Fit Food & Run Gear Making Me Happy in April

Who doesn’t love a three day weekend, having one every month should be mandatory. At least, that’s what my pup Lucy thinks! That face you make when they say 3 day weekend

Today, I’m sharing some of the things that are gearing me up and fueling me through the fun!  Continue reading

Tart Cranberry Grape Protein Bites Recipe #BehindTheMuscle

This post is sponsored by Isopure, but recipe, editorial remarks & enthusiasm are all mine!Tart Cranberry Grape Protein Bites TitleI was looking for a snack to take on a trail run the other day and just wasn’t happy with the packaged options available. I wanted something that would offer me enough quality carbohydrates to keep my body moving, but also protein for sustained energy and muscle recovery. It was going to be a long day – I also had a big workout planned later in the day. I needed to avoid nuts, wanted a snack that was good for my guts, and was in the mood for tart and tangy, something completely different that the normal chocolate and caramel concoctions. A big order!

Tart Cranberry Grape Protein Bites using Isopure AminosI ended up making my own concoction, Tangy Cranberry Grape Protein Bites — perfection and just what I “ordered”!  Made with a whey protein isolate and Isopure Amino Acids, I knew my workout snack was going to give me quality nutrition for muscle recover and building – especially with those BCAAs.

Drinking Isopure Aminos right after my workout has been really helping with muscle recovery! I’ve blogged about the Isopure Amino Acids before, I love this product – not only does it taste great, it features everything I need for head-to-toe recovery including all the branch chain amino acids ( BCAAs) to help me make more of my muscles, but also tart cherry to ward off inflammation and L-theanine for a calm and relaxed mind.

Other nutrition perks of these on-the-go energy protein bites? Lots of vitamins and minerals (especially vitamin C) and quality carbs to keep the engine revved on high. Not only are the unsweetened cranberries and drizzle of honey a good, dense source of carbs for any high-energy sport, the unmodified protein powder used serves the dual purpose of binder and beneficial resistant starch.

So, what am I talking about when I say unmodified potato starch is a “resistant starch”? It’s a type of prebiotic starch that “resists” digestion and prevents spikes in blood glucose and insulin.  As a type of prebiotic (aka, and digestible carb), it helps to establish and support good gut health – the right environment for gut bacteria. Studies are also suggesting that resistant starches may also help contribute to weight loss through lowered blood sugar spikes, decreased appetite, lessened fat storage in fat cells and preservation of lean muscle mass. There are many kids of resistant starches, but unmodified (aka, raw) potato starch is a reliable and easy-to use option (the Bob’s Red Mill brand is sold at most stores). Anyway, all the science is a little over my head, but I thought this article How Resistant Starch Will Help to Make You Healthier and Thinner  at ChrisKresser.com was very helpful in understanding.

Tart Cranberry Grape Protein Bites using Isopure Aminos

Tangy Cranberry Grape Protein Bites

  1. Add cranberries, honey and water to work bowl of food processor and process for 1 -2 minutes, or until cranberries very, very finely chopped up and sticky.
  2. In large bowl, mix together protein powder, amino powder and potato starch until combined.
  3. Add dry mixture to cranberry mixture about ½ cups at a time, processing each time until incorporated. Dough should be forming up into a big ball with some crumbling back down. If mixture still looks too sticky, process in 1 tablespoon of potato starch at a time until desired results are achieved.
  4. Roll into 24 bite-sized balls approximately 1-inch in diameter. May be left out in gym bag, but store in refrigerator overnight for best freshness.

Quick Macros Per Bite: 50 calories, 7g protein, 18g total carb (0.3g sugar), 0.125g fat, 12% DV Vitamin C,

 

Hope you get a chance to make this easy protein bite recipe for your next run or workout. They pack really well in a little zip top bag that you can take wherever you go, they don’t melt or fall apart or “go bad” sitting out all day. Stash a handful of these recovery treats in a fuel belt, pocket or gym bag and then feel free to KILL that workout knowing all your post exercise nutrition needs will be met in a few little “bites”. Also, check out Isopure BCAAs and all the other clean, lean quality protein products they offer.

