Archive

Monthly Archives: August 2012
10

Finding Neutral Spine

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

A few ways to find standing and supine neutral spine

We were recently asked if we had any videos showing how to find neutral spine. We didn’t. But we do now! Ask and ye shall stand up (and lie down) properly.

An hour past neutral spine

Alexandra: Before we talk about clocks and buckets, it would probably be a good idea to explain what neutral spine is. No, it’s not the border of Switzerland! No, it’s not center position on a stick shift in the “Shaguar” that Mike Myers drove in “Austin Powers” either. We wish we had one of those, as we’d surely find a way to include it in the video.

No archaeological expedition is needed to find your neutral spine

One very technical research article defines it as “ the region of minimal stiffness or maximal compliance of a spinal motion segment,” or “that part of the range of physiological intervertebral motion, measured from the neutral position, within which the spinal motion is produced with a minimal internal resistance.” We think the following definition is the easiest to understand though: “The position of an individual’s spine where every joint is held in an optimal position to allow an equal distribution of force through the entire structure.” In other words, hard to describe, but you know it when you see it. Like porn, but not!

 

Kymberly: When you sit, stand, lie down, or move with your vertebrae stacked in natural curvature, you get the benefit of shock absorption and musculoskeletal comfort. So the first thing is to ditch the phrase and goal of “flat” or “straight back.” Dancers might want to achieve that position for a performance. “Why grandma, what a flat back you have. The better to impress you with my dear.”  But we fitness sorts usually want to embrace and hug the curves (in our Shaguar, apparently). That means focusing on the position of the pelvis and moving up the spine from there. The spine gently curves in at the lower back, out at the upper back, then back in again at the neck. If you haven’t watched our video yet, now is the time.

Tick tock, why not also take the time to subscribe to our YouTube channel and our blog. Follow us on Twitter: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click on the icons in the right sidebar.

Photo credits: Creative Commons:  North Charleston (clock), Jos Lippold (bucket)

Readers: What tips or tricks do you use to achieve neutral spine? Or do you need constant reminders?

 

10

How to Be Enchanting? 5 Tips: Part 2

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

In our recent post that shared the first 4 tips to be enchanting, you discovered, well, four hot tips! We up the enchantment ante now with the final 5 tips from Guy Kawasaki (hint: no Kawasaki motorcycles were harmed in the non-filming of this post, mainly because Guy is not that Kawasaki). These success tips come from a keynote talk Guy gave at the 2012 IHRSA Convention we attended and are based on his recent book, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions.

5) Overcome Resistance

  • You will encounter naysayers, opposition, and heel diggers. Be prepared for resistance so you can meet it with calm and support. One way is to use a dataset to overcome a mindset. In other words, if you are dealing with someone who is stuck in a contrary perspective, have facts, figures, and good data to present the most accurate picture possible.
  • Enchant all the Influencers. Find the key people who influence the group and let them help you address resistance.

Is one of Kymberly's tips "Be a Good Presenter?"

6) Be a Presenter

  • Learn to present  your ideas both formally and informally. Organize your thoughts and vision so you can offer them succinctly and passionately. Customize your presentation for each audience.
  • Use presentations to Sell Your Dream — of confidence, health, fitness, beauty, technology –whatever your dream is. Transmit your excitement in your presentation.
  • Keep the presentation down, lasting no more than 20 minutes, showing 10 slides, using 30 point font.  Staying in these parameters will be challenging, yet most effective for your listeners.

7) Use Technology

  • Take advantage of technology and new means to reach people. Don’t insist on staying with traditional ways, but embrace what technology offers to spread your message.

    Alexandra's Level of Skill re: Technology

  • Remove technology speed bumps that hinder compliance or acceptance.
  • For example why add captcha (the requirement that site visitors type in coded words or numbers before having a comment accepted online) to your website comment area? It’s a speed bump that deters communication. Reduce the hurdles and hoops people have to go through and under to reach you.
  • Always, provide high value and great content. Offer either Info, Insights, or Assistance

8 Enchant Up

  • Drop everything else and prioritize the most important and influential people first: your boss, your spouse, whoever it is you are most wanting to enchant — focus on that person.
  • Deliver bad news early. The sooner you get the bad news out in the open, the more opportunity you have to fix the problem.
  • Empower action. Let those who work for you or report to you, have authority to resolve problems on their own. Allow employees as much authority and decision-making ability as possible.
  • Suck it up when you have to and move on to the next chance to Enchant.

9) Don’t Suck; Enchant!

  • (That really was it for Guy’s last tip.)

Readers: From the list above, what have you done to be enchanting lately? We’d love to help celebrate your successes. At the very least we want to say “Don’t Suck: Enchant!”

Wave your wand (or a smallish tooth fairy) and subscribe to our YouTube channel and our blog. Follow us on Twitter: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click on the icons in the right sidebar.

Photo credits: Kawasaki Motorcycles, CreativeCommons: aloshbennett
15

Want to Be Enchanting?: 4 Tips, Part 1

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

We Exercised and Were Enchanted Early

When it came to attending the 2012 IHRSA Fitness Trade Show and Convention, who cares about being an early bird just to get a worm?! Yuck to worms! We hauled our hinies out of bed at 4:00 o’dark- big-yawn-o’clock to be able to hear social media gooorooo, and author Guy Kawasaki speak. Our mission –  Make it out the door (in Santa Barbara) by 5:00am to beat LA traffic and get to the LA Convention Center, parked, registered, and seated in the ballroom by 8:00. No traffic = 2 hour drive; In traffic = longer than all the Downton Abbey episodes strung together.

Ba da bing. We not only made it, but also we were early enough to hop on the new Precor AMT machine to try it out. Workout done by 7:45! We hoofed it over to the ballroom to have IHRSA VP of Industry Growth, Meredith Poppler send us to the “reserved” special people section up front. She must not have caught a whiff of our post-workout “glowiness.”

We were ready to be kept awake by Guy Kawasaki, who was giving the keynote talk based on his new book, “Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions.” (Dear Guy – please feel free to send us an autographed copy as we were too cheap rushed to buy one).

Guy – we call him that as we are now best friends, seeing as how we had 6th row seats and all – was quite personable, authentic, and loaded with accessible tips. His premise is that you need to truly enchant your client, audience, customer, royal courtiers if you want to succeed.

Without further ado, we present the first 4 of Guy’s 10 Tips to Enchantment, the Enchanted a-Bridge-d version:

1) Achieve Likability

  • To be liked we must first like others. That means we must Accept Others No Matter What! Whether people look like us, believe as we do, act like us, make choices we would never make, we must accept people as they are in order to be ourselves accepted. Sounds easy; but this is HUGE! Oh – and kinda rare these days too if you follow national trends.
  • Make your default mode “yes.”

Kawasaki, Guy

2) Achieve Trustworthiness

  • To be trustworthy, you must also Trust Others.
  • Agree on something, no matter how far apart you and the other person/ entity seem to be. Find some point of commonality and agreement and proceed from there.

3) Look to Perfect

  • Guy was not saying to be perfect, but to strive to perfect (different emPHAsis) whatever you put out into the world.
  • Go for what is DICEE: Deep-Intelligent-Complete-Empowering-Elegant

4) Tell a Story

  • Plant a seed through narrative. People – your clients, customers, relatives, loved ones, friends, bosses, online pals – all love stories, so look for ways to present your message as a story.
  • Use salient points that people can relate to, which may not be the same terms you use in your profession or industry.

Examples:

  1. calories vs miles–tell people how many miles they would have to run to burn a sausage breakfast, not how many calories are in that sausage;
  2. gigabytes vs # of songs–list the number of songs a player will offer, not how many gigabytes it holds as everyone can relate to song totals, not storage numbers.

Given that Enchantment has made it onto bestseller lists, that Guy is a richee rich popular guy with lots of influence and credibility, and that people hire him to speak at big events, we figure he must have walked the power walk. Talked the talk. Rocked the block. Basically we trusted his message.

If you want to change your life for the better, try out his suggestions. And come back next week for Part 2, Tips 5-10 courtesy of Guy and his visionary book, Enchantment. Send us a royalty check when you strike it happy!

Enter the Enchanted Realm here and now by subscribing to our YouTube channel and our blog. Follow us on Twitter: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click on the icons in the right sidebar.

Readers: What is one way you might try to Enchant someone?

 

13

The Ultimate Playlist of Your Fit Life

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Alexandra: What song defines your workout life? Do you have a theme for exercise that a tune captures?

Kymberly: If you listen to our Fun and Fit radio show  you’ll know that Alexandra tends to bust out in song now and then. And I am using the word “song” loosely and the word “bust” pretty exactly.

Anyhoooo, it got us to thinking, if you were to pick a song that is autobiographical, which one would it be? For example, if you are a procrastinator, you might go with “Wait Until Tomorrow,” by Jimi Hendrix. (We’d also suggest you read our post on moving from procrastination to action.)  If you are a get it done now person who enjoys exercise, your song might be “I Love You More Today Than Yesterday, But Not as Much as Tomorrow,” by Spiral Staircase.

Perhaps Maria from West Side Story is singing your tune when she tells the world I Feel Pretty.”  Or maybe she just finished a QiDANCE cardio class. If you love weight training, it could be people marvel and say “She’s a Brick House.”

One of our favorite votes came from a man in our Senior Strength Training class who answered this question with “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.” Once the class stopped laughing we got back on beat and showed the world that 70 year olds “Get Around, Get Around, I Get Around,”  like the Beach Boys.

Kymberly’s Picks

My autobio song depends on what exercise mode I am tackling. On strength training days or when my knee is hurting, I am going with: “Oooh Child, Things Are Going to Get Easier,” by the Five Stairsteps.  On the days I teach, power walk, or take any cardio class, my theme song is from Gladys Knight and the Pips: “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.”  Go me for getting my workout in!  The fact that Gladys was just on Dancing With the Stars and that I want Alexandra and me to be the first twins on the show might be swaying my decision. In the right direction!

Alexandra’s Picks

I didn’t even have to think twice – my song is “Shake Your Groove Thing.”  I like to dance, have fun and love music from the 70s. I can be Peaches. Now I just need a volunteer to be Herb. I could probably find hundreds of songs, depending on which freeway entrance my mind takes, but another song that captures my general life attitude is “Life Is Good” by Junk, especially the intro phrase, “I know I can always win, I can do anything.” Isn’t that a great attitude toward life and health?

My final submission is my response to the foot surgery that’s kept me in a foot bootie for 6 weeks: “Can’t Keep Me Down” by Cypress Hill & Rusko.

Readers: Any songs come to mind that capture your fitness life? Sing it loud in the comments below!

What is real music to our ears? The sound of you subscribing to our YouTube channel and our blog. Follow us on Twitter: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click on the icons in the right sidebar.

 

4

Bicep Curls: Wrong & Right Way

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Is it Possible to Do Bicep Curls Wrong?

A cute top makes bicep curls easier

A bicep curl seems to be one of the simplest, most straightforward exercises around. It’s a single-joint move at the elbow. And yet it’s actually possible to do it incorrectly. How can it be wrong when it feels so right? And the answer is…

  • Bending Wrists
  • Having Poor Posture
  • Wedging Elbows into Body
  • Keeping Elbows at 90 degrees instead of lengthening during Eccentric Phase
  • Holding Breath
  • Using Shoulders to Stabilize instead of Core
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gt0NndeOEVY[/youtube]

 

Kymberly: Wonder what’s “eccentric” (besides Alexandra and her “magical” inner thighs? – Watch the video to know what I’m referring to)? The phase when you lengthen a muscle under tension. In this case, when you lower the free weights you are in the eccentric phase as the biceps are still the primary mover decelerating against gravity as the weights pull down. I plan to enter the eccentric phase altogether when I’m older and really live it up!

As for the right way to do biceps curls: Hold all joints stable and still except the elbow joint. And by all joints, that includes your spine!

Curl up to something good by subscribing to our YouTube channel and our blog. Follow us on Twitter: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click on the icons in the right sidebar ——–>


45

4 Fitness Grammar Mistakes

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Good Grammar Makes a Difference Even in an Exercise Class

You’re in the group fitness room having a great workout. Suddenly, you are shocked out of your reverie and exercise vibe by a loud, jarring, no-way-to-hide-it Grammar Gaffe. Yes, your instructor (or maybe you?) just committed a workout world grammar No-No, oh-no-you-didn’t.  We can’t speak for you, but we can speak with well-constructed cues and sentences. And we think you deserve high level fitness instruction in every regard. Therefore, we hereby share our Top 4 Most Common and Easiest to Clean Up Fitness Grammar Boo Boos.

But first, some Quick Quiz Questions:

  1. Do you lie down or lay down?
  2. Should you raise up or rise up?
  3. Do you eat healthy or healthfully or healthily?
  4. Do you have a fitness regimen or regiment?
Professor's Trail to Good Grammar

Yes, I really was an English professor. Take a look at our About page and believe!

Kymberly: Whether you like it or not, good grammar makes a difference. For fitness pros, having good grammar increases credibility, confidence, and communication. For exercise participants, hearing perfect grammar goes unnoticed. As it should, because then you can concentrate on the class, workout, routine, cues, choreography, good form — all the things you came for.

Bad grammar cued on a microphone from a stage and amplified to a fitness class or gym is like a huge speed bump on the road to fitness. When bad grammar happens, you hit the speed bump and notice the uncomfortable ride. No longer are you focusing on the road (class content). Instead, your attention goes to the bump. So let’s muscle through this people and go for body and mind working together.

Grammar Gaffe One

In the present tense, the biggest misuse is with the verbs to lie and to lay. Let’s go Grammar Lite to get the Lay/Lie dilemma sorted out.

If NO noun (person, place, thing, idea, or concept) comes after the verb (action word), you are in LIE Land. (Liar; liar, workout pants on fire!)
“Please lie down.”
“Lie over here (<—- no noun alert) where there is room to lay your mat (<—- noun alert)  on the floor.”

If a noun is the word to come right after the verb, then use LAY.
“Lay your mats on the floor.”
“Lay your head on your mat.”

Grammar Gaffe Two

Could we make this easier? The confusion and solution are super similar to the Lie/Lay situation. Again, we are talking about present tense of verbs: to rise and to raise.
If a noun follows the verb, use RAISE.
“Raise your legs in the air as if you really care about good grammar everywhere.”
“Raise your hand if you are having an amazing workout experience in this class with excellent grammar cueing!”

No noun after the verb? Then hallelujah and RISE up.
“Rise and take a breath.”

(If Dan of the Les Mills CX Worx DVD series shouts out “Lay Down” one more time, I am going to put him on perma-mute. He seemed cute; I was willing to overlook the tattoos even. Bump, bump, bump, ouch, ouch, ouch. I just can’t take it anymore!)

Grammar Gaffe Three

A Healthy Person Eating Healthfully

Alexandra: When I hear or read, “I want to eat healthy,” I am always waiting for the rest of the sentence. My brain is waiting for the noun. “Healthy” what? Vegetables? Grains? Cakes, cookies, candies, pies and ice cream?

You can say “I want to hang out with healthy people,” or “I want to eat healthful foods,” or even “I eat healthfully.” See how two of the three take a noun? (I’d mess with you and talk about direct objects and the accusative case, but even I’d lose interest. (Too many years spent learning languages, yet my kids can’t seem to hear me in any language if chores are involved).

While we’re at it, “healthily” is an adverb, but even I know that no-one actually uses this word unless college exams are on the horizon!

Grammar Gaffe Four

This Regiment is doing their fitness regimen: Push-Ups

Do you have a fitness regimen or a fitness regiment? The first is a plan you follow on a consistent basis. The second is a whole bunch of military people, usually formed of several battalions. While your exercise regimen may sometimes feel like it’s a battle, you probably don’t have command of a regiment. Although, if they’re good-looking, that might be quite motivating! And if you tell me you “do a fitness regiment,” I’ll wonder if you’re a bit of an, um, er, slag active sexual partner!

Why should you care? Because the people or companies you might wish to work with care; your students care; and your high school English teachers care! We care too, as we want all our colleagues to sound as smart and professional as possible!

Someday we may even tackle the difference between “workout” and “work out.” Today is not that day!

Readers: Do you have a grammar pet peeve? Vent here.

Earn good grammar points by subscribing 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 in the right sidebar.

Photo Credits: CreativeCommons.orgDVIDSHUB (Regiment)

9

5 Phrases to Think and Train Like an Olympian

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Move From Procrastinator to Olympian Level Peak Performer*

Peak PerformanceWho’s been glued to the 2012 Olympics like sequins on a gymnastic leotard? While watching did you wonder about the mental strength of these athletes as they compete and train? What separates them from us? You know, besides incredible talent, skill, training, youth, dedication, and prowess?

 

For one, they train their minds as well as their bodies. Instead of being procrastinators — as in “I’ll exercise tomorrow when I am not so hot, tired, busy ( _______ insert excuse here),” — they focus on what they can do in the present moment, no matter how small.  You can achieve your fitness goals more effectively by shifting just 5 phrases in your head from “Procrastinator” to “Peak Performer” talk.

On the Procrastinator Phrases team we have the following key players in the starting line-up:

  1. “I have to do this or that.”
  2. “Once I can finish the whole activity/ task, I’ll get going.”
  3. “This is big.”
  4. “I’ll start as soon as I can do this perfectly.”
  5. “I should get moving soon…er or later.”

On the Peak Performers team we offer a line-up of winning substitutes

  1. “I choose to do this or that.”
  2. “I can at least start.”
  3. “One small step is all it takes to start.”
  4. “A rough version is ok for now.”
  5. “Forget past and future and focus on NOW, just for now.”

Which phrases do you hear inside your head as you plan your workouts? Do you see the different perception of time between the performers and the stallers? Also super important is the perception of yourself as a person ruled externally (I should, I must, I have to) versus self-ruled (I choose, I decide). If you remember one key concept to train your brain to think more like an Olympian it’s to Have Presence in the Present. Focus on the Now. As in, leave a comment below or retweet this post now. Now, there’s a winning approach!

Procrastinator vs Peak Performer Talk

Race to the winner’s circle and 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 —–>

* Ideas adapted from a presentation on Procrastination and Habits given by Neil Fiore, PhD at Rancho la Puerta Fitness Spa. Thank you Professor Fiore!

18

Push-Ups: Right & Wrong Way

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Push-Ups are a Great Exercise if you do them Properly

Push-Ups: Right and Wrong Way with Alexandra and KymberlyIf we were left alone on a deserted island (or gym), we’d still be able to get a great workout. Actually, if we had to pick just two exercises, push-ups would be one of them (we aren’t saying the other just yet; you’ll have to wait for that post) because they work so many muscles, don’t require equipment, and are fairly easy to do.

For those of you hate push-ups, why? Because someone said you had to do long lever (toe) or not at all? Because they’re hard? Because (for you women) you were told you’d look too “manly” in the chest?

If you do them correctly, they are fun, fun, fun! Believe it!

Correct form means:

  • Shoulder blades retracted
  • Long line from head to knees (or toes)
  • Hands wide so there’s a 90 degree angle at the elbows at the bottom of the move
  • Hands in a line with the chest (not the shoulders)

So, are you a push-up hater or lover? For more on short  vs long lever (knee vs toe)  push-ups, take a look at our post with a dedicated video, Push-Ups: Knees to Toes

Clickety click on these links. Lower yourself into a push-up, then use your nose to 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 —–>

6

Make Brain Waves

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Listen to Fun and Fit radio episodes that focus on how exercise improves your mind.

Mind Your FitnessWould you like an order of better brain to go with that active body? Enhance your brain waves by taking advantage of our radio waves.

You may already be aware that aerobic activity is the number one contributor to better brain health. But were you aware that you can get more cutting edge insights, practical advice, and how tos to act on this knowledge? Our Fun and Fit radio show, which airs online at WomensRadio.com has several episodes devoted to

  • increasing your memory
  • improving your cognitive skills
  • reducing your possibility of getting dementia
  • offering the latest on the impact your movement makes on your mind.

The reality is that everything you do affects your brain health, including involving the senses (such as ‘hearing”) while exercising. As in listen to the following episodes as you work around the house or get on your cardio equipment.

Carrie Ekins

Carrie Ekins

Brains, Drums, Exercise, and a Smarter You

With Carrie Ekins, MA

 

 

 

Boost Your Brain Power Today

Tips From Kymberly and Alexandra

Move Your Body to Move Your Brain

With Dr Michael Luan

Kathy Gruver, PhD

Dr. Kathy Gruver

Your Body Hears Every Word You Say

Interview with Dr Kathy Gruver

Create the Body You Want Through Consciousness and Quantum Physics

With Patricia Diorio, MA

Life Enhancing Options to Life Depleting Prescription Drugs

Interview with David Littell

To see what else might jog your noggin, go to our Fun and Fit radio page. Once there, scroll down or hit the “next page” button.

Clickety click on these links. But use your finger, not the point on your head! 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 —–>