Giveaway Alert! I recently attended The Running Event, a trade show for the running retail industry, and got a sneak peak into some of the emerging trends, gear and sports nutrition products for 2018. I’ll save shoe, sock and sports bra talk for later, today I want to get right to the sports nutrition giveaway a.k.a. free tasty stuff. Yeah, I said “tasty stuff,” – that’s because so many race fuels, hydration aids and other sports nutrition products taste as good as they work!
Today, I’m sharing some of my new finds and old favorites with you “12 Days of Christmas” style, except all twelve days at once! You don’t have to come back to the blog every day for 12 days (although I don’t mind if you do)! Read on to discover some new products to fuel your running, obstacle course racing, triathalon, ultramarathoning – or whatever you do! And, enter the sports nutrition giveaway to win in all 78 things! Continue reading →
As a food and fitness blogger, it’s fun (and sometimes filling!) to test out all the new products that get sent my way. I’m sharing the best from the last couple months (and some perennial favorites) along with any discount codes I might have. If I’ve listed it here, it gets legitimate thumbs up from me – other stuff gets tossed into the “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all pile.”
Litehouse Foods Organic Vinaigrette– I develop recipes for this awesome employee-owned company based in Idaho – they have delicious, healthy products ranging from artisan cheeses to Greek yogurt based dips and freeze dried herbs sold all over the US. Right now, I’m really digging their updated organic line which includes new flavors like two of my favorites — Organic Rosemary Balsamic and Organic Ginger Honey. Look for these in the refrigerated section of your produce department, purchase online or enter to win my GIVEAWAY for Five Free Litehouse Foods product coupons (use them on anything they make, not just the dressings – enter at bottom of post).
Somersaults Sunflower Snacks – Available in sweet and savory flavors, these yummy little crackers are made mostly of sunflower seeds and offer up healthy fats, protein and vitamin E. My favorite way to use them is as a crouton alternative on my #BombAssSalads !! Use NEWFAN10 to get 10% off your order.
Nuttzo Nut & Seed Butters – My nutty shines through, Nuttzo has named me a VIP Ambassador for their organic and non-GMO Nut & Seed Butters. This stuff is so good, you’ll want to spread it on everything – or just eat right out of the jar. Save 20% on purchase with discount code FITFORK-20
Bright Planet – There is so much to love about this small, woman-owned bath and skin product company – not only are there eco-friendly, human and organic products wonderfully pampering (loved the scent), but they also are mindful of their place in the bigger world. For example, for each purchase made, Bright Planed donates two healthy meals to children in need. Get Bright Planet on Amazon
Nuun Hydration Tablets – This is not your standard Nuun Ambassador shoutout – I’ve been on the team for years, and am so happy to report that just recently the formula has been improved! They’ve added non-GMO sourced dextrose to help body absorb fluids more efficiently (still keeping under 1g sugar), using only clean ingredients such as plant-based sweeteners, and are gluten, dairy and soy free and given a “Clean Sport Certification” by Informed Choice. Use code NUUNAMBASSADORFRIEND at checkout to receive 20% off order.
Vitamin Dose Beverage – I don’t know about you, but I hate swallowing pills. That’s why I was all over these little specially blended cans of drinkable vitamins. They are non-carbonated, caffeine-free, low-calorie and taste good too. Get your Vitamin Dose on Amazon
TsaGnarly Nutrition – I am a protein powder nerd, I love trying all the new ones I find. Totally into the “Chiseled Chocolate” Grass Fed Whey Protein Supplement. It’s made with quality New Zealand Whey (happy cows there, I guess) and offers 12.5 g protein along with BCAAs, Glutamine and no artificial anything. Also, other full-on sports nutrition products including some vegan stuff. Get Gnarly on Amazon
Superior 2 from Altra Running – Okay, disclosure, I’m an Ambassador and admitted junkie of their super light and flash-fast The Ones 2.5 (and all previous versions!). So, it took the color golden yellow and the promise of “more grip and less weight” to get me to try the award-winning trail shoe that everyone’s raves on. I was looking for something that was still light on the feet, take me from trail running to gym and me obstacle course appropriate – score! Get Altra Superior 2 on Amazon
Tsamma Juice — Tsamma Juice from Frey Farms makes me swoon plus, it’s another woman-owned biz. Everyone knows what a huge watermelon fan I am (for both healthy recipes and sports performance benefits). It’s so awesome to have access to sweet, yummy handcrafted watermelon juice during the middle of winter – look for it at your grocery store in the produce section, Costco or buy online.
Have you tried any of these health and fitness products? What are you favorite new finds? Please share in comments! XOXO – Jennifer
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).
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 race — 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 “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!
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.
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.
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.
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:
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 )
Boo, it’s Halloween! I don’t do this very often, but I wanted to share with you some of the products and events I whole-heartedly stand behind. Actually, I have so many, that I’ll shout out another five next Friday. Don’t miss the giveaway at the bottom of the post for a Spartan entry, two tubes of Nuun, and a pair of Altra running socks.
1) Core Power: For years, I’ve been a big fan of this product and remember way back when it was called Athlete’s Honey Milk.
Now these high protein shakes are big time popular, so I’m super honored to be one of their athletes . . . plus, you’ve probably noticed I do a lot of workouts and recipes for their social media. I like to stash a bottle in my gym bag for the perfect amount of protein recovery after a long run or intense workout. The six yummy flavors are also the base ingredient for many of my crazy delicious smoothie recipes – like the Vampire Slayer Protein Smoothie I whipped up for Halloween.
Vampire Slayer Protein Smoothie Recipe
1 (11-ounce) Strawberry-banana Core Power
1 cup frozen berry blend
1/2 cup cranberry juice
Ice, as needed
Place all ingredients in blend and blend until smooth. Serves 1.
The Austin race is on Saturday March 28, 2015 at the Hill Country Hyatt Resort – a gorgeous, gorgeous place to run a race. The bluebonnets and other flowers are blooming this time of year and this welcomed distraction of Mother Nature has always made the hills seem less painful! The main race is a half marathon, but there is also a 10k and 5k and everyone is encouraged to run, laugh and celebrate. Oh, and did I mention the massages, wine and pretty necklace-style finisher’s medal to be enjoy afterward. Register using code JENNIFER15 and get 10% off any distance in the Texas lineup.
3) Spartan: I’ve never actually done a Spartan race but it’s been on my bucket list for a while.
One of the things that’s been holding me back is my own competitive nature – what if I don’t kill it, what if I don’t WIN (ha)? But, then I realized that’s totally the wrong attitude – if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you — right?! I’m going to be signing up the next time Spartan comes through Texas, meanwhile YOU can enter to win a free entry. Enter through the Rafflecopter app below, the winner will receive a registration code that will work for any open heat (non-confirmed start time) in any Spartan Race (check out the upcoming races) in the continental US. You can also just go ahead and register now and get 10% off any race (Sprint, Super or Beast) in any US with the code: SPARTANBLOGGER
4) Nuun Hydration: This sugar-free electrolyte tablet that you plop into a bottle of water and it magically fizzes up, has saved my butt from dehydration many, many times.
I use Nuun on my long runs, marathons and even out when watching my kids play sports all day in the Texas sun (I put it in their water bottles too!) They have a fairly new line, Nuun Energy, which combines the same optimal electrolyte blend with B vitamins and caffeine — yeah! The products are awesome, but I also can’t say enough about the people who work at Nuun –as a lucky ambassador, Nuun has invited me twice to be one of their runners in the Hood to Coast Relay, and I got the royal treatment each time!
If you want to stock up on Nuun, use the code nuunbassadorfriend to get 20% off a one-time purchase (through the end of 2014). Oh, what the heck, I’m going to throw two tubes of Nuun (my choice) into the giveaway below!
5) Altra Running – I was first introduced to this line of “zero-drop” shoes several years ago when I was tweaking my running form with the Pose Method.
As an ambassador for the brand, I’ve shared my testimonial on how these shoes have helped me as a mid-foot striker, improved my natural running form and saved my toenails from turning black and falling off! I’ve worn them in every distance from a 5k to 50 mile ultra. Currently, I’m wearing the Ones Squared, and loving the lightness with a touch of cushion! They also make socks with a wider toe box and I’m giving away a pair of Women’s White No Show Sprint Socks
The weathermen don’t need to convince me that July 24th is considered the hottest day of the year. Here in Austin with temperatures about to pass the 100 degree mark, I think I could sear my favorite spice-crusted tenderloin steak to perfect mouthwatering, medium-rareness right on the sidewalk. Seriously. I actually enjoy the heat and think in a past life I may have been a lizard. However, unrelenting warm temperatures create challenges when exercising outdoors — one of the biggest problems is remaining hydrated as sweating increases. Even becoming moderately dehydrated really puts a downer on the day – who wants to deal with muscle cramps, a nagging headache and lingering fatigue?
Outdoor athletes aren’t the only ones that need to stay hydrated during the summer. A recent Harris Poll commissioned by NWPB reported that nearly 1/3 of us don’t drink enough water – the main reason being lack of flavor. Really, you could just eat an 18 ounces slice of watermelon and it would be like drinking a 16 ounce bottle of water. However, there are so many taste bud tantalizing drinks you can make with watermelon that are so much more exciting than just putting a lemon slice in water. Some of my favorite past recipes are Watermelon Agua Fresca and Watermelon Chia Seed Smoothies. One of my favorite sports hydration companies, Nuun Hydration, even makes a Watermelon-flavored electrolyte replacement tab — I like to add these do watermelon juice for a double boost!
.However, in honor of National Drink Watermelon Day, I’ve come up with a new watermelon beverage that quenches thirst with a kick of ginger – Stevia-Sweetened Watermelon Ginger Limeade. Ginger is an awesome addition to any drink – it boosts the absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients in the body and it has anti-inflammatory properties to sooth sore muscles and joints. A glass of this lightly sweet-sour-spicy drink will make you say “hello” to hydration – who doesn’t want to drink MORE of something that tastes so outrageously good. And, please do drink more – I’ve made this healthy recipe with Stevia to keep the carbs lower!
Optional Garnish – lime slices, watermelon balls and fresh mint
Wash and thinly slice ginger root, peeling is not necessary. Add sliced ginger to small sauce pan filled with 2 cups water. Bring to boil and the lower heat and let simmer (no lid) for about 30 – 45 minutes or until liquid reduced by half.
Pour ginger and water through fine-meshed strainer and into a bowl. Mix in stevia and stir until dissolved. Discard ginger or save for another use.
Prepare watermelon juice by pureeing about 6 cups of watermelon in the blender and straining off pulp. An easier way is just to collect the juice that runs off watermelon when cutting it into chunks – I save all of mine and keep it in the freezer for recipes like this!
To prepare beverage, pour watermelon juice, lime juice, ½ cup ginger “syrup” juice into tall pitcher; stir to combine. Pour in sparkling water and lightly stir.
Serve in tall glasses garnished with lime slices and watermelon balls. Serves 4
This post was sponsored by the National Watermelon Promotion Board and I received nominal compensation to share my love for watermelon. All recipes and opinions are my own.
Aug 24: Ran the epic Hood to Coast Relay for the second year, on a team called Cherry Limeade sponsored by the always awesome, always refreshing Nuun Hydration. This Seattle-based maker of electrolyte tabs is focused on creating a take-along product that keeps runners and other athletes hydrated flavorfully – in fact, they have so many flavors, it will make your head spin. My favorites are Kona Kola and Strawberry Lemonade, oh yea — and ½ a Banana tab with ½ a Watermelon tab! I appreciate the fact that I’m not sucking down a bunch of sugar with this product, goodness knows I’ve been the poster child for losing time on a race course due to GI distress.
I was so inspired by the women runners in my team’s van 2, that I just have to shout them out — Allison, Tanaya and Tere from Arizona, Emily (now) from Oregon and Paige from Washington. I’m already looking at the upcoming race calendars to cherry pick (or, should I say ‘cherry limeade pick’?) a few for reunion visits! BTW, all the women I met on the Nuun teams rocked; however, these particular ones though had to put up with me for 40 straight hours with no sleep. There was no do-it-yourselfing on this trip, well except the running. We had the luxury of being chauffeured around on this 200-mile race by our fearless, amusingly foul-mouthed and seriously funny van driver Vishal, a Nuun employee who also made sure that we had our Starbucks, Diet Mountain Dew, and never-ending food and pit stops expertly arranged. Thanks to Megan Fay for organizing the chaos and chief hydrator and company president, Mason Reay, for another year of gracious hospitality. Random side note: I knew Mason lived in Austin for a while, but found out that our children attended the same preschool at the same time! Now that I think of it, he might have been the dad at the Thanksgiving Pow-wow who offered to bring beer.
August 25: Traveled the entire day, plane had mechanical problems and I wasn’t in bed until 2:30, and shortly thereafter greeted my 5:30 alarm clock. That was neither a sweet nor savory thing. But, while waiting at the airport, I did order a “personal mix” of granola from MixMyOwn.com. The site is so cool, you choose a base cereal, other grains, fruits, nuts and add-ins and then bag it up and ship it straight to your door! On the back of the bag, the nutrition label reflects the exact mix that you made. And, it tastes really fantastic on my Greek yogurt.
August 26: School started, enough said. Sweet! Okay, I’ll say more – and I don’t usually dump out this much mushy personal information, so here you go! My three sons have entered 11th, 8th and 5th grades, so proud of them and it’s going to be a great year. Got a sweet kiss from each this morning!
August 28: Finally read my September Cooking Light magazine and made a recipe for Quinoa-Granola Cookies that I will share on the blog tomorrow. Love to put healthy cookies in my kid’s lunches. Sneak peek:
August 30: Brought a post-practice treat to football practice, Jamba Juice smoothies! Seeing as it was 105 degrees, I had no trouble passing off every last one of the Strawberry Surf Rider smoothies to those hot, sweaty boys. This is one of the reasons why I love being a Jamba Juice Whirl’d Ambassador (disclosure). If you sign up to receive Jamba Juice news and specials via email, you’ll receive a coupon for a $2 16-ounce smoothie. That’s a sweet-sweet situation!
August 31: Celebrated National Bacon Day by wrapping a piece of cured pork around a club cracker and rolling it in brown sugar – then baked at 400F until bubbling with greasy-salty-sweet goodness. This sweet-and-savory sin was not my own doing – inspired by the Pioneer Woman.
September 1: Shared my love for beef and why it is great fuel for an athlete at the Tri-Rock Triathlon Expo in Austin, Texas. Looking for a delicious dinner idea that’s healthy and fast? Check out my recipe for Spice Crusted Tenderloin with Street Fair Corn, hurry and make it before grilling season slips away.
Just because the holidays are pretty much over doesn’t mean gift-giving has to come to an end. I want to jump-start all your New Year fitness resolutions with a care package of some of my favorite things. Whether you are planning to run your first 5k in 2013 or complete your 100th marathon, these little goodies will help you get to the finish line just a little easier. It’s my New Year gift to one of you! Enter below on the Rafflecopter form to win this assortment of sporty stuff.
Sun-Rype 100% All Natural Fruit Strips: A delicious and nutritious product made in Canada but found in the fresh produce section of your local grocery. Contains no preservatives, artificial colors, and is gluten-free and nut-free. You get one dozen fruit strips in Strawberry.
FuelBelt – Super-Stretch Waist Pack in Blue ready to hold your race-day necessities like a phone, keys, nutrition gels and girl stuff.
Slacklaces – “The Flexible Shoe Lace” in Pink are an inventive way to tie up your sneakers. Don’t just lace them up old-school though; check out my old post on special techniques to lace shoes that alleviates problems like heel slip, smushed big toes, and such.
Nuun Active Hydration Tablets – Enjoy one tube of 12 tablets in the Tropical flavor. If you haven’t used Nuun before, you’ll love it. Drop one tab into a bottle of water and it fizzes up without stirring to provide you an on-the-go electrolyte drink without any sugar.
Sports Legs: Supplements to reduce lactic acid build-up and minimize post-race soreness (5-tablet supply which is enough for one marathon). I have used these a few times with some success, definitely less sore the next day. The company told me they would make my legs feel 15 years younger, now if only the rest of my body follow suit.
Chia Surge Endurance Gel – Pinapple-Orange Flavor and Raspberry Flavor from Vitalyte Sports Nutrition. You can find these gels retail at REI Outdoor.
Handana: It might not be hot now, but come summer, you’re going to appreciate wiping your brow with this stylish and easy-to-wear high-performance sports band. Made right here in Austin, Texas!
Jamba Juice: Run your errands or workout in this understated but oh-so-fashionable Jamba Juice cap and then treat your healthy self to a smoothie with the 3 one-dollar gift cards. It’s no secret that my favorite flavor is Razzamatazz® with a whey protein boost.
In honor of my recent participation in the Hood to Coast Relay on a team sponsored by Nuun Hydration, I’m giving away some sweet swag to keep one lucky winner hydrated for the remainder of the summer. If you’re not familiar with Nuun, you’ve been missing out on an awesome product that features essential electrolytes, no sugars and a light, refreshing taste! Nuun is used by some of the best athletes on the planet, armies of weekend warriors and the crowds of spectators cheering us all on.
Just plop one tablet into a 16 to 20-ounce bottle of water and in about one minute you have a refreshing beverage containing the proper balance of water and electrolytes like sodium and potassium. Each tube of Nuun is portable and the quick-dissolving tablets make it simple to hydrate on the go. Use of Nuun reduces the needless use of toss-away water bottles and the Nuun container itself is recyclable to be mindful of our beautiful Mother Earth. Make your water count!