Intense Workouts…and Beer Making



Yesterday, I resorted back to one of Zuzka Light’s intense but short workouts ( due to having a busy day ahead of me and not a lot of time. I LOVED this workout, and especially loved the Plank Pull Burpee move (minus the burpee part…burpees are evil!) I still did the burpee portion of the exercise, but the weighted plank move is incredible for working your core. The entire workout was only 12 minutes long, and I just managed to get 2 rounds in before my time was up. I’m gunning to go a little further next time.

Today I tried ZWOW #56. It was only 8 minutes long, but that was possibly the most torturous 8 minutes of my life. I’ve gained a liking for jump roping over the past year or so, but I’ve always despised high knees. Zuzka had this crazy idea to put the two together and create High Knees with Jump Rope. It’s a bit of a rough exercise to attempt if you haven’t used a jump rope much–it takes a lot of coordination (I tripped and smacked myself in the back of the head with the rope a few times the first time I tried it from one of her previous workouts).

This workout also incorporates Jump Lunges, which I never knew of or tried until I stumbled upon the BodyRockers workouts. I have sort of a love-hate relationship with Jump Lunges. It’s an amazing exercise that works every inch of your legs and glutes, but it can also make grown men cry (well, maybe. I know I’ve wanted to cry a few times while doing them).

Part of the reason I was so busy yesterday and needed to get a workout in quickly was because my husband and I were brewing our second batch of beer. I don’t believe I posted about the first batch we brewed, which was Cooper’s Real Ale. Cooper’s kits are pretty simple and difficult to screw up because all you have to do is boil a can of hopped malt extract and dissolve some sugar in it. It’s a great way for someone to get a start at home brewing. Thankfully, we found a brewing store not too far from where I work. This is where we bought all of our supplies for bottling and received a few brewing tips from the owner. He’s extremely helpful and even keeps labeled bottles of brews some of his customers have brought in. We weren’t too keen on the flavor of the Cooper’s Real Ale and were afraid we did something wrong during the fermentation process (personally, it seems to have a strong molassesy flavor to it). But, the owner tried it and said it was fine, so we decided to take our next batch to the next level and go with a Brewer’s Best kit. This is what we were working on yesterday.


Brewer’s Best kits have more compenents to them and are more reminiscent of how a professional brewer would probably brew. You have to boil your grains and then add various types of hops at different, but very specific, times. Depending on the kit, there will also be several other components to work with. We chose the Continental Pilsner which had two types of malted whole barley, about three pounds of liquid malt extract, several different types of hops, and dried malt extract (the kit also includes the proper yeast needed for fermentation and priming sugar used just before bottling to allow further fermentation and natural carbonation of the beer).

While messing with these kits, I started having some crazy ideas. I truly have no idea how it will turn out, but I’m game for trying just about anything. I saved the boiled grains from the little “sock” from the Brewer’s Best kit and am curious to try using them in some homemade crackers or bread. I also saved as much of the yeast that fell to the bottom of the fermenter from the previous brew and want to try adding this to a batch of homemade bread as well. (This is called flocculation when the yeast clump together and fall to the bottom of the fermenter. I’ve been told some brewers will save these cultures and reuse them several times for their next several brews. However, I’m not sure how successful breadmaking will be with this specific type of yeast since lager yeast ferment best at temperatures between 45-55 degrees F. But, like I said, this is just an experiment).

I won’t go into much more detail about brewing at the moment, but I will say this…it’s a simple process looking at it from a distance, but once you get involved and learn about how many different types of hops and malts and yeast you can use and how each one can affect the flavor of your brew, you quickly learn just how complicated it can really be. But, no worries…it’s fun complicated.


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