June 20, 2010

Weak Knees

Another running related tip...

Like I said before, when I first started running it really bothered my knees. I figured this may have been due to an old sports related knee injury but my hubby insisted that I was young and it could be fixed. I ended up doing some research and talking to one of the trainers at the gym. The trainer at the gym suggested that many women have this issue due to their Q-angle (the angle from your hips to your knees), wider hips can lead to a greater angle (and I have some wide hips).

A large Q-angle puts more stress on your knees, especially when doing activities such as running, she told me to try to "run like a man," meaning run with your feet under your hips rather than the narrow catwalk-eske hip swinging style. This was actually very difficult and felt odd but it did work a bit.

My own research led me to another possible issue, that my hamstrings were significantly weaker than my quads. I tested this theory using some of the weight machines at they gym and it seemed like it was a possibility (my quads also appear quite large). The problem with weak hamstrings is that the quad will pull on the knee when running and the hamstring provides the resistance to keep the knee in place, or in my case, it doesn't and your knees are moved up and down.

My solution: intensify my hamstring workouts by doing lunge walks with weights (I go until my legs are burning), upping the weight on the leg curl machine and dead lifts. It actually worked, my knee pain is non-existent and the backs of my legs are now a lot less jiggly (bonus!).

Barbell Lunge:

picture from Womens Health Magazine

June 15, 2010

Healthy Appetizers?? (or as I call them, appeteasers)

Well, this weekend I have three family get togethers (one is an all day thing) and there will be large quantities of food at all of them. I am usually able to control my eating pretty well when meals are served, my weakness is appetizers. I always think that I can eat just a few, then 20 later, I feel like I need to unbutton my pants.

I am determined not to slip up too much (I've lost over 30 pounds in the last six months, there's no going back, but being realistic, I know I can't resist all the yummy goodies). So, I am going to make some healthy (er) snacks to bring and share. I am having a bit of trouble coming up with ideas! Most "healthy" appetizers aren't all that healthy, unless you just want chopped veggies and fruit (which can get a bit dull). Another problem is that people just don't like healthy food, how can it complete against fatty, salty, sugary goodness?

Event #1 is a backyard BBQ birthday party, I have decided to attempt to make jalapeno poppers. Deep frying is definately out and so is breading, these just add to many calories. Bacon is out, just too fatty and salty. Since I can't cut out all the goodness, the cheese will stay, just in smaller quantities.

Refried Jalapeno Poppers:

398g mL can of low fat refried black beans (I accidently bought the black bean kind)

2 tbsp herb & garlic cream cheese

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp garlic powder

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese (grated)
jalapeno peppers (fresh - I used 12 but there was leftover filling, I think you could easily use 15)


1. Wash and cut the peppers in half and remove the inner stem and seeds.

2. Soak peppers in cold water (to get rid of some of the acid that makes them spicy - I was making these for people who can't handle the heat)

3. Mix together ingredients in a bowl.

4. Spoon mixture into jalepeno half and arrange on a pan or in a casserole dish.

4b. Mine looked terrible so I grated a little bit of extra cheese to sprinkle on top, they still didn't look that good.

5. Bake in 350F oven for 20 min or until peppers are soft. These can be eaten cold or reheated.

The verdict:

These were actually pretty good, my husband gave them the stamp of approval and a couple of people asked me how to make them. They do look ugly though.