The Fall Food and Fitness Bucket List

I can’t believe it’s already November! was no doubt whispered by most of us recently. Time really does slip through our fingers faster than we can keep up, which means we can all too easily miss our chance to enjoy those seasonal delights we wait for all year. Make yourself a fall bucket list — we’ve included a few things to get you started — to help prioritize the things that mean the most to you this time of year. Remember to keep those bodies moving, even the fun stuff is an excuse to do something good for you!

The Fall Food & Fitness Bucket List

Rake the leaves. No joke, this is a serious sweat session. Struggling to fit in a workout and the yard work? Two birds, one stone right here! Save this for arms day and enjoy a roughly 300 calorie burn. Plus, the big pile at the end makes for some great fun and photo opps with the family.

Sip some cider. Go for the unfiltered, unpasteurized sibling of apple juice and enjoy an earthier, bigger flavor. On a nutrition label, the difference between cider and juice is negligible. So if you’re going to spring for this sweet treat of empty calories, go with the one that’s truer to the whole apple.

Do a turkey trot. These races happen every weekend through Thanksgiving and there’s no reason you shouldn’t be a part of at least one! Whether it’s a 1 mile fun run, 5K or longer distance, don’t let yourself fall in to the fall fitness slump. It’s not that cold outside…yet.

Sweat indoors. When it is too chilly to workout outside, try one of those studio classes you’ve heard about. PiYo — Pilates + Yoga — is all the rage and gives your body a serious burn. POUND is totally fun but a serious workout, too. Rock climbing walls will have you stronger by spring. And of course there’s always spin, barre, Zumba, and swimming if the classics are more your speed.

Eat pumpkin! You can’t hide from the most popular flavor of the season, just make sure it’s real pumpkin when you do indulge. The fake flavor in most treats is just garbage, but real pumpkin has a host of vitamins and minerals. Add pure pumpkin puree to oatmeal, smoothies, yogurt cups, pasta sauce, soup, chili, muffins, and more!

Eat from a mug. There is just something super cozy about enjoying a cup of soup, chili, or stew from a coffee mug instead of a bowl. Lighten a go-to stew recipe with pork tenderloin instead of beef tips, and cut the fat out of chili with ground turkey instead of ground beef. Whatever you’re making, stock it full of hearty veggies to feel full and satisfied.

Take a hike. Before the real winter temps move in, dress in layers, pack a light picnic, and head for the nearest trail, hill, or mountain. You’ll knockout your cardio for the day, not to mention take in some spectacular views of the colorful scenery.

Bake all day. Whether it’s pies, cookies, breads, or other treats, pile in to the kitchen — solo or with your favorite crew — and whip up all of those goodies you’re craving. An indulgence once in a while is totally OK, especially if you plan to share the treats with a local nursing home, homeless shelter, or other place where your generosity won’t go unnoticed.

Give back. The season of giving is upon us, so consider giving of your time and put your back in to it! Rake an elderly neighbor’s yard, deliver firewood, help winterize a school playground, deliver or prepare warm meals, or pick up a shift at the food bank during their busiest time.

Resolve to resolve now. Beat the rush and start your resolution now! Why wait two more months when you could have two months of progress under your belt by the time everyone else is starting. What a powerfully motivating way to start the new year.


5 tips to help you row, row, row your way to fitness

Guest Post by ENELL Ambassador Jennifer Sader:

Have you noticed how hot rowing has suddenly become? It isn’t as if the rowing machine is a new piece of equipment — most gyms always had one or two, but they would sit dusty and neglected while everyone waited for the treadmill or the elliptical machine.

What has changed? First off, it was probably time for Spinning to be replaced by something new. As more gyms offer rowing classes, people realize what a great workout rowing offers. Second, Crossfit’s popularity means more people are familiar with the benefits of rowing. Finally, some sources even suggest that Frank Underwood’s basement rowing sessions on House of Cards are responsible for the trend. Whatever the reason, it makes sense to jump in on this fitness fad.

5 Tips to Row Your Way to Fitness

Tips for new rowers:

    1. Give it a try! Taking a rowing is a great way to add variety to your fitness routine. It is a low-impact, safe exercise. Even if you think you know how to row, be sure to take a class where the instructor can teach you good form. Proper form is just as important as power. Though you might think rowing is all about arms, rowing is a full-body workout, and the main drive comes from the legs.
    2. Don’t worry if you are a beginner. Though there might be a little friendly competition about who rowed the longest distance or with the most power, the nice thing about stationary equipment is that no one will be left behind. A good instructor will make you feel welcome no matter what your level, and will encourage you to work at your own pace. Because form is so important, you will see improvement quickly if you stick with it.
    3. Wear your ENELL to class. Good support is just as important in a rowing class as it is in running or Spin class. Because your whole body is engaged, your whole body will be moving. You need to bring the rowing handle under your chest, which will be easier if your chest isn’t bouncing all over the place.
    4. Be prepared to sweat. Most gyms will be kept cool so that it is comfortable for exercise, so you might want a light jacket to start out. With workouts burning 400-1000 calories per hour, you will warm up quickly, so wear a tank top or light t-shirt in a moisture-wicking fabric. And be sure to bring a full water bottle and a towel with you.
    5. Have fun! With room-pounding music, class camaraderie, and even a little friendly rivalry, rowing is a great way to get your fit on. Enjoy yourself and keep a smile on your face.

Have you tried a rowing class yet?

About Jennifer Sader: Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Instagram

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Jennifer Sader started training for her first triathlon (Danskin Chicagoland) in the fall of 2001. She was tired of having “lose weight” as her only goal and she decided that she needed something bigger and more inspiring to shoot for. She completed that race in 2002 and has gone on to do dozens of other races, including the Chicago Triathlon in 2004. Though she has continued to battle the scale, injury problems, and a lingering notion that she is not a “real athlete,” she hasn’t lost her love of the sport.

Jennifer has been blogging since 2006. At “Perfect in Our Imperfections,” she shares her thoughts on trying to lose weight without losing her mind. She shares her training experiences along with recaps of “The Biggest Loser,” book reviews, favorite beauty products and fashion finds.

Jennifer is a full-time faculty member at a small university. She lives in the Toledo area with her husband and two cats named after Muppets.


How to Prepare for Your First Turkey Trot

Thanksgiving has more or less looked the same for decades…centuries even. Football was one of the only modern updates to the recipe. Turkey, cranberries, touchdown, nap, rinse, repeat. But the turkey trot has changed that. Finally. Thankfully!

How to prepare for your first turkey trotBase image from Daniel Parks via Flickr

The popularity has exploded beyond a few local running clubs and now the most novice and newbie runners grace starting lines across the country. This is a trend we love even more than seconds of pumpkin pie. This year there are more than 1300 races planned throughout the U.S., all scheduled between November 1 and Thanksgiving Day. That means millions of runners — whether for their first or hundredth time — will get up off the couch and move their bodies.

If you’re one of the newbs, know that you are welcomed with open arms. Enjoy a strong start with these race day tips:

Check the Weather. Unless you’re in So-Cal or Florida, the weather can be impressively temperamental during November. You could be facing an unseasonably warm race or one that’s painfully bitter cold.

Dress in Layers. Because of the tricky weather, you definitely want to dress in layers. Wear a moisture-wicking tank or tee under a hoodie or long-sleeve tee, something you can tie around your waist when the race heats up.

Take a Donation! Like most races, turkey trots are traditionally used as a food bank donation drive. Some put your entry fee toward the donation, some encourage cash donations at the gate, and some simply accept canned goods and other non-perishables. It’s an easy way to kick-off the giving season.

Wear Good Shoes. If this is your first race — whether you do the one mile, the 5k, or go the longer distance — do not wear those dusty sneakers you bought five or so years ago. You will kill your feet and you will hurt at the finish line. It’s also not a great day to break in a new pair. Plan ahead and spend a few days in some new kicks.

Wear Your Sports Bra! You’ll put the girls through the paces at a turkey trot, so break out the big guns and wear your Enell. You’ll be more comfortable, not to mention feel more confident when your turkeys aren’t trotting this way and that down the trail.

Bring the Family. Racing may be an individual sport, but turkey trots are an ensemble! Turkey trots are extremely family friendly, so grab that crew of people sacked out at your house and get some fresh air and quality time together. Strollers, wagons, and sometimes even dogs are all more than welcome.

Take a Selfie. This is your first race and you deserve a race-day selfie to post across Facebook and Instagram like all of those other people you follow. A year from now when this first race is a distant memory, you’ll enjoy the souvenir from your first race.

Have Fun. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Sure there’s a finish line and some races are timed, but just go, enjoy the day, the energy of the scene, and cross the finish line in your own time. Whether you run, walk, or crawl, your finish line looks the same as everyone else. Cross it with pride and hopefully a smile on your sweaty face!

Do you have plans for a Turkey Trot this year?


A Dozen New Ways to Optimize Your Next Workout

We hear all the time to get more out of our workouts, but what does that mean exactly? Doing more with less. To optimize your workout means getting more from each minute you’re sweating than you ordinarily would. The HIIT workout trend of a couple of years ago was the definitive optimized workout — really hammer through some key movements in a short period of time. You get the full-body, calorie-torching workout on a schedule you can keep!

A dozen new ways to optimize your next workout

And recently we introduced the idea of a BPM — or beats per minute — workout, in which you move to the beat of songs at a tempo of 120 to 140 beats per minute, this optimal zone matches your heart rate during the ideal cardio workout.

For as many ways as there are to workout, there are ways to optimize that time.

Here are ten more ideas you may not have tried:

1. Follow a Plan. You won’t be left fumbling between moves or machines if you walk in to your workout knowing what A to Z looks like. “Organize your workout in to super sets or circuits,” suggests Chris Cooper, an NSCA-certified trainer. With this approach, you can immediately move on to what’s next without wasting time.

2. Cross Train. Introduce some versatility to your workouts, suggest the folks at Plyoga, because your body needs more than just yoga or just running. This approach trains different parts of the body on different days giving you a well-rounded fitness regimen that will yield greater results in strength, endurance, and appearance.

3. Slow Down. Sounds counterintuitive, but this slow weight lifting regimen is a novel way to work your muscles. “I’ll pick a weight that’s half what I normally lift for a 10-12 repetition set of a certain move and do an upper-body exercise (think shoulder presses or bicep curls) and go through the move very slowly,” prescribes Petrina Hamm, CPT. She takes 15-20 seconds to lift the weight, holding for another 15-30 seconds, and then taking another 15-20 seconds before bringing the weight back down. You put the muscle through constant stress through an entire range of motion, getting more out of that extended rep.

4. Use More Muscles. “The more muscles you use, the more calories you burn,” advises Maureen Kemeny, a certified fitness trainer. She suggests choosing exercises that involve as many muscle groups as possible.

5. Hard and Heavy. For the more advanced gym rat, this hard and heavy approach pushes your body to the limits without wasting any time. William Ferullo, a fitness and nutrition coach, uses this approach for compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, or overhead presses. He chooses the heaviest weight he can for 3-5 reps in 5 sets. Between each set he does as many pull-ups, dips, or other body weight exercises as possible. He never stops moving and quickly advances to the next action.

6. Mind Over Matter. “You can manipulate your own mind to get far more out of a workout,” says Jon Rhodes, a clinical hypnotherapist. He says that when you’re at the gym, imagine a crowd of people watching or cheering you on. Once your mind is there, the intensity and speed of your workout will increase as you try to, more or less, show-off for your adoring fans!

7. Set a Timer. If you’ve got a full 60 minutes at the gym, pool, or track, then fitness trainer Clint Fuqua says only give yourself 45 minutes. Set the timer and work to beat the buzzer! If you’re new to this approach, start by shaving 5 minutes off your time and work up from there.

8. Hire a Trainer. Nothing can keep you more focused on a well-organized workout than a trainer. They’ll make the most of the time you have available within the limitations of your body all while working toward an ultimate goal — being weight loss, a race, or overall better fitness.

9. Bike/Jog to the Gym. Get the cardio out of the way before you even enter the gym! Vivian Eisenstadt, MAPT says, “This way you get your cardio [without] feeling like a gerbil on the treadmill.” You save time by not driving around looking for a parking space, and you can get out of the gym sooner by not waiting in line for over-booked machines.

10. Ditch Distractions. There is a locker room for a reason, and that’s where you should leave your cell phone or magazines. Take a post-workout selfie if it’s that important, but don’t eat up time on the gym floor. Choose machines away from the TVs if the entertainment is too distracting. And workout alone to avoid gabbing with friends, which can slow the intensity and focus of a workout.


Vote for HOPE Charity

We are currently searching for organizations to donate a portion of HOPE proceeds for 2014. From October 1-14, customers nominated their favorite breast cancer-related organizations. Voting is NOW OPEN for all eligible nominated organizations. Voting open from October 15, 2014 to October 31, 2014. The top 3 vote-getters will receive a combined donation of 10% of proceeds from all HOPE bra sales between 12/1/13-11/30/14. First place receives 50%, second place receives 30%, third place receives 20%. Donations will be made by 12/11/14.

Voting closes on October 31, 2014 at 11:59 pm EST. Maximum 1 vote per Facebook account during the contest duration.

To learn more about this campaign, visit our Support in a Big Way page.

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More about these nominated charities:

  • FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered: Mission is to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Wings of Hope: Wings of Hope Cancer Support Center assists those with cancer at all stages of their illness and helps families and friends cope with cancer in their lives. They provide emotional support and guidance for people with cancer, family members and health professionals.  All donations go directly towards helping another person dealing with cancer in the eastern NE/western IA area.
  • Livingston Chicks n’ Chaps: They help raise awareness by putting on a rodeo demonstration and raising funds to help those who can not afford it gain access to breast exams and treatment. In two years they have already collected over $130,000.00.
  • Markey Cancer Center: To provide state-of-the-art cancer care through facilities including the comprehensive breast care center. All-in-one services allow women to make a one-day visit for mammography, ultrasound, and even biopsy services. This is a great help to women from rural areas who may have to travel far to access high-tech mammography and screening via Tomosynthesis.
  • Halt Cancer at X: The goal of this organization is to Halt Breast Cancer. Rebecca Farms in Kalispell, MT created it in memory of a very special woman.
  • Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF): The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), founded in 1993 by the late Evelyn H. Lauder, works to achieve prevention and a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime by providing critical funding for innovative clinical and translational research at leading medical centers worldwide, and increasing public awareness about good breast health. Since its inception, the Foundation has raised over $500 million to support research at medical institutions across the globe conducting the most advanced and promising breast cancer research that will help lead to prevention and a cure.
  • Look Good, Feel Better: Look Good Feel Better is a non-medical, brand-neutral public service program that teaches beauty techniques to cancer patients to help them manage the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment. Look Good Feel Better group programs are open to all women with cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, or other forms of treatment. In the United States alone, more than 900,000 women have participated in the program, which now offers 15,400 group workshops nationwide in more than 2,500 locations.
  • American Cancer Society: The American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service.
  • 26.2 with DONNA: 26.2 with DONNA is a private non-profit organization in Northeast Florida producing the only marathon in the U.S. dedicated to breast cancer research and care. Its mission is to passionately produce world class events to raise funds for ground breaking breast cancer research and empower women living with breast cancer.

Remember Betty was also nominated, however it did not meet our requirements of being an active 501(c)(3) organization. Still a worthy mission, but is not in consideration for this years funds.

Vote and help us spread the word! We want you to tell us where to donate these funds. To learn more about this campaign, or to vote, visit our Support in a Big Way page.