The Move On The Daley Blog

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Dec 08, 2020

**It’s the most wonderful time of the year**

I am definitely a gift giver. I always have been. So I LOVE finding that perfect gift. As we get older, this can get a little tougher. Especially for my fitness/outdoors loving friends that maybe already have some cool gear. So here are the things that I’ve found that are either unique finds and/or something that the person would love but likely has a hard time spending the money on it for themselves. No matter what holiday you celebrate, hopefully this helps!

I’m gonna try to put these in order of low to high price, so you can better keep in mind your budget when looking through the list. Nothing over $100, though there are plenty of amazing gift ideas that are on the pricier end. If you want some idea suggestions in that price range, HMU!

Also, I get zero kickback for any of these. Simply products I love and use myself. I have reached out to a few to see if I can get discount codes for you, and if I hear back from any of them, I will let you know!!

For anyone active:

Shammy Towel ($12) - I got myself one of these years ago initially for when I went hiking where I knew I’d be going through water. And I’ve since ended up using it for open water bouldering, paddleboarding, every backpacking trip, and it even goes in my gym bag in place of carting around a full towel for whenever I have to shower at the gym. This thing is bacteria and mildew resistant, lightweight, small and easy to carry everywhere, and dries your skin off honestly better and faster than a regular towel.

Junk Headbands

Junk Headbands

Junk Headbands (about $15) - If you read last year’s gift guide, these will be familiar. Legit my favorite headbands for when I’m active (CF, trail running, hiking, etc). I’ve tried a bunch and other ones will often slide back on my head or do something crazy. Not these. And bonus: they have a bunch of cute patterns, including sports teams, to show some personality! They also have winter neck gaiters for my snowboarders (or skiiers) out there!!

Unplugged Bath Soaks ($15-30)- I mean, who doesn’t love a good bath? And all of these sound amazing. Standard bath soaks, as well as some “upgraded” and recovery specific ones. And I feel like most people are way less likely to spoil themselves with this as they are to get it for someone else. Pamper them.

Liquid IV- $24.47 for a pack of 16 sticks. Game changer for hydration. Great for trail runs, longer hikes, CrossFit competitions, or really anything where you’re out in the sun for a long time. I know there’s one hike that I’ve done a few times now (Havasupai) where it’s 10 miles down and through a canyon, almost fully exposed. The first 2 times I did this, I barely made it before finishing off the 4L I was carrying. (Don’t get too hung up on how much water I require. I know it’s a lot. Focus on the difference this stuff made) The 3rd time I did this hike, I put one of these in my 3L reservoir (note they’re meant for one bottle of water, not an entire hydration pack, but whatevs) and then had my extra 1L. Well, I never touched that extra bottle and still had almost 1L left in the bag at the end of that hike! Crazy.


Socks (varies from $15 to well over $30) - . And yeah, yeah, this is like the “lame stocking stuffer”. Or is it? Really good ones can get pricey and I know I personally have a really hard time justifying dropping money on socks. Even though these are awesome. So chances are, the receiver will be more excited than you’d think. Split these up based on activity, but honestly the biggest thing is thickness/material. I have thicker Stance socks that I hike in and have definitely done CF in my lightweight Smartwool socks

  • Hikers/backpackers - Smartwool (also lightweight runners versions)

  • CrossFit/Weightlifting athletes - Stance (They also have fuzzy slipper socks. Just sayin’)

  • Everyday wear - Bombas (every pair bought = a pair gifted to someone in need)

Beam Sample pack ($39) - Ok, I’m sure there are plenty of CBD companies that have great products and maybe at a better price. I feel like Beam is already getting a “bad rap” just for being the go-to company for CrossFitters. But still, Andris and I got the sample pack each and while we haven’t tried all of the 5 day supplies of everything yet, I know we’re for sure in love with the CBD night time powder - tastes like hot chocolate without all the sugar AND helps me sleep?!?! Yes, please!!

Accessories pictured: Blenders sunglasses and dog hair

Accessories pictured: Blenders sunglasses and dog hair

Blenders sunglasses ($40-50 for most) or snow goggles ($100-120) - My faves because they are cute, polarized, and very reasonably priced. And they stay put during trail runs and outdoor CF WODs! They also have blue light glasses, though I haven’t tried them yet since I’m still rocking my cheap ones off Amazon. Huge variety of styles and colors.

Recovery Center Day Pass ($40) - Local to Phoenix/Scottsdale? A day pass to Balunsd for your highly active friend! They have all kinds of recovery tools (cold plunge, Normatec sleeves, etc) that you can use after a CrossFit competition, a long trail run, hiking the GC, or whatever challenge you just undertook! Click here

More geared towards the CrossFit/Barbell athlete:

Athia Post Workout Facial Spray ($38) - **use code MOD15 for 15%off - Ok, this actually could go under “all athletes” too. Calming recovery toner to calm your skin down post workout. If you work out a lot, you know how much something like this could help. And this one does. A lot. Different formulas for men and women’s skin, but they do have both! Also, if you really wanna splurge, their night cream ($85) is my absolutely favorite (IMO after trying both, Athia products are better than the seemingly more popular Fre brand. For my skin at least.)

Cute workout gear (price varies): Okay, obvi geared more towards the female. But here are some of my (non Lulu) faves:

  • Comfy, cute, and from a company with a great message and mission: Grrrl (to note, I love their sports bras, leggings, etc..everything except their shorts. They ride up like crazy)

  • Super cute/funny crop tops (mine include “Love Thighself” and “Life is short. Break the rules.”) and beyond comfy shorts in multiple lengths: WodBottom

  • Want a similar look to Lulu with the quality but not the price tag AND support a women owned small biz? Senita

RPM jump rope ($65)- This is probably one of the first things of their own that a CF athlete should have. Yes, there are some cheaper options on Amazon that will work. But once you’ve tried one of these, those cheap ones will get the side eye. You can get all fancy, but the plain $65 one is plenty nice. The extra $15 on the others seems to be purely aesthetic.

Slightly more geared towards the outdoor athlete:

Enamel Camping Mug - Coulier Art ($10-15) - tons of great similar options, but the link is for a local AZ artist. And where I can, I’m gonna try to support a local small biz, esp if it’s female and/or black owned. These are super cute and fire/stovetop safe!! Ie you can heat up coffee or hot chocolate right over the stove while camping! You can also get these at The Merchantile in Scottsdale (a small market of all local merchants).

Hero Clip ($15) - great for organizing gear, clipping things onto your pack, hanging a lantern (like a Luci Light) or headlamp in you tent or around your campsite, etc. Got this as a gift last Christmas and have used it countless times since!


Kula Cloth ($25)- This one is for you hikers/backpackers. This thing is a gamechanger for females, especially. For real. Never again do you have to search for the perfect leaf...Plus, they have really cool designs by artists! From the website: Kula Cloth is a reusable, intentionally designed antimicrobial pee cloth product that eliminates toilet paper waste in the wilderness. It’s a great Leave No Trace alternative that’s both comfortable and has a positive impact on the environment.

Luci solar powered inflatable light ($25) - I have 2 and I use them ALL the time. great for camping/backpacking, but I’ve also used them on my back patio at night. And I keep one in my car in case of emergency

Inflatable Kayak ($90) - Yup, that’s right. A solid kayak for under $100. When I first got one of these a couple years ago, it was actually even cheaper, but I think the company is slowly catching on to just how much people would actually pay for this thing. It’s awesome. I will say, if you’re taller, read the reviews and see if it will work for you. I personally know people up to 5’7'“ that LOVE this thing, but I actually don’t know anyone taller who’s tried it. There are some really good detailed reviews as well if you don’t wanna just take my word for how BA this thing is. Make sure to get a life jacket to have on the vessel as well. It’s the law and at least in AZ, you will get cited.


Alrighty, y’all. Hope you enjoyed this list and found some gift ideas from it! If you have any awesome finds, PLEASE drop them in the comments below for everyone to see!!! Obvi a gift card for a session with me (mobility optimization, physical therapy, etc) is also a great option, but I’m just not a salesy person so it doesn’t feel right to put that in the main list. Link is on my website if you so choose :)

In 2 weeks, keep an eye on your inbox for some hip mobility info!!

Much love,

Dr. Megan


"Your knees are shot and if you keep up all the activity you're doing, you won't walk at 30"- what I was told by medical professionals at age 18 after my 3rd knee surgery. Fast forward to today, and I'm 32 and not only do I Crossfit 4-5 days a week, but my off days are usually spent trail running and/or hiking. And the only time I have knee pain is when I take 4 or more days off from activity. You see, the stronger the muscles around a joint are, the more they can unload the joint - i.e. the ligaments, meniscus, and cartilage in the knee don’t have to absorb quite as much force as they would otherwise. And less pressure = less risk of damage or pain. 


For years, I avoided squatting below parallel, catching heavy weight in a squat such as full cleans and snatches, and had a crazy wide squat stance. I also avoiding running and would get nervous hiking downhill. Why? Because I let the nocebo (negative thoughts) given to me medical professionals dictate my movement. You see, I've had three knee surgeries, with the 1st one being in 5th grade and the last being a cartilage graft during college. Most of my knee injuries have been due to Osteochondritis Dissecans (Rare condition. Lack of blood flow to bone causing cracks to form in the cartilage and underlying bone. Cause unknown). Though one surgery was an ACL reconstruction where they took out part of my patellar tendon and put it where the ACL should be.


With each of these instances (a few others didn't require surgery), I was told yet again that I should stop doing any high impact activity, never run on hard ground, that I should never do heavy squats, and definitely don't go below parallel even without weight. This is devastating news to a very active and athletic fifth grader. And let's be real, still devastating to an active college student. Thankfully, I'm stubborn. I agreed to quit all hard court sports like basketball (though to be fair, as soon as everyone else hit their growth spurt, I probably wouldn't have lasted) and gymnastics. But I refused to give up soccer. And with that came weight training once I got to high school.


I still lift and do Crossfit 4 days a week and trail run or hike in the off days. I honestly LOVE heavy squats and deadlifts, and I am constantly challenge myself! And you know what I realized once I left soccer but was still in the gym doing weightlifting? My knees only bothered me when I did one of 2 things: wayyyyy overdid it or skipped the gym and hiking several days in a row.

Two main takeaways from this bit:


1. Don't let a doctor's opinion dictate your own opinion or your life.

Every profession has it's bad and good apples. And a certain degree does not make one infallible.


2. Heavy squats fix everything (read: your body wants to be loaded. Strength training has countless benefits and should definitely be a part of your life)


So I bet you’re like “Sweet, so strength is important. Got it. But what are some ways to build up strength?” Here ya go:


First, I should explain that it’s not always as simple as “get stronger.” Mobility and technique also need to be considered when figuring out the cause of knee pain. And it’s almost never directly the knee. Typically, if a mobility issue is at play, it is either from the hips or ankles, though it could be from further up as well. This will be it’s own blog (or maybe Eboko!) soon

As far as technique goes, it really kind of depends on when you’re having pain. For example, if it’s just with running, maybe you’re not keeping enough bend in your knee throughout the gait cycle, causing increased stress on the knee. If it’s just at the transition point at the bottom of a squat, maybe you’re only going to parallel, which is actually the knee angle with the highest amount of pressure on the knees. Or maybe you’re letting your knees come inward even just slightly with squats or sumo deadlifts and causing undue stress. If you are having pain with a certain lift/movement and want it assessed, or just want to dial in technique, I do offer movement assessments. Ok, gonna get nerdy and dive a bit deeper to include some research on technique for the next few paragraphs...(if you don’t care about research and just want the takeaways…skip to the next bolded line)

Research by Bloomquist et al showed that deep squats improved strength throughout the range of motion while shallow squats did improve strength a little more at shallow depth, but minimal strength increase at deeper positions. In other words, if you constantly squat above parallel, you;ll get stronger in that position, but not really improve strength  for things like getting up and down from the floor, squatting down to pick up heavy items off the ground, catching nd standing a clean or snatch at full depth. Squat jump strength also improved only with full depth squats, not quarter squats according to research by Hartmann et al.

Hartmann et al also found that the compressive forces in the knee are highest at 90 degrees and have little quad tendon support, yet when you squat deeper, there is actually a protective wrapping effect around the knees! My mom can attest to that. One of my biggest recent “wins” is finally getting my mother to listen to me (seriously, it’s like pay back for not listening as a child) about squats. She does not have ACLs in either knee and then retore an MCL about 10 years ago while waterskiing. She has at least listened to me for awhile that the best thing she can do for her knees is keep up strength to create the extra support needed in lieu of those ligaments. About a  month ago, I finally got her to start doing a few exercises I wrote including some goblet squats with increased weight. However, she’s been scared to squat below parallel. So she called me up and told me her knees were achy. I explained the above research and told her to just give going below parallel a shot for a few days and call me back. Guess what?! Her knee pain was GONE!

The other major lie that we’ve all heard is that your knees can’t past your toes. Absolute BS. In fact, I can personally say that the first time I really felt my quads fire during a squat was when I finally let my knees go past my toes. It’s also the first time I didn’t end of having soreness in my low back after a bunch of squats. Here’s why: Fry et al did some research looking at joint forces at the hips and knees when knee movement is restricted to avoid going past the toes or allowed to do so. They found that if it is restricted, there’s a 1000% increase in hip forces. One thousand y’all! It also caused your torso to come more forward since the hips had to stay back. This then places more pressure on your back. Between those factors, it’s no wonder my back was getting sore with back squats! Some of whether or not your knees need to come forward and the degree to which they do is definitely dependent on your specific anatomy.


Okay, now for the fun stuff. Strength. Note that this is specific for the person dealing with knee pain with squatting…

As I mentioned earlier, if you have strength surrounding the joint, it will unload it and you won’t deal with pain that comes from pressure on the internal structures (for example, osteoarthritis bone changes won’t cause pain) But…how do you build strength if you’re dealing with knee pain already?? The following exercises will be a great start!! 

Even better if you mix in things to spike your heart rate like a 30” arm only bike sprint…gets your heart rate going, thereby increasing fluid circulation to the legs/knees which will drastically help “flush out” any inflammatory chemicals. Therefore, decreased swelling and pain!

There are plenty of great drills not listed here, but this is a great start:


-Knee Gapping. 

Ok this one is for you if you just feel a lot of pressure in your knee when you squat and feel like it limits you. You know that feeling when your knee is even a little swollen and it won’t quite bend all the way back into full flexion? Yea, this helps with that. A ton. You can use a small ball, like a lacrosse ball, or a tightly rolled up towel like I am here. This helps glide the tibia (the lower leg bone) forward as you go into end range motion, which is what’s needed, and increase the joint space so it doesn’t get as much of that pressure feeling. Help yourself into end range flexion by grabbing your lower leg and pull it in, as shown. Make sure to get some calf motion in by moving your ankle around as the gastroc does cross up over the knee and assist in this motion. (side note: please ignore the squeeky ball in the background from the pups)
Video Poster Image

- Spanish squats. 

Easily my favorite exercise to not only get a quick solid quad burn, but to unload the knee and allow better movement. I’ve used this countless times with acute knee pain, chronic arthritis, post surgical, and a whole host of other people (and myself) to be able to squat sooner and build/maintain strength. The band is placed directly behind the knees. You want to make sure there is solid tension in the band throughout the movement - as you can see in this video, the band can hold my weight. Unlike a normal squat, you keep your shins perpendicular to the ground. The kettlebell is mostly to counterbalance and help me keep my chest upright. Shoutout to Zach Long, PT, DPT (aka @thebarbellphysio) for introducing me to these several years ago while we were at a course together. 
Video Poster Image

- Copenhagen Planks.

So it may not be readily obvious how these help your squat, but the truth is the inner thigh muscles play a HUGE role in full depth squats, and if their capacity isn’t adequate, it can cause knee pain, particularly on the inside of the knee. Now, this exercise is MUCH harder than it looks, so I highly recommend starting it where you have the top knee supported on the bench (or couch or whatever you’re using). If that’s still too much, you can leave the bottom leg on the ground and allow it to help support as much as needed, but as little as possible (don’t cheat yourself!)
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- Bulgarian Split Squats.

Not just for lifters. This is a fantastic exercises for hikers and trail runners as it not only works on the muscles you use in your sport, but it also challenges single leg and trunk/core stability which are very important. Get into a lunge position with the back leg up on a box/bench/couch/whatever and then drop your trunk straight down while both knees bend. I’m using a kettlebell in a goblet hold here, but you can also do a barbell in the front/back/Zercher position
Video Poster Image

- Hip Thrusters 

Yes, I know, this is a butt exercise. But without strong glutes, your knees will be trying to compensate for lack of stability. No bueno. Besides, lets be real, is there a downside to having a nice ass? No. 
In this video, my fiancé is demonstrating with both legs, but going single leg is a great option as well! Please note, he’s also going absurdly light with the weight here. You want to go HEAVY on this exercise. You’ll probably surprise yourself with how heavy you can go…I have multiple patients over 65 that do this one well over 100, if not 200 pounds for reps. Just make sure you can actually hit full extension at the top (meaning your hips finish in line with your knees and shoulders)

No barbell? That’s fine! Use a super heavy dumbbell or kettlebell…just know you’ll be limited by getting the weight on/off your lap and will need to up the reps to have any benefit. 

Video Poster Image

Ok, hopefully these exercises are helpful!


One last quick note that I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention: When discussing knee pain, you have to consider lifestyle factors. All too often, knee pain is due to any increase in the body’s inflammatory response. And I’m not just taking about the injury response. If our diet, our sleep, and/or our stress is trash, it affects our entire system. So while I don’t wanna vilify the occasional cup of ice cream (that would make me a hypocrite), I do want to point out that if you’re crushing a whole pizza, McDonalds, and M&Ms every day, then it’s not entirely surprising that you feel lie you have “bad knees”…but if you take away the inflammatory-inducing foods, get 8 hrs of sleep, and move your body regularly, I bet you would find that you actually have good knees! They were just mad at you and letting you know they were mad…


Alrighty, drop any comments/questions below! 

And please share this blog with anyone you think would find it helpful! 


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