Do you have a homemade workout snack? Have you ever heard of resistant starches? Did you run a race, have a fitness competition, do something else fabulous this weekend? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Happy Trail Mix Day + Protein Rich Snack Ideas

The start of September signals crazy-season with my family. Mondays through Fridays have us all in the busy back-to-school routine and weekends are devoted to football games, family and friend birthday parties, and scrambling to finish home and extra-cirricular projects before the (gasp) holiday season sets in.  It’s easy to grab something less than healthy from the pantry or vending machine when this onslaught of obligations and stress sets in. Do your diet a favor and but together one of these protein-rich snacks instead – the little boost of protein will help keep you feeling full until your next mea!

7 Easy Protein Snacks

  • Cracker + Nut Butter + Hemp Seeds
  • Hummus + Carrots (or other veggies)
  • Cashews + Dried Cranberries + Chocolate Chips
  • Popcorn + Almonds + Honey Drizzle
  • Beef, Chicken or Turkey Jerky
  • Baked Broad Beans or Roasted Chick Peas (store-bought)
  • Greek Yogurt + Granola

Almond Toffee Crunch Protein Bars

Protein bars can be another sensible snack option on-the-go – although it’s important to look for those that aren’t actually candy bars in disguise. I’ve been loving the Perfectly Simple Protein Bars by ZonePerfect  — the brand is very choosey about the simple ingredients they use to make such a nutritious and delicious snack.   Right now, if you visit ZonePerfect Perfectly Simple, you can get a $1 off  coupon for a box of these nutrition bars. #FeelGooder

Nut and Cereal party mix made in crock potFinally, just want to remind you that today is National Trail Mix Day! My recipe for “So Nutty” Slow Cooker Snack Mix is actually cooked in a crock pot – it tastes fantastic and is so easy to make! I’m sending a big bag full to my son who just left for college . . . . it’s my way of sending him a hug from home!

What is your favorite ingredient to put in a trail / snack mix? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Med Ball Workout + New Favorite Protein Bar #BUPbars

Yoga and Thinking Bup Bars - TheFitFork.comSome of the things I like best about exercising — the physical and mental challenge, the variety of workouts available (yet also the ritual of doing them), the endorphin rush, meeting short-term goals while safeguarding my health for the long haul, and the sweaty satisfying soreness following a tough session, the relaxing and winding down. That being said, I also look forward to the food fuel I need to top off my tank and keep my engine running properly.

Aside from the occasional cheat, I eat a higher-protein, lower carb diet. Although, I’ve never had a weight issue, I really noticed a change in my lean-to-fat ratio when making these tweaks – suddenly I had visible abs, back muscles and more without a change on the scale. I’ve even blogged about eating a higher protein, higher fat diet for marathon nutrition while embracing the need for some carbs for loading and recovery. For my active lifestyle, I aim to eat about 20-25 grams of protein at each of three meals and one to two snacks.  Research has shown that incorporating protein into diet can help build lean muscle and boost the metabolism to more efficiently burn fat. Also, more protein in the morning has been shown to reduce junk food snacking later in the day

B-Up Bars Trial Offer

Anyway, it’s hard to pass up the opportunity to try a new protein bar – I’m definitely a protein junkie. So, I was thrilled to give B-Up Bars a test and was hoping they’d stand up to my non-negotiables in a bar (higher protein, lower carb, reasonable calories, taste). These soft bars (think nougaty marshmallow texture) each have 20g protein and 18-20g fiber, just 2-3g of sugar and 4-5g of net carbs, and come in six crazy-delicious flavors — Peanut Butter, Vanilla Peanut Butter, PB&J, Sugar Cookie, Cinnamon Roll, and Chocolate Mint. In addition to the higher protein profile, I also appreciate how B-Up Bars are made with no artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives and are low sodium and gluten free. B-Up Bars also feature a plant-based fiber to offset carb intake.  Be Healthy. Be Better. B-Up.

b-up bars 1If you like indulgent snacks that are actually good for you and make a convenient breakfast on the go or snack to stash in your gym bag, head over to B-Up Bars at  http://yupbrands.com/bupbar/ for one of two great offers.

 

  1. Discount Code YUP29 for 12% discount on box orders on yupbrands.com + FREE shipping (not valid on 6-pack trial).
  2. Discount Code YUPTRIAL for $13.99 six bar (6 flavor) Trial Pack (reg. price $17.49) plus FREE shipping.

I’m also sharing with you the Medicine Ball Workout I did yesterday (before I at my chocolate mint B-Up Bar)! I really enjoy exercising with a full-body med ball routine – compared to gym machines, it makes working out old-school easier yet tougher at the same time! Try out my Med Ball Workout, it’s perfect for improving explosive power, increasing strength and endurance and improving overall functional fitness – and all you need is a ball!

Med Ball Workout - TheFitfork.com

Wall Ball – Stand facing wall, hold ball close to chest.  Lower into a partial squat and propel ball upward as far as possible, catch at chest on the way down while lowering into a squat.

Med Ball V-Ups – Lay on back, extend arms over head to rest on floor while holding ball. Engaging core, raise up arms and legs at the same time to meet in alignment above hips. Slowly lower to start position.

Med Ball Slams – Standing upright, hold med ball high overhead with both hands and throw to the floor with force, squatting down slightly. Catch ball on the bounce up and return the start position.

Med Ball Plank – Rest on forearms and place feet on medicine ball. Engage core and keep body position as straight as possible. Hold for designated time without breaking form.

Med Ball Jump Squats – Standing upright with feet shoulder-width apart, lower into squat position holding ball. Explosively jump upward keeping ball at chest.

Med Ball Wood Chop – Hold ball in both hands and stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Drop down slightly, moving the ball near right, then drive up through feet, swinging the ball up and across your body to the opposing side. Swing back down to start position.

And, if you are looking for an extra challenging med ball exercise, give this headstand med ball pick up a try. Oooh, it worked all the large and small group muscles of my body in my constant pursuit of keeping balance.

Do you eat protein bars?  Describe your dream flavor! What is your favorite med ball exercise?

This post was sponsored by B-Up bars / YUP brands. However, however they did not tell me what to say or how to say it — all comments and opinions are my own.

Chocolate Cherry Trail Cups + Workout to Flip For

Chocolate Cherry Protein Trail Cups - No Bake - TheFitFork.comSnacking, snacking, snacking – lots of snacking going down at my house because I am my three teen boys are always so hungry. I’ve been experimenting with some homemade energy bars and trail mixes and have come up with the perfect combo – Chocolate Cherry (Protein) Trail Cups.  My husband mentioned after gobbling one up that it reminded him of a Chocolate Chip Cherry Torte Lara Bar  — so, I made a Larabar copycat recipe without even realizing!

Nut Butter, Dried Cherries, Oats and More - TheFitFork.com

So many wholesome yet yummy ingredients in this recipe.

Food Processor - Cherry Chocolate Trail Cups - TheFitFork.comThese healthy snacks are super easy to whip up and using a food processor makes the task even less time consuming. The tip to making sure these treats hold up to any adventure is to make sure the crumbly mixture is moist enough to stick together when pressed between fingers. If it seems too dry, throw more nut butter or sugar-free chocolate syrup in 1 teaspoon at a time.

I’m taking my batch of trail cups for some long-lasting energy when the family heads out on a ski trip soon. I created this recipe with protein power as one of the ingredients to balance the dried fruit and chocolate.   I don’t want to hear ANY “I’m hungry mom” complaints when we’re dangling our skis and snowboards off a lift 10,000 feet up.

Chocolate & Cherry Energy Cups - TheFitFork.com

Chocolate Cherry (Protein) Trail Cups Recipe

  • 1 ¼ cup Love Grown Super Oats*
  • 1/3 cup chocolate protein powder (like Quest Nutrition Chocolate Milkshake)**
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • ½ cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup nut butter of choice (I used almond)
  • 1/3 cup dried tart cherries
  • 2 tablespoons Stevia-sweetened cocoa syrup***
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips

*You may use regular rolled oats and add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds. 
**If you don’t want to use protein powder, add an additional ¼ cup oats and 1 tablespoon nuts.
** I used NuNaturals Cocoa Syrup, but you can use any chocolate syrup

  1. Add oats, protein powder, cocoa powder, raisins and pecans in work bowl of food processor. Processes until ingredients are broken down but still fairly coarse
  2. Pulse in nut butter and syrup until mixture is moist and sticks together when pressed between fingers.
  3. Pulse in cherries and mini chocolate chips until just combined.
  4. Place approximately ¼ cup loosely scooped mixture into muffin tin that has been prepped with a paper liner. Press mixture down with back of spoon of fingers until compacted.
  5. May be stored in the refrigerator in airtight container for several weeks. Makes 15 :”cups.”

Oh, and I have a workout you’re going to flip for – if you don’t have a tire, a heavier med ball can be substituted.Tire Flip Full Body Workout = TheFitFork.com

 

What is on your workout and / or snacking schedule this week?  Have you ever flipped a tire?

Medicine Ball Mash Up & Saturday Shoutouts

Well, I’m on my way to the “Big D” to run in the Rock & Roll Dallas Half Marathon Sunday morning.  I heard that Deena Kastor is in the field, so I’m really going to have to step up my game (insert hysterical laughing here). The past bronze-medal winning Olympian and American record holder in the marathon (London 2006 in 2:19:36) and half-marathon (Berlin 2006 in 1:07:34) is proof that getting older doesn’t mean you have to stop competing. Even though these records were set eight years back, this weekend the 41-year runner will be trying to make half-marathon history again by breaking as many as three or four American Masters Records, according to Competitor Magazine. If Kastor can run between a 5:25 and 5:30 pace per mile (as opposed to my exact 1 minute per mile slower 6:25 – 6:30 pace), she just may capture records at the splits in four distances — 15K (9.3 miles), 10 Miles, 20K (12.4 miles), and the full half marathon. She estimates her finish time to be 1:11 to 1:12.  Why isn’t she trying break a record in the 5k too?  Just kidding; I learned that lesson the hard way – years ago I PR’d at the 10k inside of a marathon; finishing the remaining 20 miles was brutal.  Run Deena, run, I’ll be chasing you from 13 minutes behind!

jennifer fisher med ball mash up core power

If you’re not running this weekend, I have a fun little workout you can do. All you need is a medicine ball and some space with a hard-surfaced floor. It’s amazing how much you can get worm out with just one piece of gym equipment – a tame-looking medicine ball.  By the way, I whipped up this Medicine Ball Mash Up workout for CorePower. The company makes a great high protein shake to nourish taxed muscles after a hard WOD or run.  Pick up a case for the most delicious workout recovery ever — Chocolate Light is my favorite flavor with 150 calories and 20 grams of protein.

I was also recently sent a sampler pack of Ratio Protein Bars through a campaign for Fitfluential.com (By the way, if you haven’t joined Fitfluential, you really should. It’s free and a great community of instant fitness friends, plus there are lots of perks.  Tell them Jennifer Fisher at TheFitFork.com sent you in the referral line). Anyway, back to the Ratio Bars —  I am a total nutrition bar addict and am very particular about which ones I eat. As you can tell from the picture, I don’t like to give a review without actually trying the product – every one of these Ratio Bars was gobbled up by yours truly. What I like about the bars is the high protein content; I always choose a bar with at least 20 grams of protein (these all have 24 grams) and under 250 calories. Plus, these bars advertise no gluten, no soy products, no hormones, no artificial ingredients and no GMOs.  Hard to say which of the six yummy flavors I liked best, but I think Cookie Crunch and Cake Batter were the front runners.

whey protein bars by Ratio

As part of my ambassadorship with the Zooma Women’s Race Series and their relationship with Ultimate Direction, I was sent some useful running gear to try out. This company has been around since 1985 and is the initial mastermind behind the hydration pack; in fact, they invented the first waist pack designed to carry water bottles – today they have introduced even more options to make hydration easier, from handhelds to vests and more.   I’m excited to try out a couple of products from the Jenny Collection including the “Meow” waist belt and “Handy 10” water bottle. At first I thought maybe they named this cute, comfortable gear after ME, but found out that the designed-for-women-by-women product line is actually named after the athlete-designer, Jenny Jurek (wife of renowned ultra runner, Scott Jurek).  Cool, check them out and stay hydrated this spring!

jenny_handy10_zoom

ultimate direction meow