spin city/double-chocolate banana muffins

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I tried suffered through a new spinning class the other day. After my pupils dilated enough for me to find a bike and feel my way onto it in the pitch black windowless room, the following took place:

The screaming, over-eager instructor's mouth was so close to his Janet-Jackson microphone that most of his words became unintelligible:

"OK!!!  Shlarf shlarf shlarf RESISTANCE!!! Schlarfity blarf blarf LEVEL FOUR!!!"

Turn up resistance or down? And level four out of what? 10? 5? I impulsively looked around to see what other people were doing. This proved futile as I couldn't even see my own hand in front of my face.

"CAN YOU ALL shlarf shlarf NOISE?!?!"

A half-hearted woot followed. It startled me. I had no idea there were so many of us in there.

"I CAN'T shlarf YOU!!"

Oy. Really? I rolled my eyes and managed a louder "Woot!"

As if sweating in a dark room with a bunch of strangers wasn't bad enough, I was also required to do the call-and-response song-and-dance and force an enthusiasm spasm all while straining to understand what I was getting excited about in the first place. I got a stiff neck from craning and leaning one ear toward the teacher to try and make out an hour's worth of distorted shlarfing.

Does straining to hear burn calories? How about squinting?

This experience reminded me of all the nut-ball spinning classes I've taken in my lifetime. When spinning is good, there's nothing better. And when it's bad? It's AWFUL. One class I attended years ago featured a live percussionist which could've maybe been artsy and cool but instead turned out to be uncomfortably interactive: The guy bongo-ed for a while from the front of the room (have you ever tried spinning to a lone bongo beat? It's a new form of punishment) but then he switched to a Zamfir-esque pan-flute and started mingling amongst the bikes. Fluting. He stopped in front of my handlebars to jam on his reed and I found myself struggling to react appropriately--was spinning more rigorously a compliment or an insult? Should I slow down to listen and give him my full attention? This was very confusing. Thank God he didn't linger and moved it along Pied-Piper-style.

Another class I frequented for a while was taught by a perky, free-spirited lady that played loads of Justin Timberlake. She jumped the shark though, when one day, mid-class, she got off her bike and started putting stickers on people's hands. I suspected this was meant to be fun and motivating. When she finished making her sticker rounds she doubled back to start drawing on people's arms with colored markers--hearts and stars and clovers for luck (good luck washing this off?). I saw a chink in her perky exterior when I stopped her with, "I'm gonna pass!"--I was shooting something at the time and I imagined trying to explain to the makeup department why I had marker drawings on my skin from a workout class.

The worst offender, though, may have been at a studio I attended a few times that featured a different positive affirmation-word each week on a big sign in the front of the room.  GRATITUDE for example, or PEACE. This time the sign said FACING REALITY and the teacher proceeded to talk for the entire hour from her soap box/pulpit/therapy couch/bike about her miserable dating life and all the reasons how she needed to face reality. And how we, her captive audience, did too. It was hateful. Then to add insult to injury she made us sprint to the song "Fat Bottomed Girls". It couldn't get more dismal.

Since I imagine ear-strain, squinting, and trying to disappear yourself into thin air create serious calorie-burn, let's compensate by eating some baked goods, shall we? It's either that or rocking in a fetal position. How many calories does that burn?

Double-Chocolate Banana Muffins
adapted from
yields 12

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
a heaping 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Scharffen Berger)
1 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
3 super ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups--I like to leave it slightly chunky)
1 egg
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted to liquid
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I like ghirardelli--feel free to use milk chocolate or semi-sweet if you prefer.)

Preheat oven to 350 and either grease muffin tins or line with paper. Mix the first 5 ingredients together well and set aside. Beat the egg and add the mashed banana, coconut oil and salt. Mix well. Combine wet and dry mixtures and stir until just combined. Using a small ice-cream scoop, fill tins 3/4 full. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then remove to cool on a rack the rest of the way.


P.S. I almost forgot about this awesome spinning class!

1 comment:

  1. these look amazing!! I am trying your garbanzo beans today too!!!!! ox


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