Posts Tagged ‘legs’

It Ain’t Easy Being Green

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Kermit the Frog would be proud of me: my breakfast this morning was gloriously green! I had an early doctor’s appointment this morning so I went for a quick breakfast.

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The smoothie mix:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 tbsp. almond butter
  • 1/3 cup oatmeal (just raw oats)
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • ~1/2 cup almond milk (the end of a container)
  • 1/2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • plus…a few handfuls of spinach!

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This smoothie was awesome. It had enough heft from the oats and the almond butter to hold me through the morning. And I promise that you cannot taste the spinach at all. Try it! I mean, how fun is it to have a green drink for breakfast?

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The appointment with my running doctor went really well, too! He was very impressed with the strength gains that I’ve made in the last few weeks, and I’m sure that’s why my running has been feeling so much stronger lately. He gave me a couple more exercises to do, and I’ve got yet another follow-up appointment in about six weeks. I’ll be deep into Team in Training training by then, so it’ll be a good time for a check-up.

I headed to the gym for my workout a little later in the day, before a late lunch. Today was all about the legs.

I did all of these exercises on the Bosu with a 20-lb body bar.

And then it was time for rehab exercises:

Plus I did 15 easy minutes on the elliptical and ran two 9:20 miles. Whew! My legs were quite shaky after the workout, and I quite literally ran home and toward the fridge. I heated up some of my leftover bulgur-veggie mixture from last night and added some black beans and hummus. Even more delicious, if that’s possible.

Aaand there’s no picture. It wasn’t pretty, you saw it yesterday already, and I really, really wanted to get it in my tummy. 🙂

But there’s a picture of dinner! And man was it good. I followed this recipe almost exactly. (My changes in bold.)

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Spicy African Peanut Stew

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 sweet potato, cubed (about 1 c. total)
  • 1 1/2 t. curry powder omitted
  • 1/2-3/4 t. garam masala (depending on how spicy you like it) omitted
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1 T. minced ginger used a tsp. of ground ginger
  • 2 t. minced garlic
  • stevia to taste (I used almost 2 packets of NuNaturals) omitted
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes, in juice used regular diced tomatoes
  • 1 can light coconut milk omitted
  • 2 c. vegetable stock
  • 2 T. natural peanut butter used almond butter
  • 1/2 c. red lentils, drained and rinsed (can substitute quinoa, if desired) used green lentils

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This recipe was meant for the slow cooker, but I just cooked it all in a Dutch oven. I brought the mixture to a boil and then covered it and let it simmer and thicken for quite a while. I was afraid it wouldn’t thicken (I like thick soups!) but it did, in a delicious fashion. It was so good! I’m very happy that I have leftovers. 🙂

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And here’s dessert, too! When I was poking around in the freezer earlier, I saw a couple of frozen bananas. To me, that means…banana soft serve!

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This is the easiest recipe in the world. I threw two frozen bananas in the food processor and let ‘er rip. After about five minutes, I had glorious soft and fluffy banana soft serve. I split it into two servings and drizzled with my own chocolate sauce. (Just two squares of dark chocolate melted in the microwave.)

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And then what to do with the little bit of leftover chocolate?

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What an awesome, healthy dessert! Enjoy your evenings. 🙂

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48-Hour Burn

So Sunday afternoon I went to the gym, like usual, and planned on a normal legs workout. But I guess it wasn’t so “normal” because it is now 48 hours later and my lower body is still. so. sore. It’s awesome. 😉

So what was the key? I did pretty normal exercises, but I changed things up a bit. Here’s how:

  • Lunge and lift: Instead of dumbbells like usual, I used a 20-lb body bar (3 sets, 15 reps)
  • Lunges: On the Bosu! I used the body bar again, and the bosu added an element of instability and balance (3 sets, 15 reps)
  • Dead lifts: On the Bosu with the body bar (3 sets, 15 reps)
  • Calf raises: I used the body bar and stood on a step instead of just on the ground (3 sets, 30 reps)
  • Standing hamstring curl: 3 sets, 10 reps, 80 lbs (upped the weight!)

This is proof that switching up exercises works! I used an unstable surface and decided to use a body bar instead of dumbbells like usual. So next time you’re doing weights, try using a medicine ball, a kettleball, or a body bar to use your muscles in different ways. Also experiment with a Bosu or an exercise ball. Being on an unstable surface forces your body to recruit more muscles, including those in your core.

Let’s see, what else has been going on…oh yeah, Team in Training has started! We had our kick-off party last Wednesday—which was highlighted by an amazing speaker—and our first training on Saturday morning. Ah, the joy of getting used to that early Saturday alarm clock. 🙂 But at least they’re easing us into it so far! For the majority of last season we met at 6 a.m., and we’re only meeting at 7:15 right now.

But our first training went so well. Our team is pretty big and hopefully everyone will stick around. I love being a mentor and feeling more involved than I was last season. I just hope I can live up to the expectations of being a good mentor! On the injured knee front, I did a really strong three miles and felt absolutely fine. I iced my knee afterward, but it was only the tiniest bit sore.

And I’ve still been enjoying these delicious Glo bars. It’s been a week, and I still have five left—I think that’s pretty good. 🙂

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This Crave flavor was pretty good, but it wasn’t my favorite. I’ve loved the Adore flavor (s’more) and the chocolate peppermint ones the best.

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Team in Training workout tomorrow night…I’ll keep you updated! Check the exercise schedule for the most up-to-date info.

Stronger

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I have been so pleased with the progress in my mini-rehab! My legs feel so much stronger, and I have virtually no knee pain anymore. And speaking of legs, let me back up to Saturday’s workout. 3 sets of everything, per usual!

Plus 20 minutes on the elliptical. A really great workout!

On Sunday, I ran again, increasing my distance a little bit. (Remember you can check out all my workouts in my exercise schedule.) Tonight will be another cardio workout. (My roommate and I go to the gym at 7 on Mondays so we can watch The Bachelor. At least I only watch it while I’m on the elliptical!)

And now for food talk! One of my toughest challenges when coming to college was figuring out what to eat for breakfast. I should tell you that breakfast is my absolute favorite meal of the day. If I could (and I sometimes do), I would eat breakfast foods at lunch and dinner, as well. When I am at home, I switch my breakfasts up among cereal, yogurt and granola, French toast, pancakes, smoothies, and my beloved stovetop oatmeal.

But here at school, there is really only one option for me: instant oatmeal. I know. After making it old-fashioned style on the stove for a while (and perfecting that technique, by the way) I had to figure out a way to make instant oatmeal taste as good.

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But I’m proud to say that I finally did it! I don’t know about you, but what I never liked so much about instant oatmeal (I use the plain instant stuff out of the canister, not the packets) was the texture. Oats plus hot water never equaled a nice combination for me. So what I do is put the oats in the bowl first, and then add a healthy splash of milk (soy milk, in my case). Then I add a little bit of hot water (no microwave necessary). I have no idea why that changes things, but adding the soy milk first—which means you don’t need as much water—really makes the texture a lot more appealing to me. Softer, somehow? Less gummy?

Anyway, then I add the toppings. (Mine are cinnamon, chopped pecans, and a little granola.) Last step: I slice in a banana—preferably a deliciously ripe one like today—and mash it all up!

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So now that you’ve heard my super-nerdy tutorial about how to make good instant oatmeal, give it a try! Oatmeal is the perfect, fiber-rich breakfast. 🙂

Achy Breaky Legs

Today was a legs strength training day, and that combined with cardio and my rehab exercises left my legs pretty shaky. I went to the gym late this afternoon, which I’ve decided I don’t like as much as going in the evening because it was packed today. I squeezed out a little space next to the free weights and did this routine for my quads and hamstrings. (I went through the exercises three times.)

After that, I moved on to my rehab exercises (which I’ll address in more detail in another post) and did two sets of the following exercises.

  • Standing hip abduction: 60 lbs., 15 reps per side
  • Standing hip extension: 60 lbs., 10 reps per side
  • Bridge with marching: 15 reps per leg (I did this exercise on an exercise ball.)
  • Leg extension dips: 5 reps per leg (These were really difficult! I couldn’t find a link to this exercise, but my feet were on the floor and my head and shoulders were on an exercise ball, in a bridge position. Keeping the pelvis stable, slowly raise one leg straight out, parallel to the ground. Lower hips down as far as comfortable while maintaining stability, and then return to starting position.)

I finished my workout with 20 minutes on the elliptical (while being entertained with Shape magazine and Iron Chef America on the TV). Thanks to all those leg workouts, I’m pretty sore this morning!