Our special ''Live Louder'' guest is Jennifer Fisher.
She is a lifelong competitive/elite runner, she competes at the Master's and Super Master's level. Her career highlights over the last few years includes:
Texas 10 mile State Champion (female supermaster 3x),
Top Age Group finisher in the National CG Games Finals (super master division 5x)
Qualified and finished Spartan World Championship in the Elite field
16th in S.Central US region CrossFit Open (50 -54 division), Austin's Fittest - 50 year old female division.
She holds, USA records in the 50-53 Age Group in the global Hyrox Fitness race as well as the 50-54 World Record in Deka.fit.
She also has a popular blog thefitfork.com that focuses on easy, healthy recipes to fuel performance and a healthy lifestyle. She is just about to publish her cookbook. Whilst she has a competitive spirit, her message to others is always……
You are NEVER too old, out-of-shape or unathletic to try something new or set an audacious goal --- #keepingfitfun is her personal hashtag. Welcome Jennifer, to the Live Louder Podcast…..
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Welcome to the Live Louder podcast, sponsored by FITKYT. Our wonderful special guest today is Jennifer Fisher. She is a lifelong competitive athlete; elite runner and she competes at the Masters and super Masters level. She's really incredible. She holds so many records. I'm just going to go through a few, she holds the USA records and the 52-54 age group in the global, High Rox, fitness race. As well as the 52-54 world record in deca-fit. She also has a popular blog the fitfork.com that focuses on easy, healthy recipes to fuel performance and a healthy lifestyle. She is just about to publish her cookbook as well, incredible.
Whilst she has a competitive spirit her message to others is always that you are never too old or out of shape or unathletic to try something new or set an audacious goal. Keeping food fun is her personal hashtag.
We want to welcome Jennifer to the Live Louder podcast and we would love for you to tell us a little bit about your story.
Okay, hi ladies, thank you so much for having me. I'm honored I would love to share my story. I am about to be 55 in a couple weeks and I was the shy (I don't want to say chubby because all of the preteens are kind of that way), but you know I was the shy bookworm. Please don't pick me to be on the team. You know. I am okay with being picked last. I did do gymnastics as a kid and I did enjoy it as I could do it as an individual especially because I could do it on my own. Which is still ironic? And not how I am today. I did always have a stubborn ''I can do it'' attitude always. And, my mom would tell me that she would say, you know, growing up. You like always hid behind my legs peeking out. But when it came to doing something, I didn't want anybody to show you. And you wanted to do it. your way and you would just go and do it.
You know, when I taught myself how to ride a bike when I was like six, nobody could show me how they just watch me out the window. And she said, you were bloody by the time you came in, but you had taught yourself how to ride the bike by yourself that day. And so that's kind of like I just always have put myself out there. I remember those shy days in elementary school when I kind of felt like I didn't fit in, we would have these things in the United States called the Presidential Fitness Test and you had to achieve certain things, you got a patch and I would always be the first girl to come in on the run and no one could believe it, you know, that I didn't want to do track. I didn't want to do anything like that. We had in fifth grade where we had a ''sitting against the wall contest'' where you sat in one of those static wall sits. The prior school record had been 20 minutes, which is amazing considering, I think I can do it for like a couple minutes right now. Well, I had decided that I was not going to give up you know, and I did it for an hour and 37 minutes before the school nurse made me quit. And the newspaper came out. I had a judge. My teacher was just blown over. They submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records blah blah blah. So, I kind of had that, I'm not going to give up. I'm in it. I'm putting it all out there kind of spirit. I feel when I'm running a race, I may not be the fastest. I may not be the strongest, but I'm going to go out there and I'm going to put everything I have out there. And that feeling some people might say, oh, you're so competitive. Although it feels good to win, I might compete but its mainly with myself. S
So how my fitness journey really started? Whereas where I am know. I didn't want to join any of the teams. I found boys and I went to college and I joined a sorority, you know, and I am actually near the end of college and I decided that I would start jogging just for fitness and it made me feel good.
Then when I got out of college again, jogging for fitness and to feel good and I remember, I met this guy at the park, and he was like, I was just doing a three-mile run around the park. Are you running the marathon? And I'm like, yes, yes I'm running the marathon I'm training for the marathon. I had no idea, you know, so I ran home, and this is pre-internet and stuff and I was like researching - the marathon how far Is the marathon, you know, they're 26.2 miles and so that gave me like two and a half months to get ready for a marathon. So, I did it. I ran the marathon, and I did actually amazingly. Well, like I startled myself with that. I did it. I did the work. I showed up, I did my best. I did well, I felt super empowered by the whole process of it. And so, for the next couple of years, I ran marathons pretty hardcore and got faster. And my goal was to qualify for the Olympic trials. And the problem was, I wasn't very experienced in running, so I didn't know a lot of the strategy. And I had only been doing this for a few years and I got really close. I was chasing the cutoff for the Olympic trials, and I missed it by under a minute. So that was a little disappointing I was feeling super weird. I was married at this time in my mid late. Mid 20s mid late 20s,
Came home from the race. It was importantly mass feeling we're nervous wasn't really feeling right myself and so I found out that I was pregnant. And so that was really a life changing experience, because I had been married for a while. And we hadn't really talked about having a family and bang!
I come from a strong family. I never assumed that we wouldn't. We just never really had talked about it yet. I had been married for about five years, so unfortunately that pregnancy did not work out. I don't know if it was the running, there was some drama and sadness there but actually it was a turning point in a good way because I was like, I want to have a family and I want to have a family now. So, we started working on that. And so I got pregnant again and had my first son and then went on to have three sons. Who are now 25, almost 23 and almost 20, they're wonderful and best decision I ever made.
I dropped chasing that Marathon speed dream and have the family because I think it's super easy to just put off, because that's what we were doing. We were putting off something that I knew that I wanted till things were perfect, we had the perfect job, we had the perfect house, whatever, and then it, boom, it just happens to you. Then it gets taken away from you and you're like, well I wanted it. So it really was a good thing. I took the next 10 years or so maybe from 30 to 40, I did fitness again. You know, I went to the gym, I ran and I ran races, but I was pretty busy with my kids, and I didn't push myself as much as I could. And I felt like I had a nice, balanced attitude towards life and it all. And so, I remember my mom would always say Jennifer when are you going to run again, you used to be so good at it. And I would put it off until I was in my forties and so I told people I would do when I was forty. So, I ran another marathon. It turned out pretty good. Running marathons and running road races.
I really love running, but you know what's going to happen, you're going to run your heart out for 20 miles, 22 miles, then it's going to start hurting really bad and you were just going to run to almost a death of you, you know, to the finish line, and you're going to like I'm never doing that again. And then the next day you're like, I am never going to do that again!
I had made a new friend in the running community, and she was a longtime running coach, and she also had a CrossFit gym, and that intrigued me because I was not strong anyway. I think at that time, I could do one Scrappy pull up just on sheer willpower, you know? And so, I would start going to her gym. I would do the CrossFit classes with her. So, we would go running, then we come back, and I think she would probably give me the baby cross fit workout. Then I worked my way up. And I had gotten a lot stronger. It was ever going to be my number one. Like I was never going to be that super strong girl, the same way I could compete in running, but I that made me feel great. I was strong like I had never felt strong before. And one day I saw one of these obstacle courses classes, and I said, I bet I could do that. I bet I could run one of those. I bet I could do the monkey bars and climb up a rope. And so, I showed up one day not knowing what to expect and I made, my husband who was like, I'll drive you out there just in case you needed a ride to the hospital and he's athletic. And I said, well that is just dumb. If you're driving me out there, you're going to run it too. And it all turned out great. I loved it. I ended up entering into the world championship in Lake Tahoe, I was one of only two in that race. That was 2017 and I was only one of two women, fifty-years+. There are women from all over the world, there is like two hundred people on that front. So, honestly, that was the worst race of my life. The mountain and the cold, kicked my butt, but I got to the finish line, and I felt super proud of that.
Even though I was competing, and I came in near the bottom of that Elite pack because of hypothermia and some of the problems I had, I still gave it every single thing I had. And so, I felt really proud, you know, about it. And then also, I decided when you become 50 and older, you can decide to do what you want to do. So when someone said do you want to return to the Spartan World Championship in Lake Tahoe again, so, you can redeem yourself. And I'm thinking, do I want to swim in cold water without a wetsuit? No. Oh no. I do not want to do that!
But anyway, the next thing was being able to run and do an obstacle course race. These hybrid fitness races, and I feel like it's like the next thing it's in a way reminds me of CrossFit yet there's so much more running so it's like not quite as intense with the heavy weights as CrossFit but with more running but you have to be strong and you have to be able to run. It's just a hybrid sport so they're indoors. And like the highrox when you run 81k. So, you go in, you run a 1K, you go straight into the first Fitness Zone. It could be a sled push and they're not easy for me due to my size because I'm smaller. And I won't rank at the top of those and but that's okay because I realize in these races it's not you don't have to win every event to win overall, you have to just be able to balance, you know, your strengths and weaknesses. So, I know if I can just get into the sled push and just be steady and consistent and do it, then I can make it up on the run, you know.
There's some other similar ones that have popped up. So that's what I've been doing now.
Keep showing up, you know.
I think life is all about balance and that's what I'm doing. I'm just trying to balance, stay healthy, keep fit fun.
That's amazing. I mean, your story is so incredible, and you've talked a lot about how you're fitness journey has changed at different ages and times and places in your life. So, can you help, Melissa and I and our listeners understand what do you need to do to be considered a Masters?
I know it's so funny. It sounds so impressive.
It just means you're over fifty. Nothing else. Other than you made it to over fifty. There are categories based upon age group such as masters and super masters. So, it's just that if you can make it to the age. I have a friend and he was running into his mid-nineties that's how I want to be. Just if I can show up and be doing something that I like when I'm ninety that would be a great outcome.
Wouldn't that be an awesome thing and I can relate to that a lot too. I was a college athlete, and I was, I would say forced to run for most of my life. So, what I find now as somebody who's in their mid-40s, is that I actually enjoy it because that's a great place to be to calm your mind. I'm finding a whole new joy for running and being in that place.
Yeah, but it's so interesting. How You know, doing these things at different junctures in your life, I'm really impact your own well-being, your sense of self-worth and and really you know, I call it my therapy like I have to get my run-in or my yoga and every day to kind of find my center, but I know I've been chatting with you a lot. So I think Melissa has some questions for you too.
I'm interested in a day in the life of Jennifer Fisher. What's your typical day?
Things have changed a lot since COVID for me. Not as much as some people, but I had a lot of transitions. All my kids left home so we are empty nesters at 49. I had some family changes on that transition of life, you know? Like all my boys moving out becoming self-sufficient. Sadly, the family dog passed away this year. Which really felt like the end of an era. It really just felt like we had her for sixteen years. It really felt like, oh, this is closing the door on that time of our lives if it was felt so sad, especially with the boys leaving. But at the same time, my husband's job situation changed to where he is now working at home full time and looking at retirement in a few years and the way we handle more together time.
When we couldn't go anywhere, he was my motivation to get up at 5:00 in the morning and do our little boot camp on our porch and vice versa. He's not as much of a runner's me and we do have a few different thing that we like to do. And I'm typically the one who gets him into stuff and he agrees to do it and then he's like I don't want to do it and then he'll be like oh that was so fun. I'm glad we did it. So, we go to the gym together, so I might wake up do work from like six to nine thirty in the morning on my blog stuff, Social Media stuff, cookbook stuff.
Go to the gym with my husband, go to the store. I kind of leave myself between 10am and 3pm to just to do my own thing whether that's working out or running errands. And then come home, work a little more, spend some time with my family, make the food I make like to make it's really a nice life. I mean, I cannot complain.
It sounds amazing. It sounds very familiar with us here and what you see in the media for the u.s. around covid from here we don't hear anyone still working from home. The media was saying that everything was open. We are just starting to transition back into the office and I really miss my partner. Our morning coffee together.
It is kind of sad in a way because I do enjoy the extra time I'm getting to spend at home with my family. I think that for my husband and I it's been good with our kids transitioning out of the house and that we have that time pre-retirement to figure out what its going to be like together and what are we going to do. At the same time, it's still weird to me because still not everything is normal and like some things change that are never going to come back. Like I had this is you're going to laugh because this does not sound as badass as my hybrid Fitness, I was on a bowling team for 10 years, okay? So, these ladies on my bowling team, it was more social than anything. And the funny thing is, like, literally, I am the worst person in the league and even over 10 years you would think that I could have improved, but I didn't. It was fun, you know? And the bowling alley closed, and it never opened again. And so, I feel like I haven't seen those friends since, even though we text and keep up. It's just, not the same. Thankfully our gyms are back open.
Could you tell us a little about your cookbook?
I was about 7 or 8 and I really don't know what sparked my interest. I kind of think it might have been my grandmother. My dad's mom who we only had to stay a couple times a year. She was such a great cook and she just that old-school cooking like I'm making fried chicken in a cast, iron pan kind of cooking you know like everything she made was delicious. And no offense to my mom, but she, she grew up in the, she grew up in the, you know, in the 50s. And her mom was a worked in the 50s which was kind of a rare thing. So, you know, you had a working mom in the 50s and my mom was a teacher and she stayed at home with us, but she never really loved cooking. You know, she did what she had to and plus it was a 70s. So, you were talking like TV dinners fish sticks, you know. I got for a birthday present the Betty Crocker's kids cookbook, like when I think I was eight and I thought that was the best thing ever. I crossed out Betty Crocker's name on the front and I wrote Jennifer Jurgen, which was my maiden name. I always cooked for myself, and I enjoyed that. Over the years as I started to get into running. And I was thinking, you know, when I was trying to be so competitive in America, like, what is that one thing they'll give me the extra edge, you know, its my nutrition? I would try to pay attention to what I was eating. Interestingly, I know a lot more about it now and I'm less concerned, but, I got into trying to make healthy recipes and have the family fed, I would wing it.
This is a kind of interesting side story I entered cooking contests in my spare time. I've been to like New York, several times. I don't even know how many times to make different recipes for things I've won a trip. Once I made a barbecue sauce recipe, and for with Jack Daniels was the sponsor. I'm not even a big drinker, that's why I'm like laughing, but Jack Daniels was a sponsor. I made a barbecue sauce with Jack Daniels in it. I won. My prize was we got to go to the Jack, Daniels International National Invitational, barbecue, championship in Lynchburg Tennessee, where we were judges and I thought, oh, that's interesting. Oh, it was a big deal. It was it was a big, big deal. I've never seen anything like that before. So, doing all that super creative cooking during this time, because it is helping me win contests.
I started doing some freelance writing and I had a client that would always tell me. Ah. Jennifer. You should, start your own blog. This was a long time ago too. Now there's a lot of cooking blogs and a lot of running blogs. And every few months, you could tell me to start a blog. And he goes, you are thinking he'd invent something completely new, which is not true. You just need to write about it. You have a passion for it and just put your personality in it. So just one day, I put my mind to it and it was 10 years ago in February, I put my mind to it and I thought I'm just going to start blogging and see what happens. So, I started and within a few months, all these really cool things happened. I got invited to be on a trip by this kind of sports company who was sponsoring people. Then I started picking up a few clients and then it turned into an actual job or making money and who knew! So anyway, in terms of the cookbook, I definitely have enough recipes to make numerous cookbooks, but I kind of had shied away from it because I just have a lot of stuff on my plate and then a brand that I knew approached me and said, we would like you to do a cookbook under our brand name, but as me as the author using my hashtags titled, lifelong fit, foodie and kitchen ninja, Jennifer Fisher. So anyway, it is focused on cooking for one. So I'm going to show people because actually you'd be surprised the demographic of people that are that are single or cooking for one is huge. We're busy. We're eating off everyone elses schedule. We don't want to eat the pizza that my boys are eating , so many reasons. Your husband travels a lot so many reasons why you might be cooking for one. That's the cookbook. It'll be out in November, and I can tell you more about it, then.
That's amazing. I can't wait to get a copy. And definitely cooking for one is something that's so relevant.
What does Living Louder mean to you?
Well. I just think Living Louder means living your own personal best life. Even if you're quiet, people are going to notice. Just being there and taking ownership of life and my body and just being me. I've come a long way from being the shy girl that would not want to be picked or a sports team. I can talk and talk and talk and I can be super loud. And I'm sure I'm super embarrassing to my kids. But there is an unspoken respect there because like my mom I show up and I get stuff done.
Life my mom, she's there for us and she has her mind set on something and she'll get it done. And I feel like, you know, I hope that's rubbing off, which I think it is.
I believe that your mind is stronger than your body. Your mind is insane, you know, you've got that real ability to really focus, and I think I get the impression that, if I said, you can't do something, you will prove me wrong.
Probably. I probably would definitely give it a go.
Yeah. I absolutely love it and it actually it motivates me 100% like I really want to go out for a run now.
I can only be my best beast is my hash tag along with keeping fit fun.
Melissa Perkins & Katie Duffin
Thank you so much Jennifer for your time. Thank you, you are absolutely amazing.
Self Help Addict / Founder / Mum / Animal & Nature Lover
A self help addict. I like to see the good in everyone, even when most can't. I am always learning something new, about myself or the world. I have a special love for all animals (my dog, my cat, my sheep, my alpaca and cows). I feel most connected when I am in the water or in nature.
Founder / Supply Chain Expert / Mom / Wife
Katie, a former collegiate softball player and long time sales and supply chain leader. For Katie, the unfulfilled yearning was knowing that she was not living her true life calling. A deep desire to live a life of service and to truly raise up individuals, families and communities - is what drives her. By actively participating in everyday life with them, being present not just physically, but by sharing those little moments that are truly precious and so meaningful. ‘’I know that living authentically is the most powerful thing I can do for myself”, says Katie.
Cook / Blogger / Writer / Runner / Wife / Mom
Jennifer Fisher is an award-winning recipe creator, food & fitness blogger, healthy cooking coach, spokesperson, competitive runner and CrossFit enthusiast. Whether in person or through her blog, TheFitFork.com, Jennifer offers ways to quickly and confidently prepare healthy, well-balanced meals with delicious taste. She also shares factual, science-based nutrition tips in an approachable, easy-to-digest, manner. Audiences appreciate Jennifer’s friendly “know-how” and “show-how” style that makes it easy to take away inspiring new ways to eat and live well at home.
Jennifer has been featured in numerous publications including Saveur, Every day with Rachael Ray, US Weekly and Better Homes & Gardens. She works with food, fitness and lifestyle brands as an ambassador, spokesperson, healthy cooking coach and guest blogger.