Banana-Oat Breakfast Cookies

Now that I’ve enticed you with that delicious sounding title, I’m going to make you wait a little bit for it.

Such a tease.

First, lets have a little fun with numbers…because it’s Friday, and random posts are always better on Fridays.

Yesterday, I lifted 9,760 pounds with my legs. Yep, you read that right. Let me break it down for you:

Conventional Deadlifts: 1×8 @ 95 lb; 1×6 @ 110 lb; 1×5 @ 135 lb; 3×5 @145 lb

Bulgarian Split Squats: 3 x 8 @ 75 lb

Hip Thrusters: 3×8 @ 95 lb

Romanian Dead Lifts (RDL) 3×8 @ 105 lb

Add all of that poundage up, and that’s 9,760 pounds I moved with these legs. In about 40 minutes.

That’s equivalent to:

Almost 3 adult male giraffes.

I have sort of an unhealthy obsession with giraffes. But can you blame me? LOOK at them!

About 1000 lb shy of the largest male elephant ever recorded

About 48 refrigerators

1,170 Gallons of water

30 Shaq’s.

One of the biggest of the bigs

BOOM!

That was fun, wasn’t it?

Now on to the feature presentation:

Banana-Oat Breakfast Cookies

Originally, I saw something similar to this on Pinterest, which came along with this picture:

This is the best and most awesome breakfast cookie ever! And the best part, no flour, no sugar, and no dairy added!  Ingredients-  1.5 cups of oats  2-3 super rippened bananas  1 cup of unsweetened applesauce  handful of craisins to taste  cinnamon    Pretty much just throw everything together, mix it up pretty well, throw it on a baking sheet at 350 for about 35 minutes and then go to town! It's great and super healthy for you!

However, the picture did not link back to a blog or webpage, and only had a brief description of the recipe with it. They look mouthwateringly good, though, so I decided to put my own spin on them with a few modifications. So, that being said, if YOU are the original creator of the above picture/recipe, I am not trying to steal your recipe and wish I could give credit where it is due!  But alas, I can not.

So here goes, with my own additions in italics.

What you’ll need:

1 1/2 C Oats

2-3 Ripened bananas (I used 3)

1 C unsweetened apple sauce

Cinnamon to taste (I used about 1 tsp)

Handful of dried cranberries (I probably used about 1/2-3/4 C)

3 Tbs Almond Flour

1/4 C chopped dates

1/2 tsp Apple Pie Spice 

What You Need To Do:

Mash up the bananas in a medium bowl, mix with applesauce. In a separate, larger bowl, mix up the remaining ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until incorporated.  Glop onto a greased cookie sheet, and bake for about 30 min at 350 degrees.  This makes about 1 dozen cookies.

*Make sure you grease the cookie sheet, or else the bottoms WILL stick. I learned this the hard way.

Easy Peasy, right?

And the best part is, they’re wheat and dairy free, with no added sugar, for those of you with sensitivities.

So there you have it, a super quick, easy, healthy “cookie” perfect for breakfast, a mid-day pick-me-up, or just any old time you want a snack! And they make your entire house smell like Apple Pie while they’re cooking. Bonus!

I also must add… Throw a little nut-butter on one of these puppies, and it’s kind of like a little piece of heaven.

Enjoy, and Happy Friday everyone!

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When The Gym Rat Loses Her Gym

I’m going to tell you a sad, sad story.

You may want to sit down for this one.

I know, I know. I’ll try not to make you cry.

Here goes. On Thursday morning I got to my gym, all ready for a big dead lift day. What I found when I got there, however, was heart-wrenching to say the least.

The weight room had flooded, and was basically demolished. It turns out that a sprinkler above the room had basically exploded, sending enough water to destroy all of the ceiling tiles, warp the floor, and cover everything in the room in disgusting debris. By the time I got there, the barbells and plates had already started to rust.

At first, I think I was in denial. I may have thought “Wait, I can still lift right? It doesn’t matter that there is water everywhere and ceiling tile particles covering everything… right? RIGHT?!?”

Eventually I came to my senses and my reaction went from denial to something a little more like this:

Excuse my language.

But the real kicker was that it was ONLY the weight room. The cardio area: FINE. The ab/stretching area: FINE. The yoga studio: FINE.

Weight room: Not fine.

It’s especially sad since I just bought a brand new pair of these beauties for lifting:

Why, hello lovelies.

So what did I do, you ask? Instead of wallowing in my own self pity (well I let myself wallow a little bit, I’m not going to lie), I ended up taking advantage of the beautiful weather we had last week and did 2 back-to-back days of stadium runs on Thursday and Friday.

(I may or may not have a secret love affair with Harvard Stadium.)

If I couldn’t get my DL’s in, the next best thing was some mega plyos up those giant concrete stadium steps. But I can’t do stadiums every day, and there’s no telling when the weight room will be back up and running, what with all of the new equipment that has to be ordered and such. So in the meantime, I guess I have a few options:

  1. Whine every day until it opens again. “WAHH!!!” Not attractive. I don’t think I’ll go with this one.
  2. Go on a mission to “join” a new gym and try to finagle a free introductory membership while I’m “deciding if I’ll join” (catch my drift, here?)
  3. Take an unscheduled de-load week and get a little creative with my workouts!
Or I guess I could just go this route. 

While I haven’t totally ruled out option #2, I haven’t made any headway on that yet so I guess I’m going with #3 at least for the next few days. Luckily, there are still kettlebells, ropes, boxes and cables at my disposal, so I’m not at a total loss. It looks like I’ll be doing quite a bit of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), mostly as hill intervals on the treadmill, a whole lot of KB swinging/lifting, some cable work, and some other body-weight circuit type stuff.

You know what though? As much as I’m already hankering for a good heavy squat day, I think this will be good for me! It will give me a chance to break up my routine, let my muscles recover from the heavy compound lifts, and will also give me a chance to work out some kinks in my lower extremity (ie, I have a lot of soft tissue/mobility work to do, and this unexpected de-load time will be perfect to work on that!)

So yes, it sucks. But it’s not the end of the world. I’ll probably do a post later this week with some of my newly developed workouts without having heavy lifting available to me. Who knows, maybe this will allow me to push past some of those areas of my lifts where I’ve been a little bit static lately (DB press, anyone?) Either way, the only thing I can do at this point is try to find the positive and move on if I want to save my own sanity. Either that or I might just end up at a new gym before the week is over. Just saying.

Have you ever had anything throw a wrench into your training plans? Do you get stressed about things that are out of your control? What would you do in this situation?

(Just) Do It

No, I’m not talking Nike here. I’m talking about trying new things; taking the bull by it’s horns so to speak.

(Ok, no need to get this aggressive)

Like last week, when I tried this.

Was it good? No. It actually tasted like Snausages (You know, the dog treat… And No, before anyone asks, I don’t eat dog treats). And my mouth tasted like Snausages for the rest of the day… Ugh. But I tried it, and that’s a good thing! If I never tried new things, I never would have realized over the past few years that I absolutely LOVE beets, kale, brussels sprouts, and other nutritious goodies that have become staples of my regular diet. The squid ink pasta I had recently (and have had a few times since!) was something that the old me never would have tried. Who knew it would become a new favorite?

And this doesn’t just go for food. Don’t be afraid to try new things in the weight room either!

Do you always Deadlift with barbell? Why not try Trap-bar deadlifts? They’re a great DL variation for those of us who have hip mobility issues, because it kind of combines a squat movement with a DL, which calls for a bit less hip-hinge. Or maybe even go a little farther, and try a trap-bar RDL instead. (Check out this great post and video from Ben Bruno about the trap-bar RDL if you’re curious!)

Do you only do weight training with dumbbells (or Machines…an entirely different post altogether)? Why not add in some movement with the barbell instead? Ask for some assistance if you’ve never used a barbell before, because proper form is the key to avoiding injuries. But don’t shy away from it just because you’ve never done it. Barbells are not just for the “big boys”. The weight room is not just for the big boys either. Don’t think that you have to stay within the “women only” zone at your gym and stay limited by the equipment provided there. Branch out! Talk to a (good) personal trainer and try some new things. There’s a whole world of workout out there that anyone can do. TRX training, battling ropes, pull up bars, and the list goes on.

Do you always do workouts inside? Now that the weather is nice, why not take it outside once or twice per week! Whether you go for a run, do stadium sprints, or hill intervals, bringing your workout outside can add new energy to your routine. Heck, while you’re at it, go find yourself a good playground nearby and you have ENDLESS possibilities for workouts.

Pullups, anyone?

Do you only run for cardio? Why not try cycling, spinning, hiking, or swimming? Why limit yourself to one activity and one (boring) movement pattern?

Now, I’m NOT saying to go and try a new program or workout every time you hit the gym. That’s a perfect way to a)not see results, and b) get injured. True training results take time, so if you are switching up your program every 2 weeks, good luck seeing the trim physique you’re so aptly looking for. But if you have been doing the same things for a long time, months, even years, and you are not seeing the results you need,  why not try something new? If you’re having issues with certain movement patterns or pain with certain movements, why not try something new? If you’ve been a slave to the elliptical for as long as you can remember, and you’re still not seeing your six-pack shine through, why not try something new?!?

Just do it. You’ll thank me later, I promise.

The Trouble with Hamstrings

Hamstrings suck.

Well, ok. They don’t really. They’re actually quite wonderful when they’re healthy.

But it is very difficult to do any type of lower body exercise without engaging said muscle group. And when that muscle group is not happy, engaging them can lead to increased pain and other problems.

Do you know how nagging a hamstring injury can be? I’ve had a dull, annoying, “hey listen to me!” feeling in my left hamstrings (specifically the lateral hamstring, my biceps femoris) for the past 3 weeks. After a much needed de-load week last week though, I thought I had given it enough of a rest to be all set.

Not so much.

On Monday, that “hey listen to me!” feeling turned into a “WTF are you DOING to me?!?” kind of feeling. Yep, I really pissed off that hammy when I finished off my lift with some glute-ham raises followed by 5×20 kettlebell swings.

Source

Now, I’m not a complete idiot, so I knew when I was still feeling pain with walking by yesterday (Thursday), that my regularly scheduled deadlift/posterior chain day was going to need a little bit of altering unless I wanted to REALLY do a good job on that hamstring strain.

So here are the switches I made to protect myself from further injury:

Instead of:                                                                                 I did this:

Conventional DLs @ 135 lb                                                        Trap Bar Deadlifts 4×8 @115

Barbell Bulgarian Split Squats 3×8 ea leg @ 85 lb                     Same, only sets of 3 on L leg

Step-Ups w/ 40 lb, 3×8 ea leg                                                    Same

Romanian Dead Lifts 3×8 @ 115 lb                                            Scrap this

SL Roman Dead Lifts w/ 2 16kg KBs, 3×7 ea leg                       Scrap this

SO I did those 3 lifts (the Bulgarian Split Squats were not the best idea, my hammy let me know pretty quick, so that’s why the reps were REALLY low on that leg). And since I wasn’t going to be able to do any interval or hill work, I also added in a few upper body exercises and a little bit of metabolic work so that I could still get a full body workout in. For the metabolic work, I added in 3×10 box jumps onto an 18″ box (which I thought would hurt but were fine!), KB Swings 3×20, and 5×30 seconds on the battling ropes. (LOVE these)

Source

All in all, despite being limited by my hamstrings, I was still able to get in a great full body workout without injuring myself further. While yes, I could have just pushed through the hamstring pain and done my conventional deadlifts anyway, I can guarantee you that I would have ended up in more pain for a longer period of time, and having to modify even more workouts down the road.  I also could have scrapped the whole thing all together, and just given up on today’s lift.

As I see it, modifying the way I did allowed me to still get a great workout in, and also to protect myself enough so that hopefully next week I can beast those deadlifts.  Win, Win*!

*That being said, if you have an injury, talk to a professional who can give you some safe alternatives to your normal program, don’t just go out there all willy nilly and hope for the best!

Now, my final test will be seeing how this hamstring strain holds up today….

WHEN I’M SNOWBOARDING!!!!

WOO HOOOO!!! This is the first (and seeing as it’s already March, probably only) time I’ll be able to get out this season. AND seeing as this is my last full weekend off in a while, I’ve got to make the most of it, right?

I. Am. Pumped.

I’m all fueled up with my overnight oats, and I’m ready to hit the slopes.

Soaked overnight in the end of my Trader Joes PB jar: 1/2 C oats, 1 C almond milk, 1/2 tsp brown sugar, cinnamon.

Added in the morning: Raisins, coconut flakes, 1/2 banana

Yum!

What fun things are you all doing this weekend?Does anyone else have any nagging injuries lately? Do you find it difficult to modify workouts around injuries?

Updates and Good Reads

Well, Hello there.

I hope everyone had a fantastic long weekend!

I was actually pretty busy at work this weekend and didn’t have a whole lot of time to write.  So today’s post will actually be a mash-up of some of my own updates and some links to some good reads that I’ve found lately.

How I wish I spend my weekend:

How I actually spent my weekend:

Let’s go with the updates first.

I deadlifted 135 for reps for the first time on Friday! Woo Hoo!  I know that may not seem like a ton to some of you (and to some it may seem like a lot) but I feel like it’s been a long time coming for me. I’ve been stuck at 125 for a while, so to finally be able to move past that plateau was huge. With my hip mobility issues and the smaller plate size at the lower weight, I was having to do my DLs from a set of blocks. Finally, with the full 45 lb plates, I was able to DL straight from the floor and it felt great!! Honestly, my hips have never felt better. (Me-thinks it has something to do with the fact that I finally realized several months ago that I really needed to stop trying to become a “runner”).  I am also definitely going to attribute part a lot of my success on Friday to the added pulling/rowing lifts that I have added over the past month in order to improve my upper back strength.

Yes, deadlifting is mostly focused on hamstrings/glutes/lower back, but it really is a full body lift and a strong upper back is essential for good form. Now that I’ve started to see more strength gains in that mid-trap/rhomboid area of my upper back, I felt like I was supporting my DL much more than I had previously.

Yay for gains!

And now for some good reads. These are just a few blog posts/articles that I’ve come across fairly recently from some of my favorite writers/bloggers out there on the interwebz. Hopefully you’ll appreciate these as much as I do!

Nia Shanks – Nutrition Trigger and Tips – Nia is one of my favorite strong female voices out there. A great post here about food triggers (we all have them!)  and how to handle them.

Molly Galbraith – To Cheat Or Not To Cheat – Another excellent female voice when it comes to nutrition and strength training. Read this for thoughts on food “cheats” and if there really is such a thing.

Molly Galbraith – How To Tell If Your Trainer Knows What They Are Doing – Do You have a personal trainer? Are they actually benefitting you at all?

Brian St. Pierre – Cholesterol Fact and Fiction – A quick but informative read about cholesterol and what you really need to know about your lipid profile.

Alan Aragon – Interviewed By Wisconsin Poly Tech – Some great general information about nutrition and strength training.

That’s all for now, folks! This week has the potential to be pretty hectic as well so I’ll be back with a “real” blog post as soon as I’m able to. For now, I leave you with this, Pinterest find of the week:

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