How Exercise Boosts Brain Power + Week of Smart Workouts

Exercise is a smart choice for maintaining physical health and it also plays a role in promoting overall happiness and well-being. But, can exercise make a person more intelligent? Probably so say sports scientists from Finland who recently published some surprising findings on how the type and intensity of exercise may have a bearing on brain power?

Find out the best form of exercise for a brain boost. Yes, some workouts can make you not on stronger, but smarter!

The study compared pitted moderate-paced running, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and weight lifting against each other to observe how these various forms physical exercise can increase hippocampal neurogenesis (e.g. the creation of new brain cells) in an already mature brain. The test subjects – rats! The running rodents were left to run on their cage wheels (a moderate jog, some up to several miles a day) with free will while the HIIT group was given a daily 15 minute regimen of repeated strenuous effort sprinting with jog recovery. And, the weight-lifting rodents climbed walls with little weights attached to their tails as a sedentary control group lounged around and watched. I laugh just thinking about this! mouse-lifting-weight

Whether mouse or man, it appears that the winning exercise for long-term brain health may simply be moderate running or “jogging” and, by my semi-educated extrapolation, other similar “aerobic and sustained” activities like biking, swimming and brisk walking.  It seems wheel-jogging rodents had the most vigorous rates of new brain cell growth, significantly higher than the sedentary, lay-around rats. The hightailing HIIT group had some brain cell growth, but not as much as the aerobic joggers, with researchers hypothesizing that physical stress impedes neurogenesis. Interestingly, the resistance-trained rats were no different brain-wise at the end of the study – which keeps the status-quo on “muscle head” jokes!

Exercise is not only great for your health, but can make you smarter! Find out what type and intensity of workout will give you the best brain boost!

Seriously though, all forms of exercise are beneficial for the body. Just like variety in diet is important for optimal health, so is mixing up the way you move. While jogging or easy running may boost brain cells, lifting weights strengthens muscles, bones and tendons, helping to improve every day work capacity.  And, both resistance training and HIIT up the body’s metabolism, one of the keys to keeping a lean silhouette.

I think trail running and obstacle course races like Spartan are a great way to add “extra” to simply running – a well-rounded athlete is a smart athlete, too!

Below are some of my favorite running, HIIT and other workouts — pick your favorites and get strong, get smart!

 

 

Here are a week of workouts to get stronger and smarter:

  1. 20 Minute Kickboxing Workout to Kick Monday in the Face
  2. You Got Mad “Ups” Body Weight Workout
  3. Boom! Med Ball Workout
  4. Trail Run Tabata
  5. Fun Faster 800m-Lover Workout
  6. Sayonara Sprint Partner Run Workout 
  7. Soccer Strong Workout – – also great for OCR Training

What is your favorite “type” of exercise to do? Do you mix it up, or single sport? Ever feel smarter after jogging (haha)?  Please share in the comments — XOXO, Jennifer

Sunday Shoutout: Four Things for Better Runs and Workouts

Happy Sunday and Father’s Day! I celebrated yesterday with my husband (who is an awesome dad to our three teen boys) by heading up to Dallas to run a Spartan Race at Jerry’s World, aka the AT&T Stadium, Home of the Dallas Cowboys.

jennifer fisher spartan stadium

Strip Steaks with Globally Inspired Wet RubsMaking a special dinner for my own top pop tonight,  a super guy who’s been an amazing father to me for the past nearly 49 years! Since he loves to travel the world and experience new flavors in food just as much as me, I’m thinking grilling steaks with one of my globally inspired wet rubs!

 

 

Today, I want share with you some of the healthy foods and fitness gear I’ve tried out lately that have passed my persnickity test of approval!

1) Tommie Copper Compression: First up, some new products from Tommie Copper, a line of active and recovery compression wear that I’ve been wearing for a couple years now.  Tommie Copper clothing encourages muscle and joint recovery through compression after a hard workout – they also have performance apparel that is perfect for wearing during running and workouts.

Tommie Copper Compression Camisole

The unique hook of Tommie Cooper is that their compression and active fit (not so tight) lines of performance apparel are fashioned from fabric infused with high density activated copper. Not only does the proprietary copper fabric serve as an anti-bacterial agent, it also releases ions which may help reduce harmful oxidants in the body.

I love LOVE the Women’s Compression Camisole with Adjustable Straps for so many reasons – the vibrant color (other colors available), the hugging fit, and option to make the straps longer or shorter (for some reason, I always need to make mine shorter).

Tommie Copper Shaping CapriI also tried out a pair of Women’s Shaping Compression Capris designed to provide comfortable compression with a flattering fit. In other words, you butt will look as good as it feels! A curved back yoke lifts and shapes to enhance curves with the contoured waistband holds the tummy in without making a muffin top or feeling squeezed.

Actually, today only you can take 25% off your order at TommieCopper.com with the code FATHERSDAY at checkout.

 

2) The Pickle Juice Company: Also, I want to shout out The Pickle Juice ® Company, y’all saved my husband (aka “the sweater”) yesterday at the Spartan Race.  He gets muscle cramps, even in shorter distances of running, so I knew that the 4 miles (of basically all stair running) was going to set him up for some debilitating cramps, especially since was super hot in Dallas yesterday.

Pickle Juice Shot from The Pickle Juice Company

So, I made him drink a specifically formulated the Extra Strength Pickle Juice Shot before he started – and guess what, no muscle cramps were reported. This interesting product is based on the functional properties of pickle brine that have been shown to help relieve muscle cramps while also serving as a hydration aid. Each Extra Strength Pickle Juice Shot contains 10 times more electrolytes than your average sports drink and has been proven to relieve muscle cramps in 85 seconds. We are both going to be carrying a little bottle along on an upcoming summer trail race!

This product is available at many sports and grocery retailers, or you can get a “dill” at Amazon  — you gotta getcha some Extra Strength Pickle Juice Shots!

3) Simply Snackin: I appreciate how Simply Snackin makes it easy for me to play hard and snack often (in my preferred higher protein way) with their insanely yummy line of meat-based snacks. Think “jerky” but waaaaay better than the stuff I grew up with as a kid. I’ve enjoyed Simply Snackin’ bars for quite some time now, and they never fail to impress me with their high-quality and amazing array of flavors.

Simply Snackin meat and fruit  snacks

These jerky bars from Simply Snackin are crafted in family-owned micro-snackery with a focus on taste that also supports a health, fitness and wellness. There are 10 amazing flavors, the snacks are all natural, gluten free, low carb, tender and lean, minimally process and packaged to go in individual 1-oz. portions.

It’s sooooooo hard to decide, but I think my favorite flavors are Northwoods Beef with Cranberries & Blueberries, Italiano Chicken with Romano Cheese and Orchard Venison with Apples Every bar has only 60 calories and 10 to 11 grams of protein and 0 to 3 grams of sugar (natural sugar depending on if fruit has been mixed in).

You can order straight from theSimply Snackin or get hooked up at Amazon.com Simply Snackin All Natural Chicken,  Simply Snack All Natural Beef,  Simply Snackn All Natural Venison.

  

4) Zooma Summer Challenge: Also, the Zooma Summer Challenge kicks off June 27th. This is a great way to expand your workout horizons, experiment with new foods and activities, and get your body and mind strong to prepare for fall race training. For the $50 registration fee you get: a workout and food plan for the 5-week program, weekly emails that explain that week’s workout and food challenge, access to a private Facebook group where you can share your successes and questions with fellow Challengers, fun swag including a tank top and beach bag and a bling-y medal to commemorate your summer fitness success. Register HERE!

Zooma Summer Challenge 2016

So, what new health and fitness products have you been loving lately? What races are you training for? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

How to Treat Sports Turf Burns + #YourSecretWeapon for Prevention

Giveaway at Bottom of Post!

I have three teenage boys . . . and they have all played soccer. I have seen a LOT of soccer and treated plenty of turf burns. Actually, I hate to say this, but I’m the most turf-burn prone and actually I have had some really bad ones just running at high speed. I’ve learned how to suck up the pain and treat them quickly – if kept clean and moist with an antibiotic cream and sterile bandage (changed frequently), the turf burns actually clear up amazingly fast!

One thing I have learned over the years (after going in for a kid’s health checkup with horrific road burn on my shoulder, arm and side) is that it’s NOT good to use hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide can actually damage the tissue further and prevent healing – plus, it hurts like hell to pour it on there, am I right?!

How to Safely Treat Turf Burn on Soccer, Football and Lacrosse Players.

Check out my handy, printable reference on treating turf burn if you or your child to happen to get the big red raspberry of pain. Also, check out his Storelli blog post on Turf Burn Facts and Prevention

One way to prevent turf burn is to not get it at all. That sounds like a no-brainer, but when you’ve got the killer instinct and are completely focused on blocking a shot, kicking a goal or hauling down field to keep position, how rough and abrasive the turf can be isn’t really on the radar. Most players would easily take some nasty burn for the team . . or personal glory!

I’ve discovered BodyShield from Storelli. This Brooklyn, NY based company is one of the soccer industry’s most cutting-edge and exciting new brands. They use proprietary technologies (inspired by extreme sports gear) to create low-profile, high-performance protective gear that helps absorb impact, minimize and prevent abrasions, cuts and nasty bruises. When you have less fear of the game, you can be fearless! If found this to be especially true of one of my kids who isn’t as must as a risk-taker as the rest of the family.

Storelli Next Generation Soccer Injury Prevention GearMy 14 year old has been wearing BodyShield from Storelli for the last two seasons – he can be really fussy about what he wears and how it feels. He’s worn the protective undershirt and head wrap and filed sliders or on the way!

The report back from my sporty mini-me is that it’s easy to gear up in BodyShield, there’s no “weird rubbing” or “too tight” feeling, and  it doesn’t reduce mobility at all – in fact, he says that he usually forgets he’s even wearing the protective gear. And (so important to a middle schooler) it looks cool!

Where Turf Burns Happen Most on Body

The Field Player Sliders use 3mm thick foam technology to protect during tackles and slides without impeding movement. No more fear of abrasions or sudden impacts and no more turf burns on the side and hips (the most common place)!

Oscar Chelsea Soccer Player

Check out professional soccer player Oscar Chelsea sporting the BodyShield Sliders and Sleeveless Undershirt. Stare if you must.

TheFitFork.com SoccerStorelli can be #YourSecretWeapon against turf burns, too! Heck, I’m even thinking about suiting up head to toe for my next Spartan Race.

That’s why I ordered a pair of Women’s BodyShield Sliders designed specifically for female needs) and they finally arrived (see below0 If you use promo code, you can receive 15% off any of everything at Storelli.com – you’re going to want it all!

 

storelli shorts jennifer

Please check out Storelli’s BodyShield protective soccer gear and check out the informative articles on their blog – must-reads if you or a family member is an avid soccer player.50 visa gift card giveaway

Also, don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a $50 Visa Gift Card that you can use for your own Storelli gear, other soccer equipment or whatever you like – just hopefully not on bandages to treat turf burn!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Spartan Burpee How-To & Penalty + Race Registration Giveaway

Burpees.   People love to hate them, although I personally don’t think they’re all that bad. Except maybe I don’t love them so much the middle of an obstacle race when my arms and legs are already wobbly, stickers are piercing my palms and I’m coming face to face with cow patties.

How to Make Burpees More Fun - 5 VariationsBut, in a pristine situation, burpees have been a pretty good fitness friend to me, they are a simple, no-equipment needed way to get a full-body workout plus a little cardio (okay, mabye a lot of cardio).

Plus, there are a million variations as I rounded up last year on my post on How to Make Burpees More Fun – Did I Really Just Say That?

 

But in the Spartan Race, they don’t want to see the variations. And that’s good, because who has any bounce left for fancy stuff?!  In fact, I’ve been revisiting the rules on Spartan Race burpees (30 burpees required as a punishment for failing an obstacle) because, at my last race, I (gasp) received a 3-minute penalty added to my finish line time. Now, if you’re running in the open, you don’t have anyone judging your burpees, it’s honor system. But, the elite heat is suffering under the scrutiny of video cameras and clipboard bearing field officials.

spartan burpee

Before my last Spartan Sprint, I breezed through the burpee details in the Standard Obstacle Specific Instructions:

Obstacles may have a “Burpee Zone or Burpee Area”. Athletes are required to complete their penalty burpees within the designated zone or area, as burpees are monitored by Course Officials and/ or video cameras. Course officials will review video to ensure proper form is used and the athlete has completed the burpee penalty. . . .Camera review can change the outcome of the race, and results are not final until camera review and field officials have approved the results and assessed penalties

Penalty for Obstacle Failure: – 30 Burpees (chest must hit the ground, feet must leave the ground)

So, I do remember a few times when I though “hmmm, this manual says nowhere hands must be thrown in the air when feet leave the ground.” But, at one burpee zone, I decided to omit the overhead hand throw to conserve energy. This omission caused a field official to reprimand me . . .  who argues in a situation like this, so I just started back to throwing hands overhead and doing the hokey-pokey from hell.

If I’d had anything left to give, I’da busted out “Put Your Hands Up, Put Your Mother Effin’ Hands Up” covered by a gazillion different rappers.

So, when the initial finish line results and final results were exactly 3 minutes apart, I knew something was up. It was too late to challenge, I was already home . . . plus, I want to be completely legit, flawless and clean, if I messed up, then I deserved the penalty. I know I did ENOUGH burpees, I can count. I just wish I would have known EXACTLY what was expected so this would have never happened in the first place. When you know better, you do better. I did burpees as described in the obstacle manual  (which is Chest to Ground – Feet Leave Ground). Search the web, so much controversy on the topic, even on the Spartan Race site (see the Great Burpee Debate)!

I should have watched this video which shows the hands going in the air, although he doesn’t mention this step as every other is noted.

And found this after searching the Spartan Race site for “burpees,” I found this article called THE PENALTY AND THE PAIN: BUCK FURPEES. It describes burpees with the hands overhead. This should be in the Standard Obstacle Specific Instructions, please – thank you very much.

  1. Chest to deck.  When you drop to the ground, you must execute a full push up with your chest touching the ground.
  2. Press out of the push-up jumping your legs underneath your body so that you are in a squatted position.
  3. Stand up, extending the hips, and jump off the ground with hands overhead.

Then after more searching around, I found additional information that elite racers may be penalized 30 seconds per incorrect burpee, up to 10. Then disqualification. It’s subjective still, in my opinion, and you have obviously are on someone’s radar if they are scrutinizing your burpees.

Spartan after way too many burpees

The face of a 120 burpee race. Damn.

So, my takeaway for the next race. Don’t fail an obstacle, don’t get stuck with burpees.  And, if that’s not possible, do a bonus burpee on top of the 30 reps just to show trustworthy toughness! Aroo!

No sour grapes with Spartan Race in ANY WAY whatsoever. In fact, I love them for challenging me so significantly at this stage of my life. However, I just wanted to clarify some of this burpee stuff and keep any of you from suffering the wrath of not knowing.

Other timely Spartan Race stuff you need to know:

spartan fotI also wanted to remind you about Spartan Race founder and best-selling author, Joe DeSena’s new book, Spartan Fit. It’s the go-to tome of training for newbies and veterans alike or just help on how to get super fit in 31 days, without a gym or weights. You also learn how to build your fitness from one race to the next, get nutrition advice and will be motivated by stories of inspiring Spartans. Pre-order now, it ships August 30, 2016.

How to Make a Spartan Spear in Less Than 10 Mintues and Under 10 DollarsAnd, don’t forget your spear throwing practice – I’ve got the tutorial on How to Make Your Own Spartan Spear in 10 minutes, for $10.

Register for a Spartan Race, from Sprint, Super or Beast to one of the more team-worky endurance events like Hurricane Heat or Agog and save 10% at checkout with the code SPARTANBLOGGER.

Enter my giveaway for a FREE SPARTAN REGISTRATION. Winner will receive one-time use code good for any Open Heat (non-confirmed start time) in any Spartan Race in the Continental US. Just follow the Rafflecopter instructions below.

This post and giveaway were sponsored by Spartan Race, all opinions, advice and enthusiasm are all my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How to Make Spartan OCR Spear in 10 minutes + Spartan Fit

How to Make a Spartan Spear in Less Than 10 Mintues and Under 10 DollarsTo date, I’ve only have 3 obstacle course races under my belt, but I’m trying to nab a coin for the Spartan World Championship . . .maybe that’s a lofty goal, but I think it’s in my reach, especially if I can optimize my performance with a fast run.  However, the races I’ve done, like 2015 Spartan Beast Dallas and 2015 Spartan Spring Houston have been so flooded and muddy that I’ve had the wind knocked out of my running wheelhouse. Oh, yeah – but that spear throw is also standing in the way. I am 0 for 3 on the Spartan Spear Throw obstacle, that’s no surprise considering in I am 1 for 40 in the accuracy baseball pitch at an annual 12-event fitness competition I do (although, I do hold the female course record in the mile – whoot, whoot).

So, I gotta practice. Practice, practice, practice, so I nail the obstacle and don’t have to take the burpee penalty.  With my crazy, busy life, I don’t have time to go to any sort of obstacle course training gym – so I’m bringing some of the obstacle to my plain vanilla, suburban back yard.

Making DIY Spartan Spear

If I can make a Spartan Race Spear in less than 10 minutes, you can too. Girl power!  Here’s the supply list – it’s amazingly short and available at home improvement stores for less than $10 :

  • 1 60” replacement ash rake handle with ferrule (metal cuff on end) – $8.50
  • 1 12-inch galvanized spike or nail – $0.70
  • Duct tape or masking tape – pennies
  • Hacksaw
  • Glue, optional
  • Decorative Duct Tape, optional

Get some hay to practice the Spartan spear throw.

You will also want to get a few bales of hay from a feed supply store, out here it’s about $12 per bale. I’ve seen it quite a bit cheaper on Craigslist, if you’re willing to drive out to the boonies for your haul.How to Make a Spartan Spear in less than 10 Minutes and under 10 Dollars

So, how do you make a Spartan Spear? Easy-peasy! Follow these steps:

  1. Use hack saw to remove head off nail. You have to put some elbow grease into this, let’s see what you’ve got!
  2. Wrap a few rotations of duct tape or masking tape around bottom of nail where head was sawed off. This thickens it up so that it will fit snugly into the ferrule.
  3. If you choose, pour a bit of glue into ferrule and stick in nail head to secure. Let dry. However, I prefer to just wrap tape so that I can remove the nail tip if I want to transport my spear in the car (would hate to get impaled if I slammed on the breaks).
  4. Wrap decorative duct or grip tape around center of handle to indicate where to hold (or to just look fancy), if desired.

And, just how do you do this? Sheez, I don’t know . . .that’s why I’m practicing. I do have some tips though from my limited experience:

  • Quickly scan for a spear without a bent tip, and no blood or vomit on the handle.
  • Make sure tether is hanging on opposite side of fence from you to prevent tangling up around your legs.
  • Step into the spear launch and throw hard with a slight upward trajectory.
  • Show good sportsmanship when completing your 30 burpees and congratulate the successful competitors at this obstacle who are kicking up mud in your face. Okay, hopefully not this!

Spear ThrowThe Spartan Race Obstacle Guide says you have “One attempt to throw the spear and have it stick into the spearman (wood or hay).  The spear can’t be touching the ground.” This means it can’t stick in the hay and then fall out or brush by the hay and land on the ground. Failure to perform on your single try is 30 burpees – yay!

 


I also want to give you the heads up on Spartan Race founder Joe DeSena’s new book, Spartan Fit. Basically, it’s everything you need to know to prepare for a Spartan Sprint or just get in the best shape of your life in 31 days, without a gym or weights. You also learn how to build your fitness from one race to the next and will be motivated by stories of inspiring Spartans. There’s also diet plan in the book, I’m really interested to see what Joe’s philosophy is on eating since that’s kinda my thang. This is essential reading for the Spartan athlete, newbies or veterans! Pre-order now, it ships August 30, 2016.

If you want to run a Spartan Race – from Sprint, Super, Beast or some of the ultra endurance events like the Hurricane Heat, Hurricane Heat 12 hour, Ultra Beast, and the new Summer Agoge use the code SPARTANBLOGGER at checkout for 10% off your registration.

Also, come back next week — I’m giving away a free race registration. AROO!

So, how’s YOUR aim? Good at throwing stuff like spears, footballs, baseballs . . . or maybe just throwing fits of frustration when you miss, like me?! Have you ever run an obstacle course race? If so, what was the biggest challenge for YOU? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer 

Running and Fitness 2015 – My Highlights, My Bloopers, My Gear 

The Events: To the best of my memory, I raced eight 5ks, one 5-miler, one 10k, four half marathons, one marathon and two obstacle course Spartan Races (the Sprint and Beast).   I also competed in the CrossFit Games Open, Austin Fittest Challenge, the Zilker Relays and a CrossFit event called “Sprint & Snatch.”   Loved them all!

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).Jennifer Fisher winner 2015 Hill Country Half Marathon

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 Spartan Beast Dallas Sand Bag Carryrace — 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 Jennifer Fisher at Zooma Texas 2014“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! Jennifer Fisher TheFitFork.com Yoga Crow Pose

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. Summer Squat Challenge -- Do 100 squats per day from this mix an match list!

