Archive

Monthly Archives: January 2012
23

“Rotating Abs” Exercise = Stronger Core

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: I tried the core assessment move in your post, ‘Do You Really Have Core Strength?‘ and flopped like a fish. Now that I’m confirmed as a fish with a weak core, do you have a post or video as to what I do next to strengthen my abs? Give up and eat mud pie?  Nora, Atlanta, GA

For you, Nora and all our interested readers, we offer another exercise in our series of effective ab workouts. This one shows the wrong and right way to perform a rotating core move.
After you try this (and watching the video while muttering, “unh hunh, I can do that exercise correctly” doesn’t count as trying), you might still have enough energy to work your way through our series of ab exercises. These ab workouts will definitely have you rotating, flexing and possibly whimpering! Dare we slam down a pun and suggest that this move will prevent you becoming an alba–core!).

Let us know – were you able to do this rotating core move without propping up on your elbow or shoulder? What bad habits do you have when it comes to core workouts?

Photo credit: photostock / freedigitalphotos.net

3

7 Reasons to Hire Us to Blog & Vlog for You

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

We’ve been exercising in one form or another for our entire lives (hello modern dance droopy kid leotards), and writing about exercise for over half our lives. We love both. What a great life it is, to be able to write about something that makes us feel good, look good, get smarter and healthier, and increase our quality of life!

Can you tell us apart?

Since we like to pay our bills (that pesky Santa Barbara mortgage), and buy great fitness fashions and healthy food, we thought we’d emphasize our skills with this fun little video. Someone on YouTube said it’s too long, so if you think that’s the case, just skip to all the bits with me! Of course, I’m not going to say which one of us is “me” in this scenario.

 

 

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbo3xhrPfLA&context=C303f642ADOEgsToPDskJtcTH067MhqiKDFonWEyRM[/youtube]

Since we love to write and read, here are the 7 reasons EVERYONE should hire us to blog and vlog for them:

7. We’re editors ourselves, so the articles we write are diamonds, not rough. Wouldn’t you rather have articles that are already organized, have good grammar and punctuation, and are spelling error free?

6. We blog, we vlog, but we can’t clog. Watch the video to see for yourself. We also do workshops, emceeing, tweetchats, reviews, and presentations. We never met a mic we didn’t like!

5. We have great definition! Wait, I mean, we give good definition. Ah heck, we know how to use big words. Effervescently!

4. We work hard to create traffic flow. Except for windy, narrow mountain roads.

3. We write with Punch, Snap, a Hook and an Angle. We are the fitness step-cousins to John Le Carre’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”

2. We’ve taught for almost 3 decades, on 4 continents, in at least 5 languages, so we know Fitness!

And the #1 reason you should hire us…we are professional writers with hundreds of published pieces that range from research features to short lists. Click to learn more about Kymberly and/or Alexandra. We’re also proud to be FitFluential ambassadors, a group of top influencers in social media for fitness!

P.S. Although we are both for hire, Kymberly is also for sale. Make an offer. She comes with a cute puppy.

Readers: What are you strengths and skills?

29

Brace for Good News About Bad Knees

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: A while back I had knee surgery, but I still want to work out even though exercise sometimes hurts. How do I protect my knees when participating in cardio activities, fitness classes, or walking downhill? Bob, Goleta, CA

Knee Joint StrapAlexandra: Hi Bob. Would you like me to go into detail about strengthening up and stretching the muscles that support your slacker knees, including the much-forgotten VMO? No, that is not an insurance plan, that is the Vastus Medialis Obliquus, and yes, it is spelled like that. No body part with Latin in its description (that would apply to er, um, well, all of them) should have to live in pain. It’s all about balance.

Kymberly: Well, balance AND alignment.  Our advice times twins is: Strengthen your quads and glutes. Do the same for your inner thighs and hamstrings so you stay balanced muscularly. Strengthen your anterior tibialis (shins) while you’re at it. Keep your knees tracking in line with your upper leg and lower leg, No turning your feet one way when your knees are pointing in another. And no turning your knees one way when your pelvic structure dictates something different. Got a compass so you can keep up with me and your pelvic structure?

When doing movements that locomote you forward or downhill, try to keep your knee above or behind your toes. Beware of all that forward and downward motion pushing your knees too far in front of your body and past the vertical plane of your feet. Otherwise you are putting a lot of pressure on the poor little kneecaps. Translation = knee pain.

knee brace for athletesHave you checked with your doctor whether wearing a knee brace or sport wrap might help? Options range from custom made, metal, hinging knee braces to those small strap bands. Both Alexandra and I have worn knee braces after similar reconstructive surgeries that ended our soccer careers. And by “careers,” we mean “having fun on the pitch.”  Fortunately we can still teach fitness!

K: If you have a few moments, read our other posts on dealing with knee pain, knee joint problems, and knee injuries. You will get lots of good strategies and a few stories on overcoming knee issues:

Just Say No … Didn’t Work

The Knights Who Say “Knee”

Can’t Run or Jump?

Bad Knees: Step Lively Once Again

A: Why don’t you just hire a proxy to do your exercise activities? Save your knees for dancing at parties and asking forgiveness.

K: You know, I have to agree with Alexandra. Or party on with a rehab program you can buy for leeetle dollahs: Fix My Knee Pain.

Readers: If you have knee pain that affects your workouts, how do you deal with it?

Disclosure: We are affiliates for the Fix My Knee Pain program. Not because we actually earn big bucks, but because we trust, know, and use this program ourselves. While opinions and suggestions are entirely ours, tricky knees are all yours.

Photo credit: BetterBraces.com

25

Halfway Through 6,347 Patriot Push-Ups

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

We have been doing 212 push-ups every day so far in January to honor our servicemen and women killed in action in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. “We” refers to a number of people who are involved in this challenge. Meet a few of them now:

Wicked push-ups

Matthew

Matthew does a video of his push-ups every day.

Rich

Rich does his during the game!

Just for fun, we threw in some video of us to prove we’re doing a variety of push-ups – toe, knee, wall, equipment, benches, etc.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EBADTtVaR8[/youtube]

 

Erin

Erin does her push-ups in between finding funny pics on the interwebz

Taneisha

Push-ups will do that to you!

Pete

Pete does his down under or upside down or something

And Joe’s tweet kind of sums up why we’re all doing this challenge.
Joe

This kinda says it all. Thank you Joe.

If you want to join us, we’d love to have you on the team. Just do a total of 6,347 Patriot Push-ups. You can let us know on Twitter with the hashtag #PatriotPushUps, or on our Fun and Fit Facebook page.

Anytime Fitness has offered a free one-year membership to one totally lucky person who completes the challenge by January 31st. You have to live within 30 miles of one of their clubs (they have 1,805 locations so chances are good), and not be a current member. Chuck Runyon, the CEO of Anytime Fitness and author of “Working Out Sucks” is even doing push-ups!

He's right. It is.

Be sure to enter our Anytime Fitness contest.

Photo credit: via Creative Commons – DVIDSHUB

32

Seated Posture: Part 6 Sitting Pretty

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: I am loving your posture videos! I sit at a desk all day and I’m wondering if you would do a video on posture while sitting. Also, I find it easier to slouch at the computer (I sit on a backless stool) and I’m wondering why sitting up straight seems to take more energy? I am in my early 30’s and when I stand up straight in the mirror, my body looks lovely…and when I am doing my normal posture it looks schlumpy and not as nice. I’d love to change this and I appreciate your help ladies! :)) Sibby, Miami, FL

Schlumpy

Seated Schlumpy

Dear Sibby: We are of the mindset and age that 30 year olds should look lovely, and mostly do. We know we did! Since you asked so nicely, we shot a posture video with three starter suggestions on achieving anti-slouching when seated.

 

 

 

 

The real key though, is awareness, which you seem to have. We deduced this first by your compliment about out posture series videos 1-5. Obvious awareness! Second, you know when you are schlumping, you know when you’re up straight, you know when you’ve been bad or good, so be good for posture’s sake. (Make you think back to any holiday songs?). Third, you actually noticed that sitting in good posture takes energy. This level of awareness is your first, and best step to meeting your posture goals.

A few tips in addition to the video insights:

  1. When wanting to sit naturally and less stressfully, think “tall and extended with your heart lifted” rather than “straight.” The spine has natural curvature so a straight back would actually be out of alignment. Kinda painful too by the end of the workday.
  2. Good body alignment DOES take energy because we need activated muscles to achieve optimal spinal position and muscles are energy users, big time. However, the body seeks energy efficiency (secret body code for – how can I do the least?) Relying on joints, tendons, and ligaments to support a given position (this “schlumping” you confess to) is calorically (energetically) efficient.  Sure, we pay the price later in sore joints, wimpy muscles, and posture that makes us look waaay older than 30!. As we sit hunched over, we are not using abs and back muscles.
  3. Check the relationship between your body and your work station. If the ergonomics are off, that is the first thing to change. Is your work station too low relative to your stool so that you have to hunch to reach the keyboard?
  4. Lastly, stand up every 15-30 minutes. This simple movement will remind you of your posture and get you out of any bad sitting habits at least temporarily.

Saaaay, are you schlumping while reading this? Lift your heart puhleeeze!

Readers: What do you do to remind yourself to sit lifted? What word have you made up to beat “schlumping”? (which we pretty much like and plan to adopt).

Nominate Alexandra Williams for a social media award in the Shorty Awards!

Nominate Alexandra Williams

for a social media award in the Shorty Awards

36

Healthy School Lunches

We bring you a guest post today, compliments of two young men who have been members of a nutrition club, study nutrition, and haven’t had soda in over a year.

Miles Rouzer, with additional research by Willie Pate
Seniors at Dos Pueblos High School

Now that school has started back up, I am here to offer some advice to those teens who might be struggling to keep their resolutions about eating more healthfully, especially at school.

tangerines

Now THAT'S a mad grip of tangerines!

But this isn’t about trash-talking school lunches, because I want this to actually be read in less than four hours. Teens actually do want to eat food that’s good for them, not just pizza, chips and sodas every day. So…what are some good things to pack as a snack or lunch?

The absolute best thing to bring is a mad grip (aka a handful) of tangerines! Not only are they delicious and nutritious but you can waste some precious minutes of class time in an attempt to peel off the skin in one whole piece!

A nicely rounded healthy lunch would look something like this:
* peanut butter and jelly (from the local farmer’s market) mashed between two pieces of whole wheat bread (makes one heck of a fine sandwich)
* banana
* Planters NUT-rition mix
* finish strong with a delicate cherry pie LaraBar

If you want to be known as a gourmet chef, try this one out for size:
* the night before cook up a batch of quinoa and a vegetable medley of some sort (stir fry also works, and I actually prefer it), then just microwave that goodness at school or carry a microwave to school in your backpack – LOL
* those Juicy Juice boxes go great with this
* a snack with this could be a Zbar, which are actually really dank (translation: awesome)

HUMAN healthy food vending machine

Everything looks good when it's in a vending machine

Another lunch that I make quite often:
* turkey jerky for snack
* turkey sandwich, with turkey from your local deli of course, with some fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. Feel free to add homemade bacon to this. Just kidding! Unless you do that kind of thing…
* some apples, which helps get your body enough fiber without making you have to eat that horrid “fiber sticks” old-person cereal instead of Cap’n Crunch in the morning
* lastly, there are some interesting pouches called Mashups Squeezable fruit that you can eat to get a straight injection of healthfulness

fruit puree Mashups

A bit like a fruit smoothie, but not exactly

I know that many people think teens just eat junk, but we actually like stuff that’s good for us too. Except shrimp; I hate shrimp. And here’s a little hint for adults – if you put healthy stuff into the school vending machines, that’s what we’ll eat. And we are also concerned about our future. I bring this up because I found out about a cool company called H.U.M.A.N. Healthy Vending (helping unite man and nutrition). It’s a company that places healthy vending machines in schools (and other places) and gives 10% of the proceeds back to charitable causes that fight obesity and malnutrition. Some of the snacks they sell are mentioned above, so you know it’s regular food that kids eat. Some of the snacks were definitely not me.

Anyway, I hope parents are reading this too, so you’ll know to buy us healthy food for us to pack in our lunches.
Giveaway: Thanks to Healthy Vending, we have one sample pack of healthy snacks to give to one lucky reader. Named in Entrepreneur Magazine as a “Top 100 Brilliant Company” and in Forbes Magazine as one of “America’s Most Promising Companies,” they are on a mission to put healthier food options in front of consumers. For your chance to win the sample pack pictured here, put a comment below and (if you’re on Twitter) send out a tweet mentioning this giveaway via @healthyvending. Let us know in the comments that you’ve sent the tweet. If you want to find them via Facebook, they are at H.U.M.A.N. Health Vending. Contest ends midnight PST, Friday, Jan. 20. We’ll notify the winner on Saturday, Jan. 21.

Healthy Vending sample pack

Do You Want to Win All This Healthy Food?

If you’re a student, what are some healthy foods you pack for your lunches?

Photo credits: norwichnuts, RevolutionFoods, healthyvending

Nominate Alexandra Williams for a social media award in the Shorty Awards!Nominate Alexandra Williams for a social media award in the Shorty Awards

Congratulations to Emily at Family and Live in Las Vegas, the winner of the healthy snacks sample pack.

25

Don’t Be Still My Beating (Omron) Heart (Rate Monitor)

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Strapless Omron HR Monitor

What 2 things are strapless in this picture?

Would you be surprised to hear that sometimes Alexandra needs monitoring? Apparently Omron Heart Rate Monitor company thought the same as they sent us heart rate monitors to try out and review for you.

Kymberly: Two features I noticed and liked right away (besides the fact that the monitors were complimentary! Always nice):

1) The little gizmo is strapless. Yes, just like the dresses I never wore in college! No strap around the torso, no electrodes to hook up to. I just popped that baby onto my wrist like a watch.

Alexandra: Oh, I SO want to hook Kymberly up to some electrodes right now, just for research purposes. Say, maybe I can talk her into touching the electric fence around my garden (my 17-year-old and his friends touched it on purpose. Silly boys; shocks are for cars).

K: 2) Super easy to check my heart rate. I simply placed two fingers on top, waited 6 seconds, and voila! The number and a little heart symbol appeared. Yes, it revealed my heart rate, not IQ or waist size. Sheesh! It can also tell you how many calories you’ve burned.

A: Did it reveal whether or not you have a heart? One thing I noticed, since I like to wear things on my right wrist, is that the monitor really only works if you wear it on the left. I never could get a reading when I tried to use the left hand/ right wrist combo. Maybe there’s a version out there for lefties.

K: Fine print (meaning my comments are so Fiiiine, you will want to keep reading): to take advantage of the watch, calorie burning indicator, stopwatch, alarm, and other features, keep those instructions handy and actually read them.  My experience went like this — read, press stuff, enjoy beeping, get reading glasses, read the next two lines, poke at the monitor more, read more, get more beeping, distract the new puppy who wanted to chew the Omron monitor. (She liked the beeping I guess). You get the picture.

Omron HR Monitor

So simple to use even Kila can figure it out!

In case you want one for you or your pet, here’s the link to Omron.

If you’re on Twitter, please join in the TweetChat #FitWithOmron to ask questions such as, “Do you have a left-handed version,” and other workout-related topics. The chats are Jan. 09 and Feb. 06; both at 6:00 pm PST.

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

Alexandra has been nominated for a Shorty Award in Social Fitness, and really wants your vote. Please click on the badge link and vote for her if you have a Twitter account. Voting closes in a few weeks, so please vote now! Oh, only one vote will count, so don’t be fooled by their invitation to “vote again”! Thank you!

Nominate Alexandra Williams for a social media award in the Shorty Awards!Nominate Alexandra Williams for a social media award in the Shorty Awards

 

48

Does Working Out Suck?

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

Kymberly: If you know anything about us, you know my sis and I think working out is pretty darn fun and uplifting. We’ve been active all our lives. So why are we keen on a book entitled Working Out Sucks?

book cover

Alexandra: Yes, or no – Do you think working out sucks?
Before you answer that, ask yourself a few other questions:

  1. Does dying early from something totally preventable suck?
  2. Does not being able to play with your kids or enjoy many activities suck?
  3. Does feeling uncomfortable and unhealthy in your own body suck?
  4. Does getting paid less than your equals suck?

These are some of the questions Chuck Runyon, the CEO and co-founder of Anytime Fitness poses in Working Out Sucks. Whatever we’ve been doing over the past few decades to get fit and healthy, it isn’t working. We are less fit and less healthy, and our children are expected to have shorter life spans that we are. I don’t want that for my kids.

The mind tells the body what to do and Runyon and his co-authors, Rebecca DeRossett, a therapist and registered dietitian, and Brian Zehetner, a conditioning professional, share a lot of expert information about ways to train yourself out of bad habits and into better ones. I thought the book would be “in your face” and it is, but not in a blaming, name-calling way. More in a sincerely concerned, “Save your own life and money” kind of way.

Kymberly: Bottom line — the main message of the book is that the consequences of NOT working out suck more than exercise. Yes, inactivity super suckity sucks the most.

If you are someone who needs a boot in the booty; motivation and information to get your giddy up a goin’; a straight shot of “no excuses” advice, then take a read. But move as soon as you put the book down for goodness’ sake!

Fair warning given — the three authors have oodles of personality and do not mind sharing opinions. Are you someone who needs a “no more lame excuses” smackdown to get started on the journey to better health and all around fit-tastic-ness? Do you like stats and quotes that rouse you? Most controversial and misunderstood example: “Money is allergic to fat people.” You will then respond to the opening chapter-ettes that are designed to get you out of your snuggie and into the gym or outdoors.

The later sections help you change any sabotaging behaviors and set a plan for your eating and (dare we say) workouts. “Move a muscle; move a feeling,” is one side benefit of being active. Yes, you really will feel better if you follow the authors’ advice.

Your body doesn't like junk food

Feeling crummy after eating junk food sucks!

Alexandra: Most people hate exercise because it seems like punishment, Even though we at Fun and Fit are all about finding ways to make fitness fun, Runyon’s perspective is more like, “Hey, so exercise might be punishment, but the alternatives are far worse, so get going.” He’s the nagging mom; we’re the teen who knows we should be doing our homework but have procrastinated till it’s almost too late. If you want to get an “A” in life, lace up your shoes, dust off your sweats and do your push-ups!

K and A: Why do we mention push-ups? Because Anytime Fitness puts their money where their LOUD mouth is, and are giving a free one-year membership to one of the participants in our Push-ups for Patriots challenge. To find out why 212 push-ups a day for 31 days does NOT suck, read the post.

And if you want to be entered to win your own copy of Working Out Sucks. you just have to ‘fess up in the comments about an excuse you’ve used to avoid working out. You can also enter to win by tweeting about the giveaway using the hashtag #WorkingOutSucks. Then link to this post or either of us on Twitter so we’ll know you tweeted. We have four copies to give away, so comment at will! While jogging in place! We’ll announce the winners on January 30th, the same day as the #WorkingOutSucks tweetchat.

If you do not win one of our giveaway copies and can use a solid, thorough, easy-to-follow guided tour to start on the path to a better and more active life, buy the book. It includes a 21-day nutrition and fitness plan, AND two coupons in the back for a free 30-Day Anytime Fitness club pass or a one-year Anytime Health online membership. These are worth more than the price of the book, but hey, if you win one, it’s worth waaaaaaay more than the price you paid! Even sweeter, 100% of book proceeds go to support Limbs for Life, a non-profit organization that provides prosthetics to those in need.

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

Readers: Did working out ever suck for you? If so, did you overcome that feeling? How?

 

64

Push-ups for Patriots

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

It’s the new year, which means lots of fitness challenges. So of course we resolved to NOT do a January fitness challenge. Especially one that involves push-ups!

We love push-ups

One down; 6346 to go!

But we changed our minds when we met our new Twitter friend Joe Evans. Joe served three tours of duty in Afghanistan; one in Iraq. Alexandra mentioned that she’d do push-ups in his honor. Here’s his response:Push-ups and Joe Evans

 

 

 (*OEF = Operation Enduring Freedom; OIF = Operation Iraqi Freedom)

Our friend Matthew Poster saw our tweets and put this out there:

Who could resist a challenge from two good-looking, fitness-oriented guys, especially considering that Joe has gone through way more on our behalf than simply having sore muscles?! One push-up for each American killed in action. Then we found out was exactly how high that number is!

Yes, you read that right: 6,347 Americans killed in action. So 6,347 push-ups. In one month. That works out to about 212 push-ups per day if you start today, the 2nd of January. Feeling shocked? Think you can’t achieve it? Perhaps you feel the same way Matthew did when he saw the number. We admit to being a little daunted ourselves, but as we always say here at Fun and Fit, “baby steps count” so we’ll start with the first one and work our way up and down and up from there!

Joe is going to do them too. So are we. You might be thinking, “What do push-ups have to do with honoring our servicepeople?” Probably not much. But when you think of the physical and mental rigors Joe and all his colleagues have gone through, 212 daily push-ups don’t seem so insurmountable, do they?

We’ll be on our knees after the first 50 or so. Possibly on our faces after the first 100. And by 101, we’ll figure out that we don’t have to do all 212 at once. Nor on the floor. Hey, wall push-ups count as real exercise! And keep in mind that the day has a lot of hours in it.  You can kick out a quick 10 just waiting in line at the grocery store. We dare ya!

And before your typing finger goes numb from the push-ups, be sure to follow Joe and Matthew on Twitter and say hi. We totally blame thank them for this idea. (We hope you follow us as well at @AlexandraFunFit and @KymberlyFunFit).

BTW, feel lucky Joe said “Americans” in his original tweet. Go here and you’ll see that the number for ALL the coalition forces killed in action is a whopping 7,649. We don’t even want to do the math for how many daily push-ups that would be!

Leave us a comment below to let us know you’re in. And when you tweet about it, use the hashtag #PatriotPushups so our servicemen and women will know you’re thinking about them. And when you’re not thinking of them, your muscles will remind you. We mean your buff, toned, taut, strong pecs, triceps, biceps, traps, and rhomboids thanks to taking part in the Patriot Push-Up Challenge.

This just in: Anytime Fitness has offered a free one-year membership to one totally lucky person who completes the challenge. You have to live within 30 miles of one of their clubs (they have 1,805 locations so chances are good), and not be a current member. Is that cool or what?

To be eligible to win the free one-year membership, you just need to leave a comment below letting us know you’re part of the challenge. It’s on the honor system whether or not you finish, but why would someone lie about doing something to show we’re thinking of our troops? Feel free to tweet tweet  (nope, that’s not a typo; check the links) us or let us know on Facebook how it’s going, but that’s not required. We’ve also put links above to Anytime Fitness in case you want to tweet them about your progress! We’ll pull one winner from a sweaty shoe on February 1st, 2012. Okay, we’ll really pull a winner’s name from a shoe, not an actual winner!