Join Me for “If Girls Ran The World” Virtual Running Event

if girls ran the world runner 2Today I am sharing a couple passions that are near and dear to my heart – 1) furthering the sport of women’s running for athletes of all abilities and 2) helping to give girls and women around the world the tools, skills and opportunities they need to live a safe, happy, healthy and abundant life. I’ve partnered with If Girls Ran the World, a non-profit running fundraising event to help put some wind (and hopefully a windfall of support) under the wings of these causes I so deeply care about.  It was truly an honor to be chosen as a Role Model for this program and work alongside so many talented and amazing women!

If Girls Ran the World Role Models

huger project girl eatingAs a fit foodie, the charity I’ve chosen to support is The Hunger Project, a strategic non-profit dedicated to the sustainable end of world hunger. Their vision is a world where every woman, man and child leads a healthy, fulfilling life of self-reliance and dignity. I love how this organization has used native WOMEN as key change agents in the more than 24,000 communities and rural villages they’ve worked in – women rock and they know how to get the job done!  I say, “Don’t stand in the way of a Mama Bear”!

During the entire month of October, members of my team (you can join) will commit to running as many miles as our hearts and legs lead us to. Please Register! You run on your time, at your pace, wherever and whenever it works for you. Whether you choose to walk 1 mile or run 10 miles or 1,000 miles, you set your own goal and pace. It’s easy and fun, you can use fitness tracking apps like Strava or MapMyFitness to track your miles or enter manually. Challenge yourself. Run often. Run happy. Run to feel good. Run to do good. This isn’t a competition, it’s a beautiful cause! This is important, EMPOWERING WOMEN AND GIRLS IS IMPORTANT. And, it’s also a nice side effect that we’re all out there exercising!

if girls ran the world jenniferlI hesitate “hit” y’all up for a donation, but you can still register (use BFF for 50% of the $25 fee) and join my team. Once you read through mission of If Girls Ran The World and The Hunger Project, I’m pretty sure you’ll want to chip in a bit. It doesn’t have to be a lot – even $5 or $10 would help me get to my goal.

Register for the Virtual Running Event (you don’t even have to run) and then head over to align yourself with Team Jennifer – TheFitFork.Com . Don’t forget to use code BFF to save 50% — which makes the event only $12.50 – in addition to doing good, you get the opportunity to take part in weekly fitness and fundraising challenges with prizes such as an Oiselle prize pack, a Fitbit Blaze, a year supply of Kind Snacks, Hoka One One shoes, a $500 donation to your cause of choice, and more. Plus if you personally commit to raising $250, you get some cute swag!  Drop a comment or email me at jennifer@thefitfork.com if you have any questions (the sign up process is a little confusing since there are a couple steps).

Thank you so much for reading all the way through and for your consideration of this important cause!  If you have troubles signing up or joining my team, please send me a message. Love ya! XOXO – Jennifer

Rise & Grind – Benefits of Exercise and Eating Well in the Morning

7 Benefits of Morning Exercise

As tempting as it is to repeatedly hit the snooze button, check out these seven worthy reasons to workout, run or just get up and get your body moving early in the morning. Of course, if you can’t workout first thing, any time of the day is better than skipping!

Dodge Distractions: When you exercise early, it’s the first thing marked off your “to-do” list. Unforseen opportunities and obligations later in the day, like an unexpected dinner date or working late to meet deadline, can foil even the best-intentioned plan to workout or run.

Elevate Mood: Exercise, any time of the day, instructs the body to release mood-boosting, energizing endorphins the brain. Why not get your workout or “runner’s high” before the rooster crows and enjoy being in this happy place all day long?!

Improve Productivity: Exercise makes you feel more energetic through the day and also increases the release of serotonin, which leads to enhanced mental clarity. Chasing down these two perks early in the early hours just might make your day a whole lot more efficient and awesome.

Boost Calorie Burn: Calories continue to be torched at an increased rate for a couple hours (and in some instances, as long as 10 to 24 hours) after exercise. It makes much more sense to kick up your metabolism sooner rather than later to burn more quickly through the food you are eating all day.

Snooze More Soundly:  It seems contrary, but research shows that people who wake up early to exercise get more sleep in the long run over those who schedule their sweat sessions in the evening. That’s because exercising at night raises your core temperature, heart rate and adrenaline levels to a degree that makes it hard to wind down and fall asleep.

Beat the Big Crowds: Face it, the gym and many running trails get pretty packed right after the work whistle blows. If you hit it early enough, you won’t have to wait in line for your favorite piece of gym equipment or knock elbows and trip over dog leashes on a jog.

Bragging Rights: Telling friends and colleagues “I’ve already run 6 miles and done 50 pushups this morning” totally trumps “Hmm, I might go workout later today.”

Body By Breakfast 5 Reasons You Need a Morning MealEqually important to morning exercise is a good breakfast, I’ve talking about the importance of eating a morning meal so many times in the past — especially one that is protein packed to help taxed muscles recover and fight off the “hangries” until lunch.

calcium). This could vary slightly on the protein powder you are using.If I’m in a hurry,I typically grab a Core Power High Protein Shake out of my gym bag, but if I have a few minutes at home I like to whip a quick recipe like my Lemon Raspberry Protein Mug Muffin or another protein-packed breakfast recipe up my sleeve.

 

Do you workout in the morning? Is it a struggle or are you an natural early-bird? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

 

 

5 Ways Balance Fitness and Life + #prAnaSpringStyle

5 Ways to Balance Fitness & LifeIt’s now unofficially spring, how are those New Year’s goals progressing? Whether it’s general health and wellness, getting in bikini shape, or nailing a specific fitness goal on your list, I bet there has been hurdle or two in the road. Or, at least there has been for me!  Work obligations, family duties, a defeatist attitude and even the weather are obstacles that can get in the way of accomplishing your daily workout. Thankfully with the temperatures warming up, we can all get outside and move when and where we like and enjoy the feel-good mojo some good old-fashioned, natural vitamin D sunshine!  So, if your fitness good intentions have been waning loately (or weren’t even there at all), get back on track with these

5 Ways to Balance Fitness & Life.

1) Be Efficient: Have a game plan, don’t just show up at the gym and wander around aimlessly trying to decide what to do. I’ve seen focused people get a more solid and productive workout in 20 minutes than lollygaggers do in 2 hours.  High intensity activities like running, CrossFit, interval training, and rowing can all get you big gains with low time commitment.

 2) Be Sneaky: Use little bits of down time to fit in fitness. For example, do a few isometric exercises in the car while you wait for the light to turn green or close the office door and bust out some burpees.  Even if you pass up your after work run for a marathon of the latest television show, don’t fast-forward through the commercials – get up and move for the duration. Everything adds up and something is better than nothing!

3) Be on a Schedule – Don’t just “pencil” your workouts in, use permanent ink! While that may not be completely realistic in light of the constantly changing demands of life, it is good to have a general idea of when and where you are going to accomplish a sweat session.  When an activity is “on the books,” there is accountability and it becomes much easier to arrange other obligations around the workout or say “no” to things you deem less important.

4) But, Be Flexible – I’m not talking flexible as in bendy (although that’s good too, so try some yoga!), but as in adaptable when fate doesn’t seem to want to allow for a run or workout.  Sometimes “the schedule” gets put in total override; so view your workout as not “lost forever” but temporarily postponed and/or altered. Instead of running 5 miles in the morning, climb the stairs for 5 minutes every hour at work or knock out high-intensity intervals (like burpees, jumping jacks and air squats) while your kiddos are finishing up piano lessons.

5) Be Ready:  Because squeezing in workouts can sometimes be unpredictable, I always wear clothing that allows for a wide range of movement and is moisture-wicking. If your lifestyle doesn’t allow for wearing yoga pants or running shorts all day (haha), then keep a fully-stocked gym bag in the car at all times. Don’t forget your athletic shoes, swimsuit, sunglasses and yoga mat – you never know what opportunity will arise!

jen and lucy prana

I also wanted to share about prAna,  one of my all-time favorite brands that fits with my healthy, active, fun-loving lifestyle (and what you’ll find on my bod or in my bag to meet Tip No. 5). I feel so lucky that my “job” doesn’t require me to wear stuffy suits and high heels, another benefit of being your own boss! I’m on-the-go all day, from fitness class to famer’s market to coffee-shop client meeting and need clothes that are functional, but also fabulous and free-spirited. PrAna meets all my look-good-play-hard needs, plus all the pieces I own can be tossed right into the washer and dryer.

Kara Jean at prAna.com use discount code PSSS16TFF to save 15%For example, these Kara Jeans may just be the best pair of jeans I’ve ever owned – they fit true to size, are flattering, have a bit of stretch to accommodate the daily leaping, lounging, lifting and impromptu yoga poses in my life. Plus, they come in 11 different colors and patterns!

 

Kara Jean at prAna.com use discount code PSSS16TFF to save 15%

Another reason to love prAna is their mindfulness to where and how their beautiful clothes are made. Their creations are made with organic cotton, wools and hemp – and even recycled polyester and repurposed down feathers. They are stalwarts of sustainability, traceability, and fair trade practices and, since 2012, have partnered with bluesign® to ensure that the materials in the clothes I’m putting on my body meet the highest human safety and environmental standards.

Cali Sundress from prAna.com use discount code PSSS16TFF to save 15%I also added another prAna sundress to my spring wardrobe, I already have four or five of their dresses, they are just so very cute and versatile.  This one is the Cali Dress and it’s available in a variety of solid colors and prints (mine is Safari Guava) – I can’t wait to wear it and feel warm rays on my shoulders!

Whether you are a yogi, climber, runner, traveler, suburban mom or urban warrior, you’ll discover must-have clothing that helps turns any day, every day into the BEST DAY and gears you up to fit fitness in wherever you may be! Check out the new #prAnaSpringStyle for yourself! You can use my Discount Code PSSS16TFF to save 15% at prAna.com plus Free Shipping on orders $99 or more .

Five Ways to Balance Fitness and LifeSo, how are you balancing fitness and life? What is your biggest obstacle? Have you ever found a skinny jean that is perfect? What is your favorite yoga pose? Share any or all in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

This post was sponsored by Fit Approach on behalf of prAna. All opinions and enthusiasm are my own.  

Motivational Confidence “Uppers” for Life, Love . . . and Sports

The Importance of Confidence -

I’m an UPPER, not a DOWNER. I’d love for you to read the guest post I wrote for Vim & Vigr about “Self-Love” and discover how I stay UP on myself.   When my friends at this awesome active brand asked me to share, I’m pretty sure they scored the Queen of Loving Yourself – I mean, have you seen my Instagram Profile?!!

Instagram @TheFitFork

What other people think of me is none of my business.  Inspirational QuoteI’m half kidding when I say that and half not — it takes a good dose of chutzpah and big brazen cajones to put yourself out there for everyone to judge!  But, it doesn’t really matter what other people think about me, just what I think about me. Of course, God’s opinion of me matters and then, to a degree, my family and very closest friends, but otherwise what other people think of me is none of my business (haha)!   This once shy and self-doubting young girl is now an unabashed confidence queen – read the post “I’m Not Embarrassed to Say I LOVE Me” and find out how I get my mind and body in the right place to achieve my sports, family, work and life goals!

I will not Self Doubt - motivational inspirational quoteI have never been much of a sugar-coated quotes type of person or someone who wants to sit around all day and talk about feelings – especially when daylight’s burning and I want to run, workout or practice yoga. However, during these alone times my mind is freed up to reflect on personal mantras (this is one) and focus on popular motivational sayings – I find this to be a productive way to pull up my confidence when it is sagging.

Here is a collection of “Confidence Uppers” I curated for Mode Media – hopefully one or two of these quotes will inspire you as much as they did me!

Check out Confidence Uppers For Life, Sports & Self-Love

by The Fit Fork at Mode

onfidence & Humility above all else - motivational inspirational quote

What quote, mantra or what-have-you boosts you confidence? Do you have a favorite I didn’t mention?  Who is the most confident (in a good way) person you know, what makes them that way?  Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer  

This post sponsored by Mode Media, but all opinions, thoughts, ideas and kick-butt awesomeness are my own. 

How to Push Past a Running Plateau

How to kick through a running plateau. Whether you are fairly fresh into running or well-seasoned in the sport, you have may have experienced a plateau stage where athletic performance seems staler than, well, a week-old donut. Who wouldn’t want to be on a permanent upward trajectory, setting PRs at every race and nailing mileage on every single run? But, that’s just not humanly possible. All runners, even professionals, find themselves stuck in a rut on occasion. Instead of dismay, disappointment and threats to “throw in the towel,” look at a running plateau as an opportunity to analyze and overcome any issues that may be holding you back.

Use strength training as a tool to prevent injury and break through a running plateau.

Supplement with Strength Training: Contrary to what many runners believe, strength training doesn’t make you bulky or heavy on your feet. Stick with lighter weights (add more reps) and bodyweight exercises to add lean and mean muscle that will improve your stride and overall fitness, busting you right out of a running rut. While beneficial, don’t only focus on squats and other lower-body movements. A strong core and arms are also beneficial for running.

Avoid Over-Training:  It makes sense that gains in speed and endurance won’t be seen if hard work isn’t put in. But, too much of a good thing can also keep you down. Over-training has significant mental and physical symptoms that can keep you from reaching your goals — increased heart rate, poor recovery, loss of motivation (or obsessive fixation) and more. If you think over-training may be the culprit, swap out a workout for complete rest, cardio cross-training or just run lightly with a friend for fun (no watch).

Mix Up the Motion: Human bodies become better, stronger and faster when asked to constantly adapt. That means you can’t hit “replay” on your runs day after day. Mix up your running with a variety of speed work including short intervals, long intervals, mixed intervals and more. Also, running on varied terrain improves fitness, so run hills, stairs and trails every now and then. Try something new, other than a road race — for example, trail running and Spartan races are fun and “mix up the motion.”

Hit the Snooze Button: Part of a runner’s ability to recover and get back at it the next day is based on logging quality sleep. In non-REM deep sleep, blood pressure drops, breathing slows, the brain is at rest and increased blood supply becomes available to deliver oxygen and nutrients to restore muscle tissue. Additionally, the pituitary gland releases growth hormone which helps muscle recover and supports muscle gains. Too little sleep can cause growth hormone to be held back – you don’t want that! So, either go to bed earlier, wake up later or sneak in a nap when you can.

Use Food as Fuel: Eating junk food and other highly-processed foods and drinking alcohol are like putting regular gas in a top-of-the-line sports car. It’s just not what to do for optimal performance. An occasional splurge is fine, but for the most part, eating a variety of foods that are as unprocessed and naturally colorful as possible is the best bet for your health. Also, while complex carbohydrates are an essential source of quick energy, the importance of protein shouldn’t be overlooked. Don’t skimp on protein, the healthy fats, amino acids and other important vitamins, minerals and nutrients found in protein offer sustained energy and muscle recovery.

Have you ever found yourself stuck in a running rut? What did you do to move forward? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer 

Linking Up With: Happy Fit Mama, The Fit Foodie Mama, Hello to Fit, Fairy Burger , Jill Conyers

5 Ways to Get 10,000 Steps a Day

Garmin vivofit 2 will help you get your 10,000 steps per day!Have you jumped on the bandwagon and purchased a fitness tracker? I resisted for a while, knowing I am more than active enough will all the running, sports and here-and-thereing I do on a daily basis. However these devices are handy little tools for accountability, have neat features like heart rate and sleep tracking, and even have a social aspect that can connect you with other like-minded movers (like Garmin Connect)!

So, I caved and snapped one on my wrist, the vívofit 2 by Garmin. Love it!  In addition to tracking steps, two of the features I really appreciate are the sleep tracking and the heart rate monitoring – two important data sets that help me optimize my athletic performance. There are so many other features that you can see on the handy backlit display to see how many steps you’ve taken, distance traveled, calories burned, overall time and more.

Garmin vivofit 2

Garmin vivofit 2 can be customized to fit your mood with a variety of spare bands.Plus, with a 1+ year battery, it’s a no-brainer – you just put it on and go about living your life, no worries about charging up every couple days.

Oh, and vívofit 2 has a 5 ATM (50m) water rating2, which means you can jump in the shower or swim with no stress of ruining – isn’t that awesome?! And with different colored accessory bands, you can be fashionably fit and have a different look for all of your moods!

Here are five ways for you to get the recommended 10,000 steps in per day:

5 Ways to Reach 10,000 Steps per Day

Walk your kids to school. Our elementary school is a little over a mile away. That means two round trip jaunts (morning and afternoon) equals 5 miles or 10,000 steps!  Plus, the side benefits of walking children to school are more quality time spent together, a chance to chat with teachers and neighbors, and a reduction in the environmental impact (and just plain traffic jam nightmare) of being stuck in the carpool lane.

Walk your dog. Many of today’s pooches are couch potatoes, which is a shame considering our canine friends are innately designed to be working, moving and exercising. Depending on your pet’s age, breed and fitness level, vets suggest walking your dog for 10 to 30+ minutes while monitoring your pet for signs of overheating or fatigue. A brisk 30 minute walk will get you about 5,000 steps – so, twice a day and you’ve met your step goals for the day!

Schedule power hour breaks. Whether you are working at home or in the office, set a timer (or use the move bar feature on the vívofit 2 activity tracker) and take a 1,000 step “time out”  – this approximate ½ mile break takes less than 10 minutes of your time. Do this a couple times in the morning and a couple times in the afternoon, in addition to the remainder of your normal walking and you should read a 10k step goal.

Take the Road Less Traveled. Take the stairs rather than the elevator, park in the back of the parking lot, take the long way to the park or leave your desk early for the morning meeting and wind through all the hallways on your way to the company conference room. There are many ways to sneak in extra steps towards your 10k goal – you’d be surprised at how fast they all add up if you are just a little bit for “inefficient”!

Go big with a workout. Tackle all of your steps and more with a daily workout that includes some running, walking or other aerobic activity. A 5 mile walk or run (broken up or in one chunk) gets you to a 10k goal, although with some variance for stride length. Check out this chart on “step equivalents” that shows you how many steps per hour for different types of activities and sports.

Do you wear an activity or step tracker? What are some of the creative ways you fit more steps into your day? Please share in the comments below, XOXO -Jennifer

This post was sponsored by Garmin through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about vívofit 2, all opinions are my own.

 

Soccer Strong Workout, Injury Prevention + Giveaway

Fear Nothing. Give Everything.  I love this attitude of Storelli Sports, a really awesome company that makes next-gen sports protection gear for professional and amateur athletes.

TheFitFork.com SoccerThis company’s main market is soccer; you know how crazy those soccer players get – I’m being serious! Bodies crashing into each other, dives onto the turf, abrupt lateral movements, unwanted head-to-head, body-to-goal or ground contact and more.   I’ve got a kiddo who plays soccer (or you may call it football) – he also is into the rough and tumble sports of lacrosse and American football. So, it’s safe to say that sports injury prevention is always on my mind.

Storelli Next Generation Soccer Injury Prevention Gear

All this thrashing about on the soccer field sort of sounds like a day spent doing Spartan or another obstacle course race – and I’m thinking that some of their products may help me give 110% at my next race with  less worry of bumps, bruises, cuts, contusions and concussions. Yeah, that’s right I said concussion – the perfect reason to wear the Storelli ExoShield Head Guard, a comfortable and stylish soccer head guard that reduces incidence of cuts and bruises on covered areas . . . and may help lessen risk for concussion.

goose egg advilPlease note that there is no conclusive evidence on the concussion reduction, but I say “better safe than sorry,” seeing as I have given myself a concussion RUNNING (it was an epic fall) and also at the last Spartan Beast I slid through the mud and into a tree limb for a beauty of a  goose egg (and thankfully nothing worse).

Honestly, the Storelli ExoShield Head Guard (below) is so comfortable and weighs only about 8 ounces; you’ll quickly forget you’re armored up!

Storelli Soccer Head GuardStorelli Soccer Injury Prevention Gear

The BodyShield FP Sleeveless Undershirt makes you look like an intimidator showing off those guns and also offers innovative technology to help control long passes with the chest, along with protection on the ribs, to reduce the impact caused by physical clashes with opponents.  You may like this armor for trapping hard shots and reducing rebounds, I’m making sure my son wears this to every match. And then, I’m going to steal it out of his gym bag on race day to really help protect my chest and ribs as I hurl myself up onto some of the 10 foot walls on an obstacle course race or army crawl my body over craggy rocks.

Here is a great video rundown on how Storelli Soccer Gear can help you if you play a field position (also a video for goalie).

Did you know 50 percent of soccer players miss at least one game a year because of injury?  Wow, that’s half of the players out there, don’t let it be you — #InjuriesSuck .  Head over to Storelli Sports and check out their next generation soccer protection gear – right now you can get $10 off a purchase when you sign-up for the Storelli newsletter.

I also have a Soccer Strong Workout that will help keep you in tip-top shape for a healthy and productive season.

soccer strong workout

Do you or your kids play soccer”? Have you ever been sidelined with an injury in any sport? What preventative measures do you take to stay injury-free? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer

5 Minute Plank Workout + Prevention R3 Summit

Planks can be compared to eating your veggies or brushing your teeth. You don’t have to like doing it, you just need to get the job done — and it only takes a few minutes per day. Just like vegetables or proper oral hygiene, planks are a great way to look good, feel good, improve your overall health — and attract new friends!  Ha ha!Jennifer Fisher plank outside

hood to coast planking with emilyHolding the plank position may look like child’s play, but don’t let the simplicity of this no-equipment, body-weight exercise give you a false sense of bravado.

Planks are hard and humbling. I’ve seen planks that can make grown men and women cry.  Recruit a friend to make the pain more fun!

Core strength, balance and flexibility are just some of the benefits you’ll gain from practicing a plank – plus, you’ll stand taller, straighter and prouder! Who am I to judge if you want to pull up your shirt to show off new found abs and obliques. In addition to the abdominals, other muscle groups used include those in the back, chest, shoulders, and neck. Getting into the plank position helps to loosen up hamstrings (lordy, I need that) as well as calves and arches of the feet. Planks also demand concentration and a focus on balance to keep from toppling over, especially in some of the advanced variations.

5 Minute Plank WorkoutBeing able to hold an abdominal plank for two minutes (with good form) is an indicator of good fitness.  Remember to tuck in rear end push belly button up, keeping a straight line from the top of your head to the back of your heels. Try my 5 Minute Plank Workout either in the morning or at the end of your next gym session. It’s just 5 minutes so no excuses, plus you’ll love the results after a few weeks! If you can’t hold the planks for the recommended amount of time, just lower into a resting position until ready to tackle the next one.

Or, try the whole five minutes at once, no variations to break it up — just go for it!

Also, I wanted to tell you to save the date! Prevention Magazine’s third annual R3 Summit is returning to Austin on Jan 15-16. I’ve been the first two years and can’t wait to go back to this health and wellness conference to learn new ways to take action when it comes to my health and happiness ((R3 = Revive, Refresh, and Reinvent).

Henna Tattoo R3 Summit AustinR3 is an award winning 1 ½-day long experiential event taking place this year at ACL Live at Moody Theater. Guests enjoy a wide scope of wellness workshops, fitness classes, tastings and health and beauty consultations – there is something for everyone and keep an open mind because you may discover something amazing that you never thought was for you – last year I was blown away by the Reiki healing and the artistry of the women doing henna tattoos.

But, you know I was also all about the clean eating demonstrations and meeting the celebrity chefs. I also “competed” in a wild tuna cook off!

TheFitFork Wild Planet Cook Off R3 Summit

Confirmed speakers for the 2016 R3 Summit in Austin on Jan 15-16 are:

  • Dr. Travis Stork -Emmy®‐nominated host of the award-winning talk show, The Doctors, and a board-certified emergency medicine physician
  • Lizzie Velasquez -motivational speaker, author and activist, A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story
  • Chad Sarno -culinary media spokesperson for Whole Foods Market and VP of Plant-Based Wellness of Rouxbe Online Culinary School
  • Monica Pope -James Beard nominated Houston Chef and Restauranteur, Top Chef Masters
  • Mary Joan Cunninghman – #ThrivewithMS
  • Dr. Mark Hyman – nine-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, practicing family physician and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate

Save $20 on a weekend  pass by using discount code PVNR3AUFORK  at check out on the registration site.  If you’re going to be there, let me know so that we can plan a meet up!

So, do you plank? Have you ever been to Austin? Ever had a henna tattoo? Ever had your tongue read (oh, that’s a whole other post!)? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer