Monthly Archives: November 2012

Crank Up Your Metabolism and Digestion

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Crank up that Metabolism!

What can I do to crank up my metabolism and/or digestion? Thanks!
Don, San Diego

Basal metabolism:  The minimal energy expended to maintain respiration, circulation, peristalsis, muscle tonus, body temperature, glandular activity, and the other vegetative functions of the body.

zzzzzzz snork. What did that just say? In Fun and Fit translated style, that says, “If you want to burn kcals at a faster rate (helps with weight loss and maintenance), speed up your basal metabolic rate.”

There are 11 variables that affect your metabolic rate. According to the Oct. 2012 issue of ACE Certified News, “exercise is easily the most adjustable variable (of these 11) in total daily energy expenditure.” Current research indicates that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the most effective method for raising your metabolic rate and losing weight, so we’ll be super thoughtful and define it. Essentially, it means alternating your workout into two speeds – very intense, and rest. The intervals can vary, such as 60 seconds work/ 60 seconds rest, or the very popular Tabata style: 20 seconds work/ 10 seconds rest, which our colleague Tamara Grand explains in this Tabata Training radio episode.

It’s Burpee Time!

By the way, standard bodybuilding won’t work for your goals, as it doesn’t burn enough calories or have the required after-effects. What DOES work is sprinting, biking, boot-camp moves such as burpees, stair-climbing, weight-lifting, and many other moves where you can push yourself to a 9 or 10 level of intensity on a 1-10 scale. High intensity doesn’t have to be high impact, though, in case you’re not into “jumpy” moves. You could do spiderman push-ups, which are very low impact.

We were once asked about “amping up my old ass metabolism”  by a reader, so you might like to read what we told her (hint: we didn’t call her “old”). In addition to HIIT, you definitely want a weight training component. Our post about the caloric benefits from the metabolic spike explains the advantages of combining cardio and weight training, but in case you’re too exhausted to click the link, it essentially says that “with cardio, you can burn 10-12 kcals a minute; with weight training it’s only 8-10 kcals per minute. But due to a magical thing called the metabolic spike (not a volleyball term), you will continue to burn kcals efficiently for about an hour after you finish working out, even if you’re sitting on your old ass donkey doing nothing.

As to your digestion…the word “metabolism” specifically refers to the breakdown of food and its subsequent transformation into energy your body needs. The best way to make sure you are breaking down and using the kcals/ energy from your food is to do two things: 1) eat food that’s a good balance of protein, complex carbs and healthy fats; and 2) eat at regular intervals. An abrupt calorie-reduction or starvation diet can severely reduce (i.e., slow down) your basal metabolic rate (BMR) by up to 30%, and a restrictive, low-calorie diet can decrease it by as much as 20%.
Basically, we just said, “Don’t skip meals. Don’t eat crap.” You’re welcome for that memorable translation!

Spiderman Push-ups: Knee to Elbow



We hope we’ve answered your question. If we have, go do 10 spiderman push-ups! If we haven’t, go do 20!

Readers: What high intensity, low impact moves have you discovered that we can share with other readers , especially me those with bad knees?

We have entered a contest by Anytime Fitness that we really want to win. Please click now on the link and give us your vote. We are the twins on the ball who are “flying” through the silver air! Thank you. P.S. It will take about 7 seconds of your time, and we do appreciate every vote!

Burn at least 12 kcals twitching your fingers to subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog. And another 13 when you follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click on the icons in the sidebar. Really, it’s all about helping you!

Photo credits: via cycloctopus (crank);  beingwell20 (burpee), Our FitFluential pal Brendon Payne (spiderman push-up)

Citation for diet stats:


Kettlebells or Medicine Balls When Strength Training for a Marathon?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: I’ve been looking to ramp up my training to complete my first marathon next spring. I really need to get on a better plan for strength training. I will be doing a lot of training over the winter months on the east coast where it is often yucky. It would be nice to be able to fall back on a strength training/treadmill run if needed.
Would a kettlebell be a good idea or would I be better off with a medicine ball? Which would be more diverse for training? I’d want to start out with something not too big that would cause injury either. Suggestions on weight? Amy, Mount Joy, PA

Um, I think I just found my workout buddy

Alexandra: For diversity, both kettlebell workouts and medicine balls are good. Kettlebells offer both cardio AND strength benefits, while the medicine balls address strength. Having said that, I would suggest the medicine ball first unless you have someone certified in kettlebells to teach you. Kettlebells are deceptively difficult to do right. You have to hold and swing them properly to avoid getting hurt. Our post “Kettlebell Workouts: Yes or No” will give you something to think and clink on.

(For more great advice on taking advantage of what these iron balls with handles offer, listen to our radio interview of Kettlebell Bombshell, Lisa Balash: Kettlebells for Fitness, Weight Loss, and Strength.)

Kettlebell Bombshell, Lisa Balash

Either way, you want to start light: 5 – 7 pounds for the kettlebells, and 8 – 12 pounds for the medicine ball.

Kymberly: Ring My Bell, Ball, Bell What the H*ll? All this talk about bells and balls makes me want to sing, roll, and loll! (Dare you to click the link, hear Anita Ward sing Ring My Bell and NOT have the song stuck in your head). Nooooooo, make it stop!

Oh, can you show me that medicine ball move one more time?

Before going disco on you, allow me to work a different move. Why not get into group fitness strength training classes instead? Whether you use free weights, resistance bands or resistance tubing, barbells, body weight, actual kettlebells or medicine balls, you will have a lower chance of injury in a class taught by a fitness pro. You’ll increase your fundamental strength, allowing you to progress further with your marathon training. And you will get guidance, a range of options, and feedback within a class, all of which minimize injury risk. Tackle kettlebells only with a qualified, well-trained leader (trainer or group instructor) as risk with them is higher than with other resistance equipment. You can then take what you learn in the strength training class out onto the floor and apply it to your solo resistance training program.

Stability ball balancing with Kymberly and Alexandra

Ballsy moves ahead!

Ding! And they’re off!! Is that the starting bell for your inaugural marathon? Have a ball with it!

Have a second ball when you subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog. And when you follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click on the icons in the sidebar. Ring our bell with your action!

We have entered a contest by Anytime Fitness that we really want to win. Please click now on the link and give us your vote. We are the twins on the ball who are “flying” through the silver air! Thank you. P.S. It will take about 7 seconds of your time, and we do appreciate every vote!

Photo credits: Man on beach  ~ggvic~, Medicine ball man aramo



Thanksgiving: Family, Food and Fitness

Alexandra Williams, MA

We hope you had a lovely holiday, filled with fellowship, food, family, friends and of course, fitness! Funny how so many great words start with the letter “F.”

We were so busy celebrating that we didn’t spend much time on the computer. We took our own advice about going for walks to help prevent holiday weight gain. On Thursday we celebrated Thanksgiving with part of our large family. On Friday we celebrated my youngest son’s 16th birthday with an even bigger group of people! And today? A four-mile walk in the morning, followed by cleaning!

Please enjoy some photos from the weekend. It was very sunny and hot at the top of mountain, and very cloudy and wet at the beach. Such is the strange Santa Barbara weather!

Fall leaves, flowers, pumpkin pie & sweet potato pie, and birthday cake. Decadent!

Bright, hot sun at the top of the Pass. Great for morning walks. And it was so quiet on Thanksgiving.

Some interesting rocks seen on top of the mountain and down on the beach

This is but a small bit of our large family. Oldest – 83. Youngest – 3. How cool is that?

Scenes from low tide at Hendry’s Beach in Santa Barbara. Look closely and you’ll see anemones, part of a dead dolphin, sea urchins, gulls, cormorants, sandpipers, mollusks and starfish.

This is what the cats thought about all the activity. They went into pissed off, hiding mode.

My favorite part of the holidays was having my eldest son home from university for 4 days. My second favorite part was seeing my youngest son enjoy all the birthday attention. And my third favorite part was baking and cooking for everyone.

What is YOUR favorite thing about Thanksgiving? And for those of you who don’t celebrate it, what is your favorite time of year? 

We give thanks every time you subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog. And when you follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click on the icons in the right sidebar. We’ll be ever so grateful!


How to Avoid Overeating on Thanksgiving

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

‘Tis the season for Thanksgiving, not Thanks-gorging.  Enact Our 7 healthful tips to avoid the holiday feast trap.

Perhaps you’ve spent months being diligent about exercising and eating healthfully. And now the holidays are creeping up faster than a heart rate monitor. How do you stay trimmer than a decorated tree and less stuffed than a turkey come Thanksgiving?

The following suggestions will serve you well from day’s start through end.

1. Drink lots of water and green tea before the feast. You will feel full and less inclined to overeat.

2. Eat your usual breakfast and lunch. Don’t skip a meal thinking you will then be free to make up for lost calories later when the “good stuff” arrives. Inevitably you will be so hungry come THE meal that you will overeat or choose whatever is closest.

3. Mentally sort foods into 3 categories:

  • Food I love and will probably have seconds;
  • Food I like and will take a little just once;
  • Food I don’t need to eat at all.

Planning and paying attention have a definite effect on how much you pile on your plate.

(For more motivation and strategies to keep you on track, click to download our radio episode as a podcast you can listen to while working out – or when avoiding that one weird relative who is coming over Thursday:)

3 Tips to Thrive Through the Holidays

The First Turkey Trot: Real Blunderbusses for the Finish Line!

4. Opt for a salad instead of dinner plate.  You’ll be inclined to eat less.  Most of us are visually triggered, so we stop adding food once our plate looks full, regardless of plate size.

5. Get up from the table when done. Do not sit with food in front of you calling your name á la “Little Shop of Horrors.” And don’t leave food just sitting out. You can end up eating an entire meal’s worth just from picking at the stuff that’s in front of you. Put it away right after the meal (or at least as soon as is politely possible). Your guests will  probably thank you. Ok, maybe thank you.

6. Put your mind over matter. If you’re a person who likes to talk to herself (like Alexandra does), just ask yourself this when you’re filling your plate, “Am I choosing this because I’m hungry or because it tastes good?” We aren’t here to say you “shouldn’t” this or “should” that, but the awareness will help you make a considered decision.

7. Go for a walk. What better way to spend quality time with your favorite rellies or friends than by putting on a jacket and getting outside?

Readers: What tips do you have to share? We’d love to know them, especially with December almost here!

Fill up with fitness solutions and some fun when you subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog. Follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click on the icons in the right sidebar. We’ll be ever so Thanksgiving grateful!

Photo credits: via Creative Commons:  RBerteig (jumping turkey),  sassyarts (pilgrims walking)


Holiday Fitness Gift List

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Super Shopping or Super Stressful? The holidays can be both. And they can also be much more. Giving. Gratitude. Guests. Good deals too!

Your fitness and health should stay front and center during this season. In the spirit of combining your lifestyle with the desire for finding quality gifts, we offer this list of 5 products that promote an active, healthy life!

Red Shoes for a Redhead. Now, THESE were made for walking!

Therafit Athletic Shoes for Women

A fairly new company, Therafit makes shoes that are super comfy right away, which is a must for a fitness shoe. Actually, the minute Alexandra tried hers on, she said, “Look, They’re a Fit!” ahahahah. We like to crack ourselves up over here!

Wrap it up Zorro and give us the TheraFit shoes, while you get the wrapping!

If you’ve read any of our posture posts,you know how important good posture is. And if you haven’t read them (what’s stopping you?), you may want to know that good posture makes you look taller, younger and stronger. The Therafit shoes are actually endorsed by the National Posture Institute. And they come with tiny removable rods under the heel (they look like hidden secret scrolls) that let you adjust the impact and cushioning. At first we wondered if the rods were a fancy shmancy gimmick, but dang, they work. And our reconstructed soccer knees and arthritic big toes (soccer again!) would know!

Bonus(besides the comfort and joint support): For every pair you order, Therafit donates $1 to a charity of your choice. Perfect for the season of giving.

Steam Me Up, Scotty!

Mr. Steam towel warmers

Ah, luxury. Wouldn’t you love to step out of the shower or bath to a nice, warm, snuggle-bunny towel, especially in the winter? Kymberly has a wall-mounted unit and Alexandra has the standing one; we are both happy. We’d be even happier if they came with a masseur genie. Or Four Yorkshiremen!

Love the Novica sweater. Wouldn’t mind if the guy handed me a warm towel!



You worked hard to look good, so treat yourself and loved ones to handcrafted gifts from around the world. In association with National Geographic, Novica supports artisans who are working to preserve culture and tradition. Kymberly got a super soft ivory sweater from Peru that her black cats tried to lie on. Get off, you fur flyers! Lie on the new, black skirt from Thailand instead.

Wake me up before you Go-Go

Hanna’s Herbs Anti-Fatigue

Teaching fitness classes all week, being a mom, getting too little sleep, worrying about the bills, and hunting for Monty Python video clips can make a person very tired. We like this Vitamin B Anti-Fatigue supplement from Hanna’s because it has no caffeine. None! The description for these tablets says, “Our adrenal glands are the seat of our physical power.” We might argue that our physical power comes from our core, but we have noticed that our (gah, should we admit it?) somewhat aging bodies need a bit of a boost sometimes.


Argyle Compression Socks for the Sexy Beast in You!

Zensah Seamless Performance Apparel

In our teens, twenties and thirties, we both played soccer. Lots of it. We loved it. It didn’t love our knees and toes, as noted above and in the post we had about overcoming life’s challenges and being awesome! Zensah compression socks and sleeves to the rescue! If you’ve ever had post-foot-surgery swelling, you might have discovered how frustrating it is to NOT fit into your shoes. I, Alexandra, was very sad because my body would not cooperate with my desire to teach. When Zensah stepped in with socks and leg sleeves that decreased the swelling and came in wild, fun colors, I became a brand enthusiast for life!

These are 5 companies that have helped us live our lives as we want to. We didn’t write this list or associate ourselves with these companies to get free stuff – our reputations are not for sale. We are proud to associate ourselves with them because they offer excellent products. We feel a personal connection to the brands and the people who work for them.

Ask yourself these questions when planning your shopping:

  • Do these products fill a need I have?
  • Do these companies offer excellent customer service?
  • Are these companies contributing to the greater good (via charitable works or earth-friendly policies)?

For us, the answer was Yes, Yes and Yes. Let the holiday season begin. Or, as we call it, the Season of Fs – Family, Fun, Fitness, Food, Friendship and Frolicking!

Frolic on your keyboard to give yourself the gift of fitness solutions when you subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog. Follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click on the icons in the right sidebar. We’ll be ever so Thanksgiving grateful!

The following disclosure relates to the Therafit shoes: FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own. In all cases, we were provided with products. In all cases, you are getting our honest input … AND some swell cat pictures!



Lunges to Shape the Tush and Lower Body: Right & Wrong Way

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Lunges are the second-most popular exercise (after squats) for toning the glutes, lower body and core, plus they’re great for improving balance. What’s not to love?


Did we mention no equipment is necessary, except for gravity? For all their benefits, lunges are only effective if done with good form and technique. For whatever reasons, they are hard for most people to execute properly. After 30 years of teaching lunges, we thought we’d share some of the wrong and right ways to get a leg up on your lunges!



Most common errors:
* front knee too far forward
* back knee too close to the ground
* back foot diagonal, putting it out of alignment
* upper body leaning forward
* feet too close together
* leading with toes (for moving lunges)

Correct form:
* knee, hip, toes and heel square to front (if there is knee torque, use the knee as the gauge)
* feet hip distance apart
* front knee directly above the ankle
* back knee at a 90 degree angle, several inches off the floor
* upper body lined up – head over heart over hips
* leading with heel (for moving lunges)

Don’t lurk. Don’t lurch. Lunge! While you’re at it, according to the American Council on Exercise, an excellent weight loss combination is lunges and walking uphill. Say, did we ever show you our video about uphill walking?

Which do you prefer, lunges or squats? Or lurches?

The Original Lurch – “You Rang?”

Lower your fingers over the keyboard, then lunge forward to hit “subscribe” on our YouTube channel and blog. Follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click on the icons in the right sidebar.

Picture credit:  admiller, Unofficial Addams Family site


Lat PullDown with a Resistance Tube: Right and Wrong Ways

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Doing a Lat PullDown with a Resistance Tube is a great way to strengthen your mid- and lower-back, improve your posture and give a lift to the chest.

First things first: A Lat Pulldown works the lats, aka latissimi dorsi (Latin for “broad back”). These are large muscles of the thoracic and lumbar areas of the back, and together are shaped like an upside-down triangle. Their job is to move the arm, draw the shoulders back and down, and help pull the body up when climbing. A resistance tube is a hollow, long “rubber band” with handles on each end.

Resistance is Futile, Except when it’s a Tube!



In our many years of teaching, we have found the Lat PullDown to be a great exercise, although it can be challenging to perform with good form. So, henceforth, forsooth, and forthwith, we hereby present a video that shows some of the right and wrongs ways to do this exercise. “Lat” the fun begin! You’re welcome for the pun.




The good news for those of us who are women already in toward the second half, is that it gives a lift to good ol’ Betty and Veronica, because as the back strengthens, posture improves and the chest lifts up. And if you don’t get the Betty and Veronica reference, you’re too young to care about this benefit anyway!

See how “perky” the redhead with the catwoman glasses is? Ya dig?!





We “dorsi” you should subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog. Follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click on the icons in the right sidebar.




Do you want to wear the same cute compression socks that Alexandra is sporting in the video? Easy, just go to the Zensah website.

Photo credits: Lats – Wikipedia, Tube – Century MMA, Betty & Veronica –  Marxchivist


Hip Flexor Stretches: Right and Wrong Way to do a Quad Stretch

Help, I’ve Skyfallen and can’t get up. Might as well stretch my hip.

Are your hip flexors or quads tighter than Daniel Craig’s glutes in the James bond film, Skyfall? If you sit a lot, you probably have short, contracted muscles that need stretching. If you exercise a lot, you also probably have tight, shortened quads and hip flexors from your workout activity.

Sad and sorry news — tight, short hip flexors don’t indicate strong hip flexors. Happy news — You can get the whys and ways to strengthen your hip flexor muscles when you click this link.

If you sit a lot, you probably have short, contracted hip flexor muscles that need stretching. But how? Click To Tweet

Basically, any time you lift the knee, such as in a kickbox cardio class, a squat, a step class, a walk up a hill, an incline on cardio equipment — you are contracting hip flexors. Whenever you extend your leg to the front you are contracting the quads. Time to stretch those babies, but not by committing the most common form faults (which can really stress the knee, by the way). Watch our video to get incredible, amazing, unsurpassed, exemplary form. Find out whether you are guilty of any of the most common wrong ways.

3 Common Wrong Ways People Stretch the Quads in the Side-Lying Postion

  1. Pushing the knee forward of the body. creating a bend at the hip
  2. Pointing the knee to the ground or sky instead of straight ahead
  3. Squeezing the foot to the buttocks, thereby stressing the fully “open” knee joint

4 Tips to Stretch Quads and Hip Flexors the Right Way

  1. Push the hip forward of the knee and body’s plane
  2. Pull the knee straight back
  3. Tighten the glutes
  4. Keep the upper and lower leg in one plane, parallel to the floor
4 Tips to Stretch Quads and Hip Flexors the Right Way Click To Tweet

 1 video detail that will warrant offering fitness fashion advice to Alexandra

  1. At :22 seconds into the video.

Sign up to start "youthifying" today.

Photo credit: Public Domain

Alexandra: Hmm, this is Alexandra, and I’m not sure what happens at :22 in the video, but I would like to thank Zensah for the orange compression sleeves. They rule!

ACTION: Want more on stretching and strengthening to live longer and better? Enter your email in any of the opt-in boxes and claim your freebie as well.

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA


Daylight Savings? Or Time to be Dancing With the Stars?

By Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Alert: Off topic, digression blog post from me, Kymberly, with a dream you can help me fulfill.

Me flying high once DWTS calls!

What time is it? Ok, sure it’s almost Daylight Savings time. More on my mind is that Tuesday night was Elimination Time for Dancing With the Stars Pro Dancer, Louis van Amstel and his 2012 Season celebrity partner, Sabrina Bryan.  So wrong, so robbed, so untimely an end! You can help put this ballroom dance tv show back on track next season. Stay tuned to find out how.

If you’ve been following our blog or attending the group fitness classes I teach, you cannot have escaped that I am a dedicated DWTS fan-a-fit-tic! Not only that, but I am a boom chicka boomer with a dream. I want twinnie personage and me to be the first “celebrity” twins to compete at the ‘big dance.”  And, yes, we each want our own pro dance partner. Everyone asks us how we would “share” one pro. We wouldn’t! Alexandra gets Louis as they can speak Dutch with each other. And I get …. well, you have to tweet DWTS at @DancingABC to get them to bring us on, then you can find out who my partner pick is. Hint – I want someone who is strong enough to lift and twirl me about.

Now that Louis and Sabrina have been eliminated, where can you find him? For starters, with us! Take a look at our exclusive video interview.

Yes, we were the only people who got to record an interview with Louis at the IDEA World Convention. We ask him about his emerging ballroom dance-based fitness program, LaBlast.  For more on LaBlast and the 5 levels Louis designed so we all can enjoy salsa, disco, mambo, jive, foxtrot, and more ballroom moves while exercising, do peek at this post.

Where do I hope you soon find Alexandra and me? On Dancing With the Stars, Season NEXT ONE. The key aspect to focus on now is that we are two Kevin Bacon degrees away from having my dream come true. The show needs a baby boomer or two. Ok, exactly two. Us. And we have as much celeb status as many past competitors (ask us one day about our stints in Europe as famous fitness pros. We learned afterwards to wish for Fortune and Fame, not just Fame. What were we thinking??!!).

This is the part where you come in. Help me realize my DREAM by tweeting @DancingABC tweet your followers using the hashtag #DWTS with subtle hints such as “#DWTS Get boomchickaboomer celeb identical twins @KymberlyFunFit & @AlexandraFunFit on next season!” Like Louis’ Facebook page and drop him a line, now that he and Sabrina have been curtailed all too soon. Tell all your online friends to tweet, post, email, share. DWTS needs a way to top this season, and what could be better than a twin-off?

Silver mirror ball, I see you shining down on me.

Reader Tweeters: Did you tweet yet? How ’bout now? Now?

Be part of the celeb crowd when you subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog. Follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click on the icons in the right sidebar.