I’ve been a member at Lifetime Fitness for several years, and their classes consistently kick my butt. When the weather is too brutal to run or bike outside, I tend to stick with group fitness classes to keep myself in check. (If our garage was air-conditioned, I’d be happy to run on our treadmill–nothing beats running in your underwear while getting your Beyonce jam face on to “Run the World”). During the summer, though, I do what I can to get to barre and yoga classes with some regularity. But the other day I decided to change things up a bit in the ol’ workout routine. The time had come to finally try spin class.
Upon arriving to the class, it quickly became clear that I was the sole first-time attendee. Everyone around me was adjusting their funny little mini-bikes to custom measurements like professional bicycle tailors. I don’t know if I just got a lemon, but I could NOT figure mine out. When I turned to the lady next to me to ask for help, she gave me a look of grave concern and mumbled something about getting the instructor. That’s when a voice next to me said, “Sarah!” And lo and behold, it was Jen, one of my good friends, whom I somehow hadn’t even noticed on the funny little mini-bike right next to me. She twisted and pulled at my bike until it became rideable. By that time the class had started, so I climbed aboard and soon we were off to the (stationary bike) races!
So you know how I said the classes at Lifetime consistently kick my butt? Well, this class knocked it into another dimension. My butt was beaten senseless. Figuratively and literally–those saddle seats are quite unforgiving. By ten minutes in, the sweat was pouring in my eyes. By the thirty minute mark, my flat-ironed hair had turned back to its natural curl, having gotten so drenched with sweat. The instructor, who I know in person to be a friendly, mellow woman, seemed to release her inner banshee drill sergeant to egg us on for 60 minutes. The hour was a surreal mix of disco lights and screaming. (Yes, there was a disco ball. Yes, there was screaming…mostly from the instructor, but possibly also some from my corner of the room.) There was also a music video mix tape playing on a screen above the instructor’s head. Inexplicably, she had chosen to splice some saucy Rihanna video with some kind of promotional video for Ireland. Irish jig music blasted over images of Lord of the Dance and pints of Guinness. As I pedaled mercilessly on my mini-bike, I kept thinking “Ride for Ireland!” like some kind of inspirational mantra.
The other thing I kept thinking was, “Damn, I’m glad I ate a good breakfast this morning.” Because if I hadn’t eaten these hearty pineapple carrot muffins that morning, I would probably not be alive to write this post today. I would be a puddle of goo on the floor of Studio 2 at Lifetime Fitness. Thank goodness for the wholesomely delicious blend of fruit, vegetables, and grains that gave me the sustenance to walk out of that spin class instead of be carried out on a stretcher.
These hearty-but-not-heavy muffins could be adapted in a variety of ways: the pineapple could be left out, the whole wheat vs. white flour proportions could be adjusted, etc. I give them my stamp of approval for breakfast–and certainly breakfast before a butt-walloping spin class.
Carrot Pineapple Muffins
(Adapted from Food.com)
2/3 c. sugar (can be a mix of brown and white)
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. grated carrots
1 c. frozen pineapple chunks (or canned, drained)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
2. In a large bowl, mix sugar, oil, and applesauce. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined.
3. In a small bowl, combine whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir into sugar mixture until just combined.
4. Add carrots and pineapple, stirring until well distributed (but don’t overdo it or muffins will be tough!)
5. Spoon dough into muffin cups, filling to the top.
6. Bake 20-22 minutes.
Makes about 10 large muffins.