Obsessed – Phase 1

“You can do hard things” has become my mantra over the last four weeks. In fact, I’ve even decided to get a decal printed for my soon to be renovated basement gym.

I’ve been known to quit things – or, I guess more accurately, lose interest – when things get tough. But not this year. This year I decided to do things that scare the shit out of me, and I’m happily checking them off as I go. Next up – completion of 80Day Obsession (80DO) and 10k Training.

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So, 80DO. Holy Shit it’s hard. I thought I was fit – I did Shift Shop, Core de Force, 21 DFX. But I was not 80DO fit. That’s some other level fit. However challenging the last 26 working days have been, I survived and I know the rest of you did too!

Nutrition

By now all of the Beachbody programs use the same container breakdowns in some way. While 80DO is really it’s own plan with timed nutrition, reefed, and deplete days, you still use the Portion Fix containers as a guide. A simple formula can help you figure out how many of each container you get per day. My plan (A) is based on a 1,200-1,499 calorie diet. However this time it didn’t feel like enough food, so I ended up bumping up to Plan B, which allows for one more fruit, carb, and teaspoon per day. This plan can also be designed around a vegan lifestyle.

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Can you believe this is approved?

Let’s talk about that timed nutrition for a minute. Not only does Autumn tell you how many of each container to eat daily, but she also tells you WHEN to eat them. This is huge because eating the right foods at the right times will help you recover and build those beautiful muscles! Eat every 2-3 hours, with 4-5-hour workout block, specifically formulated to increase performance and aid in recovery.

Weekly Obsession

This show, which is like the fitness version of The Real World, highlights some of the drama, fun moments, and bloopers of the upcoming week. We get to know the cast as they progress and struggle along with us. Scripted or not, I actually look forward to watching this every Saturday because I know exactly what to expect and when I’ll need to push myself harder.

Equipment

  • Weights
  • Resistance Loops
  • Sliders
  • Yoga Mat (optional, but encouraged if you work out on hard surfaces)
  • Towel (for all that sweat!)

The Workouts

We work out six days a week, and Sunday is a rest day with the option to do a Roll & Release or Stretch & Release workout. Or, if you’re like me and can’t sit still, you’ll use this as an opportunity to dance and belt out some tunes with the other side of Autumn in Country Heat.

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I love a good calorie burn – but resistance workouts are necessary too!

There is no music in the background, but there are designated playlists on Spotify that you can stream during your workout. I chose to do without for Phase 1, but I heard she had some pretty interesting music for the booty workouts.

Mondays – Total Body Core

This is the perfect Monday workout. It’s an hour long, but definitely flies by. It’s challenging and gets your body moving right away. I may or may not have thought my arms were going to break in week 4, but I survived to type my heart away! I always burn upwards of 400 calories with this one, and it hurts so good.

Tuesdays – Booty

My absolute favorite day. California, here I come! Man are those resistance loops tough. I’ve only used a light loop in Brazil Butt Lift, but nothing compares to the last 4 Booty workouts from 80DO. By the second to last rep, I have to push myself to finish, and by the end, I can barely do anything but sit on my mat with my knees pulled up to my chest. That’s how you know it was a good workout. Actually, right now I’m wondering how I’m going to work out this week when it hurts to sit down (insert crying face emoji).

Wednesdays – Cardio Core

Oh boy. I was not a fan of Cardio Core. This is not one I would recommend doing upon waking because “jumping rope” is just too much to handle. Essentially this is a series of 3-minute HIIT followed by ab exercises. The only equipment you need are sliders, but by the time you get to them, you will be FEELING IT!

Thursdays – AAA

Arms, Abs, and Ass. Yup, I can say that – even if Autumn can’t! I love this workout because it literally works everything. You use the sliders, weights, and loops for this one. You work the negatives – count one when contracting and then three to get out of it. Yikes! Feel the burn. Not a huge calorie burner, but its mainly about resistance.

Fridays – Legs

Raise your hand if you love leg day? Can you see both of mine in the air?? Our legs have some of the strongest muscles, so we can work them hard and heavy. I love these exercises that surprisingly only include weights. Get ready to squat and lunge until your legs shake and don’t be afraid to lift heavy weights – you got this. At the end of these workouts, I noticed how ripped my arms looked. Swimsuit season, here I come.

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Seriously, though – look at those gains!

Saturdays – Cardio Flow

This sounds like yoga, but is NOTHING like it. And that kind of made me happy because as much as I try to like yoga, it is sooooo hard for me to relax and find the zen zone. This workout is a series of 10 exercises that are put together in progressions, starting with inchworms and ending with mule to frog. Don’t be fooled by the short workout time – you will be breathless by the end. I always dreaded this one, but it was actually pretty fun once I got into the groove. At first I was excited to ditch this workout in Phase 2, but nope! We’re keeping it and bumping up the reps from 4 to 6. Now that will be a challenge!

The Trainer

Autumn Calabrese – Celebrity Fitness Trainer, creator of Country Heat, the 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix extreme, co-creator of Hammer & Chisel, author of the Fixate cookbook and cohost of Fixate on BOD. Whoa, that’s a lot of stuff! She’s a doll, and her upbeat attitude and tough love approach will motivate you to finish every rep and bonus round.

The Results – Phase 1

I know the part you’re curious about – the pounds and inches lost. But let me first say that it’s not all about the scale. Yes, it’s important that I keep my weight at a decent number and BMI, but I always remind myself that (1) muscle weighs more than fat and (2) weight fluctuates constantly.

That being said, I lost about 3″ in my problem area – my hips and thighs. In previous posts I’ve talked about losing weight with clean eating and exercise. In fact, I’m down over 6lbs since January 1st! I am so proud of myself for being consistent and never missing a workout. Even when I woke up late, took weekend trips, wasn’t feeling it, or had a blazing headache, I got it done. Sometimes at 11pm.

I’m really pushing myself to work harder than I ever have before, to have self-control when it comes to eating all the things, and to inspire others to do the same. I’ve been on this fitness journey for years now, but I’ve never felt so comfortable and confident in my abilities. I’m strong, and I got this. Phase 2 – I’m here to CRUSH you!

 

 

I know you know, but I have to say it anyway…Always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise, fitness, and/or diet program.

The start of something new

New Year, New Me, right? To be honest, I hate that we always wait until the new year to start losing weight, looking for a new job, paying off debt, or [insert other goal here]. It’s so cliché.

But, maybe it isn’t.

Friday was my last workday of 2017. I spent much of the time finishing my annual self-assessment, cleaning out my old files, ending promotions, and literally wiping away all of 2017’s mess. When I go back tomorrow, I’ll have a blank canvas to begin again. New promos, new invoices, new goals. It’s a fresh start.

Whatever your beliefs, today – Monday – the start of a new week AND a new year, is a chance to begin again (after you pigged out and drained your bank accounts during the holidays, of course).

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My 2018 Vision Board

My only real goal for this year is to do things that scare me – get out of my comfort zone. For me, that’s a HUGE one with many layers.

See, I’m an introvert. I hate any public speaking or presentations; my palms get sweaty when I walk into a room with more than ten people, even if I know them. I’m perfectly content curling up on my sofa with a good book, cozy blanket, and cup of peppermint tea. Just add ten cats, and I’ll be living the dream!

But seriously, if I do this, I know good things will follow.

I’m starting the year with two tangible goals – Complete a 21-Day Sugar Detox and a round of 80-Day Obsession.

Why these?

21-Day Sugar Detox

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Chili Lime Nut Mix & Buffalo Chicken Egg Muffins. Yum!

To start, sugar is everywhere – even in sauces, salad dressings, and other pantry items you would not expect.
Then, there are my headaches. In addition to getting married, buying a house, and moving, part of the reason why I was MIA in November/December was that my chronic headaches/migraines resurfaced with a vengeance. One brutal one lasted ten, yes TEN, days. And I can’t take it anymore. When I feel poorly every day, life is just miserable.

I think this detox, which also eliminates legumes and dairy, and is paleo-friendly, could be the beginning of something good – at least I’ll be able to identify any food triggers that may be contributing to the pain.

So, I planned out my first week of meals, made up my grocery list, and I’m starting TODAY. (I just had a delicious breakfast of buffalo chicken egg muffins [pictured above], avocado, and almonds.) No more excuses. I had to go to four local stores and Amazon to get all of the ingredients I needed, so I’m not taking this lightly.

Will it be hard? Hell, yes. But I’m up for the challenge.

80-Day Obsession

20171220_205559576134467.pngI may be fit, but lately, I haven’t been 100% happy with my body, my stamina, or my mood. It seems like after every fitness challenge I do, I revert to the “old me,” and that’s just not good enough anymore.

January 15th, I’m starting a new Beachbody program that scares the shit out of me. It’s an 80-day commitment (6 days a week for 13 weeks) that will challenge me both mentally and physically. High-intensity workouts will focus on the abs and butt (perfect for the beach!), and it’s just what I need right now.

It’s going to take a lot of planning and effort, but it will be worth it. When the program wraps up in April, I’ll be a different person – one who isn’t afraid to set hard or scary goals and conquer them. I might even be a push-up master by then.

Spoiler Alert: 80DO is apparently filled with all types of push-ups. Scary!

Will it be hard? Without a doubt. But, I got this.

To learn more about this program and see if it’s something that might interest you, click here.

FitBook Lite20171231_0941291589829603.pngI’ll be tracking my daily progress with a FitBook – fitness planner. It’s always a challenge for me to be consistent with this, so I’m starting out with the FitBook Lite, which is a 6-week version instead of the usual twelve.

There’s room for tracking measurements, food intake and how you felt after each meal, water, workouts, positive thoughts, and more.

I’ll also be posting weekly progress updates here – I’m committed. And when both programs are over, you’ll get the full run-down.

Why not make 2018 your healthiest year yet?

My C25K Journey – Weeks 7 & 8

Wow! I’ve been MIA for over two months, and I’m sorry.

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Happy Homeowners!!!

We just bought our first house, and while it might not be the best excuse, I’ve been extremely busy packing, unpacking, painting, and the like, and haven’t had one moment to catch you up on my C25K progress. So here we go.

I finished the program at the end of October. It was tough, but I did it and ran a 5K with my husband to celebrate.

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Zombie Run

Work was pretty hectic during that time, and it was a challenge to find opportunities during the day to go to the gym. The weather wasn’t favorable for morning or evening runs at home, and when I did have time, I had headaches that made it difficult to even get out of bed. Oh, the challenges.

30 minutes a day, 3 times a week, 8 weeks total

Week 7 & 8 Routines

Start with a 5-minute warmup, run for 25-30 minutes, and savor a 5-minute cooldown.

The last two weeks of the program I ran whenever and wherever I could. Oh, how I missed the treadmill! One day was around 70 degrees and humid, and my body was so itchy as I was running that I couldn’t stand it. The moment I went inside, it stopped. Go figure.

I’ve learned that it’s easier for me to run inside for longer lengths of time because of the air and unpredictable NY weather. The 25 minutes passed quickly as I ran in place. When I did laps around my apartment complex, I felt like I’d been running as long as Forrest Gump. No humidity = happy lungs.img_15093174728472105941280.jpgI realize that not every run is going to be perfect (even though I strive for it) and I won’t always get a mid-day workout in (my favorite time), but a run is a run, no matter how it gets done. The fact that I actually enjoy running now is probably my biggest and most satisfying accomplishment.

To see what happened at week 6, click here!

Will you take the challenge?

My C25K Journey – Week 6

Week 6 encroached a bit on week 7, but for a good reason: I got married!!! I took a few days off to plan, celebrate, and enjoy the time with my new HUSBAND! I seriously couldn’t be happier.

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My love!

And, oh yeah, I only have two weeks left in the program.

30 minutes a day, 3 times a week, 8 weeks total

Week 5 Routine

Start with a 5-minute warmup. Varied 5-22 minute jogs. Finally, savor a 5-minute cooldown.

Over the last 1.5 weeks, I ran Wednesday (10/11), Tuesday (10/17), and Wednesday (10/18) at Crunch on my lunch break. I have to say – it is hot as hell in that gym (especially when wearing leggings- first and LAST time)! I like it cold because my body tends to heat up quickly, especially when running. I can’t be the only one.

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Pre-workout – before the sweaty mess.

I was a little scared to run for 22 minutes straight after taking such a long break in between runs, but it worked out fine. It definitely helps to distract myself with something on Netflix or an audiobook.

It comes down to this: my body can do it, but my mind still isn’t on the same page. Each minute I run I have to tell myself I can do it, that I’ve done it before and can do it again, that I got this. And I do.

To see what happened at week 5, click here!

My C25K Journey – Week 5

I’m in the home stretch – just three weeks left!

30 minutes a day, 3 times a week, 8 weeks total

Week 5 Routine

Start with a 5-minute warmup. Varied 5-20 minute jogs. Finally, savor a 5-minute cooldown.

Last week I ran Wednesday at home after work, and Thursday and Friday at the gym on my lunch break. The first time on the treadmill was a little awkward because I was so used to running outside, and had no idea that I needed to use the treadmill workout on my Fitbit (see pic below). Fortunately, the second time was a much better experience and I actually enjoy running both inside and out.

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Clearly there’s a treadmill option for a reason 😉

Since week 2, I’ve been nervous about running for 20 minutes straight. The thought was so daunting – just I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it. Well, I proved myself wrong, because not only did I rock it, but I could have KEPT going. It probably also helped that I was re-watching Stranger Things as I ran.

My lungs are powerful, and my mind is in the right place to continue running at least three times a week after this program ends. I’ve already signed up for a Zombie 5K in celebration – October 28th.

I think I can call myself a runner now.

To see what happened at the halfway mark, click here!

My C25K Journey – Week 4

I made it to the halfway point! Never in a million years did I think I would be running three times a week and actually enjoying it.

30 minutes a day, 3 times a week, 8 weeks total

Week 4 Routine

Start with a 5-minute warmup. Jog for 3 minutes, walk for 90 seconds, jog for 5 minutes, walk for 2.5 minutes, jog for 3 minutes, walk for 90 seconds, jog for 5 minutes. Finally, savor a 5-minute cooldown.

Last week I ran Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. It was nice to spread it out a bit because my legs were starting to feel like Jell-O. The weather was finally favorable two out of the three days. What a difference a few degrees makes!

I love these shoes!!

I bought a new pair of sneakers that caught my eye for the bright colors and the price tag – $39. Compared to my everyday workout kicks, these new ones are lighter and allow my feet to breath, which is perfect for outdoor running.

I also decided to renew my gym membership at Crunch so I can finally go through with the lunchtime workouts I planned – regardless of the weather.

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New key tag 🙂 Haven’t been to a gym in years.

Last week was the first time (ever, I think) that I ran for 5 minutes without stopping to catch my breath or complain that I couldn’t do it. You know what? It really is all mental. I just put Demi Lovato’s “Sorry, Not Sorry” on repeat and sucked it up.

The way I see it, I could blame my asthma, my chronic migraines, and my Lyme disease for not being able to workout OR I could quit making excuses, get it done, and reap the rewards of a slimmer, healthier me. I’ll take the latter.

To check out Week 3, click here.

Fall Fun

Autumn is my favorite season. I love the crisp hoodie weather, the crunch of the leaves, spooky Halloween stories, carved pumpkins, all things apple (crisp, cider, pie), spicy scents, and the thrill of it. Most of all, I love that you can move around and be outside without sweating bullets. It’s one of the best times to get out and get moving. And what better way to do that, then to check out some of the area’s best haunted attractions!

My fiancé and I started a tradition of going around to different haunted houses hayrides each weekend in October. This is our fifth year (and we actually expanded the fun into September)! Not only is it a crazy good time, but between the scares, belly laughs, and trekking through cornfields and woods, it’s also a pretty awesome way to burn a few calories and sneak in 2,000+ steps. Afterwards, you can enjoy a few fall snacks to put those calories (and then some) back on. Uhhh…triple win?!

I’m really not sure what’s going on in the state of Pennsylvania, but they have some kickass haunts. They are perfectly creepy, gory, and even downright funny. But beware, because if you are traveling from New York or another state that has strict rules about practically everything, you will be in for a shock. Some of the haunts in PA don’t have any metal detectors or security checks, and actors are allowed to touch you. (Touch you in the sense that they can poke, prod, run fingers through hair, and in some cases, put you in a cage or jump up on a wagon and drag you off.) Call me crazy, but I think these things add to the suspense, fear, and entertainment.

Tips

  • Plan Ahead – We (well, I) like to map out our haunts in early September so we have a clear action plan. Some of the places we travel to are over 3 hours away (this is serious stuff!). If you don’t want to drive 6 hours or more round trip, you could see about hotels or other things you could do in the area and make a weekend getaway out of it.
  • Visit Early – Most attractions are open the last two weekends of September, which is actually the perfect time to go. (Keep this in mind for next year.) Lines are short and you can get by with paying for the base ticket instead of upgrading (see below).
  • Dress in Layers – Fall weather is unpredictable. Remember the time it snowed on Halloween? It’s always a good idea to wear pants if you will be in a wooded area (think deer ticks). I usually opt for jeans, boots, a long sleeve shirt, and a fleece jacket. One time last year we needed hand and foot warmers because the wagon ride was so cold. Two weeks ago I went in a t-shirt and was still hot. Just check the weather before you go.
  • Wear Proper Footwear – This shouldn’t have to be said, but still – don’t wear flip-flops, sandals, or heels because…duh. Wear something that will support your feet while walking on uneven ground. Boots or sneakers are always a good choice.
  • Splurge for the VIP Pass – When it comes to haunted attractions (and amusement parks), I really believe in going all-out. You might spend $25 or more per person for a VIP ticket, but that will allow you to skip the lines and go first. Why is this a big deal? Believe it or not, you could be waiting in line for hours before you even get to go through one attraction. That just sucks the fun right out of everything. Do yourself a favor – get this pass and you can do the royalty wave to everyone else as you board your wagon first.

NY/PA Attractions

#6 – The Barn of Terror

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Photo property of The Barn of Terror

My Rating: 1.5 Stars

Location: Lake Katrine, NY

Cost – CASH ONLY (ATM on site): $33 per person

Theme: Creepy Farm Family

Duration: About 60 minutes

Review: I kept waiting for something to happen and it just didn’t. First you walk through an 8-room barn and silo, then you take a bus down to a corn maze. The barn was dark and the costumes were pretty cheap and mostly looked the same – bloody hockey mask and black robe. The corn maze was so boring I couldn’t wait for it to be over. Truly disappointing that the space is there, but the creativity was severely lacking. After 15 years in business, you would think there would be more excitement.

Bottom Line: Regardless of the stellar reviews on Facebook, this “haunt” is not worth your time or money. The only reason it gets 1.5 stars is that I got quite a few steps in thanks to the corn maze.

#5 – Headless Horseman

My Rating: 2.5 Stars

Location: Ulster Park, NY

Cost:

  • It’s cheaper to buy tickets online, but plan ahead because tickets are non-refundable due to weather. You can, however, use them for another night.
  • $45.90 + tax – Online Ticket
  • $49.95 + tax – On-site Ticket
  • $25 extra for Scream Pass (aka VIP badge of honor)

Theme: A Series of Haunts

Duration: 2.5-3 hours (depending on wait times)

Review: There are 10 attractions (including a hayride, corn maze, and several haunted houses) and a little “village” of gift shops and cafes, which makes for a full evening. All guests must go through a bag check / metal detector after purchasing tickets. Keep this in mind because that line gets long fast and all ticket holders are considered equal until you pass through the gates. The hayride theme changes slightly every year, but the other attractions are pretty much “fixed.” Once you’ve seen it, you’ve seen it. This year I went on opening night back in September and was really disappointed that the company didn’t take advantage of their 25th year in business to do something special for the guests. It was like any other year with the ridiculously long lines and predictable haunts.

Bottom Line: If you live in or near the Hudson Valley, try it at least once, but I wouldn’t go out of my way.

#4 – Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Location: Glen Mills, PA

Cost:

  • $40 –  (Base) Combo – General admission to all three events
  • $75 – VIP Combo – Front of the line privileges to all three events
  • $100 – Super VIP Combo – Front of the line privileges to all three events, PLUS: VIP parking, hot dog, popcorn, soft drink, and t-shirt

Theme: The Walking Dead Meets Prehistoric Times

Duration: 90 minutes (minimum)

Review: There were zombies, there were dinosaurs. There were also spiders, snakes, and clowns. A scare for everyone. It was just okay. We went on a weekend in September – there weren’t any lines so we were able to get by on just the base ticket. There were only three attractions – hayride, corn maze, and haunted house. The theme was a bit odd, but the special effects were pretty cool. I love Psycho and A&E’s Bates Motel series, but there was little connection to both. I think the majority of my disappointment stems from just wanting more.

Bottom Line: If you’re in the area, I would recommend checking it out for a fun evening. But if you have to drive over an hour, I would say skip it.

#3 – Pure Terror Scream Park

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My Rating: 4 Stars

Location: Monroe, NY

Cost:

  • Prices are cheaper on-site. Cash only.
  • $45.25 – Online General Admission
  • $68.69 – Online VIP Admission

Theme: Clowns

Duration: 90 minutes (minimum)

Review: There were clowns, lots of clowns. There were also spiders and very dark places. A scare for everyone, really. After I got over the frustration of finding the place, parking, and waiting in line, it was fun. We went on opening night so it was cheaper and there were fewer people. There are six haunted houses that are seriously awesome. One group is admitted at a time, which causes a really long wait in line, but a better experience once you’re actually inside. The makeup and special effects were so good that it was hard to tell real person from prop. I love that they incorporated the new release of IT into one of the houses – very nice touch! This was my first visit, but according to the website, the content is freshened up each year. Will most likely make this an annual trip.

Bottom Line: Definitely check it out!

 

#2 Pennhurst Haunted Asylum

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Location: Spring City, PA

Cost:

  • $18 – Individual Attraction Tickets
  • $35-44 – Combo Pass
    • General admission to 3 haunted attractions
  • $39-48 – Super Combo Pass
    • General admission to 4 haunted attractions
  • $78 – Pennhurst VIP Pass
    • Front of the line privileges to all 4 haunted attractions
  • Note: online tickets have varying service charges

Theme: Insane Asylum

Duration: Approx. 2 hours

Review: This place is really cool because it is actually an asylum turned haunted house. The original buildings have been repurposed to create a haunted insane asylum, catacombs, and more. There isn’t a hayride, but you won’t be disappointed by the 3 main attractions:  Dungeon of Lost Souls, Containment Tunnels (new for 2017), and Mayflower After Dark. There are creepy clowns and walking dead, but the real terror here is the idea of the insane asylum and the horrible things that were probably done there. That and the fact that you spend a lot of time walking in near darkness and through strobe lights. While you are waiting on the lines you may or may not be terrorized by the cast members. Luckily, the VIP pass will help you avoid this. Again, do the royalty wave as you enter. I can’t wait to visit again this year!

Note: This is the ONLY haunted attraction that actually reduced some of their prices for the 2017 season. Very impressive.

Bottom Line: You’ve gotta go. I’m sure this one will be on your list for years to come.

 #1 Reaper’s Revenge Haunted Attraction

My Rating: 5 Stars

Location: Scranton, PA

Cost – CASH ONLY (ATM on site)

  • $45– General Admission
  • $70 – VIP Package
  • $3 – Parking
  • Note: online tickets have a $2.75 service charge

Theme: All Things Creepy

Duration: 75-90 minutes (minimum)

Review: There are 4 attractions including a hayride, dark forest walkthrough, pitch-black indoor walkthrough, and zombie maze. There are hillbillies, spiders, zombies, government officials (super scary), and the Grim Reaper and Michael Myers make appearances out in the woods. There’s also something really cool that happens during the hayride, but you’ll have to just take my word for it because saying too much would just ruin it. The combination of so many different attractions and a super long and enjoyable hayride makes this my number one choice. The first time we did this, we were laughing, we were screaming, we were having so much fun. We wanted to do it again. This year we are making a special trip on Friday the 13th 😉

Note: The price increased $10 from last year. I’m not crazy about it, but I still think this one comes out on top.

Bottom Line: Make the trip. I don’t care if you’re in California, Florida, or Toronto. It’s worth it.

I hope you go and have a great time this fall. I’d love to know if I’m missing out on any good ones 🙂

Happy October!