Month: July 2014

Killer Sunday Morning

Posted on

It’s a little hard to believe that today I’ve already been to the airport, my office, spent 1.5 hours at the gym and had an awesome breakfast and it’s not even 9:30am yet. You can do a lot when you get up at 4am…not that I recommend it. ūüėČ

One big plus was that the gym was dead, so I felt more comfortable there than usual, and I enjoyed a whole lane to myself in the pool. Here was today’s workout. I have to say it felt harder than it looks on paper, probably because I was pretty exhausted to start with. The total time was 1.5 hours:

  1. 30 minute spinning using intervals (I used their built-in spin class option and it actually wasn’t bad, I enjoyed it more than the real spin class I took on Monday mostly because the instructor was very detailed and took a lot of time to explain proper form)
  2. Two sets of the following:
    1. Hanging straight leg lifts x 5
    2. TRX Low Row x 10
    3. Kettlebell Swings x 30 (12kg/26.5 lbs)
    4. Side-plank leg-lifts x 10 each side
    5. Lying on stomach, lift one leg back, foot pointed x 10 each side
    6. Weighted sit-ups x 10 (15 lbs)
    7. Weighted seated twists x 20 (15 lbs)
  3. ~10 minutes of stretching, including a full leg series with a resistance band.
  4. 500 meters swimming, various strokes.

Then I hung out in the hot tub for a little bit, aiming the jets at my ITBs, which have been pretty tight this week due to all the cycling. I was thrilled that my PT cleared me to do the KB swings again, though she wants me to try to keep my legs straight, and I normally add squats to them. That was a little challenging but not bad.

I got creative today with the PT exercises. From my previous entries, this is what I’ve been tasked to do daily:

  1. Leg lift series (wearing 5 lb ankle weights on each ankle, per PT):
    Single-leg-lift x 30 each side
    Side leg-lifts x 30 each side
    Lying on stomach, lift one leg back, foot pointed x 30 each side

I had already modified the forward leg lifts and was adding crunches and doing some as double-legs instead of single. The hanging leg lifts today were really intense and more full-body than my previous modification. I really struggled to complete 10 and am looking forward to building up to 20 at a time and beyond. Doing the side-leg-lifts in a side-plank was also quite intense and more full-body. I love that both challenged my core. For the reverse lifts I still did it the old way today, mostly due to exhaustion. I’d like to possible try them with the TRX the next time I’m back in the gym.

So that wraps up my last workout before Seattle. I’m still trying to figure out what I can do there to remain active. I’m bringing my yoga mat and am hoping to bring my ankle weights, with some of the weight removed, as long as I don’t go over the bag weight limit. I really want to rent a bike but have been FLOORED by the prices for a one week rental. I could actually buy a bike on Craiglist and give it away at the end of the week for less than the cost of renting a bike. Honestly, our car rental is cheaper than renting a bike. There is seriously something wrong with that equation.

Wish me luck and remember that injury doesn’t need to equate to a sedentary lifestyle. There’s always *something* you can do to keep moving. ūüôā

Steak and Exercise

Posted on

I got a good cardio workout in today, plus those evil PT exercises:

Time: 1:15

  1. Leg lift series (wearing 5 lb ankle weights on each ankle, per PT):
    Single-leg-lift-crunches x 30 each side
    Side leg-lifts x 30 each side
    Lying on stomach, lift one leg back, foot pointed x 30 each side
  2. 30 mins cycling, using Random intervals, average level 8.
  3. 30 mins swimming laps.

I was feeling all that cardio today, more-so than earlier in the week. I greatly enjoyed a little nap afterwards. ūüôā

As always, exercise needs to be paired with a good diet to be effective. Last night I made a stellar carne asada and baby kale salad (if I do say so myself) and I thought you might appreciate the recipe. Paleo and delicious!

Paleo Carne Asada and Baby Kale Salad
Paleo Carne Asada and Baby Kale Salad

Paleo Carne Asada

Ingredients (for 2-3 people):

Note: Sauce ingredients make enough for up to 9lbs of meat.

  • 3lbs Grassfed Skirt Steak, tenderized (the more you tenderize, the more it will soak in the sauce)
  • 3/4 cup¬†orange juice, preferably fresh squeezed
  • 1/2 cup¬†lemon juice, preferably fresh squeezed
  • 1/3 cup¬†lime juice, preferably fresh squeezed
  • 4 cloves¬†garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup¬†Bragg’s¬†amino acids or coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon¬†chipotle¬†chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon¬†ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon¬†smoked¬†paprika
  • 1 teaspoon¬†dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon¬†black pepper
  • 1 bunch¬†fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup¬†olive oil
  • Optional: 1 dried chipotle pepper finely ground (this will really make the dish spicy, without it the sauce isn’t too hot, I didn’t add it personally)

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients and whisk until well-mixed. Remove one cup of the mixture and reserve it for later.
  2. Add the steak to the marinade and marinate covered in the fridge anywhere from 5-24 hours. Skirt steak is traditionally a tougher cut so the longer it marinates the more tender it is, though some skirt steak (like the Boyden Farm one I purchased from Vermont) is already quite tender so 5 hours is enough time.¬†If it’s particularly tough you can let it marinate for up to 48 hours.
  3. Preheat your grill to a medium-high heat.
  4. Grill ~5 mins each side for medium rare.
  5. Slice the meat across the grain. Pour the rest of the marinade over the meat and serve.

Baby Kale Summer Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 large handfuls of baby kale
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado, cubed
  • 1 large handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 medium-sized lime, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Mix kale, cilantro, avocado and tomatoes.
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Toss with lime juice.

The salad and steak really compliment each other. I love mixing warm meat with cool veggies this time of year. For the salad, definitely feel free to add whatever fresh vegetables¬†you have around. I grabbed a zucchini from my garden and forgot to use it but thankfully I have more kale and will be recreating this salad again tonight. It’s been a staple in my lunches as well as it’s a very easy salad to through together at work and lime + cilantro is basically like crack. So tasty!! Enjoy!

Every Day is Better

Posted on

Well, that’s at least mostly true. ūüėČ I’m finding PT is making a HUGE difference with both my quad tendon injury and my outlook. My therapist is awesome. She’s very positive and knowledgeable. I also really appreciate that she spends so much time with me answering my questions and giving me tips.

My ankle weights came on Wednesday and holy hell are those leg exercises brutal with them! They’re not too hard, so I know the weight is right, but I actually sweat when I do them now, which is kind of awesome. Here’s a brief look at two of the exercises from my point-of-view:

Workouts from the past two days were a little light. Yesterday I was supposed to go to my awesome intermediate yoga class but unfortunately I was stuck in a server room working on upgrades-gone-wrong for 11 hours. So, no yoga for me. This is all I ended up with, a 35 min workout (I guess plus going up and down the stairs to the server room multiple times):

  1. Leg lift series (wearing 5 lb ankle weights on each ankle, per PT):
    Single-leg-lift-crunches x 30 each side
    Side leg-lifts x 30 each side
    Lying on stomach, lift one leg back, foot pointed x 30 each side
  2. 20 minute yoga-pilates fusion class.

That left me warmed up for my day, with a decent sweat going from the weights. It was a LOT of core and glute work. Again, ideally I would have also done the 75 min yoga class but that was not meant to be.

Today was a 50 minute workout:

  1. Leg lift series (wearing 5 lb ankle weights on each ankle, per PT):
    Single-leg-lift-crunches x 30 each side
    Side leg-lifts x 30 each side
    Lying on stomach, lift one leg back, foot pointed x 30 each side
  2. 35 minute advanced yoga (focusing on prep-for and actuation of bird-of-paradise).

This was a little short, but I’m giving 4 hours of massage today so I didn’t want to overdo it. I had to modify the yoga a bit (the flow included crow pose, which I can’t do right now) but overall it was a fantastic flow for stretching out my hips, glutes and hamstrings; all of which get WORKED with those PT exercises.

I’m happy to report that my knee was feeling pretty awesome Tues->Thursday. By last night it was a little stiff and it was stiff again this morning but it’s feeling great since my workout. In addition to PT and the exercise I was given, I’ve been doing self-massage using cross-fiber-friction (per the PT) and it’s amazing how much the scar tissue has broken up in just a week. I intend to hit the gym for harder workouts tomorrow and Sunday.

