Workout: dumbbell complex + video

April 17, 2017
A Fit Mess

Dumbbell complex workouts are a great way to improve strength and conditioning. They’re ideal if you (1) don’t have a lot of time, (2) want to fit in an intense workout, or (3) only have access to a limited amount of equipment and space. Dumbbell complex workouts are performed like a traditional strength circuit, however, the transition between movements is much quicker. There is no rest between exercises, but you should include a short break (60-90 seconds) after each round is complete.


The fitness center at our resort in Mexico was rather small and outdated. There wasn’t much equipment available to use and it got busy in the morning, making it feel cramped with only a handful of people there. Matt came up with this dumbbell complex workout for us to do and I loved it so much I had to share with you guys. Be warned: it is MUCH harder than it looks! All you need is a small amount of space and a pair of dumbbells. I used 15# DBs for this, but use whatever weight you feel is challenging yet safe. Remember, this workout moves fast so don’t be overzealous with your weight!


For this workout, perform 8-10 reps of each exercise in order (1-5). Do not rest until you have completed all five exercises. Take 60 seconds to recover before starting the circuit over again. Complete up to 6 rounds. The workout should take no more than 20 minutes.


A Fit Mess


I’ve included a short video of me performing each exercise in case you wanted a visual refernce. I’ve also included a written description of the movements below. If you follow me on Instagram, then you may have seen my video blooper when Madison decided to crash the scene. This happened several times so this video was the best of the bunch.  Keep in mind: the video only shows each exercise once, but for the actual workout you will complete 8-10 reps of every movement before moving to the next. For example, you would do 8 renegade rows to push ups and then 8 squat thrusters.



Exercise descriptions

Renegade row to push up: In a plank position with your hands on dumbbells (instead of the floor) perform a low row on each side. After completing a right and left row, perform a push up with your hands still on the dumbbells. This equals one rep. Be sure to keep your core tight and avoid rotating your hips. Try to keep the movement just in your arms.

Squat thrusters: Holding a dumbbell in each of your hands, bring the weights down to the ground and then jump back into a plank. Quickly jump back up to the top and stand up (still holding the dumbbells). You’re essentially performing a burpee holding dumbbells.

Squat to dumbbell curl to overhead press: Stand with feet at shoulder-width apart. Squat down and tap the dumbbells on the floor. Stand back up and curl the dumbbells up and press over your head. Slowly lower back down and repeat.

Bent over rows: Stand in a slight squat with your back flat and the dumbbells at your sides or slightly in front of your body. Perform a low row with both arms, pulling your shoulder blades together. Be sure to keep your shoulders from creeping up towards your ears.

Romanian dead lifts: With your knees slightly bent and your feet close together, lower the dumbbells down in front of your legs. Be sure to keep them close to your body. Reach slightly below your knee and use your hips and glutes to pull yourself back up. Bring your hips forward at the end.

Please let me know if you have any questions!



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Mexico! Vacation recap + pics

April 11, 2017

Last week Matt and I visited Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort in Akumal, Mexico and we had a fantastic time. We both agreed that Akumal Beach is probably the nicest beach we have ever visited. The week couldn’t have been more perfect.


Akumal Bay Resort is an all inclusive beach front hotel located near the Mayan Riviera. The service and care from the staff was excellent. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly. I would highly recommend this hotel.

Beach view. The water was calm and clear with hardly any waves. I loved snorkeling and swimming in the ocean. The water temperature was perfect! The beach was sandy and soft. There were no rocks or shell which made it great for beach strolls.

The resort was right on the beach and there were tons of lounge chairs and canopys to use.

This was our breakfast view each morning. So beautiful!

Decks throughout the resort and paved pathways made it easy to explore the area. We stayed at the resort the entire week, but walked into town once to buy souvenirs.

There were about five restaurants at the resort, including Japanese, French, and a Brazilian Steak House. Matt and I agreed that the buffet was by far the best so we ate most of our meals there. I loved the yogurt and fresh fruit!

Most mornings we went to the buffet for breakfast, worked out, and then headed back to the buffet for post workout coffee and mimosas.

I was so impressed by the resort staff. Everyone was incredibly attentive and friendly. There was definitely a language barrier at times, but for the most part we got by fine and even learned some words.

Espresso doble beachside. The coffee at the resort was truly incredible.

There was a beautiful spa located on the resort. It’s tucked away from the rest the hotel and so peaceful.

The spa offers a service called “hydrotherapy” which alternates between hot and cold temperatures to stimulate blood flow and remove toxins from the body. It’s also super relaxing. You begin with a shower and then spend 10-15 minutes in a sauna, 10-15 minutes in a steam room, and then you end with a cool whirlpool bath.

The whirlpool was so relaxing! I had the hydrotherapy treatment three times.

We walked the beach several times and enjoyed daily swims. There was a large main pool and four smaller infinity pools throughout the resort. There were also several beach and pool bars which made it convenient to enjoy drinks by the water.

This is the view of some of the rooms from the beach. There were beds and lounge chairs along the pool and garden. We often saw people laying on them for the entire day!

All inclusive meant a lot of eating and drinking. We both loved the margaritas and I ate my weight in guacamole.

I drank mostly white wine and margaritas on the rocks, but I did have a cosmo once and it was delicious!

Our room had a walk out deck complete with a jacuzzi and Adirondack chairs. I also loved the hammocks right in front and spent several hours reading in them.

Can’t beat this view! Laying on the beach doing nothing = total happiness.

This was such a relaxing and wonderful vacation for us. We cannot wait to go back to Mexico.


I hope you all had a lovely week!



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Breaking away + last week’s workouts

April 2, 2017

Hello there! Happy Sunday to you. We’re all packed up and ready to leave for Mexico tomorrow. Our flight leaves around 6:20 A.M. so our day is going to start mightttyyyy early. Matt and I are excited and a little nervous to leave the girls, but they are happy to get to spend so much time with Grandma and Grandpa so we know they will have a great time. Plus, we promised them presents when we return (no shame over here about bribes!).


I’ve packed lots of dresses, suits, and workout clothes. All about comfort for me!

I am planning on totally unplugging while we are away so that I can really enjoy our time together. I picked up a couple of books to read while we are travelling and I’m excited to crack them open.

We are going to miss these babies like CRAZY! Love my sweet girls. 🙂

Anywho, I’ll be back in a week with photos to share. I hope you guys have a great week and stay healthy and happy. As always, thanks for reading my little blog!


Last week’s workouts


CrossFit Sua Sponte

1)  3 rounds for total reps:

1:oo minute max effort back squats – I used #75 and completed the following reps: 16, 15, 17

2)  4 rounds for total burpee box jumps of:

3:00 minutes to run 200 meters and then max burpee box jumps (20″ box) in remaining time -> 1:00 minute rest. My burpee box jumps were between 25-30 each round. This workout was CRAZY hard!







Partner Workout


1st person begins on rower and rows 1,000 meters while the other person runs at a push pace at 1% incline. Then switch places and the other person rows 1,000 meters while the other runs at a push pace. Continue this sequence, dropping the row by 250 meters each time and adding 1% incline to the run. So, each person would row 750, then 500, and finally 250 meters. The incline would be +1% each round.



1st partner performs the following set while the other partner rows:

  • 8 chest presses (I used 30# DBs)
  • 8 low rows (I used 25# DBs)
  • 8 lateral raises (15# DBs)
  • 16 plank up downs


Goal: 5,000 meters or more; my partner and I got to 5,300 thanks to her long legs. 🙂



CrossFit Sua Sponte


1) Gymnastics Tests:

  • 3 min AMRAP arch ups (or “supermans”)
  • Rest 1 min
  • 3 min AMRAP hollow rock hold with pvc overhead (holy hard!)
  • Rest 1 min
  • 3 min AMRAP ring lockout hold


13 Minute AMRAP:

  • 8 strict supinated pull ups
  • 16 thrusters 35#
  • 24 split jumps




I wasn’t planning on going to class on this day, but my evening opened up and I was able to squeeze it in. It did not feel that great, mostly because I was feeling tired from Thursday’s WOD. The strength floor looked like this:

Round 1:

  • 45 second bench hop overs, then 2-3 rounds of:
  • 16 DB thrusters
  • 12 plank jacks


Round 2:

  • 45 second bench hop overs, then 2-3 rounds of:
  • 12 DB curls
  • 12 split jumps


Round 3:

  • 45 second bench hop overs, then 2-3 rounds:
  • 12 DB high rows
  • 12 leg raises




3 group workout

Strength floor (block 1):

  • 30 seconds DB squat to overhead press
  • 30 seconds skier swings
  • 30 seconds push up to bird dog
  • Repeat 2x


Strength floor (block 2):

  • 30 seconds bentover low row
  • 30 seconds tricep overhead press
  • 30 seconds of mountain climbers
  • Repeat 2x



4 mile run + 1 mile walk




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Exercising for vanity vs. exercising for health

March 31, 2017
A Fit Mess

What motivates you to exercise? Have you considered the reasons why you choose to workout? Today I’m tackling a topic that I find myself thinking about more and more these days: exercising for vanity vs. exercising for overall health. To be honest, as I started this post my thoughts were a bit all over the place, but I’ve tried to focus on the main points I want to get across. I definitely have an opinion or two on the matter, and although you may not agree with me, I am speaking from my own experience and perspective.


I’m willing to bet that many people workout in order to look a certain way. In fact, I think appearance is probably one of the top reasons we take that first step into the gym. Of course, this is only one piece of the equation. It takes a combination of diet, exercise, and many other lifestyle factors to positively influence your overall health.


It’s worth acknowledging that while physical appearance may be a top reason for people to start exercising – it’s the other health benefits that keep us coming back.


For me, exercise is part of my lifestyle. While I might have been motivated by appearance when I was younger (and had NO clue that fitness was anything more than running on the treadmill), I now understand the positive effect exercise has, not only on the outside, but on my mental health, productivity, overall well-being, and relationships.


Exercise can often be viewed as an activity that is done solely for the sake of vanity. Frequent gym-goers may be seen as overly concerned about their appearance and narcissistic. Or some may view exercise as a punishment or as a way to offset other unhealthy behaviors. Please don’t mistake – I am not talking about those who struggle with eating disorders. If you are suffering from a health or exercise disorder, I encourage you to seek help right away. In this post, I’m discussing the connection between exercising for your appearance and exercising for your overall health. It’s fair to say these don’t have to be mutually exclusive. You can choose to workout in order to achieve a certain physical appearance as well as to gain the health benefits that result from exercise.


What’s my point? Exercise is so much more than a means to a good butt or killer abs. And while I certainly acknowledge that some may be purely motivated by appearance (totally fine, as long as you don’t struggle with an eating disorder or get self-critical about yourself), understanding and acknowledging the deeper benefits to exercise will help you continue on your healthy habits.

Some of my favorite benefits of regular exercise include:

  • Mental sharpness and clarity – I am so much more productive personally and professionally on the days when I’ve worked out. Running helps me break through mental blocks and lifting will inevitably increase my confidence and focus.
  • Manage anxiety and stress – I definitely turned a corner in my mental health when I began to consistently exercise. Fitness helps me manage stressful occasions, sort through personal problems, and keep anxiety at bay. One thing I really appreciate about my therapist is that whenever we meet she checks to make sure I’m exercising regularly.
  • Helps with aging and extends your lifetime – I’m sure you’ve seen these super-agers. They’re older individuals who appear and act much younger than their age. Not only are they active and healthy, but they’re smart, perceptive people. In other words, they are aging well and extending their quality of life.
  • Keeps health conditions, like heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis in check – Since I had gestational diabetes during my last pregnancy, I am more likely to develop type 2 diabetes down the road. Exercise helps regulate blood sugar levels and supports thyroid function. My family also has a history of heart disease (my mother and my grandmother both died of a heart attack at age 40) so I make it a priority to keep my body strong and healthy.
  • Offers a way to show yourself some love – Exercise is enjoyable for me. Sure, it’s hard as hell at times, but I never regret it. And I always feel better afterwards. Taking time out for activity gives me a break from my day, but it’s more than that. It can reset a bad attitude, challenge you physically and mentally, and it’s a way to show your body that you are invested it in long term.


I would love to know what your thoughts are on this subject.

Thank you for reading!



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