Category Archives: Reviews

My 21 Day Sugar Detox Journey: My WHY

As a fitness professional, I strive to find new programs and resources that I can suggest and refer to friends and clients to help them reach their health and fitness goals. One area that is most challenging for everyone is balancing out our nutrition. You cannot go a day without hearing or reading something in the news about diet and nurtrition and there are so many fads out there promising quick results that we all want to believe in that miracle diet that somehow has given others beyond believable results. What we are seeing more often is a shift to adapting a more healthy eating LIFESTYLE rather than taking on a DIET.  That being said, I had heard a lot about the 21 Day Sugar Detox program by Diane SanFilippo and after looking it over I thought this was something similar to how I already eat—at level 3 of her program and there were levels 1 & 2 that you could begin with to work towards achieving level 3 which is very close to a whole 30 or paleo-inspired diet with no dairy or grains. I had attempted a whole30 once before so this program was really attractive to me!

Sitting down to begin the Sugar Detox, as I would with other programs I wanted to map out how I could stay accountable and have success with staying on track in completing the 21 days. Here is my WHY and the steps I took towards beginning the program, there were several resources that I decided I personally did not need but I am going to share them here because they may be just what you need in trying this yourself!

  • Writing out my WHY statement—what did I want to accomplish by the end of this journey? Why begin?

21daysugardetox.MYWHY

  • Resources, what I used and how you can find out what will work to give you the right level of support for you!

IMG_1172My Journey began with a trip to my local library where I checked out Diane’s Cookbook. In it I found just about everything I needed to get started. In addition I visited 21 day sugar detox website, followed the 21 day sugar detox on Instagram and connected with a support group on facebook. As it turns out I had two close friends who were doing it so we started our own private group & text messaging system where we could provide each other support in an emergency situation.  My friend Darci had been through the program before so I leaned on her heavily to help guide me through the basics.

Second for me was a visit to Diane’s website 21 Day Sugar Detox where she gives away tons of recipes, tips and printables for you to use and you can purchase your own cookbook and guide to own. During the detox you can also submit your email to receive motivating emails while on the 3 week program.

21daysugardetox.guidesEssential to your success is having the lists for what level you are doing, there are 3 levels and so it’s important to have this list handy. Halfway through the program it was suggested in my facebook group to take a screenshot and keep the list on your phone so if you are out shopping or away from home that it can be referenced it at moments notice.  This was extremely helpful!

 

21daysugardetox.podcastNear the end of the program, I discovered the Balanced Bites podcast! Love this and I now listen to it 1x a week, catching up on tips from Diane Sanfilippo and Liz Wolfe. Click link to subscribe and listen yourself–you do not need to be doing the program to enjoy this podcast!

 

  • I’m an athlete in training, how can I still incorporate a Sugar Detox? Yes, there are modifications that you can use and I took full advantage of them including adding sweet potato and banana on a regular basis on days that I had intense, HIIT or endurance/cardio workouts.
  • I am an Instagram JUNKIE and invite you to follow me at @jennvfitness. I am always taking pictures of my food and I used my account to create a pictoral food journal while following the @21daysugardetox and connect with others who were doing it at the same time as me.  To see my collages I made while doing my January 2015 detox, I created a photo album on my facebook fitness page : Jennvfitness
  • Wine /Alcohol free for 21 days and counting! I love red wine and I know I probably consumed more than my share over the holidays. I am in training for my 4th marathon and so I used these 21 days to really curtail my intake of alcohol. I’d like to share this article from THE GUARDIAN, it’s a great running blog and I am always trying to improve my nutrition to support my level of training and endurance which can be effected by alcohol.
  • Post Detox, there is ongoing support or you can choose to join the next faceook group starting the Detox and continue at your current or new level of commitment. For me and my eating lifestyle, I made decision that I would give myself some wiggle room with going sugar free. I’m covering my new habits in another post but here I will say that less than 8 weeks until my marathon I decided that without a personal chef in my home, I just could not keep up the level of food prep I did and confidently give my body the nutritional needs it needs to push it to the limits. I am continuing to include several healthy recipes and foods I used in the detox and have made several new foodie friends.  I stay in touch with my group and continue to learn more about how I can live as close to a sugar free diet as possible.

I am happy to share these steps, this seemed to work for me and I encourage you to take a look at doing this program. For me I’m always inspired to find clean recipes and take recipes I love and make them healthier. Have you done a detox? How did you prepare heading into it? What were the deciding factors for you to do one program over another? I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Stay Healthy & Strong!

– Jenn

Introducing a refreshing NEW Sports Drink: Phenoh 7.4

IMG_9327 Hello THIRSTY & FIT-Minded friends! I have to take today to share with you a review and details on a NEW sports drink that I was able to take for a test drive recently.  If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you may have seen me post and mention this over the past few weeks.  I just have to fill you in on what I really liked about this drink and my first hand experience!

IMG_9219Here is my Phenoh 7.4 that arrived on my doorstep.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_9535When looking for phenoh 7.4 here is what you will find on your store shelves! Look for it near other sports drinks, or near where you would find flavored/enhanced waters. To get yours TODAY and check out more about this new sports drink, you can simply go to their website at PHenOH If you are on twitter, follow them at @pHenOH_7point4 and on Instagram their handle is @phenoh74

 

 

Let’s start with the BASICS….Phenoh 7.4 is made with just 7 natural ingredients to promote health and athletic performance, ultimately it has everything that your body needs to stay balanced during stress and exercise. As you can see on the label, this drink is: Paleo-Friendly, Low Glycemic, and high in Vitamin C. Here is peek at the nutrition label—check out the list of Benefits too, I love that it helps PREVENT TOOTH DECAY! IMG_9539

THE FIRST ALKALINE sports drink: A solution that makes sense! The body is naturally alkaline and it must stay that way in order to function properly. Stress and exercise cause the production and buildup of acidic compounds in our blood, contributing to fatigue and negative health effects. When you take a closer look, the average diet today is overly acidic. Conventional sports drinks, can be overloaded with simple sugars and chemicals, are also extremely acidic–research shows that current sports beverages can do more HARM than good because they contain high levels of acidity. At pH 7.4, Phenoh 7.4 is the first sports drink focused on balancing pH, using only the finest natural ingredients. Phenoh 7.4 helps to keep your body balanced.

THE PHENOH ADVANTAGE above others: Phenoh 7.4 is made with the finest organic Aloe vera, sweetened with naturally low glycemic organic agave nectar, and is high in potassium with no added sodium. Not only does it have essential nutrients, it helps us rebuild after stress, also provides anti-inflammatory effects and has the ability to reduce post-exercise pain while giving a boost to the immune system. Phenoh 7.4 is also fortified with magnesium and vitamin C to promote healthy metabolism.  At just 30 calories per 8oz serving, Phenoh 7.4 is your healthy beverage alternative to sports hydration and everyday refreshment.

ORAL HEALTH and ACIDITY: This is the driving purpose behind the creation of Phenoh 7.4 by Alex Schmotter who came up with this new formula when he began researching the detrimental oral affects that sports drinks have on our oral health. Basically, he was out on a bike ride, drinking his sports drink thinking about how he’d drink a bright blue drink and swish it around for a few seconds, swallow, and then repeat the process. Common sense told him that this was not very good for your teeth. Hence began his mission to create a performance based drink that was acid-free. There is a lot to be said too for the linking of good oral health to overall health so it’s a good idea to take care of your teeth!

IMG_9228My Experience was very positive from the first sip I took of Phenoh 7.4! I did share it with my 12 year old son who made a face at the taste, but then he makes a face at most anything. Right away I noticed it did not have any strong FLAVOR per say but it was a light, honey-like taste. Immediately I recognized the sweetness of the Agave Nectar mentioned in the ingredients of the product.

 

 

IMG_9267Knowing that Phenoh can increase your VO2 Max by 10%, I decided the very next day to take it to my zumba class and drank it instead of water while teaching. It was so refreshing and it really quenched my thirst while dancing. As a fitness instructor, I like to make my moves and cues larger to engage and energize my classes–I sweat A LOT. On average I do over 6,000 steps per zumba class and I was thankful I brought a second bottle with me because I drank that one too right after teaching. It settled easy on my tummy and it gave me extra energy to drive and pick up my kids after their evening activities too.

I took my Phenoh 7.4 with me to drink in the car pre-run one morning. Often when I need a pick me up early, I will drink a small cup of coffee but the Phenoh seemed to work just as fine for me. I was able to pick up a faster pace during my run and upon returning I drank a second serving post-workout while stretching in my living room. I had no issues with cramping or DOMS the following 24hours.

My recommendation is that one can ultimately drink Phenoh as a pre or post workout drink. I love the convenience of these drink containers—they easily fit in my small tote, I was able to store them in a console in my car and they fit nicely in the door of my fridge–easy to grab-n-go. I find when I am prepared with the right fuel, I have better balance in my life and Phenoh 7.4 was a great addition this month!

In closing, I would like to say that this is an exciting addition to the many options already out there for sports drinks. If you are looking for a natural alternative to fuels and follow a more paleo-inspired lifestyle you must try this sports drink! Sports enthusiasts, athletes of all levels and even busy moms & dads who are on the go can enjoy this beverage as an everyday refreshment to stay hydrated and energized!

This post was sponsored by PHenOH through my partnership with Fit Approach as a Sweat Pink Ambassador. All opinions are my own.

Be Healthy & Active Always!

xoxo Jenn

Sound Off Sunday w/Jenn: Tips & Tools for helping with Toe Blisters!

Welcome Friends to Sound Off Sunday with Jenn–a new weekly digest where I’m sharing six tips that can help you get fit, healthy and happy. Each week I’ll choose a theme, product or experience to feature and review so you can live your #BestFitLife ***All opinions and ideas about today and future features are of my own!***

This Week’s Theme is BLISTERS since we are in full FALL MARATHON & RACE Season, I’ve had my fair share and I’m nursing one right now!

Tip #1   Toe Socks!

Namely, Injinji Socks are what I love to use and they are very durable! I have 3 pair and actually I came by them because I thought that I would buy them to wear with my Vibram Toe Shoes. That idea didn’t work out so well because they were too tight and uncomfortable in the Vibrams, but I have found that when I wear them when running it keeps my toes separate and they do not rub so I do not get blisters! I also have bunions on my feet and so I like to wear my Injinji socks to bed a few nights a week which help spread my toes and it just FEELS GOOD.

Tip #2   Wide Width Shoes! 

If you have more room in your toe box then your toes will not be squished together and rub. It can take some time to find the right running shoe and for anyone who has bunions or feet issues this journey can seem even more daunting. I suggest checking out your local running store and making an appointment to have someone watching you run on the treadmill and checking your stride as well so taking it all into account whether you pronate in or out. After finding out details, discuss with the running expert on staff for suggestions for wide width shoes in that model/style.

Tip #3   Emergency Help: Duct Tape & Mole Skin

Yes, it’s true I’ve used Duct Tape on my foot so my blisters do not get worse–this works best when the blister is still intact. Growing up Duct Tape was really a household fix-it-all item for ANYTHING and so I always have it on hand, it’s in my car as well as our first aid kit! Mole Skin is another staple that I have long used and first found it when I would wear dress shoes that would rub against my heel, creating an open blister. For the heel area, I highly recommend picking some up to keep for any raw or punctured blisters especially.

Tip #4   Liquid Band Aid

This is a newly discovered treatment and even a prevention of blisters to me, thanks to a sample I received from New Skin Products. This year I would get blisters on my pinky toe, sometimes even blood blisters. I like the applicator for the liquid band aid because I could apply it to a small area and it dried quickly! I even applied it prior to a run one day on my bunion area because it was tender, almost felt like I could blister there and it created a barrier that that did not happen. I have since been using the spray and applying on my toe where my blisters normally show up and I have had less blisters! 

Tip #5   Don’t Pop Your Blisters On Your Own

I’ve done this and then regretted it, so if you are still popping your blisters please STOP and READ THIS NOW! I do think that popping might feel and look like it’s a step in the right direction but here is the #1 argument against popping…when you pop open a blister it becomes an open wound, an entry way for germs to get into your body and your blister can then become INFECTED. Infections take longer to heal so unless you want to chance that then I suggest trying one of the tips I have shared with you today to help heal and protect your precious feet from getting blisters in the first place! 

Tip #6  Three Links & Resources for Blister Prevention/Care

FIRST: Blister Prevention Website  (great blog & tips!)   SECOND: About Feet Podiatry Center  (foot care & more) THIRD: Dr. Scholls (longtime advocate of healthy feet)

In writing this today I discovered these resources which were very helpful, I’m just sharing 3 here but if you have found any that you can share with me I’d be really grateful if you shared in comments below!

Enjoy your Sunday! — Jenn

Do you like a CHALLENGE? Check out: The Fitness Games #SweatPink #Review

Hello Workout Warriors! If you don’t know what to do for your workout today, I have something that might help you get jump-started! Well, I was excited to recently TEST DRIVE a new app called The Fitness Games which comes pre-loaded with some challenges that you can select opponents to do and who ever completes the challenge in a faster time, wins the challenge. To me it reminded me of a friendly fitness “duel” against some of your most fit friends to see who is faster, stronger and fit, or you could simply challenge yourself! If you know me, I have a competitive spirit, heck it’s like that movie, The Christmas Story….remember, “I Triple Dog Dare You!” If you have friends near and far you can invite them to workout with you in real time or on their own time. This app tracks it all and encourages you to take gym selfies and sweaty pics to share with the fitness community. 

Here’s the App, for just $.99 you can upgrade and it comes with a few challenges pre-loaded, but you can add your own which is a feature I really liked in being a personal trainer. I tried it out with a few friends and clients and they really liked it!

photo 2

photo 1There are FOUR categories: Strength, Cardiovascular, Full Body, and Cross Training.            

I mostly used the Cardio (I’m training for my 3rd marathon) & the Cross Training because I could do the body weight maddness challenges ANYWHERE, no weights necessary. The 2 challenges at top I added: 1 min wall sit and 3 mile run. 

photo 1 (1)photo 2 (1)In the Strength Training section, when you click on a full body workout or circuit, it actually shows pictures of a person doing the workout on a machine and even includes a VIDEO! I am planning to use this as a tool to check in with my personal training clients, to challenge them between sessions. They can check out the videos if they need help remembering how to use the machines when working out on their own.

So I invite you to check this out and add your fit friends to challenge them in a DUEL! If you don’t have any added friends that want to accept your challenge, you can do it alone or challenge someone you don’t know by using the location service. I was not able to test all of the features of this app, but I think it would be extremely helpful tool to track anyone who is new to a gym and wanting to change up their workout routine! Check this out for yourself & when you get this app, you are welcome to CHALLENGE ME, my username is jennvoss.

This post was sponsored by The Fitness Games through my partnership with Fit Approach as a Sweat Pink Ambassador. I was not compensated monetarily, but was provided the Platinum Version of the application for review. All opinions are my own.

 

 

I’m an Ultra Runner!!

Chicago Lake Front Ultra 50K

On April 5th, 2014 I became an Ultra Runner and ran the Chicago Ultra 50K, results here I finished #123! I wanted to review my experience and how I got to this point because on January 1st this was NOT on my goal list at all, not even on my radar!

All winter, I trained hard outside as much as possible for my first SPRING marathon, my second in all…Wisconsin Marathon on 5/3/14. I have an amazing group of running friends and we meet up T/TH/SAT for runs at the local YMCA. It was in March that we were talking about our LONG 20mile training run that one of our veteran runners mentioned she had a FREE entry to the Ultra 50 along the lakefront in April. After a few weeks of debate I found myself actually being talked into joining Mary and Karla in doing this event. I signed up with less than 3 weeks to mentally and physically prepare. Here’s the kicker though, I really was PREPARED all along and here is my recap of what happened on race day!

2014-04-05 05.04.18Race Day Morning

Alarm went off early at 5:15am. As I do before every morning run, I drank 2 glasses of water &  fueled up with oatmeal, chia seeds and maple syrup with a banana and coffee. I try to keep my pre-run routine simple and consistent. While I eat, I like to do some mental prep by closing my eyes and giving myself a vision of crossing the finish line at the end of the race, tall and strong. Beginning with the end in mind, I find I push to that ending that I create in my mind.

 2014-04-05 04.56.43Race Day Gear

Cool Morning, so I opted to go with running tights and a zip up long sleeve shirt. I love it because of the thumb holes & a storage zipper at bottom of back for extra fuel. So my friends could find me, I wore my neon yellow hat—I cannot run with sunglasses and so I always wear a hat to shield my eyes from the sun. Lastly, I laced up my Mizuno Wave Rider shoes that I have been training in since January 1st. For post race: I always pack an extra hat because I find that my head really sweats while running, lol. 

enduroapcks4

 

Part TWO of Gear was adding Enduropacks Electrolytes to my water and Fuel Belt. The entire winter training runs I used this and so I knew that having this on the Ultra would be my best plan towards recovering fastest so I could continue training for the upcoming Wisconsin Marathon in May. In the past I have tried to fuel with Gatorade and it gave me stomach cramps and nausea/stomach sickness. 

 

50kLakefrontCrew Race Starting Line

 These are the 3 women who pushed me through to the end of the race. It was exciting and honor to line up at start line by their side! I loved how the sign stated: “No Whiners Allowed.” For real, if you are brave enough to take on an Ultra race–you are strong, fierce & fearless!

2014-04-05 08.27.42Race Course & Journey to Finish Line

Race start time was 8:30am and just under 300 runners joined me to begin. Light wind, cool but sunny we were blessed with a perfect weather day! 

Course was 3 10mile Loops, we started on a trail and followed the Chicago Lake Front path to North Avenue beach for the turn around. We did run on some grassy/dirt area but mostly on the asphalt covered path.

Laughing and chatting al2014-04-05 18.11.24ong the way, we talked about past races, upcoming races and even sang songs. I will say the first two loops were magical and we stayed together and even met a few other runners who joined our posse and shared their reasons for taking on this monumental race. Of course one could not complain about the gorgeous skyline ahead of us or the clear blue waters of Lake Michigan lapping up the shores next to us. By the 3rd Loop though, it did get significantly warmer and I’m glad that I was drinking water at every station and fueling up with salty snacks and gu & a few extra treats!

 

 

2014-04-05 18.15.15Unique to an Ultra

Our first Aid Station was at 3miles, then at 5mile turn around. Both Stations and the Start/Finish line had the same amazing buffet of REAL FOOD & Sweet Treats! I felt like a kid in a Candy Store when we got to every station. My favorite was the twizzlers and I waited until I crossed that final finish line to treat myself to 5-6 Oreo Cookies and cup full of MnM’s–something I have not treated myself to in a very long time. 

2014-04-05 18.18.28Finish Line & Lessons Learned

The final Loop of the race proved to be the most physically challenging for me. Two miles into the loop, I had to slow down and told my running crew to go ahead without me, I needed to walk and catch my breath. I ran without a garmin or tracking device but knew we were keeping a solid under 10min pace those first 2 loops. I had a pain on right side of my chest & after walk/run I found that if I ran stabilizing my right arm on front of my thigh there was no pain. After the 5mile turn around, it was really HOT and 2014-04-05 07.54.49I did most of those last 5miles as a walk/run. After I passed the last aid station I was fighting a developing shin splint in my left leg, but still pressed on. Last 500 feet I could see the finish and gathered every bit of umph I had to RUN across finish and was DONE! Oh the feeling, the accomplishment of running the FURTHEST distance in my entire life…I had done it! And unique to this race, we were rewarded not only with a medal but with a bowl of Rice & Beans, YUM!

 

Day After & Recovery

2014-04-06 11.47.18Day after race, I was never so proud to wear my Ultra Race Shirt & my new BLING everywhere I went.  I happily showed it to everyone I met that day. In regards to Recovery, I applied Pain A Trate to my shin splints, did stretching and used my Enduropacks Amino Acid Patches (1 patch every 6-8hrs) & EnduroGlutamine tablets (up to 3tablets a day) to help with reducing DOMS and my full recovery. I am proud to say I bounced back quick & was able to join in a 5mile run that following Thursday morning with my running crew. This day will be etched in my memory and running career as a day to remember forever!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers