5 Ways Balance Fitness and Life + #prAnaSpringStyle

5 Ways to Balance Fitness & LifeIt’s now unofficially spring, how are those New Year’s goals progressing? Whether it’s general health and wellness, getting in bikini shape, or nailing a specific fitness goal on your list, I bet there has been hurdle or two in the road. Or, at least there has been for me!  Work obligations, family duties, a defeatist attitude and even the weather are obstacles that can get in the way of accomplishing your daily workout. Thankfully with the temperatures warming up, we can all get outside and move when and where we like and enjoy the feel-good mojo some good old-fashioned, natural vitamin D sunshine!  So, if your fitness good intentions have been waning loately (or weren’t even there at all), get back on track with these

5 Ways to Balance Fitness & Life.

1) Be Efficient: Have a game plan, don’t just show up at the gym and wander around aimlessly trying to decide what to do. I’ve seen focused people get a more solid and productive workout in 20 minutes than lollygaggers do in 2 hours.  High intensity activities like running, CrossFit, interval training, and rowing can all get you big gains with low time commitment.

 2) Be Sneaky: Use little bits of down time to fit in fitness. For example, do a few isometric exercises in the car while you wait for the light to turn green or close the office door and bust out some burpees.  Even if you pass up your after work run for a marathon of the latest television show, don’t fast-forward through the commercials – get up and move for the duration. Everything adds up and something is better than nothing!

3) Be on a Schedule – Don’t just “pencil” your workouts in, use permanent ink! While that may not be completely realistic in light of the constantly changing demands of life, it is good to have a general idea of when and where you are going to accomplish a sweat session.  When an activity is “on the books,” there is accountability and it becomes much easier to arrange other obligations around the workout or say “no” to things you deem less important.

4) But, Be Flexible – I’m not talking flexible as in bendy (although that’s good too, so try some yoga!), but as in adaptable when fate doesn’t seem to want to allow for a run or workout.  Sometimes “the schedule” gets put in total override; so view your workout as not “lost forever” but temporarily postponed and/or altered. Instead of running 5 miles in the morning, climb the stairs for 5 minutes every hour at work or knock out high-intensity intervals (like burpees, jumping jacks and air squats) while your kiddos are finishing up piano lessons.

5) Be Ready:  Because squeezing in workouts can sometimes be unpredictable, I always wear clothing that allows for a wide range of movement and is moisture-wicking. If your lifestyle doesn’t allow for wearing yoga pants or running shorts all day (haha), then keep a fully-stocked gym bag in the car at all times. Don’t forget your athletic shoes, swimsuit, sunglasses and yoga mat – you never know what opportunity will arise!

jen and lucy prana

I also wanted to share about prAna,  one of my all-time favorite brands that fits with my healthy, active, fun-loving lifestyle (and what you’ll find on my bod or in my bag to meet Tip No. 5). I feel so lucky that my “job” doesn’t require me to wear stuffy suits and high heels, another benefit of being your own boss! I’m on-the-go all day, from fitness class to famer’s market to coffee-shop client meeting and need clothes that are functional, but also fabulous and free-spirited. PrAna meets all my look-good-play-hard needs, plus all the pieces I own can be tossed right into the washer and dryer.

Kara Jean at prAna.com use discount code PSSS16TFF to save 15%For example, these Kara Jeans may just be the best pair of jeans I’ve ever owned – they fit true to size, are flattering, have a bit of stretch to accommodate the daily leaping, lounging, lifting and impromptu yoga poses in my life. Plus, they come in 11 different colors and patterns!

 

Kara Jean at prAna.com use discount code PSSS16TFF to save 15%

Another reason to love prAna is their mindfulness to where and how their beautiful clothes are made. Their creations are made with organic cotton, wools and hemp – and even recycled polyester and repurposed down feathers. They are stalwarts of sustainability, traceability, and fair trade practices and, since 2012, have partnered with bluesign® to ensure that the materials in the clothes I’m putting on my body meet the highest human safety and environmental standards.

Cali Sundress from prAna.com use discount code PSSS16TFF to save 15%I also added another prAna sundress to my spring wardrobe, I already have four or five of their dresses, they are just so very cute and versatile.  This one is the Cali Dress and it’s available in a variety of solid colors and prints (mine is Safari Guava) – I can’t wait to wear it and feel warm rays on my shoulders!

Whether you are a yogi, climber, runner, traveler, suburban mom or urban warrior, you’ll discover must-have clothing that helps turns any day, every day into the BEST DAY and gears you up to fit fitness in wherever you may be! Check out the new #prAnaSpringStyle for yourself! You can use my Discount Code PSSS16TFF to save 15% at prAna.com plus Free Shipping on orders $99 or more .

Five Ways to Balance Fitness and LifeSo, how are you balancing fitness and life? What is your biggest obstacle? Have you ever found a skinny jean that is perfect? What is your favorite yoga pose? Share any or all in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

This post was sponsored by Fit Approach on behalf of prAna. All opinions and enthusiasm are my own.  

Motivational Confidence “Uppers” for Life, Love . . . and Sports

The Importance of Confidence -

I’m an UPPER, not a DOWNER. I’d love for you to read the guest post I wrote for Vim & Vigr about “Self-Love” and discover how I stay UP on myself.   When my friends at this awesome active brand asked me to share, I’m pretty sure they scored the Queen of Loving Yourself – I mean, have you seen my Instagram Profile?!!

Instagram @TheFitFork

What other people think of me is none of my business.  Inspirational QuoteI’m half kidding when I say that and half not — it takes a good dose of chutzpah and big brazen cajones to put yourself out there for everyone to judge!  But, it doesn’t really matter what other people think about me, just what I think about me. Of course, God’s opinion of me matters and then, to a degree, my family and very closest friends, but otherwise what other people think of me is none of my business (haha)!   This once shy and self-doubting young girl is now an unabashed confidence queen – read the post “I’m Not Embarrassed to Say I LOVE Me” and find out how I get my mind and body in the right place to achieve my sports, family, work and life goals!

I will not Self Doubt - motivational inspirational quoteI have never been much of a sugar-coated quotes type of person or someone who wants to sit around all day and talk about feelings – especially when daylight’s burning and I want to run, workout or practice yoga. However, during these alone times my mind is freed up to reflect on personal mantras (this is one) and focus on popular motivational sayings – I find this to be a productive way to pull up my confidence when it is sagging.

Here is a collection of “Confidence Uppers” I curated for Mode Media – hopefully one or two of these quotes will inspire you as much as they did me!

Check out Confidence Uppers For Life, Sports & Self-Love

by The Fit Fork at Mode

onfidence & Humility above all else - motivational inspirational quote

What quote, mantra or what-have-you boosts you confidence? Do you have a favorite I didn’t mention?  Who is the most confident (in a good way) person you know, what makes them that way?  Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer  

This post sponsored by Mode Media, but all opinions, thoughts, ideas and kick-butt awesomeness are my own. 

Running and Fitness 2015 – My Highlights, My Bloopers, My Gear 

The Events: To the best of my memory, I raced eight 5ks, one 5-miler, one 10k, four half marathons, one marathon and two obstacle course Spartan Races (the Sprint and Beast).   I also competed in the CrossFit Games Open, Austin Fittest Challenge, the Zilker Relays and a CrossFit event called “Sprint & Snatch.”   Loved them all!

Most Unexpected Race Win:  In October, I was the first OVERALL winner of the Hill Country Half Marathon in Marble Falls, Texas. Granted, the field wasn’t Rock ‘n Roll marathon kind of huge, but that being said, I beat all the women and the MEN with my scrawny legs — the hills were some of the worst I’ve ever seen (not kidding, one went upward for at least half a mile).Jennifer Fisher winner 2015 Hill Country Half Marathon

Craziest Conditions in a Race: The Spartan Beast Dallas was not what I was planning for, it was crazy! With a half marathon being in my wheelhouse, I expected to nail this Spartan Beast Dallas Sand Bag Carryrace — but unforeseen Texas flooding delayed the start for hours and created a running situation in ankle deep mud the entire distance. I was sore the next day in some pretty weird places!  Although hoping to do better, I managed to pull off a 2nd place podium finish in the Elite Master division (and it was only my 2nd Spartan, and first “beast”).

Most Unusual Prize Won in a 2015 Race: A $250 gift card for a tattoo! I am no saying if, when and where I used it! 🙂

Best Pre and Post Race Festivities at a Race:  Hosted by Health and Cooking Light magazines, The Fit Foodie Run in Austin (but also in Fairfax, Chicago and San Diego) proves that a healthy lifestyle can mesh with culinary enthusiasm!  The weekend is packed with celebrity chef tasting, food and fitness interactive demos, yoga sessions, and yoga boot camps – there is so much food! Plus, the goodies and samples you get to take home from the after run are some serious healthy nom-noms – bring a big bag!

Best Running & Fitness Moments on Instagram: Of course, I blew up my @thefitfork profile with photos of my favorite yoga poses and running with friends!

Favorite Women-centric Race: I’ve been an ambassador for Zooma Race Series for 4 or 5 years now and have run that hilly Austin-area half marathon and said – “never again” at the finish line. But, after I catch my breath a few minutes later, I’m like Jennifer Fisher at Zooma Texas 2014“awesome, that was the best race ever despite the course challenges.” The Austin race is now defunct, but the other fabulous locations across the country beckon for a mini-vacation! Created and run by women, this race focuses on females supporting each other, no matter age, ability or life situation – and the weekends make great girlfriend getaways!  My mom and I have made a tradition of it! Even though I’ve been in a role to mentor and support the runners, I can’t tell you how much more energy and inspiration I’ve received from them – always so happy to see those smiles and high-fives at the half-marathon turnaround.

Favorite Yoga Pose:  Always the Crow or some variation! Hopefully this time next year, my hamstrings and back will be more bendy and stretchy so my Instagram profile can be more well-rounded! Jennifer Fisher TheFitFork.com Yoga Crow Pose

Running / Workout Injuries: Thankfully, nothing serious this year – eg. no stitches, concussions or pulled rib muscles like last year! Only falling off a box doing the Murph CrossFit WOD and spraining ankle, numerous palm tears, one lost toenail . . . looking for some wood to knock on!   Despite the healthy year for me, I did write a helpful post on 4 Ways Sports Injuries Build Better Athletes that will keep all of us focused on end goals.

Weirdest Workout Moment: It would have to be working out with watermelons for the second summer in a row on my #LivingOnTheWedge blog series!  I CrossFitted with watermelon, ran with watermelon, and even worked out in the swimming pool with a watermelon! Oh, you don’t want to miss that watermelon pool workout video – please make sure you are wearing Depends. On behalf of the National Watermelon Promotion Board, I will be taking the show on the road at IDEA World Fitness & Nutrition Expo in L.A. in July 2016. Summer Squat Challenge -- Do 100 squats per day from this mix an match list!

Best Blooper(s):  Oh, there are a lot of bloopers and outakes, my phone is filled with them!  Practicing on the parallettes is cause for crashing on my face or rear, but still it’s fun.  There are also some awkward moments coming out of a handstand in a walkover when my old back decides “no” midway through! 

More Bloopers: Because research shows you live longer if you laugh. Yoga and Fitness Bloopers from TheFitFork.com

Favorite Running and Workout Gear / Fuel:  Vim & Vigr Compression Socks (super functional , fashionable and fun  in a variety of stripes, polka dots and fun patterns), Altra Running Shoes (I love the super lightweight, zero-drop “The Ones” ) and Nuun for my hydration needs  — I’m digging their  fairly new product called PLUS for Nunn. Unlike regular Nuun that is virtually calorie free (there are a few, but under 10), PLUS provides a boost with fast absorbing performance carbohydrates that keep me hydrated and provide quickly sourced energy for demanding endurance events.  Also, I still love my bottle of Core Power High Protein Shake in Chocolate Lite Flavor for 20g of quality protein to help my muscles recover right after a long run or intense workout. My Running and Workout Must Haves

I’m also really appreciating mobility gear from ACUMOBILITY – a great company that I connected with this year at The Running Event that not only makes rollers and other mobility products, but also assesses, corrects and unifies movement to reduce injuries and unlock improved performance.   Stay tuned because I will be having an awesome giveaway at the beginning of January! And, for “on the go” rolling, I really love The Original Worm (based right here in Austin).

Most Used Mantra: When times get tough in a race, I break out the “If you can take it, you can make it” line from Unbroken. Or, when I try to get too controlling about stuff  –  “Where are you?  Here. What time is it? Now. What are you? This moment.” – from Dan Millman’s book , “The Way of the Peaceable Warrior”  Both books are so inspirational — read them!

Favorite Kettle Bell Workout:

20 Minute Kettle Bell Blaster

My Best Way to Stay Motivated: When I start to feel burned out, I take an active fun day! And, always more crazy with my friend Valerie (by the way, she’s an internationally known running coach, not kidding — check her out at @runrx ) 

What are your fitness favorites from 2015?! Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer

4 Ways Sports Injuries Build Better Athletes

I am participating in a sponsored campaign hosted by the maker of Advil® PM and I received financial compensation and a free sample of Advil® PM caplets. All opinions expressed are my own.Now one wants to get hurt, but find out how  sports injuries can help build better athletes.

I’ve never met anyone who enjoys being physically injured, and the insult of having your body kick you to the bench seems even more painful (at least mentally) to athletes. So, in no way am I endorsing injuries as a way to be a better athlete – for heaven’s sake, take care of yourself!  But, if a physical issue, (biomechanical, accident or otherwise) does come your way, I’m here to tell you that you can use the setback to your advantage.

I’ve sustained my fair share of injuries over the years through running, CrossFit, gymnastics, yoga, working out and enjoying an overall active lifestyle – everything from concussion, stress fractures and bone contusions to cuts that required stiches, oozing road burn, ripped palms, a multitude of pulled muscles, sprained ankles, wrists and ribs and more. Thankfully, nothing of a very serious nature and that a little Advil® PM couldn’t help me though!

Getting a good night's rest is important to recovering from minor sports injuries.

“No, no! I don’t need to go to the hospital!” Uh, I’ve said that before . . . .

However, I believe the time spent sitting on the proverbial sidelines can help an athlete heal both physically and mentally, especially if the right mindset is kept. Think of your injury as a way to embrace these four factors that will ultimately help you mend on the inside and out – remember that tough times don’t last, but tough people do!

4 Ways Sports Injuries Build Better Athletes

Box jumps gone bad - careless form leads to injury.

Box jumps gone bad – careless form leads to injury.

Confronts Problem:  Some injuries are complete and total fluke accidents. However, the majority of problems caused by exercise are driven by careless, reckless or single-minded behavior – even ignorance and denial are reasons people hurt themselves in sports over and over. Admit it, you know a guy who jacks his back in the gym every month.  Whether you are piling on miles with terrible running form, are an adrenaline junkie who puts thrill before skill, or just unlucky enough to be at the wrong place at the wrong time,  getting injured forces you to look at the issue rationally and figure out ways to rehabilitate and keep it from happening again. Or, so I hope!

Even if a sports injury is minor, it's a good idea to take it easy for a few days.

Taking some rest is a good thing!

Forces Rest: As much as a go-go-go, type-A personality athlete might feel like he or she is withering away physically and emotionally when slowed down by injury, the forced rest is actually quite beneficial – muscles actually get stronger during the recovery phase of a workout, not during the actual effort! There is some time that you don’t have to use it, before you lose it. Take this as a not-so-subtle hint to sleep in, move slower and focus on nutrition.  It will take at least a couple weeks for strength athletes to notice any signs of muscle atrophy and, in the same vein, endurance athletes shouldn’t expect to lose any significant VO2 max during the same period of break. However, if an injury is more serious, you will want to work with your doctor of physical therapist to develop an alternative training plan that will keep you at an agreeable baseline of fitness – so that when you’re able to jump back in, you’re not starting from square one.

Dislike turned to love while recovering from an injury.

Dislike turned to love while recovering from an injury.

Expands Horizons: When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade! Finding an alternative form of exercise to keep fit through an injury may just introduce you to the newest passion in your life – an experience never fully realized had it not been for the initially unwelcomed introduction. For example, runners may find they love swimming, weight-lifters may find they love sculling, tennis players may take to yoga and, heck, who doesn’t want an excuse to play golf all day long?! Even if you can’t wait to get back to your first true love, the change of pace will do your mind and body good!

Staying focused on the end goal despite obstacles.Tests and Strengthens Resolve:  A sports injury can really put a person’s resolve to the test, especially when it comes to staying on course. This ability to stay focused, determined and put a plan into action is a testament to the strength or weakness of your resolve – or, another way to say it, it’s the “steering mechanism” that drives you to a desired outcome. Will you crash and burn, stall out and give up, or keep after it until you reach the finish line? Playing the victim (or poor me), blaming, making excuses and complaining when it comes to dealing with an injury just weakens your resolve and lessens the likelihood of you ever achieving the athletic goals you first imagined.  Once you are healed, being fearful and dwelling in the past will likely also keep you from that personal victory. Just keep looking forward, staying positive and celebrating your milestone achievements on the road to health and recovery.

Whether you are an everyday athlete or an elite superstar, managing the pain and the restlessness that often comes with being sidelined due to injury can be lessened with Advil® PM. I’ve used this safe and effective over-the-counter pain reliever and non-habit forming sleep aid with great results to treat the aches, pains and minor injuries I’ve dealt with running and working out over the last 25 years. It’s always so hard to sleep when your muscles are trashed from a marathon, or that headache from a day in the sun won’t go away —Advil® PM to the nighttime rescue!

Of course, before taking Advil® PM, you’ll want to consult with your physician to make sure this product is right for you. You can visit AdvilPM.com for more information and a coupon!

Have you had a sports-related injury?  What happened and how did you get through it? Please share in the comments below. XOXO – Jennifer

RUN HAPPY & RUN FAST + Motivational Fitness Jewelry #Giveaway

I have my lucky ladybird earrings, go-to running shoes and a favorite route (and friend) for long runs. Despite all these creature comforts that get me out the door, I often I lose sight of exactly WHY I’m running. Sometimes running seems like such a chore, I will grumble and grouse about it in not-so-eager anticipation for longer than it actually takes to do the run. But, I’ve noticed time and time again that my mood is elevated, my worries are worked out and my heart is lighter when I finally hit the streets to run– although it can take a few miles to get to this RUN HAPPY state of mind.  Other times, I’m so anxious and excited to run, I can’t even sleep at night. Can I trust my training, will my performance meet my expectations, and will I really be able to RUN FAST? words to sweat by bracelets I’ve been wearing these two motivational bracelets to remind me of why I run – to RUN HAPPY and to RUN FAST.  At first, I thought I’d wear them one at a time, based on the type of run on my day’s agenda – like a race, a track workout or a social run with a friend. But, then I had an “aha” moment and realized my ultimate relationship goal with running is to RUN HAPPY and RUN FAST at the same time (well, most of the time). So, now I’m wearing the bracelets as a pair  and happily reminding myself that the reality of running fast is all relative.

So, I know you are probably in LOVE with these motivational bracelets too– they are from Words to Sweat By, a fun fitness jewelry and apparel online boutique.  The inspirational words are hand-stamped on an aluminum charm and attached to a one-size-fits all jersey cuff. There are TONS of colors and motivational word choices to choose from and the bracelets are a great little gift for yourself or a fitness friend. words to sweat by categories

Words to Sweat By makes other motivational fitness jewelry and apparel that will inspire you to start a new fitness routine or help push you through those last minutes of a workout or run.  With the holidays coming up, I bet any girlfriend in your group exercise class or running club would love receive such a thoughtful and thought-provoking present.  If you have a “Best Running Friend,” Word’s To Sweat By even has a Best Running Friend Forever necklace set (one for you, one for her) designed with a running shoe design, race distance and initial letter charm. custom necklace from words to sweat by Hello, can you believe the fabulousness of this necklace that was custom-designed just for ME! A miniature fork is resting on a salad bowl of beaded greens and the words “THE FIT FORK” are stamped on a circle charm.  If you want something special made just for you or to give as a unique gift, Words to Sweat By has a lovely selection of custom and personalized items.

words to sweat by header

I have a treat for one of my readers – a giveaway for a $50 gift credit to Words to Sweat By! Don’t walk, RUN over to the website start making your list now – you may be the big winner!  Rafflecopter entry below.

This post and giveaway were sponsored by Words to Sweat By. However, all comments and opinions are naturally my own.  a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

#LoveYourAge and Prevention’s #R3Summit

To me, the alleged compliment, “aging gracefully,” sounds so woefully outdated that I cringe every time I hear it – it’s like saying, “forget about your dreams, your purpose here on Earth is now positively correlated to your night cream’s effectiveness. Hope in a Jar, I always hated that name. It’s such an old-fashioned and sexist concept, this idea of a woman living out her middle age years and beyond with some sort of passive resignation – hanging up her goals while trying to hang onto her looks. I realize that most of the time, the term “aging gracefully” is bestowed to women who are embracing their natural beauty over a plastic surgery-enhanced appearance. Well, how wonderful (insert sarcasm); however, isn’t the focus still on the exterior image and recapturing youth?

val jen suzanne litehouse caramel cashew bars post

We love our ages — we’re fit, fabulous and all over 40!

Before any guy who reads this blog gets his boxers in a bunch, the sexism around “aging gracefully” is almost exclusively self-inflicted and further perpetuated by women. You don’t hear of some middle aged man deciding he’s too old to wear his bathing suit to the beach or arm wrestle with his juniors.  I’ve never overheard two old guys gossiping about “how good” another man looks for his advancing age – they’re just one upping each other with the profit of deals inked, the size of fish caught, golf handicaps dropped or some other measure of manliness. For the most part, the men I know have audacious goals and are always moving forward despite beer bellies, balding heads and furry ears.

dara torresI think it’s time we women start focusing less on aging gracefully and instead just live all our years left to the best of our abilities – and let passion trump polish! You are never too old to keep pursing a life dream or set the bar higher on what drives you now — women like Dara Torres and Julia Child stand out in my mind. Dara Torres for sticking with her passion as a world class swimmer long after colleagues had turned in their goggles – extra Olympic gold in the process!

“Find something you are passionate about and stay tremendously interested in it.” – Julia Child

And, Julia Child for finding her passion later in life – she didn’t even enter culinary school until age 36 and then later wrote the iconic Mastering the Art of French Cooking which ended up as a syndicated television show she hosted well into her later years.

“Find something you are passionate about and stay tremendously interested in it.” – Julia Child

So, I’m off my soap box now and want to let everyone know about Prevention magazine’s Love Your Age Day on October 1st.  Like me, the folks here want you to actually start living life rather than worrying about how many candles are on the cake.  Prevention magazine has a lot of great content on this topic in the October issue and is kicking it off with a #LoveYourAge celebration on Instagram or Twitter . Please join me in posting a picture that shows how you love your age –  don’t forget to hashtag it #LoveYourAge and also #TheFitFork if you have room so I can find the awesomeness of my readers!

I have so many reasons to love my age, but today I’ll share the fitness reasons that (surprise) have nothing to do with running. First, a biggie for me this year was finally getting my muscle up in CrossFit. It took me TWO YEARS of practicing but I was not going to give up! Also, I haven’t been able to do a backbend in TWO DECADES and recently got it back this year (ha- a pun), so this will be the #LoveMyAge pic I’m going to post:

Love Your Age backbend

Prevention will also be hosting a Love Your Age panel featuring the amazing Andie MacDowell at the R3 Summit in Austin, Texas on October 16th and 17th. The entire R3 Summit is about how you can refresh, revive and reinvent yourself at any age – other topics and the health and wellness conference include beauty, happiness, health, healthy epicurean, mind and body, and peak performance (the founder of barre3, along with others, will be on site leading workouts).

2014 discount prevention summit

If you are interested in attending (I went last year and it was AWESOME), Prevention has a special offer for my readers! Enter code R3VIB at checkout for $20 off your R3Summit ticket. Also keep up with announcements and other happenings on social media with #R3Summit. Wear your workout gear and I will see you there!

What accomplishment are you most proud of this year? How do you #LoveYourAge ?

This post is sponsored by Prevention magazine, I received passes to the conference and other goods in exchange for promotion. However, all opinions and commentary are my own.

 

How to Break Out of a Rut & Starfruit Salad Recipe

crossfit bar

Adding CrossFit to my running training is one way I’ve broken through a rut! I love the CrossFit WODs because you never know what it will be!

Ever feel like you’re stuck in rut? Going nowhere, immobilized with indifference, apathy, laziness or the even fear of trying something new? I know I have. Most of my ruts have come on slowly over time like the long deep tracks made by the repeated passage of bikes on a trail. I think about times when I’ve been on auto-pilot, just mindlessly along for the ride of life. Usually I’m the lucky type and reasonably good things come my way without too much of an ordeal, so why rock the boat? But often I wonder what I have been missing by not putting myself out there more. Tending to a super-hectic work-family-training schedule,

try-something-newI am also guilty of taking the easy way out, doing things mindlessly and over-relying on my creature comforts. For example, I run the same route in my neighborhood, sit in the same pew at church every week, order the same meal at my favorite restaurant, and haven’t changed my training plan in ages because it’s working (or, is it?). Really, these are just minor little ruts but, they do keep me from meeting new people, challenging myself and trying new things – I constantly have to tell myself to “mix it up.”

Occasionally, I feel like these little ruts are completely overshadowed by a big, gaping, capital letter RUT that literally appeared as quick and furiously as a polo horse can kick up a divot. Hello, I’ve lost a client, a friend, an important teaching moment for my child or an opportunity for personal growth that was just under my nose but I was too stupid to smell it. It feels like a crisis. It feels like my house is on fire. It feels so unfair because I have been taking the safe ride through life and not been reckless behind the wheel.  Really these big ruts are just the small ruts flaring up to catch my attention. It’s best to stomp the divots down as soon as possible, minimize the chances of more tripping and falling, and keep the game moving forward!

crossfit clean woman

Ways to Dig Out of a Rut:

Set and share a goal: Having a plan of action helps you lay out the steps needed to achieve a goal. Some of the most successful people in the world say luck had nothing to do with it; instead it was setting tangible goals to work toward. Don’t forget to share your goal with a friend and check in often; this will keep you accountable.

Don’t wish for it, work for it. Remember that a goal that lacks action behind it is just a dream. Sorry to say that dreams are imaginary and don’t come true, but goals can become a reality if you put in the work.

Embrace the uncomfortable. Stepping outside your comfort zone is essential for growth in all aspects of life. Being happy with the status quo prevents progress. Not wanting to go above and beyond keeps you stuck where you are. It’s so cliché, but no pain, no gain!

Make a new connection daily. You can break through a rut by making at least one new human connection a day and preferably someone who is not a carbon copy of you! Introduce yourself (finally) to a person you see every day at the coffee shop, gym or carpool line that you’ve never bothered to meet. You never know who will inspire you to make a significant life change!

Try something new daily. Break out of your humdrum habits by trying something new each day. Mix up the monotonous by trying a new fruit or vegetable (see my Star Fruit Salad recipe below) or try something a little more challenging like a new yoga pose or learning a foreign language. You’re never too old to learn a new trick!

Since, uh, I love food and getting creative in the kitchen, especially with my healthy salads, I like break out of my eating ruts by trying new ingredients. It’s also why I have a pantry full of only-used-once-or-twice spices and exotic ingredients. Because I’ve never had a starfruit before, I took my taste buds on a taste adventure and made a salad featuring this unique-looking ingredient. Officially called a “carambola,” this fruit grows on trees native to the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India and there-about parts of the world. When you cut this guy crosswise, the slice look just like little stars which is what makes it such a fun way to jazz up a mundane salad. So, what does it taste like – it is hard to say?  It was slightly sweet with hints of apple and citrus with the texture of a firm grape. By the way, loved the baby kale I used in this recipe – so tender and delicate that the massaging required for the full-grown green is not needed.

star fruit salad

Starfruit & Orange Baby Kale Salad Recipe

  • ½ large starfruit
  • 2 ounces baby kale
  • ½ cup orange slice segments
  • 1/4 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 ounce feta cheese crumbles
  • ¼ cup toasted almond slivers
  • ¼ cup vinaigrette of choice (I used Tangy Orange Citrus Vinaigrette)

Slice starfruit crosswise into ¼ inch slices; remove any seeds. Assemble all ingredients on platter. Drizzle with vinaigrette before serving. Serves 2.

star fruit

Excuse the hideous post-run hair but this is what a starfruit looks like before cutting.