This program is hard, y’all. I just have to say that right off the bat.
I started 80 Day Obsession with a couple hundred thousand other people on January 15th of this year. I finished it, 259 days later, on September 30th. Two hundred and fifty nine. Is that ideal? Absolutely not. But I’m still proud of the accomplishment.
I’ll be honest. I wasn’t ready for this program in January. I got swept up in the excitement of a new year and a new program by the much-lauded Autumn Calabrese of 21 Day Fix fame. So I started with enthusiasm, stopped, started OVER again, stopped again, decided to quit, decided I didn’t want to quit, started again where I’d left off, and finally finished. I took unscheduled rest days, subbed in other exercise for a couple of cardio days here and there (River rafting is totally cardio, friends!) and, for the most part, threw the timed nutrition out the window. I didn’t blog my way through the journey as I had originally planned, because nothing about this challenge went as planned. But in the end, I DID get results.
Were they the results I was looking for? Eh…sort of. I’m definitely stronger, fitter, and a little lighter than when I started back in January. I don’t have an amazing before-and-after photo transformation (yet!), but I’m closer to my goals than I was before. If I had done the program as scheduled (and with the recommended nutrition), I’m sure I would have seen more dramatic changes, but I’m not sorry about it. This has been a year of learning, and I’m only getting started.
Here are the things I loved, the things I hated, and what I would tell anyone interested in the program.
THE THINGS I LOVED:
(1) Autumn and the Cast
Autumn Calabrese is cute, peppy, and sometimes a bit of a dork. I liked her little pep talks, her clear explanation and demonstration of each movement, and her interaction with the cast, especially Donald, who is pretty much everyone’s favorite. Sometimes, Autumn even gets shown up by Jazmyne, who is super strong and super fit. These moments are HILARIOUS reminders that Autumn is not a flawless super-human. Loved it.
Each week starts with a “Weekly Obsession” video that gives a preview of the workouts ahead. These videos also include interviews and snippets of conversation with the cast members and, over the course of the program, you can see that they actually struggled AND that they actually improved! As a former fan of shows like Extreme Weight Loss and Biggest Loser, I enjoyed this aspect of the program.
(2) The Strength Training
The strength workouts (5 out of the 6 each week) are awesome. The moves use a combination of dumbbells, sliders, and resistance loops. Though some of them were familiar, many of them were new or creative twists on old classics. I genuinely feel like I am stronger from doing these workouts.
(3) The Variety
Although the moves repeat within each of the three “phases,” no two workouts are exactly the same. Every day focuses on a different body part. Plus, the rep pattern changes each week, and the amount of weight you lift varies depending on the rep pattern, which is awesome for muscle confusion and for avoiding boredom. Each phase has an entirely new set of workouts that build on the ones from the previous phase.
(4) A Little Obsessed
I will probably re-visit the workouts from A Little Obsessed again and again. They are shorter versions of the Phase 1 workouts, and though they are meant as a preview of the program, they are great workouts when you only have a little bit of time. I even subbed in an ALO workout for the similar 80DO workout once or twice to avoid falling too far behind schedule.
THE THINGS I HATED:
(1) Cardio Flow
There’s no getting around this one. Sometimes called “The Zoo” because of the various animal-themed exercises, this workout is my least favorite Beachbody workout to date. It hurt my knees, it made me want to puke, and it frustrated the heck out of me (I am just not coordinated enough to do some of the moves). Worst of all, this is the one workout that doesn’t change at the beginning of each phase. The number of reps changes, but everything else stays exactly. the. same. Yuck.
I’m not the only person who hated this particular workout, by the way. I think it’s a you-love-it-or-you-hate-it situation, so if you do the program and you hate it, at least you’re in good company. Consider subbing in a long run or some other kind of cardio every now and again to keep yourself sane. No one will judge. I promise.
(2) Timed Nutrition
I like Autumn’s container system. If you’ve ever heard of 21 Day Fix, you know about the colored containers. If not, you can check out an overview here. I think the containers do a great job of helping people learn how to recognize proper portion sizes, eat a variety of healthy foods, and, ultimately, get results. However, when you tell me which containers to eat and when, I struggle. I’ve never been a big breakfast eater, but my workout “block” was in the morning before work, and I was supposed to eat two of my five meals by 7 am. That’s just not realistic for me. On the other hand, not ending up with a random red container at the end of the day (as I sometimes do when using the containers without timed nutrition) was nice. Maybe “hate” is too strong of a word to describe how I felt about this one. If you decide to do the program, just know that you’ll either need to adjust your life to fit the nutrition or adjust the nutrition to fit your life. Both options have their downsides, but it’s possible to get results either way.
(3) The Overwhelming Schedule
Ultimately, this is the biggest problem I had with 80 Day Obsession. The workouts are about an hour each and they are scheduled for six days per week. If you miss one, you’d have to make it up on your one-and-only rest day in order to stay on schedule, which means you could go 12 days in a row. The only other choice would be to keep going 6-on-1-off and ignore the days of the week. Neither option is ideal, especially if you’re doing the workout with a friend, as I was. If you get sick, have an unexpected event, or are otherwise really busy, you may need to give yourself some grace.
WHAT I WOULD TELL SOMEONE WHO IS CONSIDERING 80DO:
This is classified as an intermediate/advanced program for a reason. Be honest with yourself. Are you REALLY in intermediate/advanced shape? (I wasn’t.) Do you REALLY have this much time to devote to your workouts and your meal prep? (I didn’t.)
If you’re newer to fitness or you’re getting back into a workout routine after a long time away, you need a few quick wins before you jump into something like 80 Day Obsession. The program was great, but I know I would have been much more successful if I’d started it after completing a couple of shorter programs, like 21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme, or Shift Shop.
SO WHAT’S NEXT?
I’ll be writing another full post soon, but the short answer is that I’m jumping into LIIFT 4. Like 80 Day Obsession, LIIFT 4 is an intermediate/advanced program was filmed “live,” which means each workout is different. However, the schedule is not as demanding (only 30-40 minutes, 4x /week for 8 weeks), and the nutrition plan is more flexible. I’m two workouts in as of today, and I LOVE it so far. If you’d like to join me, just drop a comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
**This post contains many links to other Life is Sweet Enough posts, other websites, and to Beachbody products. If you purchase a Beachbody program through one of the Beachbody links, I’ll be assigned as your personal Team Beachbody Coach and I’ll be in touch soon. I would LOVE to help you reach your health and fitness goals.**
Have you tried 80 Day Obsession? Do you have a different favorite program? Tell me about it in the comments below. 🙂