Archive

Monthly Archives: December 2011
9

Are you a Good Witch or a Who Which?: Telling Twins Apart

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

Dear Fun and Fit, K and A:

Which one is which in the photos on the top left of  your website???

Debbie, Goleta, CA

Only Their Hairdresser Knows for Sure

Kymberly: Easy shmeasy. In fact, we get asked that question all the time. The cute one is Kymberly. If you exercise regularly, maintain healthy eating habits, brake for animals, and generally have a merry attitude toward life, you can grow up to be just like me — a 4th grader with adorable catwoman glasses.

Alexandra: The top left what? I am always on top, because I am a top-notch kind of gal. My jokes are tops and my manners are top-drawer. One of the many things you need to know about Kymberly; she has been a liar since 4th grade. Pick the one you think is cutest–that one is me, no matter what my mom says and she has no idea, as we discovered to our dismay. Debbie, I am going to tell you a secret (if you are a regular FnF reader, you know we LOVE secrets). We had stand-ins for those photos. We were so good-looking at that age that the photographer broke down in tears of ecstasy and never got fully revived. So those are some other red-headed, freckle-faced, uneven haircut, glasses-wearing, super sweeties in any case.

K: So that gives you another clue: the overly confident one is Alexandra. The appropriately confident one is Kymberly. Alexandra will give you one more clue, which, if you follow will help you burn one calorie.

Wonder No More at the Wonder Twins!

A: To find the answer to your question, you will have to go to the About Us page. All will be revealed.

Readers: What tricks and skills have you used to tell identical twins apart? What question do you most want to ask twins?

14

Power Walk with the Butterflies in Santa Barbara

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

By now you probably know that we totally espouse (that’s a dating site, right?) making exercise part of a FUN life. Even though we teach group fitness indoors, for extra fun we go for walks.

monarch butterfly

An ORANGE Monarch Butterfly

Where are you hiding, butterflies?

We took this video of our walk through a butterfly grove in the Santa Barbara area. We are hoping to entice you all to make a visit here! We’ll take you on a walk AND invite you to our exercise classes!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jeahZ4VRiE[/youtube]

Exercise Tip #1: Strolling through a butterfly grove and along the ocean counts as exercise.

Exercise Tip #2: You don’t have to sweat to be active.

Exercise Tip #3: Go with a friend (and possibly a video camera) to make it more fun.

Bonus Santa Barbara tip: Here is information about the butterfly season and grove from our local paper.

Readers: What are some of your favorite walking spots?

Photo credit: Randy son of Robert

8

C-c-c-cooking with Ch-ch-ch-chia seeds!

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Have you wondered what chia seeds are and why you should care?

Remember chia pets?

Do chia pets use hair gel?

Chia is a gluten-free seed that has more dietary fiber and Omega 3 than any other food from nature. Psssst, Omega 3 is NOT a planet in Star Trek; it’s an essential fatty acid that’s beneficial for brain and heart health. The body cannot make it. Neither can the Wizard of Oz!

If you’ve read our posts about exercise and brain power, you know we’re all about boosting the ol’ noggin! And in the video you’re about to see, we definitely boost something with chia seeds from GNC. Oh, yes.

Alexandra: In case you’re curious about my previous experiment with chia in food, take a look at our Granola, Yogurt & Cookie Monster video.

Kymberly: In case you are wondering how I use Chia seeds since I don’t bake, watch the video. Think “Hansel and Gretel.”

FYI, we don’t like it by the handful. We do like it added to foods. You can bake with it, sprinkle it on the 3 S’s (salads, soups, stir-fry), add it to drinks (soak it for a few minutes first unless you like crunchy drinks!), or even make a gel that can be added to recipes to help you feel full sooner.

And we don’t know about you, but when you say “ch-ch-ch-chia” doesn’t an image of Charo saying “cuchi, cuchi” come into your head?

 

Photo credit: Creative Commons: andydr

Have you tried chia seeds? What recipe is your favorite?

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

23

Do Pilates and Yoga Improve Strength? Free offer for right answer!

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: Hi. Are Pilates and yoga considered strength training? Or do I need to do some free weights? Thank you for your time. Dee, USA

Yoga is more than breathing

Who me? Nothing. Just hanging around!

Kymberly: The short answer is that both yoga and Pilates DO improve strength and are fantastic activities. And both are low resistance workouts. Depending on your fitness or health goals, you may also want to add some heavier resistance training to your weekly workouts. Think: free weights, machines, elastic tubing, medicine balls, kettlebells, barbells, teen progeny who hold still when you hug and squeeze them. Lots of choices!

Alexandra: I just went over to Gaiam TV to see what kind of yoga and Pilates videos they have for strength training and I got 3 pages of titles just for the “beginner” category. I think my mouse-clicking finger just got stronger! That was surprising – not that my finger has superhuman strength, but that there were so many “alternative” strength DVDs – because in our Yoga For Flexibility and Weight Loss post we talk about yoga’s more relaxing aspects. In this Ab Strengthening post, we talk about some of the benefits of Pilates (and share some great ab moves).

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman has Wonderful Biceps!

And my sister gave you the short answer above, so I’ll give you the strong answer. If you only enjoy yoga and Pilates, do them, knowing it will take you longer to show your Wonder Woman toned up muscles. But if you also enjoy free weights, add them to your workout. The combination of activities will be your quickest path to Dee-lightful, Blissful muscles. I shall now go practice my “I got into the Pretzel and can’t get out” move. It’s sort of like the saying for New Orleans (I’ve fallen down and can’t get up), except the Pretzel doesn’t involve drinking. Or cartilage as far as I can tell!

K: Huh? Were you talking? I was working out to Gaiam TV videos that had the words “powerhouse,” “pumping,” “squeeze stronger,” and “Budokon” in them. Apparently I will be invincible!! after I try Budokon. Heck, I’ll be smarter just figuring out what that means. Here’s to being strong and invincible!

A: Activate!

Dear Readers: What are your favorite yoga or Pilates moves for gaining muscle definition and strength?

Also, we want to let you know that Gaiam TV is offering a 10 Day Free Trial, which means you’ll get free access to over 2000 healthy living streaming videos. Yup, free access for you all because that’s how we work the magic on your behalf! If you can’t watch them all in 10 days (you can’t), put a subscription on your wish list. Just sayin’.

Bonus tip: They have videos on everything from the environment, metaphysics, art & culture, science & technology, travel, fitness, documentaries, and dinosaurs to food & nutrition, TV shows, family and even (can you believe it?) yoga and Pilates! We’re off to check out the self-help because if we don’t help ourselves, who will?

Photo credits: Creative Commons: andertoons, Gaiam TV

Disclosure: Gaiam TV compensated us for the links in this post. All opinions and suggestions are our own.

17

Are Skechers Sketchy, Steppy, or Peppy?

Kymberly Wiliams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Who loves getting packages in the mail? We do! We do! Oooh…squeee! Free Skechers fitness shoes for us to use and review. Double ooooh, as those of you who have followed us for a while know that we are NOT fans of the rocker aspect. But we do have open minds and new closed-toed shoes to try out and report on.

Skechers Fitness Tone-Ups

Pink & Grey, just like Alexandra's Face & Hair!

We ripped open the package and found first a DVD with “Instructions.” Already we had to like that since we have unique senses of humor. The last time we got shoe instructions was when we learned shoelace tying in kindergarten. “Loop one bunny ear, then the other; send the rabbit around the hole, through the hutch, and ta dum! Shoes tied!” Aahh sweet memories of that and eating that white paste at recess after playing “cooties.”

Anyway… we decided to live life on the edge, skip the instructions and take our Skechers on all sorts of adventures to see what they could handle. Since we teach a variety of classes plus power walk almost every day, we thought our shoes should go with us.

Do Skechers make Kymberly's legs look longer? Just say "yes."

First up: Low Impact class with Kymberly and her spiffy looking Women’s SRR Pro Speed.
Report directly from Kymberly’s Skechers: “Yes, this was an excellent and comfortable experience. I made Kymberly’s feet dance and twirl in comfort and style. Do her pants make my tongue look big?”

 

 

 

 

Step, step, step to my Lou

Next up: Step class with Kymberly
Report from K’s Skechers: “Big no for this activity. Kymberly’s balance was all over the place and the up and down stepping, lateral moves, and my shoe tread combined with the step rubber did not really play well together. Our master looked styler at least (that’s what Kymberly insisted we call her or she was going to tie us in knots).”

 

Last in-class visit: Kymberly’s Strength Training Class with Tubing

Oops, we thought this was a snake.

No, I'm not being arch! Quit trying to resist!

Skechers shoes reporting directly: “Gotta say, I was comfy and foot supportive throughout. However, the tube exercisers insist on using had nowhere to fit under my rocker! That darn resistance tubing kept slipping out from underfoot as my shoe has no arch underneath to keep it in place. So, rocker type shoes and tubing are not destined to work out safely together. No way to anchor = tube snap!”

The Path to Happy Feet

Power Walking and Aerobic Moseying with Kymberly: Field report: “SUCCESS IS OURS! Being on Kymberly’s’ feet so long, I noticed she has arthritis in her big toes and a knee that has had two major surgeries. So normally long walks hurt her feet and knee. She is acutely aware of foot strike and impact issues and usually takes her shoes off the minute she gets home as her feet cramp. I overheard her tell her sister that these shoes were surprisingly the MOST comfortable ones she has walked in and that her feet felt cushioned, fully engaged in each stride, and very light and springy from start to finish! She even kept me on for hours afterwards walking around the house and generally being footloose and fancy free! Apparently I am ‘walkers’ not ‘rockers’!”

Kymberly: Bottom line, these shoes are now my favorite walking shoes. But when equipment is involved, naaah!

Alexandra’s Shoes and Reviews:

Alexandra: I got the Fitness Flex Tone-Ups, which have very little of the “rocker” tone-up aspect, which is actually why I selected that style.
Here’s what I like about them:

* very lightweight
* attractive colors
* extremely comfortable, even with my wide feet
* great breatheability (this means I don’t end up with stinky feet)

Here’s where I won’t wear them: Teaching classes. I tried them in many of my formats (step, strength, hi/low cardio, kickbox, sports training,, etc.) and they were too unstable. I get the Good Sport award for thorough testing! Here’s where I will wear them: Walking. For walking I loved them. Keep in mind that I was walking on an unstable surface, not a sidewalk.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GTh4Oeh8og[/youtube]

Readers: We know some of you love them; some hate them. What’s your experience with the shoes? Do you feel drunk without having to actually drink when wearing them?

Photo Credits: I poached the Fitness Flex shoe pic off the Skechers site by doing a screen shot. Kymberly took all the other photos.

19

All Sizes Welcome: Fitness Pros Want YOU in their Classes and Clubs

Back in the early days of the fitness industry — yes, we mean the 1980’s, and yes, we were there — we as an industry made an achy breaky big mistakey. We geared ourselves to get the fit more fit. And that worked…. Just not for the unfit. Overweight, unfit, larger, older, “uncoordinated” people felt totally left out and threatened by gyms seemingly full of taut, toned, tight hard bodies flaunting their lean stuff. We know; we flaunted. But we never taunted, and that is an important point to keep in mind.

1980s Perfect

Perfection is Over-Rated

Fitness professionals and our beloved industry have changed. And not just out of tight-fitting lycra and midriff-baring spandex. We’ve changed to embrace, welcome, nay, even beg all sizes, shapes, ages, fitness levels to take part in an active world that genuinely cares about the health and happiness of everyone. You included!

We want YOU in our classes. We teach group classes because the people in them are the ginchiest and grooviest. And after more than 30 years of teaching, we can definitely say that almost everyone walks in to the exercise room for the first time with one thought in mind: “This is freakin’ scary!” How can we possibly know that? Because new students always come up and tell us. Not in those words. More like, “I haven’t worked out before. I can’t keep up with all these people. I don’t see anyone who looks like me. I don’t think I’ll last the entire time. I’m not coordinated.” These are the most common, but they all mean essentially the same thing.

I want THIS lady in my classes. She makes me feel happy!

People who teach group fitness do so because they love working with people. You are that person!  When you’re in the group fitness room, all you need is a willing attitude and desire to try your best. So take a deep breath, remind yourself that the people in the club were once just as scared as you, and step into the light with these tips in mind:

  • Start in a class! Why try to go it alone? Get thee to a group exercise workout that looks do-able and a good point of entry for your likes and goals. You will be surrounded by like-minded people, guided by a caring instructor, taught to move safely, and encouraged to find success at your pace;
  • Introduce yourself to the teacher as a newbie or returnee or nervous Nelly. You will get suggestions, reassurance, insights on what to expect, modifications at no extra cost to your wallet or ego! Such a deal!;
  • After class, have the instructor go over the group class schedule with you to recommend workouts right for you, your goals, your comfort level. We instructors love being asked for advice. Who knows the classes and types of people in them better than those who teach them? So take advantage of us as a resource and leave with your class schedule circled and underlined with options just right for you. Hint – if the class says “Kick Butt KickBox” you might want to leave that for later. Words like “Gentle,” or “Self-paced” or “Intro” may call your name.
  • Attend with a friend, which will offer you immediate community, a shared experience, and boosted adherence (like our pithy slogan: attend with a friend. Quote us.) Every study ever done in the entire history of the world forever and ever shows that exercising with a friend increases success and happiness.
  • Strike up a conversation with other class participants. These are your future friends and support group. They have been where you’ve been and are going where you are going. So why travel alone and anonymously?

Be aware that we (by “we” we mean all humans) tend to see what we are looking for. If you think you are going to hit the front desk and be whumped upside the eyeballs by “perfect bodies,” that is exactly what you will notice. If you can take a deep, yogic or aerobic breath and look again, you will notice something fabulous — “regular” people actually inhabit gyms. All ages, all sizes, all shapes, all kinds of fashion statements, all levels of everything. What they ALL have in common is a desire to avoid embarrassment; a desire to be healthier; to be more energetic; to be loved; to have friends; to have a low stress life; to enjoy their bodies more each day.

We leave you with a true and somewhat humorous story — in our 20s we taught at a small studio. The owner was one of those “ideal” bodies. And she was also beautiful and kind. Genetic Freak! A potential member came in to the studio to inquire about the classes. She took one look at the owner and remarked, “Oh, I could never look like that.” Then she spotted us. You wouldn’t run screaming from us, but we aren’t perfect. We are fun! Anyway, the woman pointed over toward us and said to the girl at the front desk, “But I could look like that.” So we have called ourselves the Attainable Goals ever since. We hope you’ll come be an attainable goal with us!

Readers: If you are new to exercise, what would it take to get you into the group fitness room? If you’re a regular exerciser, what could you do to make a new person feel included?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

 

23

7 Reasons to Start Getting Fit Now

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Are you new to exercise? Don’t exercise but are considering it? Not really considering it seriously, but know you should make a change? Some people (not you, of course) might think that December is the worst month for starting a get-fit regimen. But those people are wrongity-wrong. It’s quite possibly the best month, for these reasons:

1. No-one else is at the gym. People are all out shopping and eating on the run, which means you can run on the treadmills and ellipticals without having to wait. And the gym trainers will be more available to help you figure out how those totally confusing computer programs work on the machines. Yeah, I’ve been teaching for over 25 years, but still do not know how to program the cursed treadmills. Damn things buck me off every time – video to prove it! * * (Stay posted for that video in a future post)

Less crowded in December

Eenie Meenie Miney Mo - December is the Way to Go

2. It’s cold in December. Exercise makes you warm. Just ask our friend Scott over at Your Inner Skinny. He lives in the part of Canada that no-one goes to on purpose, and it’s currently -42C, which is something like -3,956 in Fahrenheit. So get moving, you’ll warm up. Hug sweaty Canadians! Then steal their down parkas.

Cold, but Happy

It's Hug a Canadian Day at the North Pole

3. It’s the gifting season, and what better gift is there than making yourself healthier, which means you’ll probably live longer, and your kids will have you around for a long time, and you’ll be able to do stuff with them without getting exhausted, and your insurance will cost less, and you’ll feel and look better and you’ll get so strong and energetic that you’ll have the strength to read this very long, “make your high school English teacher crazy” run-on sentence.

4. Your stress levels will go down. Yup, exercise reduces stress. Even if you’re “downright out of shape,” as this Mayo Clinic article states. Holiday Season = Stress Hits the Up Elevator. Exercise = Stress Hits the Down Elevator. So basically, if you are a fan of higher math like I am, that means December will be just as relaxing as the beach in July once you start exercising.

Enticing beach scene

Climbing That Tree Counts as Exercise

5. You can get a good spot in the group exercise classes before the New Year’s crowd gets in the room. And everyone is in a festive mood, so they’ll be even more welcoming than usual. Instructor ad right here – professional group fitness instructors are always welcoming, and they set a good example for “their” students, so in truth you’ll be welcomed year-round. But they’ll share their eggnog and smile when they ask your name in December.

6. You will avoid the somewhat unrealistic (cough, cough) expectation that you can get fit on the morning of December 31st in time for the evening’s party. Much more realistic (as in “not really”) is to start a wee bit sooner. Since you can safely sustain a weight loss of 1 ½ to 2 pounds per week, if you start today you will be about 6 or 7 pounds lighter by New Year’s. If you’re thinking, “Hey, my goal is 35 pounds. What good is 6 or 7,” my answer is this – you’ll be 1/6th (oh, crap, math again. Yes, I estimated) of the way there. But, your outlook and how you feel will be 75% of the way there, because research (our BFF) says that you will start to view yourself as an exerciser, which means your habits will change to meet that self-image. In straight-talk, that means you’ll feel like a total hottie at the party. That is way cool!

magic fitness transformation

Just Lift the Word "After" Over Your Head 10 Times A Day to Look Like This

7. You will save money. You will have more energy. You will look better. You will feel better. You will meet a lot of cool people. Your math skills will improve. You’ll get an end of year tax deduction…One of these may be false. Hint: Exercise makes you smarter, so it’s actually quite possible your math skills will improve. For example, I was going to write 10 Reasons, but got bogged down when I carried the 1, multiplied the 0, subtracted the junk food, added the Lycra and Voila!!!, ended up with 7 Reasons!

Remember December as the month you did the Zoom Zoom for your Boom Boom! If you come to Santa Barbara, we’ll even let you into our classes for free!

Dear Reader: What reason to start exercising now would you add to this list?

Photo credits:Creative Commons: IRRI Images, 1987porsche944, Ben McLeod