Monday, September 18, 2017

Post-STS 12-Weeks: Week 1

Cathe has a great forum on her site and one of the most frequent questions of any member who has done STS is what to do after the program is done.  This piqued my interest, of course, mainly because I don't want to lose the muscle I've gained.

So for the next 12 weeks, I'll be following Cathe's suggested regimen, with a few changes.  For the first four weeks, for example, I'm throwing in a few Peak 10 workouts for the cardio, just to have a short break from so much of Cathe's cardio.  Hopefully, this shocks my body.  I'm also curious to try new-to-me Cathe workouts - there are so many!  This should be fun!

After these 12 weeks, I'll do a more intense Peak 10 session before and during the holidays, to get an even longer break from Cathe.  You need to mix things up, after all!

So, here we go!

Monday: Cathe's Gym Style: Back, Shoulders, and Biceps + walk + Jessica Smith's Breathe Stretch & Relax

Wow.  So.  After having done STS, this Gym Style program moves fast.  I could barely grab the right weights before Cathe was lifting them!  This will take some getting used to.  And I may need a weight sheet.  Oy.  I have four weeks of Gym Style videos and I want to make the most of those four weeks.  It's so different from STS, I can see why Cathe chose them!  At lunch, I walked at the rec center to get steps and stay awake.  Once home, I decided to take a slight departure from YWA.  I've heard a lot about Jessica Smith's free YouTube workouts and decided to try one of her yoga workouts - this one was a very lovely stretch.  Super good after a long day!!

Tuesday: Cathe's Gym Style: Legs + YWA

After yesterday's abrupt introduction to Gym Styles, I was a bit nervous about this leg workout.  Cathe continued to move quickly through exercises but at least I know what my legs can handle.  But the reps.... so many reps!!!  This workout hurt.  And while holding the weights for these exercises, I learned just how much my arms ached from yesterday!  Sigh.   No workout at lunch today - in an effort to not do too much.  After work, I did a slightly longer YWA - for tired legs.  I needed it after this morning's torture session!

Wednesday: Cathe's Rock It Sock It Live + YWA

I was excited to do cardio this morning!  And kickboxing!  I did this workout six months ago but nothing about it seemed familiar - except the classic Cathe moves, of course.  It was a lot of fun and kept my heart pounding!!  At the end of the day, I wanted to work, but not too hard.  This YWA was a good compromise - and I did not remember doing it with Yoga Revolution.  My memory is horrible!  It was a nice practice and made my body happy!

Thursday: Peak Fit Pure Cardio + weights

Time for some serious cardio this morning so I turned to Michelle Dozois!   This workout is non-stop - but still fun!   It works you hard without killing you, which is nice!  I had to skip the last circuit, which has lunge jumps.  So sad.  At lunch, I did weights at the rec center.  I hadn't done these in a month!  Wow!  I was able to keep my weight amounts but decreased in some of my reps, which is expected.  It felt good to get this done!

Friday: Peak Fit Dynamic Flexibility + Cathe's Ripped with HIIT: Abs One

It was so nice to do something light this morning.  I love Michelle's Flexibility workout - it flows so, so nicely and really stretches you out.  After that, I tuned into one of Cathe's many ab workouts.  This one was 10 minutes and started with standing work, which was different and nice.  Thankfully, none of the moves were impossible - as some that Cathe devises frequently are for me.

Saturday: Cathe's HIIT 40/20 + Gym Style: Chest and Triceps

This morning started with HIIT.  It's amazing how fast my heart can't keep up once this HIIT starts.  This is one effective workout!  I added on some of my own cardio to get in 35 minutes.  Then, Gym Style.  Okey, dokey.  I just finished 3 months of STS....and this workout almost killed me.  It started with 72 push-ups, with short breaks along the way.  I did ALL 72 push-ups (on my knees).  Yay!  But....I burned out my muscles before the the weights began!  So I was hurting and shaking like nothing else for the rest of this workout.  I've never seen my muscles shake so bad.  I got through it but I didn't get all the reps in sometimes.  It was that bad.  I won't be able to lift my arms tomorrow.  A stretch and sit-ups after that.

Sunday: Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn + my butt, legs + 160 lunges + Cathe's Ripped with HIIT: Abs Two

I woke up aching this morning.  Wow.  I did this CIB - which I haven't touched in quite some time - and really enjoyed it.  It's deceptively difficult and my heart rate stayed way up there.  I then did 20 minutes of walking lunges, deadlifts, hip thrusts, and other leg/butt exercises.  It was fun coming up with my own routine!  I used a 12-pound weight for my hip thrusts and 20s for my deadlifts.  Whew!  Then, Cathe's ab workout was a doozy.  It was  nice to finally get to stretch after all that!

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1256
Tuesday - 1256
Wednesday -1321
Thursday - 1355
Friday - 1474
Saturday - BAD
Sunday - bad

I think I may have lost weight for our wellness program's summer challenge.  That doesn't mean anything because I remember when I weighed in and thought, "there's no way I could weight more than I do today."  Ha!  But at least I haven't gained weight in two months.  

Friday, September 15, 2017

Cathe Friedrich: HIIT DVD (Review)

I'm in the midst of a Cathe journey and am really enjoying myself!  I only truly discovered Cathe earlier this year when I subscribed to her Live streaming workouts.  Now, I subscribe to get all her workouts via streaming - and I love it!  Cathe excels at HIIT - High Intensity Interval Training - so this DVD really showcases her talents.

The first time I did this video, I was a bit scared.  Most of Cathe's "normal" cardio is HIIT/circuit-like - so what was a DVD dedicated to HIIT going to be like?...  Great!

There are three HIIT workouts on this DVD, all of them are about 30 minutes in length, and that includes the warm-up and cool-down. That makes these workouts a great addition to weight days when you want just a bit of cardio in addition to all that strength work.

HIIT #1 - 40/20, which means 40 seconds of work, 20 seconds of rest.  For this workout, you'll need a step, which I don't have.  The warm-up is fast and intense to get you ready to go.  There are 4 HIIT circuits and after each one, you are given a full minute of rest.  Thank goodness!  This HIIT has a lot of jumping and tuck-jumps. It works you hard...but it's not the most difficult HIIT on this DVD.

HIIT #2 - 30/30, which is 30 seconds on, 30 off.  This HIIT was the easiest of the three for me, though you don't get the full minute rest like in the 40/20 HIIT.  Instead, you go and go for the full time.  You need a step for this workout, as well.  Since I don't have a step, I squat deeper, jump higher, and go faster to work as hard as Cathe.  Whew!

HIIT #3 - Pyramid....  This one is the toughest.  The HIITs get longer and longer....and then it reverses - they get shorter and shorter, to come back down - like a pyramid.  Then you have a break (a minute) and do the entire thing over again.  No equipment is needed for this one and yet it is the most difficult.  When you're at the top of the pyramid, these HIITs just won't end.  This workout exhausts me.  

But I love being able to say that I can get through these and still do an hour-long strength workout afterward, like STS.  This is a great addition to Cathe's library of DVDs. 

Clips are available here.

Bottom Line: This is an advanced collection of HIIT workouts. You won't find a better HIIT routine - all of them are that good, making this DVD a great investment.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Laughing Without an Accent

I've finally finished reading a short book - that took way too long for me to read...  My university chose this book as it's common reading for 2017. That means that every incoming freshman is required to read this book.  Every year, it's always fun to see what the common reading committee will choose.  This year, Laughing Without an Accent, by Firoozeh Dumas, was an appropriate, though somewhat lackluster choice.  

My Goodreads review:

My book group chose to read this and it is a good, solid memoir. It is in no way groundbreaking or terribly insightful, but Dumas has a nice humor that makes her stories endearing. The stories of her youth in Iran were, by far, my favorite. I guess the main thing I disliked about this novel was not knowing what happened in the gaps between her anecdotes. How did she meet her French husband? Was she impacted by 9/11? That being said, I enjoyed this book and am glad to have read it.

Monday, September 11, 2017

STS Rotation #1: Mesocycle 3 Recovery Week

Wow.  I'm all done with my first rotation of Cathe's STS!!!  I'll have a review of the series soon, but for now, I'm ready to enjoy a "light" week of workouts.  My body needs to recover. 

Monday: Cathe's Strong and Sweaty Cardio Slam + YWA

After all the over-eating on the weekend, I needed cardio today. And since I had a rest day on Saturday, I thought my body could handle it.  And it could!  I attacked this Cardio Slam for only the second time and did so much better than the first time!  Yes!  It's non-stop circuits - though not technically HIIT - and Cathe works you hard.  At the end, I did some of my own cardio to get in 50 full minutes.   I then did a wonderful YWA - for digestion!  I figured, after all that eating, that it couldn't hurt!  Ha!

Tuesday: Dozois' Body Fit 360 + walk + YWA

In the spirit of recovery, I did a lighter workout today - Michelle's Body Fit is so great.  But I even took it down a notch by not jumping and shortening the cardio to about 20 minutes.  I then did the full stretch and some of my own ab work.  At lunch, I walked at the rec center and got surprisingly sweaty!  And then after work, I did this nice YWA - full of good stretches.  Today was apparently my stretching day!

Wednesday: Cathe's ICE To the Mat: Legs and Glutes + walk

I know it's a recovery week but...  I wanted some leg work.  And I was trying to lay off the heavy cardio a bit.  This workout is done entirely on the floor and uses a ball, a band, a loop, and a weight.  But the weight isn't used as a weight - it's a prop.  This was a painful workout.  Even though you're on the floor - you work your legs hard.  At lunch, I wanted to move so I walked at the rec again.  At least I got steps!

Thursday: Cathe's IMAX Live

Today, I wanted something different and not too crazy.  Like the DVD IMAXs, this one is mostly a step routine with blasts thrown in at regular intervals.  I'm not too keen on step aerobics, especially complicated routines, but I decided to give this one a try.  It was mostly alright, though a few of the step combos were just too convoluted for me and some of the people in the class (thank goodness I wasn't alone!).  But it was fun - and not too much for this early morning.

Friday: YWA + abs

I was so looking forward to yoga this morning!  This YWA for Valentine's Day was lovely!  It was the right amount of flow, relaxation, and stretch.  My body has felt very worn out this week so it was good to give it some love this morning.  After it finished, I had about 5 minutes left for ab work.  

Saturday: Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn Remix + abs + Dozois' On the Go Workouts

Time for some serious cardio this morning.  I was looking forward to a CIB and this one is my favorite!  It was fun to have a break from Cathe's circuits but this workout wears you down because there are no breaks.  Whew!  After that, I did ten minutes of Cathe's abs.  My obliques were crying by the end.  And finally, a stretch, followed by Dozois' Flow and Release on her On the Go Workouts DVD.  Very nice!  It was a very productive morning!

Sunday: Cathe's Cardio Boxing Plus Plyo Legs + YWA

I was ready for something different today so I tuned into a Cathe Live workout - which are always fun.  This one, from 2016, was fun and had tons of cardio to keep your heart rate up amidst all the fun boxing combos.  In fact, there was a lot more jumping than I expected!  Once it ended, I added on some of my own cardio to get 50 minutes in.  Then, some sit-ups and a stretch.  And, finally, a flow-y YWA that really made me work.  

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1389
Tuesday - 1229
Wednesday - 1229
Thursday - 1425
Friday - 1361
Saturday - BAD
Sunday - not good

I weighed on Friday morning...  I didn't gain anything, despite all I ate over Labor Day weekend.  That's something!  

Friday, September 8, 2017

STS Rotation #1: Thoughts and Conclusions

I have now finished my first STS (Shock Training System) 3-month rotation.  Whew!  When taking into account the recovery weeks after every 4-week Mesocycle, the 3-month rotation is really 3 months and 3 weeks.  I started this in the latter half of May!


What kept me motivated?  Honestly, the hope that doing something so different will change my body. And it did.  I think.  More on that later.  But I've never done such an intense program and I'm proud of myself for getting through it.  

The workouts change enough to keep you from getting bored.  Each Mesocycle is completely different - different exercises and different reps...  Just changing a weight by 2 pounds can have a major difference, as well.  

As I started this program, it was nice to look forward to mornings where I didn't have to do cardio...  But weightlifting provides its own challenges.  And I enjoyed that different challenge.  


I have no idea what kind of results I had.  How crazy is that?!  The bad news is that I didn't lose weight - but then, my eating wasn't great.  I definitely gained muscle - I can lift more and I can see more muscle definition, especially in my legs.  In a perfect world, I was hoping that this system would shock my body so much that it would finally shed a pound (I'm still dealing with the repercussions of having no thyroid).  But it didn't.

That doesn't break my heart because I know I gained muscle.  And that made me a Cathe believer.  This woman knows a lot about fitness!  She broke my cardio obsession - I know I don't need it every day.  I now know that weightlifting is just as good - if not better - for your body.  So now my goal is to keep weight training but also keep up my health, cardiovascularly, with the right amount of cardio.  

Going Forward

Cathe has a schedule of what to do after STS, to keep your muscles challenged but also to keep your body guessing.  That'll be fun - new workouts!  So together with that and a short Peak 10 session in December, I'm good through the rest of the year for workouts!  

I hope my thyroid comes around - well, that the meds actually start acting like my thyroid used to.  And I hope I didn't irreparably damage my metabolism by eating too little and doing too much cardio before STS.  

So, now that I've had a recovery week, it's time to work again on Monday!  Calories won't burn themselves!

Monday, September 4, 2017

STS Rotation #1: Mesocycle 3 Week 4

My last week of STS!  Oh, my.  

I'm sure I'll have plenty of reflections for you next week, when I'm officially done, but as of now, I'm in shock.  This summer - and this STS program - has flown by.  I started STS during the last week of May!  

Monday: STS Shoulders, Biceps, and Triceps + walk + YWA

My last STS bi and tri workout - wow!  I wasn't feeling particularly strong this morning, which was annoying.  But I got through this workout and was glad to be done.  My muscles were hurting!  At lunch, I walked at the rec center.  I got my heart rate up a bit, which was nice.  After work, I did this nice YWA from Yoga Revolution.  It was a good amount of stretch, considering how sore I still was from Sunday's STS Legs.

Tuesday: STS Legs + YWA

Wow.  So, I just did last week's STS Legs on Sunday and now it was up again today.  Can you say, ow?!  I got through this workout, but barely.  It's tough!  And today, I was on my second day of sleep deprivation.  Oddly, the one dream I remember from last night was about Cathe.  Weird!!  After a long day, I did this YWA to open up my tight shoulders - it was very nice!

Wednesday:  Cathe's Ripped with HIIT: Low Impact HIIT Two + Ripped with HIIT: Plyo HIIT One + YWA

This was one sweaty morning!  Low Impact HIIT is only about 25 minutes long so I added on some of the Plyo HIIT to get in a full 40 minutes of cardio.  Whew!  I was sooooo sweaty and tired after all this!  Talk about a great workout!  I'll have to return to the Plyo HIIT to do it all at some point.  After work, I did this yoga for the psoas - which I've only done once before.  It was a really good stretch, holy cow!

Thursday:  Cathe's Kick Punch Cardio Live + YWA

I wanted something different today so I tuned into a live workout.  Fun!  This was a good kickboxing workout that didn't have too many drills.  Yay!  I'm a bit tired of drills.  Cathe does so many of them!  Instead, I kicked and punched my way to a great workout!  I love it when I enjoy my workout!  I meant to do weights at lunch but life happened.  Sigh.  At the end of the work-day, I did this short but intense YWA.  I love it but I sure get sweaty!

Friday:  Cathe's Birthday Bash Live + abs

Tomorrow will be my rest day - in honor of the first day of college football - so today meant cardio.  I love this workout, which includes kickboxing, HIIT circuits, and straight cardio.  I warmed up and then did the entirety of the straight cardio, since I did kickboxing yesterday.  I then finished off with some circuits and kickboxing.  For something different, I stopped five minutes early and did ab work.  Ouch!

Saturday: REST

Sunday:  STS Chest and Back + Cathe's HIIT Pyramid + 280 lunges + YWA

After having a full day of rest yesterday - and eating way too much - I was ready to work super hard today.  I started with Cathe's HIIT - which is extremely difficult.  It only lasts 25 minutes, but those minutes are not at all easy.  After that finished, I did my own cardio HIIT for an additional 15 minutes.  Then, 280 walking lunges.  Ouch!  That made for almost an hour of heart-pumping cardio.  It was then time for my last STS!  Wow!  After that, I stretched and did my sit-ups.  I then wanted to relax so I did this pre-run YWA, which was short and sweet.  

Calorie Counts:

I was mostly good this week, in preparation for a bad holiday weekend.  So, yay - and, oy.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Scottish Prisoner

I recently finished an Outlander companion novel, The Scottish Prisoner.  This story takes place while Claire is back in modern times and Jamie is a pardoned prisoner after Culloden.  This is a very interesting time since Jamie has many relationships while Claire is gone.

This novel was enjoyable but it wasn't my favorite - mainly because this time in Jamie's life is mostly uninteresting to me.  

My Goodreads review as a bit short.  Ha!...

I very much enjoyed this addition to the Outlander timeline.  It filled an interesting gap in Jamie's story and shed new light on his relationship with his son and Lord John Grey.  It also made me want to know more about Grey's brother, Hal, and his wife.  They seem like a very interesting pair with colorful backgrounds.