Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Maisie Dobbs

I just finished a novel, chosen by my book group last month (I'm a bit behind), called Maisie Dobbs.  Jacqueline Winspear has created a character, and a series, that is surprisingly, very moving.  

My review:

I'd long heard Winspear's series, Maisie Dobbs, but, for some reason, didn't feel the need to read it.  After watching Downton Abbey, it seemed to be in that very similar vein and, unlike every female I know, I don't have an immediate love of everything British.  Quite the contrary.  

And so I expected a rather emotionless novel based on a character born of privilege.  I was wrong on one account - Maisie comes from the lower classes and is able to get a good education only because she happens to gain the attention of wealthy benefactors.  And then World War I happens, whereupon Maisie goes to nurse wounded soldiers in France.  After the war, she becomes a private investigator, using the skills she learned earlier in life from her mentor.  

Maisie makes a good private investigator - she's very analytical. She's not completely emotionless but her emotions are frequently unknown to the reader.  I really enjoyed her story, though, especially of how she nursed in the war and fell in love for the first time.  

I'm tempted to read more, though mysteries are never really my favorite.  Maisie's story, however, may keep me interested.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Week Eight: Peak 10 Challenge #6

My last full week before vacation!  Also, my last week of this Peak 10 Challenge!  Wow!

This Challenge has flown by, like so many others.  Where does the time go?!  It's definitely a challenge and after 4 weeks of doing that additional Cardio Strength workout, mid-week, my body is tired.  It needs a vacation!

Monday: PeakFit Pure Cardio + walk

Mondays are always difficult but at least I had Michelle to look forward to.  This workout is so much fun!  I did it backwards again this week, in order to do the lunge jumps and get them over with quickly.  I like doing it this way!  At lunch, I took a walk outside - between 20 and 25 minutes - because it was just so lovely!

Tuesday: Peak 10 Cardio Strength

Mr. Higgins had to get to work early so I woke up, 30 minutes early, with him.  And had tons of time to work out!  I slept badly so I wasn't as enthused as I was the night before about doing this CS....but I did it.  I even added five minutes of cardio to it, before and after, to warm-up and cool down.  Nice!  This one is tough, especially in the morning, so I was proud of myself for getting through it!

Wednesday: PeakFit Anytime Anywhere

I felt better this morning after getting more sleep last night.  But dang!  I sweated so much during this workout!!  But I love, LOVE, at the end of these Challenges, seeing how much easier it is to get through this workout.  It's always so difficult in the beginning but at the end, though it's still difficult, it doesn't kill me anymore.  Awesome!!  

Thursday: Michelle's Total Body Cardio and Strength + weights

This morning, I was ready to have a day of no jumping.  And I didn't!  Well, kinda with some burpees and squat jumps....but at least no real high-impact cardio.   I kept this cardio light and still got a great workout, as usual.  At lunch, I did weights at the rec center.  Whew!  I really worked up a sweat.  I walked a few laps, to get more steps, and then had a nice stretch.

Friday: Jillian Michaels' Six Week Six-Pack + Ilyse's Lengthening Stretch to Feel Good

So I decided to do some serious core work this morning.  I got through the Level 1 workout - well, most of it in the 30 minutes I chose to dedicate to it.  Ha!  Jillian definitely works your abs like crazy!  Someday I need to do the Level 2 workout again.  Sigh.  After that, I did Ilyse's stretching video - not great, but okay.

Saturday: Dozois' Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn - Fat Blaster + Amy's Body Weight Training

I was ready to work hard today - feeling gross and bloated - so this CIB was just the right thing.  I love it!  It works you hard but you have fun, too!  And the peaks don't kill you - well most of them don't.  After that 55 minutes, I tuned into Amy's workout for an additional 20 minutes of work.  Whew!  I did all the hard stuff, though I didn't want to.  It felt good!  

Sunday: Dozois' Peak 10 Cardio Strength - Fat Blaster + McLean's Bodyweight Assault Challenge

This morning, I was a bit headache-y.  Ugh.  But I had to get through this CS….which is, at least, a bit more fun than the others.  The last circuit, though, is the toughest.  Yikes!  After that 50 minutes, I did 15 of McLean's workout, skipping some of the floor work for cardio instead.  After all that, I was tired.  But I did 5 minutes with the 12-pounds weights and then stretched and did sit-ups. 

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1179
Tuesday - BAD
Wednesday - 1198
Thursday - 1179
Friday - 1139
Saturday - 1382
Sunday - 1159

I tried to eat well this week but Tuesday was my splurge day - out to eat with a friend to celebrate our birthdays.  We got cake.  Oy.  But then I was good, resisting every tempting thing put in front of me at work.  

Friday, October 14, 2016

Ranking Peak 10 Workouts

As I was typing out my workouts one day, I thought it'd be cool to rank the Peak 10 Cardio Strength and Cardio Interval Burn workouts.  I often say, "I love this one" or "that one kills me every time"....  So why not put them in order.  

First, which ones are harder?  And then, which ones are more fun than others?  

Cardio Strength workouts - Ranked in order of toughness

1.  Peak 10 More Cardio Strength - the floorwork is just so tough.
2.  Cardio Strength 2 on FitnessGlo - again, the floorwork is killer.
3.  Peak 10 Cardio Strength aka PeakFit Cardio Strength - super tough plus challenging Peaks.
4.  PeakFit Cardio Strength 2 - challenging cardio and Peaks.
5.  Peak 10 Cardio Strength Remix - more challenging choreography.
6.  Cardio Strength 1 on FitnessGlo - tough but at leas the Peaks aren't as bad.
7.  Peak 10 Cardio Strength - Fat Blaster - complicated choreography but easier Peaks.

Cardio Interval Burn workouts - Ranked in order of toughness

1.  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn - Fat Blaster - the choreography takes a long time to master and the ascents typically involve jumping.
2.  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn Remix - some jumping in the ascents and tough Peaks.
3.  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn aka PeakFit Cardio Interval Burn - the original has some of the toughest Peaks.
4.  Cardio Interval Burn on Fitness Glo - tough ascents, climbs, and Peaks.
5.  Peak 10 More Cardio Interval Burn - tough but at least the Peaks don't seem as hard.

Cardio Strength workouts - Ranked in order of fun factor

1.  Peak 10 Cardio Strength - Fat Blaster - once you get the hang of the more complicated choreography, it's a lot of fun!
2.  Peak 10 Cardio Strength Remix - this one flows very nicely.
3.  Cardio Strength 1 on FitnessGlo - being a live recording, it's fun to hear Michelle and the ladies.
4.  PeakFit Cardio Strength 2 - fun cardio!
5.  Peak 10 Cardio Strength aka PeakFit Cardio Strength - eh.
6.  Peak 10 More Cardio Strength - oy.
7.  Cardio Strength 2 on FitnessGlo - do not want.

Cardio Interval Burn workouts - Ranked in order of fun factor

1.  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn Remix - love this one - fun, fun, fun
2.  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn - Fat Blaster - after you get the choreography down, also, fun, fun, fun.
3.  Peak 10 More Cardio Interval Burn - good kickboxing sequences in this one.
4.  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn aka PeakFit Cardio Interval Burn - easy and fun cardio.  
5.  Cardio Interval Burn on Fitness Glo - not bad but a bit clunky compared to the others.

There's not a bad workout among these.  My least favorite overall is the 2nd Cardio Strength on Glo.  I just don't like it.  But even that one has its moments.  

Monday, October 10, 2016

Week Seven: Peak 10 Challenge #6

Six down, two weeks to go!

This far into the Challenge, I won't lie: I'm exhausted.  The past month at work has been awful.  All that stress is taking a toll and now my body is feeling it with these tough workouts.  I'm going to scale back my lunch time workouts again this week....unless I miraculously become re-energized.

Monday: Amy's Intervals + Cardio Intervals

It was a bit hard getting going with Amy this morning but once I got in the groove, it felt good to work hard.  I like doing these interval workouts because I can switch up the moves when I get bored.  It is hard, after all, doing one move for extended periods of time.  So these are flexible and fun!  At lunch, I took a short walk outside since it was a nice day!

Tuesday: Amy's Head to Toe Body Sculpt + Ilyse's Heart-Pumping Groove

Insomnia has some advantages.  I got two workouts in this morning!  First up, my weights for the week, this time with Amy.  I hadn't done this Sculpt in a while and I really like it!  I kept all the cardio low-impact (too much high impact these days) but still got a great workout!  Next up, about 20 minutes of Ilyse's fun dance workout, which I love.  A great morning!....  Outside of the not sleeping part of it.

Wednesday:  McLean's HIIT - Bodyweight Circuits

The only good thing about this workout's my last time to do it until my next Peak 10 Challenge!  Hallelujah!  As much as I complain about it, McLean leads a great's just not very fun for me.  They can't all be fun and that's why I keep doing this one.  I felt good when it was over - such a relief!

Thursday: PeakFit Cardio Strength 2 + weights

I did this CS on Sunday so I don't why I had it on my schedule to do again today...  But since I like it, I did it.  It's a good CS - and it's not as daunting as some of them.  At 5:30am, though, it's tough to get through.  I did all I could in the time I had and will do the rest on Sunday.  At lunch, I did weights at the rec.  

Friday:  PeakFit Dynamic Flexibility

This was just what I needed today - some flexibility work and that's it.  I love this workout.  You can see how Michelle's BodyFit 360 series grew out of this workout.  It's fun and super light.  So nice!  I finished off the morning with some core work.

Saturday:  Peak 10 More Cardio Interval Burn + Scott's Multi-Level Cardio Drills

After a light Friday, I was ready to work hard this morning.  I did Michelle's second CIB which is one of my favorites.  So much fun!  And challenging!  The first circuit gets me every time.  After that (55 minutes), I tuned into Scott's Drills for 20 minutes of additional cardio.  Yes, I'm a masochist.  Ha!  Then, a nice stretch and sit-ups.

Sunday:  Michelle's Cardio Strength 1 on Glo + cardio

This morning, I felt a bit gross.  I took comfort in the fact that I knew the peaks in this CS wouldn't kill me.  Ha!  And I made it all the way through this CS with no problems.  Yay!  After that ended, I finished up the CS from Thursday…and added on a few minutes of my own cardio for a total of 70 minutes of work.  Whew!  I finished off with the 12 pound weights for 5 minutes.  I then did some ab work and had a nice stretch!

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1156
Tuesday - 1139
Wednesday - bad
Thursday - 1483
Friday - bad
Saturday - BAD
Sunday - 1163

We had a spontaneous date night on Wednesday…..and that blew my diet out of the water.  Sigh.  When I did my measurements on Saturday, they were still pretty good….but I feared stepping on the scale.  I'll have to do that in a week, no excuse!

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Fiery Cross

After two months of reading, I've finally finished the fifth book in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, The Fiery Cross

My Goodreads review:

This book took me awhile to get through. To be fair, it's 1400 pages.

Somehow, Gabaldon continues to make life interesting on Fraser's Ridge. Even the day-to-day chores are intriguing to me. But not everything is mundane in this novel. The unhappiness of the American colonists continues to grow and Jaime is pulled into the drama more than he would like. Roger has his own set of trials and tribulations….and his character grows immensely in this fifth installment.

This may be the least action-packed of the series, so far, but that does not mean the story stalls. Gabaldon does a good job of keeping the story moving and the reader engaged.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

National Taco Day...

...was yesterday.  This was the cutest taco I saw.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Week Six: Peak 10 Challenge #6

Three more weeks.  Holy cow!  That means - 3.5 weeks until our vacation....and a bikini.  Oy.

But, my spirits are buoyed by my 2-pound weight loss last week so let's get to it!

Monday: PeakFit Pure Cardio

I made a last minute decision this morning to do this workout backward, meaning I'd get the lunge jumps in the last circuit done ASAP.  And they weren't horrible!  Go figure!  The rest of the workout went smoothly, knowing those were over and done!  My lunch workouts may taper off a bit with the addition of my midweek CS.  But hopefully I can get two lunch workouts in a week.

Tuesday: Dozois' Tip Top Shape + weights

Today, I really needed to take it down a notch.  So many high impact workouts in a row gets to be exhausting.  So I kept Michelle's weighted workout low-impact, except for the burpees with weights.  And it was a good morning workout!  At lunch, I did weights at the rec center....but I forgot my worksheet so I had to wing it on weight amounts.  I still got a good workout!

Wednesday: PeakFit Anytime Anywhere

After two nights of little sleep, I felt very lethargic this morning.  But I reminded myself that this workout is slow to start with the high I was able to ease into a full workout.  And in the end, I made it all the way through this workout without changing or subbing a thing.  Wow!  I was proud of myself!  At lunch, I walked a mile (round-trip) to a cafe - and did more walking around campus later in the day.  

Thursday:  Peak 10 Cardio Strength

Doing my extra Cardio Strength workout in the morning is tough.  This one has burpees in the first five minutes.  Oy.  My energy was seriously lagging so I didn't do them.  And I felt guilty.  But I got through the rest of this workout - well, all that I could in 40 minutes.  We have auditors on campus today and tomorrow, which means no lunch-time workout. 

Friday: Dozois' BodyFit 360

I wanted to move a bit this morning, while still taking it easy, especially since I wouldn't get to work out at lunch.  So, 360 it was!  The original is so much fun!  I cut the cardio short so that I could fit in all the stretch.  Lovely!

Saturday:  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn + Amy's Metabolic Meltdown

Time for some serious cardio this morning.  This CIB is a lot of fun - but still a challenge with some very tough peaks.  I made it through and then did an additional 30 minutes of cardio with Amy's workout.  It's good because it's not all high-impact.  I was a bit tired after all this so I did a long stretch and called it quits.

Sunday:  PeakFit Cardio Strength 2

I was so not feeling it this morning.  We went to brunch for my dad's birthday so this workout happened after a big meal and I felt gross.  I got through it - somehow - and then finished up the CS from Thursday morning.  And I was exhausted.  I did five minutes of my own cardio to cool down for a total of 65 minutes of working out.  Oy.

Calorie Counts:

This week wasn't bad but it wasn't great….and it was hard to track.  I ate a lot of lunches out because of work events.  But I tried to keep it healthy whenever possible.   It's always fun to get a salad at  a pizza place….and watch all your co-workers eat pizza.  Sigh.