the fittest on earth

The CrossFit Games is one of my favorite times of the year. The CF season is quite long- Hundreds of thousands of individuals from all over the entire world complete 5 different workouts over 5 weekends in the CF Open beginning in late February. The top athletes from 17 regions around the world move on to compete in a three day competition at regionals. From regionals, the top 40 men, women, and teams along with 80 teenagers and 240 masters move on to compete for 4 days at the CF Games. The CF Games are like the Olympics to CrossFitters. It is THE competition to determine who is the “Fittest on Earth”.

This year the Games were quite different. For the past 10 years, the Games have been held in Carson, California. This past year, CF headquarters announced there would be a new home for the Games for the next 3 years-Madison, Wisconsin. We had planned to skip this year, but with this news, Josh and I decided (along with a group of our friends from the gym) that we could more easily afford a trip up there to enjoy the long weekend. To save money, we drove up to Madison and rented a suite for all of us to share. We only bought Festival passes ($100) for the Games events this year also. Festival passes gave us access to the outside daytime events, as well as the masters and teenagers workouts. We were supposed to have access to the daytime Coliseum events as well, but for some reason that changed and we could only see the outside events. In past years, we’ve bought Festival+Coliseum passes which get you into the outside and inside events, but those tickets were starting at about $335 per ticket! We just couldn’t justify spending that with all the other vacations we have planned for the year.

No one in the group was able to head up on Wednesday, so we ended up leaving Thursday afternoon. Ashley picked Josh and I up, then we headed up to Columbus to pick up Jake and Leslie. The drive up was rather uneventful- unfortunately we timed it pretty poorly and ended up hitting after work rush hour traffic in Chicago and we got stuck behind a car accident which added about 45 minutes extra to our trip. Thankfully, though, we all packed food and drinks so we only had to make a couple stops for bathroom breaks and filling up the gas tank.

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Check out our awesome group of NoBulls!

We finally made it to Madison around 10 pm and checked into our hotel. I have no idea how we got so lucky, but the hotel I booked was fantastic. It was only about a 5 minute walk to Alliant Energy Center where the Games were being held- you could see the venue from our hotel room. Our suite had two queen beds and a pull out couch, so there was enough room for all of us to sleep comfortably. And the best part was that our room had a stove top with two burners, a microwave, and a full size fridge! It was so perfect because everyone in our group is doing the nutrition challenge with our gym, trying to eat healthy, and we were all trying to save money! After we got our stuff dropped off in the room, we drove over to Walmart to stock up on food for the weekend. We definitely didn’t eat the yummiest food (lunch meat, canned tuna, green beans, and steamer bags of broccoli and brussels sprouts), but it was quick, fairly inexpensive, and easy. You could tell the Games were being hosted close by, as I have never seen so many fit, healthy people walking around Walmart before! By the time we got back to our hotel room, our friend Joel had arrived! It had been almost 9 months since any of us had seen him and we were sooooo happy to be reunited with our Joelybear!

Friday morning we woke up bright and early to eat breakfast and watch the events for the day. The first three events happened on Thursday- there was a run/swim workout, a cyclocross bike workout, and a muscle-up/snatch workout. I wish we had been able to go up to watch those workouts in person, but they were still very exciting on Facebook Live videos. We ventured through vendor village on the way to North Park for the first event. Vendor village had a lot of great booths, but it seemed smaller this year than when it was in California. And unfortunately with us arriving on Friday instead of Thursday when it opened, a lot of vendors were already sold out! I couldn’t believe they didn’t have more inventory with the amount of people they knew would be coming to watch the Games. One of my favorites was the Saddleback Leather booth where we took selfies with a cow for a chance to win a free backpack (unfortunately none of us won, sad face). #StrongestBagsOnEarth

The first event on Friday was an outdoor obstacle course race. The weather was terrible! It was around 55°F, cloudy, windy, and slightly misting. Thank God we were all prepared and had packed long sleeves, sweat pants, and rain jackets or it would have been even more miserable. The obstacle course was pretty fun to see with log walks, a rope wall to climb, an army crawl, rope swings, hurdles, and more.

After we watched the teams and individuals complete the obstacle course, we headed back inside vendor village to walk around. The highlight of my weekend there was that I got free Kill Cliff drinks for wearing a Kill Cliff shirt. And Zevia was handing out free sparkling waters, energy drinks, and their soda! I definitely drank my weight in Kill Cliff and Zevia.      

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The remainder of our Friday was spent walking back and forth to the hotel to eat food and laying on the concrete floor in the beer garden to watch the Coliseum events. It was really quite disappointing to pay $100 and only be able to see one team/individual event live and have to watch the rest of the events on TV…which I could have stayed home and done on my comfy couch. We made the best of it though and had a big group snuggle party on the floor watching the team max clean and jerk event and the individual max snatch event. Hands down, the max lift events are my favorite every time! There is just something about seeing people pick up some really heavy weight and throw down, especially when they PR! There were some crazy strong people- one of the guys on a team (I wish I could remember which one) opened(yes, opened!) with a 347# clean and jerk…and went on to hit 367# and 377#! And a girl on another team was push jerking around 230#! Just so impressive. On the individual side, my favorite lifts were from Chyna Cho and Cassidy Lance-McWherter who both PR’ed their snatches and were just having so much fun! Even in the beer garden, you could hear the roar of excitement from the crowd with every lift made.     

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Saturday morning was much better weather for the outside event. It was sunny and in the low 70s, with a nice breeze. The team event involved a (I think it weighed around 1000 lbs or more) sled drag backwards and push forwards. The individual event, “Strongman’s Fear”, involved heavy yoke carries (420#/300#), farmer’s carries (170#/120#), and sled drags (265#/220#) with handstand walking in between the carries. It looked really hard, but was really fun to watch.

          

After those events were done, we walked around vendor village some. I met Nicole Biscuiti (founder of the Chestee sports bras), taught Jake how to take a selfie, and of course I stocked up on Kill Cliff and Zevia!

 

We ate lunch back at the room and then came back and watched the bar muscle-up clean ladder event from the roof of the RomWod booth. This event was awesome- the weight of the cleans increased throughout the workout and a lot of people PR’ed at the end of the ladder! I can’t imagine PR’ing at the Games, let after so many events over that past few days.  

We also spent a lot of time at the Assault Fitness booth trying out all their equipment and their NormaTec systems. I’ve got to say, the NormaTec leg system was super relaxing and I wouldn’t mind having one of those at home…if I can just find an extra $1500 laying around first lol.

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Sunday was the final day of the Games. It was a little cloudy outside, but the temperature was great and we were able to get pretty decent seats to watch the “Madison Triplet” event (it involved running, sandbag cleans, and burpees over straw bales…only in the Midwest, am I right?). We ate a quick lunch at our hotel room, goofed around in vendor village for a bit, then headed to the age group pavilion to watch the final master’s events. The master’s group ranges from 35 to 60+ years old. And they. are. amazing. The event we watched was Diane+Final (Diane is handstand push-ups and deadlifts, while the final event was rope climbs and thrusters). There were several athletes in the 50-54 age group that beat the times of the 35-39 year olds! It was such an inspiration to watch. And they’re all super ripped and have abs! There’s hope for me yet, you guys, just give me another 20 years!

We watched the 2223 interval event (rope climbs, calories on the SkiErg, and overhead squats) at the Assault Fitness booth. While we were hanging out we just happened to look across the way to see Nick Shaw! Nick is the founder of RP Strength, the diet and hypertrophy templates Josh and I follow. We had to go over and talk to him, of course. We wouldn’t be where we are today with our nutrition and training without him.

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We ended our Games weekend eating dinner in the room and watching the final event on our phones through Facebook Live. The final event was so exhilarating and quick and a race to the finish. I absolutely loved it! It was super neat to watch when the winners were announced and how emotional it all was for them- they invest so much time and sacrifice so much to compete at the Games and it’s over in the blink of an eye. While this year’s Games wasn’t entirely what I expected from a spectator experience, it was definitely fun and full of laughs. The Games will be held in Madison for at least the next two years and if we happen to go back, we’re going to splurge and spend the couple extra hundred dollars for the Coliseum passes for sure. If you go, make sure you get the Festival+Coliseum passes too!

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Don’t let that face fool you, he definitely missed me!

low country life

 

 

Tuesday was our last day in Hilton Head before coming home. We woke up and hit the 8 am class at Reebok Crossfit Coastal Carolina. They start off every class with a question, something to break the ice and get everyone thinking a little. The question of the day was “Would you rather meet your descendants or your ancestors?”. I chose ancestors because I think it would be neat to see what life was like for the people we came from. We did a tough hero workout called “Big Sexy” which had deadlifts, burpees, cleans, chest to bar pull-ups, thrusters, and muscle ups. The weights for the lifts were HEAVY and I had to scale a lot. Here at home we’re really spoiled with the huge amount of space we have to work out in, but at RCCC they have a much smaller area for everyone to be in. We had to partner up on the barbell and even still people were lifting under others doing muscle ups. Everyone was very aware of what was going on and it ended up being a great workout even with limited space.

We got back to the house, showered, and grabbed a quick breakfast before riding bikes with Tommy and Alysha to the farmer’s market at the Sea Pines Community Center. There were lots of tents set up with fresh fish and veggies, crab cakes, pies, strawberry shortcakes, jewelry, dog collars, and much more.

After seeing the super cute tanks and shorts the girls had gotten from Coligny Plaza the day before, I really wanted to go check it out. Josh and I stopped at Java Burrito for lunch on our way. Java Burrito is a burrito and coffee bar, similar to a Chipotle but better in my opinion. The ingredients were really fresh and delicious. I got a burrito bowl with cilantro lime rice, pulled pork, grilled veggies, and a peach salsa. Josh also ordered a burrito bowl, but with local fish. They even grilled it fresh when he ordered it. “Delicious. Fresh. Goodness.” is definitely the perfect slogan for them.

We walked around Coligny Plaza for awhile. We stopped in at Blue Moon (where the girls had shopped yesterday) and I got the softest, most comfortable shorts ever. Josh wanted to try a new coffee, so we stopped in at Caretta Coffee Co. for him to get a cold brew nitro. I very much dislike coffee, but he loved it and was ready to go for an afternoon of shopping! We passed t-shirt shops, a daiquiri bar, a candy store, and restaurants. When we saw Sweet Carolina Cupcakes, I knew we had to check it out. We got a strawberry shortcake cupcake to go. It was a white cupcake with a strawberry “jam” filling and vanilla buttercream frosting- very yummy! We also stopped in at Coligny Deli & Grill/The Ice Cream Cone for ice cream. I had the Snick-a-Ripple (fudge and caramel swirls in peanut butter ice cream) and Josh got a fresh made warm Belgian waffle bowl with chocolate fetish ice cream, mixed nuts, whipped cream, a cherry, and hot fudge drizzle. Very much worth the stop!

Alysha texted me while we were eating ice cream that a woman was coming to move the sea turtle eggs. Sea Pines was getting ready to begin renovating the beach and wanted to move the eggs to somewhere safer. We headed back to the house and I biked down to the beach to meet the rest of the family. My mom took me to the sea turtle nest- someone had formed a ring around the nest so it could easily be found. We waited for almost an hour and a half and the woman never came, much to our dismay, so we packed up all the beach stuff and biked home to get ready for dinner.   

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Everyone was really in the mood for sushi, so we perused Yelp until we found a sushi restaurant that sounded good. Derrick and Lys stayed at the house to order Papa John’s and relax and the rest of us headed to Okko. When we got there, we realized it was the same sushi restaurant that Kylie and Mitchell had eaten at on their honeymoon a few years ago and they hadn’t realized before we arrived. Okko was amazing and some of the best sushi I’ve ever had. There were so many choices to pick from, definitely something for everyone. Josh and I ordered the tuna bowl for an appetizer- spicy tuna with sriracha sauce, and onion masago on chips. For our main meal, we ordered the spicy scallop roll, spicy tuna roll, angry bird roll (spicy tuna, king crab, and avocado topped with shrimp tempura and wasabi sauce), and sapporo roll (spicy scallop crunch and cucumber wrapped in soybean paper and topped with spicy tuna). We cleaned our plate good. My siblings and my dad (can you believe it?!) all ordered sushi as well, while my mom ordered pineapple rice with chicken (fried rice, pineapple chunks, sweet peas, cashews, carrots, and raisins). What made it really cool was that it was served in half a pineapple. It was a ton of food and after my mom was full, my dad finished it off in a flash…I think if we ever went back, that’s what he would get for sure.

After everyone was stuffed from a fantastic dinner, we went to Pirate’s Island Adventure Golf for putt-putt. It was packed. I mean, who doesn’t love a good game of putt-putt on vacation? We chose the easier course because it seemed to be less crowded. They advertised it was easier, but I still totally got my butt kicked. The atmosphere was awesome- anything pirate-y you could think of- canons, waterfalls, alligators, a pirate ship- all around. Definitely one of my favorite putt-putt places we’ve been to.   

Right as we finished our game, we were able to catch the start of the fireworks show at Shelter Cove from the parking lot. I love fireworks so I was happy to be able to see them for a bit. We didn’t have much time before Hilton Head Ice Cream closed, so we quickly headed over. I got mint oreo in a waffle cone and Josh had cookie monster in a waffle cone. Neither disappointed (although I must say, if I ever venture back to Hilton Head, I will hands down be getting the chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream from HHI).  

I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect end to our adventures in Hilton Head!

    

 

Mee Ga Tee & a Matinee

This weekend was kind of a hodge podge of relaxing and randomness. We kicked the weekend off on Friday with a terrible (for me…mostly because of the heat and humidity lol) workout of running, wall-ball shots, and burpee ring muscle ups. I don’t know what it is about the combination of running and wall-balls, but my lungs certainly don’t enjoy those movements together.

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We celebrated Jake’s birthday with Thai Connection after cooling down from the workout. I was so excited when this restaurant recently opened up in Columbus, but hadn’t got the chance to eat there yet. Thanks for having a birthday and giving us the perfect reason to go, Jake! Every time I eat Thai food, my go to is always Pad Thai. There’s just something about rice noodles with peanut sauce that makes me so happy. I decided this time to switch things up and try something new. I got the Mee Ga Tee, which ended up being a very scrumptious variation of Pad Thai with coconut flavored rice noodles, green & fried onions, and lots of peanut sauce (the whole time I was eating it, I was thinking about how it was all my servings of fat for the day. And the next. And maybe the next hahahaha). It’s possibly my new favorite Thai dish! I’m so glad I decided to try something new! Josh stuck to his traditional choice of Red Curry and was not disappointed. It had the perfect amount of spice with all the yummy rice, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, and Thai eggplant. I also took a bite off of Jake’s plate, much to his dismay. I don’t know why he’s surprised every time. He knows it’s just what I do. And to be fair, I always offer a bite of mine to him. Jake ordered the Pad Seuw- wide noodles with scrambled egg, carrots, and chicken- and it was yummy too! I forgot to take any pictures before we scarfed it all down, I promise I’ll get better about that eventually. I’m already excited about planning another trip there for more delicious food, so there will be plenty of opportunities to take pictures then.

Saturday started off with a rough lifting session. I was exhausted from the week…and more than I care to admit from Friday’s workout. There are just some days that are like that. You might feel great, but miss lift after lift. Other days you don’t feel great, but don’t miss anything.  I only missed one snatch, but every lift felt slow and harder than they should have. After mobility, I decided it just wasn’t worth staying for class and pushing through a long mash-up of hero workouts. Josh stayed to teach his nutrition class and I headed home to start adulting. My Saturday morning routine might seem kind of boring and mundane (gym, meal prep, laundry), but honestly, I enjoy keeping in a routine. It helps me feel organized and in control, which keeps my stress level down. I got a pot of veggie chili started and a load of laundry in the washer before I started portioning out our pork loin, green beans, and broccoli. I caught up on one of my many BravoTV guilty pleasures, Real Housewives of NYC, while finishing meal prep. I know those shows are all so scripted and awful, but I’m a sucker for all the unnecessary drama. When Josh got home, we turned on the CF East and South Regional events. CrossFit is great about having free access to all the events on their YouTube channel, which also makes it easy to jump to the event and heat you want to catch up on throughout the weekend. Being at Regionals in person is quite an experience, but I catch myself getting just as caught up in the events at home- jumping up and down, yelling at the TV, sitting on the edge of my seat. There’s just something about it that sucks you right in. Once we got all caught up on the events for Friday and Saturday, we headed up to Columbus for a movie date. My mom had given us an AMC gift card for Valentine’s Day, but we hadn’t had a chance to use it yet, so we figured it was the perfect time to catch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. I loved the movie! It made me laugh, gasp in shock, and tear up. It had great visual effects, lots of drama, and fun fight scenes. And of course, the soundtrack rocked and Baby Groot was the most adorable. What more could you want for a date night movie?

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Rocko sure was tuckered out after being cute all day. What a ruff life!

For the Love of CrossFit

It’s one of my favorite times of the year in CrossFit world! Tomorrow is the start of the CF Games Regionals events. Every weekend for the next few weekends, athletes across the world will compete in several events testing their fitness to qualify for a spot at the CF Games (this is like the Olympics for CrossFitters). So, if you need me in the next few weekends, I’ll be sitting on the couch with my eyes glued to the TV watching everyone get their fitness on.

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If you know me at all, you know a huge part of my life is CrossFit. I have been CrossFitting since August 2013 (holy crap, that’s almost 4 years!!! Gees, time sure has flown by!). I first heard about CF from one of my best friends, Allison, who was an avid CrossFitter.  When I started at Kremers, I found out that Josh did CF, so I would go into the lab every day and ask what his workout was going to be, laugh in his face at how hard it sounded and how I would never be able to do anything like that, then walk out. It wasn’t until I went up to Chicago to be Allison’s date for her brother’s wedding that I finally got a drink of the Kool-Aid. We did a “deck of cards” workout in the hotel involving handstand push-ups, sit-ups, and air squats. While I struggled through the workout, doing HSPU off the bed (very scaled) and going slow as molasses, I watched Allison bust through the workout with ease (she might have been struggling, but to me she was a goddess). I was so sore for the following week, it hurt to sneeze or laugh… I. was. Hooked. Josh and I are beyond blessed to be a part of the community at CF Ripcord, where he coaches and we both attend classes. Some people may not understand why CF is such an important aspect of my life, so I’ve come up with a list of reasons exactly why I love it so much.

 

  1. It lead me to my husband. Josh and I knew each other from work, but it was really only in passing. When I began CF, I saw him for a few hours every day at the gym and we began spending more and more time together. We would do the 5 pm class together, then decide we both needed to stay to watch and cheer on the 6 pm class…which was totally unnecessary, but gave us more time together. It only took me about 5 months to realize we were going to be more than friends and now we’ve been married for almost 2 years!

