Healthy Treats: Crispy Peanut Butter Bars

We’d like to welcome Erika Peterson of Clean Simple Foodie, a sweet friend of ours who shares the love of promoting health and fitness (as well as delicious food)!  A special THANK YOU  to her for sharing this delicious recipe with Gym Gab!  

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For a chance to win Erika’s incredible e-book “Clean Simple Eats,” follow @cleansimpleeats and @gymgabblog on Instagram! Don’t forget to leave a comment letting us know your favorite healthy treat. Winner will be announced on March 31st! 

Healthy Crispy Peanut Butter Bars by Clean Simple Foodie | Gym Gab

Crispy Peanut Butter Bars

1 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup PB2 powder
3/4 cup honey
¼ cup ground flaxseed
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (optional)
1 cups oat flour or old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup puffed whole grain brown rice cereal
½ cup dark chocolate chips
1. Mix peanut butter, PB2 powder, honey, flax and protein powder together.
2. Add Oats and rice cereal. Mix well.
3. Press mixture into a 9×13 pan.
4. Microwave chocolate chips 30 seconds at a time until completely melted.
5. Drizzle chocolate over crispy peanut butter bars.
6. Store in fridge 1-2 hours to let the chocolate harden. Cut into 32 bars and serve. Enjoy!

Tips: To make the chocolate drizzle look fancy, pour melted chocolate into a ziplock baggie and cut off the tip. Drizzle a fun design over the top!

Ingredient FAQs: I buy my PB2 powder at Walmart or on I buy my puffed rice cereal at Harmon’s or on 

What’s in each bar (with protein powder):
About 110 calories; 5g fat; 13g carbs; 4g protein; 1g fiber


As we all have learned, “hind-sight is 20/20” — and that runs true for gymnasts, too. Sometimes as gymnasts, parents, and even as coaches, we don’t realize many things we are learning until we look back on our experiences. We would like to introduce a new series of posts called LIVED, LOVED, & LEARNED that invites former gymnasts to reflect on the many things they learned from their time in the gym that helped them in their performances as well as their personal lives.

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We are excited to introduce our first guest writer as a former gymnast and dear friend (as well as family member–Jessie’s sister-in-law): Natalie Eyre Pickard. Natalie graced the competitive gymnastics scene for sixteen years and earned her privilege to attend and compete in collegiate gymnastics at Brigham Young University (BYU) for four years on full scholarship. She was a beautiful gymnast inside of the gym, but more impressively, a beautiful person inside and out. She is a natural-born leader and we were thrilled when we introduced this series and invited her to share her thoughts. We love what she has to say and are sure you will too!


I’m so excited I’ve been invited to be a guest on Gym Gab today! I hope I can do this awesome blog justice and be able to help some gymnasts and parents out there. I am so grateful for the opportunities and experiences that gymnastics brought me over the years as well as the lifelong lessons that I have learned. I was so very blessed to have an incredibly strong support system throughout all my years as a gymnast and I attribute a huge amount of my success and happiness from gymnastics to my awesome parents and family.

I have never been a parent (and I don’t claim to know anything about being a parent), but I DO know how it feels to be a gymnast and all of the stresses and pressures that go along with that title. If it wouldn’t have been for the love and support of my parents, I don’t know if I would have been as successful in my gymnastics career as I was.

Gymnastics is a sport that pleads for perfection. There is always, always something to improve upon. Let’s be honest here, there will probably never be a time when a gymnast will be “perfect”. However, the goal (perfection) is ever present, pushing and pulling the perfectionist inside of her. I know, because I am the perfectionist of all perfectionists. In club gymnastics it was always hard for me to recognize my successes. If it was a good set, and maybe even a great set, it still wasn’t a PERFECT set. As crazy as that sounds, that was MY mentality and probably is that of many others if they are a competitive gymnast.

I don’t tell you these things so you will feel bad for gymnasts; I’m telling you so that you can understand a little bit of the pressure that haunts a gymnast. With all of that going on in your gymnasts mind, don’t you think all they need is a little love and support? I can only imagine how a parent must feel at a competition: Years of expenses, tears and time are all weighing on your mind as you watch your gymnast compete. This is what they do all day every day, so they should stick it, right? Well, sometimes yes…and sometimes no. But either way, it’s okay.

It’s okay if she doesn’t score a Perfect 10, and it’s even okay if she falls once in a while (gasp!) because gymnastics isn’t who your daughter is, gymnastics is what your daughter does. That’s right! Even though it may be the most expensive, grueling and labor-intensive “activity” out there, when it comes down to it, that’s all it is: an activity…and a fun activity at that. Gymnastics is an activity for lesson-learning, friendship-building, confidence-boosting, exercise-getting, and most importantly, a way to have FUN! NATALIE AGE 10 | AS A BYU GYMNAST WITH HER PARENTS

My coach at BYU (Brad Cattermole) had a few catch phrases that still play in my mind from time to time. One of my favorites is this: “We’re just doing gymnastics here. We’re not saving hungry people!” Boom. Simple as that! It took me a long time to realize this, but once I did, a whole new world opened up to me! I was able to recognize my little successes every day, which actually helped me to make MORE positive changes and have more fun. The more positive I was, the better my gymnastics got!

Positivity = Progress

As a parent you have an incredible amount of influence over your gymnast! I’d like to encourage you to make sure that you use your influence to help your gymnast fall in love with the sport of gymnastics, just as my parents did for me. Be the first one to congratulate her on her successes, but more importantly be the first one to hug her when she falls. Remind her that, above all else, gymnastics is supposed to be fun! Let the coaches do the coaching, the judges do the judging and the gymnast do the gymnastics. No one else can be the loving parent because that job is yours. Let your gymnast know that no matter what happens, you are there to support her, love her, and let her know that you are proud that she is doing what she loves to do! It will be more fun for both of you that way!


A Pinch-Free St. Patrick’s Day

Did you know that March and November start on the same day of the week every single year?! Neither did we.  These months also have something else in common–the exciting changing of seasons (and by seasons, we mean GYMNASTICS seasons!!).

This month State Meets will be held across the nation and we are well aware that everyone could use just a little extra luck! Here are a few lucky workout items to attract that luck–along with a little bit of festive fun for St. Patrick’s Day coming up on March 17th!

Pssst . . . if you don’t want to rely on luck for State Meet, we’ve got some visualizing tools coming your way!

St. Patricks Day Gymnastics Gear | Avoid the Pinch | Gym Gab


1. Cascading Sequinz Leo | GK Elite | $69.99
2. Braided Mini Headbands | Under Armour | $22.00
3. Glowing Green Neon Tee | Old Navy | $9.00
4. Neon Green Athletic Tape | Fitness Gear | $4.99
5. Hot To Croc Nail Wraps | Jamberry Nails | $15.00
6. Lime Green Wristbands | Sock Tower | $6.99
7. Flash Lime 2.5″ Compression Shorts | Nike Pro | $24.99

Cure Winter Blues with Greens

Is it March already?!?! For our kids in the gym, that means only a few more practices to prepare for State Meet! For our little one’s at home, it signifies a countdown to lucky charms, gold coins, and green milk!

So, to celebrate State Meet and Saint Patty’s Day, we present a list of GREENS to promote health, wellness, and sustained energy!

Pssst . . . greens aren’t only important for athletes. When it comes to Meet Season, we understand it can be a worrisome, exhausting, and exhilarating time of year for parents as well!  Keeping up on YOUR greens is one way to keep YOU pumped up too! Same goes for coaches, so we are committing ourselves also!

Cure Meet Season/Winter Blues with Greens!

Greens offer a rich supply of phytonutrients which are immune-boosting antiviral and antibacterial agents!
Most all greens contain powerful antioxidants which protect the body from toxins in the environment and other food we eat!
The Dark, leafy greens contain essential omega-3 fatty acids which protect against the body against awful things like heart disease and high cholesterol .
Greens are dense in vitamins C,K,E, and B, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron which all help maintain balance in your blood, your moods, your energy levels,  and even your balance on the beam!

Often, we think of greens in the form of a gorgeously huge salad that [some] people don’t always feel like making/eating…but we can assure you that getting in all of your daily recommended value of valuable greens (about 2-3 cups of vegetables per the USDA) can be quite easy!  Since there are so many different kinds of greens (see image), we suggest you add them into everything!

Add them to:

SMOOTHIES (a popular and easy way to gulp them down–just add your favorite fruits and BLEND)

SAUCES & CASSEROLES (puree and/or chop up before stirring them in), to  breakfast (think scrambled eggs with greens chopped up)

SANDWICHES (switch out the simple iceberg lettuce with a more nutrient rich lettuce)

SOUPS (chopped kale or bok choy plus fresh parsley make any soup super yummy).

Once you get into the habit of adding greens to everything you eat, the hardest part is just choosing which greens to go where!

Adding greens to yours and your gymnast’s diet will surely add energy and zest to your meet season! We wish you all the very best of luck this season! What are some of YOUR favorite greens and how do you YOU add them into your daily meals?!

Tiny Takes on Gymnastics

Here they are . . . Gymnastics questions answered by these tiny gymnasts in our Gym Gab video by Plus One Productions.  Though they be cute answers, they aren’t necessarily the most accurate! For more thorough information about common gymnastics questions search the Gym Gab archives. Have your own gymnastics questions?! Contact us.

A special thanks to our dear friend, Briaunna Hallman for putting it together for us!

Sign-up for Gym Gab’s newsletter to make sure you don’t miss out on some fabulous upcoming giveaways! Or follow us on |Facebook| and |Instagram|.

DIY: Barbie Leotard


Barbie Leotard Tutorial | Gymnastics Leotards | A Gym Gab How-To
Photo Credit | Corinn Cattermole

Makenna’s little girl was introduced to Barbies by her cousin at a young age and was immediately hooked. Makenna, however, hated the idea of little shoes, constant finagling of miniature clothes, and most frustrating (but unavoidable): the NAKED BARBIE! Luckily, Santa found a solution to the Barbie debate and delivered the Princess Ballerina Barbie Set  (no shoes/irremovable clothing) to the anticipating two-year-old.

What followed were countless hours of Barbie gymnastics classes taught by an adorable 3-year-old coach. Makenna’s daughter instructed the Barbies in the correct techniques of proper splits, bridges, back walkovers, front aerials, and even vaulting skills.  The Barbies patiently waited in line, shared what they were most proud of, and earned rewards for their progress and behavior (much like how Makenna’s daughter observed in her own gymnastics classes).

Great Barbies for Gymnastics Lovers | Gym Gab

Soon other Barbies started trickling into the home (gifts from friends and family) and Makenna’s little one’s first response was always, “She needs a leo!” That’s when Makenna started experimenting with nail polish. The result: Total Success!  The nail-polish leotard Barbie was a quick, cheap, and easy solution to leo-less dolls and quickly became the three-year-old’s favorite toy.  As more were made, these bare-footed Barbies looked more and more like real gymnasts to Makenna’s daughter which brought even more excitement about gymnastics into Makenna’s home (if that were even possible!)  

Even Makenna got excited about these Barbies because of her new-found ability to custom design the paint job to match her little gymnast’s favorite leotards.  We thought you’d like a quick tutorial on how Makenna goes about transforming the Barbies around her home! We hope you find as much joy in the little things (literally and figuratively) as we do! 

P.S. FYI: For all you moms of boy gymnasts out there, Jessie tried this same technique on her sons’ transformers and G.I. Joes and wasn’t nearly as impressed (or comfortable) with the results.

Barbie Leotard Tutorial | Gymnastics Leotards | A Gym Gab How-To
Photo Credit | Chelsey Searle

Barbie Leotard How-To

Material’s needed: A Barbie, Nail Polish, Masking Tape

Pick a leotard you want to mimic or design your own. Tape off patterns and neck line with masking tape.

Start painting! If you make a mistake, wipe it off with nail polish remover. You  don’t need fancy nail polish. The green and black colors we used were only $1.00 each!

Add detail. Makenna used black paint to add cheetah print to the pink sections of this leotard. Make sure you wait for each layer of paint to dry, before applying an overlaying layer.

Let paint dry and remove masking tape!

 *The leotard we used is a GKids leotard from their Winter catalog. If you want a similar design, check out this |GKids leotard| from the Spring Collection. Try using crackle nail polish to mimic the swirl fabric. 

 Check out these other Do-It-Yourself Projects:
Jar of Solid Tricks
Painted Trophies
Rewards Jar
Vision Board

With a heavy heart . . .

I have felt nothing but sadness all day and the only thing I can think to do, is write.

In the gymnastics community there are many who are inspired by the talented young gymnast, Sage Thompson (aka super gymnast sage). Although, thousands of people are privileged to watch Sage grow and progress as a gymnast on YouTube, what they may not see is the kind, funny, determined person behind the skills. This sweet eleven-year-old has a special place in the hearts of those of us who are blessed enough to coach, train, play, travel, and spend time with her! To us, Sage’s eagerness to share stories, commitment to her teammates, love for our little-one’s, hatred for hugs, and excitement for conditioning are a few of the things that make her special (more so than her abnormal abilities to flip and twist).

Thompson tough | Sage Thompson and family

Unfortunately, this past year we have helplessly watched as Sage and her family have faced the unthinkable challenge of witnessing their father and husband fight a losing battle against Leukemia. Although so many of us wished we could have done more, all we could offer was love, support, rides, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, or a soft-spoken word, none of which could help shift the odds in Bryce’s favor.

Today I shed tears, knowing yesterday (2/18/2014) Bryce held the hands of his loved ones for the last time.  Although my interaction with Bryce was minimal, as he spent much of the past year in the hospital, this much I know. . . he didn’t want to say goodbye, he fought hard, he loved his children, he loved his wife, he loved watching his boys wrestle and play soccer, and loved watching his little girl do gymnastics (even if it meant 6:00 am practice and towards the end enduring pain and fatigue). Bryce especially wanted his children to live out their dreams and he will be cheering them on, unseen. 

Bryce Thompson was a great father, a great husband, and a great person. I can’t image how hard it was for Bryce to say goodbye to his family, but I know he will see them again. Until then, Bryce will remain in their hearts, their smiles, and their attitude of being “Thompson Tough”. 

All my love to the Thompson’s,

To learn more about how you can help in the fight against leukemia visit:


This meet was held last month, in honor of Sage’s dad and his fight against AML leukemia. Every gymnast wore an orange ribbon in their hair in honor of leukemia awareness, and every coach and judge wore an orange leukemia ribbon pinned to their shirts. It was very touching to see all of the community support.
Video made by Lauren Stevens
Music by Kyle Khou

Loving Your Gymnast Better

We wouldn’t dare try to claim that we are parenting experts, but we DO know a little about kiddos in the gym. We get asked frequently what we think is the best for these amazing children we coach and, honestly, we believe that the best thing for your kiddos is to figure out what they need to feel loved. When children feel loved and secure, they feel confident and happy… and when it comes to gymnastics, the BEST gymnasts are the confident and happy ones!

So often, in the hustle and bustle of the busy gymnastics world with carpools, traveling, meet season, homework, and bedtime, we forget that our gymnasts are still children who look up to their parents more than anyone else. The best thing we, as parents to gymnasts, can do (in our humble opinion) is to pay close attention to what our children need to feel loved and then love them in that way!

If they need you to watch their new skill, make sure you do! If they need you to be the loudest, most obnoxious cheerleader at meets, scream your lungs off. If they need you to take them to ice cream after a good practice, then indulge every now and then! If they need you to snuggle with them at night and talk to them about practice, budget that into the bedtime routine at the end of the day. Every child is different, just as every one of us parents feel loved differently! By simply loving your children the way they need it, you’ll develop a better, healthier relationship with them in and out of the gym!

Since there are many ways to figure that out, we thought we’d direct you to a few of OUR favorite books that have helped us with our own kiddos at home–along with learning ways to understand and love our gym kids. Its easy to love your kids–but loving them the way that fits their needs can do wonders for their confidence, happiness, and success in the gym (and, of course, in life!).

What are YOUR favorite books that have helped you with YOUR gymnasts? We’d love to get some recommendations to help us in our parenting journey!

1. The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell
Here’s a quiz to get started!|

2. Bringing Up Girls by James C. Dobson

3. Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Meg Meeker

4. Boys Should Be Boys by Meg Meeker


A Lesson from Russia



Years ago, my (Jessie) hubby was able to spend two years in Russia learning their language, culture, and the best ways to serve them. So you can only imagine how much more we are excited about the Olympics with them being in the place he holds dear to his heart!

When my husband got back from Russia, he told me all about how wonderful his experience was and made me memorize two Russian phrases that were particularly distinct and important to him:

The first one was Я люблю тебя pronounced (YAH-loo-BLUE tib-YAH) which means, “I love you,” and the other was повторение мать учения pronounced (Poff-DEH-wren-YAH MOTT-ooch-EHN-yah) which means, “Repetition is the mother of learning” or in other words, “PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT.”

RussiantoEnglish-(dj)As we watch the 2014 Winter Olympics that are going on over in Sochi, Russia, we’d like to invite you and your gymnasts to memorize these Russian phrases  (in the spirit of the Olympics AND Valentine’s Day) both in Russian and in English.

Building confidence comes from loving and respecting yourself as well as those around you–and by reminding yourself that successful learning comes from loads of repetition (especially in gymnastics), you’ll be more likely to LOVE practicing things until they’re perfected! Practice makes Perfect, that’s for sure! Lets practice together!


We hope you enjoy the Olympic Winter games!

Wednesday Write In – timid gymnasts

Last week, a coach in my (Makenna) program forwarded me a parent email, with hopes that I could help with an educated response. Although the questions were specific to the parent’s child, I felt that her concerns were not unique. My hope in sharing my thoughts on Gym Gab is that I can provide useful insight to a greater population of parents with similar situations.


Because this parent inquired advice through a personal email account, I will not share her email in entirety, but rather give a synopsis. Also, I want to commend this wonderful parent for seeking advice on how to help her gymnast in the most constructive way!!!

The concerned parent was worried that her daughter’s timid personality seemed to clash with the demands of gymnastics. The parent observed that her daughter seemed to be more afraid of skills than the other children on her team. She also commented that her daughter was struggling with school, church, or anything that required the child to communicate with other people. The mother shared that her daughter loved doing gymnastics overall, but that tears were sometimes part of the experience. The parent acknowledged that she didn’t believe quitting was the answer, but wanted to make sure that gymnastics was not requiring too much of her lil’ one. 

(1) Patience will pay-off.

Sometimes the best remedy for young timid gymnasts is time! I have seen many talented young gymnasts struggle with fear. Their bodies are capable of abnormal advancement, but their maturing brains are not ready for lighting speed skill acquisition! Many of them only started gym a short time ago so their confidence is anything but established. It is helpful when coaches and parents are aware and understanding of the child’s fear. In this situation, the five-year-old gymnast is performing routines that include handstand-turn dismounts off a balance beam higher than her head . . . that is understandably scary! It may take time, but patience pays-off. It can be helpful to think of gymnastics as a marathon, and not a sprint.

(2) Gymnastics helps with timid personalities.

It is always hard to see our children struggling, but it is extremely rewarding to see them achieve something they may not have thought possible. Gymnastics provides little opportunities for growth everyday – in a fun environment. Six years ago, I started coaching a sweet, painfully shy gymnast. Talking made her nervous . . . she had trouble asking to go to the bathroom. Performing at meets seemed unbearable. But she loved gymnastics more than she feared it. She took baby steps. Today she is a level 8, who performs the most beautifully confident floor routine. Gymnastics gave her a reason to get outside her comfort zone. It gave her a reason to accept challenges. It gave her little everyday successes that allowed her to feel capable – of anything.

(3) Know when it’s “too much”.

Tears can be confusing . . . they can be a sign of fear, separation anxiety, or fatigue. Unfortunately, most children can’t verbally communicate why they are struggling. This can make it hard to evaluate if your child is still in love with gymnastics or if it is not the right activity.


If you notice that tears or tummy aches always happen on the same event or right before a certain skill . . . fear is probably the perpetrator. A private lesson can be helpful. This allows coaches to instruct at a pace comfortable for the gymnast. Private lessons also provide a safe environment for communication and relationship-building between the coach and gymnast. If there are too many skills to address in a private lesson, the gymnast may have a more positive experience in a lower level. An inappropriate fear, is when the child is afraid of her coach. Address this concern with the coach & program director. Do not be afraid to speak up or make a change if this fear is long-lived.

Separation Anxiety

If your child struggles with separation anxiety, tears at the beginning of class may be normal. Note her mood at the end of class. If she leaves happy and excited, gymnastics is still a positive experience. Things that can help with transition from your arms to class include arriving early, keeping a routine, watching class or clearly explain when you will return (when she is on bars or before it is time to get stamps). Talk to your child’s instructor and work together.


If your gymnast is excited to go to gymnastics, but comes home cranky, exhausted, or has tears towards the end of class . . . the length of gym may be an issue. First, make sure your gymnast is getting adequate sleep – what’s her bed time? Check out Age-Appropriate Bedtimes by Sleep Sisters. Second, make sure your child has a healthy snack BEFORE class to sustain her energy. If class is longer than two hours, many coaches allow a quick snack break in the middle of class. For healthy snack ideas check out our 10.0 list |HERE|.  Third, talk to the child’s coach and see if you can slowly adapt your gymnast into the longer practice time. Cut back workout time, then encourage your gymnast to stay ten minutes longer every week, until they are happily managing all of class. Your coach may also recommend a less strenuous group that comes fewer hours.

Too Much

If addressing the above symptoms does not renew your child’s love for the sport . . . it may not be the right sport! We love the benefits gymnastics offers children of all ages and abilities, but we do not like the idea of forced participation. If your child has had enough (i.e. relentlessly begging to do another sport, no longer flipping around at home, or cries before, during, and after workout) it’s time to help them find a new way to cultivate their talents. Stay tuned for articles including Life After Gymnastics & How to Leave on a Positive Note.

Best Wishes,

Have your own question? We’d love to share our thoughts. Email us: or contact |here|




As coaches, technique and execution is what we notice when we watch little gymnasts, but when we are in mother-mode, seeing a cute leotard or hairdo is what makes us look twice! 

We thought you’d love to see some of our favorite gym-friendly Valentine hairstyles with  how-tos so you can try them out on your gymnasts!


Video | Plus One Productions

Interested in other Valentine hairstyles? Check out this video from Babes in Hairland!