5 Minute Plank Workout + Prevention R3 Summit

Planks can be compared to eating your veggies or brushing your teeth. You don’t have to like doing it, you just need to get the job done — and it only takes a few minutes per day. Just like vegetables or proper oral hygiene, planks are a great way to look good, feel good, improve your overall health — and attract new friends!  Ha ha!Jennifer Fisher plank outside

hood to coast planking with emilyHolding the plank position may look like child’s play, but don’t let the simplicity of this no-equipment, body-weight exercise give you a false sense of bravado.

Planks are hard and humbling. I’ve seen planks that can make grown men and women cry.  Recruit a friend to make the pain more fun!

Core strength, balance and flexibility are just some of the benefits you’ll gain from practicing a plank – plus, you’ll stand taller, straighter and prouder! Who am I to judge if you want to pull up your shirt to show off new found abs and obliques. In addition to the abdominals, other muscle groups used include those in the back, chest, shoulders, and neck. Getting into the plank position helps to loosen up hamstrings (lordy, I need that) as well as calves and arches of the feet. Planks also demand concentration and a focus on balance to keep from toppling over, especially in some of the advanced variations.

5 Minute Plank WorkoutBeing able to hold an abdominal plank for two minutes (with good form) is an indicator of good fitness.  Remember to tuck in rear end push belly button up, keeping a straight line from the top of your head to the back of your heels. Try my 5 Minute Plank Workout either in the morning or at the end of your next gym session. It’s just 5 minutes so no excuses, plus you’ll love the results after a few weeks! If you can’t hold the planks for the recommended amount of time, just lower into a resting position until ready to tackle the next one.

Or, try the whole five minutes at once, no variations to break it up — just go for it!

Also, I wanted to tell you to save the date! Prevention Magazine’s third annual R3 Summit is returning to Austin on Jan 15-16. I’ve been the first two years and can’t wait to go back to this health and wellness conference to learn new ways to take action when it comes to my health and happiness ((R3 = Revive, Refresh, and Reinvent).

Henna Tattoo R3 Summit AustinR3 is an award winning 1 ½-day long experiential event taking place this year at ACL Live at Moody Theater. Guests enjoy a wide scope of wellness workshops, fitness classes, tastings and health and beauty consultations – there is something for everyone and keep an open mind because you may discover something amazing that you never thought was for you – last year I was blown away by the Reiki healing and the artistry of the women doing henna tattoos.

But, you know I was also all about the clean eating demonstrations and meeting the celebrity chefs. I also “competed” in a wild tuna cook off!

TheFitFork Wild Planet Cook Off R3 Summit

Confirmed speakers for the 2016 R3 Summit in Austin on Jan 15-16 are:

  • Dr. Travis Stork -Emmy®‐nominated host of the award-winning talk show, The Doctors, and a board-certified emergency medicine physician
  • Lizzie Velasquez -motivational speaker, author and activist, A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story
  • Chad Sarno -culinary media spokesperson for Whole Foods Market and VP of Plant-Based Wellness of Rouxbe Online Culinary School
  • Monica Pope -James Beard nominated Houston Chef and Restauranteur, Top Chef Masters
  • Mary Joan Cunninghman – #ThrivewithMS
  • Dr. Mark Hyman – nine-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, practicing family physician and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate

Save $20 on a weekend  pass by using discount code PVNR3AUFORK  at check out on the registration site.  If you’re going to be there, let me know so that we can plan a meet up!

So, do you plank? Have you ever been to Austin? Ever had a henna tattoo? Ever had your tongue read (oh, that’s a whole other post!)? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Maple Ginger Chocolate Bread Recipe & #R3Summit Recap

Maple Ginger Chocolate Bread - TheFitFork.com Whew, things have slowed down enough that I can share with you the great experience I had at Prevention’s R3 Summit. Happy to say that I “R3’d” the day away – relaxing, refreshing and reinventing! Jennifer & Mom at Prevention R3 SummitSome of the highlights for me were getting to spend some quality time with my mom – even though she lives in Austin, most of the time we’re together it’s with all my kids in tow. We enjoyed ourselves at the reception Friday night (I actually drank an entire glass of wine, so it we’re talking wild times) and caught the screening of Resistance, a documentary about antibiotic resistance being perpetuated the medical and agricultural industries.

R3 Summit Cartwheel

HA! Cartwheeling at the R3 Summit LAST year!

Saturday we spent the entire day listening to panels on topics like eating clean, loving your age, and more – Andie MacDowell was the featured speaker and she seemed just as lovely on the inside as out. Prior to the event, I was able to “ask” her a question about getting older and it was published in an article on Prevention.com . In that interview and in-person, she mentioned that she likes to do handstands and cartwheels – a lady after my own heart.  I would like to challenge her in a handstand-off! Henna Tattoo R3 Summit AustinBetween speakers, Mom and I got our chakra cleared, had our stress reduced with Reiki healing and took part in a few fun workouts. Again, this year, one of my favorite appointments was with the henna artist who painted me up with a beautiful tattoo – I was sad to see if fade away a couple weeks later.

TheFitFork Wild Planet Cook Off R3 SummitOf course there was food – healthy, healing, good-for-you food. Quinoa salad, yogurt and fruit, almonds, green teas and – fish! One of the companies on site was Wild Planet Foods – they sell sustainably caught seafood (think canned tuna, sardines, anchovies – but YUMMY!) while supporting the conservation of wild marine ecosystems.  They were sponsoring a Food Network-style “Chopped” competition using their canned tuna — oh, you know I was SO up for this. Ten of us battled it off to come up with a tuna recipe using a provided array of ingredients – in 10 MINUTES from start to finish.  In my mind, I hatched my recipe, execution and plating strategy before we even started (that’s the competitor in me) – my finished product was Tuna & Quinoa Salad with Creamy Lemon Gremolata Dressing . . . . served in scooped out lemons. I must say, it was lovely. When I have time to sit down and recollect my thoughts, I’ll be sure to share the recipe!

So, SAVE THE DATE – I don’t know exactly when, but I imagine the 3rd annual R3 Summit will be in October 2015 in Austin (editors told me they love, LOVE the health and fitness scene here).  Meanwhile, start reading Prevention Magazine – not just the website but a good old-fashioned paper version that is mailed straight to your house! I have conveniently provided you a link to subscribe here and at the bottom of this post. This month’s issue was packed with good stuff – including a bunch of healthy chocolate recipes including this Maple Ginger Chocolate Bread (they called it cake, but I’m not going there) which I recreated with some minor tweaks for you!

Maple Ginger Chocolate Bread = TheFitFork.com Maple Ginger Chocolate Bread Recipe

  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup maple sugar (or regular sugar)
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup milk (or milk substitute)
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup crystalized ginger, chopped
  1. Heat oven to 350 F degrees. Lightly coat three mini loaf pans with baking spray. Actually, I think lining the pans with parchment paper worked better.
  2. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and ginger.
  3. In another bowl or large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, olive oil and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix together with spatula until just combined. Gently stir in chocolate chips and ginger pieces.
  5. Bake on center rack for approximately 35 – 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center pulls out clean.
  6. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Prevention provided me free admission and products to attend this event. However, all opinions and commentary are strictly my own.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Oat Bread & #LoveYourAge Inspiration

healthy pumpkin bread with white chocolate Feed your face . . . I mean soul . .  with this wholesome recipe for a fall season-inspired, no-fuss pumpkin quick bread.  This autumn recipe for Pumpkin Oat Bread with White Chocolate Chips is all treat with just a few tricks tossed in to make it a touch healthier than the traditional pumpkin bread I grew up baking. For example, in lieu of some of the sugar, I’ve used a Stevia blend and also reduced part of the oil with extra pumpkin puree for added moistness. Additionally, instead of using entirely all-purpose white flour, I swapped in oats for extra fiber and texture. Oh, and those white chocolate chips are a sweet splurge, but you could substitute nuts or dried fruit.   And, if this flour-y pumpkin bread recipe doesn’t float your boat, I have a gluten-free, paleo friendly Chocolate Chip Cranberry Pumpkin Bread I created last year.

single loaf pumpkin oat bread Pumpkin Oat White Chocolate Chip Quick Bread Recipe

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp. milk of choice (dairy, soy, almond, etc)
  • 3/4 cup stevia baking blend
  • 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 (15-oz) can pumpkin puree (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1/3 cup oil of choice (canola, olive, coconut, etc.)
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats (divided)*
  • ¾ cup white chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Stir in oil, pumpkin puree, and sugars until well combined.
  3. Stir in pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking powder until well combined. Next, stir in flour and ¾ cup of oats. Gently fold in white chocolate chips.
  4. Lightly spray loaf pans with cooking spray. Pour batter into one large load pan or divide equally among three mini loaf pans.  Sprinkle tops of loaves with remaining ¼ cup oats.
  5. Bake in center of oven for approximately 60 – 70 minutes for large loaf and 35 – 40 minutes for mini loafs, or until toothpick inserted into the center pulls clean.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool completely on wire racks before removing and slicing. Bread may be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  7. Makes one large loaf or three mini loaves.

pumpkin oat white chocolate bread overhead loaves

 

super oats chia*You can use any oats you prefer – gluten-free, old-fashioned or quick oats.  I actually used Love Grown Foods® Super Oats (Simply Pure variety) – these awesome oats throws in extra like quinoa flakes, amaranth flakes and chia seeds. It’s meant to be eaten as a hot breakfast cereal, but makes a really wholesome recipe ingredient too!  BTW, this isn’t a sponsored post; I just really like the oats!

 

 

 

#LoveYourAge

I also want to share with you some of the ladies who responded to my #LoveYourAge shout out – they are rocking life and proving that age is just a number. I also remind you of the upcoming #R3Summit  (Refresh, Revive, Reinvent) being put on by Prevention magazine October 16 & 17th in Austin.  Register and use discount code R3VIB for $20 off your ticket.

Do you eagerly await for the arrival of pumpkin flavored foods in the fall? What is your favorite pumpkin food? 

#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.