Hi everyone! I know I’m late on weekly workouts, but I wanted to add a second component this week.
For those of you who may have read about my fitness journey (here) or followed for a little while, you may know that I’ve been “bulking”. I say that lightly, because it’s been a slow process and really nothing extreme. I’ve gotten to the point where I want to start “cutting” back down again, and I’ve been looking for some guidance/a program to follow. Zach recently downloaded The Bulking Protocal (here) from Power Athlete, and he told me about The Leaning Protocal (here). Well, I downloaded it on a whim and thought I’d share with you some of my “tricks of the trade” from when I originally cut down 20+ pounds (over 2 years) and what I’ll be TRYING to keep in mind over the next few weeks. Keep in mind that I am not certifed as a trainer or nutritionist. All of this information has come from trial and error and the guidance of my sweet husband (who is a CSCS and studied nutrition in college). I really encourage you to seek out guidance from professionals.
- Portion control: No, I’m not talking about eating an entire plate of spaghetti or ordering two double-doubles from In-n-Out. I’m talking about portion control even with our “healthy” foods. When we created our wedding registry, we invested in a good food scale. It may sound obsessive, but I found that it has made a huge difference in tracking macros. I used to eyeball my 4 ounces of chicken for meals, and it turns out I was only eating 2-2.5 ounces. I was not getting the amount of protein that I thought I was. Similarly, when it comes to items out of a jar or a bag, it’s so easy to track one serving size but actually eat 2-3 at one time. These informative posts are pretty eye-opening.
2. Ditch the scale: I still struggle with this, I really do. But having my body fat measured on a weekly basis gave me a whole new perspective. When I decided I wanted to do a small “bulk”, I knew I’d have to watch my weight go up. But as I did so, I experienced some newbie gains and saw my weight go up while my (overall) body fat percentage went down. That doesn’t mean I didn’t gain any body fat–it just means I gained more muscle than fat. This is possible. At this point, I’m working on cutting down a bit, but I have a little more freedom to let go of that scale number.
3. Protein: I see some YouTubers or Instagrammers claim that you can protein from things like hummus and nuts, but y’all–how many nuts & tubs of hummus are you eating?! These new macros have me aiming for MORE than 1 gram per pound of body weight. When I used to just track calories vs. tracking macros, I ate probably 60-80 grams per day. I’ve had to up that quite a bit, but it makes all the difference with recovery, muscle growth, fat loss, and basic functioning of the human body.
4. Cross-training: What I have found works best for my body is incorporating more than just one type of training. I’ve gone through points in my life where I just did yoga, or just did spin classes 5-6 times a week. Those workouts are great in isolation, but the best results I’ve come from mixing up the workouts and training all parts of the body. I do a lot of weight training currently and the beauty of that is the room for variety within the workouts. I’ll do a super intense Crossfit-esque WOD, a slow body-building type workout, or add in cardio. Zach and I have been hitting a lot of yoga classes in DFW too!
Do you have any tips for a small cutting phase? I’d love to learn about your favorite tips and tricks!
Along with this week’s weekly workouts, I wanted to include something that has changed the game a bit for me. Keep scrolling to learn more!
So, the game changer I mentioned…over Spring Break, I found myself wondering how my home all-day activity level compared to my teacher life activity level. It certainly seemed like I was expending a lot less energy on my couch watching Netflix than my typical chasing around 7-year olds. I read a few reviews and impulse ordered the PolarA360 watch on Amazon same-day shipping.
I absolutely love being able to check my steps & calories burned throughout the day, BUT I find this most helpful during my workouts. You can use the touch screen to display exactly what you want during your workout. I usually default mine to current heart rate and time spent during workouts, but you can see the percentage of time spent in different heart rate zones or calories burned during the workout.
It’s been the most fascinating to wear my watch consistently during cardio, weight training, barre, and yoga classes!
If you wear it all throughout the day, it tracks your activity level, notifies you if you are inactive and gives you graphs to show how your day was. The examples above show an ACTIVE day with a workout, and the second shows a more typical day with afternoon workouts. You can see the time of day when I was taking an afternoon nap and the times during the day when I sat consistently. Pictured below are screenshots of the daily summary VS a screenshot of the workout information it gives you.
