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).

I Have Finally Moved

While my time here has been fun, I’ve finally decided to use that website that I bought low so many months ago.
This is moving over to …..

Wait for it…..

Oh, the anticipation…!

Done all fancy and such… so come join the party.

Accepting the Challenge of change

Now that I adjusting to the idea that the hip thing is here for a while, how am I using this challenge planning a workout?

-I acknowledge that I have limited mobility in the hip. leg press will be for whatever depth I can manage on a given day. Lunges will only be supported. Wall squats instead of BB squats will be the norm. This does not mean never doing a BB squat-with sufficient warm up times, anything is possible.

-there is little effect on upper body workouts.

-core work is challenging because it is difficult to get up and down on the floor. Still, the core work is the most important work to be done in order to gain strength and maintain mobiliy until I get my hip replaced. Twenty to thirty minutes, three to four times a week is the new minimum.

-cardio may have to be switched to the pool. Walking distances is not likely to happen. The elliptical hurts to just get on. I have yet to find a comfortable but challenging workout on a recumbent stationary bike.

Workouts may be less frequent (three times a week) but longer each time (1.5 to 2 hours each) consisting of a short warm up, 20-30 minutes of core work, 10-20 minutes of balance work, and 45-60 minutes of full body resistance training, then time in the pool.

As the Body Turns, Pt.2

As I mentioned in Part One of this series, one of the major jobs of our core muscles is to keep our body from turning (rotating) when stresses such as gravity and force pull at us.  Failure to resist this rotation can strain overworked muscles and cause pain from our knees to the necks.

Today I am going to discuss some of the exercises we can do to strengthen our resistance to rotation.  While they sound familiar – and you may already be doing a version of them- note the important “keying” features of each.

1. The Plank.  Many fitness bloggers have been going for time on stable planks.  Not completely necessary.  While strengthening your erector spinea through a stable hold, it’s much more beneficial – after you can hold a 1-2 minute plank- to add some movement in and challenge that anti-rotation element of core strength.

First, while holding the basic plank position, try to keep the hips parallel to the floor while you touch first one knee down to the ground, then the other.  This move can be expanded as you get stronger.  Note all the variations I perform on this older video:

2. Bridge. The reverse of the plank, the bridge works the posterior chain and the pelvic floor. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and lower legs perpendicular to the floor. Softly tilt your pelvis forward, flattening your lower back near the floor. While your pelvis remains tilted, bridge your hips upward creating a straight line from your knees to your shoulder. Your abs are tight; squeeze your butt as if you are holding a quarter between the 2 cheeks.

Hold this position for 30 to 90 seconds. Return to the floor and repeat 3-5 times.

When you can accomplish this task for 90 seconds – 3-5 times- then add some motion. First lift one leg so the knees remain together, but the “free” leg extends completely out. Second, move that leg down to parallel to the ground then back up even with the support knee.

There are even more progressions you can search for on YouTube, or ask me and I can provide a few fun challenges for you.

3. Bird Dogs Many gals do this exercise, but I fear most are doing it wrong. This SHOULD be one of the hardest exercises you can perform -a true challenge of your core.

Get on hands and knees, then slowly lift up one arm and the opposite leg until they are parallel to the ground. Keep your hips parallel too – that’s the real challenge. Your back, hips, arm and leg should be a level tabletop. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds, then slowly reverse arms and legs. Make sure that your hips and ribs never move from parallel. The movement to extend your arms and legs come from the shoulder and hip only.

4. ClamShells These work the outer hip and the inner/outer thigh. Lie on your side against a wall. Keep your head, shoulder, hips and feet touching the wall, with your knees bent. Squeeze your buns, lifting the top leg up. It will look like a clamshell opening. Hold the squeeze at the top for a count of 5, then relax the leg down. Fifteen squeeze and holds on each side, making sure to keep your head, shoulders, hips and feet in line with the wall.

5. Pallof Press Now that we’ve worked the lower part of the core, it’s time for a challenge to the upper core. Nothing does this quite like a set of Pallof Press. These are best performed at a cable station or at home using a stretchy band. Wrap the band around a stable foundation and hold onto the handle – or at the cable station set the rack at waist height.

Stand away from the stable foundation/cable stand putting the cable under tension with the handle held tightly at waist level. Now turn 90 degrees, to that the cable is running along one arm. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.

Now push your arms away from your body. Keep your body firm and resist the temptation to turn toward the foundation/cable stand. You will feel this in both obliques and in your abs.

Hold the press for 3-5 seconds then slowly bring the handle back toward your body. 10-15 reps on each side, and 2-3 sets. If this sounds confusing, check YouTube to find video details of this exercise.

There you go. Five different ways to work the anti-rotation component of your core -one of its primary functions in the real world.

Have questions? Hit me up in the comments.

Starting Anew

Thursday I received a diagnosis on my gimpy hip that wasn’t unexpected, but that puts a new point on my near future: the only thing that will make my hip better is a new hip.

Now I have several friends who have had hip replacements. They are almost becoming commonplace. And all of these replacements are on people younger than myself. What does this mean for the near future?

With six months of rest, I have lost a great deal of strength endurance even though I have not lost a great deal of overall strength. So, in order to get myself in the best shape to recover quickly from surgery, I will concentrate on doing MORE not heavier. Can I leg press 100# for 3sets of 15? Not yet, but I will work up to this before I move up to the next weight.