Monday, February 27, 2017

Combat Challenge #4: Week Eight

My last week of Combat!  Crazy!

The Challenge had to end a few weeks before our cruise due to not wanting to pay for another month (March) of streaming Les Mills.  One annoying thing that's different with the payment this year - I'm getting charged an international transaction fee every time because LM is in Australia.  Arg. 

Oh, well.  I really enjoy Combat, outside of Grit.  And I can't wait to do it again sometime!

Monday:  Les Mills' Sh'Bam #14 + walk + YWA

My upper ankle/lower leg was still sore today so I made this Sh'Bam as low-impact as possible.  It was still a lot of fun!  I always miss Sh'Bam when a Combat Challenge ends.  At lunch, I walked for 20 minutes or so outside.  Actually, there was a lot of walking today as we had meetings around campus.  After work, I did a nice YWA - focusing on hips and hamstrings.  I was very stretched out by the end!

Tuesday:  Les Mills' Combat #60 + The Gymbox Extreme Cardio + weights + YWA

Still a bit sore today but I needed to power through.  Combat was fun - and the leg portion was painful!  Ha!  To finish up my morning, I tuned into The Gymbox for some more intense cardio.  Ashli's workout was good - and not too intense for my leg.  I was sweating up a storm by the end of it.  At lunch, I did weights at the rec center.  Hate it!  After work, I did a quick yoga - Adriene's street yoga - to stretch a bit.

Wednesday: The Gymbox Extreme Cardio  

I was meant to do my last - hooray! - Grit this morning.  But my leg/ankle was still a bit sore so I decided to do something else.  Dana's Extreme Cardio looked good....but it was harder than it appeared!  Dang!  I'm learning that Dana is good - but difficult...or extreme.  Ha!  She works you hard and it's non-stop.  So this was good on a morning when I needed HIIT circuits but not as crazy as Grit.  And my heart rate was soaring.  Good!

Thursday: REST

Travel day for work.  I had intended to do yoga, like a Friday "off" day, but that didn't happen.

Friday: treadmill + elliptical

In Chicago, at the hotel, I got up at my normal time and went to the fitness room - a first for me.  I did 20 minutes on the treadmill, with an incline.  Then, 40 minutes on the elliptical, a machine I hadn't stepped on to in over 10 years.  Ha!  It wasn't easy going for 40 minutes but I pushed and was so proud of myself for getting it done.  After that, a stretch, ab work, and a bit of yoga in my hotel room.

Saturday:  Peak 10 Cardio Strength Remix + The Gymbox Cardio Dance + YWA

Back home and tired today.  But I needed to work out and was determined to do it all.  I got through CS Remix....but it was not easy.  So much floor work in this one!  But I kept going and soon, it was over!  After that 55 minutes, I did 15 minutes of Michelle Stringham's Cardio Dance.  It was alright.  It made me move for a bit longer, which was what I needed.  After all that, some ab work and a short YWA.

Sunday: Les Mills' BodyCombat #65 + BodyAttack #93

My last weekend of Les Mills.  So sad.  I tuned into Combat #65  I don't think my bum and legs have hurt so much in quite some time.  It was exacerbated by my Squat Challenge which is now, finally, being felt in my bum.  So Combat was a bit painful today. This one was, by far, the hardest I've done.  After that 45 minutes of pain, I tuned into Attack - a new one! - for my last 15 minutes of cardio.  I do like Attack - but it was difficult after Combat today.  After all that, I stretched - my bum! - for a solid 10 minutes and called it a day.

Calorie Counts:

This week was not good, especially with my trip to Chicago thrown in.  Besides that, we had a birthday lunch at work.  Sigh.  Before all of that, I got on the scale, confident that I had lost some weight....and nope.  None.   Zero.  I'm so depressed, downtrodden, and deflated.  Once home from Chicago, I ate really well over the weekend.  And, by Sunday, I felt skinny again.  I guess that'll have to do.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Lord John and the Private Matter

I hadn't planned on reading Diana Gabaldon's Lord John novels, an off-shoot of her Outlander series.  But a friend said that these short novels are worth the read.  I purchased Lord John and the Private Matter, opened it up, and had no idea what to expect.

My Goodreads review:

This short novel is an interesting addition to the Outlander series. I must admit, though, that I was unsure about liking Lord John enough to read additional material regarding him. This novel may have changed my mind. I look forward to reading about his other adventures.

