Banana walnut loaf cake and a rowing workout

I am feeling like I’ve been hit by a bus this morning.  OK, so maybe it was a man wielding a pitchfork rather than a bus, but hey I have the bruises to show for it!


my bruise

There is something about a good bruise that harps back to a childhood ‘badge of honour’.  I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to get a bruise, and I am definitely not making light of any kind of bullying or abuse.

I’m just reminiscing about skinned knees from falling out of trees or off from playing tag.

Anyway, as if a day of slashing bracken on Dartmoor wasn’t enough, I then went to my indoor rowing class in the evening.

The class was being covered as our usual instructor got married on Wednesday!


Instead of our routine based class, we had drills and interval training.  It was hard work, but I felt I got a really good workout from it!  Some of the drills that stick out in my mind:

  • Incline row where we started on level 10, then reduced it by 2 levels every 40 seconds, with 10 seconds to adjust.  Then work back up from 2-10.  You choose your pace, working at approximately 7 intensity on a scale from 1-10.
  • Using an explosive push as your high intensity and a slow return. Ratio 1:3 seconds rather than the usual 2:2 stroke.
  • A good core work out by unstrapping your feet and relying on core strength to keep yourself in.  Make sure you are pushing off from your heels.
  • We do often incorporate alternate leg rowing – focusing on pushing off of one foot for a set time, or number of strokes – but here we actually removed one leg and held it in the air.  You could really see which leg was being stronger by looking at the watts on the screen.
  • Our one leg rowing was followed by one arm rowing, and one arm bicep curls.
  • It wouldn’t be an interval class without a good bit of Tabata training. 20 seconds hard work followed by 10 seconds of recovery for 8 sets.  By the time we had done our last 4 minutes it felt like someone had gone at my lungs with a piece of sandpaper.

Tabata training is great for improving fitness and fat loss so it really has something for everyone.  I used to incorporate tabata drills into my gym sessions, but knowing it hurts I’ve slacked off lately.  Here’s what say:

The results [of tabata training] were that the athletes training in high intensity interval training improved their aerobic systems as well as their anaerobic system. The athletes who did the moderate high intensity training only improved their aerobic system and had little to no increase in their anaerobic system.

I can only imagine the faces I was making as I pushed myself to my maximum.  Probably not for you if you are trying to pull the hottie in the gym, but great if you want to make good gains fast.  As our instructor yelled at us during the session (over some moody music)

Go hard, or go home!

If you do what you always do you will get what you always get!

Anyway, after all that hard work I have no guilt about sharing a banana cake recipe!

banana, walnut, cake, loaf, dates

Banana and Walnut loaf

Banana and Walnut Loaf Cake

  • 100g butter
  • 175g soft brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp white rum (I was feeling indulgent – recipe calls for milk)
  • 50g walnuts.
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/fan 160/gas 4.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until soft.
  3. Mash the bananas and mix in well.  Gently beat 2 eggs into the mixture. (I used one egg and one flax egg – 1 tbsp ground flax with 3 tbsp water, and you wouldn’t know the difference)
  4. Fold in self-raising flour and baking powder.  Stir in 2 tbsp rum or milk and 50g walnuts (I also threw in a handful of chopped dates alongside the broken walnut pieces)
  5. Spoon into a greased baking tin (I find using a spritz or two of 1 cal spray helps the loaf to come out, and the paper to come off) and bake for 1 hour or until well-risen and golden brown.

banana, walnuts, rum, dates, loaf, cake, slice

I didn’t make this gluten free or vegan because I was just using stuff up in the cupboard, but I think I might substitute in kamut flour, coconut butter and flax eggs if I wanted to change it up a bit.  I’ve made this cake many times, I’ve used rum instead of 2tbsp milk, I’ve used different fruit and nut combinations, thrown in some toffees to make banoffee – the possibilites are endless 🙂

Tell me about your workouts.  Do you prefer classes, or would you rather go it alone?


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2 thoughts on “Banana walnut loaf cake and a rowing workout

  1. […] (some places it’s hit already – you see what I did there!) and I was blogging about my tabata rowing class back in […]

  2. […] to Fitness Fiesta.  I’ve written about a couple of classes that I take part in regularly here and here.  I could detail my usual weekly fitness routine.  Or how I like to change things up in […]

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