Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Michelle Dozois: BodyFit 360 Vol 2 - Dance Conditioning (Review)

I was so excited when Michelle Dozois announced two new BodyFit 360 workouts.  Unlike the new Athletic Conditioning workout, I was really looking forward to the Dance Conditioning one.  The original 360 is near and dear to my heart - it effortlessly combines dance, flexibility, and cardio.  I just love the concept.  That being said, this is not your old-school dance cardio.  This is something unique and effective.

The new Dance Conditioning 360 has premixes and chapters, which is very nice when you don't have an hour for a workout.  

When doing the whole thing, you start with cardio.  Michelle blends dance, yoga, and even some high-impact moves to get you warm and sweating.  Yes, I had sweat dripping off of me!  The high impact moves - mainly some squat jumps and dance hops - can easily be made into low impact moves if you want a lighter workout.  You move in every direction, standing up and on the floor.

After about 25-30 minutes of cardio, you move to the floor to work your arms.  This track is really hard for me.  You do push-ups, mermaids, spiders, and tricep work.  Ouch!

Next up is ab work.  This section is tough, though not quite as tough as the original 360.  There is quite a bit of focus on your obliques and even some quad work thrown in.  Wow.

After this you get to stretch and I love Michelle's stretching.  Here, she incorporates some more yoga to get your warm muscles nice and stretched out.

This workout is just so nice.  I love having lighter day workouts that make me sweat without killing me.  About 30 minutes of cardio is great, as is the stretch.  This is a great addition to the BodyFit 360 collection.

The entire workout runs for 55 minutes.  For a clip, go here.  

Bottom Line: While this is not a difficult workout as far as impact, some of the moves are challenging and some experience in dance or yoga will really help you get through it.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Combat Challenge: Week 3

Well, with my weight up (though I hope the endocrinologist will help with the thyroid meds later this week), I'm super motivated to work as hard as possible to get these pounds off.  But let me tell you, after eating well for two weeks and doing all these crazy workouts, I better see some results.  Sigh.  That's what clues me into this being the thyroid - usually, my body would have kindly shown me results by now.  

I'm still going strong with my Combat Challenge…

Monday: Michelle's Cardio Strength 2 + Strength Total Body + dance

I was off today for MLK and decided to double up on workouts.  Yes, I'm crazy - and motivated!  I started off with CS2 on Glo - ouch!  This one is tough with all the floor work interspersed throughout.  Then, to get in some much-needed weight training, I did Michelle's strength workout on Glo, which is a lot like her Pure Strength workouts from Peak Fit.  My arms were aching by the end.  For about ten minutes after this, I danced to get the kinks out of my arms and legs.  Almost two hours of working out.  Whew!

Tuesday: Combat 45 - Power Kata + walk

A new workout this morning!  Combat 45 was a nice change from the rather basic Kick Start (Combat 30) - and longer!  It was cold in the house this morning but I warmed up rather quickly with the workout!  Ha!  It got me working and sweating in no time with tons of punches, jabs, and kicks.  I added in my own cardio at the end to get in 45 minutes before stretching for five minutes.  At lunch, I walked at the rec.

Wednesday: Ilyse's Dance Intervals 101 + Combat Shock Plyo HIIT 2 + yoga

For my short cardio bursts in the morning, I'm trying to not do Michelle Dozois' workouts this week - because I like them too much.  Ha!  Ilyse's dance workout is fun - mainly cardio intervals - and I did it for about 15 minutes before Combat Plyo.  This Combat workout is really difficult and has taught me just how much I loathe lunge jumps.  Ugh!!  Yoga was lovely today; not as intense as last week, it was more of a stretch.

Thursday: Jeffrey Scott's HIIT - Sports Inspired Intervals + Combat Power HIIT 1 + weights

I like Scott's HIIT because it's low pressure and different.  It warmed me up before Combat.  This Power HIIT - using weights for about 10 minutes - isn't as difficult as the other Plyo HIIT but has 5 minutes of burpees, which is not at all fun.  At lunch, when I went to do weights at the rec, my legs were still so achy from Combat HIIT that the inner and outer thigh machines were not at all easy. Usually, I breeze right through those machine reps so it was nice to know that something is making a difference with Combat!

Friday: BodyFit 360 Vol. 2 - Dance Conditioning

Today was my "rest" day so I did Michelle's new BodyFit 360 - Dance Conditioning.  It's a lot like the original 360 and I really do love it.  Michelle combines high-impact moves, yoga, and dance to get you moving in every direction - and to get you sweating.  It's just enough to make you feel worked out without overworking on a rest day.

Saturday:  Combat 60 - Extreme Cardio Fighter

After eating badly last night - oh, it was so much fun! - I was ready to burn some calories this morning.  Combat 60 definitely gets me sweating.  I put all I had into every punch and it wore me out!  Wow!  I did some extra cardio to get in 60 full minutes and then did my own push-ups (like what they do in the video).  My abs were aching from Michelle's BodyFit the previous day, so I skipped abs today.

Sunday:  Combat Power HIIT 1+ Michelle's Cardio Interval Burn on Glo

A Sunday with little to do but relax meant that I could do an extra long workout.  I started with my own five minute warm-up and then did Power HIIT.  Good grief, those burpees!  I then did three-quarters of Michelle's CIB on Glo.  That totaled 70 minutes of cardio.  I then did abs for five minutes followed by a nice, long 10-minute stretch.  A good day!

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1258
Tuesday - 1274
Wednesday - 1274
Thursday - 1278
Friday - BAD
Saturday - 1277
Sunday - 1288

I received good news from the endocrinologist on Thursday.  When I asked her what I could do to lose the 10 pounds my thyroid has caused me to gain, she said, emphatically, nothing: she needs to get my dosage right.  So, I'm on a higher dosage and she wants me to get bloodwork done in two weeks in case I need an even higher dose.  That's good considering the cruise is now only a month away.  Eek!

Friday, January 23, 2015


My book group chose a non-fiction work for the month of January and, once again, I'm amazed at how much I'm enjoying non-fiction.  Sure, as a history major, I'm used to reading non-fiction....but not non-history non-fiction.  Ha!

Here's the review for Cheryl Strayed's Wild that I posted to Goodreads (you may recognize the title as it's now a major motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon):

I had never heard of Cheryl Strayed's memoir until my book group recently chose to read Wild. And then I was excited by the idea of her journey (I love hiking! I love national parks! I love nature!). But when I read about Cheryl and how her story begins, I was appalled at just how selfish and idiotic she was. 

The situation of leaving her husband reminds me so much of Eat, Pray, Love. And it infuriates me! "Hello, husband. I love you but I'm really so busy with my own issues right now, that I"m going to break your heart just because it's inconvenient for me to be married while I find myself." Ugh! I hope Paul is getting some of her book money. 

Her journey, on the other hand, is fascinating. I loved it all! Strayed's writing is witty and personable; I didn't want to put the book down. My only disappointment was that she had to skip Yosemite; I would have loved to hear an account of that leg of the trail. 

If you can suffer reading about a woman who is truly messed up (don't get me started on the drugs), this is a fun read about a journey most of us won't ever get the opportunity to make.

I can honestly say that I have no interest in seeing the movie.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Les Mills: Combat 30 - Kick Start (Review)

I've now run through Combat 30 several times now.  It's the first workout you're instructed to do when you begin the Combat workout calendar.  

Before this video, I was not new to kickboxing but I was not an expert by any means.  The terms were familiar to me - at least most of them - as was the form.  This video consists of the basics - jabs, crosses, hooks, uppercuts, front kicks, back kicks, roundhouses.  

Your warm-up is a series of jabs, crosses, and shuffles.  You then move on to kicks.  All of this is rather low-impact and doesn't really get your heart rate up.  However, as you become more familiar with the video, you can definitely throw everything you have into those punches to get your heart pumping!

As the workout progresses, you learn some combinations that incorporate kicks, punches, and basic footwork - jacks and shuffles.  I try to make every move possible high impact, which helps to keep my heart rate elevated.  The hardest move is a jump kick - but it's fun!  
At the end you're given a short cool down.  

I can see why this workout appeals to both men and women.  It's fun, the music is fun, and the instructors are motivating without being annoying.  It's a good introduction to kickboxing and to Combat in general.  If your fitness level isn't quite up there yet, or if you cannot do high-impact moves, a modification is shown.  

Bottom Line: This is definitely a good intermediate workout for those starting kickboxing or Combat.  Your arms will ache afterward!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Combat Challenge: Week 2

My cruise/holiday weight isn't budging and I'm about to get desperate.  After eating really well all last week (and weekend) and working out every day, I'm hoping to see some results this week.  I just need something to know I'm making a difference.  

In the past, I've been able to drop weight a bit more quickly - at least, I've been able to see a difference. I blame the thyroid.  Thankfully, I go in to see the doctor in about two weeks and she can re-evaluate my hormone dosage then.  

In the meantime, here's my week in workouts…

Monday: Combat 30 - Kick Start + Ilyse Baker's Dance Intervals 101 + yoga

I really tried to give 105% with Combat this morning, to keep my heart rate up.  If sweating is any indication, I succeeded.  To get in a full 50-minute workout, I did about 20 minutes of Ilyse's Dance Intervals, which is more athletic cardio than dance.  Jogging, jogging, jogging.  Yoga was back in session at the rec center and it was a lot of fun - and challenging.  The teacher is too cute.  "Smile," she says, "so I know you still like me."  Ha!

Tuesday: Combat Power HIIT 1 + Jeffrey Scott's HIIT - Sports Inspired Intervals

I was not looking forward to this Combat workout, since the last five minutes is spent doing burpees.  But I got through it.  Barely.  I paired it with Scott's HIIT workout, which I've done a few times.  It's definitely effective.  Lunch was spent at a nutrition talk, so no extra workout today. 

Wednesday:  Amy Dixon's Intervals + Dozois' HIIT - Breathless and Energized + yoga 

On the Combat calendar, I'm supposed to do another Combat 30....but I'd rather do other cardio, thank you very much.  For some reason, Amy's 30-minute Intervals Glo workout looked appealing - though it repeats the same 4 moves over and over.  I made some modifications to keep myself entertained, but otherwise it was fun. And Amy wasn't quite as chatty.  Dozois' HIIT is one of my faves and it rounded out my 50-minute workout.  At lunch, I did yoga, which was super hard today. 

Thursday: Combat Shock Plyo HIIT 2 + Dozois' Calorie Burning Cardio Blast

I woke up with crazy lower back pain, which is something entirely new to me. It must have been yoga yesterday.  I got through Michelle's cardio and the Combat HIIT but all I wanted to do was round my back for relief.  Sigh.  I had a shock this morning: I got on the scale for the first time since December and it was not good.  I'm sure my thyroid meds will have to be adjusted when I see the doctor next week.

Friday:  Peak Fit Dynamic Flexibility + abs + weights 

For two weeks, I've been going hard with these workouts, so I decided to give myself a treat this morning.  Wow!  (My "rest" day on the Combat calendar.)  It felt so good to do Michelle's Dynamic Flex (especially with my low back still achy).  You get warm enough to stretch out and feel invigorated for the day.  I followed that 30-minute video with 10 minutes of abs from Star Trainers - Rob Glick's circuit.  At lunch, I did weights (ugh) and then made two laps around the track.  

Saturday:  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn Remix 

The Combat calendar called two days of Combat 60 this week, but I needed my Peak 10 fix. Michelle's CIB Remix was a nice change this morning.  Because I like it so much, I always forget just how demanding this workout really is.  Wow!

Sunday:  Combat 60 - Extreme Cardio Fighter

While I wasn't really looking forward to this workout, I wasn't dreading it.  This one has no burpees or lunge jumps, like the HIIT videos.  But there are so many punches and kicks and jumps….  Whew!  My FitBit goes crazy trying to count my steps!  I added on some of my own cardio to give me a full 60-minute workout and then treated myself to ten minutes of stretching.

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1275
Tuesday - 1260
Wednesday - 1284
Thursday - 1290

Friday - 1372
Saturday - 1271
Sunday - 1257

Once again, I really tried to stay on track this week and was proud of myself.  However, getting on the scale on Thursday morning did nothing to help my psyche.  I can't believe this weight isn't budging.  I allowed myself a few extra calories on Friday night, though we didn't do our usual Friday night out.  And I was good the rest of the weekend.  We're already talking about going out next Friday - our one and only night out in January….and I can't wait.  I can already taste the margarita!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Michelle Dozois: BodyFit 360 Vol 3 - Athletic Conditioning

A few months ago, I was able to buy Michelle Dozois' two, brand-new BodyFit 360 workouts in a pre-sale.  Considering how much I loved the first volume, I couldn't wait to do these two new workouts!  Since volume three had "athletic" in the title, I was a bit nervous: it appeared much more difficult - er, athletically challenging - than the first volume.  But I've now done this one more than the second volume, Dance Conditioning.  I'm excited to tell you about it today.

There is no equipment required for this workout, except a towel and a mat.  The cardio runs 40 minutes in length.  It is then followed by a 20 minute athletic stretch.  

For the warm-up, you'll use the towel to help you stretch and add resistance to your movements.  Michelle starts out a bit slower than usual with squats, side lunges, knee lifts, and planks.  

For the next thirty minutes, you move non-stop.  Unlike the Peak 10 workouts, you get no breaks; this is non-stop athletic conditioning.  Ha!  These are mostly high-impact moves - athletic instead of dancey - so shoes are necessary, unlike in the first BodyFit.  An example of one circuit in this section is scissor legs into a touch-down lunge, courtesy lunges, ski jumps, jacks & hamstring curls, skipping, kneeling lunges, plank kicks, and high kicks.  Whew!  Then you repeat that on the other leg.  

After all that cardio, you move to the floor for about five minutes of arm and ab work.  You'll need that towel again for this section, which is not easy but at least you're done jumping around!

Michelle then leads you through a wonderful stretch - 20 minutes of stretching!  (The DVD also has chapters so you can straight to this stretch if you want to add it on to a different workout.  That's very nice!)  Michelle incorporates a bit of yoga here, which is a great way to stretch out your hips and legs. You need this after the cardio!  

I really do enjoy this workout. The cardio is different and unique so I really feel challenged when I go through it.  But since it's only 30 minutes, I never feel fatigued afterward.  The stretch is great - by itself or after the intense cardio of the first half of the DVD.  This workout is worth every penny.

For a preview of this workout, go here.

Bottom Line: This is a great way for an advanced exerciser to be challenged in new and different ways - even with stretching.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Archies: 2014

With a new year comes the wrapping up of the old one.  It's that time again: time to reflect upon a year gone by and what we did during that year.  It's time again for The Archies!  This idea came from Donna and it's something I've really enjoyed doing.  It's basically a list of my 50 favorite things from the year.  Every year you compile a list, you add an additional item, so I'm now up to 55!  See also 2013,  2012, and 2011.  Okay, here we go....

1.  a new work best friend.
2.  work wellness program.
3.  Kate Quinn’s Rome novels.
4.  yoga at the rec center.
5.  new dishes – our first new dishes!  fiestaware.
7.  TCU football.
8.  Cane Rosso.
10.  Erin Condren planners.
11.  FitBit Flex.
13.  Nevis.
14.  FitnessGlo.
15.  Ron Jon Surf Shop, Port Canaveral.
16.  Micelle Dozois’ Peak 10 Challenge.
19.  my honey cowl.
20.  hard-boiled eggs and omelets.  i’m finally an adult.  ha!
21.  a book group.
22.  new accent walls in the house.
23.  Taco Diner.
24.  Blue Bell's Coconut Fudge - delicious.
26.  a new hair salon/stylist.
27.  new Sundance Square.
29.  The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas. 
31.  JalapeƱo Lime Chicken Soup - our favorite soup, ever.
32.  walking and doing weights at the rec center.
33.  Iguana Joe’s, Aruba.
34.  cinnamon margaritas.
35.  new BodyFit 360 workouts (Michelle Dozois).
37.  Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos tacos.  never thought i'd like Taco Bell.
38.  “Gotham.”
39.  Greek yogurt.  i’m now a fan.
40.  Project Life, Sunshine edition.  i’m using it for 2015.
41.  Sandbar, Port Canaveral.
42.  new couch/chairs in the house.
43.  my own Keurig.
45.  work conferences, in interesting places like Las Vegas.
46.  “SHEILD” – it finally got good.
50.   The Cloisters, Nassau, The Bahamas.
52.  Nachi Cocum, Cozumel.
53.  lentils.

Wow!  2014 was quite a year!  Filled with food (obviously), family, fitness, and fun!  Here's hoping your 2015 is a great one!