Archive

Monthly Archives: March 2011
3

No Such Thing As “Before and After”: Inspirational Story

Guest post from Jack Sh*t Gettin’ Fit at http://jackfit.blogspot.com

 

Jack's After exercise and diet picture

After and During and Ongoing and On and On

I am… and will always be… a work in progress.

It’s taken me quite a number of years to come to that simple realization, but there it is.

It seems I’ve spent all my life shedding weight, packing it back on, losing it again.

Doctors will tell you that yo-yoing like that is tougher on the old bod than being obese. And each time you gain it back, it becomes that much tougher to shed the weight.

Two years ago, I drew a line in the sand.

“This ends today,” I told myself.

I was at my heaviest and my most unhealthy. I was lethargic, achy and miserable. I didn’t much like the fellow who was staring back at me in the mirror.

Before Getting Jacked Up Fit

The changes I made were simple ones… eat a little less, eat a little healthier, exercise more… things that any one of us can do if we put half a mind to it.

And that strategy… that simple, everybody-knows-it strategy… works. It’s always worked, and I suppose it always will.

Besides blogging, I kept a journal of what I did, what I ate and how I felt during those dark days. As the weight started falling, I saw the tone of the words in that diary change as well. Where everything seemed hopeless at the beginning, a ray of optimism eventually started peeking through the pitch-black clouds, which was eventually followed by confidence so bright you could hardly stand to look directly at it.

I am a work in progress… and I really like the progress I’m making.

Dear K and A: I bet you thought I’d forgotten about guest posting this… I forget NOTHING! Okay, I forgot my mom’s birthday last year… Jack

Dear Jack: What are you saying? That you forget Jack Sh*t?

Dear Readers and Future Fit People: Jack Sh*t is one of the funniest bloggers we know who makes the adventure of exercise and weight loss constantly interesting and a lark with an intellectual twist. We highly encourage you to visit him at   http://jackfit.blogspot.com. Or you could take this as a warning.

3

Drink(s) to Your Health – A Beverage Review

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

What are you to drink when soda is the devil’s spawn and you want more than water? Since coming back from both the Natural Products Expo West and the IHRSA Convention (fitness industry event), we drank ourselves silly doing taste tests. Our goal: to bring you our fully sloshed opinions on beverages designed for active, health-conscious people. That’s just how nice we are. And au courant! Or dehydrated. We’ve been teaching fitness for ever, a very long time, since the last century, a while, so water can get a bit, well, boring. Still, we all need great liquids to keep our bodies in tip top shape.

Ready. Set. Glug.

Healthy drink review. Ugly baby alert.

Healthy drinks do not come in soda flavor! Or butter cubes.

Alexandra: By now you might all know that I am into the organic, meet the farmer, grow your own, bake and cook from scratch, you are what you eat thing. So the drinks we tried reflect that. Organic, sustainable, farmer-friendly, with a percentage of proceeds donated to relevant causes.

First up, a tea that is NOT a tea. Looks like tea, smells like tea, packaged like tea. But click clack moo, Runa Guayusa is NOT a tea, though it is a leaf.

energy boost Amazonian guayusa

Guayusa - doesn't rhyme with tea because it's not tea

Kymberly: (For the record, Alexandra already was silly before we started the drinkathon.) As for the Runa, I drank it straight–no sugar, no honey, no accompanying crumpets–and found it perfect for a hot, energizing start to a demanding, rainy day.  Runa Guayusa is a cultural, communal drink from the Amazon that has less caffeine than coffee and more than black tea. Normally that spells “JitterBug Alert” for me, but I actually found myself concentrating better. Runa means “fully living human beings” so live it up and support small farmers from Ecuador in the process.

I was so happy to enjoy my first taste test foray that I plunged straight into the next round of bevvies: Happy Planet Health Shots. What was I thinking by not reading the label first? The Energy+ All Natural Body and Mind Fuel shot has Yerba Mate, a stimulant. Beam me down, Shotty! I had so much energy I had to warn my advanced Step class to step back or else. I have to admit, the taste was rather medicinal so I will not be returning to that flavor, though I did bask in the “Glow All Natural Beauty Drink.”  Come on, I have to like something where the label promises “to add to my overall hotness” and skin nutrition.  No sugar added. Perfect to pack into a gym bag for after your workout.

