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.
So, quick facts on what’s up:
- 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.
- 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.
- Feeling better, I went back to my normal workouts, which left me unable to walk for two days…crap.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- One-Legged Wide-Arms Pushups x 10 (bad leg on top)
- Bicep and forearm curls x 20 each (10lbs)
- Tricep overhead and push x 20 each (10lbs)
- L side-crunch x 20
- R side-crunch x 20
- Chest push and flys x 20 each (10lbs)
- Kettlebell Seated Twists x 40 (26lbs)
- Weighted sit-ups x 10 (15lbs)
- Butt-lifts->legs straight full sit-ups x 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
- 45 min spin class without standing
- 10 mins stretching
- 8 laps in olympic-sized pool, various strokes
- 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 – Total time: 1:15
- 30 mins cycling, using intervals for both speed and tension
- 5 mins upper-body stretching
- Circuit 2x of:
- Chest push and flys on ball x 10 each (12.5lbs)
- Bicep and forearm curls x 10 each (12.5lbs)
- Tricep overhead and push on ball x 10 each (12.5lbs)
- Leg lift series (per PT):
- Lying on back, lift one leg up, foot flexed, and lift upper body into a crunch x 10 each side.
- Side leg-lifts x 10 each side.
- Lying on stomach, lift one leg back, foot pointed x 10 each side.
- Side-crunches x 10 each side.
- 5 mins stretching
- Swam 5 laps, various strokes, one lap with kick board.
- 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:
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!!
I started week two of C25K this week. So far it’s noticeably easier this time around and I feel that’s a testament to how my level of fitness has increased over the years. It’s also a huge help that I’ve kept up with a daily yoga practice. My legs were sore last week but daily stretching with yoga, plus a longer class on Thursday night, has really helped make the soreness barely noticeable. This week I also upped my speed in half of the segments that I’m running. The program this week has me alternating running for 1.5 mins and walking for 2 mins for a total of about 29 minutes. I was excited to break the two mile mark yesterday and will try to up my speed when I run again tomorrow. I will say I’m missing my HiiT workouts. I had to shift things around to make room for running so I’m taking a break from HiiT and Kettlebell 2-3 days/wk to running 3 days/wk. While running is great to build my cardio, it’s also a bit boring (especially when compared to HiiT), and it’s not dynamic so it’s uber-focused on legs and core so the rest of my body is just happy I’m continuing to climb and do yoga to keep it active.
I reached a new height in climbing today by killing a 5.9+ route. Regular climbers may not find this impressive, but for me it was a big deal. I specifically chose the route because it had very few jugs and was mostly slopers, pinchers and globes. I hate all of those, though slopers and I have become friendly lately. I’ll also admit the two globes thrown into that route proved to be really nice resting points. But pinchers? We’re still not cool, pinchers. For the non-climbers that read my blog I will eventually explain more about those different holds so sorry if you feel left in the dark for now.
I realized it’s been a long time since I’ve posted a new smoothie recipe, so here’s my current favorite:
Pineapple Mango Smoothie:
- 1/2 cup vanilla coconut milk (recipe here)
- 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 tbsp flax seed (if your blender won’t pulverize this buy it ground)
- handful fresh baby spinach
- 1/2 cup frozen mangos
- 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
Blend it up in the mixer of your choice! I still love my Vitamix and make smoothies for myself and my partner every morning. If you’d like to indulge in the rest of the meal pictured above, make yourself some Scrambled Eggs with Spinach!
Scrambled Eggs with Spinach (yes, this may sound simple but I’m posting the recipe because I believe my scrambled eggs are recipe-worthy)
- two eggs (preferably free-range organic, even better if they’re local)
- 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut milk (recipe here, omit vanilla and sweetener)
- handful baby spinach
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (or fat of your choosing)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Melt oil in pan over medium-low
- Beat eggs with milk, salt and pepper until slightly frothy.
- Add eggs to pan and move continuously. This is the biggest trick to making light, fluffy eggs; keep them moving constantly. I like to use a heat-safe silicon spatula to keep folding them in on each other.
- When eggs are barely firm (maybe 20-30 seconds in the pan) add the spinach.
- Continue moving constantly until they reach desired firmness and spinach has wilted.
Now have your smoothie and scramble and go take over the world! 😉
In spite of it being 0ºF at my doorstep this morning, I’m thinking towards Spring! This year I signed up for my first official 5K. For anyone who’s been following my blog for a while, you know I began running back in April of 2010 using the Couch-to-5K program with the Get Running App. I also chose to run close to barefoot with Vibram Five Fingers (first KSOs, then the Treksports and now the Spyridon LS). I’ve continued running off and on since then but I generally don’t run much in the winter because I’m neither a fan of treadmills nor am I a fan of being cold. I also honestly don’t enjoy running as much as I enjoy climbing or yoga or HiiT workouts, so it tends to fall near the bottom of my list.
All that said, my school is involved in a 5K so I’ve decided to support them by participating. This is a big deal for me because I really don’t enjoy crowds so while I love obstacle courses and trail running, I haven’t been competitive about it. While I probably don’t technically need the C25K program this time around, since I’ve maintained good physical fitness, I want to take it slow so I can work on my form and rebuild any running-specific muscles that I may have been neglecting in the winter months. Unfortunately, this means using my treadmill right now (at least until all this %&*@# snow melts), but that does give me the ability to maintain consistent speeds and challenge myself to go faster in my runs. I specifically like to alternate running speeds, which is not part of the C25K regimen, because it both helps keep me engaged and builds better cardio by keeping my body guessing.
In addition to the running, I’m working on leveling up in climbing! I’ve been climbing off and on for a couple years now but became a member at Central Rock Gym in January and have been hitting the walls 2-3 times per week since then. It’s amazing how addictive it is. I’ve found myself devouring climbing videos on YouTube and the more I watch others climb the more confident I’m getting in my own climbing. Above you’ll see my first bouldering route with a heel hook (which was super fun!) and since then I’ve been working more on my technique and was stoked to kill a couple V2’s at the gym yesterday!
My top roping has also improved. I went from climbing a 5.6-5.7 to now successfully completing 5.9’s. Once I get confident with the 5.9/5.10 range I can begin learning lead climbing, which means I’ll be responsible for hooking in my own rope on several preset lead carabiners along the route. This will help prepare me for outdoor climbing, which I’m hoping to try this summer.
For a girl who’s afraid of heights I’ve come a long way! The thing I really gain by climbing is when the confidence I have in myself is greater than my fear of heights. I’m not afraid of falling when I know I can hold myself up. Obviously, this can be applied to many facets of life, which I’m finding is the real thing I seek with physical fitness. Yoga teaches me to find moments of calm even in the most stressful situations. High intensity trainings and climbing both help me gain confidence in my body and mind and challenge me to push further.
They’re not kidding when they say “strong is the new beautiful”. 🙂
- KB Snatch-Reverse Lunge R
- KB Snatch-Reverse Lunge L
- Double KB step-ups
- Elevated Plank Pushup/Knee Tuck
- Ab roller
- Weighted Sit-Ups
Buy-Out: 10 Burpees
- KB Swings
- KB Clean R
- KB Clean L
- KB Reverse Lunge
- Weighted Lunge Twists
- KB Renegade Row
- Reverse Crunch
- Side-Plank Toe Touch
- Front plank
- 6 Turkish Getups (3 each side)
- KB Single-leg Deadlift R
- KB Single-leg Deadlift R
- Ab Roller
- Weighted Ab Twists
- Pilates Hundreds
- Plank w/ Knee Tuck
- KB Swings
- Thruster R
- Thruster L
- KB Bent-Over Row
- Weighted Lunge-Twist
- Plank->Side Planks
- Dive Bombers
- Pilates Sit-Ups
- Bicycle w/ out-and-in-arms
- Box jumps x 20
- KB Snatch R x 10
- KB Snatch L x 10
- KB Renegade Row x 10
- Lunge Twist R x 5
- Lunge Twist L x 5
- Pull ups x 3-10 depending on your fitness level
And now for something completely
Raspberry Mint Smoothie
I’m on a mint kick right now and have really enjoyed adding it to my smoothies. It’s great for digestion and adds a nice refreshing kick to the smoothie. I’ve also learned that many fresh herbs go well in smoothies and have lately enjoyed cilantro and basil; can’t wait to find more good combinations!
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 tbsp flax seeds (or try using sprouted flax or chia seeds!)
- 1 handful spinach
- 2-3 sprigs of mint
- 1/2 package frozen raspberries
Mix that up in your blender until smooth and you will have a sucka-punch of flavor to your face!
Speaking of sprouted flax and chia seeds, that’s been my latest experiment and I’m pretty happy with the results:
That is chia on the left and flax on the right. It took only a week to go from seed to overflowing sprouts that were pushing the top of the container off. They added a really nice fresh flavor to my smoothies and some wonderful nutrients. The one thing I haven’t been able to find out is if sprouted flax and chia are more or less nutritious than the raw seeds. If anyone has info on that I’d love to see it!
One of my friends, Rosie of Rock Bodies, is a personal trainer who often posts delicious healthy recipes to Facebook. She found a recipe for pancakes that uses just two ingredients: banana and eggs. Seriously, that’s it. They are AMAZING. Before I made them though I had to finish my workout for the day (especially since I was having local sausage with my pancakes).
Today I wanted to focus on arms and abs. Yesterday I did Zuzka’s ZShred #3 which was a legs-intensive high-intensity workout. I really prefer full-body workouts and while I felt like a new person after this workout, it ended up being too much for me and I am HURTING today. So I decided to take it easier on my legs. This workout will definitely get your heart rate up but it’s primarily a strength training workout and while it’s an upper-body focus there’s definitely leg involvement as well.
- KB Swing
- KB Snatch R
- KB Snatch L
- Weighted pilates sit-ups
- Plank climbers
- Pull-ups (as many as you can do
- Dive bombers
- Renegade Row
- Single-Leg deadlifts
- Dragon flags
Once you’ve completed that you deserve some pancakes right?
Paleo High Protein Pancakes
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Banana
- Optional: pinch of cinnamon
- Optional: ~1tbsp protein powder or tapioca flour
- Beat the banana and egg together. You’re done making the batter! No, seriously, this recipe couldn’t be easier. I used my Vitamix to mix them but you can easily do it by hand. I added cinnamon, which turned out great. I also made the mistake of using jumbo eggs so my batter was a bit too thin so I added some tapioca flour to thicken it. You can use protein powder as a thickener if you prefer (I recommend using a plant-based powder without GMOs, soy or whey).
- Cook on skillet like normal pancakes. I recommend making them small and thin (the large one in the picture was to finish off my batter).
I found with the sweetness of the banana no syrup was necessary, though I’m sure if you like you can add some maple syrup or agave. Enjoy!!
It has have been a while since my last entry but I’m still going STRONG on workouts and sticking to my food allergy/healthy diet. I’m really enjoying seeing my muscle tone improve and I’ve been taking on new challenges. I’ve fallen in love with kettlebells and have also added some heavier free weights to my collection. My biggest struggle continues to be learning to do pullups. So far I can do ONE unassisted and that’s a good start.
To keep my workouts interesting I’ve been varying things a bit. I’m generally doing two Zuzka workouts per week (I’ve shelled out for her new ZGYM and in full honesty the first two workouts were worth more than the $10/mo price tag; they’re way harder than her free ZWOWs). I also do two workouts inspired by myomytv.com, which offers awesome free kettlebell and bodyweight workouts. I say “inspired” because while I sometimes outright do one of their routines, I’ve been experimenting with creating my own routines and so far I’m kicking my own ass. 🙂 I also do 1-2 pilates or yoga workouts per week. On top of that I’m still running 1.6 miles per day, happily on the Mad River Path with my pup. This has been a good mix for me and gets me moving at least an hour per day six times a week. I take a day off to rest.
I’m going to start posting my self-made workouts here. I’m not comfy recording videos yet, but I think I’d like to in the future. So here are my three most recent WOD’s. If you need a better description of the exercise just ask! I’d consider these intermediate->advanced. If you want to do them just listen to your body and adjust as needed. Beginners should use lighter weights, shorter reps and a longer resting period. If you’re more advanced use heavier weights, longer reps and a shorter resting period. In general I’m using a 25lb kettlebell (or two for doubles). My free-weights range from 5lb->20lb.
For an interval timer I’m using Seconds on my iPhone.
- Goblet Squat (20kg)
- Alternating KB Swing
- Alternating Curtsy Lunge (14kg)
- KB Single-Leg Deadlifts
- Skater Hops
- Renegade Row
- Glute Bridge Booty Pump
- Single-leg deadlift R
- Single-leg deadllift L
- Eccentric Focused Chin Ups
- Push Up Lean/Push Up/Push Back Combo
- Kneeling Ab Wheel Rollout
- Dumbbell Hammer Curl
- Dragon Flag
- KB Reverse lunge
- Snatch R
- Snatch L
- Around-the-world KB swings
- Single-Leg Deadlift R
- Single-Leg Deadlift L
- Side-crunch R
- Side-crunch L
- Weighted sit-up
- Double KB Swings
And now for recipes! This past Saturday I hosted a large dinner party for my family. Along with accommodating my long list of food allergies, I also had to make the meal low-carb/sugar for my father who’s diabetic, low-salt for his wife who has high BP, dairy/gluten free for my sister-in-law (this is in line with my own diet too) and garlic-free for my brother. Even more importantly, I wanted it to be FREAKING DELICIOUS to help show that you don’t have to eat crappy-tasting food just because you have a dietary restriction. Also, since my family showered me with a ton of pie-making paraphernalia for Christmas, I made the meal Pie-themed.
