Showing posts with label stretching. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stretching. Show all posts

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Wrapping Up FWTFL Week 3 (with Weekend Workouts)

We've literally been living under our umbrellas for the past few days, but I haven't let that stop my motivation. I did change things up a little bit, but it's my workout and I have to make it work for me.

Lorna Jane tank (similar here)

Here's a look at my workouts this week:

Monday - Took my sprints and HIIT workout outside for my last sunny day workout.

Tuesday - Active rest day

Wednesday - Learned about strength training with Supersets

Thursday - Another training day at the gym. I think I'm becoming a gym rat.

Friday - My Bodystep instructor returned from Oz, so I took my speed burst workout to The Hit Room.

Saturday - Regular Calorie Day - Leg Day - the workout 

I started the day with a trip to the beach for a pre-arranged meet up of the Discovery Bay Ladies SUP group. Four of us braved the rain to participate in an upcoming local magazine article.

I usually SUP in my bathing suit, but the rainy weather had me in a normal Chi tank and Costa shorts. One of the ladies wears full coverage rash guard, wetsuit like gear so she won't get stung by jellies if she falls in the water.

Warm up - I was over the rain, so I looked up the at-home workout for the day. My warm-up consisted of me digging out the free weights, getting out my yoga mat, and that's it.

Strength training - It was leg day: squats, deadlifts, lunges, step-ups, calf raises. 4 sets of 12-15 reps. Plus FINISHERS - curtsey lunges, side lunge with squat, jump squats, jump lunges. 40 reps. Repeat ---> I did not repeat. This was one of those calls I have to make to keep my knee happy.

It sucks that I have to limit my workouts on one of the larger muscle groups, but I do. The old me would push through and finish the workout exactly as it's written. I would pressure myself to not quit because a leg workout burns a lot more fat calories than an arm workout. But then I would be out of commission for a couple of days with knee pain. I've learned to modify my workouts so that they work for me and be ok with that.

Sunday - low calorie day - active recovery - the workout

Warm up - For once it wasn't raining so we were able to walk to the fitness center. mrC had a strength training day and I tagged along.

Slow paced run - I chose to do the interval progression run today. It looks like this: 1 minute walk, 1 minute run, 2 minute walk, 2 minute run, 3 minute walk, 3 minute run, 4 minute walk, 4 minute run, 5 minute walk, 5 minute run. At the end, I was almost to a 5K, so I repeated the 5 minute run. 

I admit that the longer walk breaks were HARD! I've gotten used to my one minute recovery intervals, but I stayed focused on the goal of low intensity and keeping my heart rate in the fat burning zone. PS - I'm falling more in love with my Mizunos every time I run in them. Have you read my review?

Bonus - I tossed in a couple sets on the adductor machine because my inner thighs are nice and flabby. I'm hoping the use of the machine will supplement the leg day exercises.

Cool down - I did some stretching on the stretch machine. If you've never used the stretch machine at the gym, I highly recommend it. It looks like this one on Amazon. I don't have a lot of experience, but it made getting a really good stretch of my hamstrings, glutes, and quads so easy. I did not use heavy weight during my leg workout yesterday, but I was feeling the results of the high repetitions.

Regular calorie day - the meals

Broke fast at about 11 - 2 scrambled eggs with ham, gluten free pancakes, red grapes, and orange juice

Lunch - 3 turkey roll ups and microwave popcorn

Dinner - Buffalo chicken quinoa and green beans

Snack - mini YPP

Low calorie day - the meals

Broke fast at 11 - 2.5 scrambled eggs with ham, one PB&J rice cake and red grapes

Lunch - leftover buffalo chicken quinoa and green beans

Dinner - leftover buffalo chicken quinoa ---> it's THAT good! (recipe here)

How was your week?

Linking up with Tricia and Holly for the Weekly Wrap!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

5 Essential Stretches for Happy Legs

After having a meniscectomy on my left knee (after two ACLs a lifetime ago), I rehabbed and returned to running and other fitness activities a little happy camper. About a year later, that same knee became very unhappy and for the longest time, I didn't know why. I could hike, run, yoga...and then out of the blue my knee would hurt. It got so bad that I stopped running.

It took many visits with my chiropractor and an osteopath to figure out what I should have known all along: Stretching is essential for happy legs (and knees)!

The muscles in my left leg are weaker because of my knee injury and therefore work harder. Working harder causes the muscles to tighten putting a strain on my joints ---> in my case my knee feels this directly. If I take the time to stretch the muscles, the tightness is reduced and the strain removed.

If you are like me and struggling to solve a pain issue and are not stretching enough, please try these 5 Essential Stretches for Happy Legs.

Here's how they look after a warmup walk to the plaza in my neighborhood.

Quad stretch - Standing upright I pull my leg behind me with the same side hand. While pulling my foot toward my butt and keeping my knee pointed down, I focus on keeping my hips forward. It is not my goal to touch my foot to my butt, but to feel the stretch on the front of my leg.

Hamstring stretch - Standing with the leg to be stretched a little ahead of me, I keep that leg straight while bending the other knee slowly. At the same time I lean forward at the hip keeping my chest up. While in the stretch I focus on keeping my hips back ---> when I make this adjustment, I instantly feel the difference in the stretch. This stretch can also be done with the leg elevated or better yet, laying down.

Glute stretch - While standing upright, I raise one leg and pull it toward my chest with both hands. While keeping my body still and hips forward, I pull my leg across my body until I feel the stretch. I try not to allow my upper body to twist.

Hip & glute stretch (aka standing pigeon pose) - I place my ankle just above the opposite knee and then sit back slowly. I try to sink as low as I can, keep my hips square and top knee flat to increase the stretch.

Calf stretches - There are two sets of calf muscles to stretch. The first stretch is most common. While standing I step one leg back and bend forward with the other. I keep the back leg straight and the foot on the ground for the entire stretch.

The second stretch is similar. I bring the same leg in a little closer and bend the knee to feel a little different stretch.

What I'm wearing: top, capris, shoes

These are the stretches that are working for me and helped get me back in my running shoes. I do them after every workout and sometimes in the middle of a workout.

PS -Always warm up your muscles before performing any type of stretching.

PPS - I am not a doctor. I am only sharing what has worked for me personally.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

There almost wasn't a #TreadmillTuesday

I spent my morning at the SWIC Welcome Breakfast signing up runners for the new running group, drinking mimosas, and enjoying a wonderful breakfast party. This was a much bigger event than the normal Tuesday coffees at the Hilton and was about 30 minutes away at the Marco Polo Hotel in Futian.

When I got home around lunch time, I was feeling pretty blah. I FaceTimed with mrC who is on a trip and told him I didn't think I was going to make it to the fitness center, but after taking some ibuprofen I decided to go for it. 

I walked to the fitness center and five miles later, I felt much better.

Yesterday I read a great article on yoga stretches for runners (here), so after my run I actually did them. I'm not very good at stretching after my runs, but I felt so good going through all 10 poses. 

My post-run swim made me feel even better. I love when no one else is in the pool. 

Tomorrow is my second pilates class. Wish me luck!

Do you like mimosas? 
Do you push through feeling yucky or take a day off?

Friday, July 17, 2015

It's What We Make Of It

Yesterday I did not go sight-seeing or to the fitness center.

Long story, short: We had a power outage in the middle of the night. Being awake for a couple of hours in the middle of the night makes me feel like a zombie the next day. You get the idea.

Oh, and the thunderstorms that were forecast for Thursday were a day late. It's been raining and storming all day.

Days like this can make me feel a little lazy. Two days in a row and I start feeling like a slacker.

But then I was talking to a friend who reminded me that we don't have to run/bike/swim every single day. There are other ways to get in our fitness. Just cleaning the house can be a workout. Fitness is what we make of it, not how much we can do!

This made me think about what I did do on my so-called lazy days:

1. I foam rolled

2. I did more trigger point therapy on my VM

3. I did some strength training: stability ball, core, knee strength exercises

4. I took walks

5. I let my body rest ---> it's true. Rest is important!

I also did some more reading on the vastus medialis and learned a few more things. Like, a weak VM can cause the knee cap to not track properly and a tight VM can lead to knee pain.

I found a couple of exercise videos that focus on strengthening the VMO, but liked this one the most. I'm sharing in case you are dealing with the same symptoms and because we all need to protect our knees with strong quad muscles.

But I also liked this one from Popsugar ---> leg strengthening workout. 

My left leg is still very weak compared to my right. I'm now on a mission to change that. Otherwise, I fear my knee problems will continue to haunt me.
Ever since my knee surgery in December, my range of motion has been limited. This makes doing a simple quad stretch extremely uncomfortable and awkward. The added knee pain made me drop the ball and stop stretching.
I had no idea how tight my quad had become or how much relief my knee would feel after dedicating a couple of minutes to this simple stretch.

Today I'm thankful for resting, trigger point therapy, and stretching. My knee continues to feel better. And that makes me happy.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Workout Wednesday: Hip Openers

If I had a dollar for every time that I have been told by my PT, chiropractor, and barre instructors that I have tight hips, I'd be….well, not exactly rich, but able to buy a new pair of running shoes ;)

When I came across the article Basic Stretches For Tight Hips on Pop Sugar, I knew my hips would be changed forever (see the article here). My favorite pose in the 8 pose sequence is the Open Lizard.

from Pop Sugar

Then I found another article (here), 10 Yoga Poses for Runners on Fitness Magazine's Pinterest board. A couple of the poses were for targeting tight hips. I like this one.

From Fitness Magazine

Last week after a kettle bell-swinging-squat-happy SurfnTurf class, two barre classes, and my long run, my legs were toast. Using theses stretches, I was able to rid my legs of most of the DOMS while working on opening up my tight hips.

Since I know that most runners are in the same boat as me, I had to share these articles. Not only will they help our tight hips, but they are also great stretches for our legs in general.

What is your favorite hip opener stretch/pose?