Monthly Archives: October 2010

Go Ahead. Motivate My Day!

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: I am relatively healthy, but over the years I’ve developed arthritis and diabetes…. I have meds that have added to my weight gain…. Although I have access to a gym, I don’t have workout clothes. As someone with chronic pain, any suggestions on how to motivate myself to exercise?

Liz, Alexandria, VA

A: I’d say you motivate yourself the same way as those who aren’t in pain – by yelling, guilt, comparison with others, negative self-talk and a serious taunting of your mirror! Oh, wait (hits brakes and skids into ditch), those are actually found to NOT be motivating. Oh, that’s very different. Never mind.

1. Go with friends.

2. Wear comfortable clothing (doesn’t have to be “workout” clothes), but not ugly, baggy stuff that makes you feel frumpy.

3. Research has shown that arthritis pain is ameliorated by exercise.

4. Some interesting news just came out a few weeks ago showing that diabetes can be reduced or even reversed in combination with a good diet.

5. Only do a few minutes at a time. You will be miserable and unsuccessful if you try too much.

6. If your club offers a free intro session with a personal trainer, take it. Make sure it’s someone with knowledge of medical issues. A good trainer will be encouraging and give realistic, achievable goals.

Kymberly: I am pretty sure Alexandra was talking about her parenting techniques in that first part. Finally she can put her Master’s Degree in Counseling to some use besides making us all crazeeeee!. More to the point, I want to add a few points:

1) Wear whatever will get you to the gym. Except the MC Hammer pants. So last decade or two. Believe me, everyone else is too busy with their own workout and body image to worry about what you are wearing….unless you are not wearing anything. Guaranteed attention getter. For more on this plus a laugh or two, check out our post from waaaaaay back when we were the same age and weight as now: Do Sexy Clothes Make The Workout.

2) Ask yourself: “What is the LEAST amount of exercise I can do today and still feel I made some progress and did not aggravate my pain?” Whatever the answer is–5 minutes, 12 minutes, 49 seconds–commit to this least amount and revel in accomplishing it. Keep asking this question every day. Lo and behold, you will find the minutes adding up, the guilt and overloaded feeling going down, your pain levels dropping, and your gym fees worthwhile. But not going up. One hopes….

Photo credits: Photobucket

Dear Readers: What skills do you draw upon to motivate yourself to be active? What is your favorite motivational quote?


Love Exercise; Work is a Pain Though

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: Yep, I am a workaholic and a busy mom of three, but I still try to get my exercise. I try to get a bike ride and a couple of kettle bell workouts a week. Additionally, I have a workout bench on an incline that I like to do crunches. My problem comes with the endless hours I spend at the desk. I have a recurring pain in my right shoulder blade, on my mousing side, and it affects my shoulder’s range of motion. It usually flares up after I have been working extra hard. I would like some exercises and stretches I could do throughout the day. At my husband’s work, they call them fitness breaks and they are designed to prevent Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSIs). I am sure almost all of we desk jockey’s could use some pointers about this. Thanks!  Kami, Houston, TX

Desk Jockey with Poor Posture

Alexandra: Why are you working extra hard? That’s just wrong. You should go work with your husband since his company gives wife-smooching fitness breaks. But let’s just imagine for a second that you like your job and have no plans to change your good-girl of fitness ways. That’s a flare-up of another color.

1. Check your chair height. If it’s too low, you are over-contracting in the upper traps (shoulder/neck area).

2. Stretches – Do some that lengthen and release the upper torso area.

3. Posture, posture, and oh, posture. Go back and read this so that I don’t have to repeat repeat myself:

4. Many people like to roll the shoulders forward. Why? I don’t understand that. Most desk jockeys are already over-stretched in the back and over-tight in the front (chest/shoulders). Why do more? So….a mini-desk fitness minute is to roll your shoulders back and down. Don’t roll forward.

5. Lastly, find out if your company has an ergonomic professional on staff. If so, that person can assess your work area to make it more physically functional and supportive.

Kymberly: Let’s also address the “endless hours you spend at a desk,” you “desk jockey” you. Look for opportunities to stand up more and sit less. When you talk on the phone, stand or walk about your work area. At least once an hour get up and out of the sitting position. Walk to the farthest bathroom; get supplies one at a time; forego calling a colleague and go see that person in person. Oooh, I like the alliteration of that last sentence, which rolled so trippingly off the mouse. Gotta go stand up now or risk turning mousy. In short, interrupt your desk jockey pattern. RSI is Really Sucky Inactivity so actively check that you are not in the same position for minutes on end. One great hour of exercise cannot overcome 8 hours of a locked-in sitting position. But if that ergonomic professional advises a hot tub, spa, and barcalounger for your office, go for it! With three kids you deserve some down time. Yeah, Down at the Gym!

Readers: What are your favorite workplace exercises or stretches? What is your favorite work?


F & F Join HHM (It’s Alphabet Day)

Dear Fun & Fit fans, stalkers and those who just can’t figure out how to hide from us:

We are happy to announce that Fun and Fit is officially a member of Hive Health Media Blog Network, an emerging health and fitness lifestyle publisher. Designed and managed by Dr. Jarrett Morrow, Hive Health Media connects with a diverse group of people who share the common interest of health and fitness.

Please visit Hive Health Media and check out the wide variety of topics posted there, including the two (so far) by Fun and Fit, Thrive With 5 Fast & Easy Fit Facts and Will Weight Training Make Me Huge? While you’re there, read the posts by our colleagues – they all passed a rigorous screening to become part of the network (we bribed our way in with some fancy flying push-ups), and have a lot to say. Here’s to a fun, fit and informed lifestyle!


Shape Up or Ship Out Shoes?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: Okay, what’s the truth about those “shape up” shoes.  Can I get into shape without going to the gym?  Will they really straighten my posture, burn more calories, firm and lift my butt?  Should I be firing my old sneakers?

Diane in Orcutt, CA

Kymberly: “Truth? You can’t handle the truth!” Or can you?

Alexandra: More importantly, can you handle Jack Nicholson? Walk closer to me in your black high-heeled pumps and I’ll whisper the answer–“Yes, you can get in shape without going to the gym.” Let me put it this way; if you wear the shoes and start to walk more and stand up straighter, then the shoes are working because you are now moving the body that’s in those shoes. Are the “toning shoes” really magical? Um, only if they come with a magician. Here’s a direct quote from an unbiased study (meaning the shoe company didn’t fund the study): “Across the board, none of the toning shoes showed statistically significant increases in either exercise response or muscle activation during any of the treadmill trials. There is simply no evidence to support the claims that these shoes will help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories or improve muscle strength and tone.” In plain English, that quote means, “Toning shoes–Meh!”

K: Fire up the old sneakers. Fire the new sneakers. But be sneaky about it.

A: Whether you walk in high heels, toning shoes, old sneakers or your favorite bunny slippers, you will feel some effects after your walk simply because you are “mixing it up.” No, that is not a reference to Joe’s Bar on State Street in Santa Barbara (great place to mix it up, BTW); it means any change will make you feel like your butt just got some new “firmware.” Here’s some very dry, potentially boring information you should read about choosing your exercise shoes. And I’d know…I wrote it!

K: As for lifting your butt – you want info on the bottom line? — The bottom line is WALK. Walk some more. Wear whatever motivates you to walk often and happily. People who wear and love the new “shape up” shoes report being more fit. Most likely it is because they are simply walking more. Hey, whatever it takes….. Now where did I put my bunny slippers?

Readers: What motivates you to get out of the house and take a walk? Yes, you can say “my dog.” We are not picky; we are nosy.


HomeBody Workout

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: Just read your article at and I’d love to hear your suggestions on how to add 15-20 minutes of weight-training exercises at home 3-4 times a week using free weights, bands, etc.  The more specific the better! I do different types of cardio during the week, all outside here in beautiful Santa Barbara! I realize at the age of 52 that it is more and more difficult to tone up and lose some fat and weight, just about 5 pounds. I do not belong to a gym and so would like to have the tools to do this at home so my metabolism can rev up and that flab can turn to leaner muscle! many thanks

Alexandra, Santa Barbara, CA.

Alexandra: Let’s start with two wondertastic exercises you can do at home with NO equipment where you could get lots of ROI (Rugburn On Impact) – squats and push-ups. The problem is that most people do these with poor, less-than-ideal, blackmail-photo-worthy form. Let’s just say this is where trainers earn their money. But this site has some very specific total body and lunchtime exercises that will have you worshipping me so much that you’ll want to change your name to Alexandra, just to be like me! Hey, wait a minute!


Kymberly: Disclaimer – this is not my sister questioning herself. That could happen, mind you. But in this case, TWO Alexandras exist in one website. 2 Good + 2 Be = 4Gotten. Next to acknowledge is that reading our posts at noozhawk will lighten your day. And maybe your body weight! .

A: One of the all-time best workouts we’ve experienced that will kick-start your metabolism comes from Aileen Sheron. You might like to check out her tubing variable resistance DVD. Or get a motorcycle and pump it over your head a few times. Zoom Zoom.

K: Just get the darn DVD. You will have so many awesome (euphemism for “butt kicking”) exercises to choose from. And, no we get no kickback from the Fun and Fit bump we just gave the DVD. (Aileen, if you are reading this–and you should, geewillikers!–send us free DVDs will ya??!) Not too proud to beg.

Back to you, Alexandra #2: Also perform ab exercises as part of your program. I LOVE reverse curls as they activate the ab muscles from the bottom up, instead of the top down. No, that is not a suggestion of how to wear your sports bra when training or how to drive your convertible. Ab exercises involve the spine, which can flex and bend all over the place. So you can pull your hip bones toward your rib cage (bottom up) or you can pull your rib cage toward your hip bones (top down). Either way, the move is free, portable, available at home, and important for your goals. The one thing I would change in this video is to keep your legs parallel, NOT crossed at the ankle. I always suggest training to achieve symmetry and balance, so minimize the crossed feet. Maximize the name “Alexandra” though as it is a way cool name. Almost as cool as my name.

Photo credits:Photobucket

Readers: What is your all time FAVE home weight training exercise and why should we care?


These Meats are Grilling me

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: In Texas we say that barbeque sauce runs through our veins. I do love my barbeque but would aso like to live more years enjoying it.  I read somewhere that grilling meats creates carcinogens and is dangerous to eat in great quantities. What if I grilled vegetables or meat substitutes on my grill instead?  What say you, wise ones?  Kind Regards, Barbie Q. Dribbs, Austin, Texas

Kymberly: Dear Barbie Q. Dribbs: We’d say we’re wise enough to know a real Texan name when we see one. Good one, Dribbsie! We are also wise enough to know that we are not really grilling experts, unless you are referring to the kind that involves nosy questions, a spotlight, possible torment, and a brusque manner. I feel less carcin-sick just using the word “brusque.”  You are onto something when you surmise that veggies and meat substitutes will not produce carcinogens as they do not contain creatine, an animal protein which needs to be present to heat up the health danger.  So you could go vegetarian, but then Texas might expel you. If you jist gotta have yer meat, then remove carcinogens as much as you can when grilling. And drink some black or green tea, for country’s sake. The chemicals in those teas mitigate the effects of smoky, black, charred, flipped, and sauced-up meats. If you add alcohol to the tea you can be sauced up too!

Alexandra: If BBQ sauce runs through your veins, then I wonder if Texas has a different type of blood test. Do nurses from out of state come to Texas, perform a blood panel, then exclaim, “What’s dis here sauce?” Ahahhaaaa, I’ve never had a chance to use that bad joke before! In California we say that sunblock runs through our veins. Okay, not really; girls here are just delightfully sun-kissed. Just like your grilled veggies should be! Thanks for calling us wise. Actually, only I am. To prove it, here’s some sage advice – forget the ribs and have a s’more. Delicious food stuck over hot flames, but without the meat and cancer.

Photo credits: Photobucket

Dear Readers: What do you enjoy more: bbq sauce, getting sauced, Texas, anything grilled? What is your favorite thing to throw on the barbie?


Muscles, Myths and Miss Informed

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: K and A

Will weight training make me huge? I don’t want to lift weights if it makes me have huge muscles. I just want to look better.

Miss Informed, Anywhere, USA

Dear Miss Informed:

A: Aaaaarggggh, excuse me while I beat my head against a wall (which burns 150 kcals per hour, by the way). This is what we in the industry call a Big Fat Myth (myth: an unfounded or false notion. Thank you

For some reason, many women still believe that lifting weights will somehow make them “hyage.” You can only get hyage if you participate in bodybuilding, which is a competitive event. For that you’d need a specific training regimen and a very small bikini. I don’t think this is your intent so let’s talk about what some weight training can do for you.

Although this may sound like you’ve just moved to Opposite-Land, you can actually lose weight by lifting weight. How? You burn 8-10 kcals a minute lifting weights. That’s kind of cool by itself, but there’s more. (trumpets here please) After you are done weight training, you get a present delivered by DHL (Definite Hot Looker). That gift is called a metabolic spike. It lasts for about an hour and means that you’ll zap an additional 25% (approx.) of the kcals you just burned during the workout.

K: Here’s the low-down with higher math. Let’s say you are lifting enough weight to burn 10 kcals per minute (okay, it’s really just an easier number to use than 8), and you train for 30 minutes, hard. That works out to….(need to get out toes as I ran out of fingers)…300 kcals. By this calculation, you will then wave your magic metabolic spike in a non-threatening manner after you leave the gym and sit at the red light texting (illegally, you bad girl), and gain an additional burn rate of 75 kcals. So, you little worker-outer-weight-lifter-bee, you just tossed 375 kcals out the window (along with that cell phone…oops).

A: Then there is the fact that it takes more energy to sustain muscle than it does fat, you little metabolic heater, you! So if you are a super-snacker, with no plans to change those bad-girl eating habits, at least you’ll veg easier, knowing that your increased muscle mass is burning extra kcals at a higher rate than before you touched the weights (by “touched” I don’t mean the way Gene Wilder touched his food in “Young Frankenstein.” Also notice how I snuck in the word “veg” so you’ll suddenly have a desire to eat veggies? But that bit of nagging is for another day.

So, dear Miss, get up, grab some weights, and get going with the pumpity-pump.

Dear Lady Readers: Are you afraid of weight training? Dear Men Readers: What myths have you fallen for?

Photo credit: Creative Commons


Spin, Rinse, No Wash Out Cycle

Kymberly Williams-Evans,, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: I want to amp up my old ass metabolism. I spin 3x a week for an hour. Would it be better for me to go every day and do cardio for a half hour instead? I have been spinning for years. Doing an hour is easy for me heart wise, but still tires out my legs. Molly,  Dayton, OH

Alexandra: The very short answer – 30 minutes 5-6 days  a week, but push the intensity a bit – in little bursts. And you need weight training to kick-start the donkey pulling your metabolism. Your mission is to read No Hulk, No Bulk.

Kymberly: Two words for you Good Golly Maxed Out Molly: Interval Training. Ok, two more since I am feeling generous: Routine Variation. You are spinning… your wheels. Any activity, no matter how great, is going to offer diminishing returns if you do the same thing week in, week out. Wait, are we talking about my investments all of a sudden? Change up girl. Is there another cardio activity you can switch out for one spinning workout? You want to force the muscles (the heart being one) to constantly adapt upward which occurs when you have something new going on. New workout gear does not count.

Regardless whether you are spinning, cycling, rinsing, washing, running, treading, stepping — pick cardio activities and classes you enjoy — you can implement Interval Training to boot your booty into the spin-o-sphere. In short, alternate 3-10 minutes of your regular pace with 1-2 minutes or so of a high intensity, all out, “if my mom could see me now,”  “balls dolls to the wall” burst. And we have eyes in the back of our heads so don’t think this means suddenly cruising at low intensity for the “recovery” or “regular” part of the ride.  Start with the pace you usually handle, and try to go right back to that pace after each interval burst.

A: If you follow our advice, your “old-ass metabolism” will be so energized that you’ll be able to do this:

Dear Cyclists and Old-Asses: Have you had a fitness routine that left you feeling like you were spinning your wheels? What did you change up to re-kick start yourself?

Photo credits: