Bananas in Brown Sugar-Rum Sauce
Bananas cooked in a delectable brown-sugar-rum sauce make for a quick yet impressive dessert.
Ingredients (makes 2 servings):
2 small bananas, quartered
low-fat vanilla yogurt
Stir brown sugar, butter and oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until bubbling. Add rum, lime juice and cinnamon and cook until slightly thickened. Add bananas and cook, stirring, until tender. Divide between 2 bowls and top with a dollop of low-fat vanilla yogurt.
Nutrition Information (per serving):
Calories 208; Carbohydrates:53g; Fat 3g; Protein 4g; Dietary Fiber 3g; Cholesterol 5mg; Potassium 399mg.
Strength Training With Resistance Tube or Bands
For the times when getting to the gym isn’t possible, or for those who want the benefits of strength training in the comfort of their own home without expensive and bulky weight equipment, resistance tubes (or bands) might be just the answer. Resistance tubes or bands are an effective, inexpensive and portable way to get a full body strength-training workout at home, in the office, or pretty much anywhere. Resistance tubes or bands can be found in sporting good stores, T.J. Maxx, and even Wal-Mart, plus they fit easily into a purse, work bag or luggage. Here are a few examples of exercises that can be done with resistance tubes or bands. Remember that it is important to warm up for five to ten minutes and gently stretch the muscles you plan on working. Beginners should start with 12 to 15 repetitions of each exercise while more intermediate exercisers (those that have been lifting weights for up to three months) can perform one to two sets of each exercise. More advanced strength trainers (those who have been lifting weights for more than three months) should try to complete two or three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions. Remember to stretch each muscle group after each set and at the end of your workout to help improve flexibility.
Seated row (for lats):
Sit on the floor and grasp the handle or end of resistance tube or band. Wrap the tubing or band around a bedpost or some type of sturdy anchor close to the ground and grab the other end of the tube or band. Lean back so there is tension in the tube or band when your arms are extended forward. Extend your legs in front of you with the knees slightly bent. Pull the ends of the tube or band so that your elbows form right angles while you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Be sure to keep your spine in neutral and slowly let your arms extend back into the starting position.
Bench press (for pecs):
Secure the center of the tube or band at chest level and face away from the anchor, grabbing the ends of the tube or band. Begin with your thumbs at your armpits and step far enough away from the anchor so the tube is not gapping at its starting position. Fully extend the arms in front of your body and slowly release returning to starting position.
Military Press (for deltoids):
Stand on the center of the tube or band with your feet about shoulder width apart. With your palms facing upward and your hands by your shoulders, extend your arms straight up keeping your back straight (without arching) and your abdominal muscles tight. Slowly return to starting position.
Step of the tube or band and pull one handle up behind your head. Bring your elbow close to your ear and with your arm bent behind you, extend your arm straight up until your arm is straight and lower back to starting position. Remember to switch arms. If you’re using a lighter resistance tube you can stand in the center of the tube or band (feet shoulder width apart) and work both arms simultaneously.
Step on one end of the tube or band grab the ends with the same hand. Be sure there is some tension on the tube or band when your arm is extended down by your side. With the palm facing forward, bend the elbow bringing your hand up to your shoulder. Keep your wrist straight and bend only at the elbow. Slowly release to start position. If you’re using a lighter resistance tube you can stand in the center of the tube or band (feet shoulder width apart) and work both arms simultaneously.
Squats (for quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes):
Standing on the tubing so your feet are shoulder width apart, grab the ends of the tube or band with both hands. Hold the handles up by your shoulders and bend as if you are going to sit in a chair. Slowly return to standing and repeat. Make sure that you keep your back flat and contract your abdominal muscles.
Kneeling crunches (abdominals):
Anchor the tubing or band above your head and let the handles drop down (a door can be used for this). Kneel on the floor so that the anchor is behind you. Hold the ends of the tube or band with your hands up by your ears (elbows in). Bending from the waist, curl down bringing your head towards your knees and keeping the ends of the tube or band by your head. Slowly return to start position and repeat.
And there you have it. Seven exercises that can be done with inexpensive resistance tubing or band in the comfort of your own home or in your office during a lunch break. Resistance tube or bands, like free weights, vary in tensile strength allowing for progression in your strength training routine.
Until next week…