You Need Iron To Pump Iron…Fall Off The Bone Smoky Pork Spareribs


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There’s nothing like a little health scare to get your ass back on track.  Some days, well, actually MOST days, I feel like my body is falling apart and I just keep going because if I stop, it’s bound to really fail me.  The past few weeks I have just felt tired.  Not a typical tired that you feel when you have to get up for work or didn’t get enough sleep.  It has been a tired that makes it hard to function throughout the day.  It’s the kind of tired that results in a constant yawning (even in the middle of a workout) and the constant desire to just sit and do nothing.  I started getting a little worried the when I began getting short of breath going up stairs, walking or even having a simple conversation.

I began realizing I was feeling like I did about 5 years ago when I thought I had pneumonia because of my shortness of breath.  I went to Urgent Care and the doctor looked at me and asked me if I was feeling tired. “Well, yeah, of course I feel tired.  Doesn’t everyone?” was my reply.  After getting some blood drawn, I returned to the exam room where the doctor told me that my hemoglobin was at 6.3, which was about half of what it is supposed to be.  Basically, I only had about 1/2 to 2/3 of the blood in my body that I was supposed to.  I was admitted to the hospital where I received a blood transfusion along with a few tests to find out why my hemoglobin and iron were so low.  Nothing was discovered.  I figured it was just a matter of my body not absorbing the iron needed due to the gastric bypass surgery I did at nâng cơ mặt.  I began taking my vitamins diligently and paying more attention to my iron intake.  A few weeks later, my iron and hemoglobin were up so I was back on track…until now.

Once my shortness of breath started, I knew I had to get into the doctor.  I was due for a physical anyways, so I made the appointment.  At my appointment I shared that I was a little concerned that I was feeling similar to when I was “low on blood”.  She didn’t seem too concerned but ordered a multitude of blood tests anyways, including a hemoglobin level.  The next day, on my lunch break, I went to get my blood drawn for all of the tests she ordered.  12 viles of blood later I left the lab and returned to work.  Within about 45 minutes I received an email that I had test results on “My Chart”, my electronic medical file.  I immediately signed into my account and clicked on the results…”Shit!”  Deep down I knew my levels would be low.  The result read 7.8…not as low as the last time, but still well below where it needs to be.  I call my doctor’s office to find out what the plan is.  It’s a Thursday, so if I am going to have to go into the hospital for a transfusion, I’d like to prepare, let my work know, etc…  The nurse tells me that she will send my doctor a note and they will call me back….I wait…..and wait…and wait…

I get home at around 4:30 with no information on what I am supposed to do so I get changed and ready to go to workout.  As I am about to leave, my phone rings and it’s the nurse from my doctor’s office.  She tells me that my doctor had already left for the day so another doctor reviewed my results and would like me to go to urgent care right away and that I should prepare to possibly get a blood transfusion due to my “critically low” hemoglobin level.  I thought to myself, “You think THIS is critically low?  6.3 is ‘critically low’.  It’s obviously not all that ‘critical’ if it took you 4 hours to get back to me!”  I decide to wait until the next day to go to urgent care so I can sleep in my own bed that night and enjoy a glass of wine.

I wake up the next day and get to urgent care as soon as it opens.  An hour or so later I leave feeling relieved and grateful that I waited to go in.  The doctor I saw was VERY hesitant to admit me to the hospital for a transfusion and didn’t think my level of 7.8 was “critically” low.  It was low, yes, but more of a “let’s see what else we can do to get that number up” low.  I go down to the lab to get my blood drawn and again to see if the level has changed at all.  I sit in the exam room waiting for the doctor to return, nervous and preparing for the worst.  She opens the door and gives me a simple thumbs up.  RELIEF!  I go home with a prescription for iron pills, still feeling exhausted, but full of relief.

This was a bit of a wake up call for me.  I hadn’t been all that diligent in taking my vitamins or paying attention to my iron intake.  I also learned that in order for iron to be absorbed in the body, vitamin C has to be present, which is something I never even thought about.  So now, I need to take my iron 3 times a day along with some vitamin C, my multivitamin while also paying attention to my protein and carb intake.  Thank goodness I don’t need to worry about counting calories because that may put me over the edge…

I have also learned something else about the importance of iron in athletes…IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT!  Athletes need more iron than the average person due to the amount of activity we do.  We lose iron when we sweat and logically when we are increasing our muscle mass.  Duh!  The past couple of months, weights that used to be easy for me have become nearly impossible to lift.  I didn’t understand what was happening to my body that had performed so well over the past year.  Now it was going to shit!  Why can’t I clean 125 pounds?  Why does a 205 back squat seem like my 285 pound PR?  Well, apparently, I needed some freakin’ iron in my body!  It seems so obvious, but I am sure there are a lot of people, women especially who are feeling like me.  Get your iron checked ladies!

I haven’t worked out since Tuesday of last week (5 days), my body is not falling apart – it actually is feeling pretty good, and the number on the scale has not changed because of it.  I will start working out again this week and hopefully my fatigue will start subsiding soon.  I DID find the energy to make some pork ribs however….a girl’s gotta eat, right?

Fall Off The Bone Smoky Pork Spareribs


  • 2 slabs of pork spareribs (3-4 lbs each)
  • 1 cup Smoky Rub (recipe below)
  • Sweet & Smoky BBQ Sauce (recipe below)

The day before you plan on cooking your ribs, remove the thin layer of silver skin from the bone side of the ribs.  To do this, I simply grab the end of the silver skin and pull it off of the ribs.  You can also see other methods on the internet, just Google it!  Using your hands, generously rub the “Smoky Rub” all over the ribs.  Use all of your rub!  Wrap your ribs in plastic wrap and place in the fridge.

Take the ribs out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking.  Preheat your oven to 225 degrees.  Wrap your ribs in aluminum foil and place in the oven for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours (about an hour per pound).  To finish off your ribs you can use either your broiler or your grill.  Baste your ribs with your Sweet & Smoky BBQ Sauce frequently while grilling or broiling until they are bubbly and caramelized.  Serve with extra BBQ sauce on the side and enjoy!

Smoky Rub

  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika

Sweet & Smoky BBQ Sauce

  • 32 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and continue simmering for an hour or so.