Monthly Archives: April 2012

Take Good Care of Your Hair (and Skin & Eyes)

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

Being fit is about more than just weight and muscles. It’s also about the health and appearance of your eyes, skin and hair.

Kymberly and Alexandra in 4th gradee w/ catwomen glassesKymberly: Our extended family has a great tradition of eye troubles.  From nearsightedness to dry eye syndrome to overactive oil ducts to detached retina threats, we know how hard it can be to look good. Or look bad. Well, technically “see” badly. (If we see bad, someone’s being naughty!)

Add to that what Alexandra put on her “About Us” page relative to our skin: “As a red-headed, freckly, straight-A, flat-chested, glasses-wearing identical twin, I always had an easy time of it, especially in junior high, when all those differences really helped me blend in. Luckily, I had oily teenage skin to keep me from getting too taken with myself.”

Kymberly: Even though we no longer suffer from teen acne, we do still have to keep a close eye on our skin as we sweat daily given our exercise schedule, which can cause itchiness and adult acne.  But we do have great hair! (Thanks dad!)

What does all this have to do with health and the personal care product round-up we have in store in for you? Well, perhaps like many of you, we want to look good, see well, and feel great, especially using products that are natural, and “safe.” So when we are trendspotting health products we make sure to check out skin, hair, vision, and related clean stuff!

Alexandra: Saturday I did a 5K walk with my 15 year old son to raise money to find cures for eye diseases. Why? Because he has retinitis pigmentosa. So he’ll probably never drive, and he can’t see well in the dark. I feel sad, yet also determined to do what I can to help him. Since Omega 3 (DHA) is supposed to help, I am going to try to talk him into taking the capsules that our friends at Hanna’s Herbs sell because I trust them. If any of you have had luck with the capsules or any other eye health natural products, please let me know.

Since we’re also talking about “exterior” care,  I’ll share some products that I’ve tried and believe to be helpful and healthy for your appearance.

Nature’s Gate Pomegranate Sunflower Shampoo I like shampoo that smells good but not sweet, has ingredients I can identify, and hasn’t been tested on fluffy bunnies.

The BackPacket  I hate bugs. I hate sunburn. I’m sure I’d hate skin cancer. Whether Kymberly calls me a strawberry blonde or a redhead, I definitely have fair skin, so I like this combo sunscreen/ insect repellent. No DEET, has aloe vera, and not tested on cute hamsters.

Elmore Oil for Joint and Muscular Pain I have arthritis in my knee, thanks to a soccer injury. I love vanilla. This oil has only 4 ingredients: vanilla, olive oil, eucalyptus oil, and tea tree oil. Luckily, the 3 “nice” ingredients balance out the tea tree, ‘cause I can’t stand the smell of it by itself.

Apriori Skin Care  I just started using this after receiving some samples and so far it’s great. Some products make me break out, but not these. I have sensitive skin that’s red in places, freckly, oily nose and dry forehead, so it’s really hard to find stuff that makes my skin look & feel better. If it makes me look the age I feel inside, then it’s a winner for sure!

Of course, what I really think would be best after a 5K (or even a 1.5K) would be a lovely steam, music, color, aromatherapy shower from Mr. Steam!  I don’t actually have one of these, but I know how to dream it, plan it, make it happen…sometimes!

As to the crummy eyes, my kid got it from my side of the family. I would have preferred him to have gotten the red hair. That’s my way of saying, “time for my eye drops.” I like the ones from Boiron because they don’t sting my eyes, even though I wear contacts (Freshlook Colorblends in green to be precise), and are homepathic . Read the ingredients.

Kymberly: I, too use the Boiron homepathic eyedrops as they are preservative-free and cut down on the tearing, stinging eyes I get when I am teaching cardio classes (you know, when sweat runs down my face and into my eyes). Otherwise I look as though I have been sobbing (for joy, of course) after every hard workout.

Kelly Teegarden Organics Skin CareThen I wash my face with a new skin care system we recently discovered: Kelly Teegarden Organics. To say I have sensitive skin given my activity level and genetics is an understatement. This skin care system not only does its job, but also is chemical free. According to Kelly Teegarden, founder of this product line, the World Health Organization announced that 80% of cancer can be linked to cancer causing chemicals in skin care, oral hygiene, and cosmetic products. When Kelly got cancer she created KTO Organics to remove all toxicity and chemicals from what we put on our bodies. Works for me!

Broo Hair CareLastly, you have to get a kick out of a brand new shampoo we discovered at the Natural Products Expo West: Broo Shampoo, made with beer. Apparently women in the 1950’s, including Jackie Kennedy used to lather up  the locks with beer. Now I actually don’t like beer — not the taste, smell, nor empty calories. So I was leery of smelling like a brewery. But Broo Shampoo not only lathers up nicely, keeps my tresses clean and  luscious looking, but also it smells really good! So I Broo my do and smell good too!

For more on being bee-yoo-ti-full, take a listen to these Fun and Fit radio shows, either on our site, (scroll through ya rascals). Or go to the specific episodes via

Wake Up to Younger Skin
Be Beautiful Inside and Out
Journey to a Kuwaiti Beauty Salon
Get Back Your Baby Skin

Disclosure: We were paid for one of the links above. We share all these products specifically because we use and like them, and want to be  helpful.


Push Ups: Knees to Toes

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: I am working on building some bulk, yes, I said bulk in my arms and shoulders. As I get older, my skin is sagging a bit and I think building some muscle will fill it out a bit! So, I am doing pushups as one of my exercises.  But I can only do up to 10 REAL pushups and they are not very deep.

Am I better to do more deeper push ups from my knees or keep doing them from my toes and just trying to get my chest lower to the ground. Or does it matter? Thanks for your help. I love your vids. Elle, Canada

Kymberly: Heads, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes. Heads, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes. Ears and eyes and mouth and nose. Heads, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes. Is that song stuck in your brain yet?

Now to get to bid-ness!

Thanks for the zippy question about push-ups, as we LOVE them! Start with full body (toe) push ups with as full a range of motion (ROM) as you can muster up with good form. In other words, get the chest as close to the ground as possible with your hands fairly wide. Even if you do just one or two full range push ups, start there. As soon as you have to sacrifice form or range of motion, switch to incline or knee push ups so you can achieve full ROM.

K: Take this approach for a week or two or five until you are up to a full set of full body push ups. At that time, still switch to the knee or incline ones once form goes, but take twice as long to push up as you did to drop down. For instance, count down for 2 counts, up for 4. This rhythm change will tax the arm muscles you are wanting to target while still working the back, chest, core. You will soon look MAHVAHLUSS!

Alexandra: My sis did a good job explaining what to do right, so I’ll comment on some of the “unique” things I see my students do that we are sure you won’t! Use a mirror to be sure.

* Butts up like they’re advertising for the weekend

* Hands above the head, which strains the shoulder area

* Butts down like a worm, which compresses the lumbar area

* Hinging from the hip and touching the forehead to the floor (quick anatomy tip: your chest is not in your forehead)

* Calling them boy and girl push ups, which makes us irritable

Remember,  knee push ups are REAL push ups fair and square! For even more exciting (beyond belief) push up ideas, take a look at our Patriot Push Ups post.

Readers: How did you work up to full body push ups?

Saaay, while you’re here, why not subscribe to our YouTube channel?


Fun Fitness is More Than Exercise

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Today, as Kymberly and I reviewed the scheduled posts we have ready, I realized I wanted to just write about my weekend, and how I had fun and got fit at the same time. The fun came first; the fitness was just a byproduct (does that sound like a chemistry class word?).

Alexandra: I hope you are interested in what I did over the past few days. If not, read this anyway as I am massively captivating!

It was so hot even the Gecko had some chai!

On Friday I went for a long walk (maybe 5 miles) with my friend Diane. We’ve been friends for over 25 years and meet for a walk and lunch every few months. Have you ever spent time with a really good friend and thought, “Wow, how did 3 hours pass so quickly?” At lunch we drank a lot of vanilla iced chai because it was really hot in the Santa Ynez Valley.

All the way from CT, just to see the S.B. Courthouse Tower!

On Saturday a friend of mine from Connecticut was in town, so after baking muffins (it was her birthday), we met up for some good ol’ Santa Barbara sightseeing. She also enjoys walking, so we did a combo drive & walk tour. Sometime around 3 pm she finally let me know that she actually might like some lunch. Oops, not very hospitable of me to forget to ask a guest if she’s had anything to eat! Late in the afternoon I went to my veggie garden and pulled weeds. Even found a few strawberries that were ready to eat. So I ate ‘em!

Strike a pose!

Sunday was extra special, because of the Master QiDance class that was held at our club. Kymberly and I have been pushing for about 6 months to get this program in town, having fallen in love with it at the fitness conventions last year. The class was full and the members loved it, so it’s going on the schedule as soon as the instructors get trained. Again, it was so fun that one of the participants asked if future, “regular” classes would be longer than 30 minutes. The class was actually an hour long, so the time obviously passed quickly for her!

Rise, Delicious Breads, Rise

I was so invigorated, I came home and made rosemary fougasse, potato sourdough bread, oatmeal sandwich bread and strawberry shortcake. (Here’s the definition of fougasse from my King Arthur cookbook: “A specialty of Provence, France, it’s made from a basic flour/water/yeast/salt dough, into which is incorporated fresh herbs, etc.” After rising it’s shaped into a ladder-like form, and I top it with olive oil and kosher salt.) It was nice to enjoy myself and feel so relaxed, happy and productive. Of course, we already know from the research that Exercise Doubles Your Happiness!

Kymberly: You say fougasse; I say fou-tato. My short addition to the theme is simply this: A great group fitness instructor can really transform a workout class into a party blast. I rarely take classes as my teaching schedule is fairly well rounded and full. So when I experience a workout wherein I am transported to Funsville (MapQuest the place and check in via foursquare), then I give the teacher credit. Thank you to Ms Larissa S-Y of Qignition for coming prepared, energized, confident, full of fun, and focused on us — the class! Not only do I appreciate an hour well-spent exercising, but also I enjoy mentally noting superlative teaching skills in action.  I find that very motivating— both as a participant and as a fitness leader always striving to improve.

If you take a class and time passes quickly because you are having so much fun, let the teacher know! Amazing classes are out there waiting for YOU to take part in them.  Next weekend – the teaching training course to learn the Qignition program. This week – a reinspired time to offer my class participants my best teaching skills.

What did you do this weekend that was so fun you didn’t realize you were actually moving?

Disclosure: We were not compensated in any way for this post. Though we sure do love compensation all day and every day! 


Treadmill Walking Workout

Dear Fun and Fit – K and A: What is a good walking routine for a treadmill with no incline option though it has speed controls? I don’t have a particular goal, just curious. Erin, WI, USA

Alexandra: Well then, the easiest response since you’re so easygoing is to have you do intervals. This post about training for a half marathon on a treadmill or elliptical will help a bit, as it discusses the interval option and basic cardio fitness. Some helpful tips, just to put everything in one tidy, no-incline spot:

* Walk Backward: It uses different muscles than forward walking and is great for coordination and balance. Keep the pace fairly slow – around 1.5 – 3 mph.

* Speed Pyramid: After you warm up at an easy pace, do 1 minute at a very fast walk (for me, that’s 6 mph, but test what’s right for you), then 1 minute at an easy recovery pace. Then do the fast walk for 2 minutes, with a 2 minute recovery. Then 3, blah blah blah, working your way up to 5 minutes. Then stop. But you’ll be so tired that you won’t need to be encouraged to stop. You might be cursing me by then anyway.

* Be A Dancing Queen: Just dance on the darn thing. I love this lady and hope to meet her one day. She knows how to party on the treadmill.

Kymberly: If you want more resistance to substitute for the lack of incline, wear a backpack with some weight in it. The load will be distributed where your joints will be protected while offering more challenge. Resist temptation to add weights to your hands or ankles as that load gets distributed into joints and can cause injury.

A: Our colleague Norma Shechtman created a 12- week treadmill workout that you might like, although you’ll want to ignore the power hill climbs and focus more on the speed intervals and strength moves.

K: No matter what your goal, incline, lack of incline, or inclination (I had to work in some word play, naturellement!) make sure your form is good. No hanging onto the machine for dear life. Check out our post and video on the Right and Wrong Way to work out on treadmills.  My right way is while watching Dancing With the Stars!

Treadmill WalkingA: One interesting trivia tidbit– treadmills account for 33% of all home exercise equipment sales, so we want to caution those of you who are considering being part of the 33% to check out treadmill reviews over at RunReviews to get a treadmill that is right for you. And if you define “right” as “I want to use it once, then hang my laundry on it,” than you’d best choose one with a long handrail, I guess!

The all-time BEST treadmill workout is by OK Go. Come on, give it a whirl!

Readers: What are  your favorite no-incline treadmill workouts?

Action Item: Feel inclined to get more active aging advice twice a week so you can enjoy your second half of life? Subscribe to our blog in the sidebar or pop up box. Grab your freebie on your way out. 

Photo credits: Screen shot of the video “Here It Goes Again” by OK-Go that is shown in this post.
Treadmill photo with walking woman courtesy of Precor via
Disclosure: We were provided some compensation for this post. All opinions are our own and boy, do we have opinions! Ask us!

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA


Healthy Cereals for Every Taste

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

Alexandra:  My sister and I thought we’d share some cereals that are made of simple, healthful, real ingredients after the news that has come out this past week about all the crap found in industrial foods (literally; I just read a report about chicken crap in packaged chicken). What we like on our taste buds may differ, but we can certainly agree that what goes in our bodies should be worth eating!

If you’re one of my UCSB students who isn’t eating a proper breakfast before class, you had better read this post – Ahem! I’m going to put a whole bunch of enticing words together in a long sentence to explain my first cereal recommendation: Blueberry hemp, quinoa, amaranth, chia ancient grain gluten-free, vegan, free of refined sugar, non-GMO granola cereal by Purely Elizabeth. Whew. I’m exhausted. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? But I tried it at the recent Natural Products Expo West (NPEW) anyway and loved it. Some granolas are too “cardboardy” for me or they taste like I’m being punished for having a Pop-Tart in the mid-70s, but this one was super-fly! Oh, I don’t eat granola plain; I always have it with vanilla yogurt.

We met the delightful Annelies of Attune Foods (she’s a social media pro and poet) and she sent us some cereals to try. I ordered the Erewhon Rice Twice (four ingredients total)  thinking my younger son might like it. “Might” was the wrong word – he ate the whole box in 2 days and I never actually got to try it. He took me at my word when I said it was for him! With my older son in mind I got the Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice with Mixed Berries. I don’t go for cereals with berries, but I was desperate for something sweetish one afternoon and tried some. Joke’s on me because I liked it. And… the cereal that I was sure I’d love wasn’t actually me after all. The Uncle Sam Honey Almond  has wheat berries, almonds, flax seed, and honey – all ingredients I like – yet I preferred the two Erewhon cereals. No moral to this story, but I do hope you’ll try new things! Especially cereals that are non-GMO!

I’m going to put in a mention here of the PB Granola from Pure Bliss Eats because I really “get into it.” To find out why I have that comment in quotation marks, you’ll have to watch this Granola, Yogurt & Cookie Monster video till the end!

Now I’m turning this over to my sister, who is slowly coming to realize I’ve been right all along about eating foods with recognizable ingredients!

Kymberly: When we were growing up, our mom bought only the non-sugary, “healthy” cereals and she made us eat breakfast every day. (Thanks mom!) No Sugar Pops for us, (until college when I went on a sugary cereal rebellion rampage). Maybe that is why I grew up to appreciate good cereal and value breakfast. For decades I have happily started my day with cereal and just the right amount of milk poured at the last minute to keep the cereal crispy. Cereal connoisseurs, you know what I’m talking about. So imagine how tough it’s been to read all the news about carbs–especially cereal–not being the ideal way to start the day. I am doing well about adding more protein to my morning. (Guess what? Kay’s Naturals offers a line of protein cereals if you are going low carb). But I was not ready to say good-bye to one of my fave food categories. As well, I am trying to make more socially conscious, long term healthy food decisions, maybe like many of you. Fortunately cereal is the perfect way to END the day. Squeee!

Isn’t it true that we make purchase decisions based on a combination of the following:

  • taste
  • price
  • allergies or food sensitivities (gluten-free, peanut-free, or soy-free, for instance)
  • social or political beliefs (Non-GMO, locally sourced, organic, company donates to causes, sustainability)
  • value system (vegan, vegetarian)
  • nutritional or health value

So at some level what tastes deee-lish to me and meets my criteria may not be relevant to you. What is key to note is that NO MATTER WHAT drives your cereal shopping decisions, you will find you have lots of options today that did not exist even three years ago. If you wanted an organic, no-sugar cereal, for example, you had to sacrifice taste, price or variety at some level.

Not no mo’! As we sampled our way through the NPEW, talked with company reps, read ingredients, met company leaders, we revamped our whole awareness of what is out there waiting for all of us! Good stuff that is good for you and good for the planet. Some of what I tried and liked:

Attune Foods‘  Uncle Sam Toasted Whole Wheat Berry Flakes & Flaxseed  (10g fiber, less than 1g sugar, 7g protein) With Attune’s cereals, what you see is what you get– no hidden or mystery ingredients. Great mixed with Nature’s Path Love Crunch Premium Organic Granola if you like a hint of sweetness. Every bag of Love Crunch you buy, Nature’s Best will donate an equal amount to food banks in food or cash up to $1 million. (Non-GMO)

We met the CEO of Kind (on the shuttle bus one morning, of all places. You never know who’s sitting next to you at these gigs) and found him to be dedicated to making a positive corporate difference as well. I tried and enjoyed his Kind Maple Walnut with Chia and Quinoa (Non-GMO and Gluten Free even though I have no gluten issues.)

I also love hot cereal. Bring it on hot or cold, in yogurt, with lactose free milk, with a milk substitute (See our review of milk and milk substitutes) or as a crunchy snack on its own. So I tried Bob’s Red Mill Cinnamon Raisin Granola which does well hot or cold.

If you want an organic option to Honey O’s or Cheerios try Cascadian Farm Organic Oats and Honey Granola Certified Organic cereal.

And a spiffy insider tip if you like blueberries–throw in some OMG (Organic Meets Good) Maqui Berry Antioxidant Powder for both the anti-oxidant benefit and for the double-down blueberry taste.

If you take a trip down the cereal aisle of your favorite grocery store you will find many other healthy options missing from this very short list. And that’s the point! Skip the stuff that lists “sugar” as the first ingredient and look elsewhere. You will find something to meet your cereal wish list without any sacrifice. Snack on!

Disclosure: 1) We received free samples from most of the above listed companies as the sole compensation for this post. All opinions are strictly our own. 2) Kymberly is now going to make a big bowl of cereal for her evening snack.


I Want To Lose 100 Pounds

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Hi Fun and Fit:  I was hoping you could give me a place to start. I have not really exercised in 7 years (since I have been married) and I have put on A LOT of weight (probably over 100 pounds). I really need to get it off as I was told I am pre pre-diabetic. My doctor said I have time to change this course and I want to. I joined the YMCA and plan on starting a Zumba class because I love to dance.

Dancing is Fun.

Do you have any recommendations on anything I should purchase to help me? I keep seeing Emily wearing a wristwatch type thing  (in her blog, Family & Life in Las Vegas). Would this be beneficial to have? Also, before I met my husband and while in college I exercised. I remember I never had a time limit goal but I placed a calorie burn goal. Should I go back to doing that? It probably has really been 10 years since I started a workout routine and back then I hired a trainer but I don’t have that in our budget. Any advice would help. Thanks for any help you can give me  Cassie, Fenton, MO

Kymberly: Great questions! Do the activities you enjoy as those are the ones you will stick with. The main equipment I suggest is the right pair of shoes. Get what’s comfortable, workout-specific, and durable. The most expensive shoes are usually over-engineered. We are not fans of the rocker type shoes for indoor workouts. For now, do not worry about the heart rate monitor (what you saw Emily wearing in her posts).

Exercise Shoes - For Running....Away

My approach for beginning exercisers has always been to simply get out there and exercise as often as you can, as long as you can, as hard as you can. I am not big on counting burned calories since getting consistent, reliable feedback can be frustrating and demotivating when starting out. Nor do I necessarily suggest a time limit unless it’s for short bursts–pushing yourself hard for X seconds or minutes. More important at this stage is to create workout habits.

Alexandra: Since you already know you enjoy dancing, and you’ve found a class and joined a gym, I think the only remaining thing to do is make a specific plan. Mark it in your calendar. And list it as an appointment, not a class. People tend to keep appointments!
We wish you were in Santa Barbara, as we absolutely LOVE students like you: motivated, great attitude, and wishing to lead a healthy life. Here are our mega-amazing tips, and we hope you write them down:

  • Find movement you enjoy
  • Do a little more than the day before
  • Don’t compare yourself to anyone, including your “former” self
  • Be realistic and work toward your goal in increments
  • Keep in contact with your doctor
  • Be a tortoise, not a hare. It took 7 years to put the weight on so if it takes 3 years to lose it, you’re still ahead.

Pace Yourself

I could make a long list and frighten the hoo-ha out of you, but that about covers it. Of course, the unspoken question is your food intake. You will probably want to assess that too: what type of food and how much are you eating?

Kymberly: Experience compels us to say that the fewer RULES, REQUIREMENTS, and “SHOULDS” that you place between you and working out, the happier and more successful you will be in reaching your goals. Just move, move more, move a lot. Then come back for more fine-tuning advice.

We hope some of our previous posts will be helpful:

All Sizes Welcome
Be Your Body’s Best Friend
The “Best” Cardio Workout
Alexandra: Once you’ve established a routine for your dance/ cardio class, consider adding strength training. You’ll lose weight faster that way. If that advice sounds overwhelming, come back to this part later.

Hope this all helps. Keep us posted on your progress. Or move to Santa Barbara and take our classes!

Readers Who Have Been Where Cassie Is: What is your advice?

Photo credits: Creative Commons: Belly Dancing-davegolden, Teeth Shoes-Johansmith6814, Tortoise & Hare- Madmagz’ pictures


Reverse Ab Curls – Wrong and Right Way

Reverse curls look easy, yet are rarely done correctly to get full strength benefits. Learn a few quick workout tips to do this popular, safe abs exercise effectively!

Ultimate Abs binder imageBut first, find out what our recently released program “Ultimate Abs Workout Collection for Women Over 50,” has to offer you. For starters, program participants get more than 23 unique videos and 10 Modules to improve core strength and abs.

And now onto reverse curls ups!

Squirrel Reverse Curl

The Ultimate Reverse Squirrel Curl

Swing and a Miss!

Forget swinging from the knees, ankles, or hips. And we say verily unto you, resist the evil temptation to kick from the knees. Another common error with reverse curls is lifting the hips too high. Think Small, Yet Mighty – just like your abs are going to be one day. A little ab compression movement goes a long way.

For once, Kymberly gets to show the Right Way as Alexandra is All Wrong (guess who wrote this part heh heh)..

Stop, in the Name of Love, Before You Break Your Form!

Hold still at the ankle, knees, and hips. The only joint moving in this exercise is the spine, specifically the lower few vertebrae. Also, pause at the top of each curl to eliminate all momentum. Compress and contract to lift the hips slightly; hold still for a count or two; then lower your hips slowly to the ground. You will recruit the abs better.

Relax the upper body as much as possible and bring your lower body towards the ceiling (not towards your face). If you want a super challenge, keep your shins parallel to the ground while curling and uncurling.

Did you know that such a popular move had so much to think about? Done well, the reverse curl is a back safe core exercise, perfect for older adults.
Want more for your Abs? Or would that be “less for your abs?” Take a look at:

Get Fab Abs: Part 1
Get Fab 6-Pack Abs: Part 2
Get No-Flab, Fab Abs: Part 3
Planks: Beginning to Intermediate
Planks: 3 Advanced Options

Action: Subscribe to our blog if you are not yet part of our community. We come to you twice a week with ways to be more active and fit in the second half of life. Enter your email in any of our subscription boxes and age more actively!

Sign up to start "youthifying" today.

Photo credit: Creative Commons, Fishhawk at

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA


Easter Workout

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Now THAT'S a push-up!

Do you want a quick and easy way to get in some exercise this holiday weekend?

Are you pressed for time?

Good news: We have a full-body, quick workout for you that requires no equipment. Heck, you can even do it at a roadside rest stop, although you might want a towel for the push-ups!



Please note how wide Alexandra’s arms are for those push-ups. That’s to really engage the chest, and not over-emphasize the shoulders and arms. And we love full range of motion (ROM)!

If you want to know more about the wrong and right way to do a squat, or more about push-ups, check out these video posts.

Whether you celebrate Easter or not, we hope you have a lovely, healthy, fun weekend! Now Drop and Give us 30!

Which do you prefer, planks or push-ups? Boxers or briefs?


Belly Up to the (Protein) Bar

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

If you are into protein bars, then the place to try the World’s Biggest Selection (please add lightning bolts and flashing lights to that phrase) is at the Natural Products Expo West (NPEW). We  came home probably with our weight in protein bars (Alexandra is only 100 pounds…plus some bonus points).

We shall now discuss in essay form, using a blue book and number two pencil, all the bars that passed our tantalizing taste buds test. It was the easiest test of our lives (well, maybe excluding the ice creams we tried, but we won’t talk about that). Yet…

My hero, Daniel Lubetzky, founder of KIND.

Alexandra’s Faves:
KIND KIND KIND KIND. Can you tell I love KIND bars? Even though I didn’t win the iPad they were giving away, I’m still a winner because I got about 5 (okay, maybe 6) of my beloved Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate, Gluten free, non-GMO bars. My friend Danielle (you should read her blog, Kitten a Go-Go) and I have “friendly” discussions about the best KIND bar, because she swears by the cherry cashew. I also love the yogurt apricot, and they have two new flavors out: Nuts & Spices (sounds like my college boyfriends) and Healthy Grains (sounds like no-one I know).

While on the topic of PB and choco, I discovered, and am now hooked on, the PROBAR Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip whole food meal bar. Vegan. Organic. That is the world’s longest title for a really big bar. They were actually developed by a snowboard instructor *slash* chef who didn’t like the food at the ski lodges where he worked. I know they have flax in them, but they don’t have any chia. Have you seen any of our wacky chia videos?  Watch them, I tell you! Oh, look, I have one of the bars left. Around here we call that DINNER! They also gave me a berry blast bar with cashew butter and oats, but I haven’t tried it yet. Not much for berry seeds. But what do I see in the ingredients list but chocolate liquor? Might have to eat this one tomorrow.

I go loco for Koka Moka - Oh Oh Oh

Right after I eat the Koka Moka they just sent in a big ol’ care package. By “big ol” I mean – one of every flavor. I just love getting packages. Food. Flowers. College financial aid.

The folks at Odwalla make more than juice, oh yes indeedy. Blueberry Swirl, White Chocolate Macadamia, and Dark Chocolate Chip Walnut. Hello my sweet triplets of deliciousness. Yes, they have other flavors, but to my mind they are the Pips, not Gladys. If you have no idea what this music reference is, please eat a bar while asking your parents! Or go watch Dancing With the Stars, Kymberly’s favorite show!

Two more quick shout-outs before I turn that space down there (points toward the center of the earth) over to Kymberly: One is to the go raw Real Live Apricot bar (organic sprouted flax, apricots, raisins, dates and lime juice – that’s it), and Bear Fruit bars. The ingredients are…fruit. That’s it. No more, no less. Just fruit. So you get 1 ½ servings of fruit in a bar, and that’s it.

Kymberly’s Raising of the Bar

Ok, so DWTS is on and I just want to get the picture of the Attune Probiotic bar downloaded so I can finish eating it – the bar, not the picture. These pronoun referents can be so demanding.

So I’ll be brief — I eat energy or protein or superfood or granola or fruit bars when I am out and about and have no other food handy. In my world, bars are meant for my gym bag, not as a meal replacement. Except Justin’s Chocolate Peanut Bar,  which is really a candy bar. That never made it home, so forget getting a pic or a sniff of it. Loved it.

I tried all the bars Alexandra mentions plus still have in my possession:
Nature’s Path Organic  Peanut Choco Crunch, which is made with Ancient Grains (no snarky jokes about who and what are ancient around here) and is Certified Organic.  Have not yet tried it, but it sounds crunchy. I appreciate the organic aspect for sure.

The EAS Lean 15 Chocolate Mint bar – This bar is part of the new “Get Lean and Toned”  product line from EAS. What I like best about it are Jon 1, Jon 2, Kelly, and Brittany of EAS. They are super helpful and nice both in person and online. As for the bar — it’s in my gym bag waiting for the right moment.

Same with the Eco Trek Fitness Whole Food Bar, which sports 6 servings of fruits and veggies and 10 grams of protein. In the interest of accuracy, we did not get this bar from NPEW, but from our Fellow FitFluential pal, Tara Burner as part of a giveaway she held. We won an entire box of Chocolate Raspberry, so hello gym bag and my husband’s lunch satchel (Yes, I really do say “satchel” now and then. It’s such a lovely word.)

And no bar round-up would be complete without mentioning the Pure Organic bar. Flavor? Dark Chocolate Raspberry. Are you seeing a pattern with my sampling habits? This baby is Non GMO, also certified organic, and delicioso. Yes, I ate one two three.

The important part of this post is for you to see that you have LOTS of choices. The energy bar world is exploding with options to suit every taste, allergy, goal, social preference, ingredient, value set.  We saw at least 30 other bars at the show, all of them with unique properties. But, hey, we can only fit in so much. Fit into our schedule, of course. And our swag bag. What did you think I meant? Fit into our bellies?

Readers: What energy, protein or other type of health bar do you recommend? Avoid? Actually buy?

PS Yes, Kymberly snuck in a picture of a Non GMO, certified organic, vegan, ethically tradedDaily Dose of Dark” Nib Mor bar. You have proof it existed because if it disappears, look to Kymberly’s husband as the culprit.

All opinions are our own. All bars are our own (except the ones Kymberly’s husband ate). We were paid a fee by NutritionFix to let you know about their site. They have 195 kinds of protein bars. Check it out.