Monthly Archives: June 2011

I have finished the move.

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Be there or be square…

DOMS:That “ouch I exercised” ache…

image from

Yesterday you changed up your routine – adding some weight and some new exercises to your routine- and this morning you’re body you’re definitely feeling it.  The muscles you worked are sore; even muscles you didn’t think you HAD are sore.

Welcome to the wonderful world of DOMS.

DOMS – or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness- is that pain you feel one to three days after you’ve exercised.  It normally occurs when:

  1. you’ve just begun an exercise routine;
  2. you’ve increased the intensity;
  3. you’ve added new exercises;
  4. you overlooked a proper warm up or cool down.

While traditionally DOMS was explained as an excess building of lactic acid causing the discomfort,  recently it’s been discovered that the same micro-tears that occur to make a muscle stronger cause DOMS. 

Let me explain:

When we begin a new exercise routine -either new  all together or simply switch up what we’ve been doing- the increased demand causes tiny micro tears in the muscle fibers.  These tears- when repaired-make the muscle stronger.  But while they are in the process of repair, we feel the pain.

First a chemical is released into the blood stream that draws white blood cells to the damaged area.  These blood cells clean out each damaged muscle cell, creating free radicals while they do, which add to the destruction of the cells.  This creates swelling and inflammation on a cellular level that we perceive as pain. 

This pain will continue until the tears are completely healed – a process that can take 24-72 hours to accomplish depending on the quality of our sleep and the amount of rest we get during the day.

It’s interesting to note that most DOMS seems to be caused by the eccentric (negative) movement.  So slowly lowering weight against the force of gravity is a move that will more frequently create this delayed pain. 

This will be an important consideration when I look at  ways to cope with DOMS or to limit its impact all together.

It Takes a Village… To Get a Shot

In an effort to get some more pain-free time, my orthopedist suggested I get a cortisone shot in my hip.  If you’ve ever had a cortisone shot in a joint, I know what you’re thinking:

OUCH! That sucker’s gonna hurt.

Turns out that the hip is one of those joints where it’s not all that simple to place the shot -and it hurts like hell to get the syringe in there.  As you unfold your bodies from the instant pain reaction, be assured they take this into account: they put the patient into twilight sleep, use a flouroscope to position the needle and give the shot while the patient is dopey.

Notice that this leads to another challenge: now it’s not just driving to the doctor, getting the shot and driving home.  With any anesthesia it is illegal to drive afterward (DUI).  So now the complex procedure is complicated further by the need of a 2nd party to accompany you.

I talked with the procedure scheduler last week.  First, she wanted me the next day at 7 am.  (WHO can arrange schedules that quickly?  I want to know.).  When I explained that -no, I was available but my drive was not- we scheduled for today at 12:30 pm.  The spouse took a half day vacation, but scheduled a meeting for early in the morning.  I thought we were covered.


Incompetent scheduler called -at 4:55 pm last night when she was leaving at 5 pm.-to inform me that I had to be there at 11 am today.  Hello?  That 1.5 hours may not be a big deal to her, but it completely fucked with my ability to get there.  The spouse was NOT available nor impressed with this last minute circus.  Neither was I.

As it turns out, Monday nights I meet with a group of friends.  Announcing my dilemma as a slowly rose from a chair and hobbled to the kitchen for some water, we brainstormed solutions from my getting there 3 hours early (someone was on her way there earlier in the morning), to my driving there and a caravan forming to pick up the car later.  One friend could re-arrange her schedule and drive me.

Plans set.  One person drives me and drops me off; the spouse finds his way there on his own and picks me up.

My Spicy Peanut Sauce

This was originally published here back in 2007.  Again in 2009.  It’s time for another round of sharing…

It’s summertime which means I’m cooking a lot satay for dinners and parties. It’s one of those dishes that is easy to make, great to take, and always devoured.

First cut chicken or pork into small pieces: 1/4″ by 3″ is a good size to aim for. Marinate these pieces for 4-6 hours in:

1/4 C coconut milk
1/4 C vegetable oil
1 TBS. Thai Kitchen’s red curry paste
1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. lime juice
1 tsp. fish sauce

Now you can thread these chicken pieces onto skewers (soaked in water), but I find this awkward on my grill. So I just place them on the grill . They are small and cook up quickly! About two minutes per side.

Now the best part: The Spicy Peanut Sauce you serve along with it.

Debra’s Thai Spicy Peanut Sauce.
This is adapted from Barbara Tropp’s The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking.

I LOVE this stuff.. and use it like I used ketchup as a kid (on almost everything!!) It’s fabulous on chicken and pork, but possibly at it’s best on soba noodles or wholewheat pasta.

3-5 cloves ofgarlic (Tropp uses 10… but I found that then I couldn’t taste anything except the garlic. Not the sauce I was going for…). I actually prefer to use roasted garlic, but that means planning ahead.
1/2C Soy Sauce
1/2C all natural peanut butter (it has no transfats… so it’s healthier).
5 TBS. Sugar
1-2 TBS Thai Kitchen Red chili sauce (depending on your tolerance for heat)
1 TBS. vegetable oil
1 TBS. lime juice

Mince the garlic in your food processor or blender. Add the rest of the ingredients, and puree for 1 minute (is you are using a blender, pulse the blend for about 10 second intervals).

Let the flavors blend for at least 2 hours.

Will stay good in your fridge for 2 weeks. If it lasts that long, you mustn’t really like it, so send it to me!!

Strength Endurance

Arm/dumb bell

Since I have been sidelined one thing has become obvious: I have lost not only my overall level of strength, but I have also lost my strength endurance. Of the two, the endurance is the greater loss.

According to NASM it is:

The ability to repeatedly produce higher levels of force for relatively prolonged periods.

It is carrying grocery bags, vacuuming floors, mopping kitchens, weeding gardens, carrying toddlers- without getting tired and resting. It is the most basic and necessary level of fitness.

We use it every day. And I’ve lost it.

Fortunately, it is also an easy level of strength to train: find a weight that I can perform 12-15 reps to and do 3-4 sets of every exercise with full-body workout. Rinse and repeat 3 times a week.

Now, I’m not talking little pink dumb bells unless that’s the only weight you can use. When you/I hit 12 reps of a move the mind should be saying: OK, we can quit now. The body should still be able to give 2-3 more good reps. And this is a unique level of training, in that when I can DO the 15 reps, instead of increasing the weight, I will continue to increase the reps.  15/18/21/25 reps until the end of the month.

Remarkably, my STRENGTH is still rather high (doing 65# bench press and dead lifts here, and 50# rows) even though my endurance is shot. Lowering to a lighter weight would NOT be beneficial-the idea is to tire the muscles out in that 12-15 rep range so that the endurance comes back.

For the next 4 weeks this means, three days a week of:

  1. Full Body Exercise: Step up To Press 3 sets of 15(18/21/25) with 15# DB.
  2. Chest: Chest Press 65#BB (or 25#DB) for 3 sets of 15(18/21/25)
  3. Back: Standing 1 arm cable rows 50# for 3 sets of 15(18/21/25)
  4. Back:Lat Pulls 50# for 3 sets of 15(18/21/25)
  5. Triceps: Pull downs 30# for 3 sets of 15(18/21/25).
  6. Legs: Single leg Leg Press 25# for 3 sets of 15(18/21/25).
  7. Legs: Ball Wall Squats 3 sets of 15(18/21/25).