I find myself setting additional goals throughout if I notice my heart rate is low OR if I don’t seem to be burning very many calories.
Do you have a recommendation for a heart rate monitor? What’s your favorite workout watch?
If you follow along on Instagram, you may have seen some insta stories or posts about our weekend in New York. Zach was there for two weeks for job training, and I decided to capitalize on that trip! I had three days in the city, and Zach was able to sneak away for two of them. This was my first time to New York, so please excuse my fascination with certain landmarks.
I arrived to our hotel about noon, and it was 38 degrees and raining. This NOLA/TX girl does NOT do cold or wet, but I was desperate to get started, so I threw on my barbour jacket and grabbed my umbrella. You can see how rainy and grey it was in these pictures of Times Square.
After walking the wrong direction three separate times, I finally got to fifth avenue. I figured this was a safe activity to do without Zach, because I’d surely want to take my time in each and every store. Around 2, my hunger caught up with me. Because I don’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent, I was a little limited as far as the temptation to grab a slice of pizza or pop into any restaurant.
Ralph’s Coffee came through. I found warmth and peace inside this second-floor coffee shop inside Ralph Lauren on 5th and 55th street. It was so precious that I had to bring Zach back later in the weekend.
I joked on my Insta story that I was on a quest to eat all the pastries in New York. I really did my best. The most enjoyable was the marble cupcake from Magnolia Bakery inside Bloomingdale’s. Yup, I was that girl standing alone at a countertop with a fork and a cupcake, as happy as could be! After shopping from about 1:30-6:30, I met Zach at the hotel to trek to dinner at Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant.
We had to stop in Times Square in the daylight to take a selfie, and thank goodness it was NOT raining on Saturday-just brutally cold : )
We hiked three miles down to Cafe Clover in West Village. This was by far the best meal I ate all weekend. I had sweet potato latkes with poached eggs & a kale/tomato side. It was the cutest atmosphere, and we loved all the windows.
After brunch, we headed down to the 9/11 fountains and museum. This was an experience to say the least. We found ourselves somber throughout the entire experience but saw/heard so many stories and recordings that we hadn’t heard before. We loved reading the stories of countless heroes during the entire situation.
We wandered right across the way to the shops in Brookfield Place and discovered Le District. WOW! This place is like a French Eataly. We were enamored and couldn’t get enough. We went straight to Eataly after that (for more food, obviously) and Century 21 and a bunch of shops in Soho.
Dinner on Saturday night was at The Little Beet Table. It’s an entirely gluten-free restaurant. The food was amazing. We stopped at the Flatiron Eataly just to round out the night and make sure we saw more than one.
After watching Eloise at the Plaza COUNTLESS times as a kid, I had to drag my husband to the Plaza Hotel for brunch. We ate at the Palm Court, and it lived up to my expectations.
After we went back to the hotel to change and pack up, we decided to revisit some of my favorites on Fifth Avenue on our way to Central Park. We stopped back in at Ralph’s Coffee, because Zach wanted to see it, and I wanted to actually order coffee! We made our way to Central Park, where the weather felt ten degrees warmer in the sun. It was such a beautiful oasis, and SO overpacked. We wish we could have spent more time exploring the whole park.
I keep saying that I could go back for three more days and do completely different activities. There were so many things that we wanted to accomplish but didn’t have the time for. Please leave a comment if you have any suggestions on what should go on our list for our next trip to New York! You know I’m already working on a second trip!
You may have read my review on protein bars here. Since then, I’ve tried out a couple of new protein powders and wanted to share my thoughts. With that being said, I want to highlight that these should be treated as a supplement, not a meal replacement or replacement for eating real protein-packed foods. Almost all of my choices are chocolate flavored, but note that these products do come in other flavors–I just haven’t tried them all : )
Taste: This is a pretty no-fail choice if you want a tasty chocolate protein. A worker at Vitamin Shoppe asked me how I could stand the “meat taste”. I must have given him the most confused/disgusted face, because he quickly retracted his question and said “oh it must just be me…” ha!
Nutrition: 120 calories per scoop-23P, 8C, 0F. It as added BCAAs and added Creatine.
Overall: This protein is a little foamy when mixed, but it mixes well. I think this is the perfect option for people with casein or whey intolerances/allergies. It’s an alternative to a “green” or vegan protein powder, if you’re okay with animal products.
Taste: SWEET! The first two or three shakes I drank with this protein were almost nauseatingly sweet. I eventually got used to it, and other proteins started tasting bland in comparison.
Nutrition: 120 calories per scoop-24P, 1C, 1.5F. This is a whey + casein blend.
Overall: I like having the benefits of both whey + casein. Zach explained to me that whey protein is quick-digesting, so it causes a spike in protein synthesis. Casein is slow digesting, so it releases amino acids over time. If you can get past the sweet flavor, I do recommend this choice.
Taste: Like I mentioned before, this tasted bland in comparison to PEScience, but either way, I like the flavor. It’s easy to get down post-workout or early in the morning.
Nutrition: 130 calories per scoop-21P, 8C, 1.5F. This is also a whey + casein blend with BCAAs and 2.2 G Leucine.
Overall: This is a very inexpensive protein. I think a 4lb container on Amazon goes for about $30. In addition, it’s also an extended release protein with the whey + casein combination.
Taste: Y’all. This is not a favorite of my mine for taste. The only time I use this is in a smoothie, with lots of mango/acai/things to take away the green/powder taste.
Nutrition: 110 calories per scoops-20P, 3C, 2F. This is a combination of pea protein, hemp protein, and brown rice protein. You get the benefits of spinach, kale, and broccoli too!
Overall: After having this in my cabinet for a while, I rarely find myself reaching for it. It’s one of those situations where I’d rather just plain eat broccoli OR drink a green juice if I’m desperate to get greens in.
If you’re looking for single-serve packets, my favorite are the BodyTech Whey Protein Powder from Vitamin Shoppe in Red Velvet or Mocha. These come in little packets that you can throw in a gym bag or lunch box and not worry about packaging anything up. I like to keep them on hand for a quick go-to.
Please note that I am not a nutritionist. I am simply sharing what works best for my body and my tastebuds. Zach and I are happy to answer any additional questions/comments you may have (he can share HIS nutrition background)!
Last week, I attended Silent Disco Yoga in West Village. I really had no idea what to expect, but I knew that I’d see some familiar faces and get the chance to try something out of the box. When I arrived, I couldn’t believe how many yogis showed up! Upon sign-in, we received two bottles of Muscle Milk to use as hand weights, and we got our headphones!
These headphones made me crave a pair of wireless headphones, because I loved the feeling of moving all over the place and never having the earbuds fall out. I mean, we were running in place, doing jumping jacks and inversions, and these babies stayed perfectly place! Once we all got situated, we could hear both music and the instructor’s voice through the headphones, and you could adjust the volume to your own preference.
We started in child’s pose and made our way through a combination of (what I would consider) traditional yoga poses, a lot of barre-esque pulsing movements, good core work, and some plyometrics to get our heart rates up.
After the class ended, I wandered through the amazing vendors that were a part of this event! I had my hair braided and got awesome recommendations/product samples for my chronically dry hair from Avalon Salons.
From Muscle Milk, I took home the two shakes I’d used for weights AND two of their protein bars (which are delicious). Buda Juice and SimplyFit Meals also showed up to share samples of their nutritious goodies. Some of the other vendors that I saw were Soul Cycle Uptown and Mini Luxe.
It was so much fun to know we were in the middle of a bustling area–shops, restaurants, fitness studios and the like. But with our headphones and vibe, we were totally in our own zone.
I missed my Weekly Workouts post last week, so this is for the week of March 12-18. The seemingly long workouts + two-a-days were due to the fact that I was on Spring break! It may seem like I was overactive, but on one of the days, I didn’t even reach 2,000 steps! How’s that for lounging? Definitely not going to let that happen again! Still, it was nice to indulge in laziness for one day.
**Check out Mindy Kim’s post on IG: @Missfitizen for the video of this movement linked here.
Last week, we had the privilege of attending Sunset Yoga with CorePower at NorthPark Center. This Dallas Fitness Ambassadors event took place in the CenterPark Garden, along with many of the NorthPark retailers. While we rolled out our mats and waited for class to start, we snacked on a few delicious treats from GreenHouse Market. Talk about making healthy taste GREAT! First we tried a dairy-free chocolate brownie-esque yummy that was made with dates, cocoa and a few other healthy things + a raspberry on top. It tasted so indulgent but was made with fresh real ingredients. The second thing we had was chia seed pudding made with coconut milk. THIS inspired me to try to make chia seed pudding at home. Wish me luck!
