Alexandra and I culled the key exercise and eating points from a presentation from Dr. James Hill, Executive Director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, University of Colorado. Dr Hill is a high falutin’, cutting edge, biggie wiggie PhD researcher in the weight loss, overweight, and obesity world. You can see how intimidated Alexandra was when we got to meet him up close at dinner* the evening after his talk. (see note at end of post)
Follow along with us via the twitter stream to catch the highlights direct from the most current studies on weight loss, diet, exercise, and weight maintenance. For those of you unfamiliar with twitter, just ignore the hashtags (pound signs #) and the letters or words that come after them. Go for the high fiber, nutrition dense, calorie burning main points in each tweet.
And just like in school when we were young, some people goofed off and passed funny and off-topic “notes.” So pay attention and read along to get the insider scoop as if you were in class with us — Laughing, learning the latest and most accurate info on obesity, fat, weight management, diet, and … seeing pictures of men in kilts.
If any tweet is hard to read, just click on it and it will pull up bigger. Just be sure to come back to this page to read, learn, comment, get smarter and more fit!
Watch for our radio interview of Dr James Hill coming in July. We ask him to share his research results on the BEST way to manipulate diet and exercise to decrease obesity.
* Dinners at the conference were sponsored by Chipotle, and the Anschutz Center‘s very own Bistro Elia. Breakfasts were also provided free and de-licious-leee by Attune Foods, Choose Cherries, and Driscolls Berries with Love Grown Foods and Better Whey of Life contributing food-food-glorious food as well. They are a big part of how I managed to come home 2 pounds lighter and in such a good mood!
Disclaimer: Thank yous to Refuel with Chocolate Milk who provided us scholarships to attend the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference. We hearken to anything with the word “Scholar” in it; though “ships” are another matter. All opinions are our own. Gotta go as our chocolate milk is waiting! Glug and chug post workout.
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by Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Alexandra and I just finished attending and presenting at the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference that took place at the deeevine, high tech, and new Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, just outside Denver. CO (yes, I liked it so much I wanted to go back to grad school just to take advantage of all the Anschutz Center offers).
Prior to taking off we were offered two of 20 spots on a bonus pre-conference tour put on by Goodness Knows Snack Squares and Zephyr Adventures. Fun fact #1 – I am SO glad I went on the excursion, which was beautiful, amazing, well-organized, and a great chance to take advantage of the beauty the area offers. Not so Fun Fact #2 – I SUCKED at this hike. As in sucked air. Big, wheezy, gaspy time. Yes, I was “THAT PERSON” at the tail end of the group who had to stop every 5 minutes to “enjoy the view,” “check my Omron Heart Rate Monitor,” “get my water bottle out of my backpack,” “retie my trail shoes.” (THANK YOU Overland Equipment and Vasque Velocity for the super comfy backpack and trail shoes. At least I looked like a pro hiker and my feet felt great!)
1) I just flew in from sea level living to mile high altitude climbing. No wonder I felt my heart imitating the alien explosion birth in Alien. Pretty sure I did not look as good as Sigourney Weaver though. The fact that
stoopidhead Alexandra whisked her little way up at the head of the pack was not taking this excuse away from me. Gasp Gasp Sweat pouring down back of my knees, face, underarms. Oh wait, she drove from Santa Barbara to Boulder so had time to acclimate. Excuse still intact and usable! And I was ahead of the 25 year old from New Jersey and 40 year old from Boulder. The three of us were making the front pack possible!
2) I have had 2 knee surgeries after all. Ok, so my knees did not actually hurt on the climb up since I have strong lower body muscles and powered each step through my glutes. Still, past surgeries and injuries are something to think about when contemplating a path straight up. I might think better if I sit down for just a panting moment.
3) It was HOT! Yes, I flew in just in time for record heat in Denver. Don’t even start with that whole “it was just as hot for everyone else who was ahead of you, prancing, frolicking, and talking while climbing.” Heat makes me cranky so back off and let me enjoy the exercise, scenery, new experience, and rest stops.
Honestly, I thought I would ace this hike with lipstick and reputation intact given that I teach fitness 5 days a week and power walk almost every day. And I am happy to report that while my heart rate shot up to 158 while climbing, it dropped to 115 within a minute so my recovery rate was good.
What I learned from this potentially humbling experience:
As for the yoga class awaiting us back at the bottom of the mountain? I managed 5 minutes following the darling teachers’ well-cued Down Dogs, then took full advantage of the Corpse pose for the rest of class. Namaste ZZZzzzzz
Disclaimer: We were not asked to write about any of the above companies or products. However, we did receive the excursion free as well as the Overland backpack, Vasque trail shoes, and even a water bottle and yoga mat from Goodness Knows. All opinions are my own.
Actions you can take right now without any sweat or mussy hair. Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Subscribe to our blog. Follow us on twitter: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit Heck also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Guest Post from Stephanie Mansour, Step it Up with Steph, Fitness and Body Image Expert
We encourage you to pop over to Stephanie’s site and check out what she can do for you.
One of my clients came to me recently regarding her New Year’s Resolutions list, which included wanting to lose 10 pounds. At halfway through the year, she was successful with all her resolutions except weight loss. She was baffled. I asked her to read to me the resolutions she had written out. They included:
And this was what her weight loss resolution said:
Obviously, this statement was in a totally different form than her resolutions which had already come true. According to her weight loss statement, the reason she should lose weight was because she hated her body. How could you possibly do good things for your body to lose weight (i.e. exercising regularly, eating healthfully, and taking care of your body), if you claim to hate your body?
Here are some guidelines for writing a successful weight loss mantra such as the one that has now totally transformed my client’s life:
If you’ve written down a goal in a negative context, such as “lose weight, stop hating my body, avoid being seen in a bikini, etc.,” then turn this phrase into something positive.
Example: “I want to lose 10 lbs because I hate my body” becomes: “I am healthy and fit because I love my body and want to take care of myself.”
Example: “I’m working out, so I can stop hating my body” becomes: “I work out because it makes me feel good about myself.”
Example: “I’m being healthy and fit because I don’t want to avoid being seen in my bikini” becomes: “I am healthy and fit because I love the way my clothes fit and look on me.”
You are then reprogramming your subconscious to start acting like your goal is already happening in your life. As well, include a relevant, motivating reason that drives that goal. Link your goal to the benefit it brings you, such as feeling well rested or being a worker who deserves a raise.
What weight loss or fitness statements have you tried? What was the motivator that drove that goal?
Stephanie Mansour, CEO of Step It Up with Steph, is a nationally known Health & Fitness Expert and Body Image & Confidence Coach. She’s a reality TV show trainer, helping her client lose 80+ lbs in 12 weeks on NBC Chicago’s “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.” Her workbook and One Day Intensive program are a hit among women. She combines yoga, Pilates, personal training, and body image & confidence coaching for a holistic approach to health & fitness and also gives corporate presentations. With her no diets/no guilt mentality, she’s dramatically changing the way women everywhere view food and exercise.
No doubt you are inspired by more than wanting to look good or have a 6-pack, or lose weight. Even with those goals, what happy thing happens once you achieve them? We were posed with this question and had to think a moment.
Actually, we had the question posed a different, more fun way: “What is on your Fitness Bucket List?” That sounds more enticing, right? So tell us – what’s in your bucket? Does your list include performing certain exercise feats? For example, do you want to:
Or would you put activities on your bucket list that you would enjoy once you are more fit? For instance, sky dive (let’s just state here and now for the record that neither of us has that particular goal. Hurl! But you might!). Or you’d tackle that hiking trail over the mountains and through the woods? Maybe you have a plan to travel the world and haul your own luggage or backpack as soon as you get stronger. (We like the plan that offers bellpersonage service, frankly).
Now if you are wondering about OUR Fitness Bucket List, why thanks! Don’t mind if we do share! We worked up Pinterest boards entitled “Fitness Bucket List.” I know, we got all creative and wacky on you there! To be accurate, the CEO of FitFluential,* Kelly Olexa challenged us to create such a board. And we take doubledown dares as we are double time twins!
Alexandra: It took me a while to start my list, because I feel like I’m mostly doing what it is I like to do already, but I do love walking and travel, so I really want to go to various places in the world and walk. I love walking in the mountains, the city, country trails, along the beach, almost anywhere. Not hiking and camping – bleech. I hate camping. I love walking. And I’d really love to learn the Dougie from our First Lady Michelle Obama. And anything that involves disco would be on my list too. Maybe a lesson on dancing the entire scene from “Saturday Night Fever” that John Travolta did to “You Should Be Dancing.” If I could memorize that routine and do it that well I’d be pretty happy.
Kymberly: If you have followed our blog for any time you will not be shocked to hear that my numero uno dream is for us to be the first twins on Dancing With the Stars. And not the first twins to be eliminated either! I also recognized how much I enjoy water sports such as paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkeling – as long as the water is warm and calm. This is one area Alexandra and I totally differ as A-twin re-enacts the melting scene from Wizard of Oz when she gets near water. Another huge item on my list is for medical technology to make strides and find a way to give me back the knee joints I had in my twenties. Aaaaaah, to run and jump again with ease and freedom!
Once you make your list or create a Pinterest Fitness Bucket board, you will notice something veeeeerrrry interesting – themes and trends reveal themselves. At least for us, they did. Give it a whirl. Then tell us all about it in the comments below. We’re waiting! Impatiently.
* Oy vay – an asterisk to track. Such calorie burning work we’re asking of you. FitFluential is a continentwide network of fitness enthusiasts sharing their journey both online and off via multiple social media platforms. Take a peek-see and maybe even join. You’ll get access to a great community, good info, discounts, jetsam, flotsam, and lots of motivation.
You’re just one click away from subscribing to our YouTube channel and our blog. Grab a GPS and follow us on twitter (@KymberlyFunFit / @AlexandraFunFit) and instagram (@KymberlyFunFit / @AlexandraFunFit).
As our parents (and grandparents) age, they tend to lose a lot of their strength, mobility and balance. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Sarcopenia (progressive decline in skeletal muscle mass…that may lead to decreased strength and functionality) is common among older adults, but exercise can help prevent muscle wasting (yup, the article in the link is by OUR Alexandra).
In honor of Father’s Day, and all fathers (mothers can do this workout too) who need more strength and mobility, we have created a functional, achievable mini-workout. Have your favorite fairly inactive older adult try it and let us know how it goes![youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ordMc5oBDM[/youtube]
Cardio: 10 minutes
* Lower body – foot movement
* Upper body – arms and torso movement
If you use music, 150-160 bpm is ideal for really working up a sweat in this seated workout
* Sit to Stand – 10 reps – leg & core strength
* Wall Push-ups – 10-15 reps – upper body & core strength
* One- arm reach and rotate – 10 on each side – core strength, flexibility and balance
Heck, why not try it out yourself? It’s effective! May all our dads be around to enjoy good health for many years!
Clothing: Top by YMX Yellowman
Workout pants by Nike
Hiking/ Running shoes by Vasque Footwear
We talk about QiDance by Qignition a lot for two reasons: 1) we love it; 2) people are curious. These are the most common questions, with our uncommon responses:
What is QiDance?A pre-choreographed group fitness program that has music and moves that take you on a tour around the world. For example, one song could be disco (see how we put that one first? There’s no denying the rumor that Fun and Fit are disco queens beyond compare. Way beyond), the next jazz, another funk, then Latin, followed by Bhangra. We love the variety and the fact that it’s just plain fun. And just in case you missed it, did we mention our love of disco?
Do you have to have dance skills? Er, well, if you saw us trying to do the “snake” move, you’d know the answer is “no.”
What makes the music so enticing and entrancing? – (Okay, no-one has worded the question quite like that. Mostly they say, “what kind of songs?”) All of the songs are written specifically for QiDance by Kike Santander, a superstar songwriter who has won numerous Grammys creating and producing for artists such as Carlos Santana, Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, and and and….. He’s also trained as a medical doctor, so everything at Qigntion is geared toward “turning on” your life in a holistic way.
How do you actually pronounce “Qignition?” – On a phone call with our colleague Linda McHugh, the director of Qignition’s operations, we had to ask her to say it three times before we got it right! So it isn’t just you asking. All is revealed in this interview with Kike, including the proper way to say his name!
Where is it offered? “I don’t live in Santa Barbara, but I really want to take the class.” – The fine, busy folks at Qignition are working to get instructors trained as quickly as possible, as the demand is so strong around the country. If your club doesn’t offer it yet, ask for it. The training is free for instructors and clubs, so it really is as easy as asking for it. Of course, we encourage you to come to Santa Barbara and take OUR class. We are awesomely, astonishingly fantastic. Except for that snake move.
In the meantime, this video “sizzle” reel will give you a good feel for the spark and style that is QiDance.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L21UfXD4WqU[/youtube]
Will I ever get to meet Kike Santander in person? Maybe, if you live in Florida. But don’t get any ideas; he’s married. We know, due to
our efficient groupie behavior good research.
We love your comments and questions. They help us convince our children that we have friends, no matter how imaginary!
And a shout out to BlueFish Sport for the cute outfit they provided Alexandra in the picture above.
Now he’s graduating from high school, with plans to move across the country to go to a university that has 22 science majors for him to choose from. I put him on that bus 13 years ago to start him on the journey to get him prepared for now. I cried a little back then because he looked so small inside that big bus. And I will cry at his ceremony because he looks so big.
In between my crying jags, I hope I’ve taught him how to live a healthy, rewarding life that’s full of purpose and joy. Those of you who are parents will have your own definition of what that means, but the things I can point to include:
* He doesn’t drink soda, and he knows the difference between healthful and unhealthful foods
* He gets plenty of sleep (boy, does he like to sleep)
* He knows how to make people laugh, which will help him in work and social situations
* He knows how to be a good host to guests, and has excellent manners
* He believes exercise is part of life; it just is
* He is becoming more confident about taking risks
* He has seen me act like a dork in public (a lot) and it’s now somewhere inside his brain that you don’t need to wait around for approval; you have to approve of yourself
* He knows the value of money, how it works, what it can (and cannot) do
* He drives safely (I believe) and wears a seat belt
* He is beginning to appreciate his younger brother for what he can do, rather than railing against what he cannot
* He can be trusted with money (although he can’t ever seem to find his own iPod cord)
* He eats when he’s hungry, not because he’s lonely or bored or because it’s there
* He writes thank you notes and is gracious
* He chooses friends wisely
Hmmm, I’m his mom so I could make a really long list. But my son isn’t a list; he’s so much more, just as your children are more than you imagined and hoped for! And no matter how much I exercise and make my heart strong, it will never be big enough to hold all the love I have for him.
I”m going to share a cute story that demonstrates that he “gets” how nutrition works. When we moved to Santa Barbara to be nearer my sister, he was 12. Kymberly took him to the grocery store with her. When they came back with bags full of prepackaged, processed food (she’s not like that anymore), he turned to me and said, “Mom, I love shopping with Auntie Kym. She buys food. You buy ingredients.” I laughed so hard and still smile whenever I think of that.
Earlier this week, my son gave me a gift – he came to my kickbox step class and brought his girlfriend. He knows I love exercise. He knows I love teaching. He knows I’ve wanted him to come to a class so I could show him off. I love having a job where my kid can come.
I haven’t named him here because I am a protective person about his identity, but you get to admire his massive handsomeness (all from me, of course, even though he looks just like his dad) in these photos.
I’m proud of the fact that I’ve taught my kids the link between health and happiness. I’m happy my son is moving on to start the next phase of his life. I’m sad that my son is moving on to start the next phase of his life. And I guess that’s how it’s supposed to be.
What are the things your children do that make you proud?Disclosure: I was not compensated in any way for writing about my kid, unless you count 18 years of having him around! His cute tux is a rental. My cute outfit is from Aventura Clothing. And thanks to my sister, who let me take over our blog so I could write this.
By Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Alexandra: I’m going to start off with the one I thought I’d hate: plantain chips. I only like plantains when they’re disguised in a fruit smoothie, so I was practicing my “be open-minded before you make any assumptions” attitude when I accepted an offer from Turbana to try their chips. Call me Convert (not Spartacus), as I totally fell in love with 4 of their 6 flavors: chili, lime, chili & lime, and garlic (the other 2 are natural – too banana-y for me, and sweet – I’m not much for sweet). I like to read labels, so it matters to me that the Turbana chips have 30% less fat than ‘tater chips, no trans fat or cholesterol, and are free of preservatives, additives and gluten. I strongly encourage you to try these, even if you’ve been wounded in love with previous plantain chips.
Another kind I tried and liked was the Plentils line of lentil chips by Enjoy Life. Sounds weird, right? I mean, lentils!!? Again, you’ll be surprised. Dill & sour cream, garlic & parmesan, margherita pizza, and sea salt (this last one I haven’t yet tried). My younger son used to have some food allergies, so I am happy to see what’s NOT in these: wheat, soy, tree nuts, egg, peanuts, shellfish, dairy or fish. Okay, if fish were in these chips, that would be seriously nasty. Although….I do love kroepoek (shrimp chips).
I’ll turn this over to Kymberly, but first a little link love to our previous post about LesserEvil krinkle sticks and popcorn.
Kymberly: I admit it — I hear the siren call of crunchy snacks, but I don’t like the guilt and lethargy that go with fried junk food, aka “your usual chip.” When we had the chance to taste test snacky crunchy items that fell into the “somehow unusual and better for you” category it practically felt like we were performing good deeds. One – so you could see all the healthier options, and two – who doesn’t like to eat snacks guilt-free (though not actually calorie-free. Come on, these are healthier options, not magic ones).
Suffice to say that over the last three months I have tried the following:
Daunted by that list? Impressed at my vast array of samples? Let’s cut to the chase – every single one of the snacks above had some redeeming quality. If you are trying to avoid carbs, you’ll find several protein options. You support Non GMO products? Look at all the choices above. Want to avoid potatoes as your chip base? Well hello popcorn, seaweed crisps and chips with beans or lentils, fruit (those plantains my sis mentioned), tubers (think “yams” and “sweet potatoes”) or veggies as the main ingredient. Trying to clear out chemicals? Read the labels of the above products to find your natural happy!
If you digest just one thing from this post – and who can intake just one (get the reference, chip addicts?) – it’s that companies are out there working hard to bring you more flavor and nutritional value with less fat, salt, preservatives, chemicals, and calories.
Final word from Alexandra: If you’re wondering why kale chips aren’t on this list, it’s because we have not yet tried any that were worth the insult they gave our taste buds.
Disclaimer: The only compensation we received for this post was the snacks themselves, no additional funds, bonds, cash, or prizes. Pass the golden dip, will you?
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Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
More to one point, we are here to offer a simple tip to help you get the most out of your oblique exercises.
If you want to sound savvy and smarticle, tell yourself to keep your midline in line from head to chest. Draw a vertical mental line down the center of your face. Do the same for your torso. If your face midline twists in one direction while your body midline enjoys a vacation on the other coast, you are working your neck. Or your shoulders. Or both. But not your obliques. Rotation comes at the space between your ribs and hip.
If you are doing the twist at the neck, well, you might get the Chubbiest neck in town. Hmm, Chubby Checker actually has pretty good twist form that engages his obliques. See how his neck is not doing the rotation but he’s got a lot of action going on through his center? This could be YOU!
Or go to our post on Performing Oblique crunches the Right Way. For current subscribers – you can also get our Abs series by emailing us and asking politely .. or breathlessly … or (fill in the adverb).
Readers aka Exercisers: Did your midlines line up? Single file? Left, right, left, right, aye aye?!