Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Have you tried to set better habits before only to fail? Forget any past unsuccessful attempts. Accept that habit change requires more than willpower or goal setting. You need a tried and true strategy based on how we really behave.
Kymberly: I got to hear licensed psychologist, Neil Fiore, PhD, speak on behavior change at Rancho la Puerta Fitness Spa (“the Ranch”), when I was teaching there last week. Oh, those high level speakers the Ranch attracts for evening sessions — Just another bonus of going to Tecate, Mexico! I plan to make my presence there a habit! (Ya hear that, Ranch team?).
According to Dr. Fiore, a specialist in productivity, successful habit change is a four stage process.
Evaluate the pros and cons of the habit you want and the habit you are trying to leave behind. What are the risks? The benefits? What pain are you feeling and what are you willing to do to “kill” that pain?
Alexandra: For many people, the habit we are trying to leave behind is “eating food I know isn’t good for me.” What that really means is, “This food is not good for my weight loss goal, but it is good at giving me an immediate, temporary good emotional feeling.” So the habit to leave behind isn’t eating those foods; it’s eating them as a mood amelioration. One idea is to make up your mind to change that link.
Kymberly: Make a plan to get from the old to new habit. Map out the small steps required to shift from A to B. Consider the distractions you will face. Become aware of each action item needed to transition to better health.
Alexandra: Using the example above, commit to writing down your mood whenever you eat. Not just your mood on foods you feel aren’t helping your long-term goal, but also the ones that are. Probably the biggest challenge will be committing to writing everything down! Write that down! Jacktastic! (If you get this reference you are part of the Melissa McCarthy groupies club, and should definitely be committed!)
Kymberly: Decide where and when you will start the new habit. What is your schedule? Accept that you will face doubts and anxious moments. Then show up despite your fears.
Alexandra: Okay, sometimes it’s not so good to show up, especially if Ben & Jerry’s Americone Dream is calling you like one of Homer’s sirens. Your action plan would be to write down your food intake and moods and just observe. That’s it–observe what occurs. Interestingly, when people become aware of their habits, they change them without a lot of conscious effort (and the anguish that goes with it). Just as you picked up some bad habits without really intending to, so can you get rid of them. Obviously, it’s harder for some habits than others, especially if chemicals are involved (think smoking).
Kymberly: Truth?! You CAN handle the truth!: You will have setbacks. What is your recovery plan? Dr Fiore highlighted this as a key component of habit change success. Those who fall by the wayside give up after a setback, thinking one mistake or one bad moment means failure. Happy habit changers have accounted for the probability of setbacks and create a “get back on track” strategy.
Alexandra: In other words, plan to fail. Because planning will lead to success. No-one likes to be bossed around or told what one should or can’t do, even when it’s you talking to yourself. Create your plan based on what you can and will do! Picture your road to success as having rest stops, not as one big U-turn. Changing habits is mental so if you plan to incorporate the slow-downs, you’ll think, “Aha, I was expecting this, and now I will move forward again,” which is totally different than, “Aha, I’m a loser because I got off the straight and narrow and therefore forget it.”
There you habit!
Readers: What new or improved habit are you currently working on?
Start a good habit right now: Subscribe to our YouTube channel. And our blog. Follow us on Twitter: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. We make this an easy habit to instill by giving you handy dandy links in the right sidebar.
As some of you may know, I had surgery on my foot last week. At my post-op visit, the doc used the word “horrific” to describe my big toe joint (bone spurs, zero cartilage, bone-on-bone) when he got in there during the surgery. When the doctor uses that kind of adjective, you kind of quickly figure out you won’t be going back to your normal routine (teaching group fitness, walking in regular shoes) early. He said it takes six full weeks for the bones to fully fuse together, and that if I put any weight at all on my big toe, the screws could snap. Ick!
I am not happy, nor am I depressed, about being out of commission for at least six weeks. It’s more like acceptance and now let’s move on to what I can do. My one request to the doc was to make it so I could still teach again. I don’t want to be limited when I’m only halfway through my life. So I’m trusting that I’ll teach by the time the Fall quarter starts at the U. Until then, I am focusing on doing as much as I safely can, especially workouts.
With that in mind, I went into the back room and pulled out my (very dusty) plates and bar. Got my cool mat that Goodness Knows Snacks gave me at the Fitness Health Bloggers conference too! This is a partial list of some of the exercises I’ve been doing. If you like them, I hope you’ll give them a try.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxoPLH8-I_U[/youtube]
Seated Bicep Curls
Supine Skull Crushers
Table-top Heel Taps
Supine Leg Raises
Did you read that very short list and start thinking, “Wow, that’s it?! There are hundreds of exercises you could do”? I hope so, because that’s exactly what I figured out. I am limited by my foot, not by my imagination, determination or any of the other 229 joints (the number varies, depending on which joints you count) in my body. And a shout out to my new Twitter friend @ittuderevolution for sharing some of her favorite exercise suggestions.
When you can’t have something is when you really want it (remember your high school crushes?), so I hope that anyone and everyone who reads this and doesn’t want to work out takes a few seconds to think, “Hmm, I should do this today because I can. Tomorrow I might be wearing one of those ugly black booties.”
It’s not “All or Nothing.” It’s “All or Something or Nothing.” I’m limited, but not incapacitated. And I still have my sense of humor! Here’s to me! Now, I think I’ll go see about getting some toenail polish!
Have you ever been limited by your body? How did you respond?
Whenever you work out, you score points. Whenever you have fun you win at life! The more you work out and the more fun you have, the better your life, right?!
We were inspired by our friend Carla, who is a very dedicated Seuss follower, to make this Seussical workout as a birthday gift to her. Why? Because…
If you never did, you should. These things are fun and fun is good.
In other words, time for squats, planks and some general “Cat in the Hat” house tomfoolery! We can only say that no furniture was harmed in the making of the cardio portion of this workout!
Squats: 10 Reps using Bar & Plates
Planks: Alternate sides and slowly drag arm/ leg back in.
Follow with heel rock-back plank and single-leg plank
Cardio: Walk, Jump, Flounce & Pounce for at least 15 minutes
My life is good. My life is fun. I wish this life for everyone (okay, Dr. Seuss didn’t really say this; I made it up).
What is your favorite Dr. Seuss quote? And what would your workout look like?
Illustration credit: Mamiverse.com
The long days of summer are here and along with barbecues and watermelon, it’s also the best time for outdoor fitness activities. You can have fun with family or friends and tone up up your muscles and burn calories at the same time.
All calorie counts are approximate and are based on a 150-pound person engaging in the activity at moderate intensity for 30 minutes.
Hit the Trail
Find a bike path and enjoy an easy bicycle ride with the family. Even a moderate pace burns 200-300 calories, and increases your leg strength and cardio fitness. Take a picnic and ride off the calories on your return trip!
Or take your roller blades on the path and you can firm up your legs and buns and burn 250 calories.
Head for the Hills
If you are lucky enough to have hills or a nature preserve near you, take a day hike. With some good sneakers or hiking boots, you can explore the natural terrain while burning around 200 calories.
Rock climbing is a growing sport that is challenging and builds strength, stamina, and flexibility. Be prepared to take some lessons and find out what you need to enjoy this sport. You can burn up to 270 calories.
Fun with Animals
Try “Keep away” Frisbee with your favorite dog and a friend. Just remember, there is no such thing as a dog-proof Frisbee, so bring an extra one for Fido. Calories burned: 100.
Always wanted to try horseback riding? This activity can take you to places you wouldn’t ordinarily go. The horse is doing most of the work, and you still burn 150 calories.
Get a great upper body workout by kayaking or canoeing on your local river. Burns about 150 calories and tones arms, shoulders, and back muscles.
Jogging on sand is a super workout for your legs and great for cardio fitness too. You can burn an easy 200 calories. Or rev it up by joining a game of beach volleyball and burn 280 calories.
Keep It Safe
* Use sun protection: hats, sunglasses (we like our affiliate Warby Parker because for every pair sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need), and sunscreen.
* Insect repellant. Don’t forget the black fly, ticks, and mosquitoes! They don’t forget you.
* Stay hydrated: drink plenty of water before, during, and after physical activity.
* Bring a snack: pack portable foods that won’t spoil in the heat, like whole fruit, trail mix, or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
* Wear protective gear: bike helmets, knee and elbow pads for roller blading, moleskin to prevent blisters when hiking, flip-flops for hot beach sand.
* Take your cell phone: take a charged cell phone if you hike or ride off-road, in case of unexpected events.
* Avoid the hottest time of the day: if you live where it is hot (and who doesn’t this summer), do your most strenuous outdoor exercise in the morning or evening when it is more likely to be cooler.
Let this be the year you try a new summer activity. Invite your favorite companions and head for the hills, the trail, or the beach. Getting back to nature is a great way to have fun and get fit at the same time!
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Kymberly: I love this question if not just for the fact that I get to coin a new phrase: Spouse Spud! Who out there has a partner who loves exercise … as long as it’s you doing it?
Speaking from personal experience, I can say that I have had total failure in getting my spouse onto a regular workout program. I went so far as to give the hubster a year’s membership at the club where I teach. And I paid for this, mind you. It was not a freebie just because I teach at the club in question. Anyway, the hubster had mentioned wanting to work out more – meaning more than one day a week as he had been doing. I thought that meant, well, you know — “work out and exercise.” It really meant “I’ll go one time, ride the bike for 15 minutes, and declare myself in too much knee pain to ever exercise formally again.” That was the most expensive, whiny 15 minute gym session ever!
My professional advice is “let sleeping spuds lie.” You cannot get them off the couch. They have to get themselves off that divine divan. We can only control our own fitness, so we can be ready to join Spouse Spuds in action when they finally catch up. And on.Bake on that, Couch Potatoes!
Alexandra: Sadly, if nagging worked, every spouse in the country would be fit. Speaking from my counseling hat (like the talking hat in Harry Potter), I can say that Kymberly stole my words. You can’t get him off the couch except with sharp objects (excluding your tongue). But you CAN set a good example. If you go walking or skating or dancing or even better, do more burpees than he can, your husband will notice how much fun you’re having and want to
get competitive, beat you,join you.
Also, people like to do what their friends do, so if his friends are exercising, they can invite him. He might join in for the social rewards and just happen to get more fit in the process. If his friends are couch potatoes too, then you’ll need to move on to Plan B: get some really sexy yoga pants. Stand in front of the couch, blocking access to the television, and say, “Do you think my butt makes your TV look like it should be turned off?” Then go on your walk. He’ll be home, wondering what just happened.
People do things out of their comfort zone because it’s either fun, better than the alternative or they see it clearly as a significant step toward a goal. So your best bet is to find something fun and invite him along. And if he doesn’t want to come with you, go anyway. Curiosity is also a great motivator, especially if you just signed up for a partners line-dancing class!
This little tater went to exercise. This little tater stayed home. This little tater got superbuff. And this little tater was alone. Don’t be a tater hater!
Readers: Have you had any success getting your loved one off the couch? What worked? What didn’t?
Be active not spudlike! Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Or our blog. Follow us on Twitter: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. You can also find us via the icons to your right —–>
Klout is a company that measures people’s online influence and assigns a score. The score is derived from your activity on social media (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, Instagram). The average score is 20, and brands offer free Perks to influencers who have certain scores (they choose the minimum) in specific topics. So I took the various sites and made them into circuit stations, assigning each person a score at the end of the workout. There were seven stations: Faceback, Twitter, LinkedIn, InstaBlam, Pinterest, FourSquare, and Reddit.
For the Pinterest station, students bounced on stability balls in order to pin motivational sayings to the wall. For the LinkedIn station two people were attached at the ankle by an Exercuff, and they had to go from one spot to another remaining linked. At the InstaBlam station the two partners stood about 6 feet apart and did chest throws with a weighted medicine ball. FourSquare was the easiest to design – we played Four Square, just like in elementary school! For the Faceback station the partners were back to back, passing a medicine ball up, over and around each other. The Twitter station was declared the most popular, as they all got to take pictures of themselves bouncing on the stability balls.
This was directly followed by the hardest station, Reddit, in which they had to do a plank on the ball while reading their texts and email. In between each station, instead of water breaks or walking around the room, they had tweet/ Instagram breaks.
The workout was non-competitive, and everyone received a score based on the number of laps they did at the LinkedIn station. As it was all in fun, everyone got free Perks (thank you CalNaturale Svelte and PROBAR for the protein drinks and bars) at the end of class.
One side benefit for the people who attended the class (if they had a Twitter account) was that all the tweets & posts they sent out during the workout helped increase their real life Klout score!
Feel free to use my workout with your own students if they’re fans of social media. Even though the class was at 7 in the morning, we had an energetic group. And don’t worry – even with all the tweeting and posting and picture-taking, everyone still got their sweat on! It was really fun.
What do you think – shall I try this with my university students in the Fall? Do you have any stations to suggest?
Our nation (and others) is getting heavier and heavier with no slowdown in obesity rates on the horizon. In fact, 42% of the US adult population is predicted to be overweight or obese within the next two decades, with a third already so. The word to the fitness industry – we have not yet succeeded in getting our neighbors, relatives, friends, or community healthy, moving, or eating well. As a nation, we are speeding on a track to a major health crisis. At least we have not yet jumped the track. We can still apply brakes. And it’s going to take a multi-pronged, complex approach; not any simple, easy solutions.
Consumers (most of you reading this) are going to be looking more and more to exercise leaders for nutrition advice. So we fit pros are getting the word to get more education in this area so that we can stay within our scope of practice while meeting your needs.
Dance-based group classes are rising up, up, up with an emphasis on keeping complexity down, down, down. Whaddya know — people (you? For sure, we!) love to dance, just not when too much thinking, jumping, or choreography are involved. New programs such as QiDANCE, Big Dance, and LA Blast are taking popular, easy-to-follow styles such as ballroom, and creating fun, reinvigorating, no-apologies-for-pointed-toes dance cardio routines. Impact on the joints is low; the repetition of the dance moves is high. Key quote heard a lot: “ I love to dance when I work out, even if I can’t dance except like a dork.” Everyone can succeed while shaking it!
Yes, there were a lot of workshops, workouts and lectures about High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), TRX® and CrossFit, yet there were even more courses emphasizing the need to meet people where they are. The people who are already hooked on exercise love the intense workouts, but as an industry we need to do a much better job of reaching the people who are overweight or obese and don’t (yet) enjoy exercise. Presenters proffered words such as “realistic,” “small steps” and “increments.” One key phrase we have used before here at Fun and Fit and heard highlighted as helpful for fitpros to ask new clients and class members: “What is the least you can/ will do?” When you are tempted to stay on the couch, try this question on for size. “What is the least you are willing to do today to improve your fitness?” Now get out there and be a trendsetter!
And the absolute HOTTEST trend? Subscribing to our YouTube channel. Or our blog. Follow us on Twitter: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. We put all sorts of handy icons in the right sidebar for you to click on.
Readers: Have you seen any of these trends in action? What trends have you noted that are not listed above?
Kymberly Williams-Evans, Ma and Alexandra Williams, MA
Nutrition, diet, and weight loss professor Dr. Holly Wyatt tackled that steamy hot, fashionable question at the recent Fitness Health Bloggers Conference we attended.
Guess what? After analyzing data galore, comparing famous and popular diets point by point, looking at short and long term weight loss rates, it comes down to …….
The best diet is the one you will actually stick with. The one you will do, do, or die. Well, not die, but diet. Apparently the actual macronutrient composition of a diet plan is NOT key to weight loss. That is, it almost does not matter whether you choose low carb, low sugar, high protein, Paleo, gluten free, dairy-free, taste-free, food combining, all organic, or any other “THE LATEST ONE WAY” out there. What matters when it comes to succeeding with weight loss is being consistent with reduced intake over the time needed to drop pounds. Remember, that for weight loss, you are looking at a calorie restricted diet with a specific duration and end point.
As well, the diet or nutrient composition that might work wonders for one person could be a failure for another. More and more, researchers are finding that weight loss diets need to be tailored to each individual. No single book, theory, method or fad will be right for the masses. You could be the one person who succeeds on high protein whereas your best friend needs to go high carb. Wouldn’t it be great to be the person whose body and genes respond to a chocolate diet?
Check out Dr. Wyatt’s chart tracking the results of diets varying in fat/protein/ carbo composition. Notice that at 6 months all dieters lost weight at about the same rates. And at 2 years, all dieters were still averaging similar results regardless of food make-up. Comparing the Zone, Atkins, Learn, Ornish diets reveals… envelope please… all diets had people who lost and people who gained. The key was ADHERENCE. (As opposed to say, book sales that have to have the latest gimmick to attract buyers).
Dr Wyatt also compared low calorie to very low calorie diets to assess success with losing weight. Another surprise — while the very low calories dieters initially lost more weight, at the one year mark both sets of dieters ended up at the same place. Why? Because a very low cal diet is tough to sustain. Some of you have been there, yes? To put that Fit Fact another way, a greater rate of initial weight loss does not yield a better result at end of the year.
Which brings us to the next question:
And the answer is “yes.” Not “yes, go on a diet that involves you feeling like you’re fighting against your food,” but “yes, eat foods that are good for you and eat fewer calories than you are now.” Of course, you could go on a crazy cookie diet and cut out 500 calories from your daily intake, but really? As exercise professionals and happy workout people, we were very curious how the exercise vs. diet results broke down. The last 20 years have seen percentages all over the place: 50/50 diet/ exercise; 90/10; 70/30. You get the picture. We were rooting for the exercise side of the equation as we know the benefits of an active life. Plus we like having people in our group fitness classes.
But DANG IT if current thought is saying loudly and clearly: To LOSE weight, it’s all about calorie reduction. Moving enough to achieve energy imbalance takes a lot of activity. A lot. As in, if you liked exercising and moving that much, you probably would not be needing to lose weight in the first place. As Dr. Wyatt and her colleagues point out, most people find it easier to cut out 500 calories a day than to exercise for the hour needed to burn that same number. What do you find easier – cutting out one baked good or after-dinner snack per day oooorrrr hitting the gym for an hour?
The rest of your life. Moving as long as you want to stay lower weight. Because at some point, you will achieve your weight loss goals. Then you have a lifetime ahead of you to maintain. Now we are talking EXERCISE.
Yes, physical activity is ultimately the MAGIC PILL to weight maintenance and a lifelong healthy weight. More than anything else, MOVE if you want to keep weight off. More specifically, chalk up (or the modern equivalent – Add up on your phone app) your daily activity minutes. To maintain weight loss, the minimum recommendation is 60-90 minutes of low to moderate intensity aerobic exercise most days of week. That was kind of key so to repeat:
We never said a lifetime of low weight, health and fitness was easy. We did say it could be fun though! And it can be. Check out prior posts that address the BEST workout, and how exercise, even when it sucks, can make you happier. Then get busy! (Did you click any of those links? Come on now. Do it if you want to lose or keep off weight).
Readers: What weight loss or weight maintenance tips do you have to share?
Interested to lose weight? Stay fit? Learn and Laugh with us a bit? Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Subscribe to our blog. Follow us on Twitter: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. We put all sorts of handy icons in the right sidebar for you to click on too.
Disclosure: Refuel with Chocolate Milk provided us with a scholarship for the conference registration: FitFluential made it possible for us to be session speakers and panel moderators. Yes, we LOVE sponsors who help us get accurate, timely, good info to you!
Slides credit: Dr Holly Wyatt of the University of Colorado, Denver Anschutz Health and Wellness Center
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Having just attended the Fitness Health Bloggers Conference at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center (part of the University of Colorado Denver Medical Campus), we had the privilege to hear directly from professors on the front lines of weight loss, obesity, diet, and exercise research.
A presentation on weight loss versus weight management from Dr. Holly Wyatt caught our well-toned ears in particular. One thing we knew before hearing her talk: the advice out there is confusing, overwhelming, seemingly contradictory, and — judging by the ever-rising obesity rates — not actually working. Yet, as Dr. Wyatt asserts, “people have the education and information they need to meet weight loss goals. It’s the motivation to get started and stick with it over time that is so challenging.”
Whatzzat? We know what to do but we just don’t do it? Well, wave your hands in the air as if you just DO care, because we distilled the absolute most cutting edge, verified, helpful highlights on diet and exercise to say sayonara to extra weight once and for all.
First, define whether you are in loss or management mode.
Apparently past strategies have not distinguished between these two phases, which spells doom worse than the last place finisher in a spelling bee. (Alexandra beat Kymberly in the famous North School 4th Grade Twin Challenge Spell Off. All for the lack of a vowel in the word “vacuum.” No Kymberly is not bitter about it. Still. After all these years. Vacuums suck suck suck).
Ok, so you have put yourself in the correct phase of your journey. Now what? Well, you have to wait for the Cliff Hanger Notes in our next post as this post is getting rather long. Bazinga neener neener. However, we’ll leave you with a few tantalizing tidbits and memorable quotes to tide you over.
Come back next time to hear, ya hear?
Readers: Which phase are you in? Weight Loss? Weight Maintenance? Weight Gain? Fat Gain? (Yes, people with those last two goals do exist. Somewhere.) Are you thinking, “This is all very research-y and so on, but I just want to lose 10 pounds in 4 weeks?” Or possibly you’re nowhere near maintenance, and have a weight loss goal to lose 100 pounds before you consider anything that comes after that. Let us know.
Disclosure: Refuel with Chocolate Milk provided us with a scholarship for the conference registration: FitFluential made it possible for us to be session speakers and panel moderators. All opinions are our own though we are free about sharing them!
Get edu-tained on your way to better fitness. Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Subscribe to our blog. Follow us on Twitter: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.
Photo credit for kitty: Cheezburger
Slides credit: Dr. Holly Wyatt
I brought along my 15 year old son. By definition, he does not drive. I hate driving. But I do like traveling. And saving money on airfare. My solution: make lots of stops to get out of the car and take photos with my new iPhone. Yup, oddly enough, having Instagram (an app that lets you take photos and send them out via social media immediately) motivated me to get out of the car and move.
Any time we spotted a viewpoint or something interesting along the road (yeah, Hwys. 15 and 70 are both major interstates with shoulders just wide enough for me to pull over and not get “whoomped” by the draft of 18-wheelers passing by), I’d
careen carefully pull over to the side of the freeway, get out and take some pics. I even took my poor, long-suffering kid on a few short hikes, trying to get the “best” shot. FYI, I am not actually a photographer, I was just determined to get my kid moving.
There has been so much research lately about the detrimental effects of sitting too long that I wanted to be sure and move, both while on the road and at the conference.
I also wanted to be sure and eat healthfully, as good eating habits sometimes get tossed out the window (along with fast-food trash) during road trips.
See for yourself whether I met my movement and food goals.
If you read our post “Lose 2 Pounds in 2 Days,” or our other conference-related post “3 Excuses You Can Use When Mountain Hiking,” then you already know that we went to the conference to speak about blogging and learn about the latest research in the health & fitness field. The attendees were a combination of fitness industry pros and enthusiasts; what we all had in common was our love of fitness and social media. And food. Um, yeah! Food!
This is the section where I tell you about the amazing brands that sponsored the conference (and my fabulous fashion choices). I say “amazing” because they treated us extremely well. Not just well; extremely well.
Anschutz Health & Wellness Center
Cherry Marketing Institute
Love Grown Granola
Western Dairy Association
Quebec Maple Syrup
Better Whey of Life
Black Jacket: Qignition
Presentation pink outfit: Aventura Clothing
Orange backpack/ purse: Overland Equipment
Totally comfy wicking socks for the hikes: Goodhew
Hat that protected me from the sun and sweat: Headsweats
Fabulously awesome, fit body: My parents (no link haha, although you can see our mom in this posture video)
Disclaimer: Thank you to Refuel with Chocolate Milk for providing us with a scholarship for the conference registration, and to FitFluential for making it possible for us to be panel speakers and moderators. All opinions, silly faces and poorly lit pictures are my own!