The weather had been cool for the past few days, but it ended up being near-perfect conditions. Jay from CorePower led us through 60 minutes of yoga and it felt glorious to be outside looking up at the blue sky throughout it! I honestly think we would take yoga more often if we could be surrounded by beautiful weather. But we live in Texas, so that’s a long shot.
After the class was over, DryBar offered braids, MakeupForever offered lip touch-ups, and MiniLuxe did polish changes! It was such a fun way to feel glam after getting some fitness in! Fresh & Sugarfina provided samples, too. If you haven’t tasted Sugarfina candies–DO IT! They’re so tasty.
We both feel so lucky to be a part of Dallas Fitness Ambassadors! We’ve met some really sweet friends and gotten the chance to explore our city a little bit more! Make sure to follow the account on Twitter and Instagram so that YOU can attend the next event!
One of our favorite places to visit on weekends is the Shops at Park Lane. This cute little area is home to the J.Crew Mercantile, Old Navy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, St. Bernard Sports Outlet, Zyn22 and more. They have a few restaurants too, and one of their newest foodie spots is I Love Juice Bar. We stumbled across this place one Saturday and after buying a delicious smoothie, ended up leaving the credit card in the slot. We returned the next day for the credit card and more goodies.
This past weekend, we were able to spend some time trying out the menu and chatting with the store manager, Kavita. One of the first things we should mention about I Love Juice Bar is their customer service. During our hour in the store, we noticed that Kavita knows so many of the customers that visited. When they walked in, she asked them how their recent juice cleanse went or she knew their typical drink order. She is knowledgeable about each product at I Love Juice Bar and can answer any questions.
We started with smoothies. Pictured above are the Matcha Green smoothie (left) and the Peachy Greens smoothie (right). You would never know that these two yummy drinks are filled with superfoods like spinach, spirulina, or maca powder. They had such great flavors–nothing “green” tasting about them. One of the great things about I Love Juice Bar is that they don’t use ice in their smoothies, so nothing gets watered down. It’s all real and fresh ingredients.
After smoothies, we moved on to shots. Their inventory of shots seemed endless, but Kavita showed us the most popular items and explained their purposes. Left to right, the first is their ACV shot. For those of you who have tried to shoot apple cider vinegar at home (I tried it making my own today-yuck), this blew it out of the water. They blend coconut water, cayenne pepper, and himalayan salt to take away some of the acidity. This would make taking ACV daily much easier! The second is the toomeric shot, which is huge for anti-inflammatory purposes, among others listed here. The third is the allergy shot, which basically everyone in Texas could use…right? This one was actually the tastiest in our opinion. The last is the sniffle stopper. We found this one unique and interesting, because it has an essential oil blend in it!
Obviously, we can’t go without mentioning their namesake–juices. We tried the We Got the Beet, Orange you Glad, Fresh Greens, and Sweet Greens. All of these had great tastes, are pretty low in calories, and are freshly made. They’re made fresh daily (several times a day), but if a customer does not want a pre-made juice, he or she can request a made-to-order juice! If you become addicted like we did, buy a growler for $8 and fill up on Fridays for 15% off. The juices are sold by the ounce.
I Love Juice Bar has a great selection of food and snacks from local companies in the area that you can take to go and know that you’re getting whole nutrition ingredients. We tried the Sprouts Sandwich and Pad Thai Noodle Cup–delish. All of the nutrition info is listed online or on the packages, if you want to check it out before you choose!
Obviously, we saved the best for last. The Acai Bowl was not only GORGEOUS to look at, but tasted INCREDIBLE. Like, we would go back for more daily. It’s topped with granola, honey, berries, cacao nibs (yum), bee pollen, chia & hemp seeds, and the holy grail-almond butter. We’ll definitely be returning soon for another one of these beauties.
If you try it out, let us know what we should order next time!
Lauren and Zach
I love Juice Bar Dallas provided complimentary food and drink items in exchange for this review. All opinions remain our own.