Lucky fifth graders in Middleborough, Massachusetts, get to watch their teacher, Allyssa Beird, on TV competing on "American Ninja Warrior." In 2017 Beird was the only woman to finish Stage 1 of the competition -- and only the second woman to ever do so.
A former competitive gymnast who'd dabbled in marathons and obstacle races, Beird first began training at a local ninja gym in 2015. She built up her skills by competing in National Ninja League events before trying out for "American Ninja Warrior."
Pulling off those TV-worthy feats of athleticism doesn't come easy, though. Beird spends about five hours a day training -- after a full day of teaching 10- and 11-year-olds. Add in an hour-long commute and she only sleeps about six hours a night. With cooking time so limited, she shared with us her favorite meal-on-the-go for busy mornings and nights:
Day and time: I tend to make it for breakfast as I'm off to work, or when I get home from the gym late and don't have the time or energy to make a full meal.
Place: My kitchen
What I'm eating: I just call this banana ice cream, but that's not completely accurate because there's no cream in it at all! I know some people refer to it as banana "nice-cream." It's pretty much a healthier way of feeling like you're eating ice cream without actually eating ice cream.
Why I'm eating it: I absolutely love smoothies. However, I don't always have milk to make smoothies, so this is a great alternative. Also, you can eat it at any time of the day, as the base is just bananas (or any sort of frozen fruit you want). The best part, though, is that it's a pretty guilt-free meal/snack. I enjoy eating bananas as a snack anyway, but they seem so much more satisfying cold and blended, so it checks off my dessert craving at the same time.
Whose recipe: My boyfriend (fellow ANW competitor James "The Beast" McGrath) introduced me to it, and I've made it my own since then by customizing the add-ins each time.
2-2 1/2 frozen bananas
1 tablespoon of nut butter (preferably almond or a mix of nuts)
A few pinches of unsweetened coconut shavings
A small handful of semi-sweet dark chocolate chips
A dash of cinnamon
Add all ingredients to a food processor (or powerful blender) and puree. You can add as much or as little as you'd like of each of these ingredients -- it's really up to you and your flavor palette. Sometimes I'll throw in some frozen cherries too. Think of it sort of like an acai bowl, but with a banana base -- have fun with it!