10 Women Slaying Pull-Ups, Calisthenics & Ninja Skills on Instagram

I’m celebrating strong, fit, badass women today by sharing my my list of 10 Women Absolutely Slaying Pull-Ups, Calisthenics and Ninja Skills on Instagram.  Of course, this is not an all-inclusive group, but just some of my favorites that I check in on from time to time for workout inspiration. There are American Ninja Warriors, Spartan Pros, CrossFit Champs, Street Workout winners and more. 10 Women of Instagram Absolutely Slaying Pull-Ups, Calisthenics and Ninja Skills

Check out the list!

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3 Pull-Up Workouts for Grins and Gains – Beginner to Advanced

Let me tell you why I love pull-ups so much. Pull ups are convenient, you only need a bar or grips to hang from. Pull-ups are a compound exercise that target multiple muscles at once for maximum gains. Pull-ups never get boring because there are so many different varieties — plain, kipping, l-sits, fat-grip, rope, etc. 3 Workouts for Pull-Up Grins and Gains

Check out these Three Workouts for Pull-Up Grins and Gains and get going! There is something for everyone, from beginners to pull-up pros! I use the ability to “pull up” all the time while competing in Spartan and other obstacle course races, how do you think you get over those 10 foot walls or up a rope?  Continue reading

NuttZo Instagram Takeover + Quick 2017 CrossFit Games Recap

Just a quick post to share a couple things!  First, I’m taking over the @EatNuttzo Instagram account today — head over there sometime on this awesome Monday to check out how I use these delicious, nutritious nut butters to fuel my crazy, active life!

jennifer thefitfork.com nuttzo

Read on to find out some other cool stuff that is going on!  Continue reading

5 Tips to Improve Double Unders  + Giveaway Courtesey XShadyside Pittsburgh Gym

Jumping rope sounds like child’s play, but it’s a fierce workout that requires cardio-vascular endurance, coordination and razor focus. But, if turning the rope in a single rotation isn’t challenging enough, give your game new “ups” with double unders.5 Tips to Improve Double Unders - ideas to help your  jump rope skills take off for Crossfit and other workouts.

Read on to find tips that will help you up your Double Under game . . . and also enter my giveaway (sponsored by a Pittsburgh Gym I’ve partnered with) for a chance to win a $25 gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods to get new gear (like maybe a fancy jump rope). Continue reading

Lemony Turmeric Cauliflower-Quinoa + Quickie Crossfit 17.1 Recap

Quinoa is just such a handy grain . . . er, seed, to have around. It easily cooks up on the stove top in about 15 minutes (with less mess than rice, in my opinion) and is packed with a head-spinning assortment of nutrients including lots of iron, an abundance of fiber and plenty of protein. In fact, quinoa is considered a complete protein because it boasts all 9 of the essential amino acids — a rarity in plant foods.Lemony Turmeric Cauliflower-Quinoa

A fluffy pot of quinoa turns into pure bliss when you pair beautiful golden turmeric, a “superspice” with mild taste and beacoup de health benefits, along with a bit of lemon. Oh, and cauliflower’s in there too — dang my recipe for Lemony Turmeric Cauliflower-Quinoa is healthy!  Continue reading

Paleo Kung “Power” Chicken with Medjool Dates

Training for spring season obstacle course racing and the 5-week long Crossfit Games Open competition makes me hungry. Really, really hungry. After 25+ years as a competitive athlete, I’ve learned (and sometimes the hard way), what does and doesn’t work for me when it comes to fueling my fitness. Lots of junk food and candy, not so good. Salty, over-sugared or fat-laden drive-thru and take-out meals, also not optimal. Restrictive dieting or skipping meals, even worse. Paleo Kung "Power" Chicken with Medjool Dates

But, you know what’s good? Healthy, homemade recipes like my Paleo Kung “Power” Chicken, an easy-to-make meal that gives me the energy I need to accomplish my daily fitness goals, make workout gains and recover optimally for the next sweat sesh! There is lots of lean protein for muscle-making, this take-out inspired dinner also features a surprise ingredient that is great for athletes – MEDJOOL DATES! Read on to find out all the deliciously savory-sweet-sticky details and get the recipe! Continue reading

How Exercise Boosts Brain Power + Week of Smart Workouts

Exercise is a smart choice for maintaining physical health and it also plays a role in promoting overall happiness and well-being. But, can exercise make a person more intelligent? Probably so say sports scientists from Finland who recently published some surprising findings on how the type and intensity of exercise may have a bearing on brain power?

Find out the best form of exercise for a brain boost. Yes, some workouts can make you not on stronger, but smarter!

The study compared pitted moderate-paced running, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and weight lifting against each other to observe how these various forms physical exercise can increase hippocampal neurogenesis (e.g. the creation of new brain cells) in an already mature brain. The test subjects – rats! The running rodents were left to run on their cage wheels (a moderate jog, some up to several miles a day) with free will while the HIIT group was given a daily 15 minute regimen of repeated strenuous effort sprinting with jog recovery. And, the weight-lifting rodents climbed walls with little weights attached to their tails as a sedentary control group lounged around and watched. I laugh just thinking about this! mouse-lifting-weight

Whether mouse or man, it appears that the winning exercise for long-term brain health may simply be moderate running or “jogging” and, by my semi-educated extrapolation, other similar “aerobic and sustained” activities like biking, swimming and brisk walking.  It seems wheel-jogging rodents had the most vigorous rates of new brain cell growth, significantly higher than the sedentary, lay-around rats. The hightailing HIIT group had some brain cell growth, but not as much as the aerobic joggers, with researchers hypothesizing that physical stress impedes neurogenesis. Interestingly, the resistance-trained rats were no different brain-wise at the end of the study – which keeps the status-quo on “muscle head” jokes!

Exercise is not only great for your health, but can make you smarter! Find out what type and intensity of workout will give you the best brain boost!

Seriously though, all forms of exercise are beneficial for the body. Just like variety in diet is important for optimal health, so is mixing up the way you move. While jogging or easy running may boost brain cells, lifting weights strengthens muscles, bones and tendons, helping to improve every day work capacity.  And, both resistance training and HIIT up the body’s metabolism, one of the keys to keeping a lean silhouette.

I think trail running and obstacle course races like Spartan are a great way to add “extra” to simply running – a well-rounded athlete is a smart athlete, too!

Below are some of my favorite running, HIIT and other workouts — pick your favorites and get strong, get smart!

 

 

Here are a week of workouts to get stronger and smarter:

  1. 20 Minute Kickboxing Workout to Kick Monday in the Face
  2. You Got Mad “Ups” Body Weight Workout
  3. Boom! Med Ball Workout
  4. Trail Run Tabata
  5. Fun Faster 800m-Lover Workout
  6. Sayonara Sprint Partner Run Workout 
  7. Soccer Strong Workout – – also great for OCR Training

What is your favorite “type” of exercise to do? Do you mix it up, or single sport? Ever feel smarter after jogging (haha)?  Please share in the comments — XOXO, Jennifer

Why Consistency is the Best “Diet”

Get my thoughts on losing weight in along with the advice from 24 other nutrition, health and fitness professionals in a recent article hitting the internet –25 Weight Loss Experts Expose Diets that Work.

Why Consistency is the Best Diet

But, in a nutshell, the sub-title the author gave my opinion was “Never Take Time Off From Your Healthy Eating Plan.” Just reading the title as-is, that sounds a little strict, however . . I’m anything but rigid in my approach to eating for optimal health. I’d title it — “Why Consistency is the Diet that Works Best.”

running jennifer 20 years between

There is 20+ years between these pictures, my weight is the same!

Check out the story, and you’ll find that I believe the most successful strategy to losing weight and keeping it off for good is to not be on any one particular “diet” or the other, but to create a day-in and day-out lifestyle that balances exercise with eating mindfully! And, I’m not alone in that opinion.

 

 

 

A plate at least half-full full of colorful fruits and vegetables paired with lean protein and a moderate intake of whole grains is the balanced approach I suggest and take myself. Also, I think saying certain foods are absolute no-no’s is a set up for failure too, if you love chocolate or bread, then enjoy in small portions every now and then — just use common sense, and balance in light of your weekly food intake and exercise expenditures.

Studies have proven that successful “dieters” (I hate to use that word) create their own personal strategies to maintain a lean body mass and don’t veer off the path much – despite weekends, holidays, vacations, or even when they are happy with their current weight. In a nutshell, success means being flexible, but never take a hard break from a healthy eating routine.

Dona Jo Fit Wear - FITFORK20 for 20% discount

Also, off topic, but not really considering the importance of daily exercise and feeling good about what you’re wearing . . . I’ve got the cutest yoga shorts to tell you about from Dona Jo fit wear! This fun company makes adorable yoga clothes, running clothes, printed cycling clothing, CrossFit active wear, barre clothes and tennis skirts that make it more motivating to get up, get dressed and get moving!

dona jo 2I picked out the Caribbean Shorts, the new print (which reminds me of a tropical fish) just launched last week! The shorts come in 2 sizes – Size 1 (0 – 8) and Size 2 (10 – 16) – I wear a size 2 normally and these fit just fine, I was worried they’d be too big. While they don’t have that tight compression feeling, they are perfect for summer running and nailing new yoga poses –plus, the wide waistband is very flattering.  If you use discount code FITFORK20 when checking out at Dona Jo, you can save 20% on your active wear purchase!

What is your mindset about “dieting”? Do you follow a stricter diet like Paleo or Vegan? How do you like your yoga pants — bright or black? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer