Things have been going so well with my knee that I’ve stopped blogging my daily workouts and am going back to just writing about unique workouts and nutrition! It also doesn’t help that it’s school season again so my full-time job has ramped up and I’m once again at the mercy of teachers and students needing all things technical.
Yesterday I signed up for The Heist!! This is an all-women’s bouldering competition held at Central Rock Gym (my home gym) in Watertown, MA. I’ve been looking forward to it ever since I heard about it after CRG’s Ring of Fire comp back in March. I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to compete due to my knee, but I’m back in the gym twice a week and I’m feeling strong so let’s do this!
I’ll admit, I’m nervous. I’m still very much a beginner climber; my height to weight ratio really works against me in the gym. So even though I’ve been climbing twice a week since January, my techniques’ just so-so and I’ll be competing at a beginner’s level. This means I’ll be attempting 5 bouldering problems rated V0-V2 over the course of 3 hours. That is a LONG comp, much longer than the one I did back in March. I honestly rarely do gym sessions that are so long and while the length is really to give people time to rest between attempts, folks who need more attempts (as I might due to my level) will just end up climbing more. My goal is literally to not come in last. This is a real goal for me because in my last comp, well, I came in last.
Due to the healing time for my knee I missed out on the chance to train with The Heist CRG Team so for now I’m on my own. I’m training by bouldering once a week to gain strength and skill and top roping once a week to help me with endurance. I also just treated myself to new shoes (I’ll blog about those another time) since my old shoes were starting to fall apart and really weren’t ideal for bouldering. On the days I’m not in the gym I’m doing a mix of cardio (biking for my knee), tabata/HiiT workouts, kettlebell strength training, and yoga.
It’s been interesting, as I work to strengthen my legs and upper body I’ve been gaining weight. A chunk of that is from new muscle, but if I’m honest with myself a larger chunk comes from allowing myself to drift into a summer junk food diet cheating more and more on my allergy diet. I’d still say overall I’m a very healthy eater, but I’ve had fried clams/oysters, lobster salads, bagels with lox, burgers and beer, Mexican and margaritas, and all sorts of things that are great once in a while but not once a week. It’s time to slim down, which means being strict about not eating foods I’m allergic to and keeping my portions reasonable with a paleo-tilt. Every pound in my body is a pound I’m dragging up the wall with me. Thankfully, this is also harvest season so my kitchen is FULL of local, organic produce, most of which from my or my Dad’s garden.
This week I’m trying out a few new recipes. The first one was Punjabi Baingan Bharta, which is an eggplant dish that I actually enjoy (I usually hate eggplant). I basically followed that recipe to a T except that I quadrupled the amount of garam masala, added a little turmeric and cardamom, and used an immersion blender at the end. Its was so good!
Last night though was INCREDIBLE!! It was adapted heavily from this recipe, but I’ll put my whole recipe here.
Grilled Chicken with Raw Peanut Ginger Lime Veggies
- 1 boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 tbsp olive oil, or an oil of your choosing
- 3 large or 5 small carrots, spiraled or peeled into noodles*
- 1 large zucchini spiraled or peeled into noodles*
- 1 medium beet spiraled or peeled into noodles*
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (or almond or cashew butter if you’re strict paleo)
- 4 tablespoons coconut milk (use canned or “cooking coconut milk”)
- 2 tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos
- Dash cayenne pepper
- 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- salt and pepper to taste
*Note: I use the GEFU Spirelli Spiral Slicer but have my eye on the Paderno World Cuisine Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer. The GEFU works well for zucchini but for the carrots and beets I just used a vegetable peeler to make strips.
- Preheat your grill (if it’s not grilling season you can pan-fry the chicken in coconut oil, ghee or an oil of your choosing). In a small bowl mix olive oil, salt and pepper and brush on chicken (note: if you’re pan-frying just sprinkle salt and pepper on the chicken).
- In a medium bowl mix the nut butter, coconut milk, aminos, cayenne, garlic, ginger, and lime juice.
- Begin grilling the chicken, depending on the thickness it should be grilled about 6 minutes per side to an internal temperature of 165ºF.
- Mix spiraled/peeled veggies with cilantro and stir in sauce.
- After chicken has cooled for ~5 minutes cut it into bite-sized chunks and mix in with the “pasta” until fully coated in the sauce.
- Serves two!
Finally, here are two of my favorite DIY workouts from the past two weeks. These are both core and lower-body intensive to compliment my climbing and knee recovery, but they are still full-body workouts (and both started with 30 mins on the exercise bike doing intervals and end with 15-20 mins of yoga):
8/22/2014 3 Rounds for Time (my time = 20 mins)
- KB backward lunge row and pass under x 20 (26lb KB)
- Weighted sit-up and butt-lift x 10 (15lb dumbbell)
- Single-leg lateral lift x 10 each side (5 lb ankle weights)
- KB Single-leg deadlifts x 5 each side (26lb KB)
- Single-leg kick-backs x 10 each side (5 lb ankle weights)
9/3/2014 – 2 Rounds for Time (my time = 22 mins) – I purposely lowered the KB weight for this per my Physical Therapist as I get back into weighted squats. I’d normally use a 26lb KB so choose your own weight that’s right for you.
- Weighted double-leg lifts x 15 (5 lb ankle weights)
- Single-leg lateral lift x 15 each side (5 lb ankle weights)
- Single-leg medial lift x 15 each side (5 lb ankle weights)
- 2 X 20 Kettlebell One-Arm Swings (15lb KB)
- Figure 4 Squats x 12 each leg (15lb KB)
- Weighted Deadlift kickbacks x 15 each side (15lb KB + 5 lb ankle weights)
Enjoy the beginning of the change of season and remember to eat those fresh veggies!!
I’m continuing to find improvement with my knee! Next week I’ll only be heading to PT once and as long as things are still going in the upward direction she shouldn’t need to see me again for a month, woo!! I’ve learned a lot during this process and I’m thrilled that not only did I manage to not lose fitness during my recovery period, but I’ve actually gained a ton of glute, hip, core and leg strength. I can’t say this enough, if you’re in PT do your exercises. Seriously. Your recovery is your responsibility. They’re not giving you exercises for their health, they’re giving you exercises for your health. Do them.
With that said, here’s my week in review of exercise. It was my “hell week” at work as we prepare for students to return to school so that included rolling out new machines on campus, reimaging the entire campus, rolling out six new servers and completely re-doing the server rack. In other words, it was a very physical week at work for me. I adjusted my workouts accordingly.
- This was my “rest day”. I took Toby for a short hike and a swim at Burgess Pond. It was probably 45 minutes of activity and much more of just lounging. 🙂
- 30 minutes doing intervals on the recumbent bike
- 30 minute Barre Pilates class
- 30 minutes doing intervals on the recumbent bike
- ZuzkaLight’s Kettlebell Series Workout #1 – I was particularly thrilled to get back to working out with Zuzka. This was the first time since I’ve been injured. I did have to substitute one exercise, but this was a fantastic workout. I’ll post the workout here (with my modification) for posterity, but for the record if you like high intensity workouts I really recommend her ZGym. It’s paid, I have no affiliation with her, but I’ve been doing her workouts for three years now and I love them! You can find many free workouts from her on YouTube.
- 2 Rounds:
- 40 Side-to-Side Kettlebell Swings
- 10 Warrior Rows (LEFT)
- Standing single-leg kick-backs x 12 each side (wearing 5 lb ankle weights)
- 10 Warrior Rows (RIGHT)
- 20 Clams
- 2 Rounds:
- 20 mins yoga, focused on legs.
- This was the day we loaded out all the new machines, mostly desktops. It was 8 hours of lifting and being on my feet. If I knew in advance that’s what my day was going to be I would not have done the above intense workout. Thankfully, my knee made it through ok!
- 15 minutes doing intervals on the recumbent bike.
- 45 minutes advanced yoga. I didn’t go into it expecting it to be as hard-core a class as it was. After Monday I needed some recovery, but this was intense!
- Another full day of being on my feet along with some lifting but not as much as Monday.
- 30 minutes doing intervals on the recumbent bike
- Double-leg-lift w/ crunch x 15 (wearing 5 lb ankle weights on each ankle)
- Side leg-lifts x 15 each side (wearing 5 lb ankle weights on each ankle)
- Standing single-leg kick-backs x 15 each side (wearing 5 lb ankle weights)
- Completely redid the server room solo. LOTS of lifting, crawling, bending, etc.
- 30 minutes doing intervals on the recumbent bike.
- 30 minutes of Anusara for Head, Neck, and-Shoulders
- 75 minute Intermediate Yoga class
- 30 minutes doing intervals on the recumbent bike
- 15 minutes restorative yoga
- Gave 2.5 hours of deep tissue massage
- 1 hour gentle yoga practice
- I’m hopefully also going to do a round of my PT exercises today. The day is still young. 🙂
You may notice I didn’t climb this week. That was more due to my energy level this week and the amount I used my upper body at work. I’m looking forward to getting back to the rock gym next week!!
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!