Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

If you're like me, you're always looking for a healthy breakfast, snack and/or fueling ideas that are easy to make with readily available ingredients. If it has chocolate in it, that's even better! 

I stumbled upon a recipe for "healthy chocolate peanut butter banana" muffins that looked pretty easy to make. I tried the original recipe and after a few batches, I tweaked it a bit making them even better for you!

The great thing about these muffins are you can make a batch or a double batch and freeze them. They freeze great in a zippered plastic baggie. Take one out when ready and heat it for about 30 secs. Because they are muffins, there's nothing to cut, no plate needed, and they transport easily for on-the-run eating. 

I've eaten these muffins for breakfast, as a mid afternoon snack, and I've eaten them for pre-run fueling and post-run refueling. Unlike muffins made with refined white flour and a lot of sugar, these muffins provide lasting energy.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter creamy
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips and 1 cup walnut pieces

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 375°F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Line a muffin tray with muffin liners and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. (I sift all the dry ingredients together.)

Next, peel the bananas and place them into a separate bowl. Mash until no lumps remain. A pastry cutter works great for this.  (I use 3 1/2 bananas if they are small.)

Add the honey, egg, apple sauce, oil, and peanut butter, beat with a hand mixer until all the ingredients are well combined.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Then fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Make sure to avoid over-mixing.

Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin cups and bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Some days 20 mins is good. Some days 25 mins is good. Test them at 20 mins with the tooth pick. Cook a little longer if needed, but avoid overcooking as it dries them out.

Remove from the oven and let cool at room temperature.

TIPS

  • Flour: I use King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour in the recipe. White whole wheat flour is milled from hard white spring wheat - a lighter-colored grain than traditional red wheat. It has the same benefits of traditional red wheat but yields a milder-tasting baked good that also has a lighter less dense feel than baked goods made with traditional whole wheat flour. 
  • Applesauce: Make sure to use unsweetened applesauce. Sweetened has a lot of added sugars. 
  • Don’t overmix: Fold the ingredients gently until just combined to avoid tough, dense muffins.
  • Storage: Store in an air-tight container or a zippered baggie in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. Reheat before serving.
  • Freezing: Allow muffins to cool completely, then freeze in an air-tight container or a zippered baggie for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or in the microwave until warm.

NUTRITION FACTS (1 muffin):

  • Calories 152
  • Total Fat 9.7g (Sat Fat 1.6g)
  • Cholesterol 8mg
  • Sodium 67mg
  • Total Carbohydrates 14.1g (Dietary Fiber 2.2g / Total Sugars 5 g)
  • Protein 5g
  • Vitamin D 4%
  • Calcium 2%
  • Iron 9%
  • Potassium 4%

 

 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Change is Hard, But Good

 As a youngster, I grew up with very little extended family. It was my mom, dad, brother and me. My
grandparents didn't live too far away, but two of them died when I was pretty young. My other two grandparents died when I was in my 20s. So, I never really knew what it was like having a large extended family.

Even as an adult with my own kids, we had a pretty small family unit - my wife, our son, two daughters, and me. My in-laws weren't too far away. My parents were about 3.5 hours away. Close enough for a visit, but not on a weekly basis. We were a pretty tight family. We had friends, but mostly we had each other. When we moved to Greensboro in 1998, I was a solo runner, but eventually joined a group called the Blue Liners and developed a small tight network of running buddies. 

In 2010, my experience with an extended family changed dramatically. That's when I opened RunnerDude's Fitness. My small group of running buddies were quick to support my venture and many were my first clients. Gradually, as I started having beginning running groups, race training programs, and personal training clients, a sense of family began to form. Clients were returning and bringing friends. It was kind of like suddenly having brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. We all supported one another in our running and fitness ventures. 

I soon realized, that this support was spilling out into our "outside of running lives." The running programs were bringing strangers together who otherwise would have never met. Best friends were forming. Some even found love. Yes, a few in the various groups have met, fell in love and gotten married. Entire families have come to programs and I've seen little ones grow in to awesome young adults. Sometimes I feel like "PapaDude."

The awesome thing about family is the support they show during the difficult times. Even way before the pandemic hit, RunnerDude's Fitness dealt with growing pains. Small groups were becoming large groups. Saturday runs of 10-12 were becoming 80-100. All good things. But, I have to admit, I struggled with not wanting to lose my personal connection with everyone. Some shared that they missed the smaller group. It weighed heavy on me. It's a challenge all small business owners deal with....how to grow and still retain all your original values and goals. At times you have to remind yourself you are a business and you're in the business not only because you love what you do, but also because you're providing for your family. Yet, still it's hard.

This is where my RunnerDude family has been so awesome. I can't tell you how many of my clients (some who have been with me since the start) have been like surrogate welcome wagons. They'll see new people and welcome them with open arms, introduce them to others in the group and help make them feel at home. That's what family is. Welcoming open arms. These same people are also often there offering to volunteer at programs and events throughout the year. They'll see a need and step right in. That's what family is all about. 

Over that last year and a half, Covid-19 has really created quite a challenge for small businesses. RunnerDude's Fitness was shut down for 5 months and even when gyms and fitness centers were allowed to open, I still was not able to do much in my studio because of social distancing requirements. Races were non-existent and so income from race training was non-existent as well. My corporate fitness classes (a large part of RunnerDude's Fitness) were halted and so was that income. I eventually had to let the studio go. 

But during all of that change, I had such strong client support. They supported me through participation in virtual fitness classes, purchasing own-their-own running and fitness plans, and more. They were also there when the outside gathering numbers slowly began to allow for outside training, boot camps, and running groups. Boot Camps outside in 25° F....now that's support!!  Not only were they there physically participating as much as they could, many were there emotionally, providing support by checking in to see how I was doing.

I can't thank the RunnerDude Family enough for begin there not only over the past year and a half, but over the past 11 years. Yes, change is hard, but good. The RunnerDude Family has helped me see the good in all of that change. While I don't know what the future will bring. I do know there are some pretty awesome people who will be in that future. Some I know and some I've yet to meet.   

Trust. Believe. Conquer!

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Self Care: A Recommittment to Fitness, Wellness, and Healthy Eating

Yes, even trainers at times need to self-evaluate and recommit to their own fitness and wellbeing. 

Six years ago I turned 50. That year I committed to focusing on my own fitness and running. It was 2015 and, that year I ran 4 marathons, I lost about 20lbs, and felt awesome. In the 6 years since, my focus shifted. I lost both of my parents (my Dad to cancer and my Mom to Alzheimer's). The pandemic hit and my business was closed for 5 months then reopened, but with a fraction of the business. Had to give up my studio and reconfigure how to work with my fitness and running clients without a dedicated space. 

The other day I saw myself in the mirror and really noticed the toll the past few years had taken. So, while staring in that mirror, I decided to recommit to my own fitness, health and wellbeing. I do a lot of workouts each week but leading workouts is different than focusing on your own fitness goals. I've set some new goals, restarted my daily pushup challenge, and I'm eating better (oh, but don't worry, I still plan on having some homemade pound cake). 

Goal 1: Get in at least 3 "me runs" each week. They don't have to be long runs. Just runs that are at my pace for physical and mental benefit.

Goal 2: Restart my pushup challenge. Each day do at least 50 pushups. Each week increase the total number by 5 pushups till I get to 100.

Goal 3: Run a Half Marathon in the fall. Hopefully there will be some to choose from, but if not, I'll make my own course and run it here at home.

Goal 4: Be even more diligent with my good eating habits. I'm not a fan of trendy diets or cutting this out or that. I've learned (at least for me), just focusing on eating a healthy balance of carbs, protein, and fat with a splurge every now an then works best for me.

Goal 5: Taking some mental breaks. Whether it's when I get up the morning, during the day at lunch, while on a run, or just before going to sleep, taking some time for me to decompress and chill.

I once heard a younger person say, a man over fifty should keep his shirt own. To me that means I must have something I'm ashamed of. I'm no muscle magazine cover model by any means, but at 56, I'm not ashamed of how I look. There's definitely work to do, and the work I have begun. This picture of me was taken on day 6 of recommitment. Looking forward to 2021 and some me focus. 

Join me with your own fitness recommitment.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Overcoming Your Quit


Everyone's experienced it. It can be very strong, even overpowering. Couch potatoes experience it, but experienced exercise gurus experience it too. It's that little voice in your head telling you to stop. Scientists call it "inner speech" or "thought chatter." I call it a nuisance. 

Steve Taylor PH.D. in a Psychology Today article, says that "real thinking is when we consciously use powers of reason and logic to evaluate different options, deliberate over problems, decisions, and plans, and so forth." He continues to say that "we often like to think of ourselves as rational creatures, superior to animals because we can reason, but this kind of rational thinking is actually quite rare. And, in fact, thought-chatter makes it harder to use our rational powers, because when we do have issues to deliberate, it streams through our minds and diverts our attention." Boy is that ever true when you're trying to add something new in your life like running and/or fitness. 

Taylor, says, that "being immersed in thought-chatter isn’t so different from dreaming — at least, the kind of associative dreaming that sorts through the impressions and information we’ve absorbed recently and sends a strange mixture of them back through our minds. We have a little more control over thought-chatter than dreams, and it comes from the conscious mind rather than the subconscious, but essentially it’s the same whirl of mental material."

The idea that we have some control over "thought-chatter" is reassuring, but the problem is that we often choose not to control it. Have you have told a friend you'd meet her for an early morning run, but when the alarm rings, that little voice in your head tells you to roll over and forget the run? Ever plan to run or workout after work, but on the way home that little voice in your head starts to list all the other things you need to do instead?

I'm not sure what Dr. Taylor would say about this theory I have, but in my own experience, whenever I come to an unknow, or have to experience something new, or something I'm not experience at, that little voice in my head turns on me with negative thoughts. When I was a kid and young adult, I missed out on some cool experiences, because that negative inner voice ruled. 

As I've "seasoned" over the years, I've learned that when you tell that inner self doubting voice to shut up, you open the door to experiencing an entirely new you.

When it comes to exercise there's a quote, "The pain of exercise is better than the pain of regret" that seems very fitting. So, even though the immediate response to listening to that inner voice and rolling over is comforting, later in the day you start to kick yourself for not getting out and running. So, not only did that inner voice win, it ended up making you feel worse. Something to remember when you have that first inkling to change your plans because the little voice is making quitting sound so good.

There are other reasons people have issues with quitting with running and/or exercise. Often it's the initial pain that comes with new activity. I always tell my new fitness clients and new runners that for the next several weeks (3-6 weeks) you may feel worse that when you started and that's normal. Any time you put new demands on your body on a consistent basis as in a new fitness or running plan, you're body's fitness level is initially going to dip. It's called the gain threshold. Your body is having to adapt, rebuild, and recover. It takes time. This is why gyms are full on January 1st, and then there are tumbleweeds in the parking long on January 31st. People give up before they start seeing positive change. 

So, next time that little voice, inner speech or thought-chatter starts to yack in your head, remember that you can tell it to stop. Remind yourself how much better you feel when you don't listen to it and how guilty you feel when you do listen to it.  And, if you're new to fitness, remind yourself that it does get better. Consistency is the key. 

Now there is a difference between don't want to and can't . And there's a difference in listening to that little voice and listening to your body. Rest is a very important part of training. If you're hurting beyond regular muscle soreness, take a rest day. If you're worn down mentally and physically, take a rest day. Sometimes you have to overdo to figure that out, but keep in mind that fitness and running is about balancing activity and recovery.

Meditation can help in dealing with that inner voice. Doesn't have to be fancy legs-crossed "ummm" chanting meditation. It can just be taking some quite time to think about your goals and what might be getting in the way. Creating a mantra can be very effective too. A mantra or slogan, if you will, is a phrase that you repeat to yourself when you need that extra encouragement. My mantra and the mantra I share with my clients is Trust. Believe. Conquer!  Trust in your training, believe in yourself, and you'll conquer your goals. Take some time to develop your own mantra to help you overcome your quit.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Running Basics Interactive Online CEU Course

I'm excited to announce the launch of my new interactive online Running Basics CEU course available through National Personal Training Institute Global. (Earn CEU credits for NASM, AFFA, and NATIONALPTI)!

This course will help fitness professionals, personal trainers, fitness trainers, and coaches feel more confident working with runners, better meet the fitness needs of their running clients, and widen their client base by offering programs designed for runners of all levels.

Through 1/19 you can save 30% off the registration fee. Use promo code CELEBRATION30 at checkout.

Celebrating 11 Years!

RunnerDude's Fitness is celebrating 11 years! WeeDoggie! Take some time to check out this celebration video! Our success is due to the awesome Triad running community!


We're also offering 25% Off any one purchase! Use Code: ANNIVERSARY25 at checkout (be sure to click on "Apply" after entering the code.) https://runnerdudesfitness.com