Friday, November 17, 2017

Quick Health Update

It occurs to me that there hasn't been a thyroid update in a while.  So, here it goes....

I go back to my endocrinologist in early December and I've requested extra lab work to see if I have any imbalances.  My weight is holding steady at 15 pounds over my pre-thyroid-problem weight.  This, to me, is completely unacceptable.  And, before you ask, my measurements are up, as well.  I'd be fine if I weighed more and my measurements went down.  That would mean pure muscle gain!  But, no.  Some of my clothes no longer fit and this is distressing.

For months, I've kept quiet about my frustrations, mainly because I was driving Mr. Higgins crazy.  But I'm getting desperate, especially with the holidays coming up.  

I've told myself that I don't need to do cardio every day and I have cut back.  But I really wish I could find a nutritionist who could help me see how many calories I should eat and what should make up those calories.  I'm not dumb - I've done my own research online but it's very difficult to find answers to these thyroid issues.  

So, in general, I'm frustrated.  I just want all my clothes to fit and then I'd be happy.  Is that so much to ask, you stupid, deflated thyroid?!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Post-STS 12-Weeks: Week 9

Wow, so I'm already halfway through this four week rotation of the 4 Day Split series.  I like it  but I wish there weren't two step workouts.  I'm just not that fond of step.

There's hope for a healthier weekend ahead so maybe I can lose a bit of weight....  But I'm not holding my breath.  Ha!

Monday: Cathe's 4 Day Split: Low Intensity Step + walk + YWA

This is a good workout for Monday mornings.  The low impact step eases you into the morning without much trauma.  Ha!  This step isn't too bad but I still can't get a few of the combinations and this was my third go-around.  Oh, well.  At lunch, I walked at the rec center, working up a sweat, and then did some ab work.  This YWA was good at the end of the day.  It works your shoulders well and mine were hurting from the morning round of weights.  

Tuesday: Cathe's Hooked on Legs Live + YWA

Because of an upset stomach, this workout happened at the end of the day.  And what a great leg workout!  My legs were already sore from Saturday's 4 Day Split so it was a bit painful today.  But I loved it!   There were a few moves I really struggled to get through and had to modify in the end.  Ouch!  After that, I did this short YWA to relax and stretch.  And not too soon after that, my legs and bum started aching all over again.  Ha!

Wednesday: Cathe's 4 Day Split: Higher Intensity Step

Ah, step.  This one may be a bit less complicated than the Low Intensity...maybe.  I had fun with it this morning, though, as I tried to not make my legs scream too much.  The weights were good - though I do get tired of chest presses and flies.  I was so tired today....nothing else got done in the way of fitness.  Sigh.

Thursday: Cathe's Maximum Intensity Cardio + walk

So this is where Cathe gets her "old school" cardio from!  This workout is definitely dated but the moves are not.....  Because Cathe still uses this cardio all the time!  Ha!  The non-stop cardio was definitely tough but in a good way.  Whew!  At lunch, I walked at the rec center and was proud of myself for getting there.  I was really tired today, again!  And then there was an accident on the way home, delaying me for quite a while - so, no yoga.

Friday: YWA

I needed super light this morning and this Gratitude Practice fit the bill.  Since I couldn't do yoga last night, it was so nice to begin the day with it.  Adriene was super calm, making this a great way to ease into a Friday.

Saturday: Cathe's 4 Day Split: Kickbox + ICE Low Impact Sweat - Blizzard Blast

Kickboxing day!  I liked knowing what I was getting into this morning as this was my third go-around with this workout.  The kickboxing was fun and, with the Blizzard Blast added on, meant that my heart rate stayed up for 40 minutes.  Then, weights.  This leg workout is tough but not the toughest.  I made up some of the weights from Monday and then did 10 minutes of abs....  After a nice stretch, I ended up with an hour and 25 minutes of work!

Sunday: Cathe's 4 Day Split: Boot Camp

I can't say I was looking forward to this workout but I wasn't dreading it, at least.  It's not the toughest but I like it.  Still, I'm a little tired of all the 4 Day Split workouts now, after doing them for three weeks.  Oh, well: change is on the horizon!  The weights for this workout - biceps and triceps are definitely difficult and I've tried to keep increasing the weights....  I added on some chest work from Tuesday's workout that I missed along with the abs.  Then, a nice stretch.  So, an hour and 15 minutes of work!

Calorie Counts:

Again, I was really good this week - Monday through Friday.  Saturday was bad but not overboard bad.  Sunday wasn't altogether bad....  Sigh.  

Friday, November 10, 2017

Texas Sheet Cake

Despite being from Texas, I've never eaten or baked a Texas Sheet Cake.  How have I missed out on this?! 

For my mother-in-law's birthday, I decided to try to make one.  She loves chocolate - it's all about chocolate!  I looked for and compared various recipes, settling on Martha Stewart's, mainly because she bakes hers in a 9x13 pan instead of a jelly roll, which I do not own.

I followed the instructions exactly, though I really wanted to add more chocolate.  My mom would have added chocolate chips to the batter but I restrained myself.  I had to bake mine for longer than the suggested time, though my oven is usually hotter.

This was delicious!  It was chocolate-y but not too chocolate-y.  The result was the ability to taste the cinnamon, which added something special.  Everyone loved it, even Mr. Higgins who doesn't appreciate an excess of chocolate (weirdo!).

I'll keep this recipe and keep going back to it for years to come!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Post-STS 12-Weeks: Week 8

I'm back from a short vacation and actually feel rested and slightly refreshed - mainly from not working out for 4 days!  Ha!  But I got lots of sleep and that does wonders for the body!

Now it's time to get my diet back on track along with my workouts.  

Monday: Cathe's 4 Day Split: Low Impact Step + YWA

I didn't feel like I'd been hit by a train today - amazing!  And so it felt good to get out of bed and work out.  This step is still not my favorite but it was a bit easier today.  And the weights - I was able to lift more than last week.  Yay!  That's always good!  After work, I did this YWA, though I don't have scoliosis.  Andriene's videos are good, no matter what condition you do or do not have.

Tuesday: Cathe's Totally Toned Legs Live + walk + YWA

Something different this morning - a new leg workout!  I'm going to try to work my legs twice a week from now on and this workout really worked them well!  Ouch!  My heart rate skyrocketed at the end of the warm-up and stayed up throughout this workout.  Awesome!  At lunch, I needed to get out so I walked outside under nicely grey skies.  It felt and looked like fall!  Finally!  After work, I did this appropriately themed "Yoga for Zombies."  It was a surprisingly good practice for opening up. 

Wednesday: Cathe's 4 Day Split: Higher Intensity Step

This morning, it was time for step and chest/back work.  Some of this step work is still too annoyingly complicated - and I can keep up with any dance class.  Sigh.  I got through it with some interesting modifications - but I kept the intensity high.  At lunch, I walked for a bit outside, but nothing strenuous.  Once home, I was too tired to do even a short YWA.  Oy, what a week.

Thursday: Cathe's Hardcore Series: Kick Max + YWA

Cardio time!  I rearranged this video in Cathe's Workout Blender so that I did the blast segment first.  Okaaayyy...  So I always forget how difficult those blasts are.  Wow.  I got through it, barely, and was very happy to do the kickboxing segments afterward.  What a relief!  Ha!  This reminds me of my worry for these four weeks of the 4 day Split Series - am I getting enough straight cardio?  I sure hope so because I'm too tired to do anymore, especially this week!  After a long day, this was a very nice YWA.

Friday: Cathe's Yoga Max

I was willing to give Cathe's yoga another chance.....  And I think I disliked it more than the first time.  There is no flow to these workouts.  Cathe goes to the floor a lot but she's doesn't complete a full sequence.  It's just weird.  Also, the amount of time that she holds poses is just annoying.  I don't think I'll return to this workout.

Saturday:  Cathe's 4 Day Split: Kickbox + ICE Low Impact Sweat - Blizzard Blast

Time to work today!  I did all the cardio on this 4 Day Split workout and even added on the Blizzard Blast from ICE....  For a total of 40 minutes of cardio.  Whew.  It was then time for the weights in this 4 Day Split workout - legs.  This was a good leg workout, though not the toughest from Cathe.  I then added on some weights I missed from Monday - along with Monday's abs.  That meant almost 1.5 hours of work and over 600 calories burned.  What a morning!

Sunday: Cathe's 4 Day Split: Boot Camp

I had no idea what to expect from this workout as I couldn't get to this one last week.  The cardio was tough!   Definitely a lot like HIIT and with some very challenging moves.  That lasted for 35 minutes.  Then, weights - biceps and triceps.  Ouch!  I got it done and then did the abs from Tuesday's DVD....  So, about 1.25 hours of work. 

Calorie Counts: 

I was good Monday through Thursday - really good, in fact.  But Friday through Sunday was bad.  Ugh.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Cathe Friedrich: Gym Style Legs (Review)

Now that I've done a month of Gym Style workouts, I can share with you my opinions of these workouts - such great additions to your workout library!

Slowly, it's becoming apparent to me - now that I'm doing more weights - that strength work can also be a cardio workout when it raises your heart rate.  And nothing raises my heart rate more than leg work.  

Gym Style Legs is a tough workout.  Cathe enjoys working the lower body hard - she excels at it, in fact!  After about a five minute warm-up, you are quickly ushered into the standing, weighted work.  Squats, lunges, deadlifts, and calf raises - all in various forms and tempo.  After that, I would breathe a sigh of relief to get to the floor work - which was crazy intense in itself.  Glute squeezes, roll outs, glute tucks, thigh squeezes and lifts....  On and on.  

The leg presses and low lunges really got to me.  I could barely get through the lunges.  In fact, I had to alternate legs, while Cathe stayed on one, just to be able to do it at all.

This workout lasts for 67 minutes and you'll need a variety of equipment: weights, barbell (I used weights instead), risers, stability ball, and band.

Bottom Line: This workout is very intense and is guaranteed to show you results.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Post-STS 12-Weeks: Week 7

This week is going to be an off week, which is a shame because I start a 4-week rotation of Cathe's 4 Day Split Series.  I'll be out of town for the latter half of the week, so one of the 4 days will probably not happen.  Sigh.  

But.  I haven't had two consecutive days of rest since May, so I'm not going to cry too much.  When you train hard, your body needs breaks.  And my body will get a break this week.  And it will get new workouts - yay!

A word on the 4 Day Split Series...  I'm moving all the core work to the weekend because I just don't have enough time on weekday mornings.  That means, hopefully, I can fit the rest of the workout into a morning since I'll save the core...  

Monday: Cathe's 4 Day Split: Lower Impact Step + walk + YWA

So these videos are all formatted the same way: cardio and then weights.  You work a different muscle group each day.  With the lower impact step, you work shoulders.  So after about 20 minutes of step, it was time for weights.  I liked this format, though I still don't love the complicated step routines.  Hopefully, after doing these for a month, they'll become easier.  At lunch, I walked at the rec center and did core work.  And after work, this YWA really got me sweaty and twisted!

Tuesday: Cathe's 4 Day Split: Higher Intensity Step + walk 

Another step video today!  This one definitely had its confusing moments but I kept on going and got nice and sweaty.  Again, I hope this is easier the next time I do it - and the next!  After about 20-25 minutes of cardio, it was time for the weights - chest and back on this video.  Nice!  At lunch, I walked outside for 30 minutes - it was gorgeous outside!!  I love fall!  I had every intention of doing a YWA after work but life interfered.

Wednesday: Cathe's 4 Day Split: Kickbox

I was supposed to wake up 15 minutes early to do more of this workout....  But I was up most of the night with a sick cat.  So, I got up at my normal time....but at least I still worked out!  The kickboxing in this workout was fun!   I had watched the video previously and did my own weights so I could fit everything into a shorter time table.  Oy.  So, next week I look forward to doing the entire workout!  I walked outside at lunch - nothing too vigorous as to be called a workout but it was still nice to get out.

Thursday: YWA

Out of town, on the first day of a short trip with my parents.  I managed this YWA at the end of our day in the hotel room.  And it was only 4 days after my birthday.  It was nice and slow - good considering I was stiff from a day in the car.  

Friday - Sunday: REST

I meant to do more yoga on our trip, but our hotel room was not conducive to it.  Oh, well.  At least my body got some good R&R.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Sprinkle Cookies

I'm finally finding the time to do some baking!  And what a great time to bake!  I've already made Pumpkin Spice Bars and Skinny Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars.  Yum! 

For Boss' Day a few weeks ago, I wanted something delicious and festive.  This recipe for Sprinkle Cookies caught my eye a long time ago....  And I decided this was the perfect opportunity to try it!

I made no substitutions in this recipe - and I used butter.  The almond extract added a lovely flavor!  And all those sprinkles....

All the bosses loved these cookies and as soon as they made their way to the office kitchen, they disappeared.  Mr. Higgins requested these for a standard holiday cookie and I might have to oblige him....  They are quite delicious!!

I highly recommend this recipe!