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Halloween Treats!

by Sharon Gayle October 20, 2010

A Spin on Thumbprint Cookies

These Halloween cookies are a chocolatey twist on thumbprint cookies, only with much less butter.
  And instead of topping these cookies with jam or a chocolate kiss, they're topped with pieces of candy corn or candy pumpkins.

These soft cookies are perfect for kids to make, too.

Halloween Thumbprint Cookies ...Yummy!


Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 32 pieces corn or 16 candy pumpkins


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Mix softened butter and brown sugar in a medium bowl, either by hand or with an electric mixer. Add egg and vanilla extract, and blend well. Gradually mix in flour.
  3. Roll 1-1/2 inch balls from the cookie dough and place at least an inch apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Make an impression in the center of each cookie with your thumb.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and place two pieces of candy corn on top of each cookie, or 1 candy pumpkin.

NoteMakes about 16 cookies.

Per cookie, with candy pieces:  Calories 111, Calories from Fat 25, Total Fat 2.8g (sat 1.5g), Cholesterol 19mg, Sodium 61mg, Carbohydrate 19.7g, Fiber 0.7g, Protein 1.9g

Recipe by Fiona Haynes, courtesy of Low-Fat Cooking from About.com Guide


Nutrition | Recipes

CDC Says “Take 3” Actions To Fight The Flu

by Sharon Gayle October 20, 2010

Prevention is better than cure...

Flu is a serious contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. In 2009–2010, a new and very different flu virus (called 2009 H1N1) spread worldwide causing the first flu pandemic in more than 40 years. Flu is unpredictable, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects the 2009 H1N1 virus to spread this upcoming season along with other seasonal flu viruses.

A little sniffle can lead to so much more!

CDC urges you to take the following actions to protect yourself and others from influenza (the flu):

1. Take time to get a flu vaccine.

  • CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. 
  • While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine protects against the three viruses that research suggests will be most common.
  • The 2010-2011 flu vaccine will protect against an influenza A H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus and the 2009 H1N1 virus that caused so much illness last season.
  • Everyone 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated against the flu as soon as the 2010-2011 season vaccine is available.
  • People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
  • Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
  • Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to high risk people.
  • Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead.

2. Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick with flu–like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

3. Take flue antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

  • If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can treat your illness.
  • Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.
  • Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications.
  • It’s very important that antiviral drugs be used early (within the first 2 days of symptoms) to treat people who are very sick (such as those who are hospitalized) or people who are sick with flu symptoms and who are at increased risk of severe flu illness, such as pregnant women, young children, people 65 and older and people with certain chronic health conditions.
  • Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.

Source: CDC - Center for Disease Control
Visit CDC’s website to find out what to do if:
you get sick with the flu and how to care for someone at home who is sick with the flu.

GayleFORCE Fit Tip! ARMS

by Sharon Gayle October 20, 2010

FOREARMS - Wrist Curl

Kneeling / Single Arm (Dumbbell)

This exercise will strengthen your forearm and your grip, allowing you to better achieve your upper body workouts, and providing you with more confident-functionality* and mobility.

 Directions and Form:

  1. Holding forearm stationary with other hand, flex wrist up as far as possible.
  2. Relax your upper body and focus on your forearm.
  3. Do 3-sets. Complete 8-10 repetitions. 1-2x weekly.

Note: Use a light but challenging weight. The emphasis here is building strength and endurance in perhaps, the most neglected body-part, as opposed to building muscles.

*This is my personal term for being self-assured that you can securely grip, carry, hold on to, or push a particular item. ~SG.


Exercise | Fitness | Tips

Dear Sharon ...False Weight!

by Sharon Gayle October 5, 2010


Hi Sharon.  I saw you at the gym a day or two prior to your competition; you looked tight and toned, but quite slim.  I cannot imagine that you gained size in 1-2 days, so why do you look so much bigger in the photographs you have in your gallery?
~Tracy Levine, NY.

Not always a true reflection!


I'm so glad you asked this question Tracy. I’ve meaning to address this for some time.

You will find that some of the bodybuilders are indeed “big” individuals, specifically the “heavyweight” division; however, the Figure/Physique women (we are not bodybuilders) are quite small, and slim.  The camera typically makes an individual look 10-15lbs bigger than they are; thus as very lean, muscularly defined athletes, when we step on stage, our muscles are amplified, making us we will look bigger in every way.  Due to our physical definition and vascularity, we may indeed look like bodybuilders in our photographs. 

Just an FYI. I am 5’8” and typically go on stage at 128Ibs.  My off-season weight is approximately 135Ibs.  So you see I am not a big person at all. 

The camera putting false weight on an individual, is also the reason that models, actors, and performers, try so hard to keep their weight down and to stay in shape. They do not want to look heavy on stage, or in film. ~SG.

Check out Vascular and other bodybuilding Jargon as defined by The Almanac and Glossary of Bodybuilding & Fitness


Dear Sharon

U.S. Pro Cup Championships - Competition Update

by Sharon Gayle October 5, 2010

Practice Makes Perfect...

...Most of the time

I’ll get straight to it. I did not do as well as I had hoped to at the WNBF U.S. Pro Cup held Saturday 17th September.  Not doing well, meaning that I did not place Top-5.  Needless to say, all competitors would love to place 1st and/or win the Overall segment; however, as a Professional Figure Competitor, placing Top-5 is a significant victory wherein you are awarded a Trophy and recognition. The Top-3 competitors also receive cash prizes.  There are no cash prizes as an Amateur competitor. 

Progress Photo - 2 days prior to U.S. Pro. Championships

The season is almost over; however, the 2010 WNBF Pro World Figure Championships, biggest event of the year is just around the corner.  Dependent upon our conditioning and goals; most of our competitions throughout the year, though taken very seriously, are used as practice towards this specific event.  Held annually in November and hosted in New York City, this international event will bring competitors in from all over the globe looking to make their mark!  I too will be there, hoping to stand out as I did at the 2009 INBF World Championships. Watch video!

Stay tuned for upcoming details on 2010 WNBF Pro World Figure Championships!

A big THANK YOU to everyone who came out to show support and cheer me on!  I heard you! :-} ~SG


by Sharon Gayle October 5, 2010

Don't Yo-Yo ...Plan for Success!

Reason #1: Unrealistic Expectations
A desire to lose weight is commendable; however, too often this particular goal is driven by unreasonable expectations of weight you can lose per week.  You may even have an unrealistic goal-weight in mind for your height, frame, and lifestyle.  Unrealistic expectations usually come from a lack of information on what it will take to lose the weight and solid information on the various food groups.  Without a little research, or speaking with a professional dietician or nutritionist; you may be setting yourself up for disappointment, which could potentially lead to further weight gain.

Reason #2: You are not fully committed
Many times a person is not fully committed to the goal.  But again, this is most typical of those who have not done their research.  Yes, there are those who do their research and are initially very excited about their plans; but lose patience down the road.  They too were not committed.  Knowledge is an essential component to success; however, without commitment, you will not succeed.  A great deal of success in weight loss and lifestyle change is dependent upon personality.  Dieting, and maintaining your weight loss is typically a lifetime commitment; thus, you must think ahead and plan accordingly.

Reason #3:  One Size Does Not  Fit All! 
As odd as this may sound; your diet goals should be realistic, but most importantly, the must fit your lifestyle.  A diet that worked for your best friend, is by no means guaranteed to work for you.  A dress that looks good on your 5’8” frame may be totally wrong on your 5’1” best friend.  Just as one size does not fit all; neither does a cookie cutter diet.

If you are following an extreme weight loss program that is radically different from the way you normally eat; there is a big chance that even your best efforts will not end in success.  Subsisting on a liquid diet, shakes, or lettuce, is not “normal” eating.  We are all unique with various food preferences, activities, and life-goals.  If you view your diet plan as a short-term change in your usual eating habits, rather than a long-term lifestyle change and commitment; you will inevitably find it difficult to make headway or maintain your weight-loss.

Reason #4: Wrong Motivations
Diets often end in failure due to questionable motivations.  The prime reason for dieting should be for better health leading to optimal living and functionality; however, the majority of dieters do so for a multitude of incorrect reasons i.e. getting married and needing to fit into a dress 5-sizes smaller; high school reunions, a desire to look good for someone else, etc.  You name it; I have heard it.  Placing better health at the top of your list and as your priority, (and viewing all other reasons as secondary), provides a better chance for success!

Reason #5: Missing a Major Component
Though dieting (eating healthier) for optimal living is of utmost importance for weight loss, combining it with a well-rounded personalized fitness program establishes a lifestyle change, which will stimulate the weight-loss and encourage commitment.  Additionally, the combination of balanced nutrition and a well-rounded fitness program, brings about greater visual results.  And, liking the way you look and feel is great motivation to staying on track!

Reason #6: Lack of positive reinforcements
To achieve your diet goals you must be committed and determined; however, it does help to have positive reinforcement from family, friends, and
co-workers; along with their understanding and encouragement, when you find yourself straying of the path.  The people who care about you will be sympathetic to your cause.  If they are not; seek out a few individuals who will pick you up when you fall or deter from the course, and encourage you to press on.  And, feel free to call me!

Reason #7: Difficulty Forgiving Yourself
This is a very common dieting pitfall.  When people give in to temptation and subsequently “fall of the well-laid path” for one meal, or one day; they often tell themselves they’ve lost all chance of succeeding and give-up for good.  I actually believe this a subconscious excuse to got back to negative eating habits which might have compensated for other issues/concerns.  To be successful, you have to learn to overcome these temporary setbacks.  You cannot let one “binge” or one “off day” become a full week, or month, of splurging.  Try your best to stay focused and forgive yourself.  Otherwise, after a certain point, it can be extremely difficult for you to break the cycle of negative thinking and get back on track.

They key to making it work!
Don't yo-yo back and forth. The best approach to weight loss is an individual one that takes your preferences, lifestyle, needs, and attitudes into consideration.  Once you have a plan in place, how you feel will be the best indicator that you are eating well.

Many of the weight loss clients that I have worked with admit to perpetual dieting. They have tried every weight loss plan, scheme, or promise and failed repeatedly.  99% of their attempts fail because of one, or some combination of the seven reasons I discuss above.  That being said, awareness is very important.  Knowing you tendencies and the mistakes, you have made; in addition to being, honest with yourself, puts you a step closer to achieving this very important goal!

If you have been struggling with weight loss, or having difficulty finding the right combination of lifestyle change to achieve your goals, consider meeting with me for a consultation and assessment.  I will have you on track in no time!  (212) 947-7110 x290

I look forward to assisting you with your wellness goals! ~SG. 

INBF, Cardinal Classic 2010

by Sharon Gayle October 2, 2010

Cardinal Classic 2010 - Results

September 25th - Austintown, OH.

Stephanie Foley & George Hudzik's Mid-Western showdown!

Novice Figure
1. Amanda Symeonides (#6)
2. Michele Janosko (#5)
3. Tiffany Kreps (#7)
4. Malinda Koncar (#4)
5. Erica Perna (#1)
6. Barb Stindt (#3)
7. Cindy Hunter (#2)
Open Figure Short
1. Philita Wheeler (#8)
2. Judy DeShon (#10)
3. Danyelle Mastarone (#12)
4. Ann Fire (#9)
5. Natalie Willard (#13)
6. Deirdre Callahan (#11)
Open Figure Tall
1. Jennifer Moster (#15)*
2. Sabrina Davila (#16)
3. Katie Dernoshek (#17)
4. Diane Roskos (#14)
Master Figure
1. Judy DeShon (#10)
2. Ann Fire (#9)
3. Deirdre Callahan (#11)
4. Diane Roskos (#14)
5. Barb Stindt (#3)
Fit Body
1. Philita Wheeler (#8)*
2. Katie Dernoshek (#17)
3. Ann Fire (#9)
4. Sabrina Davila (#16)
5. Amanda Symeonides (#6)
6. Malinda Koncar (#4)
7. Erica Perna (#1)

Open Womens Bodybuilding
1. Rebecca Miller-Moore (#22)*
2. Dawn LaGamba (#19)
3. Karen Noble (#23)
4. Stephanie Scheel (#20)
5. Harriett Brown (#21)

Master Women Bodybuilding
1. Karen Noble (#23)
2. Harriett Brown (#21)

Mens Open Bantam
1. Scott Fanti (#26)
2. Matt Soeder (#24)
3. Justin Martin (#25)
Mens Open Lightweight
1. Terrell Campbell (#27)
2. Jeff Curtis (#28)
3. Kevin Ruse (#29)

Mens Open Middleweight
1. Patrick Sheehan (#31)
2. David Jones (#30)

Mens Open Light Heavy
1. Jerry House (#34)
2. Derrick Barthol (#32)
3. Keith Lara (#36)

Mens Open Heavy
1. Reginald Ruffin (#40)*
2. Nick Papania (#33)
3. Derek Natcher (#43)
4. Brian Mickens (#42)
5. John Cole (#63)
6. Christopher Rhoades (#38)
7. David Rice (#41)
8. Ben Hartman (#62)
9. Joey Walter (#37)
10. Jamie Panduren (#35)
11. Justin Cooper (#39)


Mens Novice Lightweight
1. Don DiGuardi (#48) (overall)
2. Steve Barron (#64)
3. Scott Clark (#52)
4. Tyler Elliott (#50)
5. Terry Hunter (#45)

Mens Novice Heavyweight
1. Seth Shaw (#46)
2. Jeff Anevski (#47)
3. Jeff Schultz (#49)
4. Gary Aussman (#44)
5. Mike Getten (#51)

Mens Masters 40+
1. Charles Whiteous (#55)*
2. Brian Mickens (#42)
3. David Rice (#41)
4. Bob Allen (#54)
5. Don DiGuardi (#48)
6. Jamie Panduren (#35)
7. Jeff Curtis (#28)
8. Terry Hunter (#45)

Mens Masters 50+
1. Jerry Merritt (#60)
2. Tim Gaunt (#61)
3. Gary Aussman (#44)

*Overall Division Winner

www.inbf.net (Amateur Division)