No joke, today’s exercise got me. I had to push pause and catch my breath and get my arms to stop shaking. Here’s me doing the C curve extension with surprisingly good form given my fatigue:

Weighted C Curve with Bicep Extension
So hard.

Full disclosure: My form is that good because this is me using a lighter weight at the end of the workout to do a single rep for the photo op. (The things I do for you guys!)

However, even with the wobbles and the panting and the sweat, I was stoked to see how much stronger I was compared to Week 1. For almost every single exercise, I was lifting more weights in this week’s Total Body Core than I did when I started. And, because of my tracker sheets, I was able to actually appreciate this progress because I could see it – it was right there on the page in front of me.

I could also feel it. As I’m typing this, I feel compelled to tell you that I made the conscious decision to move my hair-washing to tomorrow morning because I’m fairly certain I can’t lift my hands higher than shoulder-height for more than 2 seconds at a time at the moment. I am hoping to recover enough to actually shampoo and condition in the shower tomorrow, but things aren’t looking too promising at the moment.

Regardless, my progress is marked by my tracker sheets, my tired muscles, and also my clothes–four weeks into 80 Day Obsession my first time through, my clothes fit me as well as shapeless burlap sacks.

Which brings me to yet another pro tip for 80 Day Obsession, because I know I will not be alone in this clothes phenomenon.

PRO TIP #23: CHOOSE A NON-FOOD REWARD FOR YOURSELF FOR FINISHING PHASE 1 OF 80 DAY OBSESSION.

This was a big one for me. As I’ve previously explained, in my family, we are cake people. You make it another year to your birthday, you get cake. You get a job promotion, you get cake. You finish school, you get cake. Thus, like Pavlov’s dog, whenever my life is marked by accomplishment, my salivary glands start watering for–you guessed it–cake. Which would be fine if I was capable of eating only one piece. But I’m not. It’s either all or nothing. And on 80 Day Obsession, following this meal plan as well as I want to, it HAS to be nothing.

So when I was reaching the end of Phase 1 my first time through 80 Day Obsession, along with an overwhelming sense of pride, I also started to feel an all-consuming need for cake. Or some other home baked good to earmark my progress. I figured out pretty quickly that if I didn’t find a substitute for cake, I was going to have an issue.

My solution? New workout gear.

If you are reading this and if you have been following the program and avoiding my own pitfalls of struggling with Sunday dinners with the fam, then at this point, you will have noticed that your clothes are fitting differently. Maybe your pants are looser or your bra cups are emptier. Either way, what will be frustrating is that these ill-fitting clothes will not be adequately showing off all the hard work you’ve been putting in for the past 4 WEEKS.

Which means you need to TREAT YO’SELF. Be it to a new sports bra or new jeans or a new top, buy yourself something nice. It doesn’t have to be expensive, or even clothes. But it should be something you can’t eat and which makes you feel good about yourself.

Full disclosure: As a result of this TREAT YO’SELF mentality, I developed an obsession with Autumn’s fave athleisure wear, Lorna Jane. Apologies in advance for getting you hooked. I get paid nothing for writing about this. I’m simply a huge fan, mostly because it was while buying a Lorna Jane sports bra that I had the sales lady look at me like I’d grown a third head when I said I needed a large; “Honey,” she corrected me, “you will need, at most, a small.” And, whelp, she was right.

So plan NOW. Plan on buying something nice for yourself on Saturday afternoon, after you have that warm, sweaty glow from completing Cardio Flow. Show yourself some appreciation for FINISHING Phase 1 that has nothing to do with food. Get used to rewarding yourself with something other than calories.

This has been a hard habit for me to break, and it’s one I still am working on. But I took my first step during 80 Day Obsession, and though I slip up from time-to-time, I haven’t looked back.

If you need ideas on what to get yourself, I’m all ears. Or, wanna let me know what you went with? Drop me a line. Either way, I hope you push hard through this last week and make it count.

Check out the link for the usual Beachbody shenanigans.

K

 

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Phase 1, Day 18: AAA (aka The Strong One)

One round into today’s workout, I realized I was sweating profusely.

And not in a cute glow kind of way.

I mean in a leave a trail of sweat drops behind you as you go to swap out your weights on the rack at the gym and get disgusted looks from the people next to you at what you’re getting on the floor kind of way.

It was that kind of workout day. Which was awesome.

I was sweating hard because I had increased the weight in almost all the exercises, and my body noticed. It responded by getting my heart rate up and making it look like I took a shower in the middle of the gym. I love getting this sort of sweat on without spending an hour on a treadmill, or doing cardio.

To briefly recap AAA: You work the negative. That is, to get technical, you work the “eccentric contraction,” i.e., you load up the muscle while it’s lengthening. For example, in round 3 of AAA, you do hammer curls. You curl the weight up in a one count, then slowly lower the weight back down in a three count. Do this 10 times. Repeat for 3 sets.

If you want a more indepth look at the moves, check out my first blog on the subject.

I like AAA because the workout is so different from any of the others in 80 Day Obsession; really, it’s different from any other workout I’ve done, what with the focus on the negative. It also allows you to play around with the weights. Not sure you started out with a heavy enough weight? Load it up in the second set. Think you went too hard and can’t sustain it through the last set? Lighten it up.

Last week in AAA, I managed to bump up my weights for a few exercises, but only in the last set. So my goal for today’s workout was to start with that heavier weight in the first set to see if I could carry it through.

I made it! I struggled, and my form started to go and in the skull crushers I was worried I was going to drop the weights on my head, but I did it. Probably should have lightened up a little, but not today, Satan.

That said, there was one exercise where I did NOT increase the weight: Bent over rows.

Real talk: My lower back likes to say hi sometimes. Like a, “hey remember me? Don’t go TOO heavy.” My back punctuates this hello with a slight twinge.

Tonight, when I bent over to row with my 25 pound dumbbells, wondering if I should bump up to 27.5s, my lower back spoke up. So, instead of increasing the weight, I tucked my tailbone, sank into my heels, and focused on keeping the obscene arch out of my lower back. Suddenly, for the first time, I felt my glutes AND my back engage, just like Autumn said they should. Go figure. So I stuck with the weight and focused on my form.

My point being that even though I talk about using this week to test your strength and lift heavy, listen to your body. I guarantee that if you have been following this program, you WILL feel stronger. You WILL be able to lift heavier. But if you’re starting to get weird twinges, slow it down and consider lightening up. Don’t sacrifice safety for a higher weight on your tracker sheet (which I hope you’re using btw – I am this time around and it’s a total game changer).

Case in point, the knee plank heel press. Here is my form:

Knee Plank Heel Press
Gotta watch that form.

I’m happy I took the picture so I can see what I was doing, because this was another one of those exercises where I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right.

PRO TIP #48: IF IN DOUBT YOU’RE DOING AN EXERCISE CORRECTLY, TAKE A PICTURE OR VIDEO OF YOURSELF DOING THE EXERCISE.

I finally took my own advice, and the picture above tells me I need to tuck my tailbone. If I do that, I know I will feel it more in my ass, which is just as it should be. Ignore my form and that terrible curve in my lower back. Looking at it, you can see why my lower back likes to talk.

So, lesson for the day is to listen to your body. And if you’re not feeling an exercise in the muscle Autumn says you should be working, be proactive and record yourself doing the move. I guarantee that if you do this, you will be able to spot what you’re doing wrong, correct the problem, and then get the most out of the exercise.

I’ll close with a picture of one more move I did where I know now what I need to do to improve my form.

Yay pushups
Almost there, but not quite

I gotta get my head in line with my spine. Once I do that, I will get the most out of this simple move.

Side note: I blame that neck position on the basketball coach I had in high school who would insist that we touch our nose to the floor in pushups. I never had great upper body strength, so what I lacked in strength I made up for with neck extensions. The bad habit has carried over, unfortunately. Now I have to imagine how much stronger I would have been had I done 80 Day Obsession in high school. I guess we’ll never know.

Hope you know how much stronger you’re getting. Get ready to test your newfound strength again tomorrow during Leg Day!

 

 

Phase 1, Day 17: Cardio Core (aka My Fave)

There’s no getting around it. This is my favorite cardio workout.

I’ve done 21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme, Master’s Hammer and Chisel, P903x, and a host of my own made-up HIIT workouts. I cannot say that I looked forward to a single cardio workout in any of those routines. Cardio day was something to get through; a slog to endure; a necessary evil to survive.

But with 80 Day Obsession Cardio Core, I actually woke up this morning LOOKING FORWARD to my cardio workout. Who the F ever wakes up and says, “you know, I can’t wait to do some squat jumps!”

But that was me this morning.

NEXT WEEK, watch this space, because I will be taking a deep personal turn and explain why Cardio Core will always hold a special place in my heart.

For now, suffice it to say that I enjoy Cardio Core for three reasons: 1) The routine keeps me interested; 2) There’s a lot of ab work; and 3) Just when you think you can’t keep going, the HIIT interval ends.

Take, for example, round 2 in Cardio Core. You spend the first 30 seconds doing heel jump ropes, then 30 seconds doing pepper step; then 30 seconds doing heel jump ropes; 30 more seconds of pepper step; last 30 seconds of heel jump ropes; last 30 seconds of pepper step. In the beginning, the heel jump ropes aren’t too bad – they’re a good breather, and the more you focus on getting your heels out to the side and in front of you, the better you can also work your abs. But those pepper steps…they sound cute but can’t be attractive. Everything jiggles. Everything burns. It’s the strangest feeling to be forcing your feet to move so fast that at a certain point you wonder if they’re even moving at all. Regardless, in both exercises, you get to the point where you KNOW you can’t go a single second more…and the exercise stops. BOOM it’s over and you’re on to the what’s next: An ab exercise that allows you to catch your breath.

Cardio Core is intimidating the first time you do it because it has “cardio” in the title and you don’t know what to expect. But after that first time, you KNOW what’s to come. And like I’ve blogged before, you start to focus on whether or not you can do one more rep instead of the pain.

Also, in case you’re wondering whether you can get a good workout only doing 30 second HIIT (high intensity interval training) intervals, YES. YES YOU CAN. Here’s me immediately following the workout:

Troll Hair Don't Care
That was a Doozy

I know this is an extreme close-up of all things unattractive. But I post it to show the workout WORKS. Plus, I’m pretty damn proud of that sweat. I’m proud I dragged my ass out of bed this morning, went to the gym, and made the decision to press play on a workout that has “cardio” in its title.

I’m proud of how low I got in these jump squats:

Jump Squats
No idea I could get that low!

And I’m proud of following my timed nutrition meal plan to a T, including consuming my delicious post-workout shake (aka breakfast):

Breakfast!
Breakfast of Champions.

My point is, you might be reading this and thinking, “Well F you, Katie. Of course it’s easy for you. You’ve done this all before.”

And to a certain extent, that’s true. Except that at one point, I was right where you were. I was on Day 17 and dreading the workout and wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into, that I had 63 more days of this thing. I wasn’t excited to work out. I wasn’t sure I was seeing results. I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep going.

The peeps in Beachbody preach about finding your “why”: Why are you doing this? Why did you sign up for the program and push play in the first place?

In the beginning, my “why” was simply that I wanted to lose weight and tone up and look good. And that was a great goal for me to START 80 Day Obsession. But it would not have been enough to keep me going. It would not have sustained me throughout the entire 80 days. And I can tell you that if your “why” is currently similar to mine, that was a great reason to start 80 Day Obsession, but you’re going to need to dig deeper to find why you will FINISH the program.

On Day 23 of my first round, I found my “why.” It was forced upon me, and was completely unexpected. Yet when it happened, I had a choice: I could either keep doing 80 Day Obsession because I “had” to, or I could keep doing 80 Day Obsession because I CHOSE to.

I chose to continue and finish 80 Day Obsession on Day 23 of my first round. It was the best decision I could have made, and I can’t wait to tell you more in my blog next week.

For now, if you’re struggling, think about your why: WHY are you doing this? WHY did you press play in the first place? WHY did you want to do 80 Day Obsession? WHY did you do the first 18 days?

I hope your answers lead you somewhere good. Message me if you want to share. And check out my Instagram (@fitluddy) if you want to see more sweaty selfies. Usual link to the usual Beachbody stuff.

Yours in sweat and unicorns,

Katie

 

Phase 1, Day 15: Total Body Core (aka No Shame in My Pushup Game)

I love Week 3 workouts in 80 Day Obsession.

Instead of doing ALL the exercises in a row three times, you group the exercises into their muscle groups and do three sets of 10 reps, one muscle group at a time. So, for example, in Series 1, you do 10 reps of squat rotating shoulder press, then 10 reps of lateral bear crawl, then 10 reps of spider loops. Repeat twice more, 10 reps every time.

The end result is you burn out the muscle group before moving on. But, more importantly, because you are focusing on one muscle group at a time, you can also focus on bumping up the weight to lift extra heavy.

Week 3 is where you push yourself to see how much stronger you are, even from the week before. Even if it’s only for one set, for example if you do 2 rounds of squat rotating shoulder press with 12 pound dumbbells, but then bump up to 15s for the last round, that counts as getting stronger. The best part is that if, after the first round in the series, you feel like you could have done more reps, then you bump up for the next round. I love this week because it’s easy to adjust your weights to go as heavy – or as light – as you need to.

Plus, the workout flies by with this rep scheme.

So, to briefly recap: This week it is easy to push yourself, and you can get it done in what feels like record time.

But that said, sometimes the progress you make isn’t measured by how much you’re lifting, but in form, and in how strong you feel doing the exercise. I had two such breakthroughs TODAY on two different exercises.

The first was on those GD renegade rows with a twist.

I have blogged previously about this exercise. It is not my favorite. I literally count down the number of reps (30) I have left in this Phase before I can say goodbye to the damn things (until my next time through). I hate renegade rows with a twist because I don’t feel strong doing them. I wobble. I jiggle. I have moments where I’m afraid my elbow will dislocate.

Which is why today, two reps into the exercise, it took me a moment to realize why this time felt different: I felt steady. Normally, when I swing my leg through for the twist, it’s a half swing/half fall into position. This time, however, I was actually CONTROLLING my leg as it came through and PLACING my foot on the ground – normally the foot lands with a crash and it’s all I can do to keep my balance. Yet with each rep, I realized that I was in control. I was controlling my movements, and for once, my movements were very deliberate. All this, EVEN THOUGH I had bumped up to using the green band.

The steadiness lasted for ALL of the three rounds. And while it got messy towards the end, this was the first time I felt strong doing the exercise; the first time I could say with 100% certainty that I had improved. That was my first major victory, and I celebrated it even though it had nothing to do with lifting heavy.

The second victory was with tricep push-ups, the very last move of the workout.

Autumn urges you to do as many of the tricep push-ups as you can on your toes. I did this in the first round, doing them all on my toes. But my form felt off.  I struggled. I wasn’t able to get very low, and something about my form had me feel as though my back was taking most of the weight instead of my triceps. Not a good feeling. As a result, for the last two rounds, even though I knew I was “capable” of doing all the reps on my feet, I took it down to my knees. I modified the exercise, not because I wasn’t feeling strong, but because I just wasn’t feeling it where I thought I should. My form sucked on my toes, and I didn’t want to push through and do 20 more reps on my toes if it came at the expense of not actually working the muscles I should.

The first tricep push-up I did on my knees felt AMAZING. I got lower than I ever thought I could, and my form felt GOOD. Still, it wasn’t until I took a picture of myself actually performing the exercise that I realized the progress I had made:

Tricep Pushup
No Shame in this Pushup Game!

I have never, ever, EVER in a million years thought I could get my upper arm parallel to my body like that. And my back is straight. And my core is tight. This picture, more than any other I have shared, makes me proud of my progress and tells me how far I have come.

Even though I am technically modifying the exercise, I don’t care. Today, my body needed the modification. And by modifying tricep pushups, I got the most out of it. Instead of being ashamed, I am absolutely elated. DO YOU SEE MY FORM?! That’s why there is no shame in my push-up game. Sure, I could have done these on my toes. But I guarantee I would not now be posting a photo telling you how proud I am of my form.

My point is this: Don’t get caught up in tracking your progress solely by how heavy you’re lifting, or by the numbers on the scale, or the size of your pants. Sometimes the only way to measure your success is impossible to quantify. It’s in how you feel or the way you kept your core tight the entire time or how you kept your back straight. Every single one of those intangible victories is still a victory. It’s just one that only you can see. Which means that when it happens, you MUST make sure you celebrate it. Because no one else will.

So if you are reading this after having had to modify any of the exercises today, I salute you. I salute you for choosing form over substance and recognizing that the modification was what your body needed to get the most out of your workout. I hope you are still proud of the work you put in, and are already looking forward to how you can take another step towards improvement the next time through.

After all, there’s only one more Total Body Core workout with these exercises left in Phase 1. After that, we get a brand new set of exercises to torture us. I mean improve upon.

In case you can’t tell, I truly love this whole 80 Day Obsession thing. I love how it challenges me but is still so do-able. I love that it gives me a timed nutrition plan that fuels me up and makes it easy for me to follow.

But most importantly, I love how what started with an 80 Day Obsession has turned into a lifestyle I intend to last well beyond those 80 days.

As always, any questions, let me know. Or if you’re curious about any of this and want to learn more, email me. I’d love to help you get started on your own journey to live the best you. That is what I feel 80 Day Obsession helped me do: Get started down the path of living and being the best me. It’s a path that takes work to walk every day, but I am so happy I get to walk it.

Let me know if you need help getting started down your own path, or per usual, click the link to learn more about Beachbody stuff.

Yours in modified tricep pushups,

Katie