Trying New Things: 2 New Foods and 1 New Gym

Usually these posts are about new food items that I’ve tried, but I’m branching out. In addition to writing about two new-to-me foods (which I’ll get to soon), I’m first going to write about a new gym that I tried: Gold’s Gym.

I’m not in the market for a new gym, to be honest, but I got a postcard in the mail for a free trial week, so I took advantage of that and checked it out. Gold’s Gym has a history and reputation for attracting a bodybuilder clientele. Arnold Schwarzenegger used to train at the original Gold’s, in Venice Beach, when he was a competitive bodybuilder, and that location was where they shot “Pumping Iron,” a 1977 film that is credited for popularizing bodybuilding and bringing it into the mainstream.

Gold’s has since expanded into a huge chain, with hundreds of locations all over the world. The location I went to for that week, in North Hollywood, has been there since at least the ’90s, and I don’t think it’s been touched since. It’s a no-frills, small gym. Old equipment that gets the job done, even though numbers or signage has long been rubbed off. It smells like a gym. There’s a full-length mirror in the locker room to take selfies of your gains. (And sure enough, I looked around and found bodybuilder pictures on Instagram taken in this mirror.)

On the days I was there, I’d say the clientele was 70% men, and definitely skewed towards the bodybuilding end of the spectrum – lots of guys with big muscles, doing exercises to make those muscles even bigger. Even the parking lot was muscular – that Dodge Challenger behind me in the first photo was one of four muscle cars parked there that day.

There was some cardio equipment, packed tight into a small area, but people clearly came there to lift. I counted six “out of order” signs on various bikes and treadmills, and one bike stopped working while I was using it. (I reported it at the front desk.)

All told, I went three times during my trial week, and completed a couple excellent weightlifting sessions, and stuck to cardio on the third. I enjoyed those workouts, and liked seeing the insanely difficult stuff that bodybuilders do, like the one guy (who I recognized from TV) who did dips with a 45-lb weight hanging from his waist.

I like switching things up, and going to Gold’s was a nice change of pace. But even the discounted rate I was offered after my trial week ended was pricier than what I pay at my current gym, and I didn’t like Gold’s enough to switch. But my curiosity about the place was satisfied, and I’m glad I checked it out.

I also have two new-to-me food items I wanted to share, and both would be excellent movie snacks. The first one I actually snuck into a movie theater, when I saw “Lady Bird.” It’s Field Trip Maple BBQ Pork Jerky.

I’m always trying new brands and flavors of jerky (like mushroom jerky and venison jerky), and this caught my eye for two reasons. 1) I love maple. 2) This variety is very low in sodium – only 190g per serving. Jerky can often have upwards of 600g per serving. I pay attention to sodium in jerky because it tends to be a high-sodium food, and because it’s low in calories and carbs and is a great lean protein, I tend to eat an entire bag (two or three servings) at a time, and it adds up. Three servings of 600g of sodium is almost all the sodium you need for the day.

I found the maple flavor to be pretty subtle in this jerky. The BBQ flavor was much stronger. But it was exceptionally tender, and delicious nonetheless, and I hope I come across it again! Oh, and if you’re wondering, thumbs up on “Lady Bird” too.

My last new-to-me food is Skout Jalapeno Salsa-flavored raw pumpkin seeds.

I ate these as a post-workout snack after my volcano stair climb in Portland. 

I’ve enjoyed pumpkin seeds for quite some time. They’re sometimes called pepitas at the store, which is the Spanish name for them. I’ve seen raw and roasted pepitas before, but this was the first time I’ve seen flavored raw seeds.

Check out my Pear and Celery Salad recipe, as well as my Raw Brussels Sprouts Salad recipe, both of which use pumpkin seeds.

The seeds are dusted with a flavored powder, but since they’re raw, the powder doesn’t really stick to the seeds. There was a big pile of powder left over at the bottom of the pouch.

Apart from that, these were pretty good. The flavored powder was spicy and had a little bit of a kick, but it didn’t remind me of either jalapenos or salsa. They have other flavors on their website, which I’d be curious to try. I’m not sure if I’ll find Skout in my area or not. It’s a Portland-based company, and I found them in the Portland area, but I’ll keep an eye out! Pumpkin seeds are, after all, a great low-carb source for protein and healthy fats.

Keep it up, David!

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