Thursday, March 22, 2018

Cathe Friedrich: Low Impact Series: AfterBurn (Review)

Cathe has so many great workouts, it's hard to get through them all!  One that has fit nicely into my Metabolic Rotation is AfterBurn, part of her Low Impact Series.  

This workout is all about burning calories after the video ends - called afterburn - by ramping up your metabolism.  Cathe alternates cardio and weighted cardio sections to achieve this effect.

After about a 5 minute warm-up, Cathe leads you into the circuit-style workout that has little rest.  There are 10 circuits, each one has a cardio move and a weighted cardio move which you then repeat.  So there are four exercises in each circuit.  Examples of the cardio moves...squat digs, lateral skaters, jacks on sliding discs, air squats.  Then for the weighted moves you do lunges with bicep curls, squats with overhead presses, burpees and push-ups (on discs).  These are all intense moves that work many, many muscles at once.  

These circuits last for almost 45 minutes.  Cathe then leads you in a cool down/stretch for 5 minutes.  

Cathe has done an excellent job with this workout. If you have knee problems, it's great.  You will be sore after this workout.  If you're already sore, the entire thing will be painful.  Ha!  After all, every single one of Cathe's workouts is a challenge for the legs and bum.

Equipment needed (though I don't use a lot of this): dumbbells of various weights, sliding discs, and Dixie cups.

Bottom Line: This is an advanced workout suitable for all types but especially for those with knee issues.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Metabolic Rotation: Week 2

I'm already super happy with this rotation.  Having so many new workouts to choose from with Cathe Live is so much fun!  And the ones I've already done - mostly early last year - I can't remember!  

So, motivation is not  a problem!  There will, however, be two days of bad meals this week.  But it's Spring Break - for everyone else - so we're seeing some friends we don't normally see much during the school year.  Life happens.

Monday: Cathe's Quick Fix Kickboxing... + YWA

And on the subject of not remembering.... I did this workout a year ago and liked it.  Today, I wasn't a fan.  This was more of a plain cardio workout instead of a kickboxing workout. There were no punch/kick combinations!  I wanted kickboxing!  Instead, I got cardio.  And my feet, for the first time in ages, were beginning to feel unhappy due to all this jumping lately.  Hm.  After work, this YWA was perfect - challenging and refreshing!

Tuesday: Cathe's RWH: Upper Body Circuit + walk + YWA

Another new workout!  I'm slowly getting around the doing bits of RWH and am really liking it, the more I do.  This was the upper body metabolic workout and it's really good!  You do compound exercises, focusing on the upper body, with cardio blasts interspersed throughout.  It was different and fun!  At lunch, I walked at the rec center, trying to find some energy after a second night of not sleeping well.  This YWA helped with my shoulder, back pain from all these weights!

Wednesday: Cathe's Lean Lower Body + walk

Legs day!  And, thankfully, I felt great after some good sleep!  This workout was rather painful - but in a productive way!  There was no step, which was a minor blessing, but it still kicked my butt.  Ha!  Gotta love Cathe and her crazy hard leg workouts!  But if it gets me her legs, then it's worth it!  At lunch, I walked at the rec center and then did some ab work....and really stretched out my legs.  

Thursday: Dozois' PeakFit: Dynamic Flexibility

I love rest days!  And I love spending them with Michelle Dozois!  Dynamic Flexibility is such a fun and unique workout....I always look forward to it!  I felt stretched and refreshed after it ended this morning, which is a great way to start the day!  I was all about to do yoga after work but then I had a rare opportunity to spend time with Mr. Higgins outside - and I did.  So nice!

Friday: Cathe's PHA Training Live

Another new-to-me workout - and a new format: peripheral heart action training.  Cathe's definition: "you alternate between upper and lower body resistance training exercises, allowing as little rest as possible between each movement. The lack of rest and recovery keeps your heart rate up, for cardiovascular and fat-burning benefits, while switching between upper and lower body exercises, maximizes blood flow to all parts of your body and reduces build-up of lactic acid." It was a good total body workout and my heart rate stayed high - though not as high as it does with leg-centric workouts.

Saturday: Cathe's RWH: Low Impact HIIT + YWA

I had a rough night, filled with painful stomach issues.  My joy that today's workout was low impact was enormous.  I started with the second HIIT and did it in it's entirety - it uses a weight for almost every exercise, which ups the intensity.  Then, I finished off the morning with most of the first HIIT - going until I'd done 45 minutes of work.  Whew!  It was intense but fun; I always enjoy Cathe's low impact work!  After that, I stretched and then tuned into this new YWA - nice!

Sunday:  Cathe's Sweat, Jump, and Pump + XTrain: Core 2

Today, Cathe kicked my butt.  She calls Sweat, Jump, and Pump, "random" training because there is no rhyme or reason to when you do cardio versus weights.  Your body has no idea what to expect, making the workout especially metabolic.  I liked it - it went by fast - but I was struggling at times.  Whew!  I didn't do the ab work at the end; instead, I added on some light cardio to cool down.  So, 50 minutes of hard work.  Then, this core workout kicked by bum, too!  Dang!  I was so happy to stretch, finally!

Calorie Counts:

I had about 3 really good days.  The rest weren't great.  It was Spring Break week - not that I had a break from anything - but it meant a few more meals out for birthdays and fun.  As a result, I stayed away from the scale.  Ha!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Caribbean Status

On our cruise a few weeks ago, we saw the many Caribbean isles we love so much for the first time since the hurricanes last year.  

Our first stop was San Juan, Puerto Rico.  From the outside, the island looked fine, normal.  But once you got into the city, there was a lot of rebuilding going on. 

St. Thomas was our second cruise stop.  We quickly made our way by ferry to St. John - our favorite place in the Caribbean.   

The devastation there was obvious from the minute we entered Cruz Bay.  Wharfside Village, the sight of many shops and restaurants, is still closed.  It had about 5 feet of water in it during the worst of the hurricanes.  

The picture above is of Trunk Bay - the most picturesque beach in the Caribbean.  You see those structures to the right?  Those used to be invisible beneath the trees and foliage.  At Cinnamon Bay, our beach for the day, all the structures were leveled or severely damaged.  Thankfully, all the beaches themselves were as gorgeous as ever.

St. Maarten, our last stop, had a lot of rebuilding going on.  A significant number of waterfront shops and hotels were closed.   We gladly gave one hotel our business and used their chairs and umbrellas for the day.

The people of St. John were the nicest we encountered.  "Tell everyone you know that we're open," they said.  "Thank you so much for coming!" 

And we'll be back - many more times!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Metabolic Rotation: Week 1

I'm back from a very relaxing vacation...and excited to, once again, dig deeper into some of Cathe's workouts in a different way.

A few weeks ago, I ran across an incredibly good article that made me re-think the way I work out.  By looking through Cathe's live workouts, I found some great options and put together a great workout calendar with some guidance from 2 Lazy for the Gym's rotation.  Mine runs 11 weeks and those last three weeks will be reserved for really changing things up by trying some of Cathe's new workouts and throwing in some Michelle Dozois.

Vacation was great and I didn't exercise at all, except to walk.  I was super proud of getting over 10,000 steps every single day.  But I needed to rest.  My body needed it.  Now, I feel rested and ready to get back to it!

Monday: Cathe's Mixed Impact HIIT with Bonus Abs + YWA

My only concession on the first day back was to do a shorter workout.  The cardio portion of this workout only lasts for 30 minutes and I didn't add on any more.  Really, that much HIIT should be perfect....I just tend to try to do more.  In the future, I should just stop when Cathe stops.  I did do the bonus abs and they were nice and challenging.  At the end of the day, a short but great YWA to open up and flow.

Tuesday: Cathe's Smokin' Upper Body Blast + walk + YWA

I'm really liking the idea of all these new workouts!  But then this one started with snowboarders and I realized how my bum hurt from yesterday's workout - yes, a cardio workout from Cathe made my bum hurt.  This woman knows how to work the lower body at all times.  Smokin' Upper Body alternates a cardio blast move and an upper body sequence.  My arms were definitely tired by the end.  I walked at lunch and then this YWA was great for my poor lower back.

Wednesday: Cathe's Trisets Legs Live + walk 

Time for legs this morning.  I did this workout last year and knew it would be painful - but effective.  And it was - both.  I tried to really support my back since it hasn't been happy, which meant lifting less for dead lifts. And I'm fine with that!  At lunch, I walked at the rec and then really stretched out my legs.  That felt marvelous!  After work, I had every intention of doing yoga, but after a horrible commute, I just couldn't do anything else.

Thursday: YWA + YWA

Rest day!  And I needed it today: my muscles are in shock with all these workouts after vacation!  This YWA was new-to-me and very good.  Adriene really knows how to make you concentrate on one area of the body; this was all about the spine.  After work, I did the other yoga, though I wasn't self-doubting; I was decompressing after a very long day.  And it was good!

Friday: Cathe's Totally Pumped Total Body Live 

My shoulders were killing me this morning.  I don't know from what - maybe yesterday's early morning yoga.  Either way, weights did not sound fun but weights it was this morning.  This was a good, fast-moving weight training video.  I enjoyed it - as much as was possible when I hurt so much.  I didn't use a step because my legs were still sore from Wednesday.  

Saturday: Cathe's ICE: Low Impact Sweat

This was my second workout from Cathe's intermediate series, ICE (well, except for the ab workouts).  The other one I'd done, Rock'm Sock'm is great so I had high hopes for Low Impact Sweat...and it did not disappoint.  This is a serious workout and a very well seasoned intermediate workout.  There were tons of new moves which I loved!  And Cathe's concession to intermediate seemed to only be the lighter weights (3s and 5s) she used.  I used 6 lbs throughout and got a great workout. I also did the Blizzard Blast, which was fun.  After that 50 minutes, I had a good, long stretch.

Sunday: Cathe's Sweat Blast + XTrain: Core 1 + YWA

Another great metabolic workout today.  This one alternated one cardio move and a weighted compound exercise.  My heart rate stayed amazingly high!  And I had fun!  The compound moves added some nice variety!  After that 40 minutes, I did the 10-minute Core 1 from XTrain.  Ouch!  Then, a stretch and a YWA.  I really like this one!

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1200
Tuesday - 1220
Wednesday - 1209
Thursday - 1871
Friday - 1451
Saturday - 1307
Sunday - bad

I'm annoyed with having so many bad calorie counts this week.  When I weighed on Thursday morning - before the bad eating, I was up 2.5 pounds from before vacation.   Not bad.  When I weighed after a crazy workout on Saturday morning, that had dropped to being only 1.6 pounds over my pre-cruise weight.  But I'm sure Sunday ruined that.  Sigh.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Alice Network

Over vacation, I read a wonderful novel entitled The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn.

My Goodreads review:

I get a bit tired of WWII novels but when I learned that one of my favorite authors, Kate Quinn, was writing a book that took place in WWI and the aftermath of WWII, I couldn't resist. Quinn writes wonderful novels about ancient Rome and now she's successfully transitioned to writing about the 20th century.

The Alice Network is about female spies in WWI. While I was hesitant to like the two main characters, they quickly gained my interest and, quickly, my respect as strong, independent women. Their stories and those of the ones they loved, are fascinating. Quinn does excellent research to blend fiction and real heroines of WWI. I learned quite a bit from this novel - and thoroughly enjoyed the process.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Results and Conclusions: Butt and Plateau Buster Months

It's been a transformative two months.  I've found out what - I think - works for my body and I have Cathe to thank for a lot of it.  

These past two months consisted of two rotations that Cathe devised - one for busting through plateaus and one for Rock Bottoms.  


My motivation was great - really, it hardly ever wavers - especially once I started seeing results.  It had been so long since I'd seen any change in my body that I was ecstatic to see something.  

That being said, my motivation to the the BBW (Bonus Butt Workout) and 300 walking lunges was not that great.  Sticking those on to already intense weekend workouts was not easy.  I may have to readjust when I do these if I do the Rock Bottoms rotation again.


I lost 4.4 pounds.  And I have no idea how much muscle I gained but I think it was quite a bit.  Why?  I increased my protein, aiming to get 100g a day, which - in theory - should have meant I developed more muscle while burning fat.  And it seems to have worked.  The minute I upped my protein, the pounds came off.  Sure, they were slow to budge but they did, in the end!

By the end, I lost 1.75" off my waist, 1.25" off my hips, .25" off my thighs and arms.  Not huge, but, a lot for me!  

Going Forward

After vacation, I will embark on a metabolic rotation - filled with Cathe workouts.  I'll be doing more of her live workouts, which are always fun.  

Because of how much change I saw in my legs - and maybe my bum, I don't know - I'll probably do another Rock Bottoms rotation in the fall.  

Thursday, March 1, 2018


For the past few months, we've had an outside visitor.

It took Mr. Higgins weeks and weeks before this little guy would let him touch him.  He was very scared; clearly he's not been around people before.  Finally, now, Mr. Higgins can touch him and even pick him up.

After vacation, we'll work on finding him a home.  It'll break our hearts to see him go but he needs a safe place and a loving family.