Coffee & Athletes – Performance Perks + Consumption Timing

Coffee is a social unifier, people are constantly meeting up for a cup, professing their addiction love on everything from t-shirts to internet memes, and it’s a go-to gift for the person who has everything (because you can never have enough coffee, am I right?). While coffee brings us together, it can also set you apart in your athletic endeavors if optimized properly within a training diet. Coffee and Athletes - Performance Perks and Consumption Tips

Today, I’m spilling the beans on how coffee can improve performance and endurance, increase focus, and provide that extra edge your looking for on race day.   Continue reading

Dark Chocolate Espresso Pre-Workout Shake #HeartMonth

Disclosure: I was compensated for my time as part of the @CocoaVia Supplement #HeartMonth campaign through the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network.Dark Chocolate Espresso Pre Workout Shake offers your workout the benefit of cocoa flavinols, caffeine, quality carbs and sustaining protein.

Does it sound strange to say the favorite part of my day is working out? Some people hate exercising, but I love it. It’s a time to forget about everything that stresses me, focus on achieving personal goals, and cater to my competitive side while still having fun with friends. But, more often than not, it’s hard for me to get my rear in gear for a run or workout. However, I’ve found that the right nutrition about 30 minutes before I head out to the gym, trail or track helps me win the day. Jennifer Fisher TheFitFork.com BVM CrossFit

Since I’m typically in a rush tying up work and family obligations, I need an easy pre-workout snack that I can stash in my gym bag. Personally, I prefer a drink over food because it’s easier for me to stomach before a workout — unfortunately, many beverages need refrigeration. However, I came up with a delicious recipe for Dark Chocolate Espresso Pre-Workout Shake that can be prepared right on the spot with no blender, fridge or heating appliances.

CocoaVia Espresso PreWorkout Drink

The workout friendly ingredients include canned espresso for a caffeine boost, honey crystals for some quality, quick-energy carbs, chocolate whey powder for sustained energy and CocoaVia® Daily Cocoa Extract Supplement for a dose of cocoa flavanols, which are scientifically proven to promote a healthy heart by supporting healthy blood flow†.Sharing CocoaVia Espresso PreWorkout Drink

I didn’t have any trouble finding taste-testers at my CrossFit gym!

Seriously easy, all you do to make the “recipe” is bring along a mason jar filled with a bit of dry honey crystals and a half-scoop of your favorite chocolate protein powder. Before drinking, just add your 8-ounce can of espresso, 4 ounces of water and a packet CocoaVia® Daily Cocoa Flavanols Extract Supplement (Unsweetened Dark Chocolate). If you don’t want to use the canned espresso (or can’t find it), you can just add black coffee to the Mason jar brought from home – however, I do recommend the 8-ounce can of High Brew Double Espresso because it’s convenient and is made with just a light touch of cane sugar. Whole Foods usually carries it.

Shake, shake, shake up everything in the Mason jar and enjoy – this pre-workout shake isn’t too filling, so it stays down even if burpees are on the whiteboard.  Another thing, and GENIUS, if I might add – if you are in a situation where there might be multiple “mason jars” hanging around or if you want to differentiate concoctions in your own fridge, those cheapie rubber bracelets fit perfectly around the rim – everyone gets a different color! Scroll back up and look at the photo for my orange bracelet!

It's easy to take CocoaVia Favinol Extract Supplement anywhere.I think you’ll love this pre-workout beverage – it provides heat-healthy cocoa flavanols, sustaining energy thanks to the protein powder, and tastes great at any temperature. You’ll also really appreciate the CocoaVia® Daily Cocoa Extract Supplement that delivers the highest concentration of cocoa flavanols you can find. The use of cocoa flavanols, like those found in CocoaVia®, are supported by two decades of scientific research that suggest these powerful plant-derived nutrients may play a valuable role in cardiovascular health. It’s pretty much impossible to get enough of these cocoa flavanols through chocolate treats (you’d surely get sick!), the traditional cocoa processing, which includes drying, fermenting and roasting of beans, destroys many of the naturally-occurring flavanols. However, CocoaVia®supplement isolates the “good stuff” and packages it up for use in a convenient, versatile form, without all the calories and fat – my heart and I love them for that! For more information, visit www.CocoaVia.com

 †This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Are you a chocolholic? What do you eat before a workout? Did you run a race or have a competition this weekend? I’d love to know, please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

CocoaVia Espresso PreWorkout Drink
Dark Chocolate Espresso Pre-Workout Shake
Print Recipe
Win your day and your workout with this easy-to-make pre-workout shake featuring the benefits of cocoa flavinols, caffeine, quality carbohydrates and sustaining protein. No blender or refrigerator needed.
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 1 minutes
Cook Time
1 minute
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 1 minutes
Cook Time
1 minute
CocoaVia Espresso PreWorkout Drink
Dark Chocolate Espresso Pre-Workout Shake
Print Recipe
Win your day and your workout with this easy-to-make pre-workout shake featuring the benefits of cocoa flavinols, caffeine, quality carbohydrates and sustaining protein. No blender or refrigerator needed.
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 1 minutes
Cook Time
1 minute
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 1 minutes
Cook Time
1 minute
Ingredients
Servings: serving
Instructions
  1. Add CocoaVia®, honey crystals, and protein powder to mason jar or shaker bottle. Add lid and lightly shake to combine.
  2. Add espresso and and water to powdered mixture. Shake vigorously until well combined.
  3. Enjoy as-prepared or serve over ice.
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Kickstart Morning with Coconut Chai Smoothie Bowl

This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk.

Coconut Chai Smoothie Bowl makes a healthy breakfast or dessert  dressed up with cacao nibs, hemp seeds and strawberries.

Slurping your smoothie from a straw is so last year. The tastiest trend in town is to “eat” your smoothie in a bowl with a spoon! Not only do chains like Jamba Juice offer these frozen, fruity and fiberous concoctions but smoothie bowls are blowing up social media – just search the hashtag #smoothiebowl and you’ll get over 85K results.

One of the benefits of smoothie bowls (other than getting a ton of nutrition in one easy-to-make meal) is the artistic license. I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy make my food pretty – Mother Nature has given us so many colorful and amazingly delicious ingredients to work with. Instead of throwing all your smoothie goodies into the blender, the key to a smoothie bowl is to make a thick base smoothie and then add the remainder of your fruits, whole grains, seeds and such to the top.

Almond Coconut Milk from Almond Breeze makes a healthy, creamy base for your smoothie bowls and blended beverages.

Unsweetened Almond Coconut Milk from Almond Breeze creates a creamy base for any smoothie bowl or blended beverage. Made from real almonds and coconutmilk, this alternative to diary milk contains medium chain fatty acids; is lactose, soy and gluten-free; is an excellent source of calcium; and works with vegan and kosher diets. I also love how it has no added sugar and only 45 calories per one-cup serving.  Another great thing – Unsweetened Almond Coconut Milk from Almond Breeze is available in a shelf-stable version which means that I can keep my pantry stocked for last-minute meal making.

I appreciate how I can keep shelf-stable Almond Breeze in the pantry, on hand for when cravings strike!

I appreciate how I can keep shelf-stable Almond Breeze in the pantry, on hand for when cravings strike!

If you love the exotic spices of cha (like cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, cloves and more), but need something more than just of a cup of tea in the morning, by Coconut Chai Smoothie Bowl is the perfect way to get your crave on while kick-starting the day with a little caffeine. I topped my bowl with hemp seeds, cacao nibs and strawberries, but feel free to beautify your bowl any way you see fit.

Coconut Chia Smoothie Bowl makes a quick, easy and healthy breakfast or post-workout snack.

In addition to breakfast, I’ve been digging into Coconut Chai Smoothie Bowls for a post-workout snack and healthy dessert after dinner – use decaff tea instead. Don’t forget to look for Unsweetened Almond Coconut Milk, it’s one of my favorites from all the yummy Almond Breeze products — the shelf-stable versions are usually on the cereal aisle.

 

 

 

What is your must-have ingredient in a smoothie or smoothie bowl? Let me know in the comments!

Coconut Chai Smoothie Bowl makes a healthy breakfast or dessert dressed up with cacao nibs, hemp seeds and strawberries.
Coconut Chai Smoothie Bowl
Print Recipe
Coconut Chia Smoothie Bowl is a tasty way to get your crave on while kick-starting the day with a little caffeine, fruit, protein and fiber. Go breakfast!
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Coconut Chai Smoothie Bowl makes a healthy breakfast or dessert dressed up with cacao nibs, hemp seeds and strawberries.
Coconut Chai Smoothie Bowl
Print Recipe
Coconut Chia Smoothie Bowl is a tasty way to get your crave on while kick-starting the day with a little caffeine, fruit, protein and fiber. Go breakfast!
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 10 minutes
Cook Time
0 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: serving
Instructions
  1. Heat half milk (3/4) cup in microwave safe mug for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes, until very hot. Add tea bag and steep for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove and discard tea bag and add remaining milk to help cool off tea. Put in freezer for 15 minutes to cool down further, if needed.
  3. Add cooled tea-milk mixture to blender. Add frozen banana, stevia and ice and blend until smooth. Add more ice or banana to make thicker, if needed. Pour into bowl.
  4. Top with hemp seed, coconut, cacao nibs and strawberries. Eat immediately.
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Zipfizz Energy Drink Giveaway and Thoughts on Caffeine for Endurance Sport Performance

Baby, it’s hot out here! Another week of blazing hot temperatures is expected in Texas, so it was such a sweet surprise to open my mail box to find a sampler-pack of Zippfizz Energy Drink Mix waiting to quench my thirst. I’ve gulped my way through a variety of electrolyte replacement and energy drinks, so my interest was piqued by this product that touts itself as the ‘only healthy energy drink-mix powder in a tube.’

If I was an early-bird, I would have finished my workout in cooler conditions. But instead, I procrastinated and set off mid-day for a 6 mile round-trip run up the gym combined with a workout of 5 sets of 1k row, 10 wall ball, 10 ring toes-to-bar and 10 burpees. I mixed up some of the Orange Soda variety (they also offer berry, citrus, grape and pink lemonade) into the recommended 16 to 20 ounces of water and drank 8-ounces before I took off.

It did fizz, it did taste pretty darn good, although maybe a little too sweet-strong.  Since I prefer a lighter taste, I filled up the remainder of my bottle with water, effectively making it half-strength. Perfect, and now I can drink twice as much! My workout was awesome and I made it back home through the heat; don’t know if it was just an “on” day for me or the afternoon energy and caffeine pick-me-up courtesy of Zipfizz.

Those who know me are aware of my fondness for caffeine, it’s really my only vice.  Since I don’t drink coffee, I’m always looking for a way to get perked up in the morning. Plus, I’ve studied how caffeine can improve athletic performance in endurance events. Caffeine can aids the endurance athlete by convincing the body to decrease glycogen utilization by tapping into fat as a fuel source much earlier than it normally would. This means that glycogen, the human machine’s primary fuel source, spared in the beginning of a race becomes available for use during the later stages. In plain language, it means you can exercise longer until complete exhaustion.   Some studies also say that caffeine consumption can reduce ‘perceived effort,’ making the workload seem subjectively easier.

If you are really serious about using caffeine as an endurance performance aid, you really need to talk to your physician and research the methods carefully. There is much discussion as to how much and when to take in caffeine as well as other issues including developing a tolerance or suffering a negative side effect. And, the negative side effects are not without concern; some researchers suggest that too much caffeine can trigger a heart attack.  Basically, there’s a research study that supports every opinion. However, most middle-of-argument doctors today would advise endurance athletes to limit themselves to 200mg of caffeine on the morning of a race.  For comparative purposes, 200 mg of caffeine would be ingested in 2 regular-sized, regular-strength cups of coffee, or 1/4 of a tall Starbucks, or 4 cokes or 2 full servings of Zipfizz.

Now you may be wondering what else is in Zipfizz Energy Drink Mix besides 100mg of caffeine? The company reports that each little tube (1 serving) contains 9 vitamins (including C,E, all the Bs and folate), 8 minerals (potassium, magnesium, calcium, zinc, selenium, manganese, chromium, sodium) Amino Acids (arginine and taurine), antioxidents (green tea extract, vitamins C and E) and the ‘Four Gs’ (grape seed extract, ginger, green tea and ginseng). Additionally, Zipfizz contains no sugar and is sweetened with Xylitol and Sucralose. Xylitol is a naturally occurring, low-calorie sugar substitute found in berries, fruits and birch bark. The average person actually produces 6-10 grams a day of Xylitol, a by-product of sugar metabolism.

To wrap it up, I must admit that I do like the product; it tastes good and delivers the moderate amount of caffeine I prefer. However, my suggestion to Zipfizz would be to develop some new, exotic flavors to keep my taste buds interested. Also, even though it’s cute, I’m not totally loving the packaging, it seems a little eco-unaware. However, I am happy to repurpose my tubes and fill them with pain-reliever tablets, bobby pins, and other teeny-tiny things I keep in my gym bag.

I’m having a giveaway so that one lucky reader can try out every flavor of ZipFizz in a handy BPA-Free, refillable water bottle.  Just follow the rules below.

Zipfizz Energy Drink Giveaway:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One winner will receive five (5) single-serving tubes of Zipfizz Energy Drink Mix and branded, 22-ounce, BPA-Free water bottle. (ARV $14.99)

Entry Period: July 19, 2012 through July 31, 2012

Entry Methods (6 different ways):

  • Like ZipFizz on Facebook and post separately in ‘leave reply’ below that you ‘liked’.  (1x entry)
  • Like The Fit Fork on Facebook  and post separately in ‘leave reply’ below that you ‘liked’.  (1x entry)
  • Follow @zipfizzcorp on Twitter and post separately in ‘leave reply’ below that you ‘followed’. (1x entry)
  • Follow @thefitfork on Twitter and post separately in ‘leave reply’ below that you ‘followed’. (1x entry)
  • Subscribe to email list found on right sidebar of The Fit Fork where it says ‘enter your email address’ – don’t forget to confirm subscription email that comes via Feedburner. Post separately in ‘leave reply’ below that you ‘subscribed’. (1x entry)
  • Post to ‘replies’ below with a favorite Zipfizz flavor or a Zipfizz flavor suggestion. (1x entry)

 Open to U.S. and Canadian entrants, 18 years or older. Void where prohibited by law. This Giveaway is brought to you by The Fit Fork and is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. For complete giveaway rules please click HERE