Friday, December 29, 2017

Tree Kitteh

Dooku loves the Christmas tree.  When it comes on, he literally runs toward it, diving in to the tree skirt.  You would think the house was freezing and he needed the warmth.  

And so, for your enjoyment....

I hope this finds you all warm and safe.  

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

December Workouts: Week 3

This week started off horribly.  I've been trying to fight off a head cold and just when I thought I had, I got an epic stomach bug on Sunday.   I was miserable.  

And defeated.  It's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year and I've been sick since our return from Colorado.  This sucks!

Monday: sick

I don't think I got 3000 steps this day.  

Tuesday: Cathe's Strong and Sweaty: Ramped Up Upper Body

I didn't know how I felt this morning so an upper body workout seemed to be the best of all evils.  This one was new-to-me and I enjoyed it!  I probably could have lifted heavier but I was just trying to make it through this in one piece.  And I did!  Thank goodness!  I'm really hoping I feel better tomorrow..........

Wednesday: Cathe's Rockout Knockout

This morning, I felt normal!  Yay!  And hungry for the first time since Sunday morning, which was great....and annoying.  Ha!  This kickboxing workout was good - though the amount of high impact really tested me after being sick.  It's been a while since I've done this workout and it was a lot of fun.  The combinations were challenging - which is always good in kickboxing!

Thursday:  Cathe's Hard Strikes Low Impact Boxing Live + walk + YWA

More boxing today and this time, low impact.  Awesome!  I still felt good today but didn't want to overdo it.  My arms were a bit achy after being worked for two days before this workout but it was fun!  This was pure boxing, no kicking, but that was fine by me.  At lunch, I walked at the rec center and did some ab work.  It felt so good to feel good!  I haven't been able to do yoga lately but I made a point of it today - with this gentle morning sequence.  It worked well after a long day of work!

Friday: Cathe's Strong and Sweaty: Total Body Giant Sets 

I did't know what to expect from this strength workout.....but I really liked it!  Cathe doesn't disappoint and this workout was really, really good.  I think the reason I liked it was that there was little repetition, except with legs, which I don't mind.  You do a lot of leg work, which keeps the heart rate up and then do arms amidst it all.  I like that format!  I meant to do yoga after work but life interfered.  Ugh.

Saturday: Cathe's Solid Cardio Plus HIIT Live + abs + YWA

Christmas Eve Eve and I needed cardio!  This cardio workout is great - it's my third time doing it.  Cathe starts with steady cardio and then eases into HIIT.  It's good and challenging.  My legs were hurting from yesterday's workout so some of the moves were difficult to get through just because of that.  I added on 10 minutes to get 50 minutes of cardio.  Then, about 7 minutes of abs followed by a nice stretch.  I tuned into Adriene's Yoga Chill - short but sweet and calming after so much jumping.

Sunday: Cathe's RWH Plyo HIIT One

Christmas Eve - I was lucky to fit this workout in and I needed to, since I would miss the next two days of workouts.  This was my first time doing this Plyo HIIT and it was tough.  So many tuck jumps and burpees....dang!  I added one a bit from Plyo HIIT Two to get a full 30 minutes of cardio in....and Plyo HIIT Two seemed much easier.  I'll definitely have to go back to these sometime.  But for thirty minutes, it was a great workout.

Calorie Counts:

We'll just not talk about calories this week.  That being said, I didn't eat after noon on Sunday (last Sunday) or Monday due to my stomach bug.  

Friday, December 22, 2017

Beneath a Scarlet Sky

I recently finished a very good book, based on a man's true story during World War II, Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan.

My Goodreads review:

Though I've about had my fill of World War II novels, this one came highly recommended and so I read it when it was loaned to me.

This true story is, indeed, amazing.  Sullivan recounts the life of young Pino Lella during the Nazi occupation of northern Italy.  When the Allied bombardment of Milan becomes too dangerous, Pino's family sends him to the mountains where he helps with an underground railway to get Jews out of Italy.  As if that isn't enough, when Pino becomes old enough to get drafted by the Germans, he joins them.... as a spy for his beloved Italy.

I was, at first, concerned with liking Pino, as he comes across a bit too foolhardy.  But the circumstances of war require him to mature and his story is truly inspiring.  It shows that the worst events in history can bring out the best in humanity.

Monday, December 18, 2017

December Workouts: Week 2

This week started off in Colorado, for our annual trip to the snowy mountains.  This year, there was no snow in the city, but there was some in the higher elevations of the park.  Yay!

Monday: hike!

We had a good 2.2 mile hike today.  While it didn't get my heart rate super high, my Fitbit loved that I was active for 70 minutes.  

Tuesday: REST

Travel day....  Back to home it is.

Wednesday: Cathe's XTrain 06: Cardio Leg Blast + walk

Back home and back to the workouts this morning!  This Leg Blast was awesome - it alternates strength and cardio moves.  Though intense, it was very fun and effective.  I used lighter weights because I forgot to bring down the heavier one, but my heart rate still stayed elevated for the weighted moves.  At lunch, I walked outside for a bit to get out of the office.  

Thursday: Cathe's Kick Punch Cardio + Dozois' On The Go Workouts: Core

This is my third time to do Kick Punch Cardio - I must really like it!  Kickboxing is so much fun and this workout contains some different combinations that really keep you interested.  And it keeps your heart pumping!  After work, I did this core workout - and Michelle tried to break me.  Dang!  My abs were not prepared for this workout!

Friday: Cathe's Muscle Max

Total body weights today with an older Cathe workout!  This was definitely an intense weight workout.  I tried to lift my heaviest and, as a result, my heart rate stayed elevated.  Some of the leg and bicep work was especially torturous.   Wow.  I wasn't able to finish it but I got a well-rounded workout.  Nothing at lunch today, as I was feeling under the weather.

Saturday: Cathe's Cardio Slam

This workout happened late in the day, due to having company.  That always makes it harder for me to get through a workout.  But I did it!  And this workout is no joke: it's non-stop.  And difficult!  Somehow, I got through all the cardio.  I then did the core work from Friday's Muscle Max - which was also no joke.  Dang!  Finally, after that, a stretch.

Sunday: Cathe's STS Total Body

Weights today!  This was my first time doing this workout - though I did the entirety of the STS program.  I liked this one, mainly because it was made up of tri-sets, which I always seem to enjoy.   This workout lasted about 55 minutes - and then I did the killer core work.  My abs were not happy!  Finally, I stretched and called it a day.

Calorie Counts:

Not good.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Lily Lake

Our annual December trip to Colorado was fantastic.  I wish there had been snow, but it was still great without it.  And we got to see something new!........

Lily Lake is just south of Estes Park, outside the gates to Rocky Mountain National Park.  So, if you need a free destination, this is a great one.  It's also wheelchair accessible and an easy walk, much like Sprague.  

And it was iced over!  There were some weird gurgling noises coming from the water under the ice.....  But it was a nice, unstressful walk.

Monday, December 11, 2017

December Workouts: Week 1

Now that I've finished up STS and Cathe's recommended 12-Week Post-STS Workout Rotation, it's time for a change.  And more new Cathe workouts!

I'm using this month to work hard during the holidays.  There will be breaks in the middle of all this - including a long weekend that means two days off this week and next....  But I need those breaks.  My body is tired!

Monday: Cathe's Birthday Blast Live + YWA

Yay, cardio!  I love this live workout because it has everything - kickboxing, circuits, and straight cardio.  So much fun!  But intense!  I really do enjoy cardio like this, though the circuits get a bit tiring.  Cathe loves circuits!  After work, I did this YWA - for zombies because I felt like one.  Ha!  Not really - but it's some fun yoga.

Tuesday: Cathe's XTrain 01: Chest, Back, and Shoulders + walk

I wasn't really looking forward to this workout because I still felt Sunday's workout in my upper body!  Oy.  But this was a good video - alternating each muscle group before moving on and starting over with a new move.  It really works every muscle group to the max in many different ways.   At lunch, I walked at the rec center to get some steps and feel active.  

Wednesday: Cathe's XTrain 09: Tabatacise + YWA

I'm kind of on a XTrain journey this week so I decided to also do my cardio from this series.  Tabatacise is not easy but at least the tabata circuits are only 20 seconds long - with 10 seconds of rest in between.  The only hard part is that they never end and the "recovery" step cardio is just as intense, sometimes, as the tabata.  But, heck, it was a great workout this morning and really tested me.  After work, this yoga for the psoas really stretched me out.  Lovely!

Thursday: Cathe's XTrain 02: Bi's and Tri's + walk

More weights today!  Biceps and triceps are not my favorite things to work on....but I did this workout anyway.  It wasn't too bad.  It alternates between the two muscle groups and Cathe, as always, finds inventive ways to work every inch of every muscle.  For the user, that means, ouch!  At lunch, I walked outside to see a few flurries fall from the gray sky....but that was only for 20 minutes and not too strenuous.  Still - I was active!

Friday: Cathe's XTrain 05: Legs

This morning was rough: I was so tired.  But I got up and worked out, knowing a four-day break is on the horizon.  This leg workout wasn't the hardest leg workout but it sure fired up my lower body. I was really hurting at times!  Cathe knows how to make you hurt!  In a good way!  About half of this workout was standing and the rest was floor work - which was even more excruciating.  Oy.

Saturday: REST

Sunday: REST

Calorie Counts:

I was mostly good this week but my discipline is waning a bit in the midst of the holidays and a short vacation.  Saturday and Sunday - vacation - were awful for the diet.  And I don't care.  Ha!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Annual Colorado Fun

Soon, we're off on our Colorado winter trip, for the third year in a row, to help a friend celebrate a birthday.  This year will be a bit different, though, because of snow....the lack of snow.  

This is what we saw last year....

This year, we'll have to drive into Rocky Mountain National Park - into the high elevations - to see some snow on the ground.  We won't see any fall from the sky.  

I'm trying to not get bummed by this and I'm mostly succeeding.  More than any other year, I just need a long weekend somewhere far away with liquor, cool temps, and a fireplace.  I'll get all three of those things!  And while I'm sitting in front of the fire, I can pretend that it's snowing out.  Uh-huh.

Look for a CO report late next week!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Post-STS 12-Weeks: Week 12

This is my last week of Cathe's prescribed follow-up to STS.  Wow!

Time has flown by - but this is getting to be much more common with age, darn it!  I've really enjoyed exploring new-to-me Cathe workouts.  These twelve weeks have not been boring, for sure!

Monday: Cathe's MMA Boxing + YWA

I love that Cathe's Shock Cardio Series has three boxing/kickboxing workouts!!  This boxing workout is good and the cardio blasts really kept my heart rate elevated.  The punch combinations were different and fun, which made the time fly by!  It was a great early morning workout, in general.  After work, I did this YWA to calm down after a crazy, frustrating drive home.

Tuesday: Cathe's Chiseled Legs and Abs Live + walk + YWA

Legs today!  This live workout wasn't the toughest of Cathe's leg workouts, but I enjoyed it and made it through in one piece.  I wish I could have gotten further along in the workout but my time constraints meant I never got to the ab section, which looked to be killer.  Maybe it's good I didn't make it that far!  At lunch, I walked outside, because it was gorgeous outside!  After work, I wanted to up my yoga game and this YWA did it!  I got quite sweaty!

Wednesday: Cathe's HIIT 40/20 + Body Blast Series: Step Blast

I can't say I was looking forward to HIIT this morning, but I was looking forward to a good workout.  This one starts deceptively slow but with the second HIIT, you're left panting....and then you repeat it!  Dang!  I worked hard and was happy about it.  After that, I tuned into a step workout that I actually followed relatively well, all things considered.  It's an older workout but still fun!

Thursday:  Cathe's Strong Upper Body Express Live + walk + YWA

This morning, bright and early, I did my upper body workout.  I was looking forward to it only because it wasn't crazy cardio.  But it didn't take long for my arms to get burned out in this workout so it was a bit a good way.  Cathe kept you moving quickly through the exercises, which helped a bit.  There was a good ab section at the end, which was a nice surprise.  At lunch, I walked at the rec center, working up a good sweat....  And then, after work, I did this YWA, which I remembered as being good for the arms.  I did not remember all the planks.  Dang!

Friday:  YWA

Rest day!  Yay!  This is a relatively new YWA - one specifically for mornings.  These are always a great way to ease into the day.  I enjoyed this one and even got a little sweaty when the heat kicked on in the house.  I felt nice and awake after this video.

Saturday:  Cathe's HIIT Pyramid + Circuit Blast + Icy Core 2

I'm tired.  In general, I'm tired and my body is tired.  Thankfully, I have a 4-day workout break coming up.....but in the meantime, I need to hit it hard.  This pyramid HIIT is not at all easy....  But I did it!  After that 25 minutes of torture, I did 20 minutes of Circuit Blast, which I first did a week ago.  It's not easy, either, especially after a grueling HIIT workout.   Finally, it was time for abs....again, not easy, though the ICE workouts are "intermediate."  That lasted almost 15 minutes....and then I stretched.  

Sunday: Cathe's High Reps

Weight day - and another new workout!  High Reps is pure strength and self explanatory - lots of reps with different count patterns to change it up.  It's all about endurance....which meant it was very difficult to lift heavy....and keep lifting heavy.  Oy.  It was a tough workout. I did all of it - along with the ab section.  And my abs were still sore from yesterday.  I then did the stretch and added on some more stretching....for about 70 minutes of work today.  

Calorie Counts:

I was good most of the work week...and then it was a bad weekend, due to football.  I had serious stomach issues late Saturday and early Sunday...ugh.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Cathe Friedrich: Flex Train (Review)

I'm loving my subscription to Cathe's workouts, all of which are available to stream online.  One workout that I'm really liking is her Flex Train DVD.

Flex Train is a total body strength program.  It hits every part of your body and it's non-stop, meaning your heart rate will increase.  Cathe also includes a lot of compound exercises that work your legs and arms; these always get the blood pounding. I didn't know if I would enjoy this workout but I did!  And I was a bit sore the next day, which I like!

After a 7 minute warm-up, you're into weights.  First up, legs and shoulders: overhead presses, curtsy lunges with presses, lateral raises, front raises, and rear delt flies.  Then, back work - rows and band work.  Chest and legs follows that: burpees, push-ups, and lunges, oh, my!  Next is torturous triceps: tricep presses, kickbacks while in plank, dips, and push-ups.  Ouch!  Then, more legs: sumo squats and band work.  

To finish off the workout, Cathe hits your core hard.  Ankle grabbers!  Full sit-ups with a one-arm presses followed by crunches, reverse crunches, and butterfly sit-ups. OUCH!  

In it's entirety, this workouts is 57 minutes long.  It goes by pretty fast because Cathe doesn't give you much time to think and dread the next move.  Equipment needed includes weights, a band, sliding discs, and a loop/firewalker band.

Bottom Line:
This is a great, fast-paced strength workout.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Post-STS 12-Weeks: Week 11

Wow!  Only two more weeks of this 12-week post-STS workout series - as prescribed by Cathe.

The last two weeks call for Cathe's Shock Cardio Series.  I've done most of these workouts before but it'll be good to revisit them!  I'm going to have to add a lot of weights since this series has none.  But it'll be fun!  My cardio needs to get ramped up and this will definitely accomplish that!

Monday: Cathe's Love Those Legs Live + walk + YWA

I'm getting my weights done at the beginning of the week so I can do cardio on my heavy-eating days.  Hello, Thanksgiving!  This was a really good leg workout that left me breathless and shaky.  Dang!  A lot of these lower body live workouts are similar.  This one had a few cardio bursts, which I kept low-impact.  At lunch, I walked at the rec center and after work, I revisited this YWA.  Very nice!  And a super productive day!

Tuesday: Cathe's Upper Body Bootcamp Live + walk

This is the first upper body live workout I've done, I think.  And dang, it's intense!  Cathe works every muscle in your arms and she even puts some ab exercises in there for some variation.  Too bad my heart rate doesn't get as high as with lower body work.  At lunch, I walked outside because the weather was just so nice.  No yoga today - and there may not be much more this week due to the holiday prep and family time.

Wednesday: Cathe's MMA Kickbox

Time for something different this morning....  MMA Kickbox is in Cathe's Shock Cardio Series, which makes me happy.  I love kickboxing!  And it was a great workout to do today, when I wasn't exactly jumping out of bed, all refreshed and happy.  This workout got me going and gave me a great workout.  No other workouts today but that's fine!

Thursday: Cathe's HIIT 30/30 + LIS Cardio Supersets

Yes, I worked out on Thanksgiving!  I did this early in the morning, before family arrived.  The HIIT workout lasted for 25 minutes - whew!  I then tuned into Cardio Supersets, from Cathe's Low Impact Series.  I had forgotten some of this LIS workout so it was good to do.  I think it's my least favorite of the LIS series, but it's still good.  That lasted for 20 minutes and then I stretched.

Friday: REST

Saturday: Cathe's Circuit Blast + ICE Blizzard Blast + Icy Core 1

Yay, a new workout today!  Circuit Blast is from the Shock Cardio Series.  It's a unique workout - mostly cardio and some metabolic (with weights) but some of the weighted work seems to be pure strength.  Either way, my heart rate stayed up and I like that!  After that 40 minutes, I tuned into the ICE Blizzard Blast from Rock'm Sock'm to get some more cardio - 15 minutes more, to be exact.  It was then time for abs - 11 minutes of Icy Core.  Wow.  I then stretched and called it a day.

Sunday: Cathe's Flex Train

Another new workout for me!  Yay!  This was pure strength with tons of compound exercises to keep the heart rate up.  Cathe uses lighter weights because there are tons of reps....  I used a bit heavier weights at times but couldn't keep pace with Cathe for long before my  muscles burned out.  Dang!  This was a great workout with great music.  I'll have to do it again!  I added on some butt work for 55 minutes of work.  Then, a nice stretch after Cathe's crazy ab work on this video.  

Calorie Counts: 

It was a holiday week.  Enough said.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Pecan Pie Bars

First off, Happy Thanksgiving!

I've tried a new recipe this year that I thought I'd share with you.....

Mr. Higgins loves pecan pie.  I've never enjoyed it and it's never been a tradition in my family.  This year, for some odd reason, I decided to try to make something comparable for him - Pecan Pie Bars.

While searching for recipes, I didn't find one that I loved so I combined two.  I used the crust from this recipe and the filling from this one.  I made no substitutions, though it was very hard to use corn syrup - let one buy the cursed stuff.  For the pan, I lined a 9 x 13 metal baking dish with foil and sprayed the foil with a bit of non-stick spray.  I like this method for bars - it makes them so much easier to cut. 

These turned out great.  Once cooled, I cut them into bite-sized pieces, since they're so rich, and Mr. Higgins gobbled them up.  I liked them too, despite not ever being a pecan pie fan.  I will say that they were so much better after they'd had adequate time in the refrigerator to get completely chilled.

So, this is a keeper and a recipe I will doubtlessly be asked to make again - and again.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Post-STS 12-Weeks: Week 10

Time is flying by and this is week 4 - and the last week - of my 4 Day Split grouping!  I've enjoyed it but I'm ready to move on.

This should be a fairly healthy week of eating, which is much needed.  Every little bit helps before the holiday season!

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

I've almost begun to like this step workout....but there are still some combinations that I just can't get my feet to do.  Sigh.  The weights are a challenge - shoulder presses have never been easy for me and this workout makes you do a lot of them!  At lunch, I walked at the rec center.  It's always nice to get away from the computer and today, especially, since I had a bad headache.  Even with the headache, I managed a nice YWA.  Such a productive day!

Tuesday: Cathe's Trisets Legs Live + walk + YWA

For legs, I decided to do something different today.  Trisets!  And boy, could I tell a difference!  My legs were shaking at the end of this workout!  I could barely make it through the third sets of exercises!  Ouch!  Cathe sure knows how to work you!  At lunch, I walked again at the rec center, knowing the week is going to get busier and busier.  Best to get it done while I can!  This yoga was really nice - calm and soothing after a long, hard day.

Wednesday: Cathe's 4 Day Split: Higher Intensity Step + XTrain Cardio Legs + YWA

So, I just couldn't do this workout again.  It just wasn't doing it for me.  So, I did the warm-up and then switched to the cardio blasts in this XTrain workout.  (Cathe's Workout Blender makes this super easy to do.)   They were super effective and challenged me much more than the step. I then switched back to the 4 Day Split for weights - back and chest.  I upped my weights and got a really good workout.  After work, I did this shorter YWA - to stretch a bit and decompress.

Thursday: Cathe's X10

Okay, so I really need to NOT do the hardest workout of the workweek on Thursday.  I'm just too tired by Thursday morning!  I somehow got through this workout but I don't know how.  I did the warm up, cardio blast, hi/lo, and low-impact.  The cardio blast was a challenge, for sure.  My heart rate stayed in my training zone for the entirety of this workout.  Whew!  But, really, maybe I'll switch these cardio workouts to Tuesday.   

Friday: Barrett's Crunch Super Slim Down: Pilates Yoga Blend

Because of a crazy work day ahead, I had to cut my morning workout short.  I got 25 minutes of this workout done, which was good to get my going.  Ellen Barrett is so nice to work out with!

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

I was looking forward to kickboxing today!  This workout is fun but demanding.   I worked up quite a sweat....and then it was time for blasts with the ICE bonus.  Wow.  My heart rate really ratcheted up, though this isn't a crazy intense HIIT workout or anything.  After that, I did the leg weights and finished up Monday's shoulder work.  And, then, finally, abs.  I was so tired after all that.  I stretched and was done.

Sunday: Cathe's 4 Day Split: Boot Camp

This boot camp workout isn't my favorite but it's got a lot of variety, which I like. Cathe's workouts sometimes lack variety but this early one has it!  I added on an additional 5 minutes of cardio.  Then, weights - biceps and triceps with this workout, and I finished Wednesday's chest and back work.  Then, ten minutes of abs.  I felt rushed but still managed to stretch.  

Calorie Counts:

I did really well Monday through Wednesday.  Thursday was a bit abnormal and Friday was very abnormal.  The weekend wasn't horrible but it wasn't great.  Oy.

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!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Post-STS 12-Weeks: Week 6

I really liked my first week of Cathe's Low Impact Series (LIS).  Only one more week of these great workouts before I have new workouts to try!

This week and next week will be especially hard on the diet.  It's my birthday and because of out-of-town family, the festivities will be longer than a day.  And then, a long weekend trip will throw everything out of whack.  But first, a normal workout week...

Monday: Cathe's LIS Total Body Tri-Sets: Upper + walk + YWA

I couldn't remember this workout when I started it at 5:30am....  It was a bit of a rough morning due to a headache.  But I quickly got into this and enjoyed it!  I didn't even really mind the push-ups all that much. Amazing!  At lunch, I hadn't intended on walking but I did - outside, because the weather was perfect.  My heart rate went up and stayed up for 25 minutes.  After work, I did this new YWA that really worked the core.  Nice!

Tuesday:  Cathe's LIS Total Body Tri-Sets Lower + yoga

Wow, so this lower body workout is definitely tough; last week's session was no fluke.  I can't believe that I can feel so much pain after all the Cathe workouts I've done.  But this one leaves me in pain.  I just hope it doesn't last as long as last week's pain!  Dang!  And just like last week, my heart rate stayed up - in my "peak" zone - so this counted as cardio as well as weights!  At the end of the day, I did a short yoga flow - my own - to stretch out those tired leg muscles!  

Wednesday: Michelle's Peak 10 More Cardio Interval Burn

Cardio this morning!  Michelle got me up and going super fast this morning!  Ha!  As is my morning norm, I didn't do the peaks.  But this is still a great cardio workout!  And I love Michelle; her enthusiasm is contagious.  These CIBs are great to throw into Cathe-heavy weeks because the cardio is so different from Cathe's.  And you need both kinds!

Thursday: Cathe's LIS Cardio Supersets + walk + YWA

My stomach was not happy this morning so this workout was a challenge.  I lost about 5 minutes due to running to the bathroom.  Fun.  This is a good low-impact workout but it doesn't keep my heart rate as high as Afterburn.  At lunch, I walked outside since it was gorgeous out, again.  I wish the weather would always be this nice!  After work, I did this YWA, which is really, really good.  It gets you moving and has a nice rhythm.  

Friday: Dozois' Peak 10 Dynamic Flexibility + Core Dynamics

Dynamic Flexibility really is the perfect recovery workout.  Michelle makes you move to get nice and warm and before you know it, you're nice and stretched.  All those muscles that worked hard all week get a nice recovery.  After that 30 minutes, I did 10 minutes of Core Dynamics, which is never easy.  I think my abs are doing better but parts of this were still challenging.  Oy!

Saturday: Cathe's LIS Afterburn + Turbo Barre

I was actually looking forward to Afterburn today!  And it was just as good as last week!  I don't have sliding discs so those moves were high impact for me but I didn't mind.  It was a great workout and mostly low impact!  After that 45 minutes, I did the legwork in Turbo Barre...and it was just as agonizingly painful as last week.  OMG!  As much as it hurts and I hate it at the time, I know it's doing something to my body so it's okay....after the fact.  Ha!  That torture lasted for 35 minutes and then I did ten minutes of abs and stretching.  A great morning!

Sunday: Cathe's Crossfire + Turbo Barre + YWA

So the original Crossfire is just a bit easier than the Express Crossfire Live, which I did last week.  The difference was 180 jumps - blessedly absent from the original.  But it's still a tough workout and my heart rate stayed sky high for a long time.  That lasted 45 minutes. After that, I did the rest of Turbo Barre, except for the weighted arms exercises - but I did the push-ups, tricep dips, planks, and ab work.  Whew!  I stretched a bit and then did this lovely but short YWA.  A good birthday workout!

Calorie Counts:

I had three really good days this week and with the birthday festivities, that was all I could manage.  Sigh.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Cathe Friedrich: Gym Style Chest and Triceps (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!

Coming off of Cathe's STS program, the style of these Gym Style videos was a shock to my body.  There's very little rest between exercises and you work on one group of muscles until complete and utter (shaking!) exhaustion.

Chest and Triceps was the hardest of the Gym Style DVDs.  Why?  Because you start with drop sets of push-ups.  You do a total of 72 push-ups.  I was so proud of myself for getting through all of them....  Only, you have to use those same muscles for the rest of the workout and you just exhausted them.  Seriously.  I could barely lift anything after those push-ups and I had to turn around and do chest presses.

So do not expect to lift as heavy as in STS.  Your muscles are just too worn out.  By the time I got to triceps, my chest muscles were shaking so much that my triceps could barely work.  Ouch!

This workout is 48 minutes long and contains a warm-up and stretch.  You need dumbbells, a step (not really required), a barbell (I used only dumbbells), and a resistance band.  Every single chest and tricep muscle will be worked to the point of exhaustion.  This is a very difficult workout.  But.  It's one of the best I've ever encountered.

Bottom Line: If you are serious about gaining muscle, this is one of the most effective workouts on the market today.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Post-STS 12-Weeks: Week 5

Okay, moving on from Gym Style workouts, it's time for a change: two weeks of Cathe's Low Impact Series.  I'm excited to try something new!  

Cathe designed this 12-week rotation to keep your muscles healthy and happy after STS.  It makes sense, after 4 weeks of hard work, to take it down a notch with some low-impact work.  I'm going to add in a high impact workout or two, juts to keep things interesting!

Monday: Cathe's Low Impact Series (LIS): Cardio Supersets + YWA

Yay, new workouts!  This morning, I tuned into Cardio Supersets for the very first time.  It was good - but a change, for sure.  Some of the moves required hand weights to increase the intensity.  There was also a lot of floor work, which is always a challenge.  I jumped on some of the moves where Cathe uses sliding disks.  But otherwise, this was a great low-impact workout.  After a very long day of work, I managed to squeeze in this short YWA.  It wasn't much but I'll always take whatever YWA I can get!

Tuesday: Cathe's LIS: Total Body Tri-Sets - Upper + walk + YWA

Upper body today, though I was still sore from the weekend's chest and tricep work.  Ouch!  This LIS workout was different, in a good way.  I love new weighted exercises - the same ones get boring.  So this was a good morning, though I would have preferred fewer push-ups. Ha!  At lunch, I walked at the rec center and did some ab work.  Finally, after an especially tiring day at work, I did this YWA.  It was good and really stretched out my legs!

Wednesday: Cathe's LIS: Total Body Tri-Sets - Lower + walk + YWA

Yay, lower body work!  This was a good leg workout and definitely different than the others I've done from Cathe.  And I always like new moves!  One, in particular, I couldn't master.  You stand on one foot, squat, put a weight down, put the other weight down, and then pick them up, all while doing squats on one leg.  I just did single leg squats while holding weights. At lunch, I walked at the rec again, and did ab work, again.  Fun.  This YWA was the perfect length once I got home from work.  A good way to end the day!

Thursday: Dozois' Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn

I can't adequately say how tired I was this morning.  Working out did not sound doable but Michelle got me going....  Slowly.  I soon learned just how much my bum was worked yesterday because it was screaming!  At least I know it got a good workout!  Ha!  Since the temps are slowly dropping here in Texas, the house is cooler in the mornings.  That really helps me get through this type of challenging cardio!

Friday:  YWA + abs

Ah, a rest day.  I love it when I can do yoga on a rest day.  It's the perfect amount of work!  This YWA is from Adriene's Yoga Revolution, which I did in January.  It was perfect for a morning workout because Adriene really eases you into the whole moving thing.  Ha!  After that 30 minutes, I did 10 minutes of abs.  At lunch, I walked outside for 20 minutes - but nothing taxing.

Saturday: Cathe's Cross Fire Express Live + LIS Turbo Barre (arms + planks)

Wow.  So, this Cross Fire workout was hard.  My legs were still aching from Wednesday so all the jumps were torture.  I made it through, though I modified one or two moves....but my heart was pounding like crazy.  After this 35 minutes, I did the weighted arm work in Turbo Barre along with the push-ups, tricep dips, and planks.  Whew!  Upon watching a preview for Turbo Barre, I thought the arms would be easy.  But, no!  I used 8 lb weights and had to take a few breaks, this hurt so much! 

Sunday: Cathe's LIS Afterburn + Turbo Barre

Yay, low impact!  I was worried about my heart rate staying elevated but I'm learning something....  These workouts, like Afterburn, that alternate a cardio move and a weighted move really keep my heart pounding.  And it was so this morning - even with the low impact moves.  After that 45 minutes of cardio, I did 40 of Turbo Barre - the leg and ab portion.  OMG.  This leg work is crazy intense.  I was in so much pain.  Anyone who thinks barre is easy has obviously never done it - or done it correctly.  Because, ouch!

Calorie Counts:

I ate really well Monday through Thursday.  Then I blew it on the weekend for football.  Oh, well.