Eight Amazing Fitness & Food Products + Giveaway

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.”

Jennifer Fisher of The Fit Fork with Litehouse FoodsLitehouse 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).

Salad with Somersaults Sunflower Crackers as croutonsSomersaults 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 chocolate syrup and strawberries on my protein pancakesNuttzo 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 skinBright 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

 

Kevin - CEO of Nuun and Jennifer Fisher of TheFitFork.comNuun 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 BeverageVitamin 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

 

Gnarly NutritionAltra superior 2TsaGnarly 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 TheFitFork.comTsamma 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

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Ignite MY Fight! Running Shoes, WOD and CrossFit Games Open

Jumping in Bluebonnets Puma IgnitesWhy am I jumping the in bluebonnets? Well, for a couple reasons – it’s finally spring and the sun is OUT, the 5-week CrossFit Games Open is OVER (mini recap below) and I have a snappy new pair of running shoes to keep my feet happy and hopping.

Puma Ignite Running Shoes in Austin Spring Flowers Trail Run

Puma Ignite Running ShoesFirst, let me tell you about the shoes – love them! They are called Puma Ignite, a super responsive running shoe that features cushioning to disperse impact while providing energy return to help make me faster. Usain Bolt wears them, so enough said!  The uppers are not only attractive and available in a range of color combos, but these shores are made with lightweight materials to provide a super comfort with a light ride – the average weight is 8 ounces.  As a neutral and efficient runner, I often run in really light shoes for speed work and shorter tempo runs – but definitely enjoy the little extra oomph of these Puma Ignites for everyday runs through the neighborhood and logging lots of miles on the road. I’ve also worn these shoes to the gym and Crossfit and have found them to provide enough cushioning combined with flexibility for explosive box jumps, burpees and jumping rope.

Speaking of CrossFit, here’s my quick rundown on the 2015 Crossfit Games Open that just ended a week ago.  First of all, I swallowed my pride and I decided to compete in the new scaled division this year and am so glad I did. Last year, in a couple of the RX’d WODs, I just plain ran into a wall where I physically could not perform the task – mainly, I’m talking about the heavier Olympic lifting. For example, last year I remember on the deadlift ladder, I knocked off the sets of 95lb, 135lb and even 155lb deadlifts, but then had to just stand there and watch the clock tick away helplessly because there was no way I could deadlift 185 lbs once, let alone the 20 times I needed to get back to the box jumps.

2015 CrossFit Games Leaderboard - Jennifer Fisher

Jennifer Fisher 2015 CrossFit Games OpenSo, my point here is that in the scaled division I was actually able to get after it in the workouts for a maximum personal effort  – that made it much more fun (if one can call quivering quads, raw palms and sore-for-days shoulders “fun”)!  It was still HARD! The exiting part is that at the end of the five weeks, I actually placed 12th in the South Central states region in my age group and even won 1st in the 15.3 WOD!  My worst workout by far (and really hurt me in the rankings) was the 15.1B where after completing a full workout, you immediately had to get the bar overhead with a max load. I never expected how trashed my arms would be and I really failed on this one –  I also rarely try to PR any of my lifts (usually just keeping everything low with lots of reps).  Next year I know what I need to focus on!

Are you ready to IGNITE your next workout?  I’ve put together this Don’t Stop (Ignite Your Fight) Workout that will test your stamina and strength, both mental and physical. Don’t stop, don’t give up half way through — you’ll be on fire, but in a good way!  Also, check out the Puma Ignite running shoes if you are looking for a great pair that will take you from a morning run to an afternoon at the gym.  Don't Stop Workout - Ignite your fight in this CrossFit style workout from TheFitFork.com

 

Do you wear the same shoes for running and working out — or do you buy activity-specific footwear? Please share in the comments!

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of PUMA.

#WaveRider18, Hilly 10 Mile Race & Replacing Running Shoes

I received compensation and product from Mizuno as part of this campaign through Fitfluential.com. However, all opinions and editorial comments are completely my own. Wave Rider 18 Running Shoes - thefitfork.comWhat better way to kick up your training and tackle a hard race than in a new pair of running shoes?!  You really must treat your feet right and running in old, beat down and battered shoes  is just asking for an injury. Even if your kicks still look out-of-the-box new on the uppers, shoes you’ve been running in for a while begin to lose their shock absorption, cushioning and stability features.  You could keep running in worn out shoes to save a buck, but eventually you’ll pay the price with an injury caused by too much stress on your bones and joints.

Whether you run 5ks, ultramarathons or just recreationally jog the block, experts say that you should replace your running shoes every 300 – 400 miles. When you flip your running shoes over, it is obvious when the tread starts to wear out – usually you can see another color of tread that has worn through on one side or the other. But, often shoes wear out in the midsole (where all the support and cushion lies) long before this — so don’t judge wear and tear by the tread alone. If you are experiencing leg fatigue and joint soreness and nothing else has changed in your training schedule, your running shoes may be the culprit.

The 300 – 400 mile replacement schedule is only a rough guide. If you are a heavier runner, you may need to replace shoes more often that a lighter runner. Your biomechanics and running form can play a role in how often you need to change the proverbial tires – for example, are you a heel striker or do you land mid foot? The surfaces you run on also come into play (e.g.: trail versus treadmill) as does the actual construction of the shoe – I once had a very, very light pair of shoes that were literally falling apart after 70 miles.   That was a bummer. Mizuno Wave Rider 18 collection I was recently sent a new pair of Mizuno WaveRider 18 running shoes as part of a campaign for Fitfluential.com. I was able to try them out for a few weeks before a 10 mile race and wear them to a popular 10 mile race (Run for the Water) in Austin.  A neutral shoe marketed as a “lightweight trainer” (7.8 ounces), the Wave Rider 18s helped keep my feet happy and ready to haul buns from start to finish of a  very hilly run. In all honesty, these shoes felt a little “more” than the ultra lightweight shoes I typically race in – I was worried I would feel clunky, but in reality my “ride” experience was quite the opposite. Just the little bit of extra cushioning prevented my feet from feeling beat up on the downhill with no discernable difference in responsiveness and foot-to-ground feedback. And, okay, I’m a girl – so I care about how my shoes look. The Wave Rider 18 is very stylish and I loved the black and silver (with flash of “Florida Keys” turquoise) color scheme – it also comes in white and fuchsia purple or blue and silver.  I may need to pick up a pair of each to round out my wardrobe.

Jennifer Fisher Run for the WAter

Mizuno Wave Runner 18 FTW!

Mizuno Wave Runner 18 FTW!

So, how did the race go – well, I’ve participated in Run for the Water all 8 years that it’s been around and I’ve done better and I’ve done worse. In the end, I hung on to win my age group and place 3rd in the Master’s division – this is a pretty competitive race and I walked away with a little bit of prize money and a new Solaris GPS watch! Whoot!  The best thing about this race though is it supports the Gazelle Foundation which helps to bring clean drinking water to Burundi. Have you ever worn Mizuno shoes and, if so, which ones?  Did you run a race too this weekend? Tell me about it!

Sayonara Sprint Partner Running Workout and Mizuno Wave® Sayonara Review

The following post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno. Now that that declaration is out of the way, I have to say that I love running and I extra-super love getting new running shoes — especially when the kicks are pink and from a brand that has served me well. Thank you Mizuno for the new Mizuno Wave® Sayonara running shoes; these little beauties will be helping me run pretty and pretty fast all summer long!

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - mizuno wave sayonara fast girls

I’ve had some experience with some of the newer products in the company’s lineup, having run in the both the Mizuno Wave Evo Cursaris (6.2 oz) and the Mizuno Wave Evo Levitas (5.2 oz), two products that target the minimalist, mid-foot runner like myself. By the way, about three years ago, I worked with Master Pose Method Coach, Valerie Hunt, to “tweak” my running form from heel-striker to mid-foot striker – I’ve had both reductions in injury (basically none) and improvements in my time (factoring for age).  Both of these shoes I just mentioned have a zero drop (or, as they say “zero ramp offset”) from heel to mid-foot, with the Levitas being lighter and closer to the ground of the two.

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - mizuno sayonara flowers

Anyway, back to the new Wave® Sayonara, the shoe I am reviewing today. Mizuno is touting this shoe, which officially releases online or at a running store near on July 5th, as the “lightest everyday training shoe yet.”  The women’s version hits the scales at 7.1 ounces, making it actually not as light as the EVO line, but also not as stripped down. I’ve run in the shoes several times now, and I actually like them quite well. I definitely notice a little more structured and supportive feel than the EVO line, but they not at all clunky. In fact, I had a pretty speedy tempo workout in them yesterday and felt the ride was right-on and responsive to the feedback I like to get from strike-off. While not “zero-drop” like the EVO line, the heel to mid-foot is noticeably lower and the weight significantly lighter that some of the other popular models on the Mizuno roster including the Rider and the Precision. I would definitely consider wearing the Wave® Sayonara in a longer race like a full marathon but probably stick my current race shoe of choice, the Wave® Ronin 5 (5.8 oz) for half marathons.

Another thing I noticed and like about the Wave® Sayonara is the blow rubber sole that features lightweight yet superior traction. Not many people check out the bottom of their shoes when shopping, but I definitely do. It’s because I hate that feeling like I might slip in a race when the roads are wet from rain or high humidity. The uppers are fun, with a bright modern vibe that looks great with all my other running gear. There are rolling out on July 5th with an ARV of $119.

wave sayonara

So, if you’re looking for a fun running workout to do in your new Mizuno Wave® Sayonaras (or any running shoes you love), try my Sayonara Sprint Partner Running Workout. The idea of the interval-style workout is that one runner gets a head start on the other — sayonara sucker! After the prescribed amout of time, the second runner starts the interval, trying to catch up! While it might make for a challenging day at the track; remember, you get to share the experience with a friend which in my experience reduces the perceived effort!  If this workout doesn’t suit you, check out my One-Derful One-Mile Repeat WOD!

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - mizuno wave sayonara running workout final

Shoe Lacing Techniques for Runners – Happy Feet for Miles and Miles

Yes, this is my pile of running shoes for the last year. As you can see, I’m not particularly brand loyal but I have been regrettably faithful in one thing, wearing my shoes laced up exactly the way they came out of the box. I was wondering why my feet hurt a bit. Not hurt so much biomechanically, but hurt more in the little aches and pains way of being rubbed wrong. We all know that over time, this sort of irritation has beastly byproducts – namely callouses, blisters and toenail troubles.  Of course, before you try any of these lacing techniques below, you need to get a proper evaluation of your foot and the right shoe suggestion from a decent running store that knows of what they speak. But, even geared up with a shoe that meets the needs of your foot shape and running style, there can still be nagging issues. Who knew feet could be so happy with just some simple re-lacing solutions?

“Stop Heel Slip” Lacing Solution

I get heel slip frequently, usually because I decide against better judgment that I just absolutely have to put myself in a men’s shoe because it looks cooler than the women’s model. Or, sometimes that women’s shoe is actually running large in the heel counter. Also, the size of my feet are slightly mismatched (a common problem), making the smaller one more prone to slippage.

You can stop heel slip by creating a more secure fit around the ankle without tightening the entire shoe. What you do is lace shoes in a traditional crisscross fashion up until the last eyelet on each side. Then, draw the shoelace straight up and down through the last eyelet, in the process creating a loop the diameter of your pinky finger. Do the same thing on other side. Cross lace ends over the top of shoe and thread each through the opposite loop. Finally cinch to the appropriate tension, tie and run! The loops allow the tightening to stay around the ankle without affecting the tightness up the entire length of the tongue.

“Keep Big Toenail from Turning Black” Lacing Solution

Some might think losing your big toenail is a rite of passage for a marathoner or other endurance athlete. Not only is the problem unsightly; in my experience, the toenail grows back in all malformed and funky. At least I’m a girl and can keep my toenails polished! This problem is caused by running downhill, feet swelling during a long run and also by a mismatched foot size that won’t allow you to get a balanced fit on running shoes unless you’re willing to buy two pairs. I’ve seen plenty of marathon martyrs with blood seeping through the toe box area and I’ve also seen creative folks who have just gone ahead and cut out a little peep hole for their big to stick through!

Thank goodness, proper lacing can lift the shoe upper off your distressed digit and help prevent all of this awfulness. To get relief, thread one end of your shoelace through the eyelet next to your hurting big toe. Pull the end of that lace up to the last eyelet on the opposite side, bringing the lace through to the outside and leaving enough slack to tie off a bow eventually. It looks weird but don’t worry. Take the rest of the lace straight across toward the outside of the shoe and then diagonally up toward the inside of the shoe. Repeat until all of the eyelets are laced. Now when you pull on the outside lace, it lifts the material above your big toe up and off your nail.

“Stop Top-of-Foot Claustrophobia” Lacing Solution

Runners with high arches (like moi) often complain that the top of their foot feels too cramped inside the shoe. In fact, after wearing my shoes for more than an hour of running or anytime just out-and- about, I start to get that terrible feeling of claustrophobia and that I need to rip off my shoes immediately. Sometimes, I feel like my feet are even going numb. However, I was so excited to find out that I can improve both my physical foot and mental states by using parallel lacing.

This technique secures the foot without putting pressure on the top and even looks quite tidy. Start by lacing the first two eyelets on the big-toe side of the tongue (not the first eyelet on either side of the tongue like you normally would). Pull shoelace from first eyelet straight across to the first eyelet on the other side and push it down through eyelet. Now, pull lace straight up the side, skipping over one eyelet, and thread it through the third eyelet. Pull it directly across the tongue again, and push it through the third eyelet on the opposite side. Repeat until all eyelets are laced and tie off in a bow.