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. Yoga and Fitness Bloopers from TheFitFork.com

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. My Running and Workout Must Haves

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:

20 Minute Kettle Bell Blaster

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 ) 

What are your fitness favorites from 2015?! Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer

Huge Spartan Holiday Savings + Free Registration Giveaway

Spartan Beast Dallas Sand Bag CarryI’m going to keep this post short and sweet! Even though Cyber Monday is officially over in a couple hours, you can still sign up, gear up and save up for 2016 Spartan Races. Here’s the deal, from now until midnight on 12/2/2105 use these discount codes:

Spartan Holiday Sale
Sign Up and Save up to $40 off all races.*  $20 off Sprint, $30 off Super, $40 off Beast – if you’re planning a Trifecta, you’ve just saved $90!! Use Code: CYBER

Gear Up and Save 30% off all gear.* You’ll want to show off that Spartan style, oh YES you will! Use Code: CYBER

*Valid for Continental US Only, excludes Hawaii. Cannot be retroactively applied or combined with any other offers including GovX. Not valid for Kid’s Race, Spectator tickets or Elite Heat. Excludes Electronics. Expires 12/2/15 11:59 pm ET.

Celebrating with friends at the end of Spartan Race.Okay, and here’s the best part — I’m also giving away a free Spartan Race entry good for any open heat (non-confirmed start time) in any Spartan Race in the continental US. AROO!

To enter, just follow the Rafflecopter app instructions — while the discount code Expires 12/2/15 11:59 pm ET my giveaway will be open another week! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Soccer Strong Workout, Injury Prevention + Giveaway

Fear Nothing. Give Everything.  I love this attitude of Storelli Sports, a really awesome company that makes next-gen sports protection gear for professional and amateur athletes.

TheFitFork.com SoccerThis company’s main market is soccer; you know how crazy those soccer players get – I’m being serious! Bodies crashing into each other, dives onto the turf, abrupt lateral movements, unwanted head-to-head, body-to-goal or ground contact and more.   I’ve got a kiddo who plays soccer (or you may call it football) – he also is into the rough and tumble sports of lacrosse and American football. So, it’s safe to say that sports injury prevention is always on my mind.

Storelli Next Generation Soccer Injury Prevention Gear

All this thrashing about on the soccer field sort of sounds like a day spent doing Spartan or another obstacle course race – and I’m thinking that some of their products may help me give 110% at my next race with  less worry of bumps, bruises, cuts, contusions and concussions. Yeah, that’s right I said concussion – the perfect reason to wear the Storelli ExoShield Head Guard, a comfortable and stylish soccer head guard that reduces incidence of cuts and bruises on covered areas . . . and may help lessen risk for concussion.

goose egg advilPlease note that there is no conclusive evidence on the concussion reduction, but I say “better safe than sorry,” seeing as I have given myself a concussion RUNNING (it was an epic fall) and also at the last Spartan Beast I slid through the mud and into a tree limb for a beauty of a  goose egg (and thankfully nothing worse).

Honestly, the Storelli ExoShield Head Guard (below) is so comfortable and weighs only about 8 ounces; you’ll quickly forget you’re armored up!

Storelli Soccer Head GuardStorelli Soccer Injury Prevention Gear

The BodyShield FP Sleeveless Undershirt makes you look like an intimidator showing off those guns and also offers innovative technology to help control long passes with the chest, along with protection on the ribs, to reduce the impact caused by physical clashes with opponents.  You may like this armor for trapping hard shots and reducing rebounds, I’m making sure my son wears this to every match. And then, I’m going to steal it out of his gym bag on race day to really help protect my chest and ribs as I hurl myself up onto some of the 10 foot walls on an obstacle course race or army crawl my body over craggy rocks.

Here is a great video rundown on how Storelli Soccer Gear can help you if you play a field position (also a video for goalie).

Did you know 50 percent of soccer players miss at least one game a year because of injury?  Wow, that’s half of the players out there, don’t let it be you — #InjuriesSuck .  Head over to Storelli Sports and check out their next generation soccer protection gear – right now you can get $10 off a purchase when you sign-up for the Storelli newsletter.

I also have a Soccer Strong Workout that will help keep you in tip-top shape for a healthy and productive season.

soccer strong workout

Do you or your kids play soccer”? Have you ever been sidelined with an injury in any sport? What preventative measures do you take to stay injury-free? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer