Thursday, July 20, 2017

Ella's Ice Cream Summer

My book group chose a fun read for July: Ella's Ice Cream Summer by Sue Watson.  I blew threw this novel, it was so enjoyable.

Here's my Goodreads review:

My book group chose this novel for our "fluff" summer reading. And I'm glad they did. It was a fast, fun, engrossing read.

Ella's life is spiraling out of control. She loses her job and now her ex is trying to sell her house out from under her. With her kids away for the summer she escapes to the coast where she's been given an interesting inheritance. Once there, memories of her childhood make her realize that she may need to make drastic life changes in order to find lasting happiness. With the help of a new friend, a new canine companion, a cousin, and her mother, she begins to understand what it takes to make her happy. In the process, she rediscovers a confidence in herself - while unearthing interesting family secrets.

This is a "fluff" read on the surface but there are some good life lessons in this charming novel.

Monday, July 17, 2017

STS Rotation #1: Mesocycle 2 Week 2

I'm feeling good about this week - now that my legs are almost back to normal after last week.  Ha!  Yes, it took that long (my STS Legs occurred on Tuesday of last week).

Monday: STS Back and Biceps + walk + YWA

Wow.  So all these trisets are super effective.  During the bicep portion, my arms were shaking.  Ouch!  I had to gradually decrease my weights because my biceps were objecting so vigorously.  But it was a great workout!  At lunch, I walked for 30 minutes and then did five minutes of stretching - since I had no active minutes in the morning, according to my FitBit.  My upper back and shoulders were achy at the end of the day so I did this YWA for some relief.  It felt really good!

Tuesday: STS Legs + YWA

After hurting all last week from STS Legs, I was a bit nervous about this week's session.  It sure wasn't easy and my heart rate was super elevated throughout the trisets.  But I got through it without my thighs objecting too much, which is an improvement from last week.  I'm trying to tell myself that I don't need cardio workouts 6 days a week so there was no lunchtime walk today.  After work, I did this lovely YWA and added in some extra hamstring stretches - because my hammies were the only parts of my legs complaining.

Wednesday:  Cathe's XTrain All Out Low Impact HIIT + YWA

Cardio today!  I was looking forward to this HIIT today and was happy with it - sometimes I don't know what to expect from Cathe.  This was low impact but I made some of it high impact....and my heart rate stayed up the entire time, even in the "low" segments.  So I got a good workout!  After work, I did this yoga for actors, which was all standing.  It was good to do some balancing poses, though they're not my favorite.

Thursday: Cathe's ICE Rock'm Sock'm Kickbox + weights

This was a fun morning!  I really do enjoy kickboxing and Cathe's kickboxing always gets my heart rate up.  She mixes in plenty of cardio into Rock'm Sock'm so it was a really good cardio workout.  And fun!  I'll definitely have to do this one again!  At lunch, I did weights at the rec center.  Ugh.  I hate them but at least I got it over with.  I did all the leg machines today - and they weren't too painful, thank goodness, despite my hamstrings still being a bit achy from Tuesday.

Friday: PeakFit Dynamic Flexibility

Ah, relaxing Fridays are my favorite!  I love Dynamic Flexibility so was happy when this popped up on my schedule for today.  Michelle makes me happy!  I was going to do some ab work afterward, but after having stomach issues last night, my core still felt raw and unhappy.  So no abs today.

Saturday:  STS Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps + Ripped with HIIT Low Impact HIIT One + abs

I started with cardio today - this low impact HIIT workout lasted 30 minutes.  It was really effective - my heart rate was sky high.  And mostly low impact - wow!  I like it!  After that, it was time for STS - and this one ran 65 minutes.  My arms were aching afterward - and they were a bit shaky.  Wow.  I then did 12 minutes of abs (Cathe's) and stretched.  Talk about an effective, exhausting morning.

Sunday: Cathe's Old School Cardio Plus Kickboxing + Pauline Nordin's Butt Bible Lower Level 3 + 180 lunges

Okay - another long workout day.  I started off with 45 minutes of Cathe's live Old School Cardio.  This one is a lot of fun - and non-stop.  I like mixing up HIIT and steady-state cardio because they are both so challenging.  After this, I did 180 walking lunges.  Ouch.  Then - Butt Bible.  Level 3 is definitely a challenge.  Just doing the step-ups onto a chair almost did me in (I had to use something shorter).  By the time the hip thrusts came in, I was in agony.  Ouch!

Calorie Counts:

I had four really good days this week.  But then Sunday was horrible.  Sigh.  

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Chocolate Brownie Bread

For July 4th, I needed chocolate... I decided to try a new, delicious-looking dessert.  This one won the day. Brownie bread?!  Yes, please!  And I had some chocolate pudding mix I really needed to use up.  

My substitutions included a bit of Splenda instead of sugar...  And I doubled up on the cocoa.  I mean, really - can you have too much cocoa?  I also mixed my chocolate chips into the batter to get the inside of the bread nice and moisty-chocolatey.   

I took this bread to work and everyone seemed to really like it.  It was gone by lunch and there were not many people in the office.  Before it went to work with me, Mr. Higgins really liked it.  

You can never have too many chocolate desserts in your baking repertoire!

Monday, July 10, 2017

STS Rotation #1: Meso Cycle 2 Week 1

So, I feel super fat.  And according to the scale, I'm super fat.   

I'm trying not to get down and will instead focus on my eating and my workouts.

Monday: STS Back and Biceps + walk + YWA

As I prepped for today's workout, I noticed how different the layout of this STS workout was.  You do a higher number of reps and fewer exercises.  I liked it!  And the combination of back and biceps was different, too.  Talk about shocking the body.  I'm sure I'll be sore tomorrow!  At lunch, I walked at the rec center and was proud of myself for getting over there.  It was so weird having to work one day before the holiday....  After the work day, I did this 15-minute yoga for posture.  It was nice and light.

Tuesday:  STS Legs + Cathe's Cardio Fusion + abs

So this month of STS workouts is all about trisets, apparently.  You do 10 reps of an exercise - three times.  For this leg workout, thankfully, you alternated three moves so your legs didn't burn out too quickly.  Mine were aching before the halfway point - especially my left thigh.  Ouch!  But I made it through - and it's a different kind of hurt than I had during the first month of STS.  I finished off the holiday morning with 35 minutes of Cardio Fusion - another workout with confusing step choreography.  And, at the end of the workout, abs (Cathe's) and a good, long stretch.

Wednesday: Cathe's HIIT 30/30 + Cross Train Xpress - All Step + YWA

My legs were aching so badly this morning - my first hamstring curl was a kind of exquisite torture.  Sigh.  But I got through this HIIT, despite feeling not at all up to the challenge.  Then, yet another confusing step routine.  I swear, these drive me crazy - and I'm an advanced at-home exerciser!  After work, I did this lovely, slow YWA - for a rainy day.  And then it rained.  Ha!  My legs and bum hurt so bad - all day long - that it was embarrassing, the sounds of agony that kept trying to escape my lips.

Thursday: Cathe's XTrain Hard Strikes + Cross Train Xpress - Kickboxing + weights

My legs were still aching this morning.  ACHING!  Sigh.  But I was looking forward to kickboxing and these two workouts were a lot of fun.  I liked that both were high impact - my heart rate got up and stayed up.  My legs cooperated - mostly - after the warm-up squats.  But they were still hurting - and I was hobbling around the office - at lunch, which meant I skipped two weight machines at the rec center.  I just couldn't do them, I was in so much pain.  So I walked two laps on the track and stretched - a lot.

Friday: Cathe's Yoga Relax

I really needed this relaxing morning.  Cathe's yoga is not my favorite yoga but it provided a good, slow stretch this morning, which was what my legs needed.  For the record, my legs are still hurting - but not quite as bad.  I can now sit down without (silently) crying out.  Yay.  I'm already dreading next week's STS Legs.

Saturday:  STS Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps + Cathe's Kick, Punch, and Crunch

This morning began with 35 minutes of cardio from Cathe's older kickboxing workout.  I've actually really enjoyed this workout as I've done different segments of it over the last month. It's a good cardio workout but with plenty of kickboxing.  After that, it was time for STS.  I had to save this one for the weekend because it runs 65 minutes.  Dang!  I felt my shoulders more after this STS than any other one.  You really push your muscles hard with the trisets. It was nice to stretch and relax afterward - along with some ab work to finish off.

Sunday:  Cathe's Crossfire + Pauline Nordin's Butt Bible Lower Level 2 + 160 lungs + YWA

I was dreading today.  Crossfire was an interesting workout.  I didn't do the weights, only the cardio.  And then I added on some of my own to get in 35 minutes.  Sometime, I need to do this workout in it's entirety.  I then did 160 walking lunges.  Fun.  Next up: Butt Bible.  So not looking forward to this and it was as painful as I remembered.  For the hip thrusts, I went up to 15 pounds for 2 out of the 3 sets.  Ouch!!!  After that torture session (30 minutes), I did some ab work and then a nice YWA.  Talk about tired.

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1292
Tuesday - 1312
Wednesday - 1281
Thursday - 1364
Friday - BAD
Saturday - 1275
Sunday - bad

My weight is higher than ever.  Fun.  Great.  Shoot me now!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

A Breath of Snow and Ashes

I'm finally done with the sixth Outlander novel, A Breath of Snow and Ashes.  This one definitely took me a while but the hardback literally weighed ten pounds.  I think. 

Here follow my Goodreads review:

This book was tough going. So much really is an epic novel, to say nothing of the entire series. But it was tough because of what the main characters had to endure. This novel shows just how difficult it was to be alive in 18th century America.

However, in the same breath, it's a fascinating journey of a breadth of characters who must deal with divided loyalties and unexpected hardships. Nothing and no one goes unpunished for anything. The Colonies were big, wild wildernesses where everyone seems to know everything about their neighbor. Jamie and Claire cannot stay hidden upon Fraser's Ridge - the world constantly comes at them, demanding more. The past, as well as the future, is inexplicably - annoyingly - unavoidable. 

I continuously find Claire's medical goings on intriguing. As well as how everyone stays fed and clothed. It was hard going for the Colonists but it's fascinating watching these characters continue to grow and mature in such conditions. I can't wait to read more - and that explains just how good of a novelist Gabaldon truly is.

Monday, July 3, 2017

STS Rotation #1: Meso Cycle 1 Recovery Week

Yay!  A recovery week!  These come after every mesocycle (of which there are three) in STS.  It's a nice break after four weeks of intense weight training.

And the best part - during a recovery week you can do no weightlifting.  None.  Awesome!  I need this week to reset and get re-motivated.

Monday: Dozois' Body Fit 360 + YWA

I rewarded myself with Body Fit 360 this morning after two days of grueling weight work.  But.  I always forget just how challenging this workout is.  Sure, it's done barefoot and uses no equipment, but you move in every single direction imaginable.  It really tests you.  I was sweating up a storm by the end of it - and I actually got to do ALL of it this morning.  Yay!  After work, this YWA was also challenging to the body but I loved it!

Tuesday: Cathe's Intensity

This week, I'm ready to get my cardio on - both high and low impact.  For the first time in quite a while, I was able to do all of this Intensity workout - the step, the bursts, the high HIIT, and the low HIIT.   And it's a lot of work!  Whew!  After all these years, I'm only just now getting some of the intricate step work.  Cathe sure doesn't make the choreography easy in these workouts.  But it's fun - mostly.

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

I really need to write a review of this DVD...soon, I promise!  It was good to do something lower-impact this morning.  But that does not mean this workout was easy!  My legs were screaming within the first five minutes of having to hold a plie squat.  Ouch!  I only got through half of the floor work but it was tough, as well.  At lunch, I walked at the rec center.  And after work, a nice YWA - for the spine!

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

This morning, I was so excited to do some boxing!!  This was a really fun workout with some fun boxing combinations.  My heart rate got super high, though I kept this one mostly low impact.  Nice!  Now I'm curious to try the XTrain Hard Strikes DVD.  Cathe's boxing and kickboxing may be my favorite format of all of her workouts.  At lunch, I was tired but made myself go and walk.  And I'm glad that I did - as usual - because it's always nice to get out of the office for a bit! 

Friday: Dozois' Body Fit 360 Vol 3: Athletic Conditioning

Yay, Friday!  This was not my rest day, though - that will come tomorrow when we're out of town.  Today, I did most of the cardio from this Conditioning routine - dang!  It was harder than I remembered!   Then, I got in most of the stretch.  I skipped the abs and arms tracks.   It was really nice to stretch afterward.

Saturday: REST

Forced rest as we were out of town for the holiday.

Sunday: Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn Remix + YWA

After eating way too much on Saturday and Sunday, I did this workout at 4pm and felt super fat and gross.  I truly hate myself these days.  I don't know what it is but none of my weight is coming off.  I haven't been eating great but I've had 5-day stretches of super healthy eating and working no effect.  I'm about to have a breakdown because of it.  Anyway, this CIB made my feet hurt - so much more jumping than I've been doing lately and for a lot longer time.  The YWA was a nice way to cool down at the end of it all.

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1409
Tuesday - 1300

Wednesday - 1220
Thursday - 1215
Friday - 1256
Saturday - BAD
Sunday - bad