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Monthly Archives: November 2011
18

Fit to Be Holiday Gifts

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA & Alexandra Williams, MA

Thanksgiving is over and we know from your messages and comments that some of you took those few extra steps to avoid those few extra bites! Since this is A.MER.I.CA, that means it’s now time to go shopping, right? Okay, that was a little tongue in cheek, because we do actually like to find gifts for our loved ones, but that whole “get up before you go to bed just to get pepper sprayed by the crazed woman who wanted clear access to the gaming consoles” is not for us!

Pepper Spraying Cop & Shoppers

Crazed Shoppers & Pepper Spraying Cop

So we’re going to suggest a few gifts that are fitness and health related. Suuuur-prise, suuur-prise!

Crave Results workout DVD

I Crave Results AND Angie Miller's Abs

First up is Angie Miller’s “Crave Results” strength and cardio DVD. Here at the Fun and Fit ranch, we are sticklers for good form, technique, knowledge, modifications, progressions and attention to the latest research.

Alexandra: Angie does an excellent job incorporating:

  • progressions from easier to more challenging
  • explanation of technique and muscles being worked
  • balance work
  • core moves
  • crossing midline (which really helps the brain)
  • tempo changes (which also really help the brain)
  • modifications (both for the moves and the equipment)
  • interesting choreography that’s easy to follow, yet unique
  • smooth transitions

I’d move the static stretches from the warm-up over to the cool-down, but that’s essentially my only quibble with it. I am a huge fan of substance, safety and effectiveness, and “Crave Results” is a workout I definitely recommend. And I rarely say that. You can get it at Angie’s site for $19.99, plus the cost of hand weights and the optional resistance tube.

Next up is another gift you can order online: Pure Bliss Eats is a brand new fit fare site by fellow FitFluential Ambassador, Nicole Culver.

Pure Bliss Granola

PB & Choco Chip Granola by Pure Bliss. Exactly!

Alexandra: The holidays are associated with food, and we are not here to change that. But there’s no culture rule that says holiday food has to be crap! Pure Bliss Eats treats are organic, healthful and oh-so-appealing. If I told you the ingredients, you’d think, “Oh, a health food with stuff I never heard of.” So instead I’ll tell you the names of a few of the treats: Instant Boost Chocolate Balls, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins, Apple Spice Granola, and even Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins. My package is arriving soon, so you just know I’ll be posting pictures of myself eating up with a smile! I just made up a new motto for these: “Get the good without the guilt.” After you try them, let me know if you agree!

Kymberly: We would be amiss (or two misses; or is that a hit and a miss, with me being the “hit”?) if we did not mention the ultimate stocking stuffer–our digital and e-books: “73 Exercise Quotes to Help You Get and Stay in Shape,” the companion e-book, 63 Motivational Quotes to Help You Get and Stay in Shape,” and “Mind Your Fitness,” another collection of motivational sayings, exhortations, quotes, and “blurbs,” co-published with another FitFluential Ambassador pal, Heather Frey of SmashFit.  So if you are looking for gifts under $5 or even under $2, then odds are good you will stay on track and under budget with these babies!

These gift ideas sort of cover Fitness, Feeling Good and Food! We weren’t paid anything to share our opinions, although we’ll happily do sponsored posts (and just as happily give our frank, professional opinions). We did receive a free review copy of Angie Miller’s “Crave Results” DVD.

Photo credits: AngieMillerFitness.com, PureBlissEats.com and peppersprayingcop.tumblr.com

Readers, go-getters, and go-givers: What’s on your gift list?

10

Holiday Food: Mind Over Platter

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Every holiday season since we began teaching (you’ve noticed our love of the 80s, right?) our students have asked us what we eat, especially during the holidays. We know that our posts (including the most recent one) talk about making choices, but today the emphasis is on moderation. Definition: “Being within reasonable limits; not excessive or extreme.”

Peanut butter & chocolate chip truffle cookies

Triple Truffle Chocolate Chip Cookies

Kymberly: Whether it’s the holidays or the day you were late to work because the cat barfed on your pillow (Alexandra does not want to talk about it), a sustainable lifestyle has to be within reasonable limits or you won’t be successful. Diets are generally excessive or extreme.

Alexandra: Being told that a “cheat” day is bad or good is not the point. That whole concept implies punishment and reward. Keep in mind that the extreme end of dieting is disordered eating; the “end” of moderation is healthy living. Posted here are some pictures of the things I bake. We aren’t special or unique (well, I am); we just tend toward moderation. As our friend Nora said, “If I only get sausage stuffing once a year, I REALLY want that sausage stuffing.” Exactly. Why feel bad about yourself for that?

So, yes, I love to bake. Some of the results I eat; some I give away. Most of it goes to the kids and their friends. Next up: Challah bread. Can you tell I love bread?

K: Can you tell I do NOT overdo it, especially with carbo baking. My favorite holiday food is yams (no marshmallows, I’d like to point out). And turkey. Oh, and I love cranberry sauce too. And stuffing, but it has to be my mom’s stuffing or the day does not feel complete. I know you know what I mean.

K and A: Have a wonderful holiday. We’d love for you to share your favorite holiday food pictures on our Facebook page. I need a good sweet potato recipe to bring on Thursday – NOT with marshmallows.

Sourdough bread

Sourdough Bread

 

 

 

Buttermilk Coffee Cake

Buttermilk Coffee Cake

 

 

 

 

And don’t forget to take those after-meal walks!

 

7

Stay-Fit Tips for Thanksgiving

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit:
I have been fairly diligent all year about exercising and eating healthfully. And now the holidays are creeping up faster than my heart rate monitor. How do I stay trimmer than a decorated tree and less stuffed than a turkey come Thanksgiving?
I’m Every Woman (and man), anywhere in the US

Thanksgiving dish of sweet potatoes & marshmallows

You Wouldn't Want This the Other 364 Days, so Why Eat It Now?

Kymberly: I love the holidays; I also love holiday food; but I hate getting lethargic and overstuffed, just because more food and family than usual are around.  Is this the time to say, do not gobble gobble gobble up everything you see before you?

Alexandra: Drink lots of water and green tea before the feast. You will feel full and less inclined to overeat.

K: Eat your usual breakfast and lunch. Don’t skip a meal thinking you will then be free to make up for lost calories later when the “good stuff” your favorite auntie brought comes out. Inevitably you will be so hungry come THE meal that you will overeat or choose whatever is closest.

A: Categorize foods into 1) love and will eat seconds 2) like and will take a little just once 3) don’t need to eat at all. This kind of planning will help you make plate choices and make you more conscious of those choices. Paying attention has a definite effect on how much you pile on that plate.

K: Get up from the table when done. Do not sit with food in front of you calling your name á la “Little Shop of Horrors.” And don’t leave food just sitting out. You can end up eating an entire meal’s worth just from picking at the stuff that’s in front of you. Put it away right after the meal (or at least as soon as is politely possible). Your guests will actually probably thank you. Ok, maybe thank you.

A: If you’re a person who likes to talk to herself (like I do), just ask yourself this when you’re filling your plate, “Am I choosing this because I’m hungry or because it tastes good?” We aren’t here to say you “shouldn’t” this or “should” that, but the awareness is quite helpful.

K: Why not go for a walk? What better way to spend quality time with your favorite rellies or friends than by putting on a jacket and getting outside? No stuffing holiday snackerels into your pocket on that walk, either!

A: I hate to admit it, but I take Kymberly’s advice. Every year my “baking” sister (NOT K) and I get up early and go for a walk, just the two of us. We get some girl-talk time (we love to discuss recipes) before we both get in the kitchen for the cooking chaos!

Readers: What tips do you have to share?

Photo credits: Creative Commons: David Boyle

18

Fix Your Posture – Part 2

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

Who Stole My Good Posture?

We bring you a guest posture maven for your viewing and “stand up tall” pleasure — our mom! She made us what we are today — alive! Oh, and lifted up posturally, thanks to her nagging, reminders, dance background.

Check out how our mom transforms herself from an active senior to frail little old lady back into a force to be reckoned with in less than 1 minute. Learn our quick zip trick to look 10 years younger in less than 10 seconds.

Agents, talent scouts, and publicists – our mom is available for media interviews and bookings.  Ya gotta admit she’s pretty cute!

 

Photo credit: Creative Commons

15

3 Things That Do NOT Help You To Get Flat Abs

Guest post from Jonathan Dunsky    WorldofDiets.com

Guest poster, Jonathan Dunsky

Our pal, Jonathan Dunsky writes, runs, and reviews diet and exercise info. He asked to reach you, our Fun and Fit readers with his guest post, written especially for this site. While he is giving us the day off, we will be working on our Abs. Maybe…..

The desire to get a flat stomach is something that’s common to men and women everywhere. This is why you can find a variety of products and services that promise to help you get those coveted, sexy abs you’ve always wanted. It’s a market with money and, as in any such market, you can find a lot of useless products and misinformation that may only serve to waste your time and hard earned cash, not to get rid of your stubborn belly fat.

In this post I want to talk about 3 things which DO NOT help you to get flat abs. Once you know about them, you’ll be ready to invest your time and energy into what really works and your chances of getting flat, firm abs will be much greater.

First Culprit – Crunches

According to an article in Men’s Health Magazine, it takes 250,000 crunches to burn a single pound of fat. Let that number sink in for a moment: 250,000.

According to Men's Health Magazine, it takes 250,000 crunches to burn a single pound of fat. Click To Tweet

This means that if you do 500 crunches a day (and I don’t think you should), it will take you 500 days to burn one pound of fat. This is crazy and it goes to show you how ineffective crunches are at burning fat.

The notion that you can burn fat by doing targeted exercises is a false one. It’s called the spot reduction myth. You can’t decide where to burn fat from. Your body burns fat, some of it from your abs and some from other parts. Your goal is to simply burn more fat in total.

The problem with crunches is that they’re not very calorie expensive. This means that you don’t burn a lot of calories (and fat) by doing them. This is why it takes so many crunches to burn so little fat.

So, forget about crunches and sit-ups. They don’t really help you get flat abs.

Second Culprit – Ab Machines

Ab machines are one of the hottest fitness categories that you can find on shopping channels or in sporting goods stores. For instance, the Ab Circle Pro is reported to have sold over 2 million items. Crazy, but it goes to show you how people are desperate to get flat abs.

The problem with ab machines is similar to that of crunches: you can’t burn belly fat by doing targeted ab exercises. The bigger problem is that some of the ab machines cost a lot of money and create such big expectations that disappointment is almost certain.

You can't burn belly fat by doing targeted ab exercises. Click To Tweet

The bottom line is that most ab machines don’t provide a more effective workout than regular abdominal exercises. This is why they are usually a waste of money.

Third Culprit – Ab Belts

These products have long been a mystery to me: I have no idea why anyone would buy them. Back in 2002, the Federal Trade Commission actually charged a few of these companies because their products were promoted with claims that these ab belts can produce the loss of fat or inches or provide the users with well defined abdominal muscles (full report here). Needless to say, these are unsubstantiated claims.

Ab belts can’t help you lose belly fat and they can’t help you lose inches. Physical therapists use them to treat people with severe muscle injuries or weakness. They do not provide sufficient resistance to develop your abdominal muscles or to burn belly fat.

What To Do Instead

If you want to get a flat stomach you need to burn off belly fat. This can only be done with hard work and it does take time. So, stop looking for gimmicks or shortcuts. You need to do total body workouts and intense cardio to get rid of belly fat. It won’t happen overnight, but it’s better to start soon… today even.

You need to do TOTAL BODY workouts and intense cardio to get rid of belly fat. Click To Tweet

Jonathan Dunsky blogs at World Of Diets where he writes about fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle tips for a healthy and fit body.

20

Fix That Posture!

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Short. Sweet. I am either talking about this post or myself! We shall see. And you shall see…how to fix some common posture issues.

Trapezius

X Marks the Trigger Points on the Traps

First of all, we’ll start with the most common issue – forward and inward rotation of the shoulders. That’s the techhie way of saying, “Hey, your shoulders are rounded.”

 

1. Roll them up and back, shawty!

2. Strengthen the muscles in the mid-back so you’ll be straight up.

That’s it for today. Go do your exercises. And you’re welcome for the lovely combo of my striped shirt (to make it easier for you see if I’m standing up straight and symmetrically) and those Hawaiian-themed curtains. You’re especially welcome for the fact that my son likes to cut my head off in videos! What can I say – he’s a teen!

And I’ll take a moment to share a secret with you – we were listed on Shape.com as one of the Top Ten Inspirational Fitness Facebook fan pages. If you haven’t checked it out, please give it a look-see lookie-loo.

Picture credit:Trigger Point Relief 

4

4 More Useless Exercises

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Okay, we took a bit of ribbing about our previous post of useless exercises, as in “Hey, I used to do that one too. Thanks a lot for the reminder!” That encouraged us so much that we moved with no forwarding address. But before we packed up our mats, weights and “no pain, no gain” mantras, we filmed a few more “lovelies” for you. And don’t do these exercises, unless you are auditioning for “Dancing with the Dorks.” If that’s the case, do all four in high heels. Men too!

Donkey kick

Donkey kicks are great exercise - for donkeys!

 

 

 

 

Quick quiz: What works your pecs (the chest) better, a push-up or the standing elbow squeeze? Sadly, we used to believe these might help. I think genetics and push-ups might have had more of an effect on the ol’ bust-a-roos! And nursing the evil spawn children!

This next hip-aching move was probably created by an overzealous instructor who saw a dog pissing on a hydrant. There’s no other explanation. Pain, lack of results and research kind of debunked this one too! And you’ve gotta ask yourself – um, do I ever need this particular move in real life?

Hee-haw hee-haw. Donkey kicks for the ass..inine. There are many other exercises out there that are great for the glutes (booty of perfection), but this ain’t one of ’em! We secretly call this one Donkey Spine Thrasher. Oh, yeah, we kicked some … donkey!

Do you know what ballistic stretching is? Neither did we. Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, snap. You wouldn’t do this type of stretch-release-stretch-release with a rubber band, so why subject your hamstrings (or any muscle) to it? Here’s a quick quote from one of our favorite, extra-clever research colleagues, Dr. Len Kravitz of U of New Mexico, Albuquerque: “Ballistic stretching involves a bouncy approach to reach the target muscle’s motion endpoint. A concern with ballistic stretching is that it is often performed in a jerky, bobbing fashion that may produce undesirable tension or trauma to the stretched muscle and associated connective tissues. It may produce a potent stretch reflex that will oppose the muscle lengthening.”

Okay, admit it, are any of these still in your workout regimen? Can you dump it now? Can you dump it now? How ’bout now?

Call me to share your useless exercises

You're doing WHAT exercise?

Photo credits: Creative Commons (pmarkham)