Lauren: January Favorites

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As January comes to a close, here are some of the things I have found myself LOVING all month long.

IMG_0396.jpgFresh flowers: We were gifted this stunning vase as a wedding gift, and I have not let it go empty since we received it. I have been finding roses at an amazing price at Trader Joe’s. This combo of pink and white may have been my favorite so far.

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BaubleBar everything. Choosing which color for these tassel earrings might have been one of the hardest decisions I’ve made in a while. I may be adding more to my collection soon.

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I also picked up this adorable Bauble of the Day, and I can’t wait for these to arrive!

Adidas Superstars: My Nike Metcons have gotten a little ratty from all the use, so I wanted some comfortable athletic shoes to wear that look a little more polished. These run BIG…so big that the sweet people at Nordstrom sent me upstairs to the kids’ section. I bought mine in a kids 3.5 for reference. I love how comfortable they are–I’ve even paired them with jeans, colored denim, or leggings for work. They  make running back and forth to the copy machine a lot easier!

 

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Concealer: Obviously I bought this in the shade “very fair”. Usually, I can find the shade I need easily just by choosing the lightest one. So far, this one seems to have the correct undertones to brighten my undereyes while concealing dark circles. I don’t know if it’ll be able to top the Kat Von D Lock-it concealer, but we’ll see!

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What? More Bauble Bar? Yes. I think these Flouro Crispin Drops are the cutest statement earrings, even though my husband thinks they look ridiculous.

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These Metcon 3s are SO.COOL. I’m unashamedly jealous of Zach’s brand new Metcons, and now I think I need my own. How does someone even choose what color combo?

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Book 6 of the Penn Cage Series is available on March 21 of this year, and I’m already counting down the days. I mentioned this series in an earlier post. I CANNOT WAIT to get my hands on this next installment. It’s titled Mississippi Blood, and it’s available for pre-order now.

 

 

Lauren: Weekly Workouts

This week, I finally (FINALLY) have begun to learn how to do a muscle clean, power clean, push jerk, and split jerk. I like to think of myself as pretty receptive to my husband’s programming (he might say otherwise), but these movements are some I could just NOT wrap my head around. As you may have seen in my Instagram post, I wanted to throw the bar on the ground, but once he switched out the PVC pipe for a light bar, something clicked and I felt more confident. I ended up shadowing his workout and doing a WOD with power cleans.

 

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Saturday’s workout was definitely the toughest of the week. I am trying to get back in the habit of taking pre-workout, and it CLEARLY had kicked in for this one. My shoulders were/are fried from this one.

 

Thanks for reading!

Lauren

 

 

Lauren: Acai Bowl Recipe

Ever since I discovered green smoothies and acai bowls, I’ve been obsessed. Some people argue that the spike in blood sugar + lack of fiber in smoothies makes them a poor nutrition choice, but I still can’t help but indulge at least once or twice a week. I think they are a refreshing change from the typical protein shake that I use to start my day or end a workout.

I’ve played around A LOT to find my favorite recipe, and this is my current go-to:

In a blender, put:

  1. a splash of liquid (any kind of milk or juice–I prefer soy milk)
  2. 1 cup of frozen mango chunks
  3. 1 Acai Berry Supergreens Pack (one and a half servings of fruits/veggies)
  4. 1 packet of French Vanilla Whey Protein Isolate

I prefer to keep a smoothie bowl pretty think, so I can eat it with a spoon. I blend it on low for less than a minute, then pour into a bowl.

Next, I top mine with 1 tablespoon of granola (Cherry Almond from Whole Foods), 1 tablespoon of unsweetened coconut flakes, and 3 tablespoons of fresh blueberries.

Here’s the finished product!

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approximate macros:

6g F + 35g C + 40.5g P — 300 calories

If you have a favorite recipe, please share in the comments!

xoxo,

Lauren

 

Zach: Strongman for a Better Body

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For the average gym-goer the thought of flipping tires, lifting stones and pressing axles can honestly be a pretty odd and intimidating thought. Most people like to stay in their comfort zone in a fitness routine, but oftentimes find themselves getting stuck in a rut with their progress or simply getting bored with their training. This is where the miracle of strongman training comes in!

Let’s start with a few of the basics. There may be some difficulty finding this equipment in the average gym and some strongman movements can also require some technique and a little learning curve. With that being said, many of the movements are very simple and require very little coaching! To start, lets talk tire flips!

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Depending on the size of the tire these can either be a great absolute strength and power movement or a solid conditioning session. The tire flip is about as full body as can be, incorporating a deadlift, a power hip drive and a little bit of upper body action, especially in the biceps and upper back. Obviously there is some technique to this movement, but it truly is for anyone at any level. A year ago I was able to get my wife started on them and she absolutely loved the feeling of getting to slam a tire down!

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Our next fundamental movement is the overhead press. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, “but I do these in the gym anyway? How am I going to change that up?” Use anything BUT a barbell! Use a heavy dumbbell with one arm, a log, a keg, a sandbag, a stone, be creative! Grab it and put it overhead for reps! Odd object lifting is the key to breaking through those physical and mental plateaus! It will get you sore in places you didnt know existed and make you strong in ways that you didnt think were possible.

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Last, but definitely not least and probably my favorite method for achieving strength (and great conditioning) is simply carrying an object. That’s right-just good old-fashioned weighted carries. It can be holding dumbells at your sides, a trap bar, a stone, keg, kettlebells, sandbags in front of your chest or anything overhead. Pick it up and walk with it for either max distance, time or weight. Depnding on how you hold it, these will take leg, grip, back and ab strength through the roof, as well as build incredible pain tolderance and an engine!

Give them a try and feel free to reach out for any questions! Be on the lookout for a sample workout soon as well as updates on my own competition preparation.

Happy Lifting!

Zach

 

Lauren: Halo Top

Anyone who knows me knows my insatiable sweet tooth. It is so intense that Zach wrote it into our vows. I know, semi-embarrassing. So a couple years ago, when I realized I couldn’t continue to eat Ben & Jerry’s on a nightly basis, I dreaded the thought of dessert-less nights. Until I discovered Halo Top.

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Halo Top is truly a guilt-free indulgence. I’m not suggesting you eat the entire pint in one sitting, or eat some every night, but even if you did, you’d only be consuming around 300 calories, depending on the flavor. Have I done this before? Totally.

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The nutrition facts are pretty astounding. It varies per flavor, but you’re looking at around 6g of protein, 15g carbs, and 2g fat for a 60-90 calorie serving. Can’t really find a dessert better than that! The nutrition facts are all here.

I find that this ice cream ACTUALLY tastes so good, that one serving is enough. They recently released some new flavors, and I’m making my way through trying them all. My absolute favorites are the Birthday Cake and Red Velvet. It’s a great feeling to get my sweet tooth fix, but also know that I’m getting a few grams of protein and not ruining a day of clean eating.

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Let me know in the comments down below if you are a Halo Top fan, and if so, which is your favorite flavor?

Happy eating!

Lauren

P.S. This post is not sponsored in any way…just sharing the love!

Zach: Chili Recipe

Zach: Some of y’all might have seen the delicious chili picture from the other night. Well I have gotten some feedback from folks asking me what all was in that, so here ya go!! I kept this one pretty mild, using milder spices and chili peppers so feel free to choose the HOT ones from the store if you really want to spice it up!

  • 1 lb of GrassFed Organic Ground Beef
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chili peppers
  • 1 can of diced green chili peppers
  • 1/3 diced onion
  • 1 can of Dunkelweizen by Oak Highlands beer ( which is awesome by the way)
  • cumin (measure to taste)
  • smoked paprika ( measure to taste)
  • chili powder ( measure to taste)
  • salt and pepper (measure to taste)

Put all of this magic in a crockpot and you’ve got yourself about 6 -8 solid bowls of Chili, good for a few meals (depending on how hungry you are).

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Give it a shot and feel free to tag us in your pictures of it on Instagram. If anyone would like daily recipes please let us know! Enjoy!

Zach

 

 

Lauren: Weekly Workouts

On an average week, I aim for 5 or 6 days of workouts and 1 or 2 rest days. I really try to get a mix of bodybuilding style, Crossfit-esque workouts, and some powerlifting mixed in throughout my week. I look to my husband and various Crossfit instagrams for inspiration, but I’ve started to do a lot of my own programming based on what I feel motivated to do in the gym that day.

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Sunday: Zach and I took a 90s themed spin class at Zyn 22. It’s incredibly tough to drag him to a spin class, so I smiled the entire time knowing it was HIS idea! Hearing Britney Spears, Hanson, and Spice Girls made this class feel like the shortest 45-minute ride of my life! I also love how Zyn22 e-mails you your stats from class, including how far you rode, your average speed, and your rank in the class. You can read about the rest of our weekend here.

Monday: I could not muster the energy to get to the gym, so Zach and I did a “death by” of push-ups, pull-ups (banded for me), and ab-mat sit ups inside our apartment.  You can check out an earlier post to see my explanation of this workout.

Tuesday: Deadlift day: After my warm-up, I did 2 sets of 5, 2 sets of 3 at one weight, 2 sets of 3 with a higher weight, and 2 singles at my highest weight for the day. Then I moved on to straight leg deadlifts. Here, I did 3 sets of 8. My legs were fried and the machines I wanted were taken, so I just called it a day.

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Wednesday: Upper body: 5X5 on bench press. Then I moved on to 3 rounds of 8 lateral raises, 8 front raises, and 12 arnold presses. I finished the workout with 3 rounds of 12 tricep pressdowns and 12 ez-bar bicep curls.

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday: Lower body: 4X10 hip thrusts with the bar. I am just learning to master these. Any tips on how NOT to bruise up your body with these? After those,  I superset 10 Bulgarian split squats with a pulse at the bottom (also called a one and a half) & 10 step ups on each leg. Finished with 3 rds of leg extension and leg curl.

 

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Saturday: Full-body: I didn’t go into the gym with a plan on this day. I kind of just went with whatever sounded fun. I started with 20 kettlebell swings as a warm-up. I liked how they were feeling, so I decided to incorporate 20 swings between each superset. The first was 4 rounds of 10 thrusters and 10 decline sit-up, then 3 rounds of 8 weighted curtsy lunges on each side and 20 knee raises on the Roman chair.  I did 3 rounds of 15 good mornings and 15 horizontal cable rows, and finished with a tabata of incline push-ups on a bench. The 100 total kettlebell swings added a good amount of cardio, but honestly, the entire workout kept me really breathing heavy.

Thanks for reading!

Lauren

 

Lauren: Long Weekend Recap

Over the long weekend, we kept ourselves moving for the most part. My little sister is leaving to go back to Ole Miss today, so we had to try to fit in some of her “lasts” while she was still in town for Christmas break. One she’d been begging for was Cane Rosso. This was an easy one to agree to. I saved up my cheat meals (usually 2 per week) for this baby. It’s called the honey bastard, and it’s not featured on the menu. It has mozzarella, hot sopressata, bacon marmalade, and spicy honey. I wish I had a picture of the dessert pizza we had afterwards (I know–cheat meal extreme), but just think cookie butter, nutella, mascarpone, and marshmallows, all on the same huge pizza crust. And can we note the size of those things?

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Scarf // Bracelet // Jacket

On Saturday, Zach had to work until 12, then stopped at the gym on the way home. I did some cleaning, a glute-focused workout, and got ready for the day. We celebrated my 26th birthday at Ocean Prime with my family and absolutely loved it! The flower arrangement at the Rosewood Court, which is connected to the restaurant, was absolutely stunning, so we had to take a photo in front.

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L Top // L Jeans // Z Shirt // Z Sweater // Z Jeans

On Sunday morning, we went full-on Lolo birthday celebration day. After getting our normal Sunday routine down, we went to a 90s themed spin class. I have a write-up about our experience coming next week, but we absolutely loved it.

Post-spin, we fueled up at Breadwinners at North Park and walked a few laps at the mall. We went home to relax for a bit, then ended the night at Water Grill. It just opened last week, and we will be returning as soon as we can! We ordered the Cioppino and the Homemade Orecchiete. I think the Cioppino was the winner, because we left nothing in that giant bowl. We are definitely adding this restaurant to the list of Dallas favorites.

Monday, I forced Zach and my sister Sarah to watch The Bachelor while we ate homemade crockpot chili. Zach’s chili is to die for. This is one of the first seasons of The Bachelor I have not googled spoilers, and I’m trying to be good! Let me know in the comments who you’re rooting for!

Lauren

Lauren: Favorite Reads of 2016

Hello everyone!

Ever since I was younger, I’ve had a hard time putting books down. At the beginning of 2016, I set the goal of reading 52 books in one year–one for each week. Although it mostly ended up as binge reading over the summer and Christmas break, I achieved my goal on December 31, 2016! Here are some of my favorites.

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1 // 2 // 3 // 4// 5

Grace, Not Perfection by Emily Ley: This book had me shamelessly crying on a plane. I’ve followed Emily Ley on Instagram for ages now, so I was eager to read her book. Even though she is a wife, mother, and business owner (and I am only 1/3 of those), her book resonated with me. What an amazing beautiful reminder of self-worth and true values in life. I will definitely be referencing this book often in 2017.

The Penn Cage series by Chris Iles THESE. BOOKS. A few members of my former book club recommended this series many times until I finally caved and downloaded them on my iPad. Talk about gripping. Can’t decide which genre you want? These books have the perfect dose of mystery, romance, politics, and history. Natchez Burning was my favorite of the series.

The Woman in Cabin 10 & In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware: These two are page-turning mysteries. I basically inhaled these two, trying to figure out the culprit of each novel. I’m not going to lie, I ended up leaving my apartment early for work one day, because I was so freaked out reading it alone!

The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger: I’ve read all of her books and enjoyed each one. In my opinion, these fall under the “beach read” category. Other notables by Lauren Weisberger: The Devil Wears Prada & Revenge Wears Prada.

The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin: This best-seller focuses on the relationship between Truman Capote and his close friend Babe Paley. It topped the best-seller list, highlighting the scandal and gossip in New York in the 1950s. After reading this book, I became fascinated with Truman Capote and immediately read In Cold Blood.

I keep track of each book that I read, so I am more than happy to share the complete list or any recommendations. I like to think my 52 books span nearly each and every genre.

Happy reading!

Lauren

 

Lauren: Anywhere Workout

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Ever have those days when you missed your window to sign up for a class or driving to the gym just seems like way too much effort? Me too. But I’ve learned to not let that stop me. Here are a few of my favorite movements to do with little to no equipment and little to no space. Trust me, our apartment is the size of a closet. I can work with no space.

Squats: Some of the most important things to remember when doing air squats include keeping your weight in the heels and mid foot. Never lift any part of your foot off the ground. Sit your hips back and lead by hinging at the hips not the knees.

Squats are also some of the easiest movements to adapt based on the amount of challenge you want. When I’m looking to add weight into my workouts at home (aka no barbell available), I will either use a kettlebell in the goblet position or two dumbbells. You can hold the dumbbells in front rack position (shown below) or by your sides.

The last variation that I’ve just mastered is a single arm overhead squat. I would start with a smaller weight until you get the hang of the balance. Hold the weight in a locked out position, then squat down until you reach parallel or below.

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Lunges: I can hear my elementary school PE teacher telling me not to let my knee pass my toe during lunges. Lunges are pretty simple and can WRECK you if done correctly & with enough volume. Try adding jumping lunges to your warm-up.

Bicep curl to arnold press: To cut down on even more time, I love to combine movements. I start at the bottom, curl up, then twist as I press until my arms are locked out.

Push-ups: My journey to push-ups has been long and frustrating. I started with incline push-ups on a table or bench about 3-5 at a time. I alternated between trying them on a incline and trying them from my knees on the ground until I got more comfortable and confident. In a proper push-up, your chest should touch the floor and your arms should be locked out at the top.

 

Some other movements I try to work in: banded pull-ups, sit ups (I love a Rogue ab mat to add extension), step-ups or tricep dips on a chair, and planks for as long as I can hold.

I like to be as creative as possible with rep schemes. Some of my favorites:

Choose 3-5 movements, then do

10 down to 1 of each movement–10 of each, then 9 of each, etc.

AMRAP (as many reps as possible) for as much time as I have–I find that 15-20 minutes is usually enough for me to feel exhausted.

“Death by”–On the first minute, do 1 rep, then rest. On the second minute, do 2 reps, then rest, and so on and so forth until you can’t achieve anymore in one minute. You’ll be surprised how many you can do in one minute! The volume adds up quickly.

Lauren