Monday, March 30, 2015

Week Two: Peak 10 Challenge #3

After eating too much last weekend, I'm ready for some serious workouts this week!

Monday: Pure Cardio + yoga

I woke up with a mind-numbing headache this morning so Pure Cardio was more difficult than it should have been.  I made it through with my skull still intact, thank goodness, and then downed copious amounts of Excedrin.  Yoga was good but I think it aggravated my already sore back.  I'm getting really frustrated with the back pain!

Tuesday: McLean's Unleash Your Inner Strength + Amy's Skills and Drills + weights

Today it was time to take it down a notch.  These two workouts are perfect together.  McLean gets your heart rate up and then takes it down, up and down.  Amy alternates kickboxing with bursts of cardio - jumping rope and jacks.  All this got me sweating in no time!  And it was easy on my back!  At lunch, I did weights at the rec.  It was not fun but I got through it.

Wednesday:  Anytime Anywhere No Excuse Workout + yoga

I was dreading this workout, as always.  But I got through it and did better than last week.  I still modify the burpees and will continue to do so as long as my back is iffy.  At yoga, I asked the instructor about my back and she let me use a foam roller before class.  It felt great.  I may do that before each class!  Thankfully, she went a bit easier on us and gave us a good stretch with some movement, but not too much.

Thursday:  Dozois' Total Body Cardio + Strength on Glo + BodyFit 360 Vol. 3 - Athletic Conditioning

Today I needed to do some weights so I turned to Michelle's workout on Glo.  It alternates cardio and weights with four sections of each.  One part, she has you on the floor in single-arm plank and then you raise up to your arms and go back down to the elbows.  This one is always tough for me but I get better and better.  I had a work lunch so no workout.  I got home a bit early so I did the cardio in Athletic Conditioning followed by a 10 minute stretch.  It made me feel better after eating not so great at lunch.

Friday:  Ellen Barrett's Grace and Gusto + walk

It was time for something light this morning so I turned to Ellen's new workout.  It's low-impact and full of side stretches and plies.  Very nice!  At lunch, I went to the rec and walked the track.  I did some good stretching, too, since I was super sore for some reason.  Also, some ab work to round out a 30 minute lunchtime workout.

Saturday: Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn - Fat Blaster + Amy's All Around Energy 

After eating a bad dinner last night, I was ready to burn some calories.  A new workout from Michelle got me super motivated.  The CIB Fat Blaster is a lot of fun.  I was clueless on a few moves but quickly picked them up.  Michelle is just so innovative!  After an hour of that, I wanted 20 more minutes of some low-impact cardio so I turned to Amy's workout on Glo.  That was fun - lots of squats, lunges, plank work interspersed with low-impact cardio.  It was nice to finally do a longer, 10-minute, stretch after all this!

Sunday:  Peak 10 Cardio Strength - Fat Blaster + Ilyse's Groovy Dance Party

Another bad day of eating yesterday....ugh.  I chose to do the Fat Blaster CS again to get more familiar with it.  It's definitely fun - and tough.  There's a section of floor work in the last circuit that gets me every time.  I warmed up and cooled down with Ilyse's dance workout, which is fun.  So, I did an hour and twenty minutes of cardio plus ten minutes of stretching and ab work.  I love weekend workouts!

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1292
Tuesday - 1262
Wednesday - 1247
Thursday - 1518
Friday - bad
Saturday - bad
Sunday - 1289

Good news!  My thyroid levels are now normal!  So, no change in medication this week - yay!!  Bad news - no change in weight either.  I know I haven't been eating as great as I could be so I guess it's good I haven't gained anything.  I'll just focus on that positive.  

Now that I'm normal, I'm hoping my body will figure out that it can go back to behaving as it used to.  Please!  

Friday, March 27, 2015


Sometimes I forget just how lucky I am to work where I do.  It's definitely the prettiest, most maintained, greenest place on this side of the Metroplex.  And I'll be the first to admit that, over the years, I've been ungrateful and have taken it for granted.

Spring is such a beautiful time on campus, too.  The tulips are bursting out from under the pansies...everywhere!  The squirrels are so excited and they make me smile every single morning.  

Sorry for the digression.  Sometimes I have to step back, reflect, and count my blessings.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fiber Fest 2015

For the third year in a row, I had the pleasure of attending the local Fiber Fest with my knitting buddy, CS.  We had a blast, as usual.

And, per the norm, I spent way too much money!  I went into it allowing myself one purchase. And then three yarns called my name.  Sigh.

There were two big trends this year...

--Perfect self-striping yarn, like this from Fishknits.

Yes, I bought some - it's the yellow/gray/dark gray skein.

--Gradient yarns, like this from Freia.

No, I didn't buy any and have regretted it every day.  ARG!  I'll have to get some online  in the near future.  There's a purple shawl in a gradient yarn just calling my name!

It was a super fun outing with a good friend.  I can't wait until next year!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Week One: Peak 10 Challenge #3

My second Peak 10 Challenge ended in November so I'm due for another one!  And the timing couldn't be better: 10 weeks until the next cruise and hopefully close to honing in on the right thyroid dosage.  

Monday: PeakFit Pure Cardio + yoga

I really enjoy Pure Cardio so it was fun to get back into it this morning.  It's like a Cardio Interval Burn but without the peaks - so just a tiny bit less intense.  At lunch, I did yoga at the rec but our teacher was sick and we had a sub.  She was not nearly as good and practically yelled at us the entire time.  Ugh. 

Tuesday: Dozois' Tip Top Shape

Since I do weights at least once a week at the rec, I'm skipping the Pure Strength workouts in this Challenge.  I'll do weights at the rec instead and one weighted workout in the week, like today's.  This workout combines cardio and weights and I love it!  Despite not doing consistent cardio, the weights keep my heart rate up throughout.

Wednesday:  PeakFit Anytime Anywhere No Excuse Workout + yoga

I knew today's AA workout would be a killer and it was, though it wasn't quite as bad as my mind had built it up to be.  But going from cardio to the floor and then back up for the "peak" move is difficult anytime.  I got through it, modifying only the burpies for another high impact move.  At lunch, our instructor was back for yoga.  She made us work but it felt good.  I just wish she had let us stretch more.

Thursday:  Ilyse's Full On Cardio Blast + McLean's Attack Your Metabolism + weights

This was supposed to be my "rest" day (when I do BodyFit 360 or yoga or something) but it looks like a workout will not be an option on Saturday, making that a real rest day.  I'm bad about taking real rest days so it's good to have them forced upon me now and then.  I had to reshuffle my schedule and did a lighter workout today.  Ilyse's workout surprised me: I did not remember the amount of non-stop running, jumping, and skipping she does in this one.  Dang!  McLean's workout was a level 1 so I amped it up a bit, jumping and running when he stepped.  At lunch, I did weights and walked a lap.  

Friday:  Peak 10 More Cardio Interval Burn

My rest day tomorrow means a CIB today.  This was my first CIB and still one of my favorite workouts ever.  It's so much fun and feels so good to do again after a long break.  I wanted to walk at lunch but had to go to a work thing instead.  Boo.

Saturday: rest

Sunday: Peak 10 Cardio Strength - Fat Blaster + Ilyse's Groovy Dance Party

A new workout video from Michelle….oh my goodness!!  I was so excited when she put out a new CS and CIB and even more excited when they arrived this week.  After watching the movement review on the DVD, I started this new workout - and it was a lot of fun!  I'll have to do it again before I review it for you - but it's good!  I wanted to get some more work in today so I turned to Ilyse's Dance Party, which is fun and kept my heart rate up.  After 1.5 hours of cardio, I decided to stretch and do some ab work.

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1280
Tuesday - 1284
Wednesday - 1298
Thursday - 1298
Friday - bad
Saturday - bad
Sunday - 1263

I really wanted to weigh this week but didn't, choosing to wait one more week to let the new meds get into my system.  My mom was in town on Friday and Saturday; then I met a friend for dinner on Saturday.  I ate way too much but I'm to the point of not feeling guilty.  Sometimes, you need to be able to splurge, as long as you don't make a habit of it.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Thyroid Update

It was the beginning of October, last year, when I killed my thyroid with radiation.  Since then, I've been on what feels like a hormone roller coaster.  I guess that's a bit extreme but let's just say that I'm still not back to normal.

I went on medication for being hypo (since I no longer produce a thyroid hormone naturally) in December.  Ever since then, I've been getting bloodwork done every two weeks and then my doctor has tweaked my meds after every bloodletting.  It's been a bit tiresome.  

This last time, I was so close to having the perfect number - 0.  But it was 5.  So, more tweaking, yet another trip to the pharmacy...  Here's hoping this final round of meds is the right dosage.

My main symptom of being hypo is weight loss - or lack thereof.  My weight just....stays.....about 7-10 over my norm.  Given my workout schedule, you can imagine how much this frustrates me.  

I'm tired of going to labs to have blood drawn; I'm tired of the pharmacy; I'm tired of having no control over my body.  Who knew such a little organ could cause so many problems in the grand scheme of your body!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Omelets (2015:3)

Within the last year, my relationship with eggs has taken a dramatic turn.  It started with hard-boiled eggs.  Growing up and in my 20s, the only way I'd eat eggs was scrambled.  But last year, I decided to try to perfect my hard-boiled egg technique and, in doing so, learned that I really like them!

And so I started trying omelets.  Cruising gave me the chance to try them for free and I learned that I really like them, too!  Holy cow!

The next step was learning to make omelets at home.  I tried but kept failing, inevitably having to make them semi-scrambled.  And then a co-worker said to keep the heat low and steady.  Voila!  Those simple words yielded the perfect omelet.  It was so perfect that Mr. Higgins smelled me cooking one and asked, rather sheepishly, if I could make him an omelet sometime.  Wow!

It's incredible just how limited my palate was in youth.  I keep finding more and more yummy things...which is not always good!  

Monday, March 16, 2015

Post-Cruise Workout Week

We returned from our cruise late on Monday and I was back to working out on Tuesday.  Ha!  I crave routine, even if it makes my sweat and ache.  I'm going to start another Peak 10 eight-week challenge on Saturday, so I need to get back in the groove!

Monday: homeward bound

Tuesday:  Dozois' Rockin' Body Cardio + walk

It was painful to get up this morning but Michelle got me going.  This is an oldie but a goodie and one that I frequently do right after the holidays or a cruise.  It's fun, not too difficult, but it always makes me sweat.  At lunch, I walked at the rec center and did some ab work.

Wednesday: Ilyse's Dance Intervals 101 + Dozois' HIIT - Breathless and Energized + Calorie Burning Cardio Blast + weights

It feels so good to be working out again - even if I haven't slept well in three nights!  Ha!  This morning was fun.  I can't remember the last time I did all of Ilyse's dance workout.  Michelle's cardio challenged me after my workout hiatus but I made it through and it felt good!  At lunch, I did weights at the rec.  The only good part about that: the place was deserted because of Spring Break.

Thursday:  Ilyse's Easy to Follow Dance Moves + Scott's HIIT - Sporst Inspired Intervals + walk

Today's dance workout by Ilyse was a bit easier than yesterday's so I tried to power it up a bit where I could.  I haven't done Scott's full HIIT workout in a very long time so that was fun.  I skipped the burpies because of my back.  At lunch, I walked a mile at the rec and then did some ab work.  

Friday: The Firm's Bootcamp: Maximum Calorie Burn

I was ready for some weights today so I turned to this workout by The Firm.  It's good and I always know when I'm not at my best when this one gets the better of me.  And it did this morning.  When it came time to do lunges with armwork, I stopped.  My legs were already not happy and my heart was pounding.  I stopped the lunges and did arms only.  No workout at lunch today; I needed the break.

Saturday:  Cathe's Intensity + Dozois' BodyFit 360 Vol. 3 Athletic Conditioning (stretch)

The weekends always give me more time to workout and I was looking forward to Cathe today since it was something different.  I don't love her but her Intensity is a good cardio workout.  I did step + low HIIT + high HIIT for a total of 60 minutes.  Having not been able to do yoga this week (Spring Break), I needed a good stretch and turned to Michelle's 20 minute stretch on the BodyFit 360 Vol. 3 disc.  It's so good!  

Sunday:  PeakFit Fit Test + Cardio Strength 2 on Glo

On Monday I start my next Peak 10 Challenge so today I did my Fit Test.  It was very clear that I'm not in the shape I used to be in.  The cruise and/or the thyroid weight gain slowed me down and I actually had to take some breaks during the test.  That was really frustrating.  Instead of burpies, I did 180 degree jump touch downs.  I'm just not willing to sacrifice my back.  After  the test (about 30 minutes long), I went on to do CS2 on Glo - for 30 minutes.  That was also a challenge and it was hard to not get frustrated with myself.  But at least that means there's room for improvement.  Ha!  

Calorie Counts:

Monday - travel day
Tuesday - 1346
Wednesday - 1289
Thursday - 1254
Friday - 1486
Saturday - 1267
Sunday - 1264

There was a party at work on Tuesday so I ate half a bagel….but at least I skipped the sweets!  On Friday, I went out to lunch and splurged just a bit.  To make up for it, I was super good over the weekend.

Thyroid update….  Starting next week, my meds will go up again.  I'm so close to being normal but I'm still hypo.  After a week of not sleeping this week, I was worried I had gone over and become hyper.  But no.  Here's hoping for better sleep next week….  My weight didn't go up too much after the cruise, so that's something.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


I'm back from another cruise with Mr. Higgins and his parents.  We were aboard Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas for 10 days.  Despite it being an older, smaller ship, we really enjoyed our time on board.  We had two sea days, five port days, and then two more sea days.  It was the perfect itinerary!

Our new port this trip was Anguilla.  The cruise ship did not take us there but it took us to St. Maarten. There, we got a taxi to the town of Marigot, on the French side of the island, and boarded a ferry bound for Anguilla.  The water was super choppy and I've never had a turbulent and unpleasant ferry crossing....but we made it.  

Once on Anguilla we took a taxi to Shoal Bay.  And it took our breath away.  The water, the sand...everything was perfect!  We got to spend three hours at this lovely place and that was not enough!  I'll have to explore more beaches on this incredible island!

With this sailing of Legend, we set foot on 8 islands: St. Thomas, USVI, St. John, USVI, St. Kitts, Nevis, Dominica, Antigua, St. Maarten, Anguilla.  Wow!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Combat Challenge: Thoughts and Conclusions

Wow.  I just finished 8 weeks - technically 7.5 weeks - of Les Mills' Combat DVDs.  It was a nice change of pace from my normal workouts and, generally, I enjoyed it.  Here are some of my thoughts and conclusions....


You're given three different calendars to choose from with the Combat DVD set.  I can't remember which one I chose but it was the middle one. I've gotten to where I like these calendars as a way to stay on track and motivated.  Then again, I'm OCD and like to plan.  

Within the calendar you alternate between HIIT and kickboxing workouts.  This is nice since the kickboxing tends to focus on arms and the HIIT focuses on legs (with the exception of weights).


I would call myself an advanced - but not crazy - exerciser.  I have no problem doing intense cardio for long periods of time.  With Combat, however, I learned that I have my limits when it comes to jump lunges and burpees.  Whew!  These HIIT workouts definitely challenged me in new ways, which I enjoyed.  They made me stronger and improved my fitness level, for sure.

Aches and Pains

With more intense workouts comes the possibility of injury.  With Combat, I experienced more aches and pains than ever before.  No longer do I think that my body can do anything; I've learned my limits.  

The most troublesome pain was my lower back.  I cut back on burpees and that helped temporarily, but then the pain returned.  Hopefully, ten days on a cruise ship will help this....


While I can't give you numbers because of my thyroid weight woes, I can say this: the HIIT workouts had a huge effect on my legs.  I saw a change in them and Mr. Higgins said they are more toned for sure.  My outer thighs or saddlebags are less noticeable.  If lunge jumps do this, call me a believer.  I'll do them every day!  Ha!  


I don't know how often I'll do an eight week Combat Challenge like this.  It's rough on my body....but the results are great.  I guess I'll turn to this when I feel like I've reached a plateau, which I had.  Eventually, I'd like to come up with my own Combat/Peak 10 calendar to incorporate both.  

All in all, I'm pleased with the results and proud of myself for completing 8 weeks, even when new aches surfaced.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Port of Call

On our cruise this week, we get to re-visit one of our favorite places, Dominica.  This is an island that is often compared to Hawaii - filled with rain forests, lush vegetation, and waterfalls.  

One such waterfall is at Emerald Pool.  You hike down into this area and at the bottom there's a pool and lovey waterfall.  Dominica is filled with these kinds of hidden (well, not really hidden but known) treasures.

Dominica is so pretty that many scenes from PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN (mainly the second movie, I think) were shot here.  So lovely!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Les Mills: Combat 60 Live - Ultimate Warrior's Workout (Review)

The last workout to be added to the schedule in the Combat calendar is Combat 60 Live - Ultimate Warrior's Workout.  As the title says, it's a live recording of the instructors leading a huge group through Combat.  

No equipment is needed for this workout - just you!

Combat 60 Live is very similar to Combat 60 - Extreme Cardio Fighter.  You warm up with punches and jabs.  Then you're given a very short stretch.

What follows is kickboxing - kicks, jabs, shuffles, blocks...  In my opinion, this workout is just a bit more intense than the other Combat 60.  

As in every Combat workout, there's a move that gets me and leaves me winded and in pain (good pain!).  In this video it's a leg section consisting of lunges to a front kick followed by a side lunge.  After lunging and kicking and side lunging, you go into the side lunge and do a knee up move that leaves my thighs burning like nothing else.  Dang!

By the end of this workout, your arms will be aching...and then there's floorwork.  Ha!  

Bottom Line:  This is a fun kickboxing workout that almost anyone can enjoy!

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!