Progress Photos

Discovering Quads

I’m over a month into my hip injury… and I still have quads?!

Unflexed vs flexed!
Unflexed vs flexed!

(Kindly excuse the crappy phone photo. And the hilarious pose that’s necessary to photograph them.)

I didn’t even know I had much quad at all until I casually investigated yesterday and witnessed the above. It was like finding an entirely new body part. I was so mystified–especially because the only difference between these two photos is flexing! And I couldn’t even fully unflex in the unflexed photo because my quads just were not having it.

But anyways, thanks to my hip injury (see the fun details in my last post), I was afraid that having to forego leg day would mean no more legs. Well, leg muscle, that is. I just recently acquired all of it, so I’ve been afraid that my body will revert to it’s natural, gelatinous form.

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Exhibit A from just one year ago. (Also, featuring the lovely, non-gelatinous G of P&P holding the flag)

Gotta love having legs that flatten out like pancakes. Seriously, my former body type is best described as “gelatinous.”

And now, I’d say “jello with a surprising amount of muscle underneath.” I’m getting there one step at a time, regardless of how much my hip wants to sabotage me. 😛

Check ins

Hip injuries: The killer of leg day (and dreams)

At the beginning of April, I got too ambitious. Something about my spring break filled me with renewed motivation and a desire to not only be a lifter, but… a runner!

I’ve been doing some occasional HIIT on the treadmill for months, but decided that in April, I wanted to get some endurance. So I started C25K, wrote an enthusiastic blog post about it, and was having a grand old time. I was lifting 2-3x a week and running 2-3x a week, and loving every minute of it.

That is, until my hip decided that it was having none of it.

Ironically, the day I got injured is the day I wrote that post about: the first day I’ve tried running outside since December. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I suppose running downhill for awhile messed me up in a way that didn’t present until the next day. I was still in pain but tried running again 2 days later, this time on a treadmill, thinking I just had a tight muscle and it would go away.

Nope! Massively intensified pain.

Since then, I’ve been limping pretty badly, and haven’t been able to run at all. It’s hard to get dressed in the morning or even stand up. But apparently I’m stubborn, because I’ve still been walking ~5 miles a day (although still lower than my usual 6-7), and doing my lifting: including squats and romanian deadlifts and whatnot. I finally went to the doctor after 3 weeks, upon realizing it hadn’t improved in the least bit. She didn’t say anything conclusive at all except that I need to wear my running shoes everywhere instead of my usual converse, stop doing leg work (goodbye, squats and deadlifts), and see a physical therapist.

It’s a good thing my running shoes are neutral colored and match with everything. (Not.)

I had my physical therapy appointment last Thursday, and he seemed a bit mystified by my injury. He wasn’t sure what it was either, but his best guess was some kind of hip flexor strain… even though those usually clear up in 1-3 weeks. (?!) I can’t see him again any time soon because I’m leaving town, but he said that he’d like to see me in the fall if it’s still bothering me. If it’s still bothering me in 3 months I’ll probably have a meltdown.

The best/most hilarious part is that I learned that I’ve been standing and walking wrong all these years. Apparently my core and glute muscles HATE activating so I walk and stand in the laziest way possible, putting all my strain on my hip flexors. I’m quite sure this is from years of having literally no muscle beyond what was absolutely necessary to survive. My body is apparently incredibly adept at avoiding using or building muscle whenever possible 😛

So it’s been exactly a month, and now every lifting day is arm day. I’ve been doing the core work that he assigned me and standing/walking with better posture, but things haven’t improved since physical therapy. I’ve had to give up my goal of being able to run a mile without stopping by summer. (Since my summer starts in a few days…)

And boy do I miss leg day. 😦 But I’m holding out hope that I’ll be better soon!

Recipes

Recipe: Piñata Burrito Bowl [Vegan]

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I’m starting to fall in love with bulk cooking. Not only am I free from prepping food and dish-washing each and every night, but it leaves me more time and energy for the gym. Talk about a win-win!

For my second bulk dish, I went with a burrito bowl since I’d had burrito cravings for days. The reason I’m calling this particular recipe a piñata bowl is because it’s a bit of an explosion of color–with lots of green, red, and yellow–and is rather pretty to look at. And more importantly, it tasted AMAZING. It lasted me five nights, and I found myself looking forward to it every night. I was sure I’d get bored of eating the same thing even three nights in a row, let alone 5, but this bowl has proven me wrong!

Not only is it delicious, but it’s got plenty of protein and fiber and can be made nearly fat free if you omit the avocado. Perfect for those on a high carb lifestyle, and for those looking to eat a giant burrito equivalent for way fewer calories!

It’s also versatile, since you can substitute veggies as you’d like, as well as brown rice for the quinoa, or other types of bean/protein for the black beans.

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Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup dry (uncooked) quinoa
  • 1 cup dry black beans (or a can of black beans)
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice of one medium lime
  • 3 small summer squashes
  • 2 small zucchinis
  • 2/3 white onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 5 big kale leaves
  • 6 fire roasted red peppers (I used piquillo)
  • 1 – 15oz can corn
  • Cumin, salt and pepper
  • Chili powder/cayenne/paprika/chipotle powder (only need one)
  • Avocado, tomato, shredded romaine, and hot sauce/salsa for topping

Directions:

1. Prepare the lime-cilantro quinoa: cook the quinoa according to instructions on the package. It should take less than 15 minutes. Also, rinsing before cooking is recommended to wash off the saponin, which can cause reactions in sensitive people. As it cooks, chop up the cilantro. Once the quinoa is done, combine it with the cilantro and half of the lime juice and salt to taste. Set aside.

2. Prepare the black beans according to instructions on the package. For dried beans, this generally calls for soaking them overnight, draining them an hour before dinnertime, covering them with an inch of water and bringing them to a boil, and gently simmering for one hour. You can also try quick-soaking or just cooking without soaking, but it will take longer. Season with salt.

3. Prepare the veggies: chop up the squash, zucchinis, onion, kale, and peppers. Mince the garlic, and sautee it in a medium-large pot with onion until it begins to turn translucent, over medium heat. Then add the squash, zucchini, and kale. Sautee until tender. Add the peppers and corn, and remove from heat. Add the juice from the other half of the lime, along with 1/2 tsp cumin and 1/2-1 tsp of either chili powder, cayenne, paprika, or chipotle powder. (Or mix and match as you like!) Season with salt and pepper.

4. Prepare toppings: slice up 1/2 avocado and 1 small roma tomato per serving; if serving all at once, use 2.5 avocados and 5 roma tomatoes. Chopped/shredded romaine is also a nice addition, about 1/4-1/3 cup per bowl. Add hot sauce or salsa as desired.

5. Combine the the quinoa, black beans, veggies, and add the toppings. Eat them separately or mix them all up–it tastes great either way!

Nutrition info: 

  • Calories per 1/5 of recipe: 350 calories (450 with 1/2 avocado)
  • Carbs: 65g (14g fiber)| Protein: 16g | Fat: 3g (13g with avocado)

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Thanks for reading!

(This is cross-posted from my recipe-only blog)