Good morning!

Any other die hard AM workout-ers (uh?) out there? I have been back on the 5:30am Crossfit bandwagon this last week and can’t ignore how much 1) more productive 2) optimistic 3) energized I am when I drag my butt out of bed to go sweat in the wee hours of the morning. Loving it! And man does it feel good to be back in a Crossfit gym again — I don’t always love Crossfit, but having taken a long break I am a happy camper in there right now 🙂

Rather than a weekend play-by-play, here are some snaps of what our weekend looked like over here, captioned in 5 words or less of course!


All stocked up for summer! 😉


Finally hung up some artwork…


Learning a new game…


My swing looks better, right?


Mini golf. Call me Tiger.


Left sticker on hat. #Rookie.


Mad Greens. Husband’s snack. :O


Mad Greens. Amazing random creation.


GF pizza + pulled pork + wine = dinner.


Golfing, round 2. Loving sunny Denver!

And that just about sums up our weekend! Check back later this week for a mini home tour and a post the move to Denver + how we searched for and purchased furniture for our entire place in less than two weeks, from thousands of miles away and on a tight budget. We learned a lot through the process (some good, some bad) and I am excited to share that knowledge with you guys 🙂


Things I’m Loving Thursday

Hi guys!

I’ve been looking forward to this post all week. My favorite posts from other bloggers are the “Friday Favorite” style posts, in which writers share what they’ve been loving…I always get some great ideas and recommendations, oftentimes for items or activities that would never have occurred to me otherwise. I’m hoping as readers that you, too, will share your recent favorites in the comments section!

Now without further ado… the first “Things I’m Loving Thursday” 😉  

The Protein Bar

My Starbucks addiction may have actually been replaced – what is going on?!


I’ve eyed The Protein Bar every morning on my walk to my office in downtown Denver, and last week I finally decided to check it out. I’ve been back every day (sometimes twice daily…oops) since! They have a small, albeit fantastic menu of healthy, natural, and organic dishes. Even better, they list all of their ingredients and the nutritional information for everything! So far I’ve had the Pesto Egg Scramble, aka delicious + low in carbs + packed with natural protein, and the Mile High Perk smoothie (which has replaced my mid-day coffee), made with chocolate and espresso (!) protein, almond milk, and cocoa malt.

For all of their drinks, The Protein Bar offers whey, soy, and vegan protein powders. Bonus!

Fit Bittin’


Semi (?) related to my new Protein Bar obsession, Matt gifted me the FitBit Flex he received from work last week and I am in love! I didn’t think tracking my steps, etc. would ever really appeal to me and, while I’m not overly concerned at the end of the day if I have met the 10,000 step goal or not, it has served as a great catalyst to get me up and moving every 30 or 60 minutes while at work! The Protein Bar is a few blocks from my office, so I looove watching my steps rack up as I walk to get a cool treat 😉 Totally justifies it! Right? (Say “right!”)


A few of my older sisters have sworn by their FitBits for a few years now (one of my sisters lost more than 40 lbs and credits the FitBit as a motivating tool for her to get healthy), and this morning we started a “group” for some friendly, familial competition >> like everyone in my family, I can be hypercompetitive. This could get interesting 🙂

Have you guys seen all the cute new bracelets now available to hide your FitBit chip? So in love with this one. [Husband, if you are reading this, don’t forget my birthday is in a week! 😉 ]

Sweet Summertime


Does this pic even need an explanation? Matt and I had a Whole Foods picnic out by the fire at our new place last weekend and I cannot.freaking.wait. to do it again this weekend and maybe every night for the rest of the summer?? (sorry, bank account. Whole Foods wins always). Eating fresh, delicious food with a bottle of cab and my favorite guy…I felt very happy in that moment and confident that Denver is going to be a great, great adventure for us! We even met a crew of 20 and 30 somethings that were also out doing the summer night thing and shared some beers and small talk. Yay for starting to meet some potential friends!


Also on the agenda for this summer are more visits to Red Rocks Ampitheatre. A legend in its own right, we had heard from many people when mentioning our move to Denver that Red Rocks is a must-do. We went and checked out Lindsey Stirling last week and have already purchased tickets for two more shows at the venue this summer (and likely will add more!). It is difficult to describe in words the experience; simultaneously intimate and jaw-dropping. It didn’t hurt that throughout the entire show, we watched downtown Denver (in the background) light up with a lighting storm. It is a night I won’t forget and I am so, so looking forward to more in the future!

New amino acid flavor


For any of my bodybuilding friends out there (or just BCAA fans!), GOOD NEWS! Costco is carrying the large amino acids again!!! A few months ago, they stopped carrying these (they sold the grape flavor for a long time) and Matt and I were so bummed – these get expensive when ordered online. To our surprise (and excitement!!!), we came across this new-to-us flavor while on our weekly Costco run last weekend and immediately grabbed a few…you know, just in case they stop selling again 😉 I’m not usually a lemon-lime fan, but this flavor is awesome. I drink it before workouts and sometimes, when I’m heaving trouble hitting my 1.25 gallon a day goal for water intake, I’ll add some BCAAs to the water for a little flavor kick.

Audiobooks for cardio


It never occurred to me to listen to audiobooks until I read a post by The Fitnessista where she mentioned listening to them + how it helped cardio fly by. I downloaded “The Husband’s Secret” by Lane Moriarty (also an idea poached from Gina) and gave it a try a few times this week. I have to say that, at least for steady-state cardio, this is a great idea!

I will always prefer a book in my hands (devouring a good book is one of my favorite “me time” activities), but listening to a pleasant voice read me a suspenseful novel while I chug away on the stairmaster was a nice change of pace.

[heads up though…audiobooks from iTunes are like $20! I was shocked.]

Lifting heavy / CROSSFIT

From October 2014 – May 2015, I did the same.exact.workouts. every week per the workout plan  provided by my coach (I competed in my first bikini bodybuilding competition on May 8th). They were higher rep, lower weight.

MAN have I missed hitting the gym to lift heavy. Something about it makes me feel strong and empowered (and kinda badass ;)) The last few weeks have my love for strength training back in full force and it feels goooood.

Also started Crossfit workouts again this week…trying a new gym out tonight and am hoping I love the vibe. It’s super close to our new  place!

Coincidentally, it’s also a running WOD which happen to be my favorite. Excited to get my butt kicked tonight!

I’m looking forward to sharing workouts with you soon 🙂

Tell me, what are YOUR Friday favorites this week?

What I Ate Wednesday

Is it a blogging faux pas to post my WIAW eats on Thursday?

As with most mornings, I woke bright and early yesterday to fix breakfast and pack lunches for Matt and myself. My husband usually wakes up shortly after I do in the morning, and we make an effort to sit and eat breakfast together before heading off to work. It’s a small part of our day but I love being able to start our days together…I will happily sacrifice a few extra snooze minutes for it!

After fixing him some eggs, I threw together a “pancake” with 1/2 a banana, one egg, egg whites, and a 1/4 c. of oats.


Topped with my new favorite concoction  – Fage 0% greek yogurt + PB2!


I had tried PB2 in the past and mixed it with water like the instructions say to and was NOT impressed. But this?! It is SO good! And has a similar consistency to the real stuff…I almost prefer it to regular peanut butter and it has significantly better macronutrient numbers. Also added some bloobs and syrup + a side of a big glass of H20.


Mixed some lemon-lime amino acids into water for some flavorful hydration on my commute to work.


Snacked on this protein bar on my usual mile long walk to the light rail. Matt bought these a few MONTHS ago and neither of us are big fans so we have had a Costco size stash sitting in our cupboards basically untouched. Willing myself to eat them so they don’t go to waste! (really, to make more room for Quest Bars) 😉


Got to the office around 815am, knocked out some work, and before I knew it my stomach was growling. I had packed some food but a Pesto Egg Scramble from The Protein Bar was calling my name so I took a mental break/walk for a little morning splurge 😛


+ a side of honeydew melon!


Lunch was a salad made up of spinach + baby carrots + beets + grilled zucchini + chicken + tabasco for dressing. Doesn’t look great but YUM!


I also stopped for my midafternoon caffeine hit 🙂 I went with a Pike Place + an inch of steamed breve + 2 shots of SF hazelnut  syrup.


This happened shortly after. I meant to have a bite, but my life is essentially ruled by my sweet tooth 😉


How about dat car dealership coffee, though?! Matt and I had an off day from the gym, so we took advantage of some extra time to go check out some cars together. I drank three of these while we were there for NO reason. (P.S….to my complete shock and surprise, we ended up walking away with a new SUV!)


The night ended with a ground turkey + egg white scramble topped with a bit of lightened alfredo from Matt’s dinner (butternut squash ravioli and turkey meatballs). Can’t forget that glass (ok, two) of cabernet to celebrate the successful purchase!

Not a super exciting day of eats, but it happen! Can you tell that I LOVE breakfast food? Ha!

Are you a pancakes for dinner person or leftovers for breakfast person?

Quest Protein Ice Cream Sandwiches

Denver finally had some nice weather this weekend! Last week there were some impressive lightning storms and torrential downpours (which, admittedly, I LOVE. Must be the Seattle in me. BUT there are too many good things about summer to not get excited about that too!).

My hubs and I spent the weekend sleeping in, running errands, and playing outside. Saturday night we had a fireside picnic date c/o Whole Foods and a bottle of red wine.

whole foods picnic

It was perfection, but with our plates were licked clean and our bottle empty, I was craving a [healthy-ish] summertime sweet treat to end the night. Sadly, when I went back inside to raid our cupboards, we had exactly ZERO of the ingredients necessary for s’mores. I had to get creative and am loving the result!

Hello, QuestBar + Arctic Zero ice cream sandwich!


Only two things needed for this “recipe”:


I just cut my quest bar in half (like the picture below) to essentially make two really thin bars.


Then, I popped them in the oven at 350 degrees for 6 minutes (NOTE!!! I only did this cause I wanted a crunch to my ice cream sandwich…the bars harden in the oven. For an authentic ice cream sandwich texture, completely skip the oven)


Let them cool for a few minutes before slapping a generous portion of Arctic Zero Cookie Dough ice cream between them and devouring!

A pint of Arctic Zero has less sugar in it that ONE serving (there are four in a pint) of most ice creams. It is also low in fat and high in protein. A lot of my girlfriends that compete in bikini and figure competitions swear by it for that reason! Personally, I like the taste and choose it over other ice cream choices when I don’t want the rock-in-my-stomach feeling after eating 😉

Oh and these are SO easily customizable. Consider all the flavors of Quest bars out there x the flavor varieties of Arctic Zero ice creams = unlimited combinations to experiment with!

I have a feeling this will be a regularly occurring treat this summer 😛

Let me know if you give this try – especially if  you make it with your own special twist! You can also tag me in photos of your ice cream creation on Instagram (@caitierichards). I’d love to see 🙂


What is your favorite Quest bar flavor? Any creative ways to eat it?

Paleo “PB” & J Muffins

Coming at you this morning with one of my all-time favorite (paleo or otherwise!) recipes.


Making 12 of these little muffs takes about 10 minutes + bake time, and they make a great grab n’ go snack or a post-dinner treat with a little shot of almond milk 🙂


In addition to the portability and nostalgic taste factor (anybody else post up after AM kindergarten with a crustless PB&J to watch Blues’ Clues?),  I think these muffins are so popular in our house because we almost ALWAYS have the ingredients necessary to make them.


Thanks to their staying power, my husband likes to eat two of these before he lifts. He also likes to eat two of them after he lifts…and just about any other time of the day (one batch of these does not last long in our house!).

IMG_2244IMG_2242 IMG_2250 IMG_2253

This recipe is an adaptation of the Peanut Butter and Jelly Stuffed Muffins from the always-inspiring PaleOMG.

Let me know if you give them a try tonight and if you have any leftovers tomorrow morning – they tend to “disappear” overnight 🙂


– 2 mashed bananas

– 1 c. sunflower seed butter (in  the peanut butter section of most grocery stores)

– 1/4 c. honey

– 3 eggs, whisked

– 1/8 c. almond flour*

– 1/8 c. coconut flour*

– 1 tsp. vanilla extract

– 1 tsp. cinnamon

– 1 tsp. baking soda

– pinch of salt

– 1/4 c. jelly (I cheated and used store bought…aka not strict paleo…but try this recipe if you’re looking to make this 100% paleo-friendly)

*I like to use both flours, but the recipe works with just a 1/4 c. of coconut flour, or 1/4 c. of almond flour, respectively!


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mash bananas in a large bowl. Add sunflower butter, honey, eggs, and vanilla extract and mix it together.

3. Add almond and coconut flours, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt and mix well.

5. Place liners in cupcake tin. Scoop a large spoonful of batter into each cup, filling each cup about half way (I fill them slightly less). Then use a small spoon to scoop jelly into the middle of each cup. Use the rest of the batter to layer over the jelly in each cup.

6. Place in oven for 30-35 minutes.

7. Remove from the oven and let cool. Like I said, I like to serve these warm with a glass of almond milk.

3 Ingredient Pancakes

As will become evident here on That Barbelle, I love food. Pizza is my bestie. Never have I ever passed up on a vanilla cupcake. My all-time favorite breakfast is leftover apple pie.


[Here’s me enjoying one of my fav past times]

BUT my love for food doesn’t always translate to love for my bod, ya know? Some of my favorite foods aren’t the kind of fuel my body feels best receiving. I have found that I feel my best when I eat (mostly) nutrient-dense, clean foods – I feel happier, healthier, stronger, and more satiated. I still get excited when I see a donut box at work (hello, you gorgeous maple dream) BUT I get even more excited when I find ways to marry my love for food with ingredients that are good for my body.

I have found that what I eat for breakfast sets the tone for my choices throughout the day. Pancake also happens to be my favorite food group.

Healthy starts + love for pancakes = healthy pancakes. Boom.


3 ingredient macro friendly pancake

So easy. So simple. This pancake is loaded with protein and the oats are sure to keep you satisfied!

Full disclosure: these aren’t going to taste like your favorite fluffy ‘cakes, ok? These are a healthified, simplified version. But let’s be real…pancakes are really just a vehicle for nut butters, berries, chocolate chips and whipped cream. What I’m trying to say here is, by making these pancakes, we can really load up on the toppings 😉 Balance, baby!

I have literally had this pancake every morning for the last two weeks. I am eating one now.

Serves one

´         Prep Time: 5 minutes

´         Cook Time: 5 minutes


´         1/4 cup rolled oats

´         4 egg whites

´         1 teaspoon cinnamon

*optional: 2 packets of stevia


    1. Spray pan with cooking spray and heat to a medium heat
    2. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl until all ingredients are fully mixed
    3. Pour batter onto the warm pan to form one large pancake
    4. Allow to cook until edges start to harden, about three minutes
    5. Flip pancakes and allow to cook until batter is no longer runny, about two more minutes
    6. Top with additions of your choosing!

BRB…going to climb in bed and wait for morning so I can make more pancakes.

What are your all-time favorite pancake topping combos? Any exceptionally weird ones?

Have a lovely weekend!