A short review, I know.  I did enjoy learning more about Lord John and his family.  And from a medical history stand-point, some facets of this novel were truly interesting.  

If you love Outlander, you'll definitely enjoy reading this novel.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Combat Challenge #4: Week Seven

Week seven, here we go!  

I'm feeling better about my weight, though I haven't weighed.  But you know how it is - you feel right.  And, when jumping around during workouts, your belly doesn't jiggle anymore.  Ha!

Monday: Jari's Get Extremely Ripped! 1000 Hardcore + short walk + YWA

My weight schedule is messed up this week, so weights on Monday and Wednesday.  Jari's workout is definitely tough - the weights and the cardio seem never-ending when you're in the middle of them.  But I got through it.  At lunch, I took a 15-minute walk outside, needing to get away from the office.  In the evening, I did this 19-minute YWA, all about the revolved side angle pose.  Dang, my legs were burning!  

Tuesday: Les Mills' Combat #61 + BodyAttack #92 + walk

Valentine's Day and nothing was going right, straight out of bed.  But I got into this Combat and it was good!  And challenging!  Lots of lunges.  Dang!  After that finished, I tuned into a bit of BodyAttack.  The instructors in these seem to move so fast that I feel like I can't keep up.  So it's a great workout!  At lunch, I walked at the rec center and did some ab work.  I love productive lunches!

Wednesday: Les Mills' Sh'Bam #16 and 14 + walk + Les Mills' BodyFlow #70

I wasn't feeling great this it was a good thing that Sh'Bam was on the agenda.  It's so much fun!  I vaguely remembered some of these routines from last time so that was good.  At lunch, I walked outside for about 20 minutes.   I'd meant to do weights, but wasn't feeling up to it (which is saying something, for me).  In the evening, I decided to do a bit of Flow, instead of YWA, since my Les Mills subscription will soon run out.

Thursday: Les Mills' Grit #14 + Trainer Pass cardio + walk

As usual, I was dreading this Grit...but it wasn't too bad, all things considered.  I skipped most of the floor work in favor of additional standing cardio.  After that finished up, I tuned into Trainer Pass for some additional cardio to finish off my morning.  It was alright.  I'm still on the fence with that website. At lunch, I walked outside for 25 minutes.  A lovely day!

Friday: Les Mills' BodyFlow #71 + weights + YWA

Today was a good day.  Friday!  I did 40ish minutes of Flow - which was nicely 55 minutes long.   It stared with Tai Chi, which was different - but good!  At lunch, I got to the rec center to do weights.  I hate weights.  But at least it got done for the week.  Then, after work and a medical test, I did 30 minutes of Adriene's gentle yoga.  It was nice but I was feeling it in my arms after weights.  

Saturday: Les Mills' Combat #66 + BodyAttack #91 + YWA

At this point in an 8-week Challenge, workouts start to get a bit boring - such as Combat 60 and Combat 60 Live.  So for the next two weeks, I'll do a 55-minute streaming Combat instead.  Today it was #66 - and it was good.  Very fun and not easy.  Ha!  After that 50 minutes (of cardio), I tuned into an Attack, which is guaranteed to spike my heart rate.  Whew!  I did #91 for 25 minutes and could hardly stand by the end.  I stretched and did a short YWA.  

Sunday:  The Gymbox Extreme Cardio + Legs and Shoulders + weights + YWA

I needed something different today.  One of my ankles was hurting a bit so I didn't want to go too hard for too long.  I decided to try one of Kaycee's cardio workouts on The Gymbox.  It ran for 45 minutes and spiked my heart rate with some new and different - and not crazy - moves.  It was good!  After that, I did a 25 minute weight class with Dana, focusing on legs and shoulders.  Holy cow, my legs were aching!  Then, some stretching and some work with the 12-pound weights.  And, finally, a short YWA.  

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1172
Tuesday - bad
Wednesday - 1218
Thursday - bad
Friday - 1162
Saturday - 1668
Sunday - 1260

Ugh.  Not a great week.  Valentine's Day led to too many calories....and eating out with a friend on Thursday meant even more unexpected calories.  I have to do better.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

Combat Challenge #4: Week Six

I can't believe I'm entering into week six of this Combat Challenge!  Time flies when you're having fun and sweating way too much!  Ha!

It's been fun, this past week, to discover what The Gymbox has to offer as far as streaming workouts.  They have tons of workouts, of all types.  So far, I've liked what I've done.  

Also new this week, starting on Tuesday: a 30-Day Squat Challenge!  Come do it with me!  Let's all squat till our bums burn!  

Monday: Les Mills' Grit #12 + BodyAttack #91 + The Gymbox's Cardio Dance + YWA

I was not feeling well this morning but by the evening, I was ready to burn some serious calories after splurging on bad food all weekend.  To start off, I did a newer Grit - crazy tough but definitely effective.  My heart rate was crazy high!  Then, BodyAttack, which is pure aerobic exercise that never stops.  After that 45 minutes, I wanted more - but something lighter.  So I tried a dance workout on Gymbox - and really liked it.  It was the right impact - mainly low with some high impact stuff, but not too much.  I did 35 minutes of that 60-minute workout.  Whew.  And I wasn't done - I did a lovely YWA, focusing on the liver.  Talk about a great workout day!

Tuesday: Jari Love's Get Extremely Ripped 1000 + walk + YWA

It had been awhile since I'd touched a Jari workout so this was a nice change today.  And Ripped 1000 is fun - it alternates cardio and strength so you don't feel overwhelmed by either one.  At lunch, I walked outside for 25 minutes.  Another 80 degree day in February here in Texas!  After work, I did this 19-minute YWA flow....very nice.  It heated up my body and allowed me to let the day go.  Ha!  

Wednesday:  Les Mills' Sh'Bam #17 + walk + YWA

Nothing to dread this morning because it's Sh'Bam day!  I remembered parts of this Sh'Bam....but not all because I did the new 45-minute edition this morning.  So nice!  I couldn't do the entire thing but I got through 35-40 minutes of it before stretching.  At lunch, I walked outside again - it was just too nice to pass up.  Cooler today and lovely!  I was super sore today so I did Adriene's yoga for a sore body.  It was good!  

Thursday:  Les Mills' Combat #62 + The Gymbox's Extreme Cardio + weights + YWA

Combat today!  Number 62 was a fun routine. All those punches really got my heart rate up.  Whew!  After that 25 minutes, I tuned into one of Ashli's workouts on Gymbox.  It consisted of intervals that ended with a plyometric move, meant to spike your heart rate.  Mine wasn't quite spiking but it was a good workout.  At lunch, I forced myself to the rec to do weights. They weren't nearly as painful as last week, thank goodness!

Friday: Les Mills' BodyFlow #72 + walk

Yay, my light day: Friday!  I switched things up today with some yoga from Les Mills.  There's definitely no emphasis on meditation with Les Mills, but you get a good workout!  At lunch, I walked for about 20 minutes outside.  

Saturday: Cathe's Cardio Core Circuit + The Gymbox's Extreme Cardio with weights + YWA

I was really dreading Cathe's workout.....  But I got through it.  I was impressed with my fitness level: some circuits that used to really challenge me seemed a lot more doable today.  Cool!  After that 45 minutes, I tuned into one of Michelle's (not Dozois) workout on The Gymbox - it has cardio and weights.  Pretty good with circuits alternating a cardio move and a weighted move.  That lasted for 30 minutes.  I then did Adriene's 25-minute gentle yoga practice.  Nice!

Sunday:  Les Mills' Combat 60 Live - Extreme Cardio Fighter + The Gymbox's Cardio Dance + yoga

So I was a bit tired today.  I did all of Combat 60 - which amounts to 45 minutes of cardio.  I then tuned into Jenny's dance workout on GB.  It was a good - a bit complicated but easy to learn with repetition.  I did 20 minutes of that and then went back to Flow #72 from Friday and did the opening 7-minute sequence of sun salutations and dragon flow.  Love it!  And, finally, a stretch and abs.

Calorie Counts:

Monday - BAD
Tuesday - 1170
Wednesday - 1182
Thursday - 1147
Friday - 1194
Saturday - a bit bad
Sunday - 1330

I probably ate around 1600 calories on Saturday but I really enjoyed it.  Fajitas with my BFF at one of our favorite places.  And that's what you have to balance while on a strict diet - not depriving yourself of experiences because you're worried about a few calories.  That being said, I didn't weight this week after all the bad food last weekend.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Lazy Cats

Oh, the life of a cat.  Especially a spoiled house cat.  

Dooku loves his kitty shack.  That may me the actual name of this ingenious contraption, I don't know.  But in the winter, he lives in this thing - or on top of it.

Sidious, when she's not on Mr. Higgins, loves a bit of sunlight.  And she loves bathing at 500 decibels in the sunlight.  Ha!

Why do these fur balls have to be so cute!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Combat Challenge #4: Week Five

This week, Yoga Revolution ends.  I'm so sad!  But!  Adriene has tons of videos online so I plan to do 3-4 every week to keep my yoga vibe going strong!  

Combat is still fun and enjoyable.  But this week is dark for another reason: the end of FitnessGlo.  I can't tell you how sad this makes me.  Glo was such a great resource and now, as of Wednesday, it's gone.  Forever.  Sigh.

Monday: Les Mills' Sh'Bam #18 + Ilyse's Groovy Dance Party + walk

This Sh'Bam is one of my favorites.  Every time I do a Challenge, this one makes me smile.  Ha!  After that 30 minutes, I tuned into Ilyse's workout - one last time.  Sigh.  I love this one and it's been my go-to filler when I needed an extra 10-15 minutes of cardio.  I'll miss it, for sure.  At lunch, I took a 20 minute walk outside.  It was a beautiful day!

Tuesday:  Dozois' Tip Top Shape (Glo) + walk

The last day of my last workout was one with Michelle.  Of course.  She's the reason I subscribed.  Sigh.  I'm so bummed.  And I'm so bummed about Yoga Revolution ending today - but at least there's tons of Adriene videos on her site.  So this morning was good: weights with Michelle and a low-impact workout. Then, at lunch, I walked the track at the rec center.  

Wednesday: Les Mills' Combat #63 + Trainer Pass' Cardio with Emily Welsh (BEMax) + walk

I'm doing Combat today since I'll have to do Saturday's Combat on Friday...  And I didn't want to do them two days in a row.  It's all good except that means putting Grit off a day, which means I have longer to dread it.  Ha!  This was a fun Combat - very energizing with some tough leg work.  After that, I tried a TrainerPass workout.  It was alright - good cardio for the last 15 minutes of my morning workout.  I walked outside for 20-25 minutes at lunch today; it was so gorgeous outside!

Thursday: Les Mills' Grit #3 + BodyAttack #92 + weights

Oh, what fun today!  I had to start with Grit.  Ugh.  At least this one is getting more doable as the weeks get on.  I can't say it's not a great workout....  It's just not fun.  After that, I did 15 minutes of BodyAttack, which is very much like old-school aerobics.  I can't lie: I was exhausted not long after starting this.  But I made it through.  At lunch, I did weights at the rec.  It was harder today, for some reason.  Ugh.

Friday: Les Mills' Combat 60 - Extreme Cardio Fighter

Time for my Saturday workout, early this week.  I couldn't get through it all but 45 minutes was enough for a great workout.  I'm almost tempted to not do any more of the Combat 60 DVDs, instead focusing on the streaming workouts....  But I'll do one more round of Combat 60 Live, I think.  

Saturday:  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn - Fat Blaster + Extreme Cardio (Gymbox) with weights + YWA

Even though we had company in town, I was able to get in a workout today.  I did all of CIB - FB, which is 55 minutes long.  I almost died about 15 minutes into the workout, but then I found a groove.  Whew.  I then tuned into The Gymbox, which I'm trying out.  Some of their Extreme Cardio workouts use weights so I chose one that was low-impact and weighted (25 minutes long).  It was alright.  I finished off my workout with Adriene's 6-minute core workout.  (I'm going to try to log my YWA workouts on here from now on.) A good day!

Sunday: REST

Forced rest with company in town.

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1192
Tuesday - 1280
Wednesday - 1418
Thursday - 1169
Friday - BAD
Saturday - BAD
Sunday - BAD

Not a great week and then a horrible weekend.  This was my last time to cheat (for more than a meal) until our vacation in mid-March.  I have to be better from now on!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Summer Before the War

It took me forever but I finally finished my book group's pick for January - The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson.

Here is my Goodreads review:

My book group chose this book and once I read that it compared to "Downton Abbey," I was interested.

That being said, it took me quite a while to get into this novel. The characters, all British and all a bit stuffy, were difficult to fully understand. But slowly, as the novel progressed, the characters seemed to bloom and my reading speed picked up. 

Beatrice kept my attention as her story is one that any modern woman can relate to. Daniel seemed the stereotypical poet but soon displayed nice layers of depth. Hugh was a bit harder to like due to his stubbornness but soon I came around.