Friends and acquaintances on social media frequently ask me what supplements I use to support my active lifestyle. Partly, I’ve never really answered the question because it feels like opening up my medicine cabinet and inviting strangers rifle through at their leisure. And, also partly because I don’t want anyone to use MY cocktail of supplements as a cookie cutter solution for their needs. That just won’t work, we are all unique people with different needs.
However, that being said, I think that many of my supplements, considered individually, could help another female athlete (and in some cases, men) optimize wellness and performance . . . and so, I share! But please consult a medical professional if you thing you want to try one or more of these. Read on to learn about my major challenges as an elite master’s athlete (running, obstacle course racing, and CrossFit) and the supplement solutions I use on both a daily and as-needed basis. Continue reading →
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NewWayToSparkle #CollectiveBias
I’ve got my sparkle on! Not just the skirt or the sweat, but I’ve been making every moment sparkle with Dasani Sparkling, a delicious and healthy alternative to sugary carbonated beverages. I drink a ton of water to support my sweaty lifestyle as a runner, obstacle course racer, CrossFit fan and yoga enthusiast – it’s so important to stay hydrated. However, sometimes water starts to get boring and I need a little treat to top off my tank.
Enter Dasani Sparkling . . . especially the two new flavors of this sparkling water brand, Tropical Pineapple and Raspberry Lemonade. Refreshing, flavorful and just the right amount fizz to make me feel like celebrating . . . without the consequences of a cocktail or other adult beverage. It’s easy to transform a can of this no-calorie carbonated water into a yummy mocktail – one of my favorite ways is to add pressed ginger root, stevia and a bit of mint to a can of the Tropical Pineapple flavor. That’s it! Check out the recipe for Sparkling Pineapple Ginger Agua Fresca below!
We all know drinking water is essential for athletes, but did you know ginger also works wonders on a physically stressed body? In addition to a host of other benefits, ginger eases up inflammation and muscle pain for those days when you’ve gone all beast mode on a workout. Ginger also helps quell nausea – like when that sprint to the finish line has made you feel like hurling in the nearest trash can. And, if that isn’t enough, ginger boosts the immune system, protects against many types of cancer and relieves migraines.
I hope your enjoy my recipe (below) for Sparkling Pineapple Ginger Agua Fresca – the bubbly water has hints of pineapple complemented with the zing of ginger. Dasani Sparkling has no calories straight out of the can, and this drink stays very, very low calorie yet thanks to the addition of a little stevia along with the ginger.
Find more easy-to-make recipes that are refreshing and fun to make with Dasani Sparkling Water by visiting this link: NewWayToSparkle. Purchase the new, sleek cans of Dasani Sparkling at your nearest Target on the bottled water aisle (near the sodas, juice or on an end-cap) for a special intro price of 3 for $9 (plus a 5% cartwheel offer) now through May 1, 2016. #NewWayToSparkle
Every morning, a have three predictable thoughts – 1) where is the coffee, 2) how am I going to move more today, and 3) how am I going to sleep more tonight. Bet most of you don’t need any help finding your java jolt, but maybe you also think about making gains in your fitness and sleep routines! Here are two fitness products I recently tried that have been encouraging me to move more and sleep more — check it out how to optimize your workout and rest time!
MOVE MORE: I love activity and fitness trackers to motivate me through the day. Experts recommend getting in 10,000 steps a day or moving for 30 to 60 minutes – it doesn’t have to be all in one session, all your little movements add up! While I typically move enough, it’s interesting to analyze the data to see where I can make improvements – either to kick it up an notch, or allow myself to wind down and take it easy.
The REM-FIT ACTIVE 200 SLEEP & ACTIVITY TRACKER is an affordable activity tracker that reports steps, distance covered, calories burned, overall activity and sleep attained and a 360 Life Sore. I’ve found, the battery only needs to be recharged about every 7 days and, while it can’t be worn swimming or in the show, the tracker is splash proof. Data is accessible via an app for iPhone or Android.
One of the things I really like about this Rem-Fit tracker is the comfort and security of the band – the band is much more comfortable than most brands I’ve tried and I appreciate that there is a little loop catch along with the snap closure that helps keep it on the wrist if the band comes undone. I say this because, errr, I have one tracker that I has dropped off my wrist so many times and then finally to never be seen again. And, this may seem silly (but it’s serious for the fitness fashionista) – you can order a rainbow assortment of band colors to swap out to match your team uniform or daily gym style.
SLEEP MORE: Okay, never again am I buying the cheapie pillows from Target or Walmart – as an athlete and busy mom, my sleep time is too precious to be squandered on an uncomfortable, unsupportive and unhealthy pillow. In the past, my lackluster solution to staying comfortable through the night was a huge nest of pillows in a complicated arrangement. My pillow situation, well, sucked and the lack of sleep was making me crazy not to mention keeping my body from properly recovering and repairing muscle from the day’s workout.
I used to feel this way!
So, if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, then I’m guilty of being a little nuts – or, at least a few hours short of a full snooze. I changed my mattress situation and that helped, but still . . . the pillows. Some of them have been around for years anyway, so time to break free and CHANGE for the better.
Enter the REM-Fit 300 series pillow. Yeah, it’s more than five bucks, but so worth it. This pillow helps regulate body temperature during sleep and protects against allergens and dust mites. It also actually adjusts to my preferred sleeping style (which is left side) but also is perfect for back and stomach sleepers. Also, the fibers used to make the pillow provide a 4-way stretch which contours to my specific needs while providing a full range of motion. So glad I bit the bullet and made this pillow part of my overall sleep training plan. Don’t laugh, quality sleep may be just as important as an actual workout – muscles recover and stress stays low (did you know an increase in the stress hormone Cortisol can actually lead to injury?). The REM-Fit 300 series pillow and other pillows in the REM-Fit REST Collection would make a great holiday gift for the fitness fan in your life.
If you’re anything like me, I bet you’re a runner, a weightlifter, an obstacle course racer or some other type athlete who thrives on a tough sweat session but not so much the attention to mobility and cooling down that should follow. Over the last two years, I’ve come to realize that yoga is a fantastic and fun way to stretch out, unwind and realign the body after working out. Plus, it can be done at home in 15 minutes or less – meaning, “I have no time for that,” is a pretty lame excuse!
Forget the hassle of heading to a yoga class after the last mile has been run or burpee been thrown down, Grokker, an online resource of home workout videos, has a relaxing post-workout yoga practice for athletes that really works to help ease muscles and the nervous system into cool down mode immediately following a high-intensity exercise event. Actually, Grokker has 1,500+ fitness videos for to choose from, I just thought you’d like to get a taste of this one I keep putting in my queue – Post Workout Yoga for Athletes.
What I like about this athlete-centric practice is that it gently stretches and opens the body to optimize the workout I just finished. Each pose helps my taxed muscle tissue start to repair while I’m still warm and grounds my energy after being in “beast mode” for a couple hours. Because runners, weightlifters and other athletes tend to have tighter muscles than uber-bendy yogis, I appreciate how this video provides simple modifications so that I can attempt each pose without getting injured.
I couldn’t reach my hands together on the other side, but the Grokker instructor showed me how to modify this pose with a yoga strap.
Home workouts and yoga videos from Grokker round out my fitness and keep me competing at the top of my game.
Plus, did I mention how easy it is to do a Grokker yoga workout at home?! Just log in, search the library and hit the play button – or schedule a reminder for a later date and time! Somedays, I barely have time to fit in a quick run, let alone finding time to drive to a yoga class in crazy Austin traffic. There’s no denying the social benefits of exercising in a gym or group fitness class, but often – very often – that is not convenient, or even possible. Grokker video workouts have been a solid addition to my widely varied fitness toolbox – there are all types of workouts and even healthy cooking episodes to suit my current interests and abilities.
Here are some other reasons to check out Grokker (in addition to receiving a 14-day free trial and 40 percent discount).
Variety: A library full of 1,500+ premium video classes in popular genres like yoga, fitness, meditation and healthy cooking. Videos last 10 minutes to 1+ hours and are available in beginner to advance fitness levels – you will never get bored!
Quality: Grokker’s videos, made in-house, are beautiful and inspiring to watch – the expert fitness instructors also know what they’re talking about and will wisely teach and lead you through all the steps.
Community: You can contact your fitness instructor to have questions answered and also connect with thousands of like-minded fitness enthusiasts from around the world. You’ll also find all the latest health and fitness tips at Grokker – they keep you in the know and motivated!
Convenient: Workout as YOUR schedule permits, where, whenever and as much as you want. The Premium videos can be accessed on any device including laptop, tablet and phone.
I’m just sharing a day from my Thanksgiving – it’s all good and I’m giving thanks and feeling blessed! The morning started with a run – the Thundercloud Turkey Trot (5 miles) in downtown Austin. Well, let’s back that up, it actually started with a worm – The Original Worm. The Original Worm is a massaging body roller that provides trigger point release to combat stiffness, pain and stress in muscles and joints – I’m hosting a giveaway and one of you will win your very own — so keep reading on!
So, why might I need to worm? Ha, have you looked at my Instagram profile! On Tuesday I was at the gym, and after my workout I thought I’d wind down with some yoga – it didn’t go as planned. While up in a forearm stand variation, I was taken down my a writhing, hideous calf cramp – I was trying not to howl and cry in public and after it passed, it felt like I had pulled the muscle. Plus, my hammies and glutes were still super tight from an 8 x 800m marathon workout two days prior.
The early bird gets the worm –and I’m not kidding. I’ve been putting my way-too-early mornings to productive use with this therapeutic tool – it’s like cross between a foam roller and tennis balls wrapped up in neoprene (pink or black). At first I was a little freaked out I wouldn’t be able to run the Turkey Trot on strained calf and tight glute. But, after rolling, whacking and a little wiggling, I was able to get rid of all my kinks before lining up on the start. In the end, the Turkey Trot went pretty well despite some rain and muggy conditions – out of a field of 20,000 participants, I trotted away with 7th overall female and 1st overall Master – and my calf kink is gone.
Of course, The Original Worm is a great recover aid too, and worming after a race or intense workout is a preventative measure for stress out muscles. It comes in a carrying pouch and both sizes are small enough to stick in a gym back, but big enough to get the job done. Just look at all the things The Original Worm can do!
So, if you run, Crossfit, yoga, rock climb, parkour, obstacle course race, play basketball, soccer or football, you definitely need one of these WORMS – it’s like having a massage therapist on hand at all times. Also perfect for travel – I use it for relief on plane flights or when stuck at a standstill in my car during rush hour! Oh, and this company is Austin-based which makes me love it even more!
Enter to win your own Worm via the Rafflecopter app below. Also, check out The Original Worm website to get the specs on the two sizes, colors, care instructions, more uses and such. Enter by Dec. 11, 2015! In the meantime, order a few to give as holiday gifts to your fitness friends!
Also, I have another giveaway going on right now for a $25 Visa Gift Card, check that out too – that one ends December 3, 2015.
As an athlete who loves ALL the fitness things – running, obstacle courses, CrossFit, climbing, skiing and more, my body demands a good night’s sleep in order to perform optimally. Normally, I’ve been an “okay” sleeper, not a napper at all, but at least worn out enough by the day’s events to fall asleep and stay asleep without incident. But now that I’m a bit (ahem) older, I find myself tossing and turning every night – hormones and middle age anxiety may be partially to blame, but mostly I pin the insomnia on muscles that take longer to recover (I hate admitting that) and a really cruddy 25 year old bed (eek)! Thank goodness eve showed up at my door!
So, who’s eve? Well, she’s my new best friend, sleeping partner, secret sports performance enhancer and FIT for a queen! This beloved mattress brand from across the pond has just arrived in the US – and now all us running addicts and gym junkies can sleep tight all night nary an ache or pain!
The eve mattress amazingly arrives folded up in a box, but pops out into a delicious nest of nighttime bliss – it takes just about an hour to get fully plump upon arrival. It’s made of three different types of foam to create one amazing sleep experience – the bottom layer is a 17cm ultra-resilient base foam, the middle layer is made from 4cm highest quality luxurious memory foam and the top layer is 4cm natural latex which is antimicrobial and offers a bit of bounce if you like that sort of thing, and I do! Eve is just the right amount of support and cushion you need after giving your workout 110 percent.
Eve knows a great day starts the night before and I couldn’t agree more – especially when I want to be at the top of my game as an athlete! A study at Stanford University suggests that increasing sleep to 10 hours per night for a period of time improved athletic performance for tennis and basketball players – there’s no way I could do that on my old mattress, but it’s a dream come true with eve mattress!
Even if you can’t bank 10 hours (really, who can?!), strive for at least 7 or 8 hours per night. The journal SLEEP reports that inadequate sleep is correlated to declines in split-second decision making. Lack of sleep also depletes energy, hydration and breaks down muscle tissue – and keeps it from rebuilding again at night. Cortisol, the stress hormone, also rears its ugly head when sleep is compromised and this can have a direct effect on the way your body processes glucose for on-demand energy and mental focus. Bottom line, you’ll feel like you’re tanking, cranky, uncoordinated and scatterbrained without enough sleep.
In addition to getting some quality eve sleep stat, here are some other tips to help athletes get the Zzzz’s they need to optimize their next-day, next-level performance.
Follow a consistent wake-up and bedtime seven days a week. This means no late weekend nights or wild partying.
Bedroom only for sleep and . . . sex. No computers, cell phones, television, video games, stressful or high-anxiety discussions, fighting and so on.
Establish a bedtime ritual. Make a routine out of taking a hot shower, winding down, drinking tea or whatever – train your body to know that sleep is coming!
Create a quiet, cozy and comfortable sleep environment. Black out curtains, soft sheets, and just the right temperature – you get the idea!
Don’t use caffeine after about 3pm in the afternoon. Caffeine has a half-life of about 3 to 5 hours and, in some, effects can be felt as long as 12 hours later!
Consider a natural sleep aid. Avoid prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and alcohol to induce sleep. Instead try a natural sleep remedy like drinking tart cherry juice or using lavender oil.
Divert attention during sleep fails. Instead of tossing and turning all night with a brain loop (worrying about a race or waking up in time), get up and move to another room and engage in a low key activity until you feel drowsy enough to try again.
I really am impressed with evebeds and hope that you will check them out. It’s a luxury product at a fraction of the price thanks to the fact that it’s shipped straight to your door without the hassle and expense of middle men. I dread going to the mattress store (not at all pleasant in my experiences) and one of the reasons it’s taken so long to get a new mattress. The company offers a 100 night trail – if you don’t like it, they pick it up and give a full refund with no questions asked!
This post is sponsored by Isopure, but recipe, editorial remarks & enthusiasm are all mine!I 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!
I 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.
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.
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.
In large bowl, mix together protein powder, amino powder and potato starch until combined.
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.
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
Running comes naturally to me, it always has and I am so thankful for that. Being a runner is part of who I am (been running strong for 25 years), and God-willing, I’ll be competing at some level for many more decades. But I don’t just wake up and assume my body will perform like my ego thinks it should. I’ve eaten crow too many times for that. Staying where I want fitness-wise takes a holistic, whole-body approach which includes training smart along with eating and sleeping well. While real estate tycoons capitalize on location, location, location – we athletes make our gains on recovery, recovery, recovery!
Now, as hard as it is to admit, my gains look a little different. I’m no longer that runner in my late 20s who can train hard and play hard and still pull of a 2:50 marathon. Flash forward 20 years (and it was a flash), and I’ve slowed some . . . while that’s a hard pill to take some days, I remind myself that I perform at a higher level on an age-graded scale and, overall, I’m a stronger, more well-rounded athlete. I actually workout now– not just run! I just have to pay more attention to rest and nutrition as part of my recovery strategy. Today, I’m recovering from a run and this Med Ball Workout.
Sleep is so important for recovery and a problem area in my life, but I’ll get to that later. Nutrition is the other main component, and thankfully I can more easily control how goes down with my workout recovery! I optimize my performance for the next day by eating a colorful, wholesome diet with plenty of muscle-making protein balanced with healthy complex carbs. After an intense effort, I have a 3:1 carb-to-protein ratio snack or shake within 30 minutes (typically a whey protein isolate in the form of a shake or bar), followed up by a good meal within a couple hours. Personally, for my size, I’m eating about 100 grams of protein a day to support my active lifestyle – that’s quite a bit, but not undoable if choosing lean proteins or super-clean protein powders.
Still, I sometimes have trouble with achy joints, dead legs or delayed onset muscle fatigue (damn you CrossFit). I’ve started taking a great new lean amino acid protein product immediately after I exercise (in addition to my protein snack)– Isopure® Aminos. If you think amino acids are for hard-core bodybuilders only, look at me and think again. This forward-thinking formula supports comprehensive body and mind benefits with BCAAs combined with Tart Cherry (to reduce inflammation and thusly next-day soreness) and L-Theanine for a relaxed, calm feeling. There are studies that suggest both tart cherry and LTheanine also help to promote better sleep – yay!
Research shows that the biggest surge of muscle-making growth hormone happens while we sleep, so it’s important to get enough quality snoozing time and have adequately eaten before bed. To fuel my body through the night, I always have a slow-digesting protein snack before bed such as Greek yogurt, almonds or a protein powder shake – if I don’t, I’ll wake up before 4 am hungry! Adding a BCAA product like Isopure® Aminos can also help with the night-time muscle recovery and building process – plus, the Tart Cherry brings on the elusive Zzzzz’s!
So, are you wondering — how do you use this stuff? Just put a full scoop of Isopure® Aminos into 10 – 12 ounces of water – I appreciate that it dissolved really easily into my water bottle, no shaker or blender required. Isopure Aminos also tastes really good and refreshing after a sweaty workout or run and comes in yummy flavors including Cranberry Grape, Alpine Punch and Cherry Lime.
With only 10 calories per serving, there’s no worry about busting your daily allotment – it’s just a great booster to pair up with a whey protein isolate or other protein-rich food.
Come back on September 29th – I’m sharing a yummy bedtime snack using Isopure Aminos. Meanwhile, check out ISOPURE to get more info on how it can help you bring your strongest fight to a workout every time!