Go Bananas!

Anyone ever wonder where that expression comes from?

My friend Jess recently sent me an email that her dad forwarded her, all about bananas!  I absolutely love bananas, and have been on a banana recipe making streak lately, so I figured I’d share some of these tidbits with you all.  Quick note, since this info was just sent to me an email I can’t source any of it (or the pictures).

Keep that in mind as you read on:

PASS THE BANANA!

A professor at CCNY for a physiological psych class told his class about bananas.  He said the expression “going bananas” is actually from the effects of bananas on the brain.

Bananas contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose, and glucose combined with fiber.  A banana gives an instant, sustained, and substantial boost of energy.

Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90 minute workout.  No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world’s leading athletes.

But energy isn’t the only way a banana can help us keep fit.  It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression
According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND among people suffering from depression, many felt better after eating a banana.  This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body coverts to serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood, and generally make you feel happier.

PMS
Forget the pills!  Eat a banana.  The vitamin B6 it has regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia
High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure
This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure.  So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit’s ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power
200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school ( England ) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power.  Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation
High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers
One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey.  The banana calms the stomach, and with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heartburn
Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness
Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito Bites
Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin.  Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves
Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight
…and at work?  Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips.  Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs.  The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Ulcers
The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness.  It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases.  It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature Control
Many other cultures see bananas as a ‘cooling’ fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers.  In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to make sure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder
Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking & Tobacco Use
Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking.  The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress
Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body’s water balance.  When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels.  These can be re-balanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

Stroke
According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

Warts
Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out.  Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

So a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills.  When compared with an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrates, three times the phosphorus, five times the Vitamin A and iron, and twice the amount of other vitamins and minerals.  It is also rich in potassium and one of the best valued foods around.

Maybe it’s time we change that well-known phrase to “A banana a day keeps the doctor away?”

What about you guys?  Do you like bananas?  Do you find they help with any of the above?  Think you’ll try them for any of the above? 

I personally love bananas and eat them all the time, but I’m intrigued by this whole wart thing.  It’s gross, but I have a wart on the bottom of my left foot right now.  I might try it out.

P.S.  Bananas must be the reason monkeys are so happy all the time!

Sorry.  I just had to.

Weight Dropping

Hello!

First things first.  Happy birthday wishes to my fab friend, Ashley!  Ashley is a fellow Y instructor and gym rat, and a faithful Fitness & Feta fan, so I just had to give a birthday shout-out!

Yesterday after work I headed to the gym.  No surprise there.  I was originally planning on doing yoga before teaching Circuit, but I decided against it because I was too tired/not feeling 100% and wasn’t sure I’d make it through both.  So off to the Y I went to squeeze in maybe 40 minutes of steady cardio (cycling) before teaching my class.

Need to interrupt to say that this is how I felt about skipping out on Kickboxing:

I got to the gym and set up on the one lone spin bike in the corner of the Annex.  People were all around me doing their thing, and one of my colleagues was teaching a bootcamp class on the other side of the room.  However, one person in the room was deadlifting a crap ton of weight and letting his barbell slam SO LOUDLY on the floor.

Look!  I snuck a picture in:

See that giant barbell over there?

Weight Dropping

My colleague went over to the man who was disturbing a LOT of people and kindly asked him to be quieter with his weights.  And the man was difficult and gave him a ton of attitude!  Can you believe that?  He legit put up a fight about how he won’t be able to progress if he can’t clank his weights like that.  I understand that for deadlifts, sure, you might need to drop the weights a little bit, but this was out of control.  And the man asked to speak with a manager at the front desk!  So I hopped off my bike and offered to take over the bootcamp class while my colleague dealt with this dude.  I finished them up with a couple ab moves and stretched them out for the end of their class.

Needless to say, I was only able to get in twenty minutes of my cycle cardio before it was time to start my class.  I was bummed about that, but glad I was there to help!

For Circuit, I used the following format:

  1. Part One:  Three Small Group Challenges
  2. Part Two:  Upper Body Strength Focus
  3. Part Three:  Core Ladder Work

Yesterday I was feeling uncreative when it came to class ideas, so I messaged my friend Jen for some inspiration.  She is the one who came up with the first challenge, and then the other two I made up on my own.  Thanks, Jen!

A Class With Small Group Challenges, Upper Body Strength, and Core Ladder Work

Isn’t my class name so creative?

Small Group Challenge #1
Groups of three compete to see who can complete 150 pushups collectively first.  The two that aren’t doing pushups need to be doing some kind of cardio.  The winning group gets to sit out a set of 10 burpees at the end.  LOVED all the encouragement and teamwork I saw here!

Small Group Challenge #2
Groups of three play follow the leader.  Each person takes a turn at coming up with a lower body move that their group will do for one minute.  In between each I led 30 seconds of cardio moves to give the next group member a chance to think of something.  At the end, each group announced what their favorite move was, and I led the entire class in each group’s “favorite.”  Of course I added things here and there, so when the favorite move was plie squats for example, we did 10 reps of plie squats but then added pulses with heel lifts, etc.  Twas fun!

Small Group Challenge #3
Groups of three compete to see who can complete the ab challenge first.  The two that aren’t doing ab work on the floor are doing jumping oblique twists.  The person on the floor does 10 plank hip dips followed by 10 seconds of mountain climbers.  The winning group gets to sit out a plank at the end.  Except my winning group ended up participating anyways… see – they tell me they hate it, but they secretly love it. 

Upper Body Strength Focus
Go through each move as prescribed with a set of moderate weights (heavier than what you’re used to since focusing on strength and not muscle endurance).  Then go through each move as prescribed for a second set with a heavier set. 

Three Part Bicep Curls
First set = 10 reps of each, second set = 8 reps of each
Part 1 – Start all the way down and come halfway up
Part 2 – Start up and come halfway done
Part 3 – Full curls

Overhead Press + Chest Press
First set = 10 reps of each, second set = 8 reps of each

Up Up Down Downs
First set = 20, second set = 10
Note that right and left = 1 rep.

Bent Over Dumbbell Rows
First set = 10 reps of each, then 10 second hold.  Second set = 8 reps of each, then 10 second hold.
Part 1 – Both arms rowing
Part 2 – Single arms rowing

Double Arm Tricep Kickbacks
First set = 10 reps of each, second set = 8 reps of each.
Part 1 – double arm kickback
Part 2 – flip the palm and pulse toward ceiling

Plank Shoulder Taps
First set = 20, second set = 10
Note that right and left = 1 rep.

Core Ab Ladder

Part of the ab workout I taught on Monday in Core Strength:

  • 50 Crunches
  • 40 Heel Taps
  • 30 Weighted Russian Twists
  • 20 V-Ups (killer!)
  • 10 Second Supine 6 Inch Hold

Post Workout Eats

Grilled salmon with a side of asparagus and a side of carrots, thanks to the b to the f.

Rest of my night was spent apartment hunting while stretching/icing/tending to the hip.

What are your thoughts on weight dropping at the gym?!