Gabby Douglas: Then and Now

Gym Gab is excited to present a five-day series featuring each member of the Fierce Five. Today we take a look at Gabby Douglas and why she was so important on the U.S. team in 2012, as well as where she is now.

Find other Fierce Five member’s “then and now” links below.

Gabby Douglas | Fierce Five Then and Now | Gym GabPhotography | Christy Ann Linder

Gabby Douglas Then

Gabby Douglas’s first National championship as a senior elite in 2011 was an unmitigated disaster. The injured Douglas had moved from Virginia to Iowa to train with Shawn Johnson’s coach Liang Chow several months before and although her skill level had improved, a hip injury had hampered her preparation. When she bombed on beam, falling four times during a single routine, many gymnastics pundits wrote her off as having destroyed her Olympic bid. But her skill and consistency on bars — in addition to her obvious talent on the other events — landed her a spot on the World team that fall, where she won team gold and made event finals on bars. She continued to gain notice by unofficially winning the 2012 American Cup, where she was entered as an alternate, tallying a higher overall score than both Wieber and Raisman, the U.S.’s official representatives at the event. Gabby continued her rise at the U.S. Championships and Olympic Trials, and peaked perfectly during the Olympic Games…and the rest is history.

Gabby Douglas Now

Gabby Douglas’s story — of a young girl who left her struggling family and moved halfway across the country to pursue her Olympic dream, which came spectacularly true — is the stuff of movies (and indeed, she recently helped produce a movie version of her life, which aired on Lifetime.) But as the reigning Olympic all-around champion, nobody faces more pressure to return to the sport, a paradox given that Douglas, like Nastia Liukin in 2008, has now achieved everything she’s ever dreamed of accomplishing in gymnastics. From the get-go, Gabby Douglas has declared her intention to return to competition one day, saying that Rio 2016 is her next goal. That seemed to go off the rails when and her family, now reunited, relocated to California for several months in 2013, where Douglas trained casually with Chris Waller in the same gym as Wieber. Douglas, however, made the decision to return to Iowa and Chow earlier this year, and has recommitted to the elite level. Douglas made waves when she left Chow this Summer to go and train at Buckeye Gymnastics in Ohio, but told the press she remains committed to making the 2016 Olympic team.
KYLA ROSS: THEN AND NOW
ALY RAISMAN: THEN AND NOW
JORDYN WIEBER: THEN AND NOW
McKayla Maroney: Then and Now
About the Photographer: Christy was a former level 10 & Michigan State gymnast. She later returned to her roots by honing her photography skills- specifically in the sport of gymnastics, where her passion is unmatched. Find more amazing images of current elite gymnasts at christyannlindergymphotos.com.

Jordyn Wieber: Then and Now

Gym Gab is excited to present a five-day series featuring each member of the Fierce Five. Today we take a look at Jordyn Wieber and why she was so important on the U.S. team in 2012, as well as where she is now.

Find other Fierce Five member’s “then and now” links below.

Jordyn Weiber | Fierce Five Then and Now | Gym GabPHOTOGRAPHY | CHRISTY ANN LINDER

Jordyn Wieber Then

Like many of the Olympic gymnastics favorites before her, Jordyn Wieber’s Games didn’t go exactly as planned. A leg injury she sustained before the Games was kept literally and figuratively under wraps and in a heartbreaking moment, she didn’t qualify for the all-around final in London in spite of finishing fourth among all competitors in the qualification round. (Only the top two per country advance to the all-around final at the Olympics these days, and although she finished fourth among everybody, Jordyn Wieber was third among U.S. gymnasts, behind teammates Gabby Douglas and Raisman.) In one of the undersung stories of Olympic selflessness, Wieber didn’t let her individual status distract her during the team final, where she nailed three solid routines to help the U.S. win team gold. She also finished seventh on floor exercise in event finals.

Jordyn Wieber Now

Following the post-Olympic tour, Jordyn Wieber went back to school and back to the gym, earning her high school diploma in 2013 and opting to enroll at UCLA, where she is a student assistant to the gymnastics team. (Wieber gave up her NCAA eligibility in 2011 when she became a professional athlete.) College life has agreed with her, and though she has continued to train informally with UCLA coach Chris Waller at his gym in Los Angeles, a return to elite level competition may not be in the cards. Jordyn Wieber maintains that she hasn’t made up her mind about coming back, but if she wants to go for Rio, she will need to do so soon.
KYLA ROSS:  THEN AND NOW
Gabby Douglas:  Then and Now
McKayla Maroney: Then and Now
Aly Raisman: Then and Now
About the Photographer: Christy was a former level 10 & Michigan State gymnast. She later returned to her roots by honing her photography skills- specifically in the sport of gymnastics, where her passion is unmatched. Find more amazing images of current elite gymnasts at christyannlindergymphotos.com.

Aly Raisman: Then and Now

Gym Gab is excited to present a five-day series featuring each member of the Fierce Five. Today we take a look at Aly Riasman and why she was so important on the U.S. team in 2012, as well as where she is now.

Find other Fierce Five member’s “then and now” links below.

Aly Raisman | Then and Now | Fierce Five Gym Gab SeriesPhotography | Christy Ann Linder

Aly Raisman Then

Aly Raisman first gained notice as 2008 Olympian Alicia Sacramone’s “mini me” — another little powerhouse trained by Romanian Mihai Brestyan outside of Boston. Raisman earned her Olympic team spot through consistency at big competitions as well as her incredible tumbling on floor exercise, where her first pass (process this: a 1.5 through to Arabian double front to immediate punch front layout) practically made grown male gymnasts cry. The Olympics were good to Raisman, who sealed the team gold medal by anchoring the U.S. on floor during the final rotation (she was visibly crying tears of joy before the routine was over) and went on to win another gold on floor, as well as bronze on beam. With two gold and a bronze, Aly Raisman left London the most decorated American gymnast of the Games.

Aly Raisman Now

The 18-year-old permitted herself a much needed hiatus from the sport following the London Games, pursuing her interests in fashion and travel for a year. But after attending the 2013 U.S. and World Championships as an honored guest, Aly Raisman decided she wasn’t ready to hang up her grips yet and returned to serious training with Brestyan. Although working toward the goal of Rio 2016, don’t look for her to be back in competition before next year. Aly Raisman knows the importance of making a good impression on National Team Coordinator Martha Karolyi, and doesn’t want to rush her return. “I have pretty much all of my skills back on beam, and am slowly getting back my tumbling on floor,” Raisman wrote recently on her ESPNw blog. “There are also some new skills I’m hoping to add, but I don’t want to give them away just yet.” Raisman has shown that she’s still capable of big gymnastics, however, posting a very impressive tumbling line done in training recently and is attending this month’s National Team Training Camp at the Karolyi Ranch.

Follow Aly Raisman on Twitter | Follow Aly Raisman on Instagram

Read Kyla Ross’s “Then and Now” here. 
About the Photographer: Christy was a former level 10 & Michigan State gymnast. She later returned to her roots by honing her photography skills- specifically in the sport of gymnastics, where her passion is unmatched. Find more amazing images of current elite gymnasts at christyannlindergymphotos.com.

The Fierce Five: Then and Now

Can it really be more than two years ago that the “Fierce Five” became a household term in gymnastics? The London Olympic Games were just the beginning of the adventures of Gabrielle Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Kyla Ross, Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman, who have done everything from Dancing with the Stars to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to ringing the closing bell on the New York Stock Exchange since. And yes, then they went back to the gym.

But is a second Olympic appearance in the cards for the Fierce Five? With a little under two years till the Rio Games begin, all members of the Fierce Five are still in the gym, though in different phases of returning to competition.

In this five-day series, Gym Gab will take a look at each gymnast and what made them important to the U.S. team in 2012, as well as where they are now, starting with Kyla Ross.

Kyla Ross

Fierce Five - Kyla RossPhotography | Christy Ann Linder

Kyla Ross Then

The youngest member of the Fierce Five was a first year senior in 2012 and was an Olympic gold medalist before her 16th birthday. She came into the Olympic Trials having won back to back U.S. Junior titles in 2009 and 2010 and quickly proved herself as an apt tablesetter with superconsistent routines. If perhaps she lacked some spectacular difficulty, she made up for it with clean execution and a great bar routine, providing the U.S. with much-needed stability on that event.

Kyla Ross Now

Unlike the rest of her Fierce Five teammates, who took time off following the Olympic Games, Ross never really stopped training, basically going from the gym in London right back to her gym in California. In the ensuing year, she grew several inches and worked with choreographers and dance pros on movement and presentation. It was a new, more mature Ross who took the floor at the 2013 U.S. Championships, stunning spectators with her ladylike style and gazelle-ish new routines on beam and floor. Now a U.S. team leader with her experience and poise, Ross placed second all-around at the 2013 World Championships and won silver medals on uneven bars and balance beam. In March, she won all-around silver at the Pacific Rim Championships in British Columbia, followed up with silver at the Secret U.S. Classic, and a bronze at the 2014 World Championships earlier this month in Nanning, China.

Follow Kyla Ross on Twitter | Follow Kyla Ross on Instagram

McKayla Maroney:  THEN AND NOW
GABBY DOUGLAS:  THEN AND NOW
JORDYN WIEBER: THEN AND NOW
ALY RAISMAN: THEN AND NOW
About the Photographer: Christy was a former level 10 & Michigan State gymnast. She later returned to her roots by honing her photography skills- specifically in the sport of gymnastics, where her passion is unmatched. Find more amazing images of current elite gymnasts at christyannlindergymphotos.com.
 

Gymnastics Pumpkins!

In honor of the 1st day of October and all things spooky, we’re bringing back Makenna’s gymnastics pumpkins. You can find “how-to” directions listed below for ideas on how to make your own gymnastics-themed pumpkin!

Got the creative bug? Send us a picture. We’d love to see how you’ve incorporated gymnastics into this Halloween season!

Gymnastics pumpkins | Gym Gab
Photos | Chelsey Searle Photography

I decorated these pumpkins with a neighbor last year. We had three goals: 1) Keep it simple – I’m only moderately crafty and I wanted my daughter to get involved.  2) Ditch the classic jack-o-lantern approach – Knives and preschoolers are not the best combo and 3) Incorporate gymnastics – Of course!

I’m proud to report: MISSION COMPLETED.

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The trick to all three designs, is GRAPHITE PAPER. (1) Choose a gymnastics silhouette or picture on the internet or a photo of your daughter. (2) resize the image to fit your pumpkin. (3) Either trace the image from directly from your computer by taping a piece of paper onto the computer screen OR print the image. (4) tape a piece of graphite paper onto the back of your image. (5) tape both pieces of paper onto the pumpkin and trace the image. When done, you will be able to see the silhouette of a gymnast on your pumpkin. The next steps are different for each pumpkin. You can find the “how-to” listed below.

painted gymnastics pumpkin | Gym Gab
PAINTED PUMPKIN:
1. After you have a silhouette on your pumpkin (see above), trace the lines with a paint pen.
2. Fill in the silhouette with acrylic paint.
3. Take a wet paintbrush to clean-up the edges.
nail & string gymnastics pumpkin | Gym Gab
Nail & String Pumpkin:
1. After you have a silhouette on your pumpkin (see above), push or hammer nails into the penciled lines on your pumpkin. Nails should be close together, but not touching. You want enough room to wrap thread around the nail.
2. Tie the end of your thread to a nail (I used a waxed thread. You can also use crochet thread or string). I bought 25 yards and used about two-thirds of it.
3. Start wrapping the thread around the nails in no particular order or pattern.
4. Use a paint pen to color the nail heads to match the string.
gemstone gymnastics pumpkin | Gym Gab
Rhinestone Pumpkin:
1. Spry paint your pumpkin white.
2. Follow the steps listed above to add a silhouette to your pumpkin (do not tape paper on pumpkin – it will pull the paint off).
3. Place self-adhesive rhinestone on the outline of your image. (I found mine at Hobby Lobby).
4. For some added bling, put rhinestones on the pumpkin’s stem.
5. Spray the pumpkin with Spray Adhesive.
6. Sprinkle glitter on the pumpkin. You can use a paintbrush to brush off any excess glitter.

Have fun designing your own gymnastics pumpkins!

 

Begin here, Go anywhere: 7 Sports gymnasts should try

I love USA Gymnastics slogan, “Begin Here, Go Anywhere.”

Whether it be graduation, injury, fear, finances, or other commitments, there comes a time in a gymnast’s life when she will have to retire the leotard (or at least the competitive one – check out Johanna Quass).

The goal? To find an activity that will challenge, motivate, and apply the tools and skills so passionately earned in the gym. Below is a list of sports that are particularly appealing to former gymnasts, along with obstacles they might find when transitioning to each new sport.

Do you have your own favorite post-gymnastics activity? Comment below, I’d love to hear about it!!!
 
begin-here
 DIVING | DANCE | CHEERLEADING | EQUESTRIAN VAULTING | SNOWBOARDING & SKIING | ACRO, T&T, TEAM GYM | CROSS-FIT

1. Diving

Years of flipping, twisting, tramp time and either innate or trained air awareness make gymnasts prime candidates for the sport of diving! If your gymnast’s body is in need of less impact, the sport of diving might be the right “after-gymnastics” fit. Another bonus? It’s an NCAA and Olympic sport!

Greatest obstacle for gymnasts: getting use to head first entry – quite contrary to gymnastics training :).

Learn more about diving and where you can train from USA Diving‘s website.

2. Dance

Interested in an activity that will make good use of your child’s acro skills, flexibility and knack for performance? If the floor exercise or balance beam were your gymnast’s favorite events, dance may be an obvious pick. There are many genres of dance to experiment with . . . lyrical, modern, jazz, ballet, ballroom, hip hop, and don’t forget break dancing!!! Dance is also an activity that can offer collegiate opportunities.

Greatest obstacle for gymnasts: changing gymnastics artistry to fit the dancer mold.

3. Cheerleading

Your gymnast may have an old teammate or two that has made the switch from gymnastics to cheerleading.  As far as “after-gym” options, cheer is a popular pick. Gymnasts boast strength, flexibility, and an array of tumbling passes; all useful in the world of cheerleading!  If your gymnast is fearless, the competitive sport of cheerleading (incorporating daredevil stunting) might be right up her alley.

Greatest obstacle for gymnasts: trusting a peer to throw them into the air and catch them again.

4. Snowboarding/Skiing

Guts and coordination are helpful when you’re heading down the mountain and gymnast’s aerial training preps them for death-defying feats on the slopes. If cold weather is a deterrent, have your child experiment with water skiing or wake boarding! Read about former gymnasts turned World Cup aerial skiers here: Gymnastics Victoria.

Greatest obstacle for gymnasts: having their feet strapped to something! This is definitely not a barefoot sport :)

5. Acro/T&T/Team Gym, etc.

Technically your child remains in the world of gymnastics with this option, just transitions to another facet of the diverse sport. If bars is not your gymnast’s thing, try T&T. If strong, agile, trusting & controlled are adjectives you’d use to describe your athlete, let her try acro. If you’re looking for something less costly, time-consuming, or more team-oriented, try Gymnastics-For-All’s group gym! The main benefit to this approach is that your child keeps their gymnast status and you keep your gym mom title!!

Greatest obstacle for gymnasts: finding a local gym that offers the program they want to try.

Learn more about these sports on the USA Gymnastics website.

6. Equestrian Vaulting

If your child is an animal lover (especially fond of horses), this is a sport to look into. Equestrian vaulting, much like gymnastics, combines artistry and acrobatics but atop a moving horse. Although this sport is more popular in Europe, there are teams across the United States. Equestrian vaulting began as a training technique for Roman Soldiers, but modern day vaulters compete locally, nationally, and world-wide as individuals, pairs, and teams with up to three vaulters on the horse at a time. Intrigued? Watch the YouTube video posted below or look up more videos HERE.

Greatest obstacle for gymnasts: understanding the variables that accompany competition with an animal.

Learn more or find a local club on the American Vaulting Association website.

7. Cross-Fit

This fairly new and fast-growing phenomenon is an ideal sport for the 18 and older retired gymnast, although some boxes (individual clubs) now offer training for youth. Why so great? Because crossfit incorporates gymnastics conditioning and skills into it’s training; demanding physical strength, coordination, and endurance. Gymnasts usually excel in the rope-climb, pull-up, handstand push-up, and muscle-up exercises. Don’t be fooled though . . . to survive in crossfit, gymnasts need to diversify their strength training. But what gymnast isn’t up for a challenge? Especially a challenge that allows them to keep those hard earned muscles!

Greatest obstacle for gymnasts: withstanding continued body wear and tear.

Learn more on the CrossFit Games website.

Throw a 10.0 Gymnastics Birthday Party!

Every gymnast at some point in her life begs for a gymnastics birthday party. The trick is turning your house into a gym or sprucing up the local gymnastics club. If you haven’t fulfilled your daughter’s dream of celebrating her birth and her sport together (or if she’s begging for a round two) the challenge just got a whole lot easier!

Gymnastics Birthday Party Ideas | Why we love what Anders Ruff did!

Adria Ruff, one of the designers of Anders Ruff Custom Designs hosted a gymnastics themed birthday party for her daughter! Why is this such great news for gym moms (or coaches hosting a team party)? It means the talented party planner did all of the work for us!

Score cards for Gymnastics Birthday Party!

The Anders Ruff party included colorful gymnastics-themed printables (available here), fantastic party favor ideas (read about them here) and creative guest activities, making the event a perfect 10.0. Pictured above are the score cards Anders Ruff created for the “birthday meet” (learn how it works here).

Gymnastics Birthday Party | Decor, favors, cake toppers and more!

Adria incorporated traditional gymnastics meet elements like ribbons, trophies, and medals, but in a fun and vibrant color pallet. My favorite?  The ribbon banner. There is a close-up picture on her blog that really shows off it’s sparkle!

The perfect gymnastics birthday party!

Of course the most obvious place to host a gymnastics party is at your local gym. Most clubs provide coach instructed activities, monitored play time, and a party space for cake and presents. But if you’re looking to save money, Adria shows us that an at-home gymnastics party can also be a success! If you don’t already own practice mats or a balance beam, the equipment can double as the perfect gift and party activity!

//Gymnastics Birthday Party  Sources//

Gymnastics Party Printables | Shop Anders Ruff
Gymnastics Invites | Shop Anders Ruff
Gymnastics Cake Topper | Shop Anders Ruff
Other Party Elements | Anders Ruff Blog (scroll to bottom of post for links)
Pink Gymnastics Beam | Amazon
Pink Tumbling Mat | Amazon

 

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Need advice on finding the best at-home gymnastics equipment for your gymnast’s needs? Check out these articles:

What, Why & Where to Buy
Gymnastics Beams for Home Use

 

 

Gymnastics Hairstyles: Part 1

It’s Compulsory Competition Season, so lets talk gymnastics hairstyles! There are hundreds of creative, cute gymnastics hairstyles on Pinterest (check out our gymnastics hairstyle board here), but not all will prove successful at a compulsory (levels 1-5) gymnastics meet!

First Test: Is it Backward Roll Friendly? Did you know that your daughter has a backward roll in her floor routine? In regards to hair this skill is problematic and usually ends in one of three ways:

A) the gymnast is in tears because the massive and intricately placed ponytail or bun, tightly secured with one hundred bobby pins, was forcefully thrust into her scalp.

B) the mother is in tears because her artfully crafted masterpiece didn’t withstand the powerful impact with the floor and now looks more like a rat’s nest than her creative hair-do.

C) both gymnast and parent beam with pride as the daughter moves gracefully through the skill with ease and comfort. We’re obviously hoping for scenario C here.

Pig tails are a fantastic backward roll friendly option, if placed far enough from the center of the head to avoid direct contact with the floor. Find tutorials for creative takes on traditional gymnastics hairstyles listed below as well as two more competition hair “tests”.

Compulsory Gymnastics Hairstyles: Piggies

Compulsory Gymnastics Hairstyles - Tips of the Trade - Planning for the backward roll!

1. Princess Hairstyles  | 2. She Does Hair | 3. Girly Do hairstyles| 4. Pretty Hair is Fun | 5. Girly Do Hairstyles

Is it secure?

Pick a gymnastics hairstyle that can endure three hours of flipping, jumping, and twisting. Hair in the face is anything but helpful, so use hairspray and multiple rubber bands!

Is it distracting?

Did you know that judges can deduct for obnoxious or distracting hair? Although this deduction is rarely given, avoiding too much ribbon, glitter, or added accessories to keeps your daughter’s performance the main focus.

Toddler Gymnastics – ten great benefits

We’ve all heard of the five senses sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. But did you know that there are actually seven senses!?!?

Gill Connell, a child development expert and co-author of A moving Child is a Learning Child, explains that the last two senses vestibular (sense of balance) and proprioception (our intuitive sense of space and position) may feel automatic to adults, but are NOT automatic to kids.

“ Like the other five senses, kids need to learn what these senses are trying to tell them through the trial-and-error process of everyday living, playing, and moving.”
Gill Connell | Moving Smart Blog

Now let’s imagine a place where your little one can explore his or her ability to crawl, climb, jump, hop, roll, balance, flip, and swing in a safe, colorful, padded, and fun environment, all the while using his/her senses to develop coordination and confidence. Here in lies the magic of gymnastics for the toddlers and preschoolers around the world! Need more reasons to sign your child up for toddler gymnastics? Here are a few . . .

Gym Gab’s Favorite Benefits of Toddler Gymnastics

1. Vestibular Development – sense of balance
2. Proprioception – understanding space and position
3. Social Skills – taking turns, sharing, peer interaction
4. Classroom Skills – listening, following directions, staying with class
5. Active Play – establishing exercise is fun
6. Confidence – learning new skills, encouragement
7. Courage – overcoming fears, trying hard things
8. Strength – use/development of muscles
9. Flexibility – stretching
10. Foundation – preparation for future activities

Toddler Gymnastics - 10 reasons why gymnastics is so great for little ones!
Chelsey Searle Photography

Still not convinced that gymnastics is a great activity for little ones? Contact your local gymnastics center for a free trial class. Learn more about toddler gymnastics HERE and the Why, When, and How’s of gymnastics.

Already have a tot in gymnastics? What’s your favorite benefit? Comment below!

 

USA Gymnastics article on the benefits of toddler gymnastics and kids gymnastics.

The world is their gym

 
Today’s post includes a product review of Flip N Fit Leotards
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Psst . . . don’t forget to check out our Flip N Fit giveaway on Facebook.

My friend (a talented photographer – check out Frosted Productions) and I have been aching to capture images of our little gymnasts but our busy schedules wouldn’t allow it. When I received some fun, vibrant leotards from Flip N Fit I told my friend it was time to get the camera out!

Gym Gab Blog | Flip N Fit LeotardsPhoto Credit | Frosted Productions

The goal? To capture the world of youthful acrobatics that expands beyond the walls of the training center. To our little ones a straddle press on a log is as natural as the lady bug sitting beside them!

Gym Gab Blog

Our girlies believe a fallen tree-trunk is nature’s balancing beam, a sturdy branch is a swingable bar, and an open field is God’s invitation to dance and tumble.

Gym Gab Blog

The confidence and coordination that develops in gymnastics isn’t anything less than magical. And that magic trickles into every venue. Add bright colored flower and butterfly print leotards to the equation, and you’ve really set the stage for a wonderland.

Gym Gab Blog

Looking for a reason (besides leotards) to head over to the Flip N Fit website? How about the exclusive LOVE GYMNASTICS leggings!? I’m a fan of print on the waist instead of the bum and this design masters placement. These legging are also a favorite with my daughter who realized she can wear them not only to gym but also to preschool!

Gym Gab Blog

If your gymnast is a bit older than the two darling pictured above, don’t worry – Flip N Fit has an array of sizes and styles. They also stock 7/8 and 9/10 Long for the gymnast with a longer torso.

Fit and value keep this leotard company on my recommendation list! The comfort and leggings keep it on my daughter’s list. Hope you find something special for your gymnast to wear this fall!

– MAKENNA

Head over to Gym Gab’s Facebook Page to Enter Flip N Fit’s Leotard Giveaway!

HULK PANCAKES

We don’t know about you, but we really love to feel strong.  But even more than strong, we love to feel HEALTHY.   As gymnasts and parents of gymnasts, you can understand how important feeling like you’re each of these things is and one of the best ways to get there is by eating delicious and nutritious meals. 
 
We’ve invited Erika Peterson from Clean Simple Food (remember her yummy Peanut Butter Bars?!) back to share with us one of HER favorite meals she feeds her super-healthy and strong family and she has given us what she calls HULK PANCAKES.  We are thrilled to share them with you and hope you’ll follower her @cleansimpleeats (and us) for more delicious recipes to come!
 
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Just like the Incredible Hulk, these pancakes are lean, mean, green and are promised to leave you feeling incredibly strong! We use this recipe weekly at our house.  Not only is it protein packed, but it is also a great source of whole grains and rich greens all inside a delicious pancake! Eat them warm, topped with your favorite topping OR store them in the fridge and enjoy as is, for a quick, convenient snack that can be eaten anywhere! You might want to double the recipe because these with be gone in a flash!

-Erika

HULKPANCAKES

HULK PANCAKES

INGREDIENTS:
2 whole organic eggs
4 organic egg whites
1 cup 2% cottage cheese
1 banana
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
2 servings all natural, vanilla protein powder (optional, sub an additional cup of oats if omitted)
2 cups chopped spinach
1 tsp baking powder
DIRECTIONS:
1. Heat griddle to 300 degrees.
2. Blend all ingredients together in a blender.
3. Slowly pour 1/4 cup of batter onto griddle. Flip.
4.  Enjoy with your favorite topping or enjoy them as is and watch your muscles grow! 
Makes 18 pancakes; 60 calories each; 1g fat; 6g carbs; 7g protein
Thanks again, Erika! You’re amazing!

Girls don’t have upper body strength. Ha!

When I (Jessie) was in my teens, I was able to go to “boot camp” for a youth conference where we were given the opportunity to go through some of the macho drills and obstacle courses the armed forces train on. Since I was a gymnast and took pride in my hard-earned strength, I couldn’t wait for the challenges I expected to face.

Much to my surprise, when we got to an obstacle with a wall and a rope, the sergeants on hand started ushering me and my little lady friends around to the other side without giving us a chance at it! When I asked if I could have a try, I was told, “Sorry Miss. You won’t make it up. You don’t have the upper-body strength.” Hmph.

Little did he know, I held the record of the most push ups and rope climbs at my gym at the time and I probably had more upper body strength (pound for pound, of course) than he ever would. That phrase, “You don’t have the upper-body strength” became a running joke in my family which still makes us laugh to this day.

If you didn’t notice, on facebook (Like us here. We’d LOVE it!) we posted a clip of a former NCAA gymnast, Kacy Catanzaro plowing through American Ninja Warrior’s obstacle courses where the big, beefy dudes before her fell short! Makenna and I have both watched this clip many times and get butterflies (and maybe a few tears) of pride and joy knowing that her training in gymnastics played a huge role in her success in each obstacle! Way to go, Kacy!!

Little girls don’t have upper-body strength?! Pshhh. Guess again!

P.S. Watch for some good upper-body strength exercises for moms coming to Gym Gab soon!

–JESSIE