Monday, May 29, 2017

Post-Vacation Workout Week

We're back from a wonderful cruise out of Tampa, which really impressed us.  With all the fun came many drinks and a lot of unhealthy food.  Frankly, I'm terrified to step on the scale - so I'm not going to.

Before my Cathe STS rotation, I have a week to lose some of this weight.  We arrived home on Saturday night and I was up, working out, on Sunday morning....

Sunday: Dozois' Rockin Body Cardio + YWA

I felt bloated and heavy-footed this morning as I tuned into my traditional back-from-vacation workout, an older Michelle Dozois video.  It's a lot of fun, with old school aerobics but Michelle definitely challenges you with a lot of squats and jumping.  After that 45 minutes, I did my own cardio for 15 more to get up to 60 minutes.  Yay!  Then, a nice stretch, some sit-ups (oy), and a YWA (ah).

Monday: Shape's Bikini Body Camp Transforming + Mallett's Leg and Booty Shaper + YWA

Back to work and to harder workouts.  This workout, in which Dozois leads a cardio segment, is a good pre-cursor to advanced workouts.  It works you hard....but not too hard. After that 25 minutes, I did Mallett's BeFit streaming video.  I expected more barre than what this video provided - a lot of squats and lunges - but it was definitely effective.  After work, I did a nice, calming YWA - all about stretching.  Just what I needed!

Tuesday: Cathe's Cardio Circuit Mashup

Though I'd done this workout before, I didn't remember it.  Some of these workouts are just too similar to remember. But it felt good to do weights and all the squats were felt later in the day.  Ouch!  I like some of Cathe's compound exercises - they really help to make the workout more interesting!  No yoga today - life happened and kept from away from the mat.  Sigh.

Wednesday: Mallett's Fuse Dance Cardio Lean + Mallet's Fuse Dance Cardio Melt + walk + YWA

I have a new DVD!  This is the first new DVD in a long time!  I found Tracey Mallett's Fuse Dance for a really good price and bought it. This morning, I tried out the 25-minute cardio section.  Dang!  Talk about working the legs and booty!  After that ended, I did another Fuse Dance online - that one was a bit more fun and less painful.  LOL!  At lunch, I walked outside, enjoying a rare cool day. After work, I did a lovely YWA for lower back pain.  I've had a bit of pain there lately.

Thursday: PeakFit Pure Cardio

Cardio morning!  Unfortunately, I woke up - after a horrible night of tossing and turning - with what appeared to be a cold. I told myself to get through this workout and tomorrow is my rest day....  And I got through it.  And it's so much fun!  I love this workout and I like doing it outside of a Peak 10 Challenge - much less stress!  At lunch, I walked to a cafe and back - so 20 minutes total of activity.

Friday:  YWA + Popsugar 10-Minute Barre Abs Workout 

I still felt sick this morning but I could that meant I could do yoga!  Once I got to forward fold and everything went to my head, I thought I was going to die.  But it got easier.  And I love Adriene and it's just so good.  After that, however, this barre workout almost really killed me.  Dang!  I couldn't even do a few of these - my abs just refused.  Ha!  But I still got a great workout.  No additional workouts today as I felt icky.

Saturday: Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn - Fat Blaster + YWA

My workout got pushed to the afternoon today and it wasn't too bad, doing it then.  I love this CIB that Michelle Dozois put together.  It's so much  - and a serious conditioning challenge.  You never stop going and going and going...  But it's fun!  After that hour of non-stop action, I did some ab work and then a nice YWA.  I love tacking on yoga after a hard workout - it soothes my mind and my muscles!

Sunday: Cathe's Rock It Sock It Live + Pauline Nordin's Butt Bible Lower Body Level 1

I had on my schedule to do a Cardio Strength today....  But I start STS tomorrow with arms so I didn't want to do any weights today.  Kickboxing sounded great and I hadn't seen this workout on Cathe Live until today so I did it.  And it was a lot of fun!  Lots of kickboxing and drills and then plain cardio for ten minutes at the end.  Very nice!  After that 50-minute video, I did my first of many Butt Bible workouts.  More on the later, but dang!  It doesn't take much to get those glutes screaming and mine were screaming in the first 5 minutes of this 20-minute workout.  This bodes well for the Butt Bible series!

Calorie Counts:

Sunday - 1264
Monday - 1264
Tuesday - 1395
Wednesday - 1353
Thursday - 1255
Friday - 1199
Saturday - 1389
Sunday - BAD

I'm upping my calories and only eating under 1200 a few days a week now.  Maybe not even more than one day.  I'm trying to figure out what it takes to make my body lose weight. We'll see if more weights and more calories works.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Empress Of The Seas

We've just returned from a lovely cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's smallest and oldest ship, Empress of the Seas.  We're veteran cruises, as you know, so we were curious about this ship, which Royal Caribbean sold and bought back in order to go to Cuba.

We did not go to Cuba.  We went to Mexico!  And the ship was very nice.  It had everything that makes us happy - shade outside and quiet places with windows inside.  It boasts the largest Schooner Bar in the fleet.  The other bar, Bolero's, was gorgeously unique: I loved the colors - yellow, white, and black - and the Cuban theme.

The pool was small - but it's a small ship.  The three hot tubs were very nice and many people seemed to enjoy them.  The quality of the TV screen outside far surpassed that of Royal Princess' screen.  And the full length promenade deck was awesome - except for the smokers who rarely stayed on the smoking side. 

The food was outstanding!  They had shrimp in the buffet at least twice and ceviche once.  They also had sushi in there, crepes, fish burgers...  All were delicious (that I tried!).  

Alll ships have character and charm.  Never be afraid to try a small one!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Cathe Live Review

Cathe Friedrich - or just Cathe - has been a giant in the home-fitness world for years and years.  As an at-home fitness addict, I've known about her for a long time but her videos always seemed to require way too much equipment.  Even her cardio almost always requires a step.  

Several years ago, I bought two of her DVDs - Intensity and Cardio Core Circuit.  Both are very good workouts but they're so intense, I dread doing them.  And neither has much fun-factor.

Fast forward to late last year when I learned that Cathe streams her live workouts from her gym in New Jersey.  She posts about one a week and, with a $10/month subscription, you can watch any of them at any time.  There are over a hundred.

Cathe is more fun in her Live workouts - in my opinion.  You begin to recognize the regulars in her classes as you keep doing the videos and that's always fun.  It makes you feel like you're in the room with them.  One of the biggest pluses is that she gives you water breaks in her Live workouts, unlike in her DVDs - because she needs them.  This is a big deal.

The sheer breadth of workout types in these Live videos is incredible - strength training, cardio endurance, kickboxing, HIIT, metabolic circuits (cardio + weights), cycling, barre, abs....  Many of the workouts take on the same format as her DVDs - for example, there's a Cardio Core Circuit Live.  

Other advantages to Cathe Live is just exploring the website.  There's a great forum in which you can ask Cathe lovers any question about any workout or any fitness/health problem you have.  Cathe's blog is great.  She is so smart and intelligent about all things fitness- you can tell she does her research.  This makes me respect her more and more.  Also, she provides you with rotations for her DVDs.  This is really good if you're not inspired and need direction for your at-home workouts.  

If I have a complaint about Cathe Live it's Cathe's workout style.  Most of her cardio is predictable - she draws upon the same moves over and over.  And it's not at all dance-y.  That's a plus for most people, but I like dance - and the style of Michelle Dozois more.  However, I see the advantages to Cathe's dynamic style - results, especially in the legs.  Her workouts sculpt your body.  This is something to consider. 

Bottom Line: Cathe Live is a great resource for any home exerciser or any Cathe lover.  There's also an option on her site to subscripe to Cathe On Demand, with which you have access to every DVD she's ever recorded (for $20/month - which also includes access to the Cathe Live workouts).

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cathe Challenge: Week Eight

My last week of Cathe!  And not even a full week: we leave on Saturday morning for our cruise!!  Eek!

It's been a fun eight weeks with Cathe.  I've really gotten to know her style better - and seen the benefits of that style.  Look for a review soon.

Monday: Cathe's Gloved Up and Ready + YWA

Ugh, Mondays are always hard - and even harder when you don't sleep well.  And I didn't.  But today was kickboxing and that made me happy.  This workout contained some fun punching combos and plenty of cardio intervals to keep my heart pounding.  My one complaint: this workout, like some of Cathe's other kickboxing workouts, had no kicks.  None.  I like kicks; I want to kick!  After work, I did a nice YWA from Yoga Revolution.

Tuesday: The Gymbox's Extreme Cardio + weights + YWA

This morning, it was time for mega cardio with Ashli.  She always works you hard and this workout was no exception.  You jump so much in her workouts!  I skipped some of the mid-workout ab work and did cardio instead - I don't like integrated ab work.  But other than that, it was good!  At lunch, I did weights at the rec center.  So glad to have that over with - again!  After work, I did this 33-minute YWA for relaxation and it was so lovely!  I love stretchy yoga!

Wednesday: The Gymbox's Extreme Cardio + Tracey Mallett's Core Conditioning + YWA

I needed low impact this morning so I combined two of Dana's low-impact circuit workouts to get a full 45 minutes in this morning.  And though these were low-impact, I worked hard - lots of squats and lunges.  Dana does not disappoint!  At lunch, I walked outside for 20 minutes - though not too fast as I was trying to not go too hard.  And at the end of the day, I did Adriene's Freedom Flow, which was much more intense than I remembered.  I got all hot and sweaty!  And following that up with Mallett's core workout did not help the sweat factor!

Thursday: Cathe's Metabolic Mashup 

So this morning, I decided to do all weights.  I haven't done a pure strength video in some time so I thought I was due.  Cathe's Mashup was tough!  I used only my 8-pound weights and could barely finish some exercises, there were so many reps!   My arms ached on my drive into at least I know they were working hard!  At lunch, I walked outside again - but nothing too fast or crazy.  After-work commitments meant no YWA.

Friday:  Cathe's 80s Style Cardio with Low Impact Blasts Live + walk

This was my second time doing this Cathe Live workout and I liked it a lot more this time around.  It seemed easier than before so maybe my fitness level has improved.  Or maybe I was just happy to have something different for a change, rather than Cathe's normal circuits.  Anyway, it made for a good morning.  At lunch, I walked around outside - getting some good exercise.  And that was good because my diet was blown today because of work!

Saturday - Sunday: vacation

Friday, May 12, 2017

More Cathe to Come!

I've been reading a lot about thyroid stuff, metabolic conditions, and calories.  When I recently asked my endocrinologist about workouts, she suggested a do 50/50 cardio/weights.  I'm sure not doing that now; I do a lot of cardio, as you can tell.  So I'm wondering if I'm doing too much cardio and eating too little, which can seriously mess up your metabolism.  

By browsing Cathe's fitness forums on her website, I've decided that maybe I should just re-think my workouts.  Perhaps a really big reset is needed.  And because I'm OCD and crazy, I've already planned out this reset....

After vacation, I'll take a week to get back into the groove of things.  Then, I'll start a 3.75 month rotation of Cathe's STS program.  This is her weightlifting program.  My days will look something like this...

Monday - upper body 
Tuesday - lower body 
Wednesday - HIIT
Thursday - cardio and then weights at the rec
Friday - rest/light day
Saturday - upper body and some cardio
Sunday - lower body intensive

I'm going to hit my legs hard because I've always wanted better legs.  And I'm going to try a few tricks to not have to buy any more weights.  They get to be just too expensive.

Also, I'll be eating more.  The summer is the one time of year we're not prepping for vacation so we're generally more lax in our diet.  That should help as weightlifting requires more calories if you want to build muscle.  

So that's my plan.  If you're curious about Cathe's STS program, look into it online.  I'll see my endocrinologist at about the 1-month mark of the rotation, so that'll be good.   

Let's hope this has a positive impact on my body!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Samoa Blondie Bars

At work, one of our lovely admins decided to quit work in order to finish her degree.  I'm so proud of her....but I'll miss her.  She's one of those bubbly people of which I'm envious - where do those bubbles come from!?  Ha!

Anyways, she always complimented my baking so I decided to bake something for her during her last week.  I'd seen this recipe for Somoa Blondie Bars and decided they would be perfect.

I couldn't find caramel chips so butterscotch was substituted.  Also, I was iffy on her liking of coconut, so I left that out.  Because I was leaving that out, I added about a 1/3 cup of milk chocolate chips (one can never have enough chocolate).  As these were baking, Mr. Higgins could hardly wait to test one for me - they smelled so good!  I added on an additional 5 minutes of cooking time (and lowered the heat by 25 degrees) but these were so puffy!  Wow!

We allowed them to cool and them sampled one - er, four.  They were delicious! Just like a cookie but softer and oh, so buttery and yummy. 

I can't wait to try them with coconut next time.  Now, these are not at all healthy but sometimes, calories be darned!  And it was so much fun to bake something new and different - and tasty!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Cathe Challenge: Week Seven

I'm actually a bit sad that this Cathe Challenge is winding down.  Thankfully, my subscription to Cathe Live doesn't end until I can keep doing these awesome workouts.  

With only two weeks until the cruise, I'm super motivated to work out as much as possible.  

Monday: Cathe's Long and Sculpted Legs + The Gymbox's Beginner Kickboxing + YWA

Today, working out in the evening, I had a bit more time.  Cathe's leg workout (be sure to click the link - it's a preview!) was insanely effective.  My legs were screaming after the barre.  The standing work lasted thirty minutes and then I tuned into Dana's kickboxing on The Gymbox.  That was really good, and not slow at all, despite being a beginner class.  That lasted for 30 minutes so I got a good all-around workout.  I finished off with YWA's yoga for cyclists - perfect after all that leg work!

Tuesday: Cathe's Fitness Fusion + YWA

I forgot what my Cathe workout would be like today and was excited to find a bit of kickboxing in this one - along with plenty of cardio and some circuits.  It was a good cardio workout!  Once Cathe started on legs, I picked up my weights and did arms for five minutes.  After yesterday, my legs were doing quite well. After work, I did a more flow-y yoga that got me a bit sweaty.  That was nice!  

Wednesday: The Gymbox's Cardio Dance + YWA

For my weekly low-impact workout, I did another one of Michelle's (not Dozois) Cardio Dance workouts on The Gymbox.  It was fun - she is definitely spunky!  And chipper!  But that's good in the morning...especially these mornings when I've been so tired.  It was a good workout. After work, I did this yoga, meant to start my day.  It was a good finisher - a way to do something to calm down after traffic and reset for a night at home.

Thursday: Cathe's Cardio Boxing with Stability Ball Abs + weights + YWA

Boxing time!  Yes!  I always look forward to Cathe's boxing and this workout did not disappoint.  Lots of boxing plus cardio bursts to keep my heart pounding.  My one small complaint was a lack of kicks - but otherwise, I had fun!  At lunch, I did weights at the rec center - I'm up to 60 pounds in some of my arms exercises.  Dang!  I was glad to be done with this for the week.  After work, Yoga for Swimmers!  Why?  Because it looked to have some good arm stretches and it did!

Friday: Sweaty Betty Ballet Bootcamp Workout

I've run across a lot of free, online workouts lately and thought to give one a try - just for something new - on my rest day.  This one was different and not too intense, so it seemed perfect for my tired self today.  There's about 25 minutes of low impact cardio in this workout before you go to the floor to finish off the full 42 minutes.  The ballet-inspired moves were fun and different - which I'm always up for.  I didn't love the instructors, but oh well.  I don't know if I'll do this one again but I'll keep the link, just in case.  At lunch, I walked outside for 20 minutes - but not at my usual fast pace since it was a rest day.

Saturday: Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn Remix + cardio + 5-Minute Low-Abs and Obliques Workout + YWA

Major working out today!  I started off with CIB Remix - which is my favorite CIB.  Love it!  I then added on 10 minutes of my own cardio for a total of 65 minutes.  Yes!  Then, I did a Popsugar ab workout and that really did the job.  Dang!  I could barely finish the thing, my abs were screaming so.   And finally, a stretch and then YWA.  I really like this YWA - it's calming with just a bit of stretching and flow.   A good day!

Sunday: Cathe's Boxing with Leg Blasts Live + Fit n' Firm Live

I was looking forward to Cathe this morning - and then she thoroughly wore me out.  (I've found previews of the workouts so click the links above.)  I did all the standing work in the Boxing workout - about 50 minutes.  Lots of cardio and lots of boxing - then HIIT with legs and weights.  Oy.  After that, I tuned into Fit n' Firm - all weights - to get some arms and weights done.  It was good!  I only did 15 minutes but need to come back to this one!  After that, a stretch and ab work.  

Calorie Counts:

Monday - bad
Tuesday - 1206
Wednesday - 1174
Thursday - 1174
Friday - 1353
Saturday - 1690
Sunday - 1320

Not the best week.  But my weight is the exact same.  No change, no matter what I eat or don't eat.  Ugh.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Let It Go Already

I have a new theme and it's very Frozen-esque: Let It Go!  

If you follow my weekly workout blogs, you know that I put a lot of pressure on myself.  Well, I put that same amount of pressure on myself in every aspect of my life.  Work, crafts, reading, knitting, hair....

Yes, hair.  All of this can be tied, metaphorically to my hair.  I hate it.  Well, actually, I like the color is used to be before it got darker - auburn - but I've always hated my curls.  They're never consistent enough, never not-frizzy enough, never poofy enough, or too poofy.

Well, I went to the salon on Saturday and told my stylist just how disgusted I was.  We discussed habitually straightening it, a Brazilian blow-out, a relaxer....  And just about the time my highlights (auburn/blonde!) were set and she was ready to start cutting, she had an idea.  She changed the shape of my hair and used a new product in it.  Once I got home and my hair had dried, I loved it.  It was a bit messy, a bit wavier rather than curlier....and it had volume.  

I was done.  I went out and bought the product and however my hair looks now, I'm fine with it.  It's never going to be perfect.  But I'm going to live with it.  I'm not going to OCD-out.  

Now I just need to apply this new attitude to different aspects of my life. I'm just about there with my weight, but more to come on that later.  

For now - just let it go and be happy, for gosh-darn-sakes!  Ha!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Cathe Challenge: Week Six

The last five weeks have flown by.  Why does time go by so fast - except when you want it to go fast? Ha!

I'm excited for another week of Cathe.  I need to make it to the rec center at least twice - to walk and to do weights.  That's my mini-goal for the week!

Monday: The Gymbox's Cardio Dance + walk + YWA

I tried a new instructor today, Jenny, and she is a huge improvement over Jodi.  Her moves are relatively simple, easy to follow, and she keeps you moving.  Jodi would have you watch too much without actually doing.  So, it was a good low-impact morning.  Just what I needed!  At lunch, I went to the rec center and walked the track.  I also did some ab work.  After work - and a rough day - this yoga for mood strings looked good and it was!  Very nice!

Tuesday: Cathe's 2015 Road Trip Kickboxing Class + weights + YWA

This morning, kickboxing sounded lovely!  I wanted to work hard and Cathe made sure that I did.  There was plenty of cardio mixed in with this kickboxing and it kept me working!  Very nice!  At lunch, I did weights at the rec center.  I'm really, really dreading weights these days.  I've gotten to where I'm lifting some heavier weights and all that work and's just not fun.  Ugh.  At least it's over for one more week.  After work, I did a super short (nine minutes) YWA.  My legs were burning by the end - dang!

Wednesday: Cathe's High/Low HIIT Live with Step + YWA

I'm running out of cardio workouts on Cathe Streaming - 85% of the videos use weights!  So this morning, I did a video that uses the step amidst HIIT blasts.  It was good, despite my not having a step.  I could easily modify the moves and still got a great workout.  The video was a bit shorter so I added on my own cardio to get a full workout.  After work, I did a video from Yoga Revolution and it was soooo good!  

Thursday: Cathe's HIIT Fit Circuit Live + walk

Cathe excels at cardio + weight workouts.  I'm loving them lately!  This one was a great one, just like last week's Boot Camp Blast Off.  Cardio then weights, cardio then weights....with lots of compound exercises. Love it!  In this workout, the tricep excercise almost killed me.  I can't remember my triceps hurting so much!  Wow!  At lunch, I walked outside.  And, as usual, my FitBit had me at a higher heart rate walking than during circuit training.  WTH?!  I really need to just take my pulse sometimes, I guess.  

Friday: YWA 

Rest day!  This YWA for Weight Loss was great!  Lots of flow - so much flow that I was getting worn out!  But it was good and really tested my thigh strength.  What a nice way to start the day!

Saturday: The Gymbox's Extreme Cardio + Beginning Kickboxing + barre

It's hard for me to do Ashli's Extreme Cardio at 5:30 am so I did it today instead.  Dang!  So much jumping.  Instead of doing all the core she did, I jogged and jumped rope instead.  It's hard for me to do that much core in the middle of cardio.  After that 40 minutes, I tuned into Dana's kickboxing, which I made more high-impact.  It was fun!  I really like Dana's workouts.  And after that full hour of cardio, I went back to Cathe's workout that I did on Thursday in order to do the 10-minute barre section I couldn't do the other day.  Wow, it hurt!  Finally, after all that, a stretch and sit-ups.

Sunday: Cathe's Intensity Bootcamp + Peak 10 More Cardio Strength

Major hurdle passed and a HUGE accomplishment today.  I upped my cardio weights to the 12-pounders!  I started off with Cathe's Bootcamp track on her Intensity DVD to test the 12-pounders.  It lasted 15 minutes and alternated cardio spurts with compound weighted exercises.  Then, Michelle and a very difficult CS - using the heavier weights.  And I did it!  I did it all!  It was tough and I was sweating like crazy but I got through it.  The major difference - I was sore before the workout ended.  Tomorrow will be an achy day.  But, yay!  After all that,  a stretch.

Calorie Counts:

Monday -1177
Tuesday - 1177
Wednesday - 1169
Thursday - 1172
Friday - bad
Saturday - 1297
Sunday - 1289

I did not get on the scale.  Ugh.