Next week is going to be a challenge. I’ll be in Seattle with my partner and his college buddies as they enjoy a reunion culminating in a friend’s wedding. So I’ll be away from the gym and my home weights. I’m planning on bringing lighter ankle weights, since traveling with 10 lbs of weights won’t help me with those checked-bag weight limits. The PT has given me the assignment to rent a bike, which I’m totally down for but I’m also a bit of a tag-along in this group so it will be a delicate balance of keeping myself in shape while not being aloof from the group or roping them into bike rides they might not be down for. We shall see. I’m also bringing my yoga mat so at the very least I should be able to do bodyweight exercises and some yoga. Wish me luck!

No-Knee-Pain Workout

Posted on Updated on

Another day, another workout. This was a bit condensed from yesterday since I had to squeeze it into an hour:

  1. Light warmup.
  2. 20 mins on the bike set to “random” with an average level at 10.
  3. Circuit x 2:
    1. Kneeling weighted pushups + rows x 10 (10 lbs each arm, totally bummed I needed to keep my knees down, but the one-leg plank didn’t work for the rows)
    2. Leg lift series (per PT):
      Straight-leg-lift-crunches x 10
      Side leg-lifts x 10 each side
      Lying on stomach, lift one leg back, foot pointed x 10 each side
    3. KB press R x 10 (26.5 lbs)
    4. KB press L x 10 (26.5 lbs)
    5. TRX bicep curl
  4. 10 mins stretching, including leg stretches with resistance band.
  5. Swam 500 meters

It was a good workout. Definitely got my sweat going and I felt like it was a good incorporation of full-body. Reflecting, I feel I should have just done pilates this morning though, since I did a circuit yesterday so I’ve lifted two days in a row, and tomorrow I take an intermediate yoga class at night so it would have been more balanced to do pilates today and then the hard workout tomorrow morning followed by yoga at night. I’ll get a routine going eventually. ūüôā

Oh, and I rocked my Vibrams today! First day with them in the gym and it felt great! I usually exercise barefoot or in Vibrams at home so it made me feel much more comfortable.

Recovering from Injury

Posted on Updated on

About two weeks ago I wrote a long post about how I injured my knee at the end of May and the many frustrations I’ve had seeking proper treatment for it. I thought it was my best entry ever, which meant, naturally, that the entire body of the post disappeared when I hit “publish”. After much ado, tech support let me know there was no hope in getting it back. I will hopefully wrangle up the hutzpah to re-write it at some point, but for now I’m just moving on.

926841_788277697869886_85433982_n

So, quick facts on what’s up:

  1. The last week of May I banged my knee against the climbing walls while bouldering (not unlike me, I have very little grace in my legs when I climb) and bruised my distal quad tendon right at the top of the patella.
  2. The very next day I could barely move my knee and was in a ton of pain. Ice/rest/elevation and I was getting better.
  3. Feeling better, I went back to my normal workouts, which left me unable to walk for two days…crap.
  4. Spent a month modifying workouts and using ice when needed. No pain killers. Still struggling with pain so I saw my PCP, who sent me to an Orthopedist, who diagnosed me with a very small tear on the distal quad tendon and sent me to Physical Therapy.
  5. I haven’t been able to teach yoga since I can’t squat or lunge, I also can’t run/jump or do bodyweight exercises with significant quad engagement. Not easy, but I’ve been making it work.
  6. Just started PT yesterday, which already has made a difference. I have scar tissue in my quad so it will take 4-6wks to repair, as opposed to ~3 if I came in right away, but it WILL repair.

So I’m looking at about another month of recovery as long as I’m careful and keep my fitness up. Unfortunately, much of what I’ve been asked to do (swimming, cycling) I can’t do at home so my loving partner bought me a 1 month membership at our local cattle-call gym. It’s one of those fancy Boston Sports Clubs and, frankly, I fucking hate it. That said, recovery is the most important thing. I’m a physical person, I have two physical jobs and I¬†was preparing for a climbing comp in September, which I still have a chance for if I take care of myself. My leg will also, hopefully, be with me my entire life so I have to treat it right.

I’m posting today to start a log of my workouts. This may not be daily, but I thought this would both help me track what I’m doing and possibly help give others with knee injuries ideas on what they can do. The most common thing I see as a massage therapist is clients who get injured, get out of a normal exercise routine, lose fitness and struggle to get it back or give up entirely and become sedentary. I’ve personally seen this lead to chronic health issues including depression, chronic aches and pains, insomnia, and in extreme cases issues like heart conditions and diabetes due to weight gain. Let’s face it, we all know proper diet and exercise make a huge improvement¬†to our quality of health, so the lack of exercise can lead to poorer health. This is one of the reasons I’m fighting to stay fit, while also ensuring I treat my knee right to prevent further injury. The Orthopedist said this is not a time to “play through the pain” unless I want to be back in 6 months with a completely torn tendon; at which point I would¬†need surgery. No surgery, please!

On to the workouts…

First one is a circuit I’ve been doing at home. I start with a 5-10 min warmup and end with ~15 minutes of yoga for a cool down, ensuring that I’m not doing lunges, squats or two-legged planks on the right.

No knee pain circuit (repeat 2-3x) РTotal Time 30-45 mins
  1. One-Legged Wide-Arms Pushups x 10 (bad leg on top)
  2. Bicep and forearm curls x 20 each (10lbs)
  3. Tricep overhead and push x 20 each (10lbs)
  4. L side-crunch x 20
  5. R side-crunch x 20
  6. Chest push and flys x 20 each (10lbs)
  7. Kettlebell Seated Twists x 40 (26lbs)
  8. Weighted sit-ups x 10 (15lbs)
  9. Butt-lifts->legs straight full sit-ups x 10
  10. One-Legged Close-Arms Pushups x 10 (bad leg on top)

And here’s what I did for my first two days at the gym:

7/14/14 – Total time: 1:15

  1. 45 min spin class without standing
  2. 10 mins stretching
  3. 8 laps in olympic-sized pool, various strokes
  4. 10 mins sauna

Reaction: Spin class was SO BORING!! I really struggle with machines that use a lot of cardio but don’t go anywhere. I get the rat-in-a-cage syndrome. That said, I¬†have to bike right now so…

7/15/14 РTotal time: 1:15

  1. 30 mins cycling, using intervals for both speed and tension
  2. 5 mins upper-body stretching
  3. Circuit 2x of:
    1. Chest push and flys on ball x 10 each (12.5lbs)
    2. Bicep and forearm curls x 10 each (12.5lbs)
    3. Tricep overhead and push on ball x 10 each (12.5lbs)
    4. Leg lift series (per PT):
      1. Lying on back, lift one leg up, foot flexed, and lift upper body into a crunch x 10 each side.
      2. Side leg-lifts x 10 each side.
      3. Lying on stomach, lift one leg back, foot pointed x 10 each side.
    5. Side-crunches x 10 each side.
  4. 5 mins stretching
  5. Swam 5 laps, various strokes, one lap with kick board.
  6. Attempted to sit in steam room, it smelled like a pile of old socks.

¬†Reaction: This was much more my style, even though I still wanted to gauge my eyes out during the cycling. It’s so boring. I have to find a way to make it more fun. The circuit was good, shorter than I’d like but it’s hard to fit everything in before work. As it is, ideally my PT would like me to do 40 mins on the bike and I’d like to have swam longer, but I really needed the circuit to make me feel good in my upper body and abs. I realize swimming is a full-body workout, but as someone who’s used to lifting weights, it’s not enough for my upper body.

Through this process I’m also tightening up my diet. I have been cheating on my food allergy diet off and on since moving back to MA; lots of temptations down here. It’s amazing that in just not eating the things I’m allergic to I drop weight immediately…like 7 lbs in a week.¬†That’s just pure gut inflammation, and I was feeling it as my belly started protruding again. For the record, this is not a calorie-restrictive diet, it’s simply not eating the foods I was diagnosed as being allergic to. Huzzah science!

Speaking of which…after a workout like that a healthy breakfast is imperative! This is what I went for:

10507803_543199989120056_1202479798_n

Eggs on a gluten-free millet bun with half an avocado with salt + pepper and a small handful of fresh fruit. I have my healthy fats, a good amount of protein, and some carbs to perk me up. Feeling great!!