I don’t usually do a “5 for Friday” shoutout, but this week has been full of so many interesting, fun, amazing things that I though I should. Then, I realized I had excessively more than 5 things to share – so, you’re getting “15 for Friday!” I’m talking about everything from amazing eco-wellness products from Shiftcon, the lotions I put on my face, a really cool app-based, customized meal delivery service, my latest ambassadorships, the 3M Half Marathon, mystery excitement news, and more! You have to read on to find out all the deets!
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!
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.
Being 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).
R3 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!
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
Hard, soft, puffy, or wrapped in lettuce, I have spicy, hot taco love. Wow, that sounds a little naughty, but who cares — it’s National Taco Day on Sunday, October 4th! Just wanted to give you a heads up and share some of my favorite taco recipes (and taco-inspired takeoffs) for breakfast lunch and dinner!
- Baja Taco Avocado Bowls
- Pomegranate Steak Tacos with Blue Cheese
- Ancho Mama’s Pot Roast Tacos
- Brisket Tacos with Watermelon BBQ Sauce
- Corn, Black Bean & Zucchini Tacos
- Lightened Beef Taco Pasta Bake
Also, who doesn’t love a BEEF taco, they’re some of the best — spice up a traditional grind or make tacos with your leftover steak. I also like to put a chuck roast in the slow cooker and make fork-tender shredded beef for Taco Tuesday (and every other day of the week)! You can check out the Beef Taco Roundup I did for the Beef Loving Texans Blog, I’m sure you’ll find a new favorite — maybe even my own recipe for Pomegranate Steak Tacos with Blue Cheese .
And, since I talk so often about the badassery of beef, please head over to check out Texas Stories — Tales of beef-raising and beef-loving folks across the Lone Star State. You’ll get to meet some of the faces behind beef here in my home state — ranchers, chefs, barbecue experts, health advocates — and me! Such an honor!
How will you be celebrating National Taco Day? What is your favorite taco — or the craziest one you’ve ever tried? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer
I have been in a running rut for about a year and a half. With more than 25 years of running behind me, this isn’t the first time I’ve felt stale and unmotivated about running – but it’s definitely the longest lull in my love for the sport. I’ve implemented many of the rut-busting running tips that experts recommend – heck, I pretty much am an expert, for what it’s worth. I’ve reduced my mileage and taken rest and recovery seriously, varied my race distances and cut back on racing, adjusted my goals and added variety to my routine with other fitness activities like CrossFit and yoga. But, nope, still not having that warm fuzzy about running –especially racing.
I decided to enter the Spartan race when it rolled into Austin a couple weekends ago to “try something new.” I really had no expectations. Primarily, because I had never done an obstacle race before and didn’t know what to expect. And, also because I knew there would be no benchmark for comparison that my overly self-competitive mind could obsess over. I couldn’t “lose,” be let down or feel like a failure, because this race (I convinced myself) was just a fleeting novelty that I wasn’t really that invested in.
Oooh, comparison is the thief of joy, there is so much truth to that statement and I have robbed myself of many positive race experiences because I have tried to measure up with many things – my past abilities, other’s talents, and such.
So, I just went out to Spartan and soaked up the big AROO at the start. Took off and just did my thing. For the first time in a long time I enjoyed the challenge and burn of the course and that feeling that I might not live to see the finish line but down deep know I will. I took the challenges one by one and made it – I didn’t stop to think how well someone else may or may not being doing it compared to how I was performing. I just tore through the course like I was on a fast and fun mission.
I jumped through the fire obstacle and into the pond and was grinning ear-to-ear about the experience. I knew I was near the front of my heat, but didn’t know or care what my finish time was – it wouldn’t have meant anything compared to my PRs in the marathon or a 5k. I couldn’t compare! I took my finishers medal (the one’s I usually scoff at a marathon) and slung on the bling everyone gets with pride. Actually, in this pic I have it off because I had just entered a post-race pull-up contest and didn’t want to be weighed down – lol!
That’s right, I kicked these challenges right in the butt and busted out of my running rut in the process. Of course, I’m dying to run another obstacle race ASAP – but also feel like I have a renewed mood to race on the road again and have my eye of the tiger back. Whahoo!
The next day when I checked the results, it did knock my socks off a little that I was 2nd Overall in the women – I totally didn’t see that coming. In some ways I wish I didn’t even know that. I’ll take it gladly, but it didn’t make me any happier or more joyful about finishing the race. And maybe that’s the biggest lesson learned coming out of this rut – just enjoy each experience for what it is and not worry so much about the past or future. Aroo!
So, have you ever run a Spartan race? From now until May 27, 2015, they are having a special promotion where you can save up to $40 dollars on a race. That’s a nice chunk of change to save – I’m going to spend my savings on arm sleeves to keep the elbow scrapes away and extra Q-tips for cleaning out my ears – lol!
Also, I’m reposting this Obstacle Course workout I put together for Core Power High Protein Shakes a while back!
So, what are your experiences with obstacle course races or breaking out of a fitness rut? Please share in the comments!!!!
Why am I jumping the in bluebonnets? Well, for a couple reasons – it’s finally spring and the sun is OUT, the 5-week CrossFit Games Open is OVER (mini recap below) and I have a snappy new pair of running shoes to keep my feet happy and hopping.
First, let me tell you about the shoes – love them! They are called Puma Ignite, a super responsive running shoe that features cushioning to disperse impact while providing energy return to help make me faster. Usain Bolt wears them, so enough said! The uppers are not only attractive and available in a range of color combos, but these shores are made with lightweight materials to provide a super comfort with a light ride – the average weight is 8 ounces. As a neutral and efficient runner, I often run in really light shoes for speed work and shorter tempo runs – but definitely enjoy the little extra oomph of these Puma Ignites for everyday runs through the neighborhood and logging lots of miles on the road. I’ve also worn these shoes to the gym and Crossfit and have found them to provide enough cushioning combined with flexibility for explosive box jumps, burpees and jumping rope.
Speaking of CrossFit, here’s my quick rundown on the 2015 Crossfit Games Open that just ended a week ago. First of all, I swallowed my pride and I decided to compete in the new scaled division this year and am so glad I did. Last year, in a couple of the RX’d WODs, I just plain ran into a wall where I physically could not perform the task – mainly, I’m talking about the heavier Olympic lifting. For example, last year I remember on the deadlift ladder, I knocked off the sets of 95lb, 135lb and even 155lb deadlifts, but then had to just stand there and watch the clock tick away helplessly because there was no way I could deadlift 185 lbs once, let alone the 20 times I needed to get back to the box jumps.
So, my point here is that in the scaled division I was actually able to get after it in the workouts for a maximum personal effort – that made it much more fun (if one can call quivering quads, raw palms and sore-for-days shoulders “fun”)! It was still HARD! The exiting part is that at the end of the five weeks, I actually placed 12th in the South Central states region in my age group and even won 1st in the 15.3 WOD! My worst workout by far (and really hurt me in the rankings) was the 15.1B where after completing a full workout, you immediately had to get the bar overhead with a max load. I never expected how trashed my arms would be and I really failed on this one – I also rarely try to PR any of my lifts (usually just keeping everything low with lots of reps). Next year I know what I need to focus on!
Are you ready to IGNITE your next workout? I’ve put together this Don’t Stop (Ignite Your Fight) Workout that will test your stamina and strength, both mental and physical. Don’t stop, don’t give up half way through — you’ll be on fire, but in a good way! Also, check out the Puma Ignite running shoes if you are looking for a great pair that will take you from a morning run to an afternoon at the gym.
Do you wear the same shoes for running and working out — or do you buy activity-specific footwear? Please share in the comments!
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of PUMA.
Looking for a delicious dessert that celebrates some of the fall season’s favorite flavors without making your clean-eating conscience scream in horror? My recipe for Caramel Crunch Apple Nachos is an easy-to-make, fun-to-eat sweet treat that is perfect for a Halloween party, harvest hoedown or any autumn-themed entertaining. I’m planning on making this no-cook recipe again soon as a sensible snack for movie night – since it’s October, I’m planning a classic horror movie marathon with my three teenage boys. With so many apple choices at the market this time of year, this recipe is the perfect time to try that new variety – use just one type of apple or as many kinds of apples as you like in this fruit recipe.
- 4 large apples, any variety (about 2 pounds)
- 8 oz. light caramel dip from produce section (I used Litehouse brand)
- 1 cup favorite granola (with or without nuts)
- ¼ cup mini chocolate chips
1. Cut apples crosswise into ¼” slices. Remove seeds and core from center with paring knife.
2. In microwave safe bowl, heat caramel until warmed and easier to drizzle, about 30 – 45 seconds from room temperature.
3. Layer half of apples on a plate and drizzle with 4 oz. of caramel dip. Sprinkle on ½ cup granola and 2 tablespoons chocolate chips.
4. Layer remaining apple slices on top of caramel-granola-chocolate mixture and then add on remaining toppings.
I also wanted to share with you a book that I’ve been reading – in fact, my running testimonial is featured! The just-published book is called The Running Revolution (How to Run Faster and Farther for Life) and is written by Dr. Nicholas Romanov, a two-time Olympic coach and world-renowned sports scientist known for the Pose Method. When applied to running, the Pose Method® marries gravity, key body position (pose), body weight, support, and change of support into a comprehensive technique that maximizes natural body mechanics, increases performance and reduces risk for injury. I’ve blogged a bit before about what Pose Method has done for me in the last five years and I’m admittedly lucky to have Dr. Romanov’s coaching protégé, Valerie Hunt, as my long-time running partner. I’d chomping at the bits to share more about foot strike, pulling not pushing, “falling” and more, but I also want you to check out the book and come to your own conclusions.
What is your favorite fall time dessert?
Are you a heel-striker, mid-foot striker or forefoot striker when it comes to running?
Okay, it was awkward and humiliating enough to be in sixth grade let alone be denied the glory of one the most significant demonstrations of mental and physical strength I have accomplished to date. I’m talking about “sitting on the wall” or as some people used to call it back in the day, “Sampson’s Chair” – and I was a champion. If you look beyond the clumsy legs that were at the time too long for my body and the bookworm personality (and also ignore the 70s style angel-sleeve shirt and Tony Tennille haircut), what lurked inside my heart was a 12 year old girl who wasn’t going to give up – NO MATTER WHAT!
My elementary school had an annual Olympics for the 6th graders and I was out to win the wall sit – gymnastics had made my legs pretty strong and I didn’t have any reason to think I couldn’t match the previous year’s record of 25 minutes. Well, I hung in there for 1 hour and 36 minutes until the school nurse made me quit (apparently worried about the Arizona heat and all) . . . . I got my picture in the Tempe Daily News and, more importantly, got out of math and social studies class!
The event was so epic (notice the two boys feeling inferior in the background) that my teacher decided to submit it Guinness Book of World Records (notice the old fashioned typing and air-mail envelopes circa 1978). Anyway, although the record was “impressive,” Guinness did not choose to publish my notarized and media-confirmed “claim” because in 1978 the publisher decided that “wall sitting” didn’t have enough “widespread and preferably international” appeal to warrant creating such an inaugural entry. Well, fast-forward 11 years, I was casually flipping through the famous record book and came across a world record entry for Sampson’s Chair (wall sit) that had made it into print– some guy held the title for about 5 or so minutes LESS than me!
I was robbed and a flurry of air mail letters flew back and forth in protest (this was still before email)! In the end, because my head wasn’t in “exactly the same position” (uh, because I was posing for a picture, duh) my claim couldn’t compare to the record holder’s accomplishment – so they said. Apples to apples, I agree – but, I just think they didn’t want the tough looking dude with a snazzy uniform and digital clock overhead being upstaged by a little girl at recess. Oh well, I’m over it. REALLY – I’m over it, because apparently now the world record for “static wall sit” is over 11 hours!!!! Plus, I still have my trophy – and, it’s a true treasure because it’s from back in the day when kids didn’t get a trophy every time they showed up to be on a team or “participated” in an event. This one was EARNED with burning, quivering quads!
I still like to do this isometric exercise as a way to keep my legs strong for running, CrossFit and our ski trips in the winter. There are a ton of different variations – two of my favorites are Marching Wall Sits and Medicine Ball Wall Sits (above). For this med ball version, pick a ball that you can comfortably handle – probably somewhere between 6 to 12 pounds, depending on your arm strength. Keeping your back straight against the wall and legs bent into a 90 degree angle at the knee (with knees about 2 feet apart), grasp ball and lift straight in front of you with arms straight. Alternate rotating arms from left wall, back to center, and then to right wall. Do as many of these at an even pace as you can while holding the wall sit for 1 minute; repeat for three sets total. As you increase your strength extend the time of your sets – eg. 90 seconds, 120 seconds, etc.
So, are you ready for more? Fitfluential in conjunction with Reebok are having a Wall Sit Challenge for September – it’s not too late to get in on the action! Join the challenge on a special Facebook page and invite your friends – accountability is a huge part of getting through any challenge! There is also a giveaway for a pair of Reebok Nano 4.0s (I review them here) and a Reebok top or shorts. Use hashtag #FFWallSit on Twitter and Instagram to share your hard work and make new fitness friends!
Is this exercise in your repertoire, if not – what is your favorite leg exercise? Have you ever been unjustly treated in a sporting event? Would you just rather sit than wall sit? Let me know in the comments below:
I really love the Olympics and though I’m not usually a fan of sports spectating (I’d rather be doing it myself), this is always one epic event that I can’t bear to miss — my DVR is going to be working in overdrive. Thinking about the Sochi Winter Olympic Games got me feeling nostalgic for my role as a torchbearer for the XIX Winter Olympic Games — it’s hard to believe it was 12 years ago!
I wrote a post about my experience for Core Power; if you are interested, go check it out! Oh, by the way, this great company is the official protein drink of the Sochi Olympics! And right now you can get $5 off a case of Core Power through Amazon.com.
Olympic athletes aren’t the only ones who need a good workout. Pretty sure I’m never going to be bustin’ down the track and jumping into a bobsled, but I still want to stay in my version of gold-medal shape for all my amateur-hour adventures. I put together this fun but challenging workout in honor of the Winter Olympics past, present and future! I think you’ll FEEL THE BURN!
So, what is your favorite event to watch in the Winter Olympics? I get excited for Freestyle Skiing and Speed Skating!