  

  1. It has boosted my confidence. I walked into CF very hesitant. I wasn’t friends with anyone and I was not athletic at all. I was manager of the swim team and statistician for the basketball team. Let’s just say those aren’t very physical positions. I had never touched a barbell, done a pull-up, or ran a 5k. There was so much I had never done. But each day I learned something new and pushed myself and now I do things I never imagined possible before- such as bar muscle-ups, handstand push-ups, and olympic lifting. Before CF, I would work out in baggy PE shorts and a t-shirt. Now, I’m proud to wear booty shorts and a sports bra around and show off the hard work I’ve put in. I love that I have thicker legs and muscley arms all because of CF!  

 

  1. It has made me stronger physically. Like I said previously, I was not athletic. Doing CF has pushed me more than I could have imagined. I started out not being able to do one push-up or pull-up, let alone lift a 35# barbell properly. With a lot of drills, progressions, and coaching I can now do a set of 20 push-ups, sets of strict pull-ups, and lift a barbell over my head that weighs more than me!   

 

  1. It has given me another family. This community surrounding CF is one of the most encouraging and supportive I’ve ever been a part of. Walking into CF for the first time is so intimidating, but you realize very quickly that everyone is there to get stronger and be their best. You never have to push yourself through a challenging workout alone. Someone is always there to coach you, cheer you on, and pick you up when you’re having a rough day. I truly have made some lifelong friends through CF and can’t imagine my life without them.

 

  1. It helps me stay healthy and be prepared for life. Before CF, I felt like I was in decent shape. I used to run on the treadmill and do P90X. I soon realized, I was not in shape at all! CF has helped me become stronger and healthier. Functional movement is what CF is all about. These movements have made me more efficient and have helped prevent injuries in my everyday activities. Something as simple as sitting down at your desk involves squatting which we do almost daily in some form in our workouts. Picking up a bag of dog food is similar to a clean. CF has also lead me to a healthier diet. I now eat to fuel my body and recover properly, not just shove my face full of whatever food is available. I feel better, workout better, have more energy, and look better all because of CF!

 

  1. It allows me opportunities to travel. There are CF gyms and competitions around the entire world. I have traveled as far as Los Angeles for the Games and Miami for Wodapalooza to watch people compete. This summer, we’re traveling up to Madison, Wisconsin for the Games. It’s such a great experience to travel to a new place, meet new people who are just as passionate about CF as you are, and discover new cultures and communities.
  2. It has made made me competitive. Having not participated in sports throughout high school or college, I didn’t know I was capable of being competitive. It’s not even about being competitive with the other people in the gym, but more so pushing you against yourself. It’s exciting to see a workout be programmed again and to push yourself to lift a heavier weight or put up a faster time. And while it’s not about beating the person next to you, it is so much more fun to have a friend beside you that is at a similar skill level to push you to finish fast and strong.

 

  1. It makes me work on my weaknesses, while maintaining my strengths. There are so many movements in CF and every workout is different. There is no way to only do movements that you are good at or that you like. There will come a time when something is programmed that you can’t do or don’t like to do. Those workouts show you what you’re really made of. Instead of pouting or skipping class, I choose to perform drills and do progressions working up to that movement. And then when I finally can do that movement, I feel so proud that I worked on my weakness and didn’t let it get me down.  

 

  1. It takes me out of my comfort zone. Do you think climbing a 15 foot rope or walking upside down on your hands isn’t scary? Well, you’re probably crazy, but that’s ok. They’re scary to me (along with a few other movements), but I still try them. I love that CF pushes me to do “scary” things and even if I fail, I had the courage to at least try and someday I will succeed.  

 

  1. It is an awesome stress reliever. Throwing some heavy weight around, sweating, working hard, surrounded by a bunch of awesome people has helped me out on several crappy days like nothing else could. Let’s be real that even on an awesome day, going into the gym can improve my mood.

 

I am so blessed for all that I’ve gained through CrossFit and I absolutely can’t wait to see where it leads me in the future! Here’s to staying fit, hitting new goals, and building a bigger booty!

 

Fiestas & Family

Fiesta like there’s no mañana! There couldn’t have been a better theme for this Cinco de Mayo weekend. It was packed full with a Cinco de Nacho community workout at the gym Friday night, Cinco de Drinko game night at Ethan’s casa Saturday, and Cinco de mi Momma’s birthday Sunday. Ok, so maybe that last one was made up. Doesn’t matter. The weekend was awesome, the end (How adorable is our little monster?!).

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Friday was Cinco de Mayo. It also happened to be the first Friday of the month, which is when CF Ripcord hosts a free community wod and pitch-in. We host this in hopes of getting our name out into the community and bringing in new people that are maybe cautious about trying CrossFit for the first time, but also for all our current members to get together for fitness, fellowship, and tasty food. It was quite possibly my favorite community wod we’ve hosted thus far, in large part because my bestie, Des, and her hubby, Chris, surprised me and came up to workout with us. I don’t get to see her very often, so any time together is much cherished. We had a fun team relay workout set up involving a rower/assault bike, GHD sit-ups, dumbbell snatches, air squats, and handstand walks. One of my favorite aspects of CF is that absolutely anything and everything is scalable, which means that any movement can be scaled back or modified. Not every person who walks into the gym has touched a barbell before or is capable of doing a pull-up or bar muscle up, etc. There are several different progressions and skills that can be done until that person feels comfortable and can perform the prescribed movement with proper technique. I am unable to do handstand walks (upside down and walking on your hands…are you kidding me, that’s scary! The fear factor there may or may not be why I still don’t have a handstand walk lolol) at this time, so I did bear crawls instead. Some people had never been on a GHD so they did abmat sit-ups instead. No matter what version of the movements was being done, people were pushing themselves and working hard. It’s such an experience being surrounded by friends working through a tough workout together. After the workout, we had a Cinco de Nacho nacho bar complete with chips, homemade salsa and guacamole, chicken/turkey/beef, queso, and all the other toppings you could want. Don’t think we didn’t have some delicious desserts to share too- homemade white chocolate macadamia nut and chocolate chip peanut butter cookies as big as your face and moist pumpkin white chocolate chip cookies being my favorites. As much as I love the workout part of our community nights, the time spent sitting cross-legged on the gym floor in a giant circle talking and eating with everyone tops it all.

Saturday was the last day of our deload week on this cycle of our RP Hypertrophy templates. I’m very much ready to get back into the swing of things and do regular CF class on top of our accessory stuff, although I must say it has been kind of nice getting home “early” every evening and having more time to just chill together. We got our lifting in then jumped into the mobility class lead by Ryan. I love that class! I never realize how tight or sore I am from a week of lifting and CF until Ryan starts leading us through different stretches. Swole and flexy, people, you can’t have one without the other. When we got home, we started right to meal prepping for the upcoming week- pork loin, broccoli, green beans, and veggie “chili”. We’ve got our routine down pat now after meal prepping for ~18 months with RP. I portion out all the meat while Josh cooks up the veggie chili. Once the chili is done, I portion that out into as many meals as possible, then fill in the remaining meals with green beans and broccoli. Voilà! It’s as simple as that. We had plans to go to a taco party/game night later, so I made some seven layer dip while Josh whipped up a batch of scrumptious Berries & Cream cupcakes from Life, Love, and Sugar’s blog (PS she has the cutest blog with the best sweet treats, please do yourself a favor and go check it out). These moist vanilla cupcakes with a whipped almond filling and a mixed berry frosting are definitely at the top of my favorites list now.  

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After all the food prep, we got in some lazy time, catching up on TV and cat-napping before heading up to Ethan’s. We loaded our plates up with cecina tacos, Bailey’s cookie balls (Steve has really been holding out on us with his whole “I don’t know how to cook/bake”persona because these cookie balls were great), seven layer dip, cupcakes, and margaritas before heading out to the backyard for some friendly games of cornhole. Poor Jess and Jake had to carry me every round because I was lucky if my bean bag even grazed the board. We got a lot of good laughs about mine and Steve’s attempts at throwing though. Note to self: telling Steve to give the bag a little arc results in the bean bag being thrown straight up into the air and not getting anywhere near the board. When it got too chilly, we headed inside to play Joking Hazard, which is a super fun game where you build your own three-panel comic strip from a deck of cards. Super inappropriate and hilarious for sure. My favorite part of the night was the Jenga game Dell brought. It was just regular Jenga but she had written different “cues” on each block, such as “thumb master” where everyone had to put their thumb on the table when the thumb master did and the last person to do so had to drink. Or cues where the shortest or tallest person had to take a drink. There were so many good ones, I definitely can’t wait to play again. There really is nothing better than a night of games, storytelling, and laughing until your stomach hurts with truly great friends. And hanging out with Bear, of course. 

Sunday morning was spent at church singing praise songs and beginning a new study on prayer. The sermon was a great reminder that God is with us no matter what and there is nothing too big or too small for Him to handle, you just have to ask. Sunday was my mom’s birthday, so after church we met my parents at El Nopal for lunch to celebrate. And really, why not have Mexican food for the third day in a row? There is no such things as too many tacos. We caught up about all the gossip and family matters and it was just nice to have a relaxing lunch together. We came home to finish up all the fun adulting stuff like laundry and tidying up the house. A few weeks ago, Josh had made homemade dog treats and they were such a big hit he decided to make more. We recently got the cutest little bone shaped cookie cutter from a friend and couldn’t wait to use it for these treats. We headed over to my parents house to share the delicious cupcakes Josh had made on Saturday. My mom loves cupcakes, so it was the perfect treat to take for her birthday. It wasn’t long after we got there that we all had to scarf one down. There really was no eating it slow and savoring it, it was just too darn good! Ariel and Rocko got to try the bone shaped treats, so they didn’t feel left out. Somehow the weather was picture perfect (we’ve had like a solid week of rain and gloom and flooding)- fluffy clouds dotting the bright blue sky with the sun shining down, so we sat out on my parents’ back patio and soaked it all in. I can’t wait to have a finished backyard like theirs someday, so we can just relax and enjoy the outdoors whenever we want. Now onto a new Monday, new week, new goals!  

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House sitting & Handel’s

When my Uncle Mark asked if Josh and I wanted to dog/house sit this weekend for them, I jumped on the opportunity. Who doesn’t love a change of pace every once in awhile? A weekend in Carmel was just what we needed. After work on Friday, Josh and I got our lifting and a quick (but hard) workout in then headed up to Carmel. Rocko tagged along and actually did great on his first road trip! We packed his bed, blanket, and a bone for him to gnaw on during the trip…I was so excited when he jumped right in the back and started chewing his bone! That lasted a whole minute before he was ready to be up front on Josh’s lap staring out the window for the remaining hour and twenty-nine minutes it took to get there in the pouring rain. Let me tell you, as much as I love weekends up there, I do not love all the traffic involved and especially not in crappy thunderstorms.

We finally made it up to their house and were greeted immediately by Lambeau, my aunt and uncle’s English Springer Spaniel (I’m pretty sure that’s what breed he is, either way he’s super adorable and cuddly). Rocko and Lambeau did surprisingly well together- I say this because Rocko has been known to have little dog syndrome and make his presence known to any larger dogs from the start. There were multiple times they even sat on the couch next to each other and of course mooched for food together.

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One reason being up in Carmel is so great is all the many different restaurants there are to choose from. I’m just going to go ahead and admit we threw all healthy/balanced food out the window this weekend and enjoyed some great food that’s not normally available to us. Josh and I went to this great ramen spot, Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya, for dinner Friday night. This is nothing like all that cheap ramen I made in my poor college days. I ordered the Tonkotsu Shoyu ramen, a delicious pork broth with black garlic oil, noodles, all the traditional toppings, and a soft boiled egg (excuse me while I wipe the drool off my face). Josh ordered the Tonkotsu Shio Rich ramen, a richer and more garlicky version of mine. We also split a Japanese pork bun (those steam buns…yum!). Much to our delight, we realized Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt was just right around the corner from Kizuki. Easily my second favorite ice cream shop (right behind Jeni’s Splendid) in all the world. With all the rain, we didn’t have to wait long to get our dessert. They have such delicious seasonal flavors right now. I was pretty full from dinner, so I just got one scoop of lemon meringue in a dish. It was the perfect amount of light and sweet and tart lemon with small chunks of pie crust throughout. Josh ordered a scoop of blueberry cobbler and lemon meringue. The blueberry cobbler had swirls of actual blueberry cobbler throughout the creamy vanilla ice cream. Perfection. I wish I could say there are pics of our ice cream, but we devoured it as fast as possible.

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Saturday morning we dropped in at Three Kings Carmel CrossFit. They were super welcoming and had a great gym set-up. We did a partner workout of 50-40-30-20-10 wall ball shots, box jump overs, and calories on the Assault bike. It’s pretty rare that Josh and I ever partner up (usually only when we travel), so it was a change of pace for me…which means I slowed Josh down while slightly dying to keep up with his faster pace. Poor guy even had to do extra calories on the Assault bike because I just couldn’t keep up. I love that partnering with Josh on a workout gets me outside my comfort zone (because is it even CrossFit if you’re not outside your comfort zone lol) and that it gives me that little extra push because I don’t want to let him down. If we’re ever up in Carmel for a weekend, we’ll definitely be stopping in at Three Kings Carmel again.

Even though I was pretty shot after the workout (let me tell you, the Assault bike is no joke and the effects can stay with you long after you’re done when you’re not conditioned to it), I got right to meal prepping when we got back to the house. A lot of people would just say screw it, how annoying to pack up all the components and ingredients for meals for a week and travel with them to prep later, but honestly if we didn’t it would be a complete disaster. Since we did have to pack up all the food and bring it with us, we decided to make it simple and just do pork loin, broccoli, and canned green beans. I had already roasted the broccoli Thursday night and cooked the pork loin in the crock pot overnight Friday, so all that needed to be done Saturday was portion it all out. There’s no excuse to not prep and prepare for the coming week!

Since we had the whole afternoon free, we decided to check out World Market and Clay Terrace. We found some great Mother’s Day gifts at World Market and if money grew on trees, I would happily buy lots of stuff from there for our house. Clay Terrace has a variety of restaurants and stores to shop at. We stopped in at quite a few, including Sur La Table, Altar’d State, Pier 1 Imports, DSW, and American Eagle. After all the shopping, we were hungry (surprise!). Keeping in with our Asian food theme, we decided to try out OMONI Fresh Fast Korean Grill. It was so fun. First, you choose your dish from choices like bulgogi, bibimbap, or chap chae. Then, you choose from a wide variety of toppings like kimchi, zucchini, mushrooms, bean sprouts, etc. They take your food and cook it fresh on the grill for you and bring it out when it’s done. I got the chap chae (sweet potato starch noodles) with zucchini, carrots, spinach and mushrooms. Josh got the beef bibimbap bowl with zucchini, spicy bean sprouts, kimchi, onions, and a fried egg. Both dishes were so delicious! I definitely will be eating there again should we have the chance.

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We headed back to the house to lounge around with the pups and watch tv (we don’t have cable, so staying somewhere that has it is always a treat for us). For dinner, we head to Jasmine Thai. Josh had the red curry full of chicken, crunchy green beans, bamboo shoots, bell peppers, and fresh basil leaves. I opted for the pad thai with chicken and the traditional eggs, ground peanuts, green onion, and bean sprouts. I’m a sucker for any noodles covered in sauce and ground peanuts. The servings were huge, so we had plenty to take home for breakfast the next day. What’s that, you ask? Did we make a trip to Handel’s for dessert? Why yes, we did! And I even remembered to take pictures before we ate it all! I loved the bite of blueberry cobbler Josh shared with me the night before, so I ordered a scoop of that and a scoop of key lime pie in a waffle bowl. The key lime pie was so tart and scrumptious and had swirls of graham cracker crust throughout. Josh ordered a waffle cone with a scoop of key lime pie, a scoop of strawberry cheesecake chunk, and a scoop of coconut cream pie. If you can’t tell from the pic of Josh’s cone below, the Carmel location is the best- he only ordered one scoop of each and it was stacked! Handel’s may be a little more expensive than DQ, but it is so worth every extra penny spent for a towering cone of that fresh homemade ice cream.

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While browsing through Netflix for our Saturday night movie tradition, we came upon the movie “Chef”. I’m not sure how we had never heard about it. A movie with a great cast all about cooking, traveling, and food…What’s not to love about that? I enjoyed it a lot- it had just enough serious moments mixed with plenty of funny scenes to keep my interest the whole time.

Sunday morning was pretty lazy, filled with leftover Thai for breakfast and lounging around. We had heard about B-Spot Burgers on Food Network and realized there was one at Keystone. While burgers are the main spotlight, they also have several brats and thick-cut bologna sandwiches to choose from too. They also have fun milkshake options with suggested alcoholic add-ins! Josh ordered the vanilla bean apple pie and bacon milkshake (with the suggested addition of bourbon obviously). I got the Funguy burger smothered in bleu cheese, grilled onions, and mushrooms. Josh got the Fat Doug burger covered in coleslaw, Swiss cheese, mustard, and pastrami. We shared an order of the thin-cut fries with rosemary. At the table, they have a caddy full of different sauces to try on your sandwich or fries. My personal favorites were the coffee BBQ and the Shasha sauce (mustard based sauce with spices and banana peppers). After lunch, we headed to The Fashion Mall at Keystone. I’ve been to this mall once before and knew Josh would love it. It’s a very upscale shopping center, with stores like Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware, Burberry, Lululemon, Williams-Sonoma, etc. It’s a whole different culture up there and I love walking through all the stores, especially the home goods stores. It’s so fun to see displays set up with different table place settings or bedroom suites. The kitchen supply stores are also soooo fun! After a few hours browsing through the mall, we went back to the house to back up and head home to Seymour. While Lambeau was sad to see us go, I know Rocko was excited to get home and have the house and us all to himself. We had to make one last stop at Handel’s before leaving (don’t judge, I know that’s 3 times in 3 days lol). Since we already tried all the fruity seasonal flavors, we both got a waffle bowl sundae with oree-dough (Oreo mixed with chocolate chip cookie dough) ice cream, toasted peanuts and cashews, whipped cream, and hot fudge. I can’t describe how much I love the last few pieces of waffle bowl covered in hot fudge. Quite honestly, I might just order a waffle bowl with hot fudge and no ice cream next time, I love it that much. And I’m going to pretend I forgot to take a picture because Rocko was in the car trying to steal our ice cream and not because I got so excited I ate it all before I remembered…

This quick weekend trip away shopping and eating was just what we needed to reset and be prepared for a brand new week!