Bring In The Pies!!
Ingredients – Makes ~1 large deep dish pie
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 lb ground grass fed beef
- 1/2 lb ground lamb
- 1/4 lb ground pork (I used a mild chorizo sausage from my local butcher which gave it a nice kick)
- 1/2 lb uncured bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 cups diced carrots
- 2 cups diced celery
- 1/2 cup diced mushrooms of your choosing
- 1/2 cup low sodium beef or chicken stock
- 1/4 cup red wine (I used a merlot)
- 2 tsp coconut aminos (can use Worcester Sauce if you prefer)
- 2 tbsp chopped mixed herbs (I used basil, oregano, thyme and parsley from my garden)
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
- 2 large heads cauliflower, trimmed, chopped and steamed until very soft (I used one white and one yellow)
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 2 tbsp Earth Balance or Virgin Coconut Oil
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add shallots and cook for another few minutes.
- Add bacon and sauté until cooked, ~10 minutes (note: the bacon will not crisp, that’s ok).
- Add the carrots, celery and mushrooms and sauté until soft (it’s ok of the carrots stay a bit firm), ~10 mins.
- Add the meats, herbs, salt and pepper and sauté until browned.
- Add the stock, wine, coconut aminos and a paprika. Stir and cook down broth until it’s ~60% evaporated.
- Meanwhile, add the cauliflower, coconut milk, Earth Balance/VCO, and a pinch of salt and pepper to your food processor and blend until it’s the consistency of mashed potatoes; this will not take long. Taste-test and see if you need to add more salt and pepper.
- Pour the filling into a pie plate and top with the cauliflower mash. Add a pinch of smoked paprika to the top for decoration if you like.
- Cook at 375ºF for 30 minutes, or until the inside is bubbly and the top is slightly firm. Let cool for ~10 mins before serving.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (Gluten and Dairy free, no sugar added to filling)
Crust (and trust me, it’s GOOD, the non-gluten free folks loved it!):
- 1 cup Almond or Pecan flour (I was out of almond so I ground pecans in my Vitamix which worked out beautifully!)
- 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour (my sister-in-law says next time I should try Bob’s Red Mill Shortbread Mix)
- 1/4 cup Coconut Palm Sugar (you can use cane sugar if you’d like, I’m just allergic to it)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- ½ cup Virgin Coconut Oil (room temperature)
- 5-8 tbsp Cool Water
Filling (adapted from here):
- 2 1/2 cups chopped red rhubarb, fresh
- 2 1/2 cups de-stemmed, washed and cut strawberries (in larger pieces)
- 2 tbsp minute tapioca
- 1 tablespoon Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons Earth Balance cut into small slices
- 1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water
- Mix the dry ingredients in a mixer.
- Add the coconut oil and beat until dough forms small balls.
- Add the water one tbsp at a time while mixing until the dough reaches the proper consistency (it should hold together well but not be sticky).
- Separate into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap or parchment and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Roll out dough and add bottom crust to a greased and floured pie plate.
- Preheat oven to 425ºF.
- Mix the rhubarb, strawberries, tapioca, flour, zest and juice of lemon, dash of cinnamon, and vanilla.
- Mix well in a large bowl and pour out into bottom crust.
- Dot with butter.
- Roll out top crust and top the pie (if you want to do the lattice design I did use a pizza-cutter to cut strips of the rolled-dough and a long spatula to carefully lift the crust from the counter to the pie).
- Brush top of crust with beaten egg yolk.
- Wrap aluminum foil loosely around the outside edge of the crust to protect the crust from burning.
- Cook at 425ºF for 15 minutes, then drop the temperature to 375ºF and cook for another 40 minutes. The crust should be golden brown and the filling should be bubbling. I found the gluten free crust cooks faster than when using traditional flour so keep an eye on the pie so it doesn’t get over-cooked. Cool before serving.
I’d love to know if you try my recipes or workouts. Please pass along your feedback! Now it’s time for a run!