Week 3 of Physio

I’m pretty sure I talk about this in pretty much every blog post, but I tore my meniscus two weeks before the Mississauga Half Marathon, (yes I’m bitter about it, haha), and have since began physio. After having to research different physio clinics based on some recommendations from my doctor and from you guys, I settled on Athlete’s Care which has different locations all over the Greater Toronto Area as well as Ottawa. Out of respect for the other patients I couldn’t take any photos in the clinic, but I’m going to give you an in-depth review of my experience thus far. FYI, I’ve had three sessions so far and my physiotherapist thinks I’ll need 4-6 more.

Logistics of the Clinic

The clinic itself is a little confusing to get to. I Google Mapped how to get there but since I live close by, I had a rough idea of where I was going. Google Maps told me I had to walk down a certain street that would later feed into the street that Athlete’s Care is on, however you literally cannot walk down this street; it only goes north and not south, (the direction I need). LUCKLY I know Scarborough well enough that I could get my bearings, but for someone who isn’t familiar with my neighbourhood, this could be troublesome.

The clinic is located on the ground floor of an office building so it has a very clean appearance. The only thing missing is the fact that AC seems to be at a minimum in the clinic. I find this odd since people are moving around and generating heat. I also am always running behind, so by the time I get to the clinic I’m sweating and that really doesn’t make for a great combo.

I had a little hiccup with my insurance on the first visit. I have two insurances, (one through my dad’s work and one through my school, both of which cover physio WITHOUT a referral), however when I informed the front desk of this, they immediately told me that they don’t bill directly to my dad’s insurance company and my school insurance wasn’t going through. This kind of irritated me, because I went from thinking that I wasn’t going to have to pay for anything that visit to having to pay almost $100. I always have issues submitting claims to my dad’s insurance myself, so I was hoping that it could be done for me. I guess not. I was also able to submit the claim to my school’s insurance without any issues so I guess that’s the route I’ll be going.

The treatment area is a giant room with hospital-like beds and curtains that can be drawn around them. I’ve never been there when it’s been super busy, but I’d imagine that it would kind of suck – after all, I almost hit someone with a tennis ball as I was doing an exercise.

The Physiotherapist

Uma! I have nothing but good things to say about her. She’s super sweet, attentive, and listens to all my concerns. She always asks how I’m progressing and what’s normal vs. what isn’t. She also cracks some jokes with me during those somewhat painful massages which is nice.

The Treatments

Uma has me doing a variety of exercises that strengthen my knee, surrounding areas, and test my balance. She’s really through when describing what to do, and gave me a new set of exercises to do in addition to what my doctor prescribed to me.


How am I Progressing?

I told Uma this, but I feel like my progress has kind of plateaued. I made huge progress the week following the tear, and then somewhere after my first physio session is when it stopped. Uma said that in her experience, she finds this is common since the meniscus gets such poor blood supply. If I haven’t progressed further than where I’m at right now, I’m supposed to get an MRI and we’ll go from there. I don’t think this will be necessary though, seeing as I went for a short run yesterday with no pain. I was advised though to ice my knee post-run regardless of if I felt any pain, which seemed to do the trick.


Got to roll out the glutes! Check out my my review on this roller here:

What kind of experience have you guys had with physio? Anything else I should be doing additionally that you guys found beneficial to speed up the healing process?


-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

The New (and not so improved) Leg Day!

As you guys probably know, I tore my meniscus eight days ago and am on a strict, “don’t do anything that will aggravate it”, plan for the unforeseen future. The desire to run and deadlift is strong, but I know that going against the doctor’s advice isn’t going to do me any good. As some of you have suggested, I’m going to take this time to really dial in on my nutrition and work on my strength training.

Since I can’t work my left leg, I’ve decided to change my leg day to accommodate the injury. Rather than just skipping leg day altogether, I’ve decided to change my routine from unilateral movements to isolateral movements so that I could still gain strength in my right leg. Once I’m healed, I’ll continue to do isolateral movements but use both legs so that the strength will eventually be back to normal. I’ve only done a leg day twice since the incident, but this is my current plan:

-Glute Pedal (5 reps for 5 sets with 1 min rest in between)

-Hamstring Curl (5 reps for 5 sets with 1 min rest in between)

-Seated Calf Press (5 reps for 5 sets with 1 min rest in between)

I tried to do a lateral cable leg raise, however I still feel some strain in my knee since I have to stabilize myself while raising my right leg so I’ve decided to omit that. You win some, you lose some!

In addition to the above exercises that I’ll be doing on leg day, I also have the physio exercises that the doctor prescribed to me:

-Quad Sets (Held for 6 seconds followed by a 10 second rest – 8-12 reps total)

-Straight-Leg Raises to the Front (Raise 12 inches from the floor & hold for 5 seconds, then lower – 8-12 reps total)

-Straight-Leg Raises to the Outside (Raise 12 inches from the floor & hold for 6 seconds, then lower – 8-12 reps total)

-Straight-Leg Raises to the Back (Raise 6 inches from the floor & hold for 6 seconds, then lower – 8-12 reps total)

-Straight-Leg Raises to the Inside (Raise 6 inches from the floor & hold for 6 seconds, then lower – 8-12 reps total)

-Hamstring Curls (Lying on the floor – 8-12 reps)

-Standing Calf Raises (Hold for 6 seconds – 8-12 reps)

-Half Squat – 8-12 reps

I’m hoping that I’ll soon be able to workout like I normally do, but good things take time. Wish me luck!


-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Half Marathon No Longer

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know what’s going on. Near the end of my long run on Tuesday, I felt a pop behind my knee on the right side. Since I didn’t have much left of my run, (and I’m stubborn), I decided to see it through to the end. As I limped through my cool down, I knew something wasn’t quite right. After stretching and rolling out for a bit, I would still get that popping sensation whenever there was any flexion in my left leg. Would I be able to run my half marathon? Would I be able to squat ever again? I’m a huge drama queen, but my mind started going to the worst places.

The Diagnosis

After three days of RICE and no progress, I decided that I should probably get my knee checked out. After describing my symptoms, the doctor examined my knee and ordered an ultrasound; all of which led to a torn meniscus. Aside from breaking both wrists and fracturing my ulna, I’ve never done anything like this so it’s a little scary. The doctor told me that anything that could aggravate my knee is out of the question until I’m pain free; this means no half marathon.

How am I Feeling

Really bummed. I feel like the last few months have just been flushed down the drain and have been a waste of time. All the time, energy, and money I’ve spent FEELS like it was wasted. In terms of my knee, I don’t have any issues walking, but stairs kill and I can’t do anything past a leisurely stroll. My range of motion is limited, and the right side of my knee is fairly swollen. The doctor that I spoke with gave me some exercises that I’m supposed to do once or twice a day, (they take about 5-10 minutes), in addition to a referral for physio. Since I’ve never been to physio, I’m not quite sure what to expect, but I’ll be sure to blog about my experience. I’m discouraged, but it’s time to heal.


-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Product Review: Insane Labz Alien Recovery


Alien Recovery

Price $39.95 (without my “runlift20” coupon code).

As you guys may or may not know, I became an Insane Labz athlete about a month and a half ago and am IN LOVE with their products. When I made the decision to start training for a half-marathon, I knew that I would need extra help when it came to recovery, especially since I strength train three days a week. Insane Labz has both Alien Recovery and Alien Energy as part of their “recovery line”, however I decided to go with Alien Recovery since Alien Energy has caffeine. This is what I thought of it:

-There’s 35 scoops per container, however since the instructions for use call for only half a scoop, the container can go a long way

-5 Different flavours, (UFO Grape, Area 51 Punch, Alien Blood, Watermelon, and Blue Raspberry). I got Alien Blood based on the website’s reviews and it tastes really good! It reminds me of Blue Raspberry Kool-Aid. Though if the Alien Blood flavour tastes like Blue Raspberry Kool-Aid, I wonder what the Blue Raspberry flavour tastes like? I’ll try it and report back.

-Loaded with l-leucine, iso-leucine, and l-valine, (bcaas)

-Doesn’t have a bad after taste

I know that doing a product review for a sponsor is always a little dicey since you never know if the review is authentic or not, but I’d hope that you guys know by now that I give honest reviews on all products. While this is the first BCAA product I’ve tried, I’d 100% buy it again. I definitely notice an improvement in recovery time/soreness and it also gives me a little boost during my workouts since my muscles are in better shape than normal. Want to give it a try? If you use the code “runlift20” at checkout, you’ll save 20% off your order!

Running Fast, Lifting Heavy Approved: Heck yeah.


-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Product Review: Vega Sport Performance Protein

Remember when I said that I went to GNC and they had a BOGO sale? This is what I went to purchase. As you can tell from some of my other product reviews/my Instagram, I’m definitely a fan of Vega and use their products often. While I’ve had their all-in-one shakes before, I’ve never tried their Performance Protein. My usual criteria when purchasing a protein powder are flavour, (I usually buy chocolate or vanilla, I never get too fancy), calories/serving and what’s actually in the powder itself. If you’ve ever used Vega before, I’m sure you can attest to the fact that they always load their products up with a variety of beneficial things. The Performance Protein is no different. Here’s what I thought of it:

-I got the chocolate flavour and the container says that the protein powder has tart cherries in it so I expected more of a dark chocolate flavour, however it resembles milk chocolate more so (not a complaint, just an observation).

-It has 6g of BCAAs per serving which is AMAZING for runners and weightlifters alike.

-It tastes good in shakes, milk, and water as well. This is important to me, because I wouldn’t want to buy a protein powder if I can only mix it in one thing.

-Mixes really well, (no clumps).

Verdict? Another pat on the back for Vega. This stuff is delicious. I never would’ve thought that I would love a vegan protein powder as much as I love Vega’s.


Running Fast, Lifting Heavy Approved: Yes


-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy


P.S. Have something you want me to review? Write it in the comments!

Recovery Days (More Like Week)

As some of you may know from my Instagram, I got a tube put in my right ear and an adenoid biopsy done on Wednesday morning as a result of an ear infection that I had in October. I’ve had a long history with ear/nose/throat infections and this is actually the second time I’ve had tubes put in.

What’s frustrating me about this situation is that it’s training season! I can barely bend without immense pressure, I have pain on and off all day, and I have absolutely zero energy. Am I on the mend? Yes, but I feel like I’ve missed SO many days of training, when in actuality I’ve only missed four.

It’s rough when a recovery day turns into a recovery week. As the days go by, your motivation dwindles big time. Especially with my first half in the near future, I feel pretty discouraged, (even though it’s in May).

My question to you guys is this: how did you guys come back from being sick for a while/having surgery/an injury? Did you just jump back into your training plan or did you take it easy at first?


-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Product Review: Iron Vegan: Athlete’s Blend Workout Supplement

Price: $62.99 CAD


I’m always open to trying new supplements; I do have a couple favourite brands, (like Vega), but I’m not really 100% committed to one brand for every need. I got a bag of Iron Vegan Athlete’s Blend, (natural vanilla flavour), for Christmas and I have to admit, I was super skeptical. This may sound horrible but whenever I see a vegan product, I’m always worried that the taste might be compromised. I think this is probably due to the fact that I’m a hard-core omnivore, and the thought of all things veggie is a little scary. Vega took a bit to grow on me but once it did, I loved it! I figured if I could love Vega, I could love Iron Vegan. Here’s what I thought of it:

-It has a different vanilla flavour than most vanilla-flavoured protein powders. Not in a bad way though. It just doesn’t have that artificial vanilla taste that you get with most brands.

-It blends really well with smoothies/shakes

-My boyfriend and I both tried it with just water or just milk, (when I say milk, I mean lactose free milk/coconut milk), and we both agree that it tastes better with water. I think since the powder doesn’t have a super creamy taste, it doesn’t complement the milk as well.

-It stores easily since it’s in a bag

-The serving size is quite large, (30g of protein/serving), so you could probably get away with half a serving if it’s in a shake/smoothie.

-It’s loaded with stuff that all athletes can appreciate in the recovery process: BCAAs, Glutamine, and more


Other than it not mixing well with milk, I don’t really have any issues with it. I also have used it in some shakes/smoothies that I’ve posted on Instagram, so check out which combinations I’ve come up with!


Running Fast, Lifting Heavy Approved: Yes


-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Post-Strength Training Must-Haves

Happy Holidays guys! I hope that you guys are having a great time surrounded by the ones you love most.

On Tuesday while I was at the gym, (leg day), it occurred to me that there’s rituals that I carry out once I’m done. Anybody else do this? Here’s what goes down when I’m done strength training:

-I stretch! I stretch as soon as I possibly can (a.k.a. while my muscles are still warm)

-I roll out: If it’s a leg day, I can clearly roll my legs out on my own, but if I did an upper body day, I usually get Daniel to take the roller and roll out my back and traps. Sometimes if my quads and/or calves are super sore, I’ll get Daniel to roll them out for me since he can apply more pressure than I can. I’ve made a post about my TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller two months ago, and I have nothing but good things to say about it.

-I drink a protein shake (or smoothie): once I’ve finished stretching, I like to get my protein fix in quickly. If I’m planning on having lunch shortly after a workout, I won’t have a protein shake and I’ll just use a meat protein in its place. If I feel like having a smoothie, I’ll throw in half a scoop-a scoop of vanilla protein. This particular brand is SUPER creamy in smoothies. I’m also partial to this shaker cup. The jack really breaks up the powder for a more even mix.

-This step is more so for the day after, but I love RUB-A535. It smells horrendous but works wonders on sore muscles. It also absorbs pretty quickly which is a bonus.

What are some products you guys swear by post-strength training or post-run?


-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Product Review: TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller

Price: $59.99 CAD


Note: my cat thought is was a toy for him…hence the nicks.

Whether you’re a runner or a weight lifter, you’re definitely familiar with foam rollers. I can honestly say that foam rollers not only prevent/reduce sore muscles, they even speed up recovery too. One day, my boyfriend came home with the TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller in toe. After YEARS of not rolling out after a workout/run, my whole body, (primarily my legs and back), were tight beyond belief. I decided to set up shop on my living room floor and roll out, (to the best of my abilities). Here’s what I thought of it in the few weeks that I’ve used it:

  • It’s lightweight and fairly easy to travel with since it’s hollow.
  • The grid-like design really kneads into tight muscles.
  • It’s excellent for rolling out all regions of the back, glutes, hamstrings, quads, and IT bands.

Some cons that you may want to be aware of:

  • The roller is quite firm, (which I love, but not everyone is a fan and may want something softer).
  • The length of the roller makes it a little tricky to balance on.
  • It doesn’t get areas like the calves or adductors very well, (I would recommend the TriggerPoint GRID STK Foam Roller for this).

Overall, it’s definitely a great roller, especially if you’re on the go and want to take it with you. It also comes in different colours, so you really can’t go wrong!

Running Fast, Lifting Heavy Approved: Yes, (but not for calves or adductors)


-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Massage Recovery


Remember how I said I was going for a massage and I was going to report back to you on how it went? Well, today’s the day and I feel absolutely fabulous. I went to a place called Massage Addict in the Beaches neighbourhood of Toronto. I frantically ran in because I was a few minutes late and still had to fill in the new patient forms, but my anxiety dissipated as soon as I walked into the door. The calm music mixed with the friendly receptionist was just what I needed to shift from stressed to relaxed.

My massage therapist’s name was Leslie and she pretty much had the hands of God. I told her about my run coming up, how much mileage I rack up in a week and the strength training exercises I do. Based on that, she was able to identify the tight areas of my body, (apparently my soleus in both calves are in rough shape), and then work her magic. I think what made it so great was that she really customized the massage to me. Rather than just doing a full body massage, (which I did get), she really focused on the areas that I said I have trouble stretching. Did I mention that she also played Kanye’s Graduation album during my massage? I think it’s pretty spectacular that she asked what kind of music I was into and had a playlist ready to go.

After the massage was done, Leslie showed me some stretches that can help with my tight soleus muscles. It’s crazy to think that in my couple years of running/weight lifting, I’ve never stretched that particular muscle. Kind of embarrassing. She also gave me a recommendation for a yoga app since I was talking about how I hadn’t done it in a while. Overall, it was an amazing experience!


Running Fast, Lifting Heavy Approved: Yes


-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy