Archive

Monthly Archives: October 2011
13

A Perfect 10 Halloween Costume

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

You still have time to work up a good Halloween work out outfit. Try saying that 10 times quickly. Why not go as a Perfect 10 — from the 80s or 90s, that is. One benefit — you will not be tempted to eat too much Halloween candy if you are outfitted in lycra, spandex, and other gear stretched tighter than sheep gut over a snare drum.

Hello 90s

We thought butt floss looked good back then??!!

Bought & worn in the 80s

From my personal 80s collection! Even the dog can't look! Maybe it's the orange headband!

If you have access to
leg warmers,
thong – or even better (worse?), full-bottomed leotards,
terry cloth braided headbands,
shiny tights,
t-shirts with strategic strips cut into them, or
flashdance sweatshirts with the neck and sleeve hems cut ragged

1980s purple leotard

Ack, block that colorblock leotard from the 80s

–why then, you are SET to SWEAT and COLLECT on full Halloween treats.

 

In case you do NOT own the above, do what we did and go to your local thrift store. You can also do what we did and take all your pictures in the dressing room due to massive embarrassment from all the adoring stares we received from the homeless guys. Hey, for under $20 you can Sweat Back in Time and be popular.

We did, and discovered a few things:
1) Such valuable fitness costume items may be available for purchase pre-Halloween only. The thrift stores we went to all hold onto their “good” stuff until October then present it as costumes. So shop while you can! You never know when you need a pair of bright pink exercise shorts.

pink fitness shorts from the 90s

I could swear we thought these were cool

2) Some of the stuff we thought was “perfect” meaning hideous and dated and obviously an over-the-top costume turned out to look pretty darn good and au courant. How does that reflect on our taste? Yikes!

Tennis anyone?

That track suit isn't tracking.

So not cute

Blue velour - the cheap person's Blue Velvet

3) Bargains do exist if you are willing to dig a little. By “dig” we mean “humiliate yourselves in public.”

bright orange fitness outfit

Please don't shoot my orange velour!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Readers: Vote for your favorite and we’ll consider actually buying that outfit and wearing it in a future video. “Consider” is not the same as “Promise.”

18

Want Picture Perfect Posture? Part 2

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Posture Assessment

Do you think this outfit matches my posture?

Recently we did a post about finding your natural posture. Well, whaddya know, we got a bunch of requests to show what comes next in assessing posture.

Alexandra: So we asked our friend Cathleen Clarke (the group fitness director at the Spectrum Clubs in Santa Barbara) to film us, after making her do a pinky swear not to publish any video of us fighting.

Yes, it’s about 3:33 long, but worth every second, especially the part where Kymberly moves that messy pile of hair from my neck! And isn’t 333 half of 666? And twins are each half of something! So it’s the perfect number, considering one of us (not naming myself) was recently called a “cheeky devil” in Swedish.

 

Kymberly: As long as those cheekies are level and symmetrical, we’ll go with that! So whether you are a trainer, trainee, curious person who wants to understand posture better, or merely a voyeur, we hope you can use our tips to assess posture from the front and back. Of course you also want to assess from both the left and right sides. (Yes, BOTH sides as our bodies don’t always tell the same story left and right, believe it or not. But we want to give you something to look forward to in the video sequel.)

Meantime, we will leave you with this thought: if your nipples are pointing down and your kneecaps are pointing in different directions from one another, your posture just picked a peck of pickled position!

Readers and viewers: Wonder why some people have great posture on one side and everything askew on the other? Part 3 coming if there’s popular demand. And by that we mean lots of comments, gifts, requests, stumbles, applause. You know the drill.

Photo Credits: Creative Commons – leo.jeje

14

Exercise Your Right to a Better Brain

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

Abnormal Brain from Young Frankenstein

"You used a brain from someone called Abby Normal?"

Kymberly: Do you want to increase your brain power right now, this minute, starting immediately or even sooner? If so, do you know what to do? If you guessed that some kind of exercise is involved in this answer, you are quite smarticle! And for maximum increase in your neuronal activity and literal brain growth, check out the elements that help the most.

 

Alexandra: Hold on a sec. What do you mean by “literal” brain growth? Is there some other type of brain growth? Are you saying if you exercise, you will have an “exceptionally large mind?”

K: Yes, I mean your brain will literally grow dendrites, extend axons, and branch out more like a social climber at a networking party.  While any of the following factors alone will enhance brain power, combining them into one Mega-activity will propel you above and beyond:

  • Engaging at least two senses simultaneously, such as touch and sight;
  • Listening for cues or commands;
  • Moving to music with polyrhythmic beats;
  • Following somewhat complex movement patterns;
  • Trying something novel.

Hmm, when you put all these elements together, does it make you think of any particular kind of workout? Like group fitness classes, for instance? Get thee to a classery (active people will recognize the reference cuz’ they’re so with it).

Oh, and another factor that aids brain growth is:

  • Getting sufficient sleep

Preferably not while engaging in the aforementioned group fitness workout.

A: Right after you finish your exercise, call your school and politely demand they make P.E. mandatory and daily! That way your kids will be as smart as you (only while they’re teens). We have a few favorite programs that combine the “smartener elements” so we’ll give them a shout-out right now:
Drums Alive & Academic Beats by Carrie Ekins (you can listen to our radio interview with her as of Oct 19 at http://www.womensradio.com/users/Kymberly-and-Alexandra-Williams-Evans/1022/episodes.htm!) Batuka Dance: We are getting all trained up in this so we can revisit our childhood dancing talents…(we use the word “talents” here fairly loosely, but our mom was a dance teacher, and we have the leotards to prove it). Any well-taught Step class. Why not attend Kymberly’s Step classes at Spectrum in Santa Barbara? No pressure! Maybe she’ll wear one of the leotards I saved for her.

Photo credits: Creative Commons avhell

17

Do You Really Have Core Strength?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Blue Hair, Nice Skirt, Strong Abs - He's got it all

Yes, he's weird. Nice abs though!

Kymberly: If you can do 100 crunches, have super abs, or can hold a hover for 3 minutes, does this mean you are core-some and awesome?  For many, a strong core is defined by flaunting a 6-pack (yes, you heard envy in my tone. Sure, I have a 6-pack… under my 12 pack).  How can you know whether a certain look or ability translates into true inner strength?

Alexandra: Wherever your belt touches, that is your core, which means abs and back working together to keep you strong, braced and upright!  Include your entire torso, and you have a good idea of what the “core” defines, besides just “fab-abs.”  Many of our students believe they are very strong in their core, sometimes because they have well-developed chests and shoulders. But…..does the ability to bench press your mama really mean you have a strong core? Maybe it just means you have a big chest and a small mama!

Let’s find out:

K: Did you try the move? Tougher than it looks, right? This exercise really tests whether you initiate movement from the center of your body or depend on your extremities to get you places. (For those of you who like high techy terms, you want to start movement proximally, then have it translate distally, not the other way around). To use a crunch as an example, if you start the move by lifting your head, cranking on your neck, or throwing your arms to get going, you are depending on the ends or extremities of your body to get some action in the core. Such action means you are working from the outside, in. If you can set up your body in a good crunch position and first engage the midsection, which then moves the shoulders and head off the ground, you are working from the inside, out. Movement stars at the center of the body and radiates out to the hands, feet, and head.

A: All I know is that I radiate from all my insides and outsides!. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go roll around on a mat somewhere. Quietly, by myself. In a darkened room with no mirrors or cameras.

Core-licious readers: Do YOU have core strength? What’s your favorite core move?

Photo credits: Creative Commons

6

Inner Thigh Exercises to Rock Your Jeans

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: Can you recommend exercises to tone and lose weight in my inner thighs? I’m getting tired of ruining perfectly good jeans and shorts because of the wear in the fabric. I have an exercise ball hiding somewhere in my condo if that helps.
Susan, Milford, CT

yay for exercise balls

An exercise ball in every household!

Alexandra: Hi Susan!  Because we are saddened by your fashion mishaps, we want to help you! It’s great that you own an exercise ball, because we love them. Stability balls offer great options no matter what you want to work. The exercises you’re about to see in the video are good for strengthening your inner thighs, but if you also wish to lose the extra adipose tissue (er, that’s fat) sitting on top of and inside your muscles, you will have to do cardio–as in “move more.”

Kymberly: You can do cardio with the ball. Heck, you can fly across the country and take Alexandra’s cardio ball class if you are feeling spunky. Or just do whatever type of movement  you enjoy: Dancing in the Dark, Shakin’ Your Groove Thing, Running on Empty and  such like and so on. A fitness colleague of ours has some fun warm-up moves on the ball in this article, so take a quick look. Between the cardio on the ball and the inner thigh exercise options from our video, you will achieve the status of Your Royal Inner tHighness AND you will live to donate your jeans and shorts intact to your adoring subjects! (See photo above if you don’t believe us)

Photo credit: Creative Commons:  infomatique

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15

Preventing Shin Splints

Dear F&F: I started running in 2010 and quickly discovered that my weak arches are what caused the leg pain I experienced, the knee pain (kneecap slides) and the bursitis that formed just below my knee.  But, I’ve worked on taping the knees and strengthening the muscle there.

While training lately for a half marathon, I often get shin splints along the inside of my calf as well as up the front.  I know I have to rest it, then strengthen that front muscle. What are good exercises to work that muscle?  Amy, @splintergirl

Picture of shin splints

All that red looks like a giant, painful splinter!

Alexandra: Hey Amy, we are almost BFFs now, because you are so good about sending us questions (we just answered one from Amy about half marathons). We moved your question up the queue since we know your race is pretty soon. First of all, you have to be pain free before you can do strengthening exercises. Freeze water in a Dixie cup. Before and after your runs, ice down your shins, peeling away the cup as the ice melts.

Kymberly: Not to shirk my duty here, but my advice is to check with your medical professional. I always advocate solving the root of the problem, which are weak arches, in your case. Why are they weak? What is causing their collapse? All the issues you describe emanate from the arch collapse, so until you address the biomechanical or anatomical issues there, you will always be playing catch up with your injuries. I feel like the grinch of running, but there it is. Think of it this way — you have an issue at the bottom of your body — the arches. You feel a problem higher up the body — the shins, and not surprisingly the pain travels higher, reaching your knees. Next up the chain– back pain. Do you see where I am going with this? Up and up unless you go back down, all the way down to the arches. Solve that issue and the others get solved as well.

Nevertheless, we can and do offer you some ideas for strengthening your shin area as you work to resolve the original problem of collapsed arches. Does that get me out of grinch status to ultimate “gifter?”

A: Another thing – get an insole insert to go under your arch. Shin splints occur with over pronation or overuse, and inflammation occurs due to the injury at the posterior peroneal tendon and anterior portion of the lower leg. So you need to keep the arch up to prevent overuse of those muscles that lift your foot. And break in the inserts in before your race.

K: Surprise, surprise, but Alexandra and I don’t always agree. For instance, I am not a big fan of inserts. At most, use them temporarily or the muscles that are designed to lift your arch will atrophy even more. Will inserts help get you through this race more safely and with less pain? Probably. The long term solution is to strengthen the tibialis posterior, tibialis anterior, and the foot musculature.

Try barefoot sand walking (I was about to say “beach walking” but not everyone is as lucky as a ducky to live near a beach). Also do heel raises, standing barefoot and lifting in an almost pigeon-toed direction with the toes straight ahead and the ankles thrusting outwards as you rise up. (You can see the move in this short video from “not us”). This exercise will specifically help the posterior tibialis and cut down on the pain you are describing.

Lastly, maybe change your twitter handle from “splintergirl” to something that avoids the word “splints” and does not sound so painful. Yowzah!

Picture credit: Mayo Clinic

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA