All the Holiday Health Tips “Yule” Ever Need!

All the Holiday Health Tips "Yule" Ever NeedGuzzle before Goodies: Drink a big glass of water and, if the meal or party is going to start after a scheduled meal time, eat a protein bar or other small protein-rich snack (around 200 cal) to tide you over. Time after time, I’ve read “eat a meal before heading out” as this will fill you up so that will not be tempted to overindulge on drinks and goodies at a holiday party. Um, unless you have willpower of steel, this doesn’t work – at least not for me. I always end up giving in with the “what the heck, it’s only once a year mindset” and, while it’s okay to splurge every now and then, but having consumed a full dinner (even if deemed “healthy”) just means you’ve gotten a head start on over-eating.

The Gift of Protein: Make sure you are not just using your entire calorie budget on all the wonderful baked treats of the season at the expense of eating enough protein. While pancakes, homemade breads, cookies, pies and more deserve a little attention this time of year, you can’t fuel a healthy lifestyle without adequate protein. Aim to get at 25 to 30 grams at EVERY meal, starting with breakfast, and also a couple 10 gram-ish protein snacks if you’ve been active during the day. Research has shown that consuming adequately timed and spaced protein not only helps with muscle management, but can moderate hunger and help you avoid over-snacking later in the day or evening.

cutting-sheet-pan-maple-beef-sausageBy the way, you have to check out my new Sheet Pan Maple Beef Sausage recipe — it’s a less mess, less stress way to make a batch of protein for a holiday crowd. It tastes yummy and sure beats slinging bacon or links all morning.

Moderate your Mixology: Drink in moderation or, even better, don’t drink alcoholic beverages, heavy eggnogs or sugary punches at all. Wine, beer and other adult beverages are very high in carbs and calories, partying all night will take its toll in so many ways . . . I won’t preach. If and when I decide to have a drink, I limit myself to one and then turn to sparkling waters with a splash of juice or infused with fruit. I have also turned ONE drink, into two by halving the liquor or wine portion and topping off with a low-cal liquid.

Exercise Anywhere: Regardless whether stuck in a car travelling or in your mother-in-law’s lair, find a way to move about and sneak in a little exercise – even if just in 5 minute increments.  We always pull over every hour on the road (for potty stops) and to bust out some roadside jumping jacks and burpees – I’m not kidding.  When visiting relatives and out of your normal fitness routine, suggest that the group head out for a walk to see holiday lights or start up a friendly game of flag football. There are also lots of home workouts that need little or no equipment when snowed it. Also, check out my 40 Fitness Hacks for the Holidays or my Wrapping Paper Tube Workout  – a graphic below, but also a video (seriously)!

Wrapping Paper Roll Workout - TheFitFork.com

Let Go of the Guilt: Despite the tips, the biggest tip is to enjoy the season and the quality time with family and friends. Many of us striving to live in the healthiest way we know how, often forever deny some of our past pleasures. If you want a slice of chocolate cake, have it! If you want a steaming mug of strawberry honey white hot chocolate, have it! If you’ve missed a few days or even a week of  your normal workouts, fuggetabout it! We all deserve a break and time to recharge – a short time of splurging and relaxing over the holiday season isn’t going to set you significantly back (if at all).

What are your holiday plans?! What are you doing to stay active? What is your favorite splurge (mine is banana bread with absolutely no healthy modifications 😉 Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer  

Chai-Spiced Potato Muffin Bars are Spuds for Speed!

This post is sponsored by Potatoes USA  however all opinions, comments, recipes and enthusiasm are my own!

Potatoes are a healthy source of energy-providing carbs for the athlete.

Ever heard the expression “all meat and no potatoes”?

Ironically, this old-school insult means, “Dude, you’re fat!” But, many would probably assume the opposite in this high-protein diet world where we’re all freaking out over carbs. Yes, while protein is good, so are carbohydrates. I’m not talking about sugary or highly-processed carbs that are stripped of their inherent wholesomeness, I’m talking about complex carbohydrates – like the very healthy potato.

Can I get a virtual high-five for the potato?!

As a lifelong athlete, I’ve used potatoes as part of my training diet year after year. Potatoes are an on point food choice to help fuel an active lifestyle. Spuds for speed, that’s what I’ve always told people! Potatoes are packed with complex carbs to provide the energy my body and brain needs to train, compete and recover optimally. Because they are unearthed from the ground, potatoes are also a great source of minerals including potassium, iron and magnesium. Athletes need these things in abundance and that’s why potatoes are actually a common sight along the courses of ultra-marathons, Ironmans and century rides.Pull ups with a 10 lb bag of potatoes!Oh, and you can use a 10-lb. bag of potatoes for a pull-up challenge!

Other potato perks — they come in their own wrappers, are simple to cook, extremely versatile in recipes and are inexpensive – I just love the cleverness of Mother Nature! If you need a healthy,             balanced meal on the quick and cheap, it’s a loaded baked potato piled high with all the leftovers in your fridge for the win.

Pull up with 10 pound bag of potatoes

Another way I love to eat potatoes, just roasted in a pan with some olive oil.

If you’re getting bored with potatoes, think creatively. There are so many other ways to enjoy them than the traditional baked potato. Plus, there is a rainbow array of varieties including white, red, russet, yellow, purples, fingerlings and petite potatoes. While my go-to side dish the night before an endurance event is a simple baked potato with salt, I am way more potato crazy in the weeks leading up to a marathon or long beastly obstacle race. Mashed, minced, toasted, riced, pureed, grilled, spiralized, oven-fried … whew, I’m the Bubba Gump of potatoes.

Chai Spice Potato Muffin Bars

Today I’m sharing a unique and family-approved way to eat your potatoes that includes a healthy balance of protein – and, by the way, a medium (5.3 ounce) potato has more than 3g of protein on its own! My recipe for Chai-Spiced Potato Muffin Bars uses the fluffy innards of a baked potato along with Greek yogurt, eggs and a scoop of protein powder to create a marvelously moist “bar” that has the texture of a muffin. Each muffin bar has only 70 calories and no sugar, but 10 grams of energy-boosting carbs and more than 6 grams of protein. Plus, between the potato and protein powder, there’s no need to use any type of flour, other grain or filler, meaning these muffin bars are gluten-free.

Chai Spice Potato Muffin Bars are gluten-free, sugar-free and a smart way for runners, obstacle course racers, triathletes and other endurance athletes to fuel up and recover optimally.

I devour these Chai-Spiced Potato Muffin Bars for pretty much any occasion – breakfast, pre-workout fuel, post-workout recovery snack, and dolloped with fruity yogurt for a healthy dessert. I betcha these special spud snacks won’t last long at your house. That’s why I always bake two batches and freeze bars from the second batch individually in zip-top bags for grab-and-go munching – they are always thawed out after my workout!

Get spud smart and get more information about how potatoes power performance at PotatoGoodness.com/performance!

How are you putting potatoes on your plate? Favorite recipe? What’s the last endurance event  you tanked at? tanked at? Do you think you needed more carbs?! Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer

Chai Spice Potato Muffin Bars
Chai-Spiced Potato Muffin Bars
Print Recipe
Fuel your next run or workout with this nutritionally balanced energy bar that will optimize performance -- the potatoes provide healthy carbs for energy plus potassium for hydration.
Servings Prep Time
8 bars 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 bars 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Chai Spice Potato Muffin Bars
Chai-Spiced Potato Muffin Bars
Print Recipe
Fuel your next run or workout with this nutritionally balanced energy bar that will optimize performance -- the potatoes provide healthy carbs for energy plus potassium for hydration.
Servings Prep Time
8 bars 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 bars 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: bars
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375 F degrees.
  2. Wash and dry potatoes and pierce around sides with fork. Place in center of microwave and cook on high for approximately 4 minutes, or until yielding when squeezed and soft and fluffy inside. Cut in half, and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Using a tablespoon, scoop pulp of potato and place in blend, discarding skins. Add eggs, Greek yogurt and ¼ cup of the milk and blend until smooth. Next, pulse in vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, and white pepper until just combined.
  4. In small bowl, mix together baking soda, salt, white pepper, and protein powder. Pulse this mixture into the blender in batches until smooth, adding the additional milk if batter seems to thick.
  5. Prepare 9” x 9” rimmed baking pan with cooking spray. Pour in batter and bake for approximately 14 to 16 minutes or until turning lightly golden brown and toothpick pulls clean from the center. Let cool for 30 minutes and cut into 8 bars.
  6. Dust with additional cinnamon and a bit of powdered sugar, if desired.
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“Special Ks” Treadmill Run Workout for Marathon Training


This post is sponsored by Matrix Fitness, however, all opinions, exercise instruction and enthusiasm are my own.

Treadmill training got me through this race!In a perfect world, I would prefer to challenge my running abilities in the great outdoors, breathing in the fresh air, enjoying the scenery and practicing my fancy footwork on any obstacles thrown my way. However, all too often, 21st century life gets in the way of marathon training and outdoor adventuring like bounding up real rocky trails or jumping puddles in an intersection. But, sometimes the weather is just too bad, daylight has vanished or you’re traveling and worried about safety or getting lost on a run. That’s when a treadmill becomes a most welcomed tactic in your training battle plan.

Yeah, sure, die hard runners will train in the elements, whatever they may be – rain, sleet, ice and snow. While you should try to do this occasionally to acclimate for potential race day conditions, there is no reason to put yourself in harm’s way, Get struck by lightning or plowed down by a car that didn’t see you in a downpour and you’ll not be enjoying bananas, high-fives and a shiny new finisher’s medal at the end of your marathon. There’s no need to be a modern-day martyr and suffer needlessly to prove your toughness. Sometimes a little bit of comfort and convenience go a long way in nailing your marathon race goals.

So, for safety, convenience and comfort, I will frequently knock out my marathon training, especially the speedwork) on a treadmill. This also helps me when I don’t have a faster running buddy to help push the pace – the treadmill keeps me on task and working hard.   By the way, I’m a huge fan of the treadmills from MatrixFitness.com, more on that in a bit. Today, I’m sharing my “Special Ks” Treadmill Run Workout that will help you learn to battle fatigue in the later miles of a marathon. Building up this speed and endurance will make you unstoppable and unbreakable and undeniably more race ready than yesterday.

Remember to PIN THIS and make it part of your next marathon training cycle!

This Treadmill "Special Ks" Workout will get you marathon ready - perfect way to stay motivated and on task during bad weather, travel or stuck at home.

After finishing this nearly 7.5 “fast-faster-fastest” workout with very little rest in between 1k intervals, you’ll probably stop looking at the treadmill as the weenie way to get in your workout. A good treadmill can give you so many workout options that will challenge your stamina, raw strength and relentless grit. You just need to have access to a good treadmill (why not buy one for home use?!) and know the machine’s capabilities. As I mentioned, I like the treadmills from MatrixFitness.com and I have my eye on one with all the bells and whistles that makes a runner-geek like me feel woozy with excitement. My goal is to have my very own in-house by mid-December as a little early holiday present for myself. With as much as I spend on race entries, travel and other must-haves for my fitness lifestyle, I feel like this is justifiable purchase. Plus, I’m worth it – haha!

Matrix Treadmills are awesome for home use.

These Matrix treadmills aren’t at all like those puny, pathetic ones that can’t keep up with my relentless workout style. With heavy-duty frames, extra-thick decks and super durable cushions, and they hold up beautifully for miles and miles of “getting after it.” The high-def consoles make it easy to monitor the status of my sweat fest and many models offer cutting-edge functionality including entertainment options, preprogrammed workouts, data transfer popular exercise/fitness apps, Bluetooth connectivity and some even with Passport compatibility, a “visual booster” that puts HD destination athlete point-of-view landscape footage on your home big screen television.

I use a Matrix Elliptical for my running recovery days.

For recovery days, my body responds to “riding” a gentle, ergonomic elliptical machine – active recovery is so important people! Just think how amazing it would be to have an Elliptical sitting in the corner of your bedroom or basement ready and waiting for 20 minutes of active recovery the day after an intense workout.

Check out MatrixFitness.com to find out what model of treadmill or elliptical suits your needs – they have quite a few options to suit your price point, space availability and workout needs. It’s an investment in staying fit and strong for life!

What percentage training do you do on a treadmill? What is your main reason for running on a treadmill?  Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer

10 Holiday Gift Ideas For Fit Foodies

Okay, this may seem like a random collection of Christmas and holiday gifts, but trust me the fitness-minded foodie on your list is sure to love one or all. I mean, is there anything else to life more than working out, running, eating, sleeping, and repeating?! Seriously, though! 10 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Fit Foodie

Spartan Race Gear – Head to the Spartan  Race Shop for some great holiday deals. Since my husband recently completed his first Trifecta, I nabbed him some Trifecta Tribe gear for Christmas – not only did I get the daily deal sale they had going on, but also got free shipping with the code FREESHIP – YAY!

spartan-gift-guide

Spartan Fit Book – An new book by Spartan Race founder, Joe De Sena, is a must-read for the obstacle course racer in your life. This essential training book includes a 30 fitness and diet plan to get you in shape for a Spartan Sprint or just a healthier, more fit life. No gym needed! Order HERE

spartan-fit-book

The Original Worm Looking for another holiday gift that will worm it’s way into the heart of the recipient? How about The Original Worm?! This “ahhhhhh” body roller is like a little foam roller, therapy ball hybrid.worm-rolling-700The four neoprene encased balls target and attack stiffness, pain and stress in all those over used muscles and joints. It’s also super portable, unlike a big foam roller, so you can stick in gym bag or even carry on bag for travel – I actually keep one in the care. Save 25% on your web order with discount code FITFORK25 at TheOriginalWorm.com

the-original-worm

 

ECLIPSE ROLLER from ACUmobility will soon become your new best friend.  This bad boy features all the benefits of the traditional foam roller but also has trigger point release mechanisms that target multiple muscle groups at the same time. Hey, since I really don’t like to slow down to stretch, roll and work on my mobility, I’m all about efficiency! Hit up their holiday sales and save 20% more on your order at Acumobility.com with my discount code ACUMOBFITFORK

eclipse-roller

ZayzeThis company makes the cutest compression shorts and leggings – not only are there a zillion different cute styles, but they are super flattering.

naked-compression-leggings-zayzeThis new pair of naked “muscle” leggings is crazy, and sure to turn heads at your next workout. The wide waistband is slimming and gives support running and lifting weights and I swear (my opinion only haha) that my but looks better wearing Zayze! Lots of holiday sales going on right now, use my discount code THEFITFORK at Zayze.com for an additional 10% off.

 

 

Must Have Box from POPSUGAR  – The November box couldn’t have been more perfectly timed for a whirlwind of entertaining this holiday season – not only did I put on Thanksgiving for my family this year (we usually travel), but I also hosted a 50th anniversary party for my wonderful parents. Seriously, everything in the Must Have Box was used this weekend from the lovely table runner, festive star party picks and wire basket (I used these to hold my “Still Nuts for Each Other” party favors) to the treats for me personally, like the eyeshadow kit (yes, I wore eye shadow) and the gorgeous Kendra Scott bracelet.

november-must-have-box

must-have-box-pop-sugar-closedIf you are looking for a Christmas, holiday or hostess give that keeps on giving all year long, you need to check out the #MustHaveBox – it’s a specially curated assortment of fabulous full-sized, “elevated” brand products touching on categories like home décor, fashion, beauty, jewelry, gourmet edibles, wellness and more. Every month, when my subscription Must Have Box arrives, it’s like finding a treasure trove of gifts that 1) either I always wanted but didn’t want to splurge on OR 2) never knew I needed until it showed up and I fell in love. Seriously, how does the Must Have Box from POPSUGAR always know what I’m going to like?! Use the special coupon code SHOP5 to get $5 off your FIRST Must Have Box.

GripSling Raw Training Straps –  These functional workout strap that promotes creativity through simplicity are really cool– you don’t need a ton of workout equipment to get the job done. Check out these videos of workout demonstrations on their site and then nse code thefitfork20 to save 20% on your order at GripSling.com.

gripsling-video

Spiralizer Attachment for Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer  – I received one for Chrismas last year, and simply put, it was life changing. Peel, core and slice fruit, veggies and other produce to make easy salads, zoodles, veggie noodles, healthy desserts and more – since it attaches to the stand mixer, all you do is flip the “on” button – super easy clean up too! I actually leave this spiral attachment on my machine nearly all the time, because I use it so much more than the actual mixer.

71zuimvywrl-_ac_ul320_sr320320_

The Original Airfryer from Phillips  Fry healthy food with 75% less fat. I was very skeptical to believe that it uses only 1 tablespoon to make delicious, crispy, crunch foods — but it works, it’s amazing, I’m declaring this counter top appliance a mini-miracle.  There are three sizes available to suit your family-size needs, price range $100 – $300.  But. So. Worth. It. phillips-airfryerCitrus Knife / Zester by Kuhn Rikon – The pair up of pairing knife and zester make this tool for tackling lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines and other citrus fruit practically child’s play. citrus-knife-zester

The blade and zester fold into the cute sleeve for safe storage – perfect for the fit foodie who makes a lot of salads, dressings, baked goods, fish and other recipes featuring citrus (which is sooo in season right now, btw)

Isopure Coffee Protein with Colombian Coffee – Perfect way for your coffee-loving protein fiend to perk up a workout. With 50g pure whey protein and a kick of real coffee, this is the perfect way to start the day when you’re in a rush.  isopure-coffeeThe huge 3lb tub means that your giftee will be thinking of you and thanking you profusely for several months to come! If you order from Vitamin Shoppe, get 20% off this (and anything else sitewide) with code CM2016CM

Take 20% Off Site wide with promo code CM2016CM at VitaminShoppe.com! Offer only valid through 11/28!

 

And, here are a couple bonus gift ideas I couldn’t resist! CrossFit Dice? Now this is a game I want to play – haha! And, the Yog2Go container, I use mine almost every day – it’s the BEST!

What’s at the top of your holiday wish list?! What do YOU wish for? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Please note, I received products in exchange for my consideration and review of some products in the post, however all opinions, comments and enthusiasm are my own. Post also contains affiliate advertising links. 

30 Min. Treadmill Chipper for Spartan Obstacle Course Race Training

Soartan Black Friday SaleBefore we jump into the workout, let’s chat about other important stuff this season – like shopping! There is a Black Friday sale and all sorts of Daily Deals going on at the Spartan Race Shop. I just got my hubby this 2016 Trifecta Shirt (I hope he’s not reading this). Also, most Spartan Races are 25% off with the code HOLIDAY (through 11/27) and then after that the code FINISHER will always get you 10% off. Who wants to Race Spartan With Me?!  Aroo! spartan-super-austin-barb-wire-jen Typically, I’d say a legit Spartan or obstacle course racer prefers the challenges of exercising outdoors, rather that indoors. In the wild (even if it’s just your backyard), you can react to the obstacles and hurdles Mother Nature throws down in the path, and these are always changing! Unfortunately, the problems of a super-scheduled, modern-day life can prevent Tarzan swinging over rivers and slithering on your stomach through misty mores. That is, unless your place of employment or car pool pick-ups don’t care if you show up for service wallpapered in stickers and swamp mud. That’s when a treadmill becomes a necessary evil in your training battle plan. Of course, die hard obstacle course racers will train in the elements, whatever they may be – rain, sleet, ice and snow. It makes sense to add these uncomfortable weather days in every now and then, to acclimate for potential race day conditions. However, there is no reason to put yourself in harm’s way, Get nailed by lightning or run over by a bus that didn’t see you in a downpour and you’ll not be chanting “Aroo” come race day.

No need to suffer needlessly to prove your toughness, although some might say the treadmill is more pain-invoking than any trail – haha!  In the winter, wind and dark of night, I need a little more “comfort” and convenience and the treadmill keeps me on task with my  running, OCR and Spartan training plans.   Mountain Climbers on Treadmill  (Above) Mountain Climbers on the treadmill (belt will just move w/o turning on) 

So, for safety, convenience and comfort, I will frequently knock out obstacle course training on a treadmill Today, I’m sharing a full-body workout (a 30 Minute Treadmill Chipper) that will challenge your limits and make you more unstoppable and unbreakable and undeniably more race ready than yesterday. Exercises like Burden Runs and Mountain climbers on a treadmill get you ready for the demands   conquering an obstacle course race – like bucket carries, sandbag hoists, rock climbing, bear crawling and more.  Do you accept the challenge? Good, I thought you would! Treadmill Burden Run  (Above) Burden Run on the treadmill, switch carry sides as needed.

So stop looking at the treadmill as the weenie way to get in your workout. A good treadmill can give you so many workout options that will challenge your stamina, raw strength and relentless grit. 30 Minute Spartan Training Chipper for Treadmill will keep your training on task in inclement weather, during travel or incovenient hours. Disclaimer: Please note that the treadmill is being used in a manner not “prescribed” by most manufacturers, so you will use extra caution, right?!

Description of 30 Minute Treadmill Chipper exercises:

  1. Warm Up Run: Set treadmill on 0% incline and jog at a slower, comfortable pace to warm up.
  2. Incline Push-Ups:  Turn treadmill belt off and hold onto handles, facing console. Form a straight line with your body and bend at elbows to perform a pushup, bringing chest towards console and engaging triceps. Pause, and then push back up.
  3. Reverse Mountain Climbers:  Turn treadmill belt and get into plank position, facing away from the machine. Feet will be on sides of treadmill base and hands on floor. To start, move feet to belt and drive one knee into chest while other extends backward. This will safely push the belt at your pace Alternate legs back and forth.
  4. Handle Bar Rows: Turn off belt and get into reverse plank position holding onto handle bars, looking upward and with feet and end of belt. Pull body upward, toward handles, using arms and chest. Pause and then slowly lower down and repeat.
  5. High Intensity Hill Run: Set incline to 5% or higher and run and a pace equal to 85 to 90% of max.
  6. Overhead Balance Walk: Slow treadmill to 1 mph and hold medicine ball (try 25# women or 35# men) overhead with straight, locked out   arms. Start at front of belt and raise one leg to high knee and hold while belt moves you backward, when reaching end of belt, step down and walk to front of belt and repeat on other leg.
  7. Side Shuffles:  Set treadmill at 2 – 5 mph and stand sideways on the belt with knees slightly bent.  Quickly bring outer foot to meet leading foot (the one closest to console) and then hop the leading foot out forward again, repeat.
  8. Walking Lunges: Set treadmill to about 3 mph at a 3% to 5% incline and step forward with right leg, lowering body until knee bent at 90 degrees and brushing over belt. Keep hips stacked over knee, not behind it or ahead of it. Rise up, bringing back foot forward, alternating legs for the duration.
  9.  Burden Run: Set treadmill to slower jogging pace (try 10 to 13 mph) and place medicine ball ( try ball 25# women or 35# men) on right shoulder reaching up and over  with right arm to secure. Run or walk fast for 800 meters, moving ball from shoulder to shoulder, as needed.

This 30 Minute Treadmill Chipper for Obstacle Course Training  is a workout that mixes up running with strength exercises to get you ready for your next Spartan, Tough Mudder or Warrior Dash.

Spartan Race Holiday SaleDon’t forget about all the holiday shopping deals on gear and races at Spartan.com

What percentage training do you do on a treadmill? Have you ever done anything other than run on a treadmill?  Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer

8 Ways Watermelon Sweetens Workouts and Runs #WatermelonForHealth

This post is sponsored by National Watermelon Promotion Board, and the content, opinions and enthusiasm expressed here are all my own.

watermelon hula hooping

I love all the fruits, but have BIG love for watermelon – that’s no secret!  I’ve tried to name the one single reason why I love this mega melon, but I can’t. There are just so many reasons I love watermelon — it brings back great childhood memories and has played a role in creating new ones with my kids, it’s insanely yummy enjoyed straight off the rind or used as a healthy ingredient in both sweet and savory recipes! But, other motives for my watermelon munching madness are the bumper crop of benefits for health, wellness and fitness.

For example, when it comes to fitness, the watermelon may be the only piece of workout equipment that can be eaten afterward.  While working out with a watermelon may sound crazy, it makes perfect sense – melons are available in a range of weights (from 2 pound personal-sized melon to seeded varieties tipping the scales at 30 pounds and beyond.  Watermelon isn’t expensive in a price-per-pound sense; I mean have you seen the price of a kettlebell?! And, this “two-fer” fitness fruit is really more of an amazing deal knowing you’ll slice open a melon to enjoy afterward (or even just drink the juice on the go).  Since I like to #KeepFitFun and put the “FUN” in FUNctional fitness – check out my video above that I hope inspires you to get after a watermelon workout and then refuel with the fruit for recovery!

8 Amazing Reasons Watermelon Sweetens a Run or Workout

Yes, watermelon is delicious and natural, so much better than a sugary goo when needed as a carb source for quickly sourced. The melons come by their name honestly, comprised of 92% water and loaded with potassium and other electrolytes that will help keep fluid levels in check and hopefully keep muscle cramps away. It’s also high in other vitamins and antioxidents that are beneficial for wellness and the L-citrulline in watermelon has been studied for its ability to quicken muscle recovery. Get more details on these benefits of Watermelon for Health at Watermelon.org.

watermelon-for-health

See how eating watermelon is a win-win? Discover more fitness-focused watermelon facts that can help you up your game!  Make watermelon your workout buddy today and win fabulous watermelon prizes. All you need to do is enter this easy-peasy contest from Watermelon.org. Here are the juicy details:

  1. Tag a workout buddy (or someone you’d like to inspire to be your workout buddy!) in the comments section of our National Watermelon Promotion Board’s (NWPB) weekly video post on Instagram and Facebook. (note, this week, it will be my video that you see above)
  1. Win weekly watermelon prizes. NWPB will choose one lucky workout pair each week from October 3rd through October 28th.

Have you ever had watermelon specifically for workout fuel / recovery? Better yet, have you ever worked out with a watermelon?! Give me your best exercise idea, I might use it my next video – XOXO, Jennifer

Healthier Maple Pumpkin Pecan Popcorn + More Fall Favs

Maple Pumpkin Pecan PopcornMaple Pecan Pumpkin Popcorn: So much goodness here, this is a delicious and easy-to-make fall snack. Forget about Cracker Jacks, make your own healthier autumn-inspired version with real maple syrup, a bit of butter and real pumpkin along withthe right spices. Also, did you know you can make your own “clean” popcorn right in the microwave with nothing more than a brown paper lunch sack – that’s how I’ve been doing it for years!  Also, do NOT use maple FLAVORED syrup for this recipes, that would be a nasty, corn-syrupy shame. I love the 100% Organic Maple Syrup from NOW Real Food – it’s a light and delicate-tasting amber syrup that makes me think of a crisp, cool breeze and rustle of leaves with every taste! Recipe for the Healthier Maple Pecan Pumpkin Popcorn at the bottom of the post!

Maple Pumpkin Pecan Popcorn features all the flavors of fall an healthier sugar alternatives!

September PopSugar Must Have Box

September PopSugar Must Have Box

Also wanted to shout out some other this I’m loving this fall season. First, yay for the POPSUGAR, they sent me the September Must Have Box and, it’s definitely a must have! This awesome lifestyle subscription box always knows how to win me over with products that I’ll obviously love (like the GFB Dark Chocolate Coconut Bites) to unexpected surprises (like the Jack & Lucy Black Felt Hat) that I never knew I needed, but now wonder how I ever lived without! And this specially curated box of goodies even makes the practical contents (like the MANI E.R. purse manicure repair kit) super hip and cool.

Jack & Lucy Hat - TheFitFork.com Jennifer Fisher

Jack & Lucy Hat – TheFitFork.com Jennifer Fisher

If you are looking for a unique gift that gives for a month or e even all year, consider giving your bestie a subscription to the POPSUGAR Must Have Box. Use code SHOP5 (which never expires) at checkout to save $5 off your FIRST Must Have Box!

Tommie Copper Compression elbow sleeve

Second, I’m loving Tommie Copper Compression, again . . . as usual!  But this time I’m focused on their compression “sleeves” made for nearly every part and parcel of our limbs! Sometimes I ask a little too much of my bod and not even a rest day can  resolve my minor aches and pains. However, I really dislike being sidelined from training – – that’s why you’ll typically see me in some sort of compression gear. If you’ve ever seen my Instagram feed, you’ll see that I’m a huge fan of compression socks. But I also wear compression sleeves for ankle, knee, wrists, elbow and quads when needed for both during exercise support and post-workout recovery. Personally, I really like the Tommie Copper brand – the targeted compression sleeves are low-profile, unobtrusive and make my muscles, tendons and joints feel good (or at least lessen the feeling that I’ve been run over by a truck)!

Tweet “Maple Pecan Pumpkin Popcorn + Fall Faves @nowfoods @tommiecopper @PopsugarMH #ad”]

Of all the fall foods, what is your favorite? Or at least, favorite fall flavor? Ever try compression gear for anywhere other than your legs or rear? Please share in the comments, XOXO — JEnnifer

 

Maple Pumpkin Pecan Popcorn
Healthier Maple Pumpkin Pecan Popcorn + More Fall Favs
Print Recipe
Fall into fall with Maple Pumpkin Pecan Popcorn, it freatures nearly every iconic flavor of the season! Healthier than store bought caramel corn thanks to wholesome ingredients like maple syrup and stevia baking blend. Also, find out two companies that I've been loving later.
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Maple Pumpkin Pecan Popcorn
Healthier Maple Pumpkin Pecan Popcorn + More Fall Favs
Print Recipe
Fall into fall with Maple Pumpkin Pecan Popcorn, it freatures nearly every iconic flavor of the season! Healthier than store bought caramel corn thanks to wholesome ingredients like maple syrup and stevia baking blend. Also, find out two companies that I've been loving later.
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 250 F degrees.
  2. In small saucepan over medium high, add sugar and syrup and heat for 1 minute until combined. Continue to heat and add butter, pumpkin, salt and pumpkin pie spice, stirring until butter melted and spices incorporated.
  3. Bring to boil, reduce heat and let simmer for approximately 2 minutes until slightly thickening but not turning dark brown
  4. .Add baking soda and stir. It will foam up a bit, continue to stir over the heat for 1 minute.
  5. Remove from heat and immediately pour into large bowl containing popped popcorn. Add pecans. Stir well to coat as evenly as possible.
  6. Spread out mixture on Silpat or parchment covered rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 250F degrees for approximately 45 minutes or until crunchy.
  7. Let cool for 10 minutes and transfer to serving bowl. Store leftovers in airtight container.
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20-Min Kickboxing Workout to Punch Monday in Face

Jennifer thefitfork handstand in kickboxing class Sometimes it can be a real fight to get daily exercise accomplished. No joke. Ready to get it done and get on with the day? This 20 minute, high-intensity (HIIT-style) workout gives you heart-pounding cardio combined with working every muscle in the body. It’s a real calorie-torcher and productive way to relieve stress before your day begins or as it ends.  There are NO handstands as the above picture implies, I’m just flipping out and having fun after finishing my workout! 20 Minute Full Body Kickboxing Workout engages every muscle in the body and kicks up the cardio too! What you need: In addition to 20 minutes, you’ll need a visible clock with a second hand to keep track of the intervals / rounds. Also, you’ll need access to a free-standing punching bag or one that hangs low enough that you can throw punches from a seated, sit-up position.  Don’t forget to gear up with a pair of kickboxing, sparring or boxing gloves. Explanation of Rounds

  • Jab & Cross Punch:  Throw straight punch from front hand followed quickly by straight punch from back hand.
  • Round House Kick: Step forward with front leg and foot rotated outward as far as possible. Rotate hips and kick leg to shoulder height while lowering torso.
  • Upper Cut Punch: Throw a rising punch that moves upward with palms facing chest, alternate arms.
  • Sit Up with Hook Punch:  Sit with legs wrapped around bag base, lean back into prone position and then sit up quickly delivering a rounded punch to the bag with an arching motion with one arm, quickly followed by the other arm.

I hate wearing the sweaty, stinky kickboxing gloves from the gym . . . so I just got these!

Do you like to kickbox? What is your alternative cardio workout on days you don’t want to run? Did you have a race or run this weekend, please share in comments – XOXO, Jennifer