Whenever fitness routines come up in the conversation and people hear that we both lift weights, we often hear the question, “but how do you get your cardio?”
The definition of cardiovascular exercise is any activity that raises the heart rate. Contrary to popular belief, doing cardio does NOT just include treadmills, stairmasters, and ellipticals. That’s the beauty of creating your own programming or choosing to follow programming that includes metabolic conditioning and movements that tend to raise the heart rate.
Deadlifting for sets of 10? Kettlebell swings? Goblet squats with a pulse? Complexes with cleans, front squats, and jerks? I could go on and on, but these movements can be adapted to raise the heart rate.
There are days when I don’t feel like breaking a sweat or getting out of breath, but I still want to fit in a lift. Those are the days when I focus on low-rep upper body compound movements, like overhead pressing and benching. I’ll follow it with accessory movements, like bicep curls and tricep extensions. If I want to modify those to get my heart rate higher, I’ll superset the movements with things like kettlebell swings, dumbbell snatches, or burpees. Lifting weights can easily be adapted to be a slow, non-sweaty workout, or a “leave you on the floor” kind of deal.
A fantastic example of a workout that involves weights and NO “cardio equipment” is the partner workout featured in this post here.
Our point in sharing all of this is that if you find the treadmill as boring as we do, you can easily get in your cardio in ways BEYOND the treadmill and elliptical!
Here are our top 5 recent reads:
- Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson: After reading the first 32 pages of this book, I was hooked. By hooked, I mean I finished it in one day. I called my mom to tell her about it, and it turns out that it’s been made into a movie too! I am now itching to see it. If you’re into page-turners that won’t give you nightmares, this one is for you.
- The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson: A friend suggested this book when she heard I was going to be traveling to Chicago this summer. It goes back and forth between the story the architect behind the construction of the World’s Fair and a serial killer who plagued the city at that same time. A few portions of this book bored me, specifically when talking about building, but I found myself fascinated by the circumstances of the Worlds’ Fair.
- After Anna by Alex Lake: “The real nightmare starts when her daughter is returned…” A five year old girl goes missing during carpool time at school. The story chronicles her mother’s search for her, as well as their attempt to return to normalcy once the little girl is returned. Some of the mother’s choices had me cringing, because I wanted to root for her so badly! If you’re not careful, the ending might really make you question the intentions of some people around you.
- The River at Night by Erica Ferencik: THIS IS WHY I DO NOT GO CAMPING. Seriously, this freak accident + survival quest will confirm any fear that you may have about being outdoors at night.
- A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena: This story starts right off the bat. Tom Krupp arrives home one night to find his wife Karen missing, but her purse, phone, and license are all at home. He reports her missing only to find out that she was in a terrible car accident in a shady part of town–with no memory of her travels or the accident. The story takes twists and turns as a body is found near the scene of her accident, and Karen begins to regain her memory. I had the culprit figured out pretty early, but the very last chapter managed to surprise me!
- The Quiet Game by Greg Isles: I honestly wasn’t even sure which novel in this series to include in the list. I absolutely loved each of the six books, so I’m more or less going to let this book represent the entire series. I have a very short attention span and a few of these books are on the lengthy side, but the character development, plot twists and gripping story lines will not allow you to put the books down. Southern charm, conspiracies, romance, U.S. history and race relations; these books have it all and are an absolute must-read.
- The Cutting: A McCabe and Savage Thriller by James Hayman: I have only read this book and began one other from this series, but I can say with confidence that these truly are thrillers. It’s no secret that I never go running…ever, and this book has given me even greater reason to never go running. Nobody ever got kidnapped by a surgical psychopath while squatting or deadlifting. Enough said.
- Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide For Athletes and Coaches by Greg Everett: This may be one of the most comprehensive manuals related to Olympic Weightlifting. If you are just beginning and wanting to learn the movements and positions or if you have been lifting for years and want to learn how to improve technique and add in necessary accessory work, then this is perfect for you. From in-depth movement breakdowns, warmups, and mobility to nutrition this book has it all. To top it all off, perhaps my favorite perk of this book is that it has 8-10 week (free) programming templates included. They are catered towards beginners all the way too advanced lifters.
- Special Strength Development For All Sports by Louie Simmons: Anyone who knows me knows that I love all things Westside Barbell Club, and that I am a firm believer in the Conjugate Method. This method can often be pretty difficult to understand how to implement (intelligently). This book by THE Louie Simmons himself breaks down how to effectively utilize the principles of Max and Dynamic effort workouts in addition to the necessary accessory work and special exercises. It is must-read for anyone looking to take their training or their athletes or clients to the next level.
- Black Cross by Greg Isles: Huge fan of anything written by Greg Isles, also huge fan of anything having to do with WW2, Military Science and Nazi Germany. Absolutely fascinating! I’m honestly not even half way through yet, and I know this will be a top 5 favorite read.
Thanks for reading! We would LOVE to hear your suggestions/what you’re currently reading.
After talking about why we work out together, we wanted to extend some help on how to make it work. Zach has competed in Strongman, CrossFit, Powerlifting, and Bodybuilding. On the other hand, I simply like to lift weights to help me feel strong and stay active. He’s been lifting since the age of 16. I’ve been lifting for 2 and a half years. HOW can we make this work?
- Scale the workout: This is a popular CrossFit term, but it basically just means making the same workout accessible to two different people, based on strength and skill level. That way, you’re both working the same muscle groups and “suffering” together. An example:
- 5 rounds:
- 200m farmers carry: He used 65lb DBs in each hand, I used 25lb DBs
- 20 push-ups: He did push-ups, I did incline push-ups on a tire
- 10 DB push jerks: He used 60lb DBs, I used 25lb DBs
- 5 rounds:
- Partner workouts: Choose a set of reps and movements. Person A completes as many as they can of the movement until he/she can no longer go. Once person A puts the weight down to rest, person B carries on with as many as he/she can handle, until you reach the total reps. This past weekend, we tried working it out a different way. We shared some of the equipment and just took turns until each person completed:
- 30 hang power cleans
- 60 kettlebell swings
- 30 step-ups each leg
- 60 goblet squats
- 60 dumbbell snatches
- 60 abmat sit-ups
- Separate between being the S.O./BFF and being the coach: This was certainly a tricky one for me having been a coach/personal trainer for the last six years. I am very accustomed to pushing people, correcting form, and well….being a coach or a teacher in the weight room. I am not so accustomed to having a workout partner that just wants to have fun, get stronger and get their heart rate up. This is a very fine line. My wife is a badass…but she really doesn’t have any aspirations of competing or trying to set any state or national records. She does this because she knows it is important to me, but she has also grown to love it. Your S.O. may not want to be a National Champion, they just want to have fun and spend time with you. If your partner looks like they are going to hurt themselves or they are really missing the mark with form or technique then absolutely (respectfully) correct them and offer them advice. But do remember: they are there for their own reasons and their own motives that must be respected and appreciated.
Do you have any tips for working out with a partner? If so, comment below! We’d love to hear what works for YOU!
These days, we tend to think we have found the perfect balance of working out together vs. apart. Some people may have ZERO interest in “fitness-ing” with a partner, but for us, it really makes a difference! We each listed our top 2 reasons to work out with a friend/spouse, partner.
- You have someone to check your form: While your partner may not be certified as a trainer, it still helps to have someone to look at your form while working out. A second set of eyes may notice that you’re not hitting squat depth, that your hands are spaced unevenly, or that your posture needs correcting.
- You have a reason to push that extra mile: I mean that in a figurative way, because you won’t catch me going any miles. Zach is super helpful when he tells me that a lift looks way easier than it may feel to me. If the bar is moving faster than I think it is, it motivates me to put more weight on. Another one of his tricks is to slide weights onto the bar that he knows I can handle and not tell me how much I’m lifting. If I brace myself to lift heavy WITHOUT the mental struggle of having a goal in mind, I can usually gear myself up to do something I wouldn’t otherwise do.
- You have great motivation: Some days it just isn’t there for me. Whether its been a long day, the caffeine isn’t kicking in or weights just feel way too heavy. When those days come around, it’s great to have someone to either share your seat on the struggle bus, or pull energy from. Sometimes neither of us are in the mood to push it but once we get going we tend to build off of each other. Lauren is like the “Energizer Bunny” and seems to gain steam the longer we go, this usually forces me to want to keep up with her. Other days I don’t want to do anything, but I will see her pushing the weights or pace and hitting a PR and that motivates me to throw more weight on the bar and go for it!
- You have encouragement when you fail: This is a big one for me, sometimes that bar feel too darn heavy, or I get out of position because of tightness or my technique fails. Like most of us, I can get frustrated pretty easily and want to just say “Screw it!!”. Lauren does not let me get away with this one (unless I’m putting myself at a risk for injury) and will be the first one to call me out and tell me “you’ve got this, take another crack at it.” Even if that means 3, 4, 5 more cracks at it. Even if I wind up not hitting the weight in the end, at least I know that I gave it my all, and that my wife believed in me and pushed me to empty the tank!
You can find the top I’m wearing here: http://shopstyle.it/l/iDAC
The pants are old, but I linked the current style here: http://shopstyle.it/l/iDDg
Last week I decided to surprise my New Orleans-born wife with a little taste of home while we watched the Saints game. This is a super easy crock pot recipe and a great way to get a lot of flavor with low calories and plenty of protein. When most folks think of Southern Low Country cooking I think there is the common misconception to think “unhealthy”. Well, that’s not the case here at all!
Here’s the recipe! We loved it so much that we made a big second plate!
- 1 Bag of small red potatoes from Trader Joes
- 2 Ears of Corn
- 1 Can of Beer-preferably a wheat or lager
- 2 Cups of Water
- 1 tbsp. Smoked Paprika
- 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Whole Lemon
- 1 Package of Pre- cooked Chicken Andouille Sausage(Trader Joes)
- 1 Bag of Pre-cooked Large Shrimp(Trader Joes)
- 1 Bag of Shrimp/Crab Boil Seasoning( we got ours from The Spice and Tea Exchange in Grapevine)
Let the veggies, beer, water and spices simmer in the crockpot for about 2-3 hours. Then add the sausage and shrimp about 30 minutes prior to serving.
Here are some articles we’re reading lately. If you have any favorites or responses, leave them below!
“Why Exercise is the Best Medicine for your Brain” — LA Times: a fascinating read!
“Stop the Gluten-Free Trend!“–Food , Pleasure & Health: want to send this to everyone who tells me something’s healthy, because it’s gluten-free.
“What the Health: A Wolf’s Eye Review” — Robb Wolf: in response to the panic that’s seemingly spreading.
“Coffee Break: 20 Favorite Fiction Books” — Emily Ley Blog: great list.
“Strength,Size or Power?”–For those who are looking to program their own workouts, or just have a better understanding of which set and rep schemes are best for their goals, then check this out!
“Animal Protein v.s Plant Protein”— Don’t let the title scare you, this one isn’t TOO controversial, just shedding some light on the protein quality as well as the IMPORTANCE of including a variety of vegetables into your diet!
Before school started up again, we wanted to try to get away for a quick weekend. After debating between two cities, we decided to go with Chicago. Zach lived there for a few months after college, and one of my closest friends recently moved there, so we knew we’d have plenty of suggestions of where to go. It was a PACKED 3 days. Here was our itinerary!
We arrived in Chicago around 8am and were lucky enough to be able to check into our hotel room to freshen up after our super early flight. We were starving but anxious to get started with our day, so we stopped for breakfast at Little Branch Cafe.
Our first stop after breakfast was the Field Museum. We paid extra to see The Jurassic World exhibit, which brought so much excitement to these 90s kids’ hearts. Two hours flew by while we looked at the endless animal displays, but the most fascinating were the man-eaters of Tsavo. If you have not seen The Ghost in the Darkness, it’s a MUST!
We headed to Shedd Aquarium, which was WAY overcrowded. Travel tip: if you choose to stack the museums, do the Aquarium FIRST. My friend Ashley recommended Pickwick Coffee, so we stopped there on our way back downtown. It was tucked away in what felt like an alley, and had the most instagrammable storefront!
The weather was beautiful for strolling, so we decided to walk until we became too tired to go on. We ended up covering ALL of the Magnificent Mile and ended up at Eataly for dinner. If you read our New York post, you know we visited Eataly three times in one weekend and absolutely loved it. By the time we were finished for dinner, our feet were aching, and we felt exhausted. We had racked up 30,000 steps on the first day. HUGE MISTAKE!
After waking up, we hit a quick 30-minute upper body workout, because our legs were too tired from all that walking the day before. We walked through the CUTEST area called Maggie Daley park, saw the Bean, and grabbed coffee at Dollop.
After coffee, we walked to Navy Pier. I was fully envisioning a pier similar to the Fairhope pier, which is maybe 25 feet across. My mistake. This one is super famous for a reason. We walked and walked until it was time to meet my friend for brunch. One of her suggestions was Beatrix, which I had read about on multiple blogs. We enjoyed our food SO much that we considered going back for brunch the next day…and dinner the next day. It was the cutest atmosphere, and all three of us inhaled our meals. Hands-down a place to visit. I mean, just look at these desserts! We took home three.
We took a rest at our hotel, before it was time for church. We knew we were having dinner near Lincoln Park, so we scouted out St. Vincent de Paul, which was gorgeous. Dinner was at Mon Ami Gabi, which is known for steak frites. From the beautiful outdoor seating, the food, the drinks, and the DESSERT, this place was 10/10.
For our last day, we ventured back down to Toast in Lincoln Park. We got our own breakfasts and split the strawberry/cinamon crepes (with Nutella), which was life-changing. For our coffee stop, we checked out La Colombe, where I got a latte ON DRAFT. It was incredible. We checked out the Lincoln Park Zoo, but the weather was ominous and many of the animals were still inside. We walked ALL along the lake from Lincoln Park to the John Hancock building…and continued walking. Eataly was our lunch spot of choice, partially due to our location, and partially due to my gelato craving. We racked up another 28,000 steps before it was time to the leave to the airport.
Zach has always been an avid podcast listener. My podcast addiction started this summer when I found myself running errands and tackling projects that I put off during the school year. The music on the radio sucks, and I can only listen to Pat Green radio on Pandora for so many hours. I referenced Juli Bauer’s list of podcasts and started with Serial. I couldn’t stop, told everyone about it, and got my mom and sister hooked.
I tackled two series of Someone Knows Something and Accused, before my husband said I needed to quit with the true crime. So I moved on to the next topic that fascinates me: health, fitness, and nutrition. I started light with Paleomg Uncensored, and found myself CRACKING up in public. Juli Bauer of paleomg.com covers topics from Crossfit, Orange Theory, conquering sugar addiction, social media, and my favorite-the Bachelorette.
Serial: If you like a good episode of Law & Order: SVU or James Patterson mystery-esque novel, this is for you. I thought the Adnan series was better than Bergdahl, but still…if you’ve already listened, tell me what you think in the comments below.
Someone Knows Something: The first series was about a little boy, Adrien, who went missing while on a fishing trip with his dad, siblings, and family friends. He disappeared literally without a trace, and the journalist explores all sorts of possibilities. The end is fascinating, because they may or may not have found something to help the closed investigation. The second series was about a 20s-something girl named Cheryl who went missing the day after she became engaged on national TV. I’m 99.99% sure it was her boyfriend who killed her, because the situation is suuuuuper sketchy.
Accused: A college aged boy finds his girlfriend murdered in the apartment that they share and is immediately the number one suspect. He is tried for the murder (and again for “wrongful death”?-correct me if I’m wrong) and both times, the jury found him innocent. No other leads were officially investigated, but the journalist covers a lot of leads.
Girls Gone Wod: Two avid Crossfitters, Claire and Joy, have been podcasting for years together and are pretty funny. One is a new-ish mom and shares how that changed the fitness game for her. At first, I picked the ones I wanted to listen to, but then decided to go back to episode 1. I love hearing how they venture into so many different approaches to nutrition–vegan, paleo, macros, zone, and whole 30.
Fed & Fit: Cassy hits a lot of paleo topics, but she also talks about things like brown rice vs. white rice, healthy swaps you can make, how alcohol affects your fitness, and holistic health like non-toxic beauty and sleep health.
Rose Pricks: If you watch The Bachelor/The Bachelorette, this is a must. They totally roast the characters, which is a little mean, but it’s hilarious. Their imitations of Eric and Bryan’s mom have me CRACKING up, because they’re so accurate. They basically say what we’re all thinking about this silly show, anyway.
Zach’s favorites: Here are some of my recommendations as well as personal favorite podcasts!
Barbell Shrugged: This one is an oldie and a goody. The crew will cover anything an everything from CrossFit, to nutrition, alternative medicine and philosophy. Mike Bledsoe, Doug Larson and the rest of the crew have a wide array of interests and wildly different personalities, which helps to keep everything light hearted and interesting.
The JuggLife: Chad Wesley Smith and Max Aita do their best “Step Brothers” impression on the podcast, full of dry sarcasm and an infinite knowledge of strength sport, programming, competition tips and analysis of some of the best 80s and 90s films. If you love barbells, cheesy jokes and some of the best guests in Strength Sport then this is a great podcast for you.
Mark Bell’s Powercast: The podcast that started it all for me, this may be the single greatest combination of some of the greatest guests in training and barbell sport, business, jokes that make you absolutely laugh out loud and a little bit of knowledge here and there. From the biggest names in CrossFit, Powerlifting Strongman and even celebrity trainers and the biggest personalities in business. Caution things can get a little immature…but if you find that hilarious like me, then you’re in for a treat.
Power Athlete Radio: With over a decade playing in the NFL John Welbourn has some of the greatest stories from life inside and outside of the league. Joining him are Luke Summers and Tex, all great coaches who routinely drop knowledge bombs about training, nutrition, lifestyle and talk shop about hunting, cars and the NFL life. With some of the most knowledgeable guests from barbell sport, former NFL players, military personnel and some of the brightest minds in medicine and nutrition this is a podcast you will definitely want to listen to. Prepare for some of the driest and most berating humor you can imagine, its like being in a high school locker room all over again.
We’ve added one meal into rotation to have once a week. When I was younger, I called it “sausage chicken” and the name stuck. It’s super easy and nutritious, so I thought I’d share it with you! There are few measurements to this recipe, because it’s that simple
- Place however much chicken on a pan. Place 1 tsp of butter on each breast or tender of chicken.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Flip the chicken over. Add chicken andouille sausage all throughout the pan. Make sure it’s cut up so that the flavor can permeate the chicken.
- Some of the butter will have melted in the pan. Spoon it over the chicken again.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- DONE! 🙂
We typically serve this with any greens. Okra, zucchini, or asparagus are our favorites right now.
When Zach and I first started dating, my roommate and I joked that she would make flashcards and quiz me on all the “CrossFit” terminology that he regularly used. Many of these are not actually affiliated with CrossFit, but once upon a time, I assumed everything that wasn’t Flywheel or Yoga to be CrossFit. After asking for clarification a million times, I’ve gotten most of them down. That learning curve wasn’t easy, so I thought I’d save you some googling and organize everything here.
WOD: Workout of the Day: self-explanatory. Many organizations post their own programming each day, so it’s called a WOD.
Metcon: Metabolic Conditioning: usually intense breathers, also functional training shoes from Nike (linked below)
AMRAP: As Many Rounds (or reps) As Possible: These usually have a certain time attached to them & you complete a certain movement/set of movements as many times as possible in that time period. Example: 5 min. AMRAP of 10 burpees, 10 squats, 10 push-ups OR 3 min. AMRAP 150-lb back squat.
For Time: There would be a set amount of movements and you just do them as fast as you can!
EMOM: Every Minute on the Minute: Movement(s) to be done on the minute. When complete, rest until the next minute.
PR: Personal record
CTB or C2B: Chest to Bar: a pull-up variation
Tabata: 20 sec work + 10 sec rest for 4 minutes
Reverse tabata: 10 sec work + 20 sec rest for 4 minutes
RX: “prescribed”: doing the workout exactly as it’s programmed vs. scaled (see below)
Scaled: programmers will often provide scaled down versions to make the workout achievable for everyone. I.E. lighter weights or box step-ups instead of box jumps.
1RM: 1 rep max. A lot of programming calls for doing a lift at a certain percentage of your one-rep max. It helps give you an idea of just how heavy a certain workout should be.
#X#: Whichever number is first is the amount of sets you do. Whichever number is second is the amount of reps you do! Example 3X2 = 3 sets of 2.