Monthly Archives: December 2013

Rethink Your Day: Move Just a Bit More

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Polar. All opinions, experiences and weight loss are mine, all mine!!!
Alexandra Williams, MA
Trying Out my New Polar Loop on Day 1

Trying Out my New Polar Loop on Day 1

When it comes to getting (or staying) fit, some people add more intensity; others more movement.

I am generally in the “more movement” category, especially when it comes to walks (I don’t like to sweat when I walk), though I’ve been know to amp it up too. But is there a way to measure both types of activity?

When I was invited to test out the Polar Loop – a fitness activity tracker you wear on your wrist –

What the Polar Loop looks like on an Invisible Wrist

What the Polar Loop looks like on an Invisible Wrist

I was all over it because I wanted to know how much I was moving on days I DIDN’T teach. Women my age are recommended to walk 10,000 steps per day, but I plan to actually lose a few pounds, so I’d like to be more like an Amish woman (they walk 14,000 steps per day, with a low obesity rate of 4%).

Here at Fun And Fit, our message has consistently been “Do a little more than the day before,” and I was curious whether having the feedback stats from the Polar Loop would motivate me to do that, as I am definitely a goal-oriented person. The timing was perfect (mid-December) to start tracking my workouts, as I’m on winter break from the U, it’s the eating season, and we were going on several family trips that included long car rides. I’m including pictures of some of my more fun walking adventures, but I also found myself walking more in places such as the grocery store and even the house, just to add to my total steps.

I walked around Beverly Hills

I walked around Beverly Hills

I walked in the hills of Santa Barbara

I walked in the hills of Santa Barbara

I walked (a lot) in Lake Tahoe

I walked (a lot) in Lake Tahoe

I walked straight up in Lake Tahoe, and the Heart Rate Sensor knew it!

I walked straight up in Lake Tahoe, and the Heart Rate Sensor knew it!

I walked with my Sister at the Beach in Santa Barbara

I walked with my Sister at the Beach in Santa Barbara

My Loop came with the Polar H7 heart rate sensor, which isn’t a mandatory piece of equipment for the Loop, but is a nice addition because it measures your heart rate and can help calculate a more accurate calorie burn rate when you’re wearing it. Without the heart rate sensor, I’d still know my steps and general calorie burn, but with it I get more kcal “credit” if I work out more intensely (think of walking uphill instead of down). Besides, what if I do a rowing machine (I won’t, as I hate them) or push-ups? Not too many steps added to my count, but with the sensor I am getting calorie credit. Only the Sensor knows (you have to be at least a Boomer to get that reference).

I’ve put a screenshot of my activity over the past two weeks to show you A) whether I reached my goal of 10K daily steps, and B) how the heart rate sensor works together with the Loop. On the 18th, you see no info for kcals or workout time, yet it does show that I was at 186% of my goal. That is because I taught two classes, but forgot to wear my sensor. On the 24th, we drove for 10 hours, so I didn’t wear the sensor or reach my goal. Today’s the 29th, and as I started this post I realized I hadn’t done much movement for the day, so I pushed away from the computer and went for a walk. I am only at 72% for the day, so I’ll have to do a lot of pacing back and forth as it’s now too dark for a walk, yet I want to do better than I did on the day I just sat in the car. That would be pitiful if I couldn ‘t beat that!

My Stats for the Polar Loop and HR Sensor

My Stats for the Polar Loop and HR Sensor

Polar’s tagline is Rethink Your Day, which dovetails perfectly with our message. Without seeing that I’d only done a few thousand steps by 4 pm, I wouldn’t have gotten up for a walk in the middle of writing this post. I would have THOUGHT about it, but I wouldn’t have done it. So I told myself, “Hey, you’re so good-looking, but you’d be even better looking if you went for a walk right now.” Okay, that’s not exactly what I said, but I did have a talk with myself about getting up and achieving my goals. Without having the truth staring at me in the face (and wrist) I would have over-estimated how much I’d moved today.

I will definitely continue wearing both the tracker and the sensor, as I like having the feedback. I heard a rumor that the Loop will soon be available in pink, which I’d really love (mine is black). My bank teller asked me about it and wanted to know the price, so I looked it up, and it’s just under $100. As the newer versions come out I have a few suggestions, based on my usage:

* Make it clearer that you need to click “Done” when setting up and syncing, as I had to watch all the videos to try and figure out why I couldn’t get it to sync. Easily solved, but I had clicked Done previously and didn’t realize I had to click it again.
* Increase the sensitivity or consistency of the Loop to touch, as I sometimes can get it to display the stats immediately, and sometimes I have to tap it about 30 times.
* Increase the memory storage. I was at Lake Tahoe for 4 days without computer access, and the memory was full. I would have been grumpy if I’d lost the info for the day I walked about 9 miles!

You'll Burn KCals Faster Than this Stove!

You’ll Burn KCals Faster Than this Stove!

One bonus feature I really admire is on the free Polar Flow app that ties in with certain phones – you get a little nudge to get up when you’ve been sitting too long. How cool is that, especially for bloggers like me who spend hours at the computer? One last cute touch the designers put in – it wishes me nighty night and good morning, and that makes me feel like a SuperStar!!!

You'll Be a SuperStar when you Hit 10,000 Steps

You’ll Be a SuperStar when you Hit 10,000 Steps

If you want tips on ways to add movement and rethink your day, read our post “I Want to Get Fit, but Don’t Know How to Start.”

What are some ways you could add more movement to your day?

Track This!! Follow us on Google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter:  AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

Hire us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email



Naughty or Nice?: A Tale of Caffeine and Dehydration

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Skeleton from Rancho la Puerta

Dehydration Takes a Heavy Toll

Have liquids ever been your downfall? Specifically, NON-alcoholic ones. The other day I was ultra-cranky, especially at my daughter and husband. Of course it was all their fault. Or the stress of the holidays. Except the holiday season doesn’t really stress me out. The bad error my husband had made was bringing in wood to build a fire for Christmas Eve. My daughter had the nerve to ask me to stay up late to scratch her back (she just graduated from college and had flown home a few nights prior).

photo 3

My husband after I bit his head off. And torso. Yes, I was that cranky.

Feeling Irritable?

Snip, snap, I bit their heads off! Someone just earned a spot on the Naughty list and it wasn’t either of them. Normally I am cheerful and fairly even tempered (hush up Alexandra!) and consider it a Christmas gift to send my daughter to sleep by scratching her back and petting her hair. And I appreciate my husband tackling chores to make us more comfy in our new house.

So what was going on that sent me over the edge? Blaming menopause seemed like a convenient idea, but I knew it was not accurate. Fortunately I had enough self-awareness to realize something was unusual beyond fatigue. Have you ever been uncharacteristically moody without knowing quite why?

Caffeine Messes with Your Mind and Mood

Turns out I had entered a liquidy perfect storm. Caffeine was largely to blame. However I don’t drink coffee or sodas, so the caffeine answer was not obvious at first. But many of you might be coffee drinkers. Or soft drink imbibers. In fact, if you drink more than 3-4 cups a day or are particularly sensitive to caffeine then you may also turn into a Grinch.

Here’s the gig: Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, with one of its effects being to increase irritability. Other effects (courtesy of the Mayo Clinic) include:

  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Stomach upset
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Muscle tremors

Who Loves Thai Iced Tea? Look Out!

Me in attack mode
The Thai Tea Effect on Me

Did you know all that? I had not really paid attention to caffeine’s downsides as I rarely intake any. But I had developed a new habit, now broken. Since visiting Thailand in March with my mom and sister, I had come home with a new appreciation for Thai Iced Teas. (Read about our leech hike escapades in Thailand, how we sweat a lot in Thailand, and tips on what to pack when it’s 100 degrees out). At $3.50 to $4.00 per drink at the local Thai Donut and Bagel store (doesn’t everyone have a place like this nearby?), I had limited my indulgence to once a week. Until……. I discovered last week that the local Japanese specialty item shop sold Thai tea mix bags, ready to brew! Whoo hoo! Guess what? A $5.00 bag with the artificial yellowy-orange coloring already in it yields cup after delicious cup. For pennies per swig! Just boil water, add sugar and milk, and string me up like Christmas lights!

You see where this warning about caffeine is going. I went from one expensive cup per week of black tea cleverly disguised at Thai Iced Tea to three frugal and full cups in one day. The day I gave the gift of instant snapback to my family. But like George Clooney in Perfect Storm, I was headed into more troubled waters. Or lack of, as it turns out. Because now this liquid tale gets updated news relevant to all of us, whether we exercise or not; whether we take in caffeine or not.

Wat-er The Heck is Going On?

ALERT! Dehydration makes people IRRITABLE! CRANKY! WITCH ON WATERWHEELS! (women more than men, wouldn’t you know it).

Even mild dehydration can change your mood, ability to think straight, and energy level, according to two studies just conducted at the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory. Sure, we all know that too little water can cause headaches, fatigue, and yellow pee. But the bad mood angle is kinda new. Or at least it was to me.

water bottle and sky

Water Up!

Normally I have one water bottle in my car, one in my gym bag, another in the refrigerator, and one in the freezer. But the past few days, my schedule has been almost as out of whack as my mood, what with my daughter coming home, my husband on teaching break, and my sister out of town. I was running late wherever I went so kept neglecting to grab water.

Drink this: Get on the Nice List

Drink this: Be on the Nice List

We lose about a liter per day of water just through normal respiration. Add in walking dogs, teaching step class, sweating a lot, and installing flooring (just as a random example), and the need to replenish water becomes more critical. Yes, I had just ordered a double expressed dose of “frothy a lotte” at the mouth — too much caffeine and too little water.

You can avoid taking my journey and stay on the “Nice” list. If you find the holiday season challenges your normally calm, loving, low-stress mood, then keep caffeine down and water up! Say good-bye to unusually high levels of cranky-puss and drink a lot this season. Watery, decaf drinks. Take it from me, Or else!

Get on the Nice List all year when you:

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5 Tips for Working Out When You Don’t Want To

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Baby, it's cold outside.

Baby, it’s cold outside.

It’s December. You’re busy. You’re tired. You’re stressed. It’s cold outside. And the kids are on school break. There just doesn’t seem to be any time in the day for exercise.

Sound familiar? Who are those people who seem to keep going during the busy season? What’s their secret? And can we copy it without too much trouble?

Of course we can!!


1. THOSE people don’t have a secret; they have a habit. Just as you automatically brush your teeth and put on deodorant (we hope) each day, so can you do at least 5-10 minutes of exercise. It’s how you think about it. If you see it as a luxury, or extra, then it will get cut as your day fills up with stress and chores. If you think of it as part of your non-negotiable personal care regimen, it will stay in the schedule.

Make It Easy

2. Hmmm, the truth is, #1 sort of covers it, but there are ways to get there. Make it easy to do. You don’t have to choose your toothbrush each morning; it’s right there on the sink. Easy peasy. So why spend 5 minutes deciding on an outfit for a quick walk or run (or group fitness class at the gym – our favorite)? Before you go to bed, pull out whatever is on top – socks, shoes, and workout clothes. Put them on top of your toothbrush. That way they’ll be calling to you, “Hey, we are the easiest thing here to put on. Go ahead, get dressed.”

Enlist Help

Call me. Nag me. In a Nice Way. With This Phone.

Call me. Nag me. In a Nice Way. With This Phone.

3. Ask someone who supports you to phone you and remind you to get going. Not a text message – it’s too easy to say yes, then do no via text!! You know what I’m talking about! When you’re held accountable, it’s more likely you’ll follow through.

Donate to What You Hate

4. Put $7 in a jar at the start of the week. As soon as you are done with your workout for the day, take back $1. If you don’t work out, leave that dollar where it is. At the end of the week, any money in the jar goes to a charity you hate. Not one you like – one you hate!! It’s far easier to go for a quick walk around the block then it is to give money to an organization such as the Ku Klux Klan.

Observe Your Self-Talk

Go For a Quick Run Around the Block

Go For a Quick Run Around the Block

5. Watch the self-talk. Behind the obvious “I’m too busy right now,” is the unconscious belief that goes with it – “I’m being selfish if I leave the kids;” “People will think I’m lazy if I don’t do all the chores;” “I want people to like me, so I have to do all kinds of extra work at the holidays;” “It’s hard (or scary) to make a change” – these are all underlying beliefs that many of us have. If you thought “I don’t care about my health” instead of “I’m too busy,” that would seem weird, right? Sort of dissonant in your mind because of course you care about your health. If you find yourself thinking you’re too busy for even a 5 minute walk (and truthfully, once you actually get out the door, you’ll probably go longer), reword that to thinking you just don’t care about your health and see if you find that acceptable. Chances are you won’t. Self-talk is tricky, but not impossible to change once you realize what’s going on (psssst, self-talk is also a habit, which means it can be changed).

If you want more Healthy Holiday Motivation, click this link to read  five additional tips.

What tips would you add to this list? And of course, once you add your comment, go do a few push-ups!

One Really Hot Holiday Tip – Follow us on google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter:  AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

Photo credits: MorgueFile


Holiday Food Gift Guide & Giveaway

Alexandra Williams, MA

Disclosure: This is a 100% unsponsored post! Organic, natural and unfiltered, just like our opinions. We made our list, then contacted the various companies. They were generous enough to offer prizes!

Just as with the first 11 months of the year, it’s important what you eat during the holiday season. Maybe even more so, because the amounts tend to increase (yeah, I know about second helpings and cookie swaps)!

brownie mix KAFIf you’ve been following Kymberly and me for a while, especially on our social media accounts, you already know from our pictures which brands we use consistently. But it’s December, and your minds are occupied with all kinds of details, so I’m making a handy little list for you of some of my favorite, recommended food brands.

These companies have ingredients we trust and recognize, good customer service, and they taste good. What more could you ask from your food except for it to bake itself?! Oh, and while we’re at it, we have a bunch of prizes to share. Good food and gifts. Perfect for the time of year, wouldn’t you say?

Blue Diamond Almond Snack PacksBlue Diamond

Almonds are known to have a beneficial effect on diabetes, weight management, and heart health. Whether you want them as a snack, baked into a stollen, or as milk for a morning smoothie, Blue Diamond has almonds for you. I happen to love almonds in every form (except marzipan), so I’ve made it a habit to grab a handful whenever I need a quick snack, as opposed to grabbing some, er, dare I say it, junk food! To showcase some of the variety, five people will win a set of almond snacks that range from “of course” to “wow, I never thought of THAT flavor!” You could receive the following set:

3- 1.5oz Whole Natural
3- 1.5oz Roasted Salted
1- 1.5oz Blueberry
1- 1.5oz Strawberry
1- 1.5oz Mocha
1- 1.5oz Caramel Macchiato

Organic Valley EggnogOrganic Valley

I bake. A lot. Mostly bread. I love baking AND eating well-made bread. And pancakes, cookies, French toast, cakes, scones, toast. etcetera, etcetera, etcetera (I’m quoting Yul Bryner in “The King and I). You don’t have to be a baker to buy quality dairy ingredients; all supporters of organic, non-GMO food that comes from family-owned farms will want the OV (see how we’re on nickname terms there?) products. And December 24th is eggnog day, so I’ll highlight it. “Organic Valley eggnog is made from fresh organic milk, cream and eggs from family farms, committed to the highest organic standards along with organic and fair-trade sugar, vanilla and nutmeg.” Five of you will win a $10 coupon from Organic Valley to try the eggnog or any other OV product you choose. Did I mention their Organic Prairie division produces bacon to go with that eggnog? Yeah, I’m a vegetarian, but what do you think I buy for my boys?

Peanut Butter Co. Six PackPeanut Butter & Co

Quick, of their ten flavors, which one is my favorite? This question is easy for all my Instagram followers, as I’ve shown the White Chocolate Wonderful enough to make my niece-in-law threaten to rob me! From using The Heat is On in Thai sauces, to baking Peanut Butter Banana and Pumpkin Monkey Bread with Smooth Operator, this stuff is delicious. One of you will win The Big Six case, which contains 1 jar each of Smooth Operator, Crunch Time, Cinnamon Raisin Swirl, The Heat Is On, White Chocolate Wonderful, and Dark Chocolate Dreams.

Buckwheat & Hemp and Uncle Sam OriginalAttune Foods

Yummy, healthy cereals with very few ingredients, this company has been non-GMO since 1908! From the supergrain, four ingredient Uncle Sam Rye & Hemp cereal, to the Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice with Mixed Berries, the cereals are tastiness in a healthy package. One person will win a #FitClean cereal package set of the Uncle Sam Original, Uncle Sam Rye & Hemp, and Erewhon Buckwheat and Hemp.


KAF ingredients: Fiore di Sicilia & Callebaut chcoclateKing Arthur Flour

Baking ingredients and mixes to infinity and beyond!! Just for flour they have 63 choices! My all time favorite product is the 25 pound bag of all purpose flour, especially now that it’s cookie-baking season. One person will get a head start on baking with this baker’s gift set:

5lb bag of All Purpose flour OR 1 24oz box Gluten Free Baking mix
1 lb bag Barry Callebaut semi-sweet chocolate chunks
-1oz Pure Vanilla
-1oz Fiori Di Sicilia
-1 box Brownie mix OR 1 box Gluten Free Brownie mix

Miele Combi-OvenMiele

Where will you bake and cook all your splendericious, tasterific creations? Maybe on a Miele Combi-Oven! Sadly I don’t own one, but I fell in love with this oven when I went on a blogger trip to the Miele test kitchen in Seattle. As the name implies, it’s a combination steam and convection oven. Everything we made turned out perfectly, possibly because the oven computer program is smarter than the non-cooks in the Seattle group! If you are planning to splurge this season, this oven is splurgerific!

Giveaway Rules

We’ll randomly choose five Blue Diamond Almond winners, five Organic Valley winners, one Peanut Butter & Co. winner, one Attune Foods winner, and one KAF winner. Winners must have a United States mailing address. We will notify the winners via email or social media. If any winner doesn’t claim the prize within 48 hours, we will randomly draw a new winner. The giveaway begins now and ends at midnight December 17. Good luck!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Offbeat Holiday Fitness Gifts Under $30

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Tis the See-son

Tis the See-son to see great gift ideas here!

Exercisers ask us all year long to tell them the “best” fitness-related items. The holiday season seems a great time to share some of our recommendations. Of course, “best” is a relative term, depending on your needs, so we decided to focus on gifts under $30 that give you a lot for your money.

Disclosure: The Koss FitBuds and FitClips are sponsored by FitFluential LLC. Which means we get to work with a brand and product we really like! We received the Harbinger PowerAmp Tubing and Action Wipes as gifts with no requirement that we include them in any post or list. Our Lorna Jane clothing and the Bani Bands are both purchased and gifts. All opinions are ours, and are positive because why else would we put these things into our recommended list? Hmmm?

Kymberly: Just over a quarter century ago I celebrated my first Christmas with the man who would later become my husband. (We hit 23 years of togetherness this year). His gift to me almost made that our last holiday as a couple. The gift he thought would be “perfect” involved walking, the color pink, and a dog. Sounds fitnessy and fun, right? Wrong. I unwrapped a dog leash to walk HIS dog. I did not own a pet at the time. That thoughtful present went over well, as you can imagine. In a way it was the best gift EVER as he has been making up for it ever since.

Action Wipes and Harbinger Tubing

Take Action with These!

You can give the right gift for the active person on your list and avoid the dog house by taking advantage of products we have tested and ferreted out.

Action Wipes: The fact that I use these after I teach group fitness workouts is really my gift to anyone who comes near me after class. Are you one of those exercisers who barely sweats even during intense workouts in a sauna in the desert? I’m not. I’m the person who sweats just reading that last sentence. If someone on your holiday list doesn’t always have time to shower post workout, give these. Not as a hint or anything. But for under $25, these wipes are worth it, especially as they contain no synthetic fragrances, no harsh chemicals, no drying detergents, no alcohol, no calories. (just checking if you’re still reading).

Headbands for Exercisers by Bani Bands

Bond with these Bani Bands Bonny Ones!

Bani Bands:  Sticking with the theme of sweat, this headband for athletes and exercisers will make your gift recipient happy. And pretty, oh so pretty. Just like Maria in West Side Story. The velvety lining absorbs sweat and prevents the headband from slipping off. Of all the headbands I have tried, this is the only kind that stays put and does not pull my hair.  You don’t have to know how big your gift recipient’s head is as the tri-glide adjuster allows for individual fit. Caveat – I am referring to the wide and medium bands, as skinny ones tend to slide off me despite having fairly thick hair. Prices range from $8 – 18 so put a few on your own list. I wish these had been around in my soccer playing days. As it is, I am highlighting my baby boomer —

— attitude (did you think I was going to say “hair?”) by proudly flaunting the bright colors and fun patterns.

The brand new book, The Ultimate Booty Workouts written by our very own friend and certified fitness trainer, Tamara Grand offers a 12-week progressive-resistance training program targeting the the backside. Remember this strength training mantra: what you work gets round; what you ignore gets flat. Who wants a flat behind? I didn’t think so.

Tamara Grand's Ultimate Booty Workouts

The Gift that Keeps on Living

One teensy weensy really important point — you can pre-order the book, but you’ll have to write a card that says “coming soon” as the book is available mid-January. Or cut out magazine pictures of the booty-to-be and wrap them in a box with a note. Be creative because you know that as part of a loved one’s holiday loot-y, she’ll give a hoot-y when you help her get a better booty for under $12. Pre-order this gift at Barnes and Noble, and elsewhere.

Alexandra’s List

FitClips & FitBuds for the discerning ear!

FitClips & FitBuds for the discerning ear!

Koss Fit Clips and FitBuds: Designed by women, for women, these little beauties are little, just like my ears (oh, so dainty). And even if you run (I walk quickly, by which I mean I try not to break a sweat!!), they don’t fall out! They’re sweat-resistant too, just like me! I actually broke into a bit of a lope, just to verify. Yup – stayed in my ears better than my fingers did when I was a kid and my siblings were hassling me! They come in five colors, but who cares about all those wannabe colors? I am all worked up because they come in ORANGE! Guess my favorite color!! Normally $29.99, you can get them for $19.99 right now at Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Sears, and Kmart. That’s just $10 per ear!

Exercise Daily. Be Healthy.

Exercise Daily. Be Healthy.

Lorna Jane Activewear – Swap Shop: Not only is the quality of their fitnesswear really high, the customer service is excellent and consistent. At first we thought the styles would only appeal to young exercisers, but we found a LOT of stuff perfect for Boom-Chicka-Boomers, and we even look super foxy (a 70s term that is quite the compliment)! To help you save money, they offer the “Swap Shop” program – bring in 3 pieces of used activewear per transaction (1 per 24 hour period), and swap them for a $15 credit. Don’t confuse “used” with “nasty” or “torn and disgusting” or they might refuse you! As part of their famous service, Lorna Jane is offering you all a 20% discount till 12/31/2013; code RUNGIRLRUN.

Medium 20 lb. Harbinger Flex Cable

Medium 20 lb. Harbinger Flex Cable

Harbinger PowerAmp Cable (Tubing): I love tubing because it is so versatile, portable and effective. I’ve taught tubing exercises to my students for years, and they always end up preferring the tubes to free weights. My son has been using the medium 20 lb. resistance blue cable to rehab a shoulder that got messed up from his high school wrestling days. I’m really glad I have the knowledge and equipment to help him, as he was using the wrong equipment in the wrong way while away at college, which of course made it worse. Score one for Mom! You can find the cables at most sporting goods stores for about $17.99.

That’s it for me. Three items that provide you with music, muscle work, and foxy fashion! Happy shopping!

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Who Inspires You to Live a Fit and Healthy Life?

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Our friends at Attune Foods (Erewhon & Uncle Sam Cereals) put out an invitation to write about our #FitClean fitness role models as a way to pay forward our gratitude. We decided to take them up on it and share who motivated and inspired us to live active lives.

Alexandra at 25, living in Berlin

Alexandra at 25, living in Berlin

Alexandra Sticks Close to Home by Traveling to Europe

Back in 1983, I was invited by Kymberly to come to West Berlin and join her in teaching at a club that offered a new kind of program – aerobics! As we had grown up with dance and soccer, it sounded like an ideal way to travel and earn money.

Kymberly told me to take a few classes at the Jane Fonda Studio (I lived in L.A. at the time) so that I could figure out what the aerobics hoopla was all about. Besides learning some cardio moves and instructional tips, my forays to the Jane Fonda classes taught me a lot about spot poaching. People really like “their” spots in the group fitness room! But I digress.


When I flew to Berlin, my sis spent the week giving me teaching tips so I’d be ready for my first class. The two that really stuck with me were, “If you forget what comes next, do eight more of whatever you’re currently doing,” and “Smile and make eye contact.” I still use those tips on the instructors I mentor and train.

Thanks to her, I got to live and work in Berlin, including a stint on the U.S. military’s TV channel there, demonstrating exercises. If only Kymberly and I had owned video cameras back then!!

Two buff twins hanging out in Berlin in 1983

Two buff twins hanging out in Berlin in 1983

Rocking the 80s Fitness Fashion and Moves!

Rocking the 80s Fitness Fashion and Moves!

When I got back to the States, I taught aerobics as a way to make money while I studied Russian at San Diego State University. What started as a side job then turned into a 30-year (and still going strong) career. When IDEA Health and Fitness Association needed fitness writers, my sister recommended me, and I’ve now had hundreds of articles published (and am an editor too). I’ve traveled to many parts of the world as a fitness leader, and met thousands of active, happy people. Even better, I’ve met thousands of inactive people who became active once they found how much joy and energy they got from moving and exercising. More importantly, my boys have spent their entire lives as part of an active family that values health. They see movement and good nutrition as normal.

If Kymberly hadn’t talked me into moving to Berlin, I doubt I would have become an instructor. Upon reflection, it’s funny how one seemingly minor decision led to an entire lifestyle. I live #FitClean.

Kymberly Gets Some Mom-Spiration

Remind me to tell you some of the funny stories about Alexandra learning to cue aerobics in German. Or the time I borrowed her workout gear without asking for one of the TV episodes she was not in. Oops – forgot she planned to watch the show.

Mom and Zann in Thailand

Our mom – traveling in Thailand in her 80s with temps