My Tried & True Dos & Don’ts For the Gym!!
The gym is a place to release tensions, detoxify, energize and renew. When I walk through the doors of my gym, I immediately feel a sense of relief – it’s my place to unwind while maintaining fitness. I’m very lucky to have met quite a few very dear friends at the gym as I spend a significant amount of time there. In order to get the most out of the gym and earn those friendships, there are etiquette rules gym goers should follow. Here are those that immediately come to mind ~
- Do invest in gym attire that you feel good in. True, you are going to be sweating up your duds in no time flat but, trust me, if you feel good you will perform your exercises with that much more vigor and get a better workout. Here is one of my personal favorite sportswear lines – Body Language Sportswear.
- Do wear color from time to time. Everyone wears black. Try a brighter color to boost your mood. In fact, invest in colors you can mix and match. GG Tip: Feeling a couple pounds heavier? – Wear the same color top and bottom; the monochromatic effect will slim you.
- Do wear white socks. Period. Any other color will make you look like the lights went out in the locker room when you were changing and you didn’t get a chance to check yourself in the mirror.
- Do wipe down the cardio machines after you use them. You just spent 20, 30 or 45 long, hard minutes grinding away . . . the next person doesn’t want to share your excretions.
- Do let others work in during your rest periods between sets. This may not always be practical, but offer to share when you can. It’s an easy way to make friends too or meet that cute guy or girl. 🙂
- Do refrain from melodramatic squeals and moans while pushing your limits with the iron. There is one particular character at my gym who obviously thinks he is much more macho than he is. He apparently has no peripheral vision to see all the rolling eyes around him.
- Don’t wear dirty gym clothes. This would officially make you disgusting. Yes, everyone around you could tell. One way to avoid being a skank is to take your gym clothes with you into the shower and let them hang to dry for tomorrow.
- Don’t wear baggy pants or shirts. Not only will you not feel good in them, you won’t be able to see the muscle work you are accomplishing.
- Don’t get overly skimpy. You don’t want something flying out that shouldn’t during an overly enthusiastic aerobic jump or superhero set.
- Don’t hover around a person while waiting for the machine he/she is using. Either ask politely to work in or find another exercise to do while you wait. There’s always something else you can do to be more productive than make the other person feel hurried.
- Don’t stand directly in front of someone performing his/her set. Chances are, the person is checking himself in the mirror and nothing breaks up the pumping pattern more than an oblivious hogger.
- Biker shorts, fanny packs, thong leotard over spandex. Enough said.
Who doesn’t love brownies?! I’m kind of famous for these at work. If I don’t make them at least twice a year, I lose tenure! 🙂 My dear friend, Mary, gave this recipe to me years ago back when we were next-door neighbors. I’ve been making them ever since. WARNING: These are ooey, rich and gooey – addiction is imminent.
I apologize to my clean-eating followers. This is NOT an eat-clean dessert. Hey, we have to splurge once in a blue moon!
Mint Chocolate Brownies!!!
* Brownie Mix
* 1 ½ stick butter (I use unsalted)
* 3 Tbs. Crème-de-Menthe
* 2 Cups Powdered Sugar
* 1 Cup Chocolate Chips (or Mint Chocolate Chips)
* 1 package Andies thin mint candy
Bake and cool your favorite brownie mix according to package instructions. (13 x 9 pan) I like Duncan Hines
Cool completely before spreading the crème-de-menthe layer. DO NOT CUT.Crème-de-menthe layer:
Beat ½ cup room temperature butter. Add 2 cups powdered sugar and 3 Tbs. green crème-de-menthe liquor. Spread over brownies. Let this set before spreading the chocolate glaze.
Stir 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or mint chocolate chips for more mintness!) and 6 tbs. butter in a saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. COOL. Pour over crème-de-menthe layer and spread evenly.
Before glaze sets, sprinkle with coarsely chopped Andies candy. Enjoy!!
I made this last night for tonight’s dessert. It is actually good for you while tasting indulgently yummy! I can’t take the credit for this concoction. I stumbled upon the recipe in the November/December 2009 issue of Clean Eating – GG’s favorite cooking magazine, by the way!!! It took me all of five minutes to mix all the ingredients in my blender. This is my “good dessert” for the evening:
Spiced Pumpkin Mousse
Serves 10 (I cut this recipe in half.)
- 2 15 oz. cans 100% pure pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 1-lb pkg silken tofu, drained well
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (I used sugar-free)
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
- 3/4 tsp ginger, ground
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg, ground
- 1/4 tsp cloves, ground
- 1/4 tsp sea salt (I eliminated this ingredient)
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek-style yogurt (I used my very fave 0% Fage!)
- 1 oz dark chocolate, cut into thin shards
In the bowl of a food processor (I used my blender), combine pumpkin and tofu. Process until combined, about 30 seconds. Add maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Process until combined, about 30 seconds more.
Transfer mousse to a resealable container, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Drain any water that has accumulated from mousse. Give it a quick stir and scoop 1/2 cup mousse into each of 10 small glasses or ramekins. Top each serving with 2 tsp yogurt and 1 tsp chocolate. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. (for those extra sweet tooths, fat free Cool Whip works well too)
This tastes like a very gooingly good pumpkin pie without the crust and more of the scrumptious filling!!
Now, my daughter’s palate does not yet appreciate consistently clean eating as I’ve grown to love; her younger metabolism can afford more cheats. Soooo . . . being the wanting-to-please everyone cook that I strive to be, I’m making this “bad dessert” tonight as well:
Thank you to my very kitchen-capable bro who introduced me to this easy sweet treat!
- 1 package Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
- Vanilla or Caramel Cheesecake ice cream
Place the cookie dough as one sheet in an 8 X 8 pan. Bake according to package directions.
Immediately warm out of the oven, divide the cookie into four parts. Place each warm “cookie” in a large bowl. Scoop the ice cream on top and serve immediately! Hmmmmmm . . . . .
This is one of my favorite desserts of the fall and winter seasons. Pumpkin is so good for you! Not only is pumpkin loaded with vitamin A and antioxidant carotenoids, but it’s also a good source of vitamins C, K, and E along with lots of minerals including magnesium, potassium, and iron. Wooo . . . that’s alot of punch to this bright orange veggie. My mom has been making these cookies for as long as I can remember; she, however, makes the delectable original version. Here’s my slightly “doctored,” eat clean version that tastes just as sinful. I’ve included the original as well.
Old Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies
- 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour (original 2 1/2 cups flour)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened (2012 update: my bro used pumpkin butter which made the cookie denser)
- 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 egg whites (original 1 egg)
- 1 tsp vanilla
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix butter, pumpkin, egg and vanilla in another bowl. Beat until light and creamy. Mix dry ingredients until well blended with the pumpkin mixture.
Drop by rounded tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet. Smooth tops of cookies.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Cool on wire racks.
**Drizzle with your favorite homemade vanilla frosting recipe.
( I combine skim milk (about ½ cup), butter (about 2 tbs), powdered sugar (about 2 cups), and vanilla (about a teaspoon). I don’t have specific amounts. I blend these to taste. 2012 update: My bro just made these for us; he used maple syrup instead of butter for the frosting. Pumpkin & maple syrup combine to form one fine fall indulgence!
I found this in a past issue of Women’s Health and made it the other night so that I wouldn’t have to worry about making lunches for the week. I just savored my last portion for lunch. I hunt for recipes like this that don’t taste as “clean” as they are. The spices coupled with the fresh veggies and tender beef make for a satisfying meal that provide the right ratio of protein, carbs and fat. This can also make for a perfect post-workout meal or delicious dinner.
An A+ Dinner
NUKE-AND-EAT ASIAN STIR-FRY
Time-saving Tip: Make this recipe on Sunday, then freeze it in single-serving portions—you’ll have a healthy “fast-food: meal ready anytime you want it.
(I modified to make it even cleanier by eliminating extra salt, replacing one egg with two egg whites, and using low-sodium soy sauce.)
- 2 egg whites, beaten
- 4 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 lb beef sirloin, sliced into 2″ strips
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
- 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 2 carrots, sliced into 2″ strips
- 1 8 oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 bunch scallions, sliced into 2″ strips
- brown rice (you can make a batch of this ahead of time as well and portion it along with the stir fry)
In a bowl, combine the egg whites and 1 Tbsp of the soy sauce, and stir well. Then add the sirloin strips and set aside to marinate. Next, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet while you mix the remaining soy sauce, the cornstarch, and the crushed red pepper in a bowl—this is your sauce, to be used later. Once the skillet is hot, stir-fry the garlic and ginger for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Then, at 30-second intervals, individually add the carrots, water chestnuts, onion, and scallions. Next, remove all the vegetables from the skillet and place them in a bowl. Put the beef-marinade mixture in the skillet, cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then pour in the sauce, stirring and cooking until it’s thick and bubbly. Finally, add the vegetables back to the skillet, and cook everything together for a couple of minutes, or until hot.
Let it cool, then place individual portions in plastic containers and freeze. When you’re ready for a quick lunch, microwave the stir-fry for 3 minutes or until hot and serve with one serving of the brown rice. Makes 3 servings
Per serving: 486 calories, 42 g protein (2.2 g leucine), 45 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat, 7 g fiber
GG’s Tip: You can substitute with other veggies you have on hand . . . broccoli, cauliflour, red peppers . . .
GG’s Power Protein Shake = A+
I make this at least three mornings a week. It’s my favorite Saturday breakfast right before going to the gym for a nice long weekend workout. It tastes much more sinful than it is. It only takes a couple of minutes from start to clean up too. I’ve also varied this with frozen strawberries and a scoop of strawberry whey protein for a different treat. Go ahead ~ put that blender to use.
GG’s Power Protein Shake
1 frozen banana
1/3 cup oatmeal
2/3 cup water
1 scoop vanilla, cookies n cream, or graham cracker flavored whey protein powder
1 tbs oat bran
1 tbs flaxseeds and 1 tbs chia seeds
1.5 tbs wheat germ
2 tbs natural applesauce
**When I really feel like getting my greens, I add a handful of baby spinach and/or mustard greens. It mixes well and tastes surprisingly good with the banana!!!
A small scoopful of ice
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Breakfast in a blender!
New ‘Nana Bread = A+
What’s a (grading) girl like myself to do when I come home from a great workout with papers ready to grade, new blog pages ready to fill, and a sweet tooth that won’t subside. Well, I found a solution this evening that won’t waste those hours at the gym. I’ve been searching for a healthier banana bread recipe in fitness and nutrition magazines, but never discovered one quite as delicious as the original; the alternatives are either too dry or bland. Thankfully, my sister-in-law solved this dilemna with her latest kitchen experiment – it takes the grade, peeps! Moist and sinfully sweet as dessert yet happily healthy as whole grain. Mmmm . . . this aroma makes the words fly out of my fingertips. . . Try this – no guilt required.
New (Ba)Nana Bread ~
Sift the dry ingredients:
– 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (original = 2 cups all purpose flour)
– 2 teaspoons baking soda
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 3 or 4 ripe bananas
– 1 tablespoon milk
– 1/2 cup blackberries (this addition is key!)
Mix the following in this order:
– 1/2 stick melted butter (original = 1 stick)
– 1/2 cup Truvia or Splenda blend (original = 1 cup sugar)
– 1 egg, 2 egg whites (original = 2 eggs)
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
Add the dry ingredients and the mashed banana mixture alternatively to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
Bake in a sprayed loaf pan @ 350 degrees for 1 hour, 10 minutes.