Nov 302015

My Thanksgiving started out ok — this year I slept in a bit and then went to the gym. Because I had a leisurely morning I missed the crowds at the gym, which was also nice! Usually it’s a freakin’ mad house but there weren’t many people there by the time I arrived. Last year I went to the Warrior Room for a killer workout, this year I took it kind of easy. I was feeling kind of yucky due to some dental work and being pregnant I wasn’t all about killing myself to get a mega calorie burn before a day of marathon eating. I was more into doing everything (including eating) in moderation.

I did my standard warm-up (PT stretches, pushups, jumping jacks) and then went into the weights part. This was my workout of the day:

Bent-over Row

Squats (just body weights)

2-Handed kettlebell swing

Leg Press Machine

Seated Cable Row

Lat Pulldown machine

Triceps pulldown

Pec-fly Machine

Then I did some “Ab” work. I use that term loosely because I wouldn’t really call it ab work these days. My usual ab routine is down to just a few things on a matt: planks, Bird Dogs, and the Glute Bridge. Then I did 3 miles on the elliptical and called it a day.


I got home and cleaned up and then prepped the veggie tray for dinner and then we went over to Michael’s mom’s house for the holiday. His sister made her amazing deviled eggs (yum) and we munched for a few hours. Because of the dental work I had done I was eating mostly softer foods, so the eggs were nice.



Michael’s brother got the entire thanksgiving meal from Zupan’s again (I think this is the 3rd year we’ve done this?) and it was fabulous! Everything comes pre-cooked and you just heat it up in the oven for 30 minutes or so and it’s done. It’s so tasty and easy.


Michael usually carves up the bird and this year he tried it the Alton Brown way and it went surprisingly well!


I love Thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorite holidays. Probably because I love mashed potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pie. Those are like my favorite foods. :) Thankfully most of the traditional foods of the holiday are on the softer side so I could actually EAT my favorite foods despite my tooth pain.


The upside to being pregnant on Thanksgiving? I was already wearing stretchy pants! Yay maternity pants! The downside? I think there is less room in my body for food. LOL Oh well. I still enjoyed all my favorites!

There was some extended family with us this year, one of which is an almost 2 year old. Who is adorable and charming. And he discovered the black-olives-on-fingers tradition for the first time, which was so cute to watch. He spent the rest of the evening sticking his finger out wanting olives. It’s hard to believe that next year this time we’ll have a little munchkin discovering new things too!


I barely had room for dessert but it was my favorite so you better believe I made room! Yay pumpkin pie! Food coma commenced pretty much immediately.



It was a really chilled day, which was nice after some of the stressful stuff we’ve had going on lately. Never felt rushed or frantic and could just kind of relax and hang out. And we got lucky and scored some leftovers for a few days! Hope everyone had a lovely holiday!

Nov 092015

The secret to fixing bad knees is to strengthen your lower body (for me, specifically, it was the glutes). Read this post:  A Runner and Her Injuries. It has a lot of good physical therapy-type exercises to fix some of those types of injuries. Or this one: R is for Runner’s Knee.

I avoid lunges at all costs. I used to do them a lot and I’d be crippled for days (hamstrings) but I kept telling myself it was a good thing. Then I started having knee issues…too many rounds of physical therapy to count, I stopped doing lunges at the advice of several physical therapists. They all said lunges were not the best exercise for someone with knee issues. So…I stopped. I do sometimes do side lunges, which don’t bother my knees.

Here are some of the standard exercises that I rotate through my weekly weight routines:


I go back and forth between doing weighted squats with a bar or just doing body squats. Both are very effective and help me a lot. It’s good for your glutes, hamstrings, core strength, helps with flexibility and strengthens your entire lower body. It really is one of the perfect exercises you can do. Just make sure you do it right. I was slightly off when I first started doing squats but a quick chat and demonstration with a trainer fixed that for me.

20120530183534-squat properly

1 Leg Romanian Deadlift

I’ve raved about this exercise many times on the blog. It has helped me a lot with my knee issues and it’s a really good move to incorporate into your gym session. It’s effective and it doesn’t put as much stress/pressure on your back like a regular deadlift can. It works the glutes, hamstrings and hips. Done correctly it’s also a good core workout. What I find beneficial is that it also helps with balance. I notice when I take a break from doing this exercise and then start back up again–balance is gone! But if I do this move consistently in my workouts, my balance improves!

10 Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

Slam Ball

This a fun exercise! I love it and need to do it more often. Like jump squats (see below), this one ALWAYS makes me a little extra sore when I do it. It works your core: abs, back, quads and glutes. You’re basically doing a squat with a heavy ball. It’s such a good workout!


Leg Press Machine

I started incorporating this machine in my routine after a physical therapist recommended it. He had me do it in a few different ways. First, the normal way–both feet on the platform. Second, he had me practice doing it one-legged. That is a LOT harder than it looks! And it WORKS. It helped my knee stuff so much. It focused the work on my glutes one at a time. I prefer this machine:


Over the one that you lay down on. Although, now that I’m pregnant I’m finding it harder and harder to do this machine so I will soon be switching to the leg press machine you use laying down.


Here is another physical therapy exercise that has worked it’s way into my fitness routine. My physical therapist had me do this to strengthen my glutes to fix my knee issues. I found it so beneficial that I kept doing it even after I got better. It’s really easy and all you need is a stretchy band. SideHopsWithRB1

Standing Hip Adduction

Another one that started because of physical therapy…noticing a theme? My knees needed work!! This one strengthened my glutes and hips and helped with overall balance. If the machine at your gym doesn’t have the attachment seen below in this picture, you can still do it. My gym doesn’t have this ankle strap so I just put my foot through the round hand piece. It works because my feet are kind of small.

Standing Cable Hip Adduction

Step Up with Weights

I like this one because it gets my heart beating pretty quick and it’s kind of a full-body exercise. I wanted to include it, though, because I’ve noticed it’s helped me with balance and strength. I do it slightly differently–I step up, then I do a bicep curl, then step back down. You can vary this exercise a lot but it’s a good base if you want something basic. You can use a taller step, you can add more weight, you can lift your leg like the below picture:


Lots of variations!

Squat Jump

This one will get you EVERY TIME. So be prepared. No matter how many squats you normally do in the gym, do a bunch of jump squats and you WILL BE SORE. I started doing this workout at The Warrior Room and then incorporated it into my own gym routine. Seriously, I don’t know why this one makes me so sore, but it doesn’t matter if I do 10 or if do 50. Same level of soreness afterwards! But you sure feel like a badass when you do it! If you have knee issues, you might want to talk to your doctor first. Listen to your body and stop if it hurts. It rarely hurt my knees, but I was always conscious of it and made sure I didn’t land too hard when I jumped.


What about you? What are some of your favorite lower body workouts?