Leg day is even less fun with a torn ACL.
You’d think I’d use this as an excuse to skip it.
If I weren’t scared of my leg totally atrophying I wouldn’t bother with legs. But I am. So we did it. Yes, Vegas even came to the gym with me.
Some days I think I am certifiable.
Side note: Bat-shit crazy is actually the name of the group text between my mom, sisters, and me.
So… we know I tore my ACL. How about 6 days later I decided I’d still participate in a 22 mile bike ride? I mean… I’d already registered and paid the fee…
Vegas was so mad she would barely speak to me.
I completely forgot I was hosting WIAW today.
But I have a really good excuse.
I’m too busy going to doctors and laying around like this:
Sooooo… this is NOT how I wanted to start the week. Trying to get some work done but it's going to take extra coffee in my favorite mug today. Wish we had a @wafflehouseofficial in San Diego! Waiting for the orthopedic office to open so I can get an MRI. 5 mins… Hope your Monday is better than this! ☕️☕️☕️
A photo posted by Laura (@sprint2thetable) on
Thank you guys for putting up with my outdated look for so long. I am no web designer, so I finally decided to do the smart thing and enlist help. I hope you like it, and that it makes it easier to navigate around here. If you run into any bugs, please let me know. There are always kinks to workout.
ALSO… I added a tab for training and nutrition. I earned my certifications a few weeks back, but hadn’t had the time to really promote it. With the new site in place, I’m ready to take it to the next level. Wheeee!
Life is a jungle gym.
And I like monkeying around.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned lately is life isn’t linear. This sounds obvious even as I write it, but over and over I’ve been surprised when my carefully laid plains deviate from the path I’ve plotted. Things change – you grow up. You learn new skills. You have setbacks. Life happens.
Plan changes have happened in all aspects of my life – career, relationships, fitness, etc. – and I’m sure you’ve experienced the same. I gt a lot of questions about how I began competing, so today’s Work It Out is my fitness journey. My jungle gym.
Before I get into it, I want to be very clear that this is my path. I’ve done things that were right and that were wrong. Some are tender subjects; they were part of my journey. I know you all have your own stories. I simply submit that I hope no matter where you are in your journey, that you stay true to yourself and have FUN. No regrets.
I love a competition. Sports, spelling bees, pie eating… you name it, I’m up for the challenge. It’s how I’m wired. This has taken me on many a fun ride in my life.
Related to fitness, I have tried just about any sport you can think of. I was lucky to have parents who encouraged me to sign up for all sorts of things – from ice skating to horseback riding to softball. Softball stuck – I still play every season!
In my college years, I wasn’t very active unless you count partying and working. I was a bartender. I smoked, drank too much, and ate crap. Not surprisingly, I gained the “freshman 15” (and the sophomore 15) and was always tired. When my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer something clicked in my head. His disease wasn’t related to unhealthy living; he had actually lost a ton of weight through diet and exercise a few years prior and never smoked a day in his life.
The message that life is short came loud and clear to me. While my dad was getting treatments he continued light exercise to keep strength that allowed him to turn 6 months into 4.5 years with the disease. Through his example, I was inspired to clean up my act a bit and started workout out casually. It wasn’t a total turnaround… but it was a start.
Fast forward a few years and I discovered a new passion – roller derby. I only wish my dad had been around to see that! I had a blast, met some really cool people, and skated about 12 hours a week. It was thrilling. I’d found a sport I loved again!
It also proved to myself that it is impossible to out exercise a bad diet. I was doing intense workouts nearly daily but gaining weight. I am not saying I was “fat,” but I wasn’t healthy and, more importantly, I didn’t feel good.
Looking at my unhealthy habits, I decided it was time for a cleanse. It was the derby off-season and I took the opportunity to give my body a break from getting beat up (literally and figuratively). 21 days of clean eating was amazing for me. I reset some habits, had boundless energy again, and I learned to love running.
That Thanksgiving I ran a 10K with my baby sister and my mom!
Then came a new season of derby. I was still doing really well with healthy living and had come back for the next season with more energy and passion and ever. Whatever was in stow, I was ready to jump on it. Life had other plans.
I broke my jaw during an expo bout (bout = a roller derby game). It was miserable. I looked like Jay Leno and it cost me a pretty important trip in my new job.
6 weeks later my jaw was as good as new but I decided it was time to find something a little safer. Plus, I’d lost a TON of weight from not being able to eat solids, which was not good for playing a contact sport. I looked unhealthy, and I’d basically forgotten how to eat. All I’d been able to have was soup, pureed oatmeal, and smoothies!
I struggled with the aftermath of that injury for a while. Rather than derby, I ran all the time. I was faster and going longer than ever, but – even though I was eating – my new teeny body couldn’t keep up. When you are at a deficit and continue to workout at the level you were before… well, you are just going to get skinnier (read: my mom was worried sick).
Unrelated to that, my knee decided to give out. I got half a mile into a run and was in so much pain I had to stop. The doctor told me my ACL was hanging on by a thread and if I wanted to run distance again I’d need to have surgery. That may have been the best thing that could have happened to me.
Time for a new hobby! Instead of going under the knife, I decided to go the route of building. Body building. If I could build up my quads, my knee wouldn’t bother me in daily activity and running short distances. I’d always loved lifting weights and had done a round or two of P90X, so it seemed to be the perfect next bar to grab.
Two and a half years ago I met with my trainer the first time and started down the path of something that would forever change my life. Lifting feels like it did when I fell in love with softball – I look forward to going to the gym, I want to talk strategy with anyone who will listen… it’s my passion!
Since then, I’ve gained 10 solid pounds of muscle,
2 pounds of boob, and competed in 2 figure competitions. Much to my surprise I placed in both! Rounds 3 and 4 are in 3 and 4 weeks… they are on very competitive stages, but I’m excited just to have the experience. I’ve been watching the success of others around me and am stoked (do people still say that?) for the off season and a sold year of building.
I feel great: inspired, focused, and having fun.
Fitness looks like a million different things. What you do isn’t important, as long as it’s something you love and something that contributes to your health. Don’t be afraid to change your course as you evolve. Yoga, walking, lifting, cross-fitting… whatever. Find something you are passionate about and embrace it.
Having been both active and inactive to my detriment, I can promise you that finding balance and the thing that turns you on will make all the difference. That high, that endorphin rush, is sheer joy. It’s worth it to make time for it.
YOU are worth it.
Need some inspiration? Check out this post full of inspiring athletes from all walks of life.
Have you always been “healthy,” or was there a turning point for you?
What brings you joy?
Today is leg day.
Let’s pretend I don’t dread this day each week.
Misery loves company, so today’s Work It Out is a leg day too. You’re welcome.
This is actually kind of a fun routine. I call it limited because you only need 2 machines, and it’s a good one to do if you’re suffering from foot/ankle problems (I do these when my plantar fasciitis acts up). You CAN have a challenging leg workout without ever touching your feet to the floor.
Another reason I like it is that is incorporates many of the previous techniques I’ve written about to shake up your routine. Click the title of each for the post with a full description/benefits of the technique.
The only equipment you need to do these is a leg extension machine and a leg curl machine.
Do 3 sets of each move, 10 reps per set (unless otherwise indicated). When you select your starting weight, remember that most of these are using techniques that make the move more challenging. If you can, increase your weight with each set
1. Traditional Leg Extensions (regular reps)
2. 24s (8 reps from bottom to half way point, 8 starting half way to full extension, and 8 full)
3. Fulls and Partials (10 full, followed by 10 partial reps – 1st and 3rd sets bottom half, 2nd and 4th top half)
4. Drop Sets (10 reps with a medium heavy weight, 10 with 10 lbs less, then 10 more with 10 lbs less = 1 set)
1. Traditional Lying Leg Curls (regular reps)
2. Super 8’s (8 reps + hold for 8 count, 3 times = 1 set)
3. 1 1/2’s (1 full + 1 half = 1 rep, 1st and 3rd set halfs on the bottom half, 2nd and 4th on the top)
4. Super Slow (6 count going up, 6 count going down)
Caution: It is easy to “over train” with these modifications. They challenge your muscles to work much harder than usual, so these moves are not recommended as a long-term regimen.
You guys cracked me up with the gym confessions/pet peeves last week. I’m going to be doing more posts like that!
What’s you most-hated leg move? Hack squats.
So we end on a positive… what’s your favorite leg move? Heavy squats!
I have terrible knees.
When they are at their worst, I walk like an old man.
This week’s Work It Out comes from a reader request. My girl Calee has been struggling with injuries and wanted to hear more about leg exercises that wouldn’t stress her knees. Since she designed this logo I, of course, had to oblige. 🙂
Building up your leg muscles will go a long way in helping your knees. After years of abuse – including a broken knee – my knees were so bad that I could tell when it was going to rain because they would ache so much. That’s actually gotten BETTER since I’ve been lifting more seriously.
I’m not going to tell you they are 100%. Just last week my left knee was tweaking during hack squats. However, prior to beginning my training I couldn’t run more than a mile. I ran an adventure race 3 weeks ago with no issues whatsoever.
The leg muscles are the largest muscles in our body, and a large contributor to overall lean muscle mass (or lack thereof). Leg muscles also protect the knee joint.
Movements like squats and lunges place a lot of stress on the knees, which is exactly what those suffering from knee issues need to avoid. Instead, focus on strengthening your hamstring and quadriceps muscles to build leg strength and protect your knees. It will seem difficult at first. Start slowly and do leg exercises on a regular basis. It takes 21 days to change a pattern!
Below are several exercises you might try to strengthen your leg muscles without stressing your knees. Note that these exercises are options to work around your pain and/ or limitations. They are NOT designed to be rehabilitation exercises or corrective training. This type of training is best left to a qualified physical therapist, so please consult with a doctor first if you have significant pain or injuries. I am NOT a doctor.
Yes, this is just what it sounds like. Sumo stomps are fun to do and will blast your quads, and you inner and outer thighs. Be sure to stay low and controlled!
Stand with feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed out to sides at about 45 degrees. Pointing your toes out will make this easier on your knees than a traditional squat. Press your palms together in front of you in a prayer position at shoulder level.
Squat down, sending hips back and keeping knees behind toes. Hold the squat and lift one leg up to the side as high as you can, remaining as low as possible in your squat. Be sure to keep your abs tight and your chest up! Lower leg and repeat with other side to complete one rep.
These are great for your core too! Lean back a bit while doing these, hitting your glutes and taking strain off of your knees. A medicine ball is used in the example, but you can do it without.
Attach a EZ or straight bar to the low pulley cable. Place a medicine ball between your knees (feet hip width apart as in a squat position). Hold the bar with arms outstretched, standing a body length away from the cable stack. Squat until both your hips and knees form 90 degree angles. Shift your weight over your heels and push through the heels to return to standing position.
This is a great move to target the glutes and the hamstrings. Hamstrings provide an accelerating force at each push-off, so stronger hamstrings are especially beneficial for runners. Keep your core tight to get a little extra oblique tone, too!
Place your heels on a bench (or chair), allowing your knees to bend so that they are directly above your hips at a 90 degree angle Rest your arms should on the floor at your side. Exhale and dig into the bench with your heels, lifting your hips off the floor as high as possible. Pause for 1-2 seconds, squeezing your glutes. Lower and repeat for reps.
Need a challenge? Do them one-legged or on a stability ball!
Below are a few more exercises. Click the titles for a link to descriptions and pics:
Don’t be afraid to modify a movement to better accommodate your specific limitations. For instance, use a lighter weight or slower tempo. If it hurts, stop. Don’t push yourself too far or you could cause further injury to your knees.
I offer personalized online training and nutrition programs! Check out my philosophy here and fill out the from for more info.
I’ve been super-setting a lot since last week’s post. According to my HRM, the claim of an extra 1/3 calorie burn is spot on!
Did anyone try super-sets after reading about them last week?
Do you have any workout questions or things you’d like more info on?
Life is full of failures.
I am going to discuss one on Monday, in fact.
Sometimes they are happy accidents! One of my favorite stir-frys happened because I couldn’t figure out how to use my spiralizer. This Indian Ginger Tempeh Stir-Fry happened when I wanted zucchini pasta but failed to spiralize:
Or how about last week when I accidentally sprouted a spaghetti squash I’d planned for my meal? That forced me to come up with this Sweet Potato Chicken Salad Strange But Good (don’t forget tomorrow’s link up!) creation:
Breaking my jaw playing roller derby was a fail… but without that experience I would have never come up with one of my favorite oatmeal discoveries: Blueberry Pie. Made smooth enough to slurp thanks to an immersion blender.
Or how about when you leave for vacation thinking you’re going to Argentina, but end up in Chile? That was one FUN fail!
All that said, don’t be too discouraged by fails. Trust in what will be and happy accidents you shall see.
And now I’ll shut up and let Kat tell you about hers!
Because I blog bi-weekly, this is my first opportunity to say, “Happy New Year!”
I had an A-typical New Year’s Eve, which I used to help me set the tone for the year. I went to a hot yoga class that lasted from 10:30pm-12:15am. Yep, meditating, thinking about goals, who I am, who I have been, and who I want to be this year. It was amazing! I felt centered, and was happy to bring in the New Year thinking about health, community, and grounded-ness. (Editor’s note: Remind me to do this next year.)
I want to share a couple of my goals, so you all can partially hold me accountable. First, I want to say, “No,” more often – in work, in family, and in social aspects of my life. This seems easy for a lot of people, but it give me knots in my stomach just to think about possibly disappointing someone.
This goal is in support of my second goal, to stop stretching myself so thin. I tend to take on way too much, and some things I do become a little bit less “quality.” So, in order to enjoy what I do more, and to have more quality, I have to reduce quantity. These are lofty goals. I also started a journal for the first time since I was 12, to help keep me working towards my goals and thinking about them often.
I later got to celebrate with a holiday party, a West Side Story theme. I got to get all dolled-up, and I was SO excited to get dressed up and dance the night away. My feet and legs were definitely sore afterwards!
I’m also back on track with all of my runs and work outs. I didn’t mention it, but December was rough for me and threw me through a loop.
I’ve also been cooking at home like a madwoman! I had a New Years Day party with mocktails and healthy food to start the New Year catching up with a few friends.
Many didn’t make it due to hangovers and being out way too late, but it was still fun! The mocktails were delicious, but too sweet, and kept me up all night from sugar! I made Indian food, pop-corn (Kat-classic), and a number of other fun dishes with lots of fresh fruit and veggies.
Eating and cooking more at home, for me, means many unplanned meals, sometimes just throwing whatever I have in my fridge together, and last week, amazing kitchen mistakes!
I was making dinner for a friend this week, and I had left over quinoa and brown rice, extra fresh broccolini, kale, and sweet potatoes, and some random tofu. So I just got started, and this is what ended up happening:
I sautéed the veggies with fresh ginger and garlic, re-heated the quinoa/brown rice combo (about 75% quinoa, 25% brown rice), and felt like the dish needed something else. Tofu. The tofu preparation was the amazing mistake. I wanted to sort of “fry” it, so I coated it with some brown rice flour mixed with cayenne, salt, and white pepper. I carefully coated each cube and placed it on a plate for frying. But I totally forgot cornstarch! This would have gotten the flour mixture to stick to the tofu and fry properly. Instead, when I put it in the hot coconut oil, the flour started to stick to the bottom, and it wasn’t going very well.
So, to save the tofu, I took part of a box of Trader Joe’s Carrot Ginger Soup and poured some in the pan with the tofu, stirred and scrambled the tofu with the soup and flour mixture, let it simmer, and made THE most delicious scrambled tofu I have ever had. (Editor’s note: will you plase make me a mistake too?)
Follow the directions above and serve with the brown rice/quinoa mixture and sautéed veggies! This was definitely a healthy meal too!
It feels good to give. I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t also say that I’m donating blood today. It’s SO important. I also tend to be low-iron so I’ve had an iron-packed diet this week.
Note some things you should eat to pump up your iron (Editor’s note: I read this in an Arnola accent):
All of these give you almost as much iron as a big steak, and is less harmful to your body if you ingest too much iron because they contain nonheme iron. They also give you more per serving than the dark, leafy greens that are often recommended. If you eat whatever, nothing can compare to the iron-filled foods like liver, clams and mussels. And don’t forget dark chocolate and cocoa powder! Check out their nutrition facts for confirmation!
Additionally, I have a theory about blood donation for my own health. I think it promotes cell-regeneration throughout my own body! Do something good for others, while doing something good for yourself!
I echo Kat’s thoughts on the importance of blood donation. My dad suffered from cancer for 4.5 years and made it as long as he did largely in part to blood, platlet, and bone marrow doners. Click here for more info on becoming a marrow donor. It only takes a cotton swab!
What amazing kitchen mistakes have you had that you want to share?
How do you get re-centered when you have an “off” month?
Families of 3 or 4 are able to spend just $100 a week on groceries.
Apparently I’m eating for 3.
At least that seems to be the case according to a question posed on Facebook last week. In my defense, I do buy a few things family probably wouldn’t spend money on.
When I want something, I buy it. There’s not much grocery cart self-editing going on; however, I don’t waste food. Thanks to my meal plan spreadsheet I stay on track. If I end up with to much of something, I share with friend or my concierges. That’s probably why my weekly haul hovers around $100… this week’s was $104.
I get a lot of questions about nutrition and diet, so I thought this would be a good time to give you guys a peek into my grocery bill. It has certainly increased since I began training. Protein costs a lot more than the pounds of veggies I was eating on my sort-of vegan diet.
Seafood: Mahi Mahi, Tilapia, lump crab meat (I just learned it’s very high in protein), and canned tuna and salmon
Dairy: Greek yogurt and cottage cheese
Vegan: Sprouted tofu
Veggies: Celery, 2.5 lb bag of spinach, cilantro, carrots, broccoli, red pepper, Spanish eggplant, cucumber, portobella, asparagus, cauliflower, onion, garlic, jalapeno, and ginger
Fruits: Golden kiwi, nectarine, apples, Thai banana, and pear
Packaged/Canned Goods: Pumpkin puree, tomato paste, tortillas
Goodies: Teff flour, sugar-free chocolate covered espresso beans, cinnamon, lavender, flowers
This week I did my shopping at Atlanta’s local year-round farmer’s market where (most) groceries are much cheaper than a typical store (ahem… Whole
Paycheck Foods). For instance, I got the 1/4 lb tub of cinnamon for $0.68. However, some things will always be pricey… my crab meat was $16.29.
This wasn’t a big staple-buying week. Some items I already had include: tempeh, almond milk, egg whites, tomatoes, grapefruit, beans, nuts, and grains.
I already cooked my Mahi Mahi!
It’s really easy to prepare. I squeezed a lemon over the filet and let it sit for about 30 mins. Then I sprinkled it with paprika and placed it in the oven on broil for 10 mins. Bam.
Served with roasted broccoli slaw and sweet potato tots. No, I’m not sharing the tot recipe yet. They weren’t the right texture and the flavor needed some “umph.” Soon though!
My plantar fasciitisis still raring it’s head. Despite being responsible and doing the stretches prescribed by my podiatrist, it’s not 100%. It’s not even 80%.
With some modifications I’ve still been able to do leg day (focusing on extensions, curls, etc.). I’m crossing my fingers that I will be able to do more by tomorrow’s leg day. The arms are still going strong. I’m excited to be increasing the weight I’m lifting, and to be getting a little bigger. Still a ways to go though! Bring on the protein.
Workout Recap (8/20 – 8/26):
This is going to be a busy work week and I’ll be working at home a good deal. Therefore, I treated myself to a bouquet of pretty flowers to look at. 🙂
What are your weekly must-buy items?
Are there items you only buy on occasion as a treat?
Time sure flies when you’re all jacked up.
The heel pain mystery has been solved. No, it was not caused (or cured) by Jack. This was my view on the way to the doctor though!
Many of you guys guessed it would be plantar fasciitis and you were right. The Doc said I caught it early, so I should be fine with some daily stretches and rolling it on a frozen water bottle. While I wish it had been nothing more than a random bruise, I’m glad it’s nothing horrendous!
Kellogg is coming out with limited edition college-themed Pop Tarts. As if college students need any encouragement to subside on a diet of PopTarts. Did anyone else go through a cinnamon Pop Tart vending machine phase freshmen year?
Nothing like add a curve in the form of the “Freshman 15.”
NPR reported on a group who found a creative, albeit unnecessary, way to fuel their 5K. An Energy Bar Sandwich composed of “Luna Bar bread, a Clif Bar patty, topped with a Powerbar, carbohydrate goo and… Clif Shot Bloks.” 1,200 calories of fuel. *barf*
The article is filled with hilarious quotes, but this one was my favorite Shot: “This is the perfect thing to eat before my new workout program, ‘Crossfat.'”
This article entitled “Foods That Make You Pretty” is full on food remedies to common annoyances.
My favorite? Celery can apparently be used to scrub and whiten your teeth. I think I’ve inadvertently used it as floss…
And additional random slime fact: a reader recently commented on my slime post that she was slimed once At Universal Studios. And I was jealous.
Totally having this for breakfast today on my PrOATein Pancakes. Thanks for reminding me about it, Amanda!
The Chike Protein Coffee giveaway winners!
Winner 1: Cari
Winner 2: Haley
Winner 3: Leslie @ Pixiepine Blog
Please email me your info to send along to Chike.
If you didn’t wine but would like to try Chike High Protein Coffee, click here to visit their site to place an order. I will be ordering more for myself!
I can’t thank you all enough for the kind words about the loss of my dad via comments on yesterday’s post, Instagram, and Facebook. You truly brightened my day. 🙂
What is something random you’ve encountered lately?
How much would someone have to pay you to eat that Energy Bar Sandwich?