Stuff We Love: Coach Nicole's Fit Picks for Fall

By , SparkPeople Blogger
My favorite season is in full swing! Complain as I may about the rain, chillier nights and the dark mornings, I still love fall. The welcomed drop in temperature encourages me to get out and run, walk and bike more (without losing half my body weight in sweat); the changing leaves don't hurt either. How about you?
I'm embracing the season and finding new ways to stay motivated to eat right and keep on exercising. After all, if you're going to make health and fitness a lifestyle, you have to continuously find ways to get excited about your program.
Here are some of the fitness products, apparel, foods and otherwise healthy pursuits that I'm excited about right now. Hopefully some of them will help YOU stay on track, too!
Greek yogurt
I'll admit it: It took me a little while to get used to Greek yogurt. Honestly, I didn't like it at all during my first dozen or so attempts at eating it. But I kept trying different flavors and different brands. I was so used to eating super sweet yogurt that I didn't like this healthier, less-sweet stuff. But when my taste buds adjusted, I began to LOVE it. Now I can't handle the regular yogurt anymore. My Greek yogurt faves? Chobani is the bomb. And now they come in large 16-ounce containers instead of just single servings, which is more economical for me and results in less waste. I also have a place in my heart for Stonyfield Farms Oikos organic yogurt, which includes interesting flavors like chocolate and caramel that are like a rich dessert, yet still nutritionally balanced!
Lululemon Wunder Under Pants ($82, sizes 2-12)
OK, yes they cost a lot. But I am in love with these pants. I pretty much live in leggings in the fall and winter, so I bought this lovely burgundy color (so hot this season!) of Lululemon leggings to double-task as both workout attire and everyday attire. I love clothes that work in my wardrobe in more than one way. And I have to say, I would buy these over and over and over again; they are truly the most comfortable pair of pants I have ever put on my body—and were totally worth the splurge. (I used my birthday money!) They're great for my morning walks with the dog, as everyday leggings under a long sweater, and even for Pilates class.

Asics Arm Warmers ($12.25, one size)
Fall is arm-warmer season! These are the perfect transitional piece for your outdoor workouts, when it's not quite cold enough to layer up in a sweatshirt, yet not warm enough for short sleeves. If you walk, hike, run or bike, these are a must-have in the fall. And they're inexpensive to boot! I have this Asics brand of arm warmers, which have lasted me for years and are still going strong. Although, just for fun, I think I may get myself a new fun color like these purple Swiftly Arm Warmers ($32, S/M, M/L) which are longer and also have anti-stink technology.
Sweet Potatoes
Oh sweet potatoes! There's nothing like roasting, steaming and baking these beauties in the fall. For one, I'm finally not sweating when I turn on the oven anymore (score!). But sweet potatoes are also a delicious way to fuel your workouts thanks to their complex carbs. My new favorite way to enjoy them is to slice them thinly, roast them in the oven at 450 for 10-20 minutes (tossing and turning every 5 minutes), and then to serve them hot over a salad with a dollop of goat cheese. Trust me, this combination is heaven! Hungry for more? Learn why potatoes are so good for you.
Breast Cancer Awareness Workout Apparel
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and lots of companies are creating special lines of clothing that donate a portion of the proceeds to breast cancer research. If you plan to refresh your workout wardrobe with a few new items this fall, look for the "Pink" options from your favorite brands. I love this "Go Run for a Reason" T-shirt from Adidas ($30, sizes XS-XL) myself. Five percent of the suggested retail price for their entire BCA line will go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Paul Katami "Kettlebell Konnect" DVD ($22.95,
Paul Katami is the man when it comes to kettlebells. I've raved about his kettlebell DVDs in the past (there are none better), and he recently sent us his newest DVD to test. We've been popping this DVD in at SparkPeople headquarters on a regular basis for our weekly group workouts, and it doesn't disappoint. It's definitely advanced and features fun and unique exercise combinations that are put together for a killer 60-minute workout. If you've been using kettlebells for a while, or have tried (and loved) his other titles, then you're ready for this one; it's perfect for those chilly days that you don’t want to leave the cozy house! Check out the preview video below to see what it's like.

Run-in-the-Dark Safety Gear
I will admit that the darker days of fall kind of freak me out. Not only is it harder to drag myself out of bed in the morning when it's still as dark outside as when I went to bed, it's now getting darker earlier in the evening, too. I'm a little bit fearful of the dark, and it's not just because I'm afraid someone will sneak up on me (although that's part of it). I also want to be safe and see by the traffic I'm running around. Enter the reflective vest! You can sport this all year long over any type of clothing so that you will be seen. My favorite is the Nathan Streak Reflective Vest (about $30, sizes S-XL). Once you put it on, it's lightweight and minimal so you don't even notice it. To add some extra brightness to exceptionally dark runs, try a clip-on LED light, and for fashionistas, you will love the stylish and reflective See Me Run Brooch by Lululemon ($18).
Reflective Gear for Dogs
Ginger is my precious little running buddy, and I would do anything to keep her happy and safe. The dark fall mornings—and dark evenings—are an important consideration for anyone who regularly walks or runs with their dog. I mean, I deck myself out in a reflective vest so that cars can see me, so why wouldn’t I do the same for my favorite four-legged friend? I bought Ginger this just-try-not-to-see-me yellow jacket at Target last year, complete with reflective piping, to keep her safe and warm. Trust me, she's happier to wear it than she looks in this photo! But in fall, it's not always cold enough for her to wear a coat. This year, I'm getting her a reflective dog collar ($11) and reflective dog leash ($15). Now we can both run this fall with a little more peace of mind.
FitBit Ultra ($99.95)
When the FitBit Ultra recently landed on my desk to try, I was skeptical. I've used a FitBit in the past and really enjoyed it, but I never remembered to put it on regularly enough to get real, usable stats. This time, however, something clicked. And now, I don't think I can rave enough about the FitBit Ultra! Even for someone like me who is pretty active and a regular exerciser, I still wear my FitBit every single day. It tracks your daily steps, distance, activity minutes, calories burned (estimated based on activity), sleep, stairs climbed and more. And it uploads wirelessly to your computer. Every week, I get summary emails from FitBit that show me my activity trends, and I even earn badges for being active and reaching new milestones. It truly encourages me to get up and be even more active each day—which also means I'm less likely to skip out on those dark morning runs or walks with the dog.
Air Popped Popcorn
I'm really not much of a TV person, and I rarely even have time to veg on the couch and watch the tube. But there is something about dark, chilly fall nights and football season (go Giants!) that makes me want to curl up on the couch under a cozy blanket and watch television! When I'm really craving a TV snack after dinner, I reach for air-popped popcorn. I have this Orville Redenbacher Hot Air Popcorn Popper ($27), and as much as I don't typically buy single-function kitchen appliances, this one gets regular use in my house. Buying plain popcorn kernels at the store is cheap, and you can control how you flavor and salt your popcorn when you make it yourself, which means you're in control of the calories, fat and sodium. It makes a great snack during your favorite football game. You can even throw it at the TV as you yell at the replacement refs!
For more of my favorite picks all year long, check out the board "Coach Nicole's Picks" at Pinterest. While you're there, follow SparkPeople's "Fit Fall, Healthy Halloween" Pinterest board, too.
The opinions expressed here are solely my own and have not been bought, financed or sponsored. If we ever receive free products to review, we tell you.

What are you digging this fall? What's good in your life? Share your favorite fit and healthy things about this season in the comments below!

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See more: stuff we love fall


Great - I've been looking for reflective running gear and that recommendation took me to Nathan - and I found it on Amazon UK too - ideal! Report
I love the Chobani yogurt, it's a bit of a splurge for me, because on most flavors, the grams of sugar is pretty high. I'm a diabetic, so I have to be aware of that; but coach Nicole is right, that stuff is the bomb. Report
I already have a fitbit one (LOVE IT!!!!) but just ordered the arm sleeves (have been looking at them for some time and my running friends love them - they are even great for commuting to work outside when you're wearing a short sleeve shirt!). I also just ordered the air popcorn popper. I can't stand microwave and have been researching popcorn poppers - either glass microwavable or air.

Thanks! Report
Paul Katami rocks! I can't wait to try his new DVD!! Report
Just wanted to remind people who love Greek yogurt that if you eat it for the health benefits then pay attention to which brands you eat. Some of the new ones out there are not authentic "Greek" yogurts-(ex. Yoplait) they have scientists who studied real Greek yogurt and they put additives and thickeners in the yogurt to give it the same consistency as true Greek yogurt but it doesn't have the nutritional benefits. They do it to trick consumers who are trying to eat healthy and you don't want to fall for that.
That being said-I love Chobani's Greek yogurt and I am trying to learn to love the plain yogurt so I can cut down on my sugar intake. Right now my favorite flavor is pineapple. And I love sweet potatoes and butternut squash in the fall! Report
Some of these products are really expensive.. not to sound bitter, but I love how sites and blogs get these products for free to try and promote, so people buy it based on the reviews. I cannot afford a fit bit, but I'm glad that some people can get it for free. rant over. Report
Sweet Potatoes Are My Favorite Vegetable. I Like Slicing Them And Baking Them In The Oven. I Saw A Spark Member Suggest Slicing Them And Cooking On GF Grill. I'm Going To Try That. Time For Pumpking Creations Too. I Also Enjoy Chili Made With Morning Star Crumbles And Black Beans. I'm happy that the weather will be much cooler here in Texas because I'm getting out and walking! Even when it rained yesterday I got out and walked and I've never done that before . I missed walking during the Summer. Report
love you Coach Nicole, even though I`m going into Spring here in New Zealand it was good to see you`re looking forward to your autumn (fall) Report
This was interesting and informative. I don't usually read every word of every article but this one held my interest because the products described are practical items. Those arm warmers look very helpful. . even for wearing in a cold house!
I like that yogurt. Thanks Report
Fall is my favorite time of year to work my garden. Beyond summer flower clean up....there are mums, tulip bulbs...winter pansies...ornamental cabbages....I feel the sweat now...a tremendous workout Report
Fall is my favorite time of year to work my garden. Beyond summer flower clean up....there are mums, tulip bulbs...winter pansies...ornamental cabbages....I feel the sweat now...a tremendous workout Report
I'm a big fan of the Chobani Greek Yogurt. I don't have a Fit Bit, but I'm an owner of the Body Media monitor and I just absolutely love it. I might be purchasing myself a pair of the arm warmers that would be nice for those chilly mornings. I still own my air popper from many years ago. I like to shake a little hot sauce on my popcorn. I will be doing a 5k in October for Breast Cancer Awareness. Report
I love my fit bit Report
my favorite seasons of the year are fall and winter. for fall i love Long sweaters with long sleeves, Cooler weather, still exerciseing at the gym.
Boca burger when i am not in the mood for real buger. sauteed Spinach in olive oil. I love nail color, a cute pair of boots, I like leggings i wear them year around.
I also lik chocolate pudding. I am not the yogurt
person. Report
I love Chobani Greek Yogurt and my favorite is the Red Blood Orange, though I do like all of them. I add a half cup of Kashi Go Lean cereal and sometimes a scoop of protein powder and it is a meal that gives me half of my days protein requirement. Report
I agree with the person in this comments list who spoke about being frugal, and living life just fine without all the 'new' stuff. Speaking of frugal, Fresh 'N Easy has a plain non-fat yogurt that has very low sugar grams for a yogurt. I usually buy them for 4/$5. Report
Thanks for the info on the fitbit. I am so tired of buying pedometers that either stop working or just don't work for me since I carry my weight in front. Since I live in Mississippi we don't have that much cold weather, but I do like the vest and love the one for pets. Ginger looks adorable. Report
I like the idea of the arm warmers. Right now, it's very chilly outside, but I know if I put on a sweatshirt or fleece jacket, I'll be dying before my walk is over (I walk *very* fast). The arm warmers defiinitely look like a nice compromise. And I do need to get back to eating Greek yogurt. Yummy! Report
If you like popcorn, I have to agree that Orville Redenbacher Hot Air Popcorn Popper is great!! I have one. I put one half cop of popcorn to be popped, and only a couple kernels every remain. The popcorn is always nice and fluffy (although the size depends a bit on the popcorn you put in). Report
Of all the things you mentioned, the arm warmers and the Fitbit are the two I couldn't live without!! And if I could only choose one of those it would be the arm warmers! I heard about them here on SP and LOVE LOVE LOVE them! On chilly mornings I can wear them and when the sun (or my body heat) begins to warm me up first push them down to my elbows, then my wrist, then remove them and hand them in the belt of my pack. They are a walker's/runner's best friend!! Report
Thanks for your blog! Although I'm surprised Trader Joe's greek yogurt wasn't mentioned!!! It is even healthier than Chobani and has fewer grams of sugar but NOT any less tasty! I had tried Oikos and Chobani after having been a fan of TJ's brand, and was extremely disappointed in how those others were just too sweet! So I am sticking to TJ's. Report
I think it's great that there's a protective equipment for the dogs, especially when the owners run with them :D Perhaps I should get some of those reflective gears for my cats as they always crossing roads! Report
FitBit actually has 2 new products out now. The FitBit Zip (which I just recently bought for a friend I'm encouraging) and the FitBit One. They also have a WiFi scale now that I wish I had the money to try it! Report
I have always popped pop corn with an air popper.... Report
I think I'm going to have to invest in some of those arm warmers! Those look pretty neat! Report
The dark kills me! I used to get up and go running at 6, but now its not light our til after 7, and I'm frequently not home until after dark from work. I might invest in one of those vests. Report
I found it hard to get the 30 grams in 30 minutes for breakfast each morning. That Dr. Oz recommends.Then I found Chobani non-fat.An 8 oz. serving has 23 grams of protien. Didn't like it at all! But I thought I could doctor it up a bit.A little bit of Truvia or honey and a teaspoon of organic vanilla improved the taste quite a bit. Add a table spoon of chia seeds,and you add 2 grams of protein.I have a cup of skim milk and that adds 8 grams of protein,.That makes 33 grams of protein! Add a piece of fruit to that and you have my favorite breakfast. Report
Air popped popcorn was my GO TO snack...until I baked kale chips! Sprinkle a little garlic salt and bring on the nutrition!
Thanks for the reminder about October being Breast Cancer Awareness month. That will be another motivator to get out and be active. Report
What a fun list!!! Report
I love my fitbit as well! Can't go anywhere w/o checking that I have it. My fave greek yogurt is Voskos. Report
I totally agree on the Chobani greek yogurt and the FitBit Ultra! Report
Great list! I've been considering Lululemon Wonder Unders for running this fall/winter. However, until I lose another 20 lbs, I plan to wear running shorts over them (no one needs to see that)! Couldn't live without Greek yogurt (Fage is my personal brand of choice). The doggy vest is super cute! Also, I read online that you can air-pop popcorn without a popper by placing plain kernels in a paper bag, folding closed, and microwaving. Haven't tried it yet, but it might be an easy way to have healthier popcorn without having to buy a popper. Report
I love running in the cooler weather too. I love the idea of the fitbit, where can I purchase one from in the UK? Report
I liked alot of the products you mentioned. Thanks for pointing out the positive aspects of fall! Report
Gets tips thanks. Report
thanks for the info- i think id like to try the fitbit ultra. Report
Thanks for the review of the leggings...I am more likely to buy with good reviews when they are that expensive.

Would like to add that Yoplait Greek has a 100 calorie version with nice flavors and a smooth texture and a rich consistency that is filling (which most 100 calorie yogurts leave me wanting more) Report
Wonderful picks! Don't know if I'd pay that much for the leggings, but am considering it. I have to realize I'm worth it! Your precious ginger has turned me onto what I need for my OWN furbaby, Mr. Spot the Wonder dog who goes with me on my walks, too. Definitely getting that.

I have been hooked on Chobani for awhile, and Oikos. Yummo! Definitely those special flavors are like dessert and bonus points for being nutritious! Report
I love Nicole and her spirit, the almost advert style liking of things - 'i like this and this is where you get it' not so much :) happy training everyone. P.S. I love Ginger she is gorg Report
I have a 6oz Chobani yogurt every morning after my workout. I have really learned to love it. Report
Here in central FL it is getting darker a bit earlier, but the weather is still hot and humid. Report
I am new to running and doing the 5K training program. I live in the Atlanta area - the chillier mornings have felt like heaven for me on my runs! Report
WOW, being frugal, I don't know how I manage to live without all the "new" items. LOL Report