Salads? Here is a cool one to try….

Summer is upon us and we seem to love cool foods this time of year.  I love to try new recipes.  I found this really yummy cucumber salad last summer and thought I would share:

Thai Cucumber Chili Salad

3 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
1/2 cup coarsely chopped red onions
2-4 red chilies, seeded and finely chopped
1 red pepper, diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup rice vinegar
6 Tbsp. palm or brown sugar
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt (optional)
1/2 cup chopped peanuts (optional)


Combine all the ingredients except for the salt and peanuts. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Let the mixture sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes. Garnish with peanuts.

Serves: 4

Do something different, give Yoga a try…

I love group exercise classes.  I especially love the high intensity ones like spinning, kickboxing, or step classes.  I feel like I get a great cardio workout…I burn fat, right?  My trainer suggested trying a Yoga class.  Yoga?  Are you kidding?  Isn’t that for old people?  For those who can’t do the high intensity stuff?  It looks SO slow, I don’t think I’ll like it…

She did her best to explain the benefits and I agreed to give it a try.  I walked into a class and removed my shoes and socks.  I stood around looking at others wondering what to do.    The class began and we started doing Sun Salutations and some Warrior poses… I think they were called.  Hey, this is not easy?  Oh my, how long do I have to hold these poses?  After about 50 minutes, I did some stretching poses that were quite difficult.  At the end, we laid down on our mats, closed our eyes, and cleared our thoughts for the final 5 minutes.   After class was over, I did have to admit I felt refreshed.  Maybe, I needed to slow down more and hold my stretches more.  I went home and actually researched the benefits of Yoga.

What I found:  The series of yoga poses called asanas work by safely stretching your muscles. This releases the lactic acid that builds up with muscle use and causes stiffness, tension, pain, and fatigue. In addition, yoga increases the range of motion in joints. It may also increase lubrication in the joints. The outcome is a sense of ease and fluidity throughout your body.

Yoga stretches not only your muscles but all of the soft tissues of your body. That includes ligaments, tendons, and the fascia sheath that surrounds your muscles.

No wonder I felt good!  I have incorporated Yoga into my repertoire of high intensity workouts and group exercises.  It allows me to get the stretches I need SO desperately and find an “inner peace” that I didn’t think really existed.  Yoga is worth a try.  You may just fall in love with it, as I have….

You have sore muscles?

When I first began working out with my trainer, she had me do 3 sets of tricep pushups against the wall, 15 repititions.  No weights, just the wall, was the resistance.  Easy you think?  Well, for a lady that had very weak triceps and definitely a beginner…easy they were not.  I could definitely feel the burn in the third set.  We finished our workout and I was very tired.  My arms felt like they were going to fall off.

The next day when I woke, my triceps were extremely sore.  My trainer called to check on me.  I told her about my tricep soreness.  She explained that muscle soreness was a good thing.  She explained that I needed to rest those muscles for at least 48 hours.  She explained how the muscles had small tears and would grow back stronger.  I had no clue, I believed her, and went about my day.

It is now 4 years later, I’m in school and know the scientific reason for muscle soreness.  When you work your muscles at a high intensity (the definition is different for every person), you experience small microscopic tears in your muscle belly.  These tears are sometimes referred to as “baby ankle sprains”.   Why, baby ankle sprains?  Well, like a sprained ankle which causes inflammation pockets, baby ankle sprains are on a more microscopic level located in the muscle belly and tendon of the muscle.

Usually the next day, you will experience soreness in these muscles known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).  Why is this a good thing?  Your body will build your muscle back even stronger than before and soon you will see adaptations.  For instance, the exercise with the reps, weights, and sets become easier and soreness is no longer experienced.  It is time to increase the intensity again.  The one important rule you must follow however is sore muscles should be given at least 48 hours rest before working again.  This allows ample time for repair and will avoid an injury.

I work out relatively high intensity, at least 5 times a week,  and I still experience sore muscles.  Do the same tricep pushups give me sore muscles?….well, no… I’m much stronger, I can do the pushups on the floor now and many many more.    I now know that when my muscles are sore…. I worked them hard!… and that is a good thing!!!  Adaptations are being made…I’m getting stronger.

So don’t be afraid…work those muscles!