Running and Jumping for Joy About Compression Socks + #Giveaway

Jennifer Fisher TheFitFork.com  Jump Rope

I am a huge fan of compression socks and am hosting a giveaway for a really fun pair (of winner’s choice) at the bottom of post.  I wear this type of knee sock for nearly every race and workout and also on those work days when I’m standing for lengthy periods of time at an event expo, teaching cooking classes or otherwise running around. In fact, I’ve found that on those days when I do have to stand up all day, I still have enough spring in my step later in the evening to fit my training in or going around with the jump rope in a pair of Polka Dot Compression Socks (as above).

I never go overboard - haha!I’ve written quite a few posts about compression socks in the past (like this one about compression and running-CrossFit-yoga, so I hesitate to rehash everything – but the basic ideas is that the compression in socks (which usually starts the strongest in the foot or ankle and then moves up the calf), keeps the blood flow from slowing and giving you that lethargic, swollen, dead-leg feeling.  I like to call this squeezing, “happy hugs for your feet” – it’s doesn’t really feel as much “tight” as it does “embraced.”   Anyway, this ‘hugging” encourages better circulation and, in turn, legs will feel more energized, less achy and heavy. Some doctors even suggest compression socks may help to prevent varicose and spider veins. Oh how I wish stylish compression socks were available during my pregnancies, as I had vein problems quite bad and was forced to wear thick, full-length compression hose in an awful “suntan” color” – I was quite the sight to behold.

bright life go logoBut, today there are so many fashionable choices in compression socks that don’t sacrifice any of the function. BrightLifeGo.com is a great online shop that features a wide range of compression sock brands that will help you put your best foot (and leg) forward! The carry lots of great brands like CEP, Zensah and Top & Derby — of course, my favorite brands is Vim & Vigr – I am a very enthusiastic (and official) ambassador for Vim & Vigr products. I am actually wearing a pair right now as I type this up (which reminds me, while I wear compression for my active pursuits, they also help keep things circulating when sitting all day at a desk or on a plane).

vim vigr compression sock collage

VIM & VIGR socks are definitely do not have that elderly vibe that compression socks of yore had – these beauties are designed with rich colors, timeless patterns, and just enough sass to satisfy my funky style. Look at some of my favorites in the collage above! Every time a wear a pair (and I never keep them hidden under pants!) I am always stopped with questions and compliments about my socks!

If you are a newbie to compression socks, you may have legitimate questions before you shell out what is a fairly substantial chunk of change for a pair of socks – which typically run $30 – $60 per pair(although so WORTH it).  BrightLifeGo.com has a easy to follow Guide for First Time Compression Sock Buyers that will walk you through the decision making process including identifying your primary need (from pregnancy or an on-your-feet job to maternity and travel) along with other concerns, like what grade of compression, what size and care instructions.

So, whohoo, I’m so excited that BrightLifeGo.com is letting me give away a pair of is Vim & Vigr compression socks (of winner’s choice) to one of my readers. They have GUY’S SOCKS also!  Check out the Vim & Vigr collection at Bright Life Go right HERE Then, see below for the entry instructions and Rafflecopter widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday Shoutout: Four Things for Better Runs and Workouts

Happy Sunday and Father’s Day! I celebrated yesterday with my husband (who is an awesome dad to our three teen boys) by heading up to Dallas to run a Spartan Race at Jerry’s World, aka the AT&T Stadium, Home of the Dallas Cowboys.

jennifer fisher spartan stadium

Strip Steaks with Globally Inspired Wet RubsMaking a special dinner for my own top pop tonight,  a super guy who’s been an amazing father to me for the past nearly 49 years! Since he loves to travel the world and experience new flavors in food just as much as me, I’m thinking grilling steaks with one of my globally inspired wet rubs!

 

 

Today, I want share with you some of the healthy foods and fitness gear I’ve tried out lately that have passed my persnickity test of approval!

1) Tommie Copper Compression: First up, some new products from Tommie Copper, a line of active and recovery compression wear that I’ve been wearing for a couple years now.  Tommie Copper clothing encourages muscle and joint recovery through compression after a hard workout – they also have performance apparel that is perfect for wearing during running and workouts.

Tommie Copper Compression Camisole

The unique hook of Tommie Cooper is that their compression and active fit (not so tight) lines of performance apparel are fashioned from fabric infused with high density activated copper. Not only does the proprietary copper fabric serve as an anti-bacterial agent, it also releases ions which may help reduce harmful oxidants in the body.

I love LOVE the Women’s Compression Camisole with Adjustable Straps for so many reasons – the vibrant color (other colors available), the hugging fit, and option to make the straps longer or shorter (for some reason, I always need to make mine shorter).

Tommie Copper Shaping CapriI also tried out a pair of Women’s Shaping Compression Capris designed to provide comfortable compression with a flattering fit. In other words, you butt will look as good as it feels! A curved back yoke lifts and shapes to enhance curves with the contoured waistband holds the tummy in without making a muffin top or feeling squeezed.

Actually, today only you can take 25% off your order at TommieCopper.com with the code FATHERSDAY at checkout.

 

2) The Pickle Juice Company: Also, I want to shout out The Pickle Juice ® Company, y’all saved my husband (aka “the sweater”) yesterday at the Spartan Race.  He gets muscle cramps, even in shorter distances of running, so I knew that the 4 miles (of basically all stair running) was going to set him up for some debilitating cramps, especially since was super hot in Dallas yesterday.

Pickle Juice Shot from The Pickle Juice Company

So, I made him drink a specifically formulated the Extra Strength Pickle Juice Shot before he started – and guess what, no muscle cramps were reported. This interesting product is based on the functional properties of pickle brine that have been shown to help relieve muscle cramps while also serving as a hydration aid. Each Extra Strength Pickle Juice Shot contains 10 times more electrolytes than your average sports drink and has been proven to relieve muscle cramps in 85 seconds. We are both going to be carrying a little bottle along on an upcoming summer trail race!

This product is available at many sports and grocery retailers, or you can get a “dill” at Amazon  — you gotta getcha some Extra Strength Pickle Juice Shots!

3) Simply Snackin: I appreciate how Simply Snackin makes it easy for me to play hard and snack often (in my preferred higher protein way) with their insanely yummy line of meat-based snacks. Think “jerky” but waaaaay better than the stuff I grew up with as a kid. I’ve enjoyed Simply Snackin’ bars for quite some time now, and they never fail to impress me with their high-quality and amazing array of flavors.

Simply Snackin meat and fruit  snacks

These jerky bars from Simply Snackin are crafted in family-owned micro-snackery with a focus on taste that also supports a health, fitness and wellness. There are 10 amazing flavors, the snacks are all natural, gluten free, low carb, tender and lean, minimally process and packaged to go in individual 1-oz. portions.

It’s sooooooo hard to decide, but I think my favorite flavors are Northwoods Beef with Cranberries & Blueberries, Italiano Chicken with Romano Cheese and Orchard Venison with Apples Every bar has only 60 calories and 10 to 11 grams of protein and 0 to 3 grams of sugar (natural sugar depending on if fruit has been mixed in).

You can order straight from theSimply Snackin or get hooked up at Amazon.com Simply Snackin All Natural Chicken,  Simply Snack All Natural Beef,  Simply Snackn All Natural Venison.

  

4) Zooma Summer Challenge: Also, the Zooma Summer Challenge kicks off June 27th. This is a great way to expand your workout horizons, experiment with new foods and activities, and get your body and mind strong to prepare for fall race training. For the $50 registration fee you get: a workout and food plan for the 5-week program, weekly emails that explain that week’s workout and food challenge, access to a private Facebook group where you can share your successes and questions with fellow Challengers, fun swag including a tank top and beach bag and a bling-y medal to commemorate your summer fitness success. Register HERE!

Zooma Summer Challenge 2016

So, what new health and fitness products have you been loving lately? What races are you training for? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Move More, Sleep More – Holiday Activity Goals

Every morning, a have three predictable thoughts – 1) where is the coffee, 2) how am I going to move more today, and 3) how am I going to sleep more tonight. Bet most of you don’t need any help finding your java jolt, but maybe you also think about making gains in your fitness and sleep routines! Here are two fitness products I recently tried that have been encouraging me to move more and sleep more  — check it out how to optimize your workout and rest time!

 Rem Fit Activity Tracker

MOVE MORE: I love activity and fitness trackers to motivate me through the day. Experts recommend getting in 10,000 steps a day or moving for 30 to 60 minutes – it doesn’t have to be all in one session, all your little movements add up! While I typically move enough, it’s interesting to analyze the data to see where I can make improvements – either to kick it up an notch, or allow myself to wind down and take it easy.

 Rem Fit Activity Tracker

The REM-FIT ACTIVE 200 SLEEP & ACTIVITY TRACKER  is an affordable activity tracker that reports steps, distance covered, calories burned, overall activity and sleep attained and a 360 Life Sore. I’ve found, the battery only needs to be recharged about every 7 days and, while it can’t be worn swimming or in the show, the tracker is splash proof.  Data is accessible via an app for iPhone or Android.

 Rem Fit Activity TrackerOne of the things I really like about this Rem-Fit tracker is the comfort and security of the band – the band is much more comfortable than most brands I’ve tried and I appreciate that there is a little loop catch along with the snap closure that helps keep it on the wrist if the band comes undone. I say this because, errr, I have one tracker that I has dropped off my wrist so many times and then finally to never be seen again. And, this may seem silly (but it’s serious for the fitness fashionista) – you can order a rainbow assortment of band colors to swap out to match your team uniform or daily gym style.

SLEEP MORE: Okay, never again am I buying the cheapie pillows from Target or Walmart – as an athlete and busy mom, my sleep time is too precious to be squandered on an uncomfortable, unsupportive and unhealthy pillow. In the past, my lackluster solution to staying comfortable through the night was a huge nest of pillows in a complicated arrangement. My pillow situation, well, sucked and the lack of sleep was making me crazy not to mention keeping my body from properly recovering and repairing muscle from the day’s workout.

Can't Sleep Funny Pic

I used to feel this way!

So, if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, then I’m guilty of being a little nuts – or, at least a few hours short of a full snooze. I changed my mattress situation and that helped, but still . . . the pillows. Some of them have been around for years anyway, so time to break free and CHANGE for the better.Rem Fit Pillow

Enter the REM-Fit 300 series pillow. Yeah, it’s more than five bucks, but so worth it.  This pillow helps regulate body temperature during sleep and protects against allergens and dust mites. It also actually adjusts to my preferred sleeping style (which is left side) but also is perfect for back and stomach sleepers. Also, the fibers used to make the pillow provide a 4-way stretch which contours to my specific needs while providing a full range of motion. So glad I bit the bullet and made this pillow part of my overall sleep training plan. Don’t laugh, quality sleep may be just as important as an actual workout – muscles recover and stress stays low (did you know an increase in the stress hormone Cortisol can actually lead to injury?). The REM-Fit 300 series pillow and other pillows in the REM-Fit REST Collection would make a great holiday gift for the fitness fan in your life.

What are you doing to move more and sleep more this holiday season? Or, just feel free to share about coffee in the comments below! XOXO – Jennifer

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.

 

Scorpion Yoga Practice and #AugustaActive Giveaway

I can’t pretend to be an expert at the Scorpion pose (vrschikasana) or even yoga in general, but I’ve been working on this particular move for a year now and it’s come a long way. The funny thing about yoga is that you DO have to practice – experienced yogis make everything look so easy, but it’s really hard work. Some of the simplest moves sill elude me — my hamstrings and hip flexors are in a chronic state of tightness and often don’t want to cooperate!  Can you believe that some can people can even arch enough to rest feet on the head – WOW!  Scorpion Yoga Pose - TheFitfork.com I like to call the Scorpion my “killer” party trick and I’ll #stopdropandyoga one whenever the mood stikes – however sometimes, it’s hard to find a photographer (I think I have mortified and scarred my kids for life).  Augusta Active Workout Wear - TheFitFork.com Anyway, it’s easiest to do yoga or any other type of fitness activity when you are properly attired and feel cute (or manly, I suppose if you’re a guy). I recently was sent athletic gear (Action Color Block Capri and Jazzy Open Back Tank) along with a Cruise Duffle gym bag from Augusta Sportswear to try out – so cute and flattering in black with pink accents. Not only is this fitness sportswear stylish, but also comfortable for my day at the gym followed by a little yoga practice. I was also mightily impressed with the amount of gear that the gym bag held. I probably take way too much stuff on my outings including my blogging camera, a couple extra workout outfits, toiletries and recovery snacks – but I’m always prepared!   Augusta Active Prize Pack guy augusta sportsYou could win some of this Augusta Sportswear workout wear for yourself! Enter the giveaway for an “Active Kit” – just look at all the cool loot you could win!  To be clear, one guy winner receives the MALE kit and one woman winner receives the FEMALE kit. I love how Augusta doesn’t forget about keeping the guys in our lives geared up for performance and looking good!  Some other notes on the contest:  The giveaway begins on January 12th and ends on January 19th 2015. The giveaway is open to US residents only. Styles/colors of the giveaway items may vary based on availability.   This post and giveaway for gym clothes and athletic gear is sponsored by Augusta Sportswear. All editorial comments and opinions are my own.

What is your favorite yoga pose? a Rafflecopter giveaway

Nike 5.0 Free Review & a Workout They Rocked

jd sports running shoes

JD Sports out of London (insert trumpet fanfare) sent me a pair of Nike Free 5.0 TR Fit 4 Print to try out and review. I haven’t run in Nike in like FOREVER, so I was super excited to get my feet to the street in these stylish running shoes that I’ve been hearing so much about. JD Sports mentions how this product is part of the Crosstown Running rage.  What is that? I’m from Texas, y’all, but I think it has something to do with Londoners getting into the lifestyle and community of running – and showing off their street chic style while running or just hanging out in their stock of versatile fitness gear.

 

nike 5.0 tri 4 printSo, what do I think specifically of the Nike Free 5.0 TR Fit 4 Print? Well, there’s no arguing that the shoe is quite fashionable for pounding the pavement on a run, leaping parked cars in parkour class or just knocking back some beers after work with friends.  With quite a lot of print color combos, it’s easy to find just the right ones for your personality – or difficult, if you’re a complicated, multi-faceted . . . err, indecisive person like me.

wall sit stars

As for the technical aspects, the shoe is light and has a breathable, engineered mesh upper which I like, especially in this Texas heat. Nike flywire technology provides just enough support and lockdown on the forefoot and an inner sleeve hugs the heel for a snug (but not tight) fit. What I really like about the running and fitness shoe is the sole, which has a nice bit of traction yet is still really flexible meaning – this bodes well for transitioning from a run right into a workout with jumping, burpees and fluid multi-directional movements. I NEED shoes that are flexible in the midfoot and toes and the Nike Free 5.0s totally delivered. Now, if you’re a runner that needs a bunch of stability and support due to biomechanical issues, this may not be the dream shoe for you. But, for the runner who needs a neutral, lightweight, high-performing, flexible shoe – the Nike Free 5.0 will be your new besties!

You also may be wondering what it was like to order running shoes from an overseas store. I was skeptical of delivery time at first but, honestly, my shipment arrived in about the same amount of time as here in the good ole U.S. of A. Now, these shoes did hop the pond by way of London to Dubai to Austin, so they moved a great distance quickly – I hope that translates into my running performance!  One thing to know if you are buying running shoes or trainers from the UK, footwear is sized differently. For example, my women’s size 8.5 in America is a women’s size 6 in England – but don’t worry, they have size charts to help you out.  JD Sports doesn’t just sell Nike, they also carry Adidas, Asics, Fila and more  . . . you really should really check out all their running shoes and get yourself some of that British style!

workout with run, planks, wall sits and more

So, to celebrate all this shoe can DO, I created a workout filled with all the moves it will help you perform better – like running,  jumping and multi-directional movements!  While you COULD do the Crossfit inspired WOD alone, it’s much more fun to pair up with a friend to push you all the way through the final 2k run! Have fun!

Have you every worn this or any version of the Nike Free?  Whatdidjathink?