recipes: hip health and mocha muffins

What did you have for breakfast?_DSC0684If you haven’t eaten yet, I’d suggest making these mocha muffins to start your day off. Or if you have eaten, I’d still recommend you make them and eat them as a second breakfast._DSC0688I made these for a coffee-loving friends birthday this week and thought they were pretty darn tasty.

No run to share with y’all today (except for a jog to/fro CrossFit). After snow a couple weeks ago, it is suddenly summer in DC and could reach 90 degrees today. What the heck.DSC02730Anyways, back to why I took today off from running. I think I might have gone out a bit too hard after my 24-miler on Saturday and my hip is acting up a little bit. I have a bit of history with hip pain so I am taking today off! Better safe than sorry.

And… as TRUE FATE would have it, Runner’s World’s featured article today is on hip pain. There’s a really useful video that goes over the three most common types of hip pain:

  • Trochanteric bursitis: achiness on the outside of the hip.
  • Femoral neck stress fracture: pain in the front of the hip that hurts when you land.
  • Hip tendonitis: muscular pain in the front of the hip, made worse by flexing the knee up.

How can you prevent and treat hip pain? This video recommends that you stretch your hips and strengthen your butt. ” A strong butt is the key to a happy life and to key to hip pain prevention,” he says.  This is pretty much exactly what my physical therapist told me to do a while back, so I’m sure I know what to do!

Act of Fate #2: at CrossFit today, butt-burning squats and shrug pulls were on the menu. (Strength: 3 Position Shrug Pull in Snatch grip; Conditioning: Tabata Mash: Front squat, hollow rocks, hang power snatch, and situps for 16 minutes.)DSC02731It was a good workout, but it would of been better if Anthony was there! Speaking of which, here is a picture of his breakfast from the Vietnamese hotel restaurant:

20130410_064128It looks pretty good but I have to say I think my muffins are better. Have a good breakfast!

  • What did you have for breakfast today?
  • Have you ever struggled with hip pain?
  • What’s your favorite stretch?

Of interest:



  1. Andy Van Grinsven

    Hey Mary, I enjoy reading your’s interesting to see what people are doing for their health via workouts and healthy nutrition, so I find your blog fun to read.

    I’m also a personal trainer and strength coach with a background in exercise physiology, so I’m always interested in anything exercise-related.

    When it comes to hip health, I find that it is a very common issue among my clients, but difficult to diagnose. Generally speaking, most issues arise from inflexibility in the hip flexors and hamstrings. Because the hip flexors and hamstrings tend to stay shortened (due mostly to sedentary behavior) they often are the cause of pain and tightness in the low back and hips.

    Proper stretching of both hip flexors and hamstrings, and appropriate strengthening of hamstrings and glutes, can often alleviate pain and discomfort. That being said, proper stretching and strengthening needs to occur often. As we age, we tend to lose flexibility, that is unless we undertake a stretching regimen or yoga.

    Another issue that sometimes arises is tightness in the piriformis, which is a small external rotator that inserts the backside of your “hip bone” (greater trochanter of the femur) and attaches to your sacrum. It activates with any hip extension exercise like squats or deadlifts, but acts mostly as a stabilizer. Pain right behind your “hip bone” is usually caused by tightness in the piriformis.

    Lastly, don’t forget IT bands either, which can cause pain in the knees and hips.

    **The point is, there’s a lot of musculature surrounding your hips/low back, and those muscles interact with and cross over each other (think of your body like one long muscular chain-if there is a kink in the chain somewhere, it usually causes issues elsewhere, e.g. low back pain caused by tight hip flexors/tight hamstrings; or tight calves causing tight hamstrings causing tightness/pain in the low back)

    I follow a fairly comprehensive foam rolling and dynamic warmup routine pre-workout, followed by some static stretching post-workout (although I’ll admit, I don’t do enough static stretching). The foam rolling helps loosen me up, especially my piriformis, and is a great warmup as it helps bring blood to the muscles being rolled. I’m not much of a runner, maybe 6 or so miles a week, but I do hit the weights often, usually 4 times per week. With that much activity, the foam roller does wonders to keep me loose and feeling great, so I highly recommend trying it if you haven’t already. Keep those hip flexors loose, and work on strengthening glutes with squats, lunges, or my personal favorite-the deadlift, making sure you drive your hips forward at the top part of the lift so as to fully activate glutes.

    Ok..I’m sorry for the long post (I could go on, as I love this stuff and always like an opportunity to share with/learn from other people). I hope this shed some insight into your hip pain, and I hope you can figure out what’s bugging yours, get it fixed, and get back out there. Good luck!

    • Oh wow, thanks for 1) reading and 2) providing such a useful, insightful response! Really great advice. Yes, all the talk about dynamic stretching before a run is probably a sign I should do that… as well as invest in a foam roller. I have been a lot better about doing yoga, cross training, and stretching for this marathon training cycle, and think it’s been really useful so far. Still, I’m aiming to hit 70 miles this week which is just a lot of running, period. I’ll keep stretching and strengthening in between, in hopes of staying healthy in the hips! Thanks again for the advice and you should pitch in with stuff like this more often!

      • Andy Van Grinsven

        No problem! I’ll throw in some stuff every now and then. I could talk for hours about it, but I’ll save some info for another post 🙂

  2. I wish I could come to terms with forking the cash over to join a crossfit box, Word on the street is the building attached to mine is getting one on the main level. Pretty sweet. Since it is that convenient and I know I would go because I would see it every day leaving work I may have to join. I do my own mock crossfit work outs most the time!

    • Yeah, it is expensive… I waited a long time to join for that reason. Doing the workouts on your own is probably just as good as going to a box though I found that doing them on my own I don’t have as much motivation, nor all the equipment you’d really need to imitate a “box.” Everyone is different though — do whatever works best for you financially and fitness-wise!

  3. charlotte

    Those mocha muffins look fantastic! The only thing i love more than coffee in the morning are 2nd breakfasts:) I’m also jealous of your 90 degree heat (even though that’s absurdly hot) today Boston is currently in the 40s still.

    Strengthening your butt to prevent hip pain is a great tip– i get really sore in my hip-flexors often, I guess I’ll have to up the butt workouts!

  4. I have nothing extremely insightful to add except that I am up at the butt crack of dawn to have my butt stretched … Literally. I am plagued by a weak right butt. Ok, deep periformis problems and super duper tight hammy on the right side. I live on the foam roller but still feels like I am rolling over a pack of golf balls. So, I have it worked on periodically. Nothing like asking someone to dip there elbows in your ass!!

    Also, mind sending me some muffins? They look killer.

    • Maybe our butts are so messed up from too much spandex?! 😉
      I need a foam roller. I have only gotten 2 massages in my life but maybe I should get one to keep those cheeks in shape.
      I don’t know if the muffins will hold up en route to Hawaii but maybe it’s worth a shot!

  5. Chelsea

    Here in Kansas we’re right back to the 40s after a week in the almost 70s – I just want the weather to make up its *$&@( mind! The worst part: looking outside, seeing sun, wearing flip-flops, and coming home to snow :/ such is life, I guess

    Good luck with the hip pain, and thanks for a baller muffin recipe!

  6. heidi

    Back in 2011 I was diagnosed with Female Athlete Triad Syndrome and a stress fracture in my femoral neck. I opted not to have it pinned and let it heal on its own. i took several MRIs and 4 months to finally be cleared to run again. It was incredibly painful and depressing.

    The foam roller is my BFF and i stretch 3 times a day. I only run a few times a week with long runs to train for 1/2 marathons on the weekend. oddly, running less works for me.

  7. Pingback: keeping it short | minutes per mile

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