Happy Planet GLOW skin drink

Drink up and your skin shall glow

A: Cute guys Some people think identical twins are 100% identical (oh, we have fun with that), but it’s not true. Kymberly and I differed quite a bit in our drink preferences of Jarrow’s PRE Probiotic Enhancer. That means “a fruity beverage that stimulates the growth of probiotics.” Yes, we did try every single flavor (we’re just that thorough). I preferred the organic 50-calorie per serving (be aware–two servings per bottle) flavors to the stevia-sweetened 10 calorie versions. My favorite was Pomegranate White Tea (Kymberly’s least favorite), though I was not as enthralled with the Passion Orange Guava, one of her faves. My 14-year old asked us to PLEEEEEZE get more of the Pomegranate Blueberry!

PRE Slinky drinky

Is it me, or does PRE have a Slinky on top?

K: Swig-a-licious! Who can resist a drink called “PRE Pomegranate Yumberry?” It called to me; I answered. What’s not to like: low cal, good taste, helps my digestive tract, organic, and a percentage of profits goes to charity.

A: To relax myself after all that heavy lifting, I went for one of my favorite drinks – black tea with milk and honey. I discovered PG Tips when I lived in England during the mesozoic, Victorian, when Jane Austen was alive, disco era, and have been in love ever since. We are holding hands right now. Ah heck, I’m just drinking it here at the computer, hoping the cat doesn’t knock it over…again!

PG Tips Tea. Weird name; Good tea

PG Tips - Pretty Good Tip-top tea in a pot

K: As for me, after testing all the flavors of the new drink on the block, PRE Probiotic Enhancer, I really gotta PRE cuz’ they were so yum-Meeee.

A: Ow.

Dear Readers: Thirsting for another review on the latest health drinks? Check out Healthy Beverages from Expo 2011. If you want to get back to basics, we always suggest drinking in our post, “Water: Chilled, Stirred, or Straight From the Pool.”

Photo credits: Creative Commons and the beverage manufacturers’ websites.

6

3 Trends for Healthy and Future Healthy Eaters!

Kymberly Williams-Evans,MA

Kymberly: So there we were at the Natural Products Expo surrounded by more than 2,000 food samples that were either organic (translation – good for me to eat, so I really should) or “natural” (code for made without tons of created chemicals, unpronounceable ingredients, nor preservatives). In other words, Alexandra and I were in healthy person nirvana without tie-dye shirts or macrame necklaces. And boy did I find out that I am smack in the middle of a trend–several trends, in fact. Yes, I am a demographic poster person for what is going on with North Americans this year and next. So who better to share the top trends you can expect in the healthy-ish eating world this coming year?

Free samples we got from the Natural Products Expo on first day

Free samples from our swag bag day one

Alexandra is actually ahead of the trends in this area as she is a vegetarian who shops at co-ops and health food stores, and she cooks … from scratch. What is that all about???!! So I kicked her out for today since I am YOU – the target market and next wave of the natural products movement. So close to making better food choices, yet not quite ready for the full transition. Move over Cheetos and hello organic hummus chips!

New Hope Natural Products Expo West

Which was bigger - these signs or our eyes?

Stay with me for trend spotting while Alexandra is off baking something gluten-free, with whole wheat, no added anything, picked by hand by someone she actually met and checked in on:

Trend 1)  From Fringe to Mainstream

The natural and organic market is no longer preaching to the converted (as in “hippies, alternative sorts, and the überfit”). This niche industry is finally figuring out how to reach mainstream moms, regular people, cooking-challenged, “we want to eat healthfully, but who has the energy and time to read labels, check the source, understand the different certifications, and we are so comfy at Von’s” type of shopper.  Have you found yourself checking labels more? Caring about where your food comes from? Looking for organic or preservative-free options more than you used to? Yup – you are a trendsetter and these lovely people KNOW IT and are marketing to you. Natural and organic foods comprise 4% of the current food industry sales with that number having doubled recently. With your help and mine, this growth will double again this coming year.

Entry sign with hippie

High on Hippies - Hey, we got into the Expo didn't we??!!

2) Power Shift to Consumers. Thank you facebook!

Power has changed from the professionals to you and me, the consumer. Consumers drive the market and message more than ever before. Power to the people. Whoa, notice how that was so 1970’s? If you remember the 70’s, you weren’t there. If you want more transparency from corporations about what they put in food, how they processed or fattened it up, then get ready to rumble. Consumers are waking up and wanting to know what is going into their bodies. Social media, general mistrust of big corps, and growing awareness are fueling this power transition. Rise up and eat better!

 

twin shadows walking at More Mesa in Santa Barbara

Look at all the organic grass we can harvest and eat! So trendy.

3) Small steps not Overnight Transformation

For we, the people (remember that I am not counting Alexandra in this category, by the way) to eat more healthfully, we need to take small steps. Apparently the natural food industry kept thinking that extolling the virtues of a vegan, organic, raw food, self-grown, all home-cooked life was enough to convince us all to convert– well, maybe if they added some planetary guilt and hemp to the mix. Now they see that going from 2 to 9 ain’t a’ gonna happen. But we can go from 2 to 3 to 4 and get healthier every step of the way. Sound like certain exercise advice???? Instead of sugary drinks, drink 100% juice…watered down…with water not from a plastic bottle. Eat at fatty food places one day less per week.. month…quarter, and we include quarter pounders in this advice. Switch out fruits and veggies covered in pesticides for organic and local ones. Shop at a local health food store once every four grocery shopping trips. Slowly and surely we can and will eat better.

Well wake me up to smell the fair trade, organic, locally grown coffee, but I have yammered on long enough and not even told you about trends 4-10 happening in your local grocery store and belly. Come back next time, ya hear? Sneak preview teaser: the missing trends involve moms, kids, gluten-free stuff, and buying to support causes.

Yours in veganism, vegetarianism, local and organic food only, fine… I cut back on meat and eat fewer frozen dinners; Kymberly on a solo run. (While I was writing this, Alexandra better have cooked me something good, good for me, and good for the world or I will make her down a food not found in nature.)

Readers: What do you think was the number one goal of women who were surveyed by the natural and organic food industry as to what they based their food decisions on? Tell us below, then I’ll dish (up something healthy).

Photos Courtesy of Photobucket and Kymberly

5

Abs Revealed, but I Don’t Want to See Your Butt

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Today our review is about Abs, and how they can be Revealed in all their glory! So suck in and suck it up, suckers!

Abs Revealed (Butts Not)

Abs Revealed (Luckily not Butts)

Alexandra: We received both the book Abs Revealed and the app that goes with it, titled (oddly enough) Abs Revealed: The Exercise i-Library, by Jonathan Ross. He was chosen as Personal Trainer of the Year two times by industry professionals, so our expectations were high. Which reminds me of a coffee mug I’ve had for years, which says, “If all else fails, lower your standards.”

Don't try again; readjust

The Perfect Body Image Mug!

A: Sadly, over the years, everything about me has lowered in a gravity sort of way, but I went through Abs Revealed hoping against all hope knowing it would have some “Hey, lady, we can tell you pushed out a couple of big-headed babies” exercises to make me look completely fabulous, awe-inducing hot, 25 reasonably buff. Guess what happened? Total awesomeness! Yes, these exercises work. And Ross’s advice is dead on.

Kymberly: What’s to like?

  • The many helpful “Myths and Misconceptions” sidebars sprinkled throughout. Ross has definite opinions formed from years of experience, education, and an insider’s view of lame stuff out there so he does not mess around. For example, his reply to the myth that fasting, detoxes, and cleansing routines will cut fat is “Santa Claus isn’t real either.” Well if Santa were to follow these exercises he might just work his way both up and down the chimney.
  • The balance between text and visuals. The book offers common sense info at the start for those who want to understand the whys and whats behind, no, not the behinds, but the abs. Then the pics are easy to follow.

Not to like?

  • Ok, we understand the book had men as the target market so all models are men… with enviable 6-packs. And we also know that women can access all the moves in here as well as the men. But could we have fewer pictures of the really skinny guy and maybe a middle-aged fit dude who has some meat on his bones?  Seriously, we’re not all young and male you know.

A: The only thing that made me gnash my teeth and curse the Nordic gods disappointed was the number of exercises that required equipment I don’t own. And the clubs where I teach have not yet joined the worldwide fabulous phenomenon had the opportunity to provide TRX, which means I cannot try the 17 exercises that require a TRX set-up (Jonathan, where’s my air ticket to D.C., your home base? Please lift the restraining order so I can try out your TRX equipment).

K: Yes, and who the heck still has the slide and original slide booties in a back closet?  Though I do groove on the “Hip Roll with Thread the Needle on Stability Ball” move. More importantly for you, our fit-tastic readers, is that you can trust the science behind these exercises. I admit to being a biomechanic snob who actually cares whether exercises address more than a look. If you are going to spend time and effort on a move, why not know it’s safe, has a functional purpose, improves usable strength, and makes you hotter than the guy pictured on page 165.  I tried several of the moves myself, especially liking the ones using the ball. I introduced a few to my seniors’ class (yes, they are amazing older adults!) and had great feedback. I made my two cats do the moves and they bailed. Whatever.

Abs Revealed is top notch.  Buy it; do the moves; get strong; quit yer bellyaching!

Readers: Get a double dose of Abs Awesomeness and listen to our radio interview of author Jonathan Ross. Mistakes and Solutions When Selecting Your Best Trainer/ Interview with “Abs Revealed” Author, Jonathan Ross. The perfect companion piece you can enjoy while working out!

4

Wassup with Warm-up?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: I understand that stretching and warming up before any workout is highly recommended, but for how long?  And what type of warm ups are best?

Noël, Missouri

 

The hanging stretch with perfect hair and "bits" tucked in

Does my dress match the floor/ceiling?

 

Kymberly: Oooooh, I love this excellent question because it brings back memories of an article I wrote and another I edited back in the days when warm-ups were still tepid and not yet globally warming. The simplest way to get my point across is to put it right out in the warm-o-sphere: the objective of a warm-up is to prepare the body to move and to literally heat up. Movements best achieve this; NOT holding still in a static stretch. A static, or “held” stretch is preparing the body to …. ta dum…hold still.  The best kind of warm-up ensures you are:

  • raising the core temperature
  • heating the muscles
  • increasing blood flow to the muscles about to work, and
  • elevating the heart rate

and dynamically stretching the muscles for the workload and range of motion ahead.  Major muscles come in pairs, so when you walk or lightly jog before a jogging workout, you stretch the hamstring every time the quadricep contracts, for example. Or if you perform an upper body rowing motion, your chest (pectorals) lengthen as your back (traps) shorten.

Alexandra: My brain is a major muscle and it doesn’t come in a pair. Okay, maybe “flex your brain matter” is just slang.

K: Love you sis, but the brain is not a muscle. Anyway, the best warm-up is one that contains the moves you are about to perform in your workout. We (I mean fitness pros in general, not just Alexandra and I) call this the “rehearsal” effect. If you are about to jog, then a light jog with a gradual increase in intensity is best; if you are getting ready for a boot camp class, then a lighter version of the moves from the workout will be just right. Take about 5-8 minutes to increase intensity, range of motion, and perhaps the pace.

A: Hoisting your leg up on a ballet barre is not the ideal way to warm-up: running around a bar is a good way to warm-up (especially if you tend to jog with a beverage in one hand). I’m going to quote here from a wonderfully comprehensive review on stretching by Len Kravitz, Ph.D. that I edited, “Thacker et al. (2004) concluded that pre-exercise stretching does not prevent injury among competitive or recreational athletes. They point out that studies incorporating a pre-exercise combination of resistance exercise, body conditioning and warm-up show promise for better injury prevention. Herbert and de Noronha (2009) state that stretching before and after exercise has not been shown to impart any additional protection from muscle soreness.”

