As fabulous as a protein source as whey is, it is very not fabulous in the taste department. I started using whey protein powder a few years ago. I have tried multiple brands and have found them all to be pretty freaking gross when prepared as per the directions on the packaging (mix with 8oz water, milk or juice and drink). When mixing whey protein into water I find the only way to avoid gagging is to add a single serving of crystal light drink crystals or equivalent. I have found exactly one brand of vanilla whey protein that is tasty when put in hot oatmeal. All the other brands I have tried had some pretty funky after tastes that couldn’t be covered even by peanut butter. After choking down so many bad whey proteins (because I refuse to waste them once I have them) I always waffle back and forth on whether I should try a casein protein powder or not. I don’t look forward to the idea of starting the whole process of finding something good by trial and error all over again with another protein powder.
Despite all this, every so often I fall victim to the “baking with whey” bug and decide I will give just one more recipe a try. I convince myself that maybe this protein bar, or these whey protein cookies, or this whey protein fudge will taste better than the last three recipes I tried. The last batch of almond whey cookies I tried were so terrible (fortunately the recipe made a tiny amount) I fed them to my dog. She loved them. But then my dog scrambles to eat dried out muffin wrappers and dog crap off the street. My attempts at finding a good no-bake protein bar using whey also didn’t turn out so well. The after taste of the whey just wasn’t hidden sufficiently in any of them.
I do use whey at least once a day, but I find it tasty only when done in oatmeal, in egg white & oatmeal pancakes, smoothies with yogurt and, if desperate, in water with crystal light or BSN Fruit Punch BCAAs.
All the tasty homemade protein bars I have made (more than once) have not included any whey protein. My favorite protein bar actually uses a base of oats, peanut butter, and honey.
No-whey no-bake energy/protein bars:
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup honey
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup almonds
1 cup chopped dried apricots
Warm honey and peanut butter in a pot. Only warm the honey and peanut butter enough to be able to blend the ingredients together. Mix in oats, almonds, and apricots. Spread mixture in a pan lined with wax paper. Refrigerate. Cut into small squares for serving. This is a very sweet recipe and very satisfying. A small square goes a long way.
The previous strength workout samples I posted were very squat centric. Squats and dead lifts are my favorite lower body strength moves. Lunges and step up variations are also great lower body compound moves that I switch in sometimes when I feel like doing something different. Again I typically do 3 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise. If I am doing lunges or step ups where I am alternating legs I do 24 reps so each leg is hit 12x. Like the previous strength workouts I posted, these are full body routines.
Sample strength workout 4:
1) walking dumbbell lunges
2) side step ups with dumbbells
3) decline pushups
4) lat pull-downs
5) reverse flys
6) weighted crunches or v-ups
Sample strength workout 5:
1) side/lateral lunges (I like to hold a barbell in a cradle position for this type of lunge)
2) front step ups with dumbbells
3) one-arm dumbbell rows
4) up-right rows
5) bench press
6) bicycle crunches
Sample strength workout 6:
1) reverse barbell lunges (with dumbbells or a barbell)
2) curtsy lunges (with dumbbells or a barbell)
3) military press
4) narrow grip dumbbell bench press
5) seated rows
6) side planks (hold 30-60sec per side)
Side Note: If I am ever in a hurry and running out of time I will trade my ab/core exercise and bench press variation for pushups until I drop x2-3. This way I save time while still hitting my core and chest.
When I go to the gym I like to focus on solid compound strength moves since at the gym I have access to heavier weights and equipement that I don’t have at home. I save body weight work and plyometrics typically for non-gym workouts since I don’t need equipment for them. They can be done anywhere. I have not had a lot of time lately to spend at the gym. I have only been able to get to the gym 2-3 days per week. Because of this I have been doing full-body strenght workouts. Here are some sample strength workouts. I typically do 3 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise.
Sample strength workout 1:
1) back squats
3) barbell rows
4) clean & press
5) bench press
6) lying or hanging leg raise
I always new my dog was not overly brave. She has been known to run away from chihuahuas. She runs for it if I seems like I am about slip and fall on ice. If she is overwhelmed by an aggressive dog, she will be submissive rather than escalating the situation by fighting back. Today she decided hiding behind me was an even better plan than just being submissive. It probably saved her since it meant the dog going after her had to go around me to get to her which gave me an opportunity to grab its harness. I did grab the aggressor’s harness and managed to wrestle the damn thing away from my precious dog baby and tie its leash to a fence. I did this one handed since my other hand was still holding my dog’s leash. I also managed to simultaneously give my dog some slack so she could get some distance from the aggressive dog until I secured it to the fence. I guess my strength training has been good for something because I managed to hold the 60-65 hell hound at bay with one hand. I am guessing 60-65 pounds based on the fact that the dog was larger than my dog which is about 50lbs and this dog definitely felt heavier.
So, where did said hell hound come from? Where was the hell hound’s owner? The hell hound’s unfortunate owner was a the bottom of the back staircase on her face. Poor lady had been trying to get down the stairs to keep her dog away because her dog was aggressive towards other dogs. She tripped and fell down the stairs dragging her dog with her initially. The dog, now free because its owner was in shock on the ground, charged back up the stairs after my dog. And that is how the dog wrestling began. After securing the dog to the fence I was able to get to the top of the stairs to see of the other poor dog owner was ok. She sat up by this point and was able to tell me what apartment she lived in so I could fetch her husband to help her. The look on the husband’s face before I explained why I was there was a classic “What kind of nut case are you banging on my door at 6:30 in the morning?” face.
When I left for work later this morning, I did not use the back exit. The next time I take my dog for her usual walk I hope to go back to not seeing any other people or dogs.
So I have discovered that running seems to wake up old injuries and associated unhappy muscles in a way nothing else I do exercise wise does. Walking, spinning, kickboxing, skipping, and strength training all feel good. I even feel fine while doing my running. I can do my prescribed walk/run intervals no problem. I don’t even get much in the way of DOMS the next day. But certain muscles are really tightening up and not letting go after running. It takes a lot foam rolling and stretching to get them to let go. My QL’s have no idea what I am doing and are telling me to get lost. My IT bands are not far behind. This is probably related to my old sprains. I know that I just take it slow my body will eventually be able to handle this type of exercise without being unhappy after. I am not going to give up on my goal of being able to run a good 5K. It is still something I want to do. I think I just need to spend more time then I originally planned at the lower end of my training plan to let my pesky muscles time to figure this new activity out.