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Monthly Archives: March 2012
141

Giveaway: LesserEvil & The Greater Good

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

We win; You win! In our case, we were sent a case of LesserEvil chips and popcorn and enjoyed them. So we are very excited to be chosen to share a giveaway they’re doing because YOU can win the new iPad3 or a case of their snacks. Keep reading to enter!

LesserEvil” is not Alexandra’s middle name, although “Greater Evil” might be Kymberly’s. LesserEvil is a company that makes snacks that are a healthier choice for you and your kids. The Krinkle Sticks are baked, not fried, and come in 4 flavors: tasty, tastier, tastiest and super tasty! Or, as they call them on the packages: Veggie, Original, White Cheddar, Sour Cream & Onion. They also have two kinds of “Fields Good Kettlecorn”: Original and Black & White (hint – it involves chocolate).

Alexandra: My boys and I plowed through all 6 bags in about 3 days. I think we were racing each other in case someone else hogged them all. I really did have a hard time choosing my favorite, but after thinking about it, I have to go with the Original Kettlecorn.

I don’t ever eat potato chips because the grease upsets my stomach, but I was glad to find these chips because I can sit and watch “Downton Abbey”  and finish a bag and not feel guilty or icky. Although it is kind of weird that I did go through an entire bag before the opening credits were over!

Kymberly: My package of snackage arrived a day before my daughter came home for spring break so I got a head start. Honestly, I rarely eat “regular” chips any more as I seek healthier options when needing a crunch snack. Attending the Natural Products Expo West revealed lots of solutions for avoiding snackcidents and finding “Lesser Evil” ways to indulge. The fact that this company offers flavor, healthier ingredients, AND donates 10% of their profits to charity spurred my hand into the bag.

Personal decadent fave? The Black and White Kettlecorn as I am known for being a dark chocolate fan. I can’t speak for the Veggie Sticks as hubster ate them all declaring them “really good. Hope you didn’t have to try them too.” So I hid the rest of the bags so I could work my way through them at my leisure. Personal savory flavory? The White Cheddar.

Try them for yourself if you don’t win one of the cases. You can use the store locater or get them online.

Here is the giveaway information:

Contest is open to US residents only until midnight PST Sunday, April 15. LesserEvil will choose one winner for the 16GB Apple iPad3 and 3 winners for the case of snacks. Winners will be contacted by LesserEvil via email and have 72 hours to respond or new winners will be chosen.

Mandatory Entry

Visit www.lesserevil.com, then come back here and leave a comment sharing something you learned about the company. While there, why not enter the contest via their form and rules too?! We really like their “How to Make the World a Little Less Evil” entry suggestion. You can enter more than once. Heck, look at all those ways to enter just below!

Additional Entries

For each action you take, you must let us know via a comment below for it to count as an entry.

Please do not combine action comments as it will count as only one entry in the contest.

Follow @LesserEvilSnack on Twitter

Like LesserEvil on Facebook

Subscribe to LesserEvil on YouTube 

Follow LesserEvil on Google Plus 

Copy & paste this tweet, then when you’re done come back and comment with the link of your tweet

I want to win an iPad3 from @LesserEvilSnack http://bit.ly/HvDlki  @AlexandraFunFit (or @KymberlyFunFit) #giveaways

Follow us on Twitter at @AlexandraFunFit and @KymberlyFunFit

Like our Fun and Fit Facebook page.

Subscribe to our Fun and Fit YouTube channel (we really like this one!)

Subscribe to this blog via email

Follow us on Pinterest Alexandra and Kymberly

Disclaimer: LesserEvil compensated us for this post. All thoughts (and tastebuds) and opinions are our own.

13

New Exercise Equipment: Try These

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

One of the benefits of attending the IHRSA International Convention and Trade Show is that we get to test out the new equipment before it gets to the club where you work out. And, Oh, the Places We Will Go!

By the time we finished testing out the new equipment, we had used every muscle and every verb available. We climbed, pulled, bounced, jumped, shook, hauled (mostly our tired butts) and ker-splatted our way to equipment enlightenment. Or to the water fountain. Either way.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJY72n6WiM4&feature=plcp&context=C4519935VDvjVQa1PpcFPajXWkzgLidQi1pwAgO02WX4t5nNoVFPg%3D[/youtube]

These are the machines we tried:

BallBike by FIT One

Marpo Kinetics

Jacob’s Ladder

Treadwall

None of these companies sponsors us in any way; we just thought they looked like fun and wanted to share them with you.

Alexandra’s favorite was clearly the BallBike – the video only shows a few seconds of her having a ball, drawing an admiring crowd, testing out the equipment as a professional should!

Which piece of equipment looks the most fun to you? 

 

 

35

Exercise Kindness

Alexandra Williams, MA

Today’s post is serious in nature, yet hopeful. You see that MA listed after my name up there? It’s for my advanced degree in Counseling, with an emphasis on Marriage and Family. I got it because I had so many fitness students come to me with issues beyond my scope and I wanted to be more informed.

Hugs are Free in Every Language

In systems theory (my type of counseling) we believe that no one operates in isolation; what one person does affects the next. We should probably call it “ripple theory.” This week I’ve seen a very sad example of these ripples. A friend of my niece’s died this week. She was only 19. She was also a twin.

A lot of people are devastated. As a friend of mine said, “This is a special kind of hell.” As a twin and a mom, I cannot fathom the amount of despair that her family feels, especially her twin, whose identity is now changed forever.

Why am I writing all this on a blog about healthy living? Because I believe that all of us have a responsibility to reach out to those who have fallen out of health, both physical and mental. You do not need to have special training to be kind, smile at others, share a hug, or just listen.

I was quoted in an article the other day as saying the one thing I always bring with me to class is a smile. This is intentional. I work with college students and people in their 80s, two groups prone to stress, loneliness and depression. When I show up to class I have no way of knowing what the students had to do just to get there. I just know that they are there and that there is something they need that they’re getting from the class. Maybe all they need is to earn a credit to graduate, but maybe it’s the one time of the week they get to see a friendly face.

Please be the friendly face when you’re on your run, or in your class, or at the weight station, or working out to a DVD while your kids play in the background. Whether you believe it or not, you are a role model. Maybe you’ll only be told once in your life that you made a huge difference to someone, but since you don’t know when that once will be, try to be kind each and every day.

One of my professors in grad school had a saying, “When people are at their most unlovable is when they need love the most.”

I’ve been hugging my kids all week long because I’m scared. Scared that I can’t keep them safe always. Scared that they’ll think the way it is in high school is the way it will always be. Scared that I can’t protect them from hurt and pain and bad accidents. But I know I’m not really supposed to do that. But what I can do is make them feel wanted.

People, go out and make someone feel wanted. As to me, I’m off to send a “love ya” text to my kids.

Photo credits: Creative Commons:  B.girlpink (Love) and  wdroops (Abracos)

10

IHRSA 2012 Fitness Trade Show Fun Finds

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

March has been a busy month for conventions – whew! We went to the IHRSA Convention to check out the latest trends in exercise equipment and fitness. This convention is geared mostly toward club owners and managers, although there is plenty for instructors and trainers to do, see, taste and touch!

Come on baby, lift me up!

Actually, we’ll quickly outline our day at IHRSA for you, and you can decide if it’s something that entices you!

7:00 a.m. Arrived at the Los Angeles Convention Center after a 90 minute drive from Santa Barbara. Got our press badges in time to take a 7:15 workout at the Precor booth.  More footage of that in our next installment of Harold & Kumar go to White Castle (er, Kymberly and Alexandra go to IHRSA).

8:00 a.m. Listened to a wonderfully “Enchanted” keynote speech by Guy Kawasaki.

9:00 a.m. Challenged Chuck Runyon, the CEO of Anytime Fitness to a push-up match-up. If you want to know why I’m counting to 212, you’ll have to read our Patriot Push-ups post. If you want to know why we love Chuck Funyon (that’s what we call him), you’ll have to listen to our radio interview him discussing his book “Working Out Sucks.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYgyKXrYaGg&context=C4907350ADvjVQa1PpcFPajXWkzgLidWf5uTvcgc2nNz0FnZUtWQ0=[/youtube]

11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. We went up and down every single aisle of the Expo hall, checking out all the cool stuff. We were in fast forward, but not exactly as fast as in the video. And that Pavigym game floor was hysterical. For some reason, the lights wouldn’t change when I (Alexandra) pressed them – maybe because I have such a light touch!! A crowd gathered during our “testing activity phase” because we were laughing so hard. The Kangoo Jumps make me pee my pants (thanks a lot, big-headed kids of mine), but my kids loved trying this when they came to last year’s fitness convention with me. And the Queenax set-up is brillo (channeling my inner Brit). The video shows only a fraction of what can be done on the inversion rig.

Hello to Queenax magic

6:00- 8:00p.m. We gathered up our stuff and went for dinner at a fairly bad restaurant, then drove home. We were so tired we didn’t even argue on the way home…much!

Reader Hot Flash: The people at IHRSA want fitness bloggers at this convention. Your press pass gets you into all the seminars too. Alexandra gave a presentation at the 2011 convention so she knows the topics & speakers are top-notch! And….if you don’t want to wait for a whole year to go to a great convention, check out the Blend Retreat in early May. . Much more intimate than the IHRSA convention, with lots to do. And it’s in Boulder, not smelly L.A. with the bad traffic.

Cool Flash: Anytime Fitness is giving you a 7-day free pass to try out their club. No strings attached, no push-ups required. They just gave it to us to share with you.

19

Milk Doesn’t Always Come from Cows: Product Review

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

At the recent Natural Products Expo West, we took our sampling duties seriously (in this case, “seriously” means “we tried a lot of drinks”), and drank our way through some products we’d never considered previously. Various milk and “not milk” products caught our eye (well, our tongues, actually; who’d want an eyeful of milk?).

We got all dressed up for the Stonyfield Farms booth

Generally speaking, I like vanilla and Kymberly likes chocolate. Yes, we are twins, but she got a few tangled genes and therefore does not understand the loveliness that is vanilla. But things are aren’t always as they seem at the Natural Products Expo West (NPEW.
Drinks From Cows:
I am a total brand groupie for Organic Valley  (and am strict about what I eat and feed my kids) so I was like that Wheeee wheeee wheeee piggy from the commercial when I saw that they now offer grassmilk. But…I can’t tell you if it’s delicious as they didn’t actually have samples. I will also tell you that when it comes to vanilla milk, Horizon Organic is the champ. On a whim Kymberly tried it too, and she actually liked it! So 2 points for the vanilla milk. Normally lactose intolerant, Kymberly also proclaimed the chocolate to be delicious and said that neither of them bothered her innards.

Although we didn’t try Refuel Chocolate Milk at NPEW, I’m going to mention it here because we are asked quite often if chocolate milk is a good post-exercise recovery drink. Research says yes.

I am a kefir fan too, and tried a bunch. Of those, I preferred the plain by Lifeway. I thought it was a new brand until I found out they also go under the Helios name. At some point I tried a mango lassi at one of the 2,000+ booths and loved it, but dang me if I can find the info. But hey, here’s a recipe I created for mango lassi:


Pin It

Drinks From Plants:
Kymberly tried the Silk Lite and has some in her fridge right now. She is using it with her cereal, chai, smoothies and whatever other hot drinks she has late at night. I didn’t try it, but the company is from Boulder, where my kids were born, so I automatically feel like bonding with them. Besides, in the U.S. only 7% of the soybean crop is non-GMO, and Silk gets their soy from these farms, so I’m all for it.

Looking Good & Svelte

One drink (and company) we both went soy for (I’d say we went nuts, but it’s a nut-free drink) was the cappuccino Svelte protein drink from CalNaturale.  Kymberly also liked the chocolate, french vanilla, and spiced chai. I think I’ll stick with the cappuccino. Three bonuses with this company:

  1. I just saw on their Facebook page that they posted the picture of me lounging on their lip-shaped couch (thank you);
  2. Their rep Josh is extremely customer-oriented and “gets” social media;
  3. CalNaturale Svelte drinks are certified organic;
  4. Oh, fourth bonus – Josh is very good-looking. Just putting that out there for you younger readers. Photo proof!

Drinks From Nuts:
In the press room, there was a full supply of SO Delicious Almond Vanilla milk. We both tried it, and I drank half and tactfully set it aside. Kymberly, continuing her strange new affiance with vanilla, drank one every day we were at the Expo. Moral of this story – try new things, you could be surprisingly surprised!

At the very end of the Expo some of the vendors hand out whatever product they still have on hand, so I ended up with a 48 oz. container of Califia Farms unsweetened almond milk. It must be brand new because their site doesn’t even show it, but I have it here in my fridge so I know it exists. Anyway, I fell deeply, madly, truly in love. Well, if you take out the hyperbole, I think it’s yummy.

I’ve been mixing it in my protein shaker that was sent to me by Predator Nutrition with my Bõku Super Protein and ice. (Does that count as a recipe?)

Okay, that’s it for our milk and milk-ish round-up. If you’ve read this far, you get this secret information too: You notice how I mentioned my love of Boulder up above? Well, I might be heading to the area in June, as the Fitness & Health Bloggers Conference  is in Denver from the 22nd to the 24th. If I go it will be as a FitFluential ambassador. If you are a fitness lover who is active on social media, you should check them both out. Heck, apply to be a member of FitFluential and join in the fitness fun with a great community of like-minded people who support each other online. (And sometimes in person, as we got to meet two fellow FitFluentials at the Expo).

Readers: What is your favorite milk or milk replacement product? Why?

Disclosure: We were provided some compensation for this post by Predator Nutrition. All opinions are our own. Alexandra wishes all the vanilla milk was her own!

Further information: As you can tell from our posts, including this one, we are fond of healthful ingredients. That is one of the reasons you see the ad on our site for Hanna’s Herbs, as they share our love of  good health. In that context, we want to share this article from “Natural Products Insider.” Shop with responsible companies. 

 


12

Family Fitness: 3 Products that Help

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Long, long ago, in a galaxy right inside our mailbox, we received a number of items related to family fitness. We tested them out on our kids, pets, and students, and the following three look like winners!

First up is a book for younger kids, entitled “Wallie Exercises.” We’ve been sent kid fitness books before that were either so “preachy” or “lesson-y” that we had to scrape the gackle off our tongues before politely setting them aside. But this book does a good job of being upbeat and (somewhat) indirect about the need for kids to get out and move. The counselor side of me likes that the author, Steve Ettinger, who is also a personal trainer, emphasizes that kids need to choose the type of activity that’s right for them. Two other appealing factors: Ettinger gives exercise descriptions in the back of the book, and he acknowledges that exercise can be hard and not always enjoyable.
Book info: Wallie Exercises

Fudoo Food Board

Second on the list is a board game called Füdoo that helps kids older than 3 learn about healthy living. There is a board, magnets, handbook and marker in the set. I was looking for the mom that comes with it to explain the rules, but it would seem we are to learn the rules all by ourselves. The pictures on the magnets are appealing, and I like that the kids get to have control over the action. I also like that it involves the parent and the kid, so it’s definitely a family game. Double score: kids get their parents’ attention while learning good food habits. Of course, the implication is that the parent will be educated well enough about nutrition to be able to help the kid, but I guess parents who buy the game are going to be motivated to eat well or they wouldn’t get the game in the first place, eh? My one concern? Small parts. Not for the kid’s sake – for mine! When my kids were really young, I hated dealing with all the tiny pieces. But you may be more organized than I was back then! One main draw for me: the inventor, Sarah Vinch, has the tag line “Eat! Drink! Move! Think!” which is very holistic, and fully describes the four parts to the game.
Game info: Füdoo


The final item is for kids 5+ and adults, and is exercise-related. My main reason for liking the GetFitSu card game is that it has lots of exercises on the cards that I can use in my own classes! Yup, it’s all about me! Also, no equipment is needed. The inventor, Matthew Poster, is a formerly out-of-shape dad who wanted to create a fun way to get fit for (and with) his kids. I don’t quite understand the instructions, so shall use the cards in my own way, but my confusion is balanced out by the fact that Matthew does short videos for each of the exercises, so you can view any that don’t make sense. You can literally toss these cards into your purse or bag and work out almost anywhere, anytime. Maybe don’t do the ball exercises with high heels, though!
Card info: GetFitStayFit  For lots more ideas on family workouts, subscribe to Matthew’s YouTube channel as well. (While you’re there, why not subscribe to our YouTube channel too?)

Readers: What family fitness products do you enjoy? And don’t say Twinkies!

We were not compensated for talking about these products; we just like them and are sharing our opinion!

11

3 Top Natural Living Trends: Be Free!

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA 

Having just spent four fun, fab, furiously paced days at the Natural Products Expo West event, we noticed certain healthy living trends. Chances are YOU are contributing to these trends. In the natural and organic world, it’s all about being FREE: gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, soy-free, GMO-free, guilt-free!  And many of the 2000+ exhibitors who were ready to take on the 60,000 attendees gave away AMAZING, clever, socially conscious samples that were FREE! Holy Recyclable Shopping Bags full of stuff!

Businesses that care.

  • We visited hundreds of booths – no exaggeration! Being strong and hearty helps at expos.
  • We talked with incredibly nice business owners and employees who are inventing products to save people and the planet;
  • We got to meet fellow FitFluential Ambassadors, Christine McCarthy (Oatmeal in my Bowl) and Stephanie Quilao (@skinny jeans) in person. Group hugs!
  • We attended educational sessions on social media, blogging, happiness (Dr Andrew Weil), cooking, and more;

3rd row seats to hear Dr. Weil speak

  • We giddy-upped to the press events, media briefings, and displays of the top new products (more free snacks!):
  • We made it through LA traffic in time to catch the Organic Marketplace kick-off event;
  • We even presented a talk on “Writing to Be Read and Increase Sales: Better Business Blogging” that drew a passionate crowd with lots of questions.

We figure that makes us insta-experts on trendspotting.

Trend 1: Free the Glutens 2012! If we thought gluten-free was big last year, it appears to be even bigger this year. We bet you or someone you know follows a gluten-free diet. Guess what? No one needs to sacrifice taste, flavor, or variety to eat gluten-free day in and day out. There is a glut of gluten-free good stuff!

Trend 2: Tell the FDA to label food! Look out GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) as the Non-GMO movement is getting organized and making headway. This may be the year you finally get to know what’s in your food. As much as 70% of the processed foods in US supermarkets are genetically modified. None of that is labeled as such. This situation is about to change courtesy of people like you and the quadzillions at the expo who are insisting on labeling! When pesticides are inserted directly into the seed your food comes from, it’s time to pay attention.

They Named it After Us!

Trend 3: Drink Up! High fructose sodas and sugary beverages are soooo yesterday. Coconut water, pro-biotic drinks, dairy-free “milks”, infused and flavored waters, teas, smoothies (yes, with chia and flax), oatmeal based drinks, organic coffees, powders you mix with liquids, shots to give you energy, shots to help you sleep — anything hydrating and healthy is pouring through those pores and out the doors like crazeeee! Liquid gold mine time! We got sloshed trying at least 10 drink samples each day. Glug glug!

The Natural Products Expo West has so much to enjoy that we had to share our heartfelt love with some of the companies and people we adore.

We love going steady with Kroeger Herb company! That's them in our sidebar (Hanna's Herbs)

 

Crazy Woman Water photo credit: Christine McCarthy

7

Fitness Finds at the Health Freedom Expo

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

We spent last Sunday at the Health Freedom Expo, which showcased “alternative” health information and products. Why is “alternative” in quotes? Because people tend to think of traditional medicine & health as being somewhat untraditional, at least here in the U.S.

About to Enter the Crystal Zone!

There was quite a lot to choose from at the booths: crystals, reflexology, horoscope and aura readings, green greener and greenest drinks, negative ion clothing, Essential Oxygen organic Brushing Rinse (we got to meet the company founder, Mystica, who was adorable!) and even bouncing fitness chairs. Some of the offerings called to us (hello, foot massage); some smelled too much like the patchouli oil we wore in junior high. (Ahem – that ALEXANDRA wore; Kymberly was not as rebelliously cool.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5wjjwrr0HE[/youtube]

 

 

We’ve gone to so many conventions in the past 20-odd years that we’ve come to expect the educational sessions to be … well … educational. In this respect, we were disappointed, as some of the sessions we attended were sales pitches. One speaker claimed to have scientific backing, then went through the slides so quickly that we barely had time to read the quote that actually said something a bit different.

Other than that, we had a lovely time, though we wish the negative ion underwear came in a sexier version! Alexandra even won a free 30 day supply of BOKU super food. Now she can be even more super-cali-fragi-listic!

If you decide to attend next year, skip the sessions and just spend a day wandering through the Expo. And try the vibrating “exercise” machine.  Word is it burns about 600 kcals per hour. Right, and Kymberly can cook.

Hotties Getting Hot

As proof we’ll try whatever cool gadgets catch our eye, here we are in the detox portable thermal infrared sauna! And we LOVED it!

Next up for our March Mayhem of Events is the Natural Products Expo West. Not only will we spend 4 days trying out all the latest and tastiest in the natural and organic products world, but also we’ll be presenting (yes, an actual educational session).  Come to our presentation if you dare! Mwah haaa!

 

 

 

 

17

3 Advanced Plank Exercises

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Don't Tank Your Plank!

Ready for a core challenge that involves more Advanced Plank variations? If your Plank Didn’t Stank after our Beginning to Intermediate Plank Moves post, then try these 3 progressions to strengthen your abs and torso.

No Tankin’ on your Plankin’! 

If you find your hips Twistin’ the Night Away, then back up one progression until you can hold fairly steady and level. Remember that you get results where you put tension. So if you can relax your face and push long through your elbows and down with your shoulders, you’ll put the focus into your core and out of the face and neck.  Oh, and BREATHE! It’s free and oh so helpful when holding a plank.

Working toward having Fab Abs altogether? Do we have a deal for you! Take a look at Get Fab Abs: Part 1  But wait, that’s not all! For the same low, low price, you also Get Fab 6-Pack Abs: Part 2 What’s that you say? You want even MORE info and ideas to Get No-Flab, Fab Abs: Part 3. Try them all! Why not, as they are great ab exercises that will give you a strong core

Readers: Did you know you can always email us with your exercise questions at info@funandfit.org?

Photo credit: Creative Commons, Jami Dwyer at Jami Dwyer’s Flickr PhotoStream

16

Planks: Beginning to Intermediate

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Perfect Form Plank - Oh Yeah!

Planks to strengthen all ab muscles–who can help but love this move that offers so much for the entire core?! Wild hares couldn’t drag Alexandra from having a wild hair to show you more about planks. You get 4 options in this short video, progressing from beginner to intermediate level.

For more plank exercises, read our previous fitness plank post.

Stick with these options so you can say your Plank Don’t Stank!

What is your opinion of planks, and what is your favorite version? Remember that the BEST version is the one you can do with excellent form.