 

 

baby stretch

I love those post-pool stretches; the sodden diaper not so much

 

All the way from Australia, (as opposed to “All the way from Washington”) read this article for some succinct info on warm-ups, although you should keep in mind that it was written in 2003, so the bit about static stretching should be taken with a grain of Tiger Balm, as Kravitz’s advice is more current. Here’s my question to you, Noël, Why do you have an umlaut in your name? Wait, that’s not my question. It’s: What is your goal with the warm-up? If it’s to prevent injury or muscle soreness, do the movement types Kymberly recommends above. If you are stretching for other reasons (such as to show off your shapely legs to a bunch of soccer players), we can’t help you. But we’ll be right over!

Young Americans (and old) should stretch post-workout

All the way from Washington (not Australia)

K: Well, she might be right over. I’ll be here making moves to refer you all to our post from a bit back on the best time to stretch.

Readers: What type of warm-up do you do? Are you one of those people who comes to an exercise class a bit late and misses the warm-up?

Photo credits: Creative Commons

12

Off Your Rocker Shoe Review For You

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Welcome to the second in our new Thursday series offering reviews of fitness Products and Services, and inspirational stories of People. Do you have a successful exercise story to share? How about a product you’d like us to comment on (sure, it can be your own, but it better be right for our readers or we’ll get twisted and snarky). Today we look at rocker shoes as this remains one of the most popular questions we get in person in our hither and yon adventures.

A Shoe-in or Shoe-Off?

 

Shape Ups, Rockers, Skechers, Shoes

 

 

Kymberly: Whether you call them rocker shoes, toners, shape-ups, negative heel shoes, the funniest looking shoes you ever saw, or the shoes that saved the workout world, people are wearing them. And we are getting asked often “do they work? Are they worth the money?” “Are they actually helping me get more fit when walking?” We turned to self-appointed experts, ourselves, for a review.

Short answer: if wearing them moves you from “feet in slippers propped on the ottoman” to rocking it in your rockers, then they have value. You believe in them; therefore you walk more; ergo you get more fit. But we have to say that the only research thus far that touts their superpowers is all put out by the shoe manufacturers. Hmmmm. Fun and Fit is having a “suspicious ole’ coot” moment and wants to find out more. If you like lots of detail check out this short article: Shape Up Shoes and Other Negative Heel Wear, If you do not like detail, the general consensus is “the shoes don’t shape you up any more than any shoe or bare feet would.” So save your mega-dollars.

 

Wow. Earth Shoes

Okay, I admit to owning a pair in the 70s

 

Alexandra: I’ll just say right up front that aesthetically I will never, ever, never like any of these shoes because they remind me too much of the Earth shoes I bought in the 70s. I saved my money for a long time, got on a waiting list (demand way outstripped supply) and finally got my shoes. Guess what? I put them on once, decided they looked horrible on me and never wore them again. Now I see the originals on sale for $135. Guess I should have kept my unworn pair.

Hippie shoes for hippies in hippie vans

Wearing Earth Shoes did This to People

 

Looking past my traumatizing “sexy babe with immensely fat-looking feet” teen experience, let me say that professionally I tend to not like them either. I have a lot of fitness students of all ages, and have heard anecdotaly that the toning shoes have caused or exacerbated issues with balance and hip/knee joint pain. I have not had anyone yet vouch for them though. And we know a lot of podiatrists, chiropractors and biomechanic specialists who are not fans either. I wrote an article about choosing shoes and couldn’t get a single expert to comment favorably on any of the toning shoes. Actually, one of them went so far as to call them “nightmares.”

A  direct quote from an unbiased study (meaning the shoe company didn’t fund the study) states: “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.”

How does the study above seem so different from the studies touted by the shoe companies that say toning shoes are almost mystical in their ability to transform your body? One, it could be the type of study conducted– clinical versus normal daily activity (although nothing has yet been done long-term, so it’s almost a moot point); two, there is a big ol’ difference between marketing science and real science. If you’re a really invested consumer, read the studies carefully. However, if you’re not into that plan, it might be best if you try on a pair and walk around the store.

K: Then sit down and take the darn things off your feet! If your goal is to be more toned, have shapelier legs, burn more calories, may I politely suggest DO YOUR DARN WEIGHT TRAINING! Ok, so I politely yelled. Why take yourself away from your body’s natural movement patterns? We keep looking for quick fixes. Instead, learn or relearn how to move in the body you have. Our feet are actually designed to help us walk in the best manner possible.

A: I’m trying to have an open mind (but not open toe) so I’ll mention the advantages. 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 actually the key to lifelong buffness, happiness and a firm, lifted butt? Maybe. And maybe you’re just walking more since you feel so fabulous and groovy in your new shoes!

My final recommendation? If you loved Earth Shoes, you might just be a candidate for toning shoes. Otherwise, it’s way more important to move than it is to spend money on toning shoes.

Use your feet. Walk.

Start with your feet. Let them move your body. You'll get toned.

 

K: My final recommendation? When the foot experts, medical community and unbiased research say “oy vay, no way; save your mo-nay,” then I am going with that and lacing up my foot slimming, outfit matching, tried and true walking sneakers. Shoe-off!

Readers: What is your opinion or experience with the toning shoes? Did you know there are more than 25 companies that make them?

Photo credits: PhotoBucket and Creative Commons

4

Sneak in Stats When Walking Briskly for Calorie Burn

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: Just listened to your radio show mentioning walking caloric burn at about 300 per 30 minutes at 150 lb weight. I’m curious on the source for that. I’ve tended to quote the legacy research to my customers of 100 Kcal per mile at a minimum of 4 mph walking pace. That calc would obviously give us 200 Kcal. I realize we are dealing with statistics here rather than VO2 measurements, but a 50% difference is profound. I certainly don’t get as much reading done on this subject as you do, hence my interest in this update.
Kim Santa Barbara, CA

Burn Those Shoes Baby, Burn

Burn Baby Burn – Kcal Inferno

 

Alexandra: We are (put happy adjective of choice here) that you listened to our radio show, and even more excited to learn that you paid attention! Darn girl, you even took notes! For those of you who have not yet come to the light (What is wrong with you? Our radio show was FINE), the comment Kim is referring to from our former radio show (Fun and Fit on Women’s Radio) is: “A 150 pound woman will burn more than 300 calories in 30 minutes of brisk cardio activity.”

We then followed up with these tantalizing tidbits of exercise tastiness that predominantly came from the American Heart Association:

  • 30 minutes per day of moderate intensity activity improves overall health and helps maintain heart health;
  • 40-60 minutes per day at a moderate pace helps prevent weight gain;
  • 40-60 minutes per day at an intense pace may lead to weight  loss.

Kymberly:  Kim. love the name. So much shorter than mine and pointing to greatness! Our source for the Fun Fit Fact is Cedric Bryant, PhD who was quoted in the July 2010 Better Homes and Gardens issue (hard copy version. If you want the online version you gots ta’ pay BHG. Doesn’t everyone get their solid stats from BHG?) Cedric is the Chief Science Officer for the American Council on Exercise so we allow him to quote on our site. We’re that giving! The challenge (and fun) with stats is that 1) they can be interpreted widely and 2) the devil (sometimes confused with Alexandra) is in the details. One of those details could be that Dr Bryant and the research he cited might have been referring to a fit, not average woman… carrying some muscle mass…up a hill…both ways.

A: The chart you may be referring to when you mention “legacy research” says “a person” burns more like 200 kcal per 30 minutes. This could include males and females of undetermined fitness level . But…and that’s the key word here (nowhere else), we didn’t actually say a 150 pound woman would burn 300 calories in 30 minutes of walking— we said a brisk cardio activity. Aha! We tricked you completely inadvertently (although I try to trick Kymberly advertently on a regular basis). Do you see in that nifty American Heart Association chart where it says running at 5.5 mph can burn 660 calories for a 150-pounder? The “brisk” aspect would fall between the 200 calories burned in a walk and the 660 burned running. You know, sort of a run-walk, “Do the Hustle deal.

The Hustle for Dummies

How Many Kcals Does the “Hustle” Burn?

 

K: Umm, yes, well I might have said “walking” since I make up 49% my Fun Fit Facts and 12% of all other stats about 0% of the time. And a 4.5 mile pace is admittedly a brisk clip. If I am going to pick an activity from the chart I prefer the numbers for jump roping–about 375 in 30 minutes for a 150 pounder. My calves turn into lowing steers when jumping rope, mind you, but those kcals burned up look enticing!  The Main Point is that the range for cals burned by any person with any activity of any fitness level can be wide and depends on so many variables distilled out for reading and radio accessibility. Actually the Main Point is to let your friends in on the action too! But only if they’re 150 pounds and walking while subscribing to our blog.

A: Whether you say “Walk like an Egyptian” or “Walk like Genesis,” the main point is to move!  And to continue sending us questions and comments. Keeps us on our toes. Arrggghh, sounding more like jumping rope every minute.

Doin' the Genesis Walk

This is the Way We Walk

Dear Readers: What do you prefer: a saunter, mosey, stroll, brisk pace, or balls-out run? And do you like to track your caloric expenditure on those walks?

Photo credits: Creative Commons

2

Alternative Thursdays and Health Choices: Read All About It!

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit readers, movers, shakers, and occasional barca-Loungers: So many of you (and we’re not even counting our mom here) have asked us to tell you our opinion of products, services and stuff you should and should not buy to get into the Buff Zone.  Starting today, we launch our Products, People, Services series. Monday posts are still devoted to answering your fitness questions. Thursdays are for reviews and inspirational stories (email us if you have one to share).  We do not accept money for any reviews but we do get some of the products and services free. If you have a question about a fitness purchase, send it in! We hope someone asks us to review a week at Rancho la Puerta spa so we can do up close and personal research! So far we are reading books, watching DVDs, and trying out exercises.

The Alternative Medicine Cabinet

I’m Taking Charge, Baby

Alexandra: We recently read the book, The Alternative Medicine Cabinet by Kathy Gruver. Before I comment on the book, let me just say that Kathy has her doctorate in traditional naturopathy, plus about 4 other titles. In other words, she be all qualified and suchlike.

Kymberly; We also want to disclose that we know her personally (lucky her, eh?!) and that she is a friend of ours–which could all end now that we are totally unbiased, impartial, unbribable, trustworthy reviewers.

A: Wait a second. I’m totally open to bribes. At first I wondered if this book was going to be what I sometimes refer to as “a co-op book,” meaning full of suggestions to eat stuff I can’t pronounce or can’t imagine eating (disclaimer: I belong to a co-op). In actuality, it is a book that gives information on various non-pharmaceutical, non- invasive ways to improve your own health, with practical advice about treating depression, improving your sleep, using alternative cancer treatments and lots more. My favorite parts were the definitions of the different types of massage, homeopathy, Reiki and medicinal herbs, and the top 10 nutrition picks. And I’ve always wanted an excuse to use the word “tincture” because it’s such a fun word. There are several places where exercise is touted as a medicine so of course I’m going to love this book! Take 2 push-ups and call yourself in the morning.

Concoct me some herbs

You say tinctures, I say concoctions – who cares if there’s red wine?

 

K: What readers of this book will like are its short, self-contained chapters, conversational tone, and down to earth suggestions. What lovers of great grammar will need is an alternative medicine for the many proofreading and grammar errors.  (Read the book to get suggestions for headaches and stress!)  Good thing the author is an expert in alternative wellness, not editing. Note to author: hire my sis next time. She a reeel fine editore.

Here Reiki Reiki Reiki

Your purr works just fine

 

A: I’m giving this book my “headlights up” because it’s comprehensive, informative, well-researched and organized. Um, and mostly because I was able to read it while working out on the treadmill. Actually, I liked it because Gruver doesn’t preach or try to make me grow out my leg hairs and live on a farm; she just shares information that is exceptionally well-documented (I love to have references, but maybe I’m just suspicious). I won’t be trying all the suggestions or concoctions, but luckily that isn’t the point–the point is to get you thinking about your health from a “take charge” perspective that considers and accepts the connection between the mind and the body. As a matter of fact, I just gave my body a salad so that my mind would be proud of myself!

K: When did you get headlights up, Alexandra? Your mind is lying to your body or something like that. I am giving this book a level 4 out of 5 on the Incline Setting. (And yes, I can think of some popular products that get a -4 on the Decline Setting!) Quick read, chock full of easy to implement changes that will help, and gosh darn, we simply like the author and her message.

 

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Readers: What are some products or services you are wondering about? If you need ideas, watch any insta-fitness infomercial.