Monday, March 2, 2015

Combat Challenge: Week 8

My last week - and not even a full week - of Combat!  Wow!  I can't believe it's been 8 weeks.  

I'm a bit sad as this Challenge winds down but it's been a lot of fun and I've seen some good results.  Hopefully that shows in the bikini I'll be wearing next week!  Ha!

Monday:  Combat Power HIIT 1 + BodyFit 360 Vol. 3 - Athletic Conditioning

A Snow Day meant I could work out for longer today.  Yay!  (Yes, that makes me oddly excited!)  I started with Power HIIT 1 and after doing it every other day for the past 6 days, I was glad to say good-bye to this workout for a while.  I think it's given me great results but it's a challenge.  My legs were already aching as I started the cardio portion of 360 and Michelle didn't give them a break for 30 minutes.  Whew!  I took advantage of the day at home to do the full 20 minute stretch on this video.  I love it!

Tuesday:  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn Remix

A delayed opening of work meant yet another opportunity for a longer workout.  I subbed this CIB for the second round of Combat 45 - not wanting to do it twice in a week.  And this CIB always makes me happy.  My legs were still achy from the weekend but they got through this workout.

Wednesday:  Combat 45 - Power Kata

The last day to do Power Kata...  I do enjoy this one and it's nice to not dread the workout you have to do at 5:30 am.  This morning, I was a bit rushed so I shaved 5 minutes off my usual 50 minute workout.  Snow and sleet meant a potentially perilous commute and I wanted the extra time.

Thursday: Combat Shock Plyo HIIT 2 + my own cardio

My last Combat workout for a long time!  I was happy to be done.  Because our internet was down, I did my own warm-up and cardio, then rounded out my 50 minutes with Shock Plyo.  It was nice to warm-up on my own and stretch my back.  I still don't know what's up with that.

Calorie Counts:

I stayed at around 1270 calories on Monday and Tuesday....then we had birthday celebrations at work on Wednesday.  We left for the cruise on Thursday, and while I didn't eat bad, I ate more than 1300 calories.

Good news!  The new dosage of meds has finally made an impact on my weight.  I lost 2.5 pounds!  Only 3 or so more to go!  Hopefully this means I can lose my cruise weight when we get back.  Fingers crossed!

Look for my Combat wrap-up next Monday!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Crispy Potatoes with Spicy Tomato Sauce (2015:2)

I ended up with some extra potatoes recently and wanted to try something different.  My go-to potato recipe has been oven roasted since I haven't had great luck making tomatoes on the stove.  But I decided to give it another try.  This recipe for Crispy Potatoes with Spicy Tomato Sauce sounded rather appealing.

The sauce in this recipe looked quite tasty since I almost always grab ketchup to go with my potatoes.  And it turned out good - just not quite spicy enough for Texans.

I made the potatoes in a non-stick pan as opposed to my cast-iron skillet and it was definitely easier.  But it still took longer than what the recipe called for.  I don't know what I'm doing wrong on that end.

While this was a doable recipe, I think I'll stick to my oven-roasted potatoes.  They're just so easy and yummy!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Les Mills: Combat 60 - Extreme Cardio Fighter (Review)

There are two 60 minute (though they're both a little under 60) workouts in Les Mill's Combat. If you follow the Combat Calendar, you'll encounter Extreme Cardio Fighter first.

This workout uses no weights and is filled with kickboxing, very much like Kick Start and Power Kata.  

You're given a warm-up in this workout, one that is much slower (and better) than in the HIIT Combat videos.  You punch, jab, and shuffle your way to a raised heart rate.  You're then given a very, very short stretch. 

There's not much to go into detail about with this workout.  It's exactly like Power Kata and Kick Start....  You do tons of punches and jabs, so much so that your shoulders and arms ache.  Kicks and legwork are interspersed.  

The one section that gets me in this video is near the end, when you do knee strikes to music that has a very fast tempo.  It's a challenge to even move that fast!  But it makes me work and I enjoy the challenge.

You have some floorwork with this video - abs, arms, and a stretch.

This is a fun workout with a very low dread factor.  The only thing that gets tiresome for me is the punching.  I guess I need an imaginary enemy to want to punch repeatedly.  Ha!

Bottom Line: This is a great, fun kickboxing workout for anyone who is familiar with kickboxing basics.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Combat Challenge: Week 7

Even though my thyroid is apparently screwing up everything with my metabolism, I'm trying to stay motivated.  We leave for a cruise in a week and a half (!) the thought of a bikini is pretty terrifying right now.  

But I'll keep going...

Monday: Combat 45 - Power Kata + yoga

This one is so much easier to get in to instead of the HIIT Combat workouts.  It's fun and there's not much of a dread factor - except for one move that comes about 3/4 of the way through: jumping knee strikes. I still can't do those correctly but they get me out of breath every time so I don't care!  Ha!  At yoga, we did a lot of leg and hip work.  I had no idea there were muscles in some of the places we worked.  Dang!  I was actually sweating today, though it wasn't particularly difficult, just....challenging.

Tuesday:  Combat Shock Plyo HIIT 2 + Ilyse's Easy to Follow Dance Moves + weights

I was not looking forward to HIIT this morning - but I kept telling myself it was all for my legs.  Ha!  Ilyse's dance workout eased me into the morning of fun-filled cardio.  She so much fun!  At lunch, I did weights....since I didn't do them last week.  I still don't enjoy weights at the rec but I'll keep trying to get it done.

Wednesday: Michelle's Calorie Burning Cardio Blast + Amy Dixon's Intervals + yoga

The Combat calendar called for another round of Combat 45, but I wanted something different.  I combined two Glo workouts to make a 50 minute sweat session.  Ha!  I love Michell's quick Cardio Blast and Amy's Intervals, while uncreative, is good because you can sub in your own moves when you want.  I personally get tired of doing one move for 8 rounds so I do some different things to stay happy.  Yoga was good - and difficult - today.  She did some lunge twists that really opened up my hips.  Wow!

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

My back was hurting again this morning.  It hurt to even reach down and touch the floor.  I have no idea what's going on.  I eased into working out this morning and then got through everything….but I'm getting annoyed with this pain.  Having not done burpees in weeks now, I don't know what else is causing it.  Bad news from the scale today: I still weigh the same.

Friday: Dozois' BodyFit 360 + walk

Back to the original BodyFit 360 today - and how fun it is!  My love of Michelle Dozois keeps growing as she continuously puts out great workouts, even on Glo.  I gave myself 10 minutes to stretch this morning with her and it was lovely!  At lunch, I got out and walked.  The rec center did not sound appealing so I walked around the old neighborhood bordering campus. Very nice!

Saturday: Combat Power HIIT 1 + Michelle's Cardio Strength 2 on Glo

I knew this workout would be a long one but I also didn't know how long I'd last with my back still aching.  Combat started me off and I warmed up a bit beforehand.  I can use heavy weights for all the lifting in this workout.  Yay!  I subbed the 5 minutes of burpees with other cardio.  After floor work, I moved on to Michelle's CS2 on Glo.  I like this one but I just can't seem to ever remember it.  It's tough, though, and some of the floor sequences really get me. I was dripping sweat but it felt good!  And I amazed myself by getting through it all.  Then, stretching and abs.  1.5 hours of cardio and weights!

Sunday:  Combat 60 Live - Ultimate Warrior's Workout + Ilyse's Groovy Dance Party + abs

Today, my legs hurt like they haven't in a very long time.  I may have done a little too much yesterday.  I went through Combat Live and then decided to take it down a notch.  Since I've been wanting to try Ilyse's Dance Party, today seemed like a good time.  At first, I thought there was no way this would give me a good workout but I kept sweating throughout and had fun.  Yay!  I finished off my workout with a good stretch and some ab work.  

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1274
Tuesday - 1274
Wednesday - 1286
Thursday - 1289
Friday - 1375
Saturday - 1401
Sunday - 1388

After more bloodwork on Thursday, the doctor upped my thyroid meds again on Friday.  I'm now taking two different pills!  We'll see how this goes.  With the cruise next week (!!), I won't be able to get more labs done for three weeks.  I hope the higher dosage means I don't gain 20 pounds on the cruise!

I ate well this week and splurged just a bit on the weekend.  I figured I burned more calories with my crazy workouts and could afford to eat a bit more.  On Saturday, I made my favorite broccoli salad and chowed down on that all weekend.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Les Mills: Combat Shock Plyo HIIT 2 (Review)

In my opinion, of all the workouts in Les Mills' Combat, Shock Plyo HIIT 2 is the most challenging.  It's non-stop cardio and, even though it lasts for just under 30 minutes, it's the most difficult of the workouts to get through.  Your legs will burn!

You technically need one weight for a move in this workout, but that move can be done without a weight.

During the "warm-up" my heart was pounding like nothing else.  You run in place, run to a drop squat, do lunges, sprints, push-ups...  Oh my goodness.  The first time I did this, my only thought was, "what have I gotten myself in to?!"

The first circuit is mostly burpees.  You run in place to have a "breather" between burpee segments.  And then you add a burpee with a run and drop squat.  When that gets boring - ha! - you add a jump on to the drop squat.  

And if that wasn't fun enough, the next circuit is lunge jumps and mountain climbers.  You begin with double lunge jumps, the on to singles, then mountain climbers.  Repeat.  I never thought a mountain climber sounded appealing...until I started doing tons of lunge jumps.

For the next section you need a weight.  You do squats and then add a squat, hop, and press.  Believe it or not, this section is where I catch my breath.  

The last standing circuit here is my favorite: ski jumps, side sprints, and then skiers side to side (or drop taps).  You run in place in between moves for a breather.  

After that, you move to the floor for push-ups, planks, and hovers.  Honestly, this seems easy after all the leg work.  You are then given a short (2 minute) cool down and stretch.

As much as I hate some of these moves, I think they're crazy effective.  Despite always doing cardio, I've seen more definition after these workouts than any other cardio.  From now on, I will willingly do lunge jumps and squat jumps.  

Beware, however, of your form when doing burpees.  When you do them quickly, your form tends to disintegrate and you can really put some bad pressure on your back.  

Bottom Line: This is an advanced workout - but an effective one for anyone stuck in a cardio rut.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Frustrations with Yarn

I am a knitter.  But knitting does not come naturally to all.  My brain cannot see patterns three dimensionally.  It's very frustrating.

My friend is helping me with my first sweater and I finally finished a sleeve and shoulder.  Yay!  The shoulder meant I had to tackle my fear of short rows and wrap and turns (w&t).  When I attempted to do it on my own, I knew I was doing it all wrong.  So I waited until my friend could show me.  Once she did, it seemed comically simplistic.  

So why can't my brain see a pattern and make sense of how the stitches work?  Once I finished my short rows on Saturday, without the supervision of my friend, I had the wrong number of stitches.  Seriously?  La sigh.

I love the idea of knitting.  I love yarn.  I love quick projects that I can interpret without aid.  But I'm so tired of needing help!  And part of my frustration is that I feel like there's no way I can ever know it all.  There are so many tricks of the trade..... how do knitters keep them all straight?!  It's overwhelming!  And I'm not even a super uber novice anymore!  

That's my rant for today.  Thanks for listening.  I may work on the cowl I recently started - a short and sweet project.  At least I can do that on my own!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Combat Challenge: Week 6

My cruise packing list is all set so I need to get rid of these extra pounds.  

This week means it's back to Combat HIIT, per the Combat calendar, and that does not make me happy.  Oh, well.  I think my legs are getting more toned - at least that's what Mr. Higgins says - so I'm going to hold on to that positive thing and keep going.  We leave two weeks from this Thursday.  Oy.

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

Mondays are always difficult.  Ilyse made it easy to get up and going - and to get prepared for Combat HIIT.  I modified most of the burpees this time around, hoping to not have lower back pain.  I was able to do some other high intensity moves - and I was sweating just the same.  Yoga was really nice - about 20 minutes of stretching, then 25 minutes of flowing movement.  And then handstands - ack!

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

And today it came time to modify the crazy amount of burpees in Power HIIT.  Ugh.  I did about 5 slow, good-to-form burpees before I subbed them for other cardio bursts.  My heart was pounding all the same so it was a good workout!  I even did extra lunge jumps - willingly.  Ha!  Seeing a difference in my legs has inspired me!  At lunch, I went to hear our resident nutritionist talk on cholesterol.  Very interesting!

Wednesday: Combat 45 - Power Kata

This was my only workout today since I was meeting a friend for lunch.  I gave it my all and was breathless in no time.  It was good to have a break from HIIT which gets tiring - to say the least - when done consecutively.

Thursday: Combat Power HIIT 1 + Michelle's HIIT - Breathless and Energized + walk

I was not looking forward to Power HIIT but I got through it, subbing almost all the burpees for other cardio.  After two weeks of no burpees (well, virtually none), my back is a lot better.  Yay!  I like knowing what makes me I don't do it!  Michelle's HIIT was fun since I hadn't done it in a week or two.  At lunch, I walked at the rec, in lieu of weights.  With two Power HIITs this week and a Cardio Strength over the weekend, I feel like I've done enough weights. 

Friday: PeakFit Dynamic Flexibility + Core Dynamics + walk

I needed a rest this morning and Dynamic Flexibility was a great choice.  This is so relaxing and un-stressful…..just what I needed after all my hard workouts of the week.  I did about 5-10 minutes of Core afterward.  Michelle's core work is so wicked hard - harder than anything in Combat.  Ouch!  At lunch, I walked at the rec to get away from the office for a while.  Very nice!

Saturday:  Combat 60 Live -  Ultimate Warrior's Workout + McLean's Bodyweight Assault Challenge

After splurging on calories at dinner last night, I was ready to work this morning.  I got through Combat in 50 minutes (minus floor work) and wanted more.  Combat Live is fun but I felt the need to push a bit harder.  Alex McLean's Challenge had been on my FitnessGlo "to-do list" so I went through about 20 minutes of that.  Wow, that was tough!  The HIIT circuits are pretty long - 60 seconds, then 45, then 30 - and doing one crazy move for a minute is tough.  But I got what I wanted and pushed myself.  

Sunday:  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn on Glo + McLean's HIIT - Strength, Endurance, and Cardio Challenge

Time for my Peak 10 fix for the week!  This CIB on Glo is not my favorite but I've finally gotten familiar with it enough to like it.  Afterward, I wanted something different that used weights so I tried McLean's HIIT.  It's definitely a challenge!  You alternate a weighted series of moves with tabata cardio.  I got through the 20 minutes of the "meat" of the workout (no warm-up or cool down) and was dripping sweat.  It was actually pretty gross, wiping sweat off the floor.  Thankfully, I got to stretch and do some sit-ups after that.  1.5 hours of sweat.

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1297
Tuesday - 1293
Wednesday - 1277
Thursday - 1293
Friday - BAD
Saturday - 1278
Sunday - 1275

I was so good this week. There were Valentine's Day goodies in the break room; I resisted.  There was lunch out with a friend; I got the 200 calorie chicken noodle soup.  There was dinner at Panera; I stuck to about 300 calories.  And then I weighed - no change.  I'm still 6-7 pounds over my ideal weight.  So when Friday came along and Mr. Higgins said we could do away with dinner and a movie and just see a movie, I said no.  Considering that eating healthy is having no impact, why not eat unhealthy for once.   The last Friday night out we had, I lost four pounds by the next Friday.  And that's the only weight I've lost.  

To say the least, I'm frustrated.  But I'm really disheartened.  I'm not giving up by any means but I'm disheartened.

And I was super good this weekend.  I tried a new vegetable soup recipe - 137 calories per serving - that we ate on all Sunday long.  I might just be tired of soup by the end of all this thyroid mess.