All Posts By

Jenna Bernard

4 Healthy On-The-Go Snacks You Can’t Live Without

I’m the type of person that needs to eat every 2-3 hours or I will continue to eat even after I’m full. So when I’m running around all day, I bring healthy snacks to ensure I get all the nutrients I need instead of eating junk food conveniently at my disposal.

These are a few food items that are my go-to whenever I pack snacks for the busy days:

1. Apples

Apples work for me on their own or sliced and dipped into nut butters. I only use nut butters that have 1 ingredient: nuts! You don’t need the extra salt added or any extra oils, so make sure you check the ingredients.

 Apples

2. Hard-boiled eggs

These are GREAT to bring around and are one of the best sources of protein you can get.  I’ll take 10 minutes while I’m getting ready in the morning to boil up some eggs if I know I won’t be making my usual scrambled eggs (which is rare because I eat them all the time, with tons of veggies of course).

eggs

3. Trail mix

I’m a huge advocate- can’t live without it. However, it is important to correctly portion out how much to put in your bag because the serving size (approximately ¼ cup) is smaller than you think; you will get full from it because nuts are addicting. But have no fear, the high fat, protein, and fiber will fill you up! In my trail mix I like to include slivered (or whole) almonds, peanuts, raisins and cranberries, sunflower seeds, and pepitas.

4. Carrots/grapes/any fruits or veggies

These may not be as filling as trail mix, but are perfect for when you just need something to nibble on. Many people are guilty of eating when they’re not hungry (myself included), so I always pack fruits/veggies (currently I’m obsessed with carrots) that I can chew on when those mid-day munchies start to hit.

There are many other portable snacks, but these are some of my go-to’s because they require minimal prepping and they’re nutritious. Snack bars are a viable option, but be sure to read the labels carefully.

So instead of snacking on those tempting chips from the vending machines, pack these healthy goodies in your bag during your busy days.

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4 Fun Workouts to Try this Summer

summer fitness

I LOVE summer.

The 80 degree weather, no classes to worry about (unless you’re taking summer classes like I am, but let’s pretend on this one), and endless time to try out new and fun workouts.

Granted, not everyone who works out thinks about that last one, but if you’re anything like me, getting in a good sweat sesh is the highlight of your day.

Instead of being stuck in the gym or traveling to a local ski mountain to switch up a workout like you do during the winter, there are so many ways to stay active during the summer. That’s why I think the summer is the best time for beginners to start their fitness journey. Here are some ideas for how to stay active and definitely work your muscles during the summer. I guarantee you will be sore/tired/starving after you do some of these. (And once you’re done, try out this summertime snack for some post-workout refuel.)

Hiking/Trail Walks

I know not everyone lives in a place where they are surrounded by mountains, trails, and that delicious forest smell that makes me so happy. But chances are, you don’t live too far from a place like this. Not everywhere will have mountains (my town/county doesn’t) but there are still so many trails and parks out there to walk through!

jenna

If the trail you find is more of a walk than a hike, you can incorporate some jogging or sprints in the middle, or even add in some bodyweight workouts like lunges and squats every time you hit an intersection. Have fun with it! For me, running has always been really difficult, but I find when I run on trails I can run for much longer without getting bored and I enjoy it so much more when I’m surrounded by beautiful scenery.

Swimming

In a pool, laps are a given, but it can get boring going back and forth over the same small lane 100 times (or, if you’re like me, 10 times and then calling it a day).

Think about it… the treadmill can get pretty dull, too, if you’re just going at the same speed the whole time. So what do people do? Interval training! Same goes with swimming.

Wanna kicking your own ass and get a good cardio workout? I am not a swimmer so these may not be the technical terms, but I think you get the jist:

Swim slowly (lets call it jogging) 100m
Sprint 25m, jog 75m
Sprint 50m, jog 50m
Sprint 75m, jog 25m
Sprint 100m
Rest
Repeat as desired

If you’re lucky and live near an ocean or a lake, just idly swimming around – or even just treading water – will still keep your heart rate elevated.

lake

There are also so many water sports at your disposal: kayaking, paddle-boarding, water skiing (if you’re adventurous and have access to the equipment)… the list goes on! These are some of my favorite activities because I rarely feel like I am even working out while I’m doing them, but once I’m finished you can bet my arms are sore and I’m ready for some grub.

Sports

During the summer, there are a ton of sports leagues you can join: softball, soccer, beach volleyball… like with water sports, the possibilities are endless.

If you’re like me and would rather just play whenever you’re in the mood, it’s never hard to find a few people to go grab a ball or a net and mess around. I always underestimate how exhausted I can get after a quick 2 vs 2 basketball game or throwing a ball around outside for 30 minutes.

If you bring a soccer ball or volleyball to the beach, you can get a workout in AND get yo’ tan on. 

Running

Like I mentioned before, I am not a huge fan of running. But being able to run on the beach, through trails, or just in the beautiful weather makes me appreciate the fact that I’m in the sun outside and not on a treadmill.  Sometimes, that’s all the motivation I need to push myself through an impressively long run. Running on the beach works your stabilizers and other less-used muscle groups in your legs. Plus, I bet it’ll be a lot easier to get friends to run with you if you say you’re going to the beach. 

There are so many ways to stay active during the summer while making your workouts fun. This is especially true with workouts that you wouldn’t even think of as workouts, but they end up turning into them. My advice to you this summer?

Just get outside and do something!

Whenever someone asks you to go outside, go to the track with them, play some tennis, or even bike around town, say YES every time. If weight loss or improving fitness is a goal of yours but you’re not a huge fan of the gym, becoming a “yes man” could help you reach your health goals, all in the process of taking advantage of the warm summer months. 

Why My Love for Fitness Will Never Change

To be honest, life without fitness seems unimaginable to me. Ever since I can remember, I have been an athlete. From running the summer series in my town in the 4 year old division, to choosing to play baseball over art at camp, to eventually joining travel AND rec teams when I could, making my parents crazy driving me everywhere (thanks guys). Fitness has always been in my life.

I think that’s mainly due to my family. Whether it was cheering my mom on in her weekly races, watching my sister in lacrosse games, or seeing my brother do one of the countless (what I thought would be) impossible athletic challenges, someone was always competing. Obviously I had to do the same, and even better– we were competing after all.

Basketball quickly became my sport. There were definitely people who played better than I did, but very few who worked harder. I always pushed to play the best that I could. On one of my high school teams, I became “the pitbull”, which meant I now had a reputation to uphold in addition to the pressure I put on myself.

jenna

Baby me taking home the title of “free throw champ of Fairfield County”

One thing I enjoyed about practice was the feeling of accomplishment (and of trying not to puke) after coach made us do suicides. Knowing I had just given it my all, that there wasn’t any more to leave out on the court, was my favorite form of satisfaction. This is how I tried to handle every sport-related thing I did: let’s just say, with no mercy.

But I guess I became too fierce, too much of a pitbull (who knew that could be a thing!), because I ended up with a concussion that finished my basketball (and every other sport) career. I began to get headaches on a daily basis and I had trouble focusing on simple activities and conversations. Not being able to play sports my senior year was heartbreaking. I had no idea how to function without them in my life– it was what I knew. Sitting on my butt every day after school most definitely wasn’t an option for me, but I had never even considered getting a gym membership because I was an athlete; I didn’t need the gym. Sports were what kept me fit and active. I had a set schedule made by someone else, telling me where and when to workout and that was how I liked it. Having no other option though, and wanting to stay in shape, I knew I needed to get a membership.

For the first few months, I rarely picked up weights. I felt like I’d lost that intense drive that I had when playing sports. Ever since the day I decided to migrate over to the weight area (don’t ask me what drove me to try the weights, because to this day I have NO idea), I haven’t looked back. The feeling I got from lifting more one week than I could the week before, of being sore to the point where I couldn’t walk straight, or of the dripping t-shirt after a HIIT session were what got me hooked to start. What kept me hooked was something completely different.

Fit University Ambassador: Jenna BernardI love fitness because it’s so humbling. You’re never “finished”. There’s ALWAYS more you can be doing or working towards, and of course there’s always someone else better than you. Instead of being discouraged by this, I find it inspiring. Thinking about these things, I become determined to get that extra pull up, run another 30 seconds, or finally get that pistol squat I’ve been trying to get for months (literally– it’s a slow process). Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely times when I feel like I’m not making any progress, or something’s too hard and I should just give up. But the second I achieve the goal I’ve been working towards, all the reasons why I started working out come rushing back into my mind. And lemme tell you, it’s an amazing feeling. If I can get just one other person to change their attitude about working out, I’ll count it as a win. I joined Fit University to be a role model, to show others what they can do when they set their mind to it, and to get them as addicted to fitness as I am.

Fitness is a lifestyle, and anyone who says it’s not the lifestyle for them just hasn’t found their passion yet. There is a role in fitness for everyone, it doesn’t just have to be in the gym. It could be walking your dog around the block every day, or biking to your classes instead of taking the bus. Whatever it is, once you start, I promise you won’t look back. Like me, you’ll be hooked.