Monday, November 30, 2015

Week Five: Peak 10 Challenge #4

Already past the halfway point - wow!  I can't believe it!  

Eating well is getting harder - and this week will be even worse.  Sigh.  I love Thanksgiving and I'm willing to gain a pound for it - but not much more than a pound.  LOL!  I'll keep up my workouts and hopefully that'll help!

Monday: Pure Cardio

It was nice having a break from this last week…it reminded me how much I love this workout!    It's so much fun!….  Except the last circuit which includes lunge jumps.  It's fun until then!  So I was a happy camper this morning!  A lunch at work meant no work out.

Tuesday: Dozois' Tip Top Shape + short walks

Today meant weights!  And I love this workout by Michelle, which blends weights and cardio.  I kept my cardio pretty low-impact since my weeks are now filled with a lot of HIIT.  It felt good and was so much fun!  I walked at lunch - to lunch and back, about 10 minutes each way.  Then, I got out for a ten minute walk later in the day.  I have to take what I can get during a holiday week!

Wednesday: McLean's HIIT - Bodyweight Circuits

Since I never feel like doing this workout…..well, today was no different.  But thank goodness, it's getting easier!  I love it when that starts happening in the middle of an 8-week challenge!  

Thursday:  Peak 10 Cardio Strength + Ilyse's Groovy Dance Party

Back to the original CS.  Wow.  Yes, I did this on Thanksgiving; we had no morning plans.  And this one always kicks my butt.  Today was no different since I'd had a restless night and had gotten up way too early.  I finished off the morning with Ilyse's fun dance workout.  I figured I needed all the help I could get going into the weekend.

Friday:  REST

Saturday:  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn - Fat Blaster

I did this workout while out of town.  Unfortunately, I had to do it barefoot, which is not ideal.  My plantar faciitis was not happy by the end of it and the day after.  Oh, well.  It was worth it because I'm really beginning to love this CIB.  It's so much fun and there's no dread factor.  Michelle just can't put together a bad workout!

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

So after eating way too much yesterday and the day before, I was ready to work hard today.  And I love this CS!  Sure, some of the floor work is killer but the weight sequences are so well put together and have a great flow.  Classic Michelle Dozois!  After this 55 minutes of sweating like crazy, I tuned into McLean's workout - because I wanted a challenge.  This one is definitely difficult but not as hard as it used to be.  I took some breaks from the cardio to lift weights.  Cool!  After 20 minutes of that, I finally stretched and did sit-ups.

Calorie Counts:

We're just not going there this week.  Next week will be better!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The White Pearl

Last week, I finished a book by one of my favorite authors - Kate Furnivall's The White Pearl.  It was great!

My Goodreads review:

I've loved every book written by Kate Furnivall but I was a bit hesitant about this one since it takes place in Malaysia. Once I picked it up and started reading Constance Hadley's story, however, I was immediately interested. 

I knew nothing of the Japanese invasion of Malaysia during World War II. Seen from the perspective of British colonials with a thriving rubber business, the invasion is traumatic and heartbreaking. Furnivall has a true gift for storytelling. She makes you like deeply flawed characters - and there are many in this novel. Against the backdrop of war, these characters must face their flaws and learn to survive together.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Week Four: Peak 10 Challenge #4

After eating horribly on Friday and Saturday last week, I'm ready to burn some calories. My thyroid is making weight loss very difficult and I'm trying to stay focused and not lose motivation.

Thankfully, my Peak 10 workouts are getting easier, which means something is happening to my body - even if I can't see or measure it.

Monday: Amy's Intervals + Cardio Intervals

After three weeks, it's time for something other than Pure Cardio.  Amy's workouts fit the bill: cardio, cardio, cardio.  These are fun because they are so different for me: pure and simple intervals.  Amy gives you one move and you repeat it.  I have to switch it up sometimes, as one move gets a bit repetitive for me.  But its' fun!  A nutritionist talk at lunch meant no additional workout.

Tuesday: Michelle's Total Body Cardio and Strength + walk

Tuesday = weights.  Thankfully, I really enjoy this workout by Michelle, though it contains some really difficult stuff.  Ha!  There are few people who can get me to do up and down planks - but she can!  I should have also done weights at the rec but I walked instead.  Any calories that can be burned is a blessing.

Wednesday:  Peak Fit Anytime Anywhere No Excuse Workout

After a rough night of little sleep, this workout was not something that sounded fun to do.  But, as always, I did it.  And I like how it's already getting easier.  Even the push-ups are easier.  And I like that!  Progress is always good to see!

Thursday: Peak Fit Cardio Strength 2

In week five of a Peak 10 Challenge, you start adding in an additional Cardio Strength.  I'm starting this a week early since we're taking a short trip in December that will disturb my momentum.  So, fun times with CS. I just did this one on Sunday and really enjoyed it.  Today it was a bit harder, since I did it at 5pm, but oh, well.  I survived!

Friday: Crunch Super Slim Down: Pilates Yoga Blend + walk

I tried to do a workout on Glo this morning but for the first time ever, the video refused, completely, to load.  I was highly annoyed.  So instead, I did this yoga workout - which always makes me sweat, though I never understand why.  There's a lot of core and arm work in this one....but you don't really notice it at the time.  At lunch, I walked at the rec center - and got sweaty!  

Saturday: Peak 10 More Cardio Interval Burn

Wow.  I always forget how hard this one makes me work.  The peaks are tough and the ascents get progressively more impactful…if that makes sense.  But I love it!  Afterward, I did some serious core work and a good stretch.

Sunday: Dozois' Cardio Strength 1 on Glo + Ilyse's Just Dance

I couldn't for the life of me remember this CS… I was a bit apprehensive before beginning.  It's tough….but doable.  Michelle is always fun to watch in this one - and I love seeing her teach a CS for real.  After that was done, I did 20 minutes of Ilyse's fun dance workout.  Then, a stretch.

Calorie Counts:

Monday -1280
Tuesday - 1285
Wednesday - 1420
Thursday - 1288
Friday - bad
Saturday - BAD
Sunday - 1350

When I weighed on Friday, I'd lost about a pound.  It's nothing great, but I'll take it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Butterscotch Bars (2015:20)

I'm rarely wowed by the food my co-workers make and bring in to share.  And if I'm not wowed, I can do without.  But when someone brought these Butterscotch Bars in, I was amazed.

They tasted like little brown sugar squares.  My brain couldn't quite figure out why they were so good - but they were!  I got the recipe and made them the next weekend, when we had a friend over.  Mine rose a bit more than the ones that showed up at work.  But they were yummy!

And super, super easy to make!  So easy that I'll keep this recipe handy for events when I need to bring something but don't have much time.  

Such an easy, delicious dessert!  And I saved my diet by sending most of the batch home with our friend!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week Three: Peak 10 Challenge #4

Week three already?!  Time flies!

I didn't weight last week because, honestly, I just don't want to know sometimes.  Maybe I'll get on the scale this week.  Maybe.

Monday: Pure Cardio

This was a fun morning.  I usually have to skip one 5-minute segment of this workout so I skipped a different segment today so that I could get through the last full round....  And that round includes lunge jumps.  Arg!  But I did them - all the jumps!  Yay!  I went out to eat with co-workers at lunch and we walked down the street to a cute cafe.  So I got some steps and a healthy lunch!

Tuesday: Ilyse's Groovy Dance Party + Amy's Sports Sculpt + weights

It was so nice to not dread my workout this morning.  Ilyse's dance workout is so fun and light.  Then, Amy's athletic cardio was different but good.  I was sweating but not hurting or exhausted by the end.  At lunch, I did weights at the rec center.  Thankfully, it was pretty empty.

Wednesday:  McLean's HIIT - Bodyweight Circuits

My Wednesday workouts come around much too often.  Ha!  This week, McLean's HIIT was up….and I always dread it.  Thankfully, it gets easier as the Challenge goes on - and it was easier today than last week.  I still subbed a bit of the floor work for standing work.  I need steps!  But I tried to do all the push-ups.  Lunch was a retirement fund talk - so no workout.

Thursday: Dozois' Tip Top Shape + walk

Time for weights again today!  And I love this Click and Glo workout by Michelle so I was happy!  I got through it - sweating a lot - and felt well worked out!  A few hours later, I got a bit achy, which was odd.  I took a walk outside today, since the weather was so lovely.  You have to take advantage of fall-like days here in Texas when you get them!

Friday:  BodyFit 360 Vol 2: Dance Conditioning + walk

It seems like forever since I've done this one!  And it's so much fun!  It's not quite as intense as the original BodyFit 360, but still very effective!  I made it all the way through the arm work and then the abs.  After that, I was short on time so I did my own stretch.  Lovely!  At lunch, I took a 25-minute walk outside.  It was a gorgeous, cool day!

Saturday:  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn + Ilyse's Easy to Follow Dance Moves

This CIB is so much fun, I really can't dread it.  If anything,  I dread the length of these workouts.  But it was fun and I worked hard.  After that was done, I did 15 minutes of Ilyse's dance workout.  75 minutes of cardio, altogether!  Then, a nice stretch and sit-ups.

Sunday: Peak Fit Cardio Strength 2 + Ilyse's Heart-Pumping Groove

I haven't done this CS 2 since the last Peak 10 Challenge….so I couldn't remember much.  But I really like it!  The cardio is great and the weights aren't too fancy.  Very easy to follow!  That lasted 55 minutes, after which I did 15 minutes of Ilyse's dance workout.  I love that one!  I finished off with a stretch and some planking.  

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1280
Tuesday - 1292 
Wednesday - 1360
Thursday - 1266
Friday - BAD
Saturday - bad
Sunday - 1295

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Wright Brothers

My book group chose David McCullough's The Wright Brothers for this month's read.  At first I was a bit apprehensive….but I love history and I'd always wanted to read a work of McCullough's.

Here's my Goodreads review:

David McCullough is such a well known name…and yet this is the first time I've read any of his books. And I'm glad I chose to start with The Wright Brothers because I really enjoyed it. 

I knew very little of Orville and Wilbur, though I have visited their monument at Kitty Hawk. Their story is truly amazing - one of relentless determination and perseverance. Their dedication is unlike anything we see today when all we want is instant gratification. The amount of testing and experimentation needed…anyone else would have quit. 

I'm so glad to have read their story. They are the personification of the American spirit - and true pioneers.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Chewy Molasses Cookies (2015:19)

I was in the mood for a different cookie last week - something that was filled with autumnal flavors.  When I saw this recipe for Chewy Molasses Cookies, which I'd pulled out of a magazine, I was sold.

The only substitution I made was egg substitute for the I had no eggs.  I didn't use all the sugar to roll the cookies in, so that cut down on some calories.  For the molasses, I used Brer Rabbit Full Flavor.

These were amazing.  I can't say enough just how wonderful these were.  Mr. Higgins loved them; I loved them.  In fact, I already want to make them again!

Yay!  Cookies!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week Two: Peak 10 Challenge #4

Week one was successful, I think.  I lost 1.2 pounds, which really could have been water weight only, but I'm choosing to see it as a good sign!  Now, I need that success to continue this week!  

Monday: Pure Cardio + walk

It's always easier working out on Monday mornings when I have Michelle's enthusiasm to look forward to.  Pure Cardio is so much fun!  I love the "climbs" - such innovative cardio that is non-stop but fun!  At lunch, I walked outside because the weather was just lovely.  I did the 1.2 route around campus and then added on a bit - for 25 minutes of "work." 

Tuesday: Dozois' Total Body Cardio and Strength + walk

I always look forward to these Click and Glo workouts by Michelle. They're so much fun - and effective!  This one definitely has some challenging bits - up and down planks, burpees, etc...  But I still like it!  And I love doing weights at home!  At lunch, I walked at the rec because it was super humid outside.  But I didn't mind: my stretch afterward was lovely!

Wednesday:  Peak Fit Anytime Anywhere No Excuse Workout

Oh, wonderful, my dreaded friend, AA.  I hate this workout.  I love Michelle and almost anything she does - except this.  I managed to get through it, my first time through in 6 months...but I changed a few of the peaks.  Burpees were just not going to work this morning.  It's always a good feeling to finish this one - because then it's done for the week.

Thursday: Ilyse's Sweaty, Sassy and Strong + Amy's Kickboxing Skills and Drills + weights

This workout from Ilyse was brand new - and a lot of fun.  It's not too tough and doesn't build upon itself, which I always prefer.  Next up: kickboxing with Amy.  This one is good, though not my favorite.  But these two made for a fun "light" morning of cardio.  At lunch, I hiked to the rec and did weights.  It was as muggy inside as outside - so very unpleasant.  Ugh.

Friday:  Peak Fit Dynamic Flexibility + Dozois' Tight and Toned Core

Friday couldn't come soon enough this week; it was a rough one.  And this workout was just what I needed - no stress at all, just stretching.  I love it!  It lasted 35 minutes, after which I tuned into Dozois' core workout on Glo.  Dang, it's tough!  

Saturday:  Peak 10 More Cardio Interval Burn

I love this workout!  It may actually be my favorite CIB…..maybe!  It was my first CIB ever so it  holds a special place in my heart.  It's fun and challenging - definitely - with no dread factor.  The peaks are tough and I guess I do dread them always - but this is just such a great workout.  Afterward, I did a lovely stretch and sit-ups.

Sunday:  Peak 10 Cardio Strength - Fat Blaster + McLean's Cardio Hip Hop

It's been so long since I last did this CS…I didn't know if I should dread it or not.  Ha!  It's fun but there are some parts that are very difficult for me.  Namely, some of the floor work.  I got through it but I was achy by the end.  I did about 15 minutes of McLean's dance workout to cool down and get additional steps.  Then, a stretch.

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1264
Tuesday - 1245
Wednesday - 1267
Thursday - 1239
Friday - bad
Saturday - BAD
Sunday - 1388

It was a good week - food-wise, anyways.  It was worth being bad on Friday and Saturday!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Third Hike, Part 2

Continuing on with our last Colorado hike in Rocky Mountain National Park..... 

We left off in the tundra.....

It was really rocky up there.

Before we knew it, we were on top of Flattop Mountain.  The wind was blowing so hard that we found shelter behind a big rock to take a break and drink some water.

After our respite, we took stock....and saw our destination, Hallett Peak, up ahead.  Yep, we're climbing that thing.

Looking to the right, we could see Grand Lake in the distance - on the other end of Trail Ridge Road.

Here we are between Flattop and Hallett.  Tyndall Glacier is below us.

Once at the bottom of Hallett, we saw what we'd be climbing. Oy.

Looking back at Flattop and Tyndall Glacier - almost to the top of Hallett!

This is the official marker for the peak of Hallett - inscribed by the USGS.

Looking down from Hallett.

Over on the other side of us - Longs Peak in the distance.

Going down is always harder than going up, I think...  But we made it safe and sound.  We walked over to the edge of the!

It was quite a day. We got back to the car at 2:30 - so 7.5 hours total.  Over 10 miles....whew!  Thankfully, after doing 14 miles the other day, our bodies did not protest too much to 10.  LOL!

I'm not sure mountain climbing is in my future ever again - but it was a great feeling to accomplish something I thought impossible (for me!).

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Third Hike, Part 1

Our last full day in Colorado and finally - finally! - the winds died down.  We knew it would be our one and possibly ONLY chance to climb Mr. Higgins' mountains - Flattop and Hallett Peak.  We started out early.....

It was 7am and 26 degrees out.  But the sunrise was so lovely on the mountains!

As we hiked up and up amidst the towering trees, we got glimpses through them...  Here, we spotted Alberta Falls, which we visited out last time in CO.

As we got higher, the views were better.  I loved the fog amidst the mountain tops!

After about an hour of hiking, we got to the Dream Lake overlook.  I never thought I'd be this high above it!

Soon, the trees were no longer as big.

And then they became downright short.

Then there were no more trees.  And the views were fantastic!

That's Sprague and Bierstadt Lakes in the distance.

After about another hour, we were above the tree-line and at the Emerald Lake overlook.  The steepness of the slope down to that lake…..let's just say I wasn't sitting on the edge of the overlook.

After a break, we were hiking again - up and up - and the trail got rockier and rocker.

One of my favorite parts of this hike - our meeting with a pika.  How cute is he?!  These little furrballs live above the tree-line, in the tundra.

At this point, we were exposed to the wind, without any trees to shield us.  And though the wind had died down from previous days, it was still blowing at about 20-30 mph…and it was cold!  We bundled up even more and braced ourselves……  

We still had more to go…..

Monday, November 2, 2015

Week One: Peak 10 Challenge #4

I can't believe it's that time again....for another Peak 10 Challenge!  This one will be my fourth!  The third was completed in the spring so I'm due for another round.

While I'm definitely looking forward to it, my motivation has taken a hit with all this thyroid drama.  If exercise has no - visible - impact on my body.......well, it's harder to stay motivated.  But I'm trying.

Monday: Peak Fit Pure Cardio + walk

Hello, old friend; I'm back!  This is such a fun workout - and always more difficult than I remember.  I got so many steps during this morning's!  Fun and effective!  At lunch, I walked around the track at the rec center.  For some reason, Sunday's workout left me extra stiff and sore so I wanted to walk and then stretch really well.  Mission accomplished!

Tuesday:  Dozois' Tip Top Shape

I haven't done this workout in forever - and I love it!  Weights are so much more enjoyable at home, rather than the ugly, smelly gym.  And weights with Michelle are doubly fun.  This workout isn't easy but there's no dread factor.  I can't wait to do it again!  It was such a gorgeous day today, that I walked just a bit outside and then read in the sunshine.  Lovely!

Wednesday: McLean's HIIT - Bodyweight Circuits

Peak 10 means McLean's HIIT is my alternate for Dozois' dreaded Anytime Anywhere workout.....and I do dread both of these.  I limited the burpees in McLean's crazy workout....but it was still tough.  Going up and down from the floor is never easy; for some reason, that gets me more than anything.  Glad this one is done for the week!

Thursday:  McLean's Unleash Your Inner Strength + Amy's Skills and Drills + Dozois' Straight Forward Strength Training

I had some extra time this morning so I got in both cardio and weights.  Together, McLean and Dixon's cardio workouts lasted 50 minutes….without a cool down.  I then did Dozois' 45 minute strength video, which is so good.  I love that one!  It was a nice, fun morning.  When working out is this much fun….it's not a chore!

Friday: Body Fit 360

Ah, rest days are so lovely.  I was a bit nervous about remembering the more complicated moves from this workout - but it all worked fine.  And I really do enjoy it; there's nothing like it!  At the end, I felt all stretched out and invigorated, not tired!

Saturday:  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn

I haven't touched this workout since my last Peak 10 Challenge - and it was harder than I remembered!  But it's so much fun….and I always forget that.  Michelle's enthusiasm is so contagious…which is amazing when you're dripping sweat and aching.  Ha!  I did a long stretch after this and some ab work.

Sunday:  Peak 10 Cardio Strength + Ilyse's Heart-Pumping Groove

Even though I love the newer Cardio Strengths, there's something nice and refreshing about the original.  The moves are simpler - though no less difficult - and you really feel like your muscles are given a chance to work.  It doesn't feel as rushed.  And so, amazingly, I had fun with this CS today!  And I used my heavy weights for some of the light weight sections.  Cool!  I finished off my workout with 20 minutes of Ilyse's dance workout and then 15 minutes of stretch and abs.

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1288
Tuesday - 1288
Wednesday - 1272
Thursday - 1279
Friday - 1678
Saturday - BAD
Sunday - 1466

Yeah, I know: every day wasn't great.  But most were!  4 out of 7!  Ha!  And I lost 1.2 pounds this week, so I'm not worried!