afitmess
April 27, 2017
A Fit Mess

Hi friends! Long time no talk. I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the spring. Our weather here feels more like summer and it has me super excited for the months to come. Bring on the sunshine and warmth!

Today's post discusses the common myths about diet and exercise that many of us may have believed at one point or another. As with a lot of misconceptions, it can sometimes be difficult to let go of these ideas, especially when many of them have been ingrained in our beliefs and habits for so long. I hope that sharing some of the ways I've changed my attitude toward diet and exercise will be helpful to you. As always, I'd love to start a conversation about this!

5 diet and exercise myths I no longer believe

1.  Cut fat from your diet to lose weight.

I'm almost positive that at one time we all believed we should avoid fat in order to lose weight. For quite awhile, fats—such as butter, avocados, and eggs—were viewed as being harmful to your health and fat-free, low-fat foods were recommended instead. It was believed that the added calories from high fat foods would cause weight gain and increase the risk for obesity and heart disease. This couldn't be further from the truth! In fact, eating high quality fats will actually help burn fat, lower cholesterol, keep us feeling full, and prevent blood sugar levels from spiking. Additionally, when you stick to a very low-fat diet you can significantly lower your immune system, which leaves you susceptible to inflammation and illness (source). Plus, many fat-free foods have been highly processed and contain added sugar or other chemicals, which are much worse for your body!

2.  Cardio will yield better results than strength training.

Granted, the results we seek will vary from person to person, but generally speaking, if you are looking to improve your body composition, gain lean muscle mass, and burn fat then strength training will always be more effective than steady state cardio. Contrary to popular belief, lifting weights will not make you gain weight or get bulky. In fact, building muscle will help you decrease fat, increase your metabolism, and keep you energized. I don't want to sound like a broken record here, but I can't tell you how many times I have heard women say that they don't want to get "big," they just want to lose weight...which brings me to the next point...

3.  The number on the scale is best way to measure progress.

Unfortunately, this myth is really hard to dispel. Most people use the scale as their only indicator of progress, but that doesn't provide an accurate picture. By itself your weight is an incomplete measure of body composition and overall health. Instead, you should look at your muscle mass and body fat percentage ratio, analyze how you feel, and review your lifestyle factors. I think a lot of people get discouraged when they focus on numbers and this can kill your confidence and deplete your motivation. I am heavier now than before I had children, but I also have more muscle and greater endurance. I'm stronger and healthier than I have ever been, but if you just went by the number on the scale it would appear that I've simply gained weight. If you find yourself focusing on the scale then it may be time to put it away and have a more accurate assessment done by a professional.

4.  Sleep is overrated. Better to prioritize exercise over rest.

Here's where I wish I could go back to my new parent self and say, "Listen, honey—You're just spinning your wheels if you don't take time to rest." As a new mom of twins I spent most of the early months in a fog-like state. I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and still healing from abdominal surgery (<-c-section). Yet I felt anxious to get back into shape and be my old self again. I sometimes felt that if I didn't use nap time - or other breaks - to workout then it was a missed opportunity. My energy was drained more often than not and I felt frustrated that it took so long to recover. In hindsight, I wish I would have made sleep more of a priority since I'm absolutely sure it would have given me more energy, endurance, and it would have helped me better manage my stress and anxiety as a new parent.

Sleep is essential for regulating hormones, managing weight, reducing stress levels, and improving heart health. Lack of sleep can interfere with all of these and can keep you from feeling your best. I wrote about how to maximize sleep for optimal health in a previous post and you may find a few helpful suggestions there if you struggle with getting adequate sleep.

5.  As long as you exercise, you can eat whatever you want. 

I used to think that it didn't matter what I ate since I exercised on a regular basis. However, I now realize that exercise and diet go hand-in-hand and are both equally important to your well-being. As the saying goes, You can't out-exercise a bad diet. Living a healthy lifestyle means treating your body well - through movement and nourishment.

From a performance standpoint, without the right nutrients in your diet, you may not be able to push through your workouts, reach certain athletic goals, or improve endurance. You may not even have enough energy to exercise! Consuming high-quality protein, carbs, and fats are extremely important for your health.

What are some of the ways you've changed your thoughts or attitude towards diet and exercise?

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Workout: dumbbell complex + video

afitmess
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

afitmess
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

afitmess
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

Monday

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!

 

Tuesday

REST

 

Wednesday

Orangetheory

Partner Workout

Run/row:

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.

 

Strength:

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. 🙂

 

Thursday

CrossFit Sua Sponte

WOD

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

2) METCON:

13 Minute AMRAP:

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

 

Friday

Orangetheory

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

 

Saturday

Orangetheory

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

 

Sunday 

4 mile run + 1 mile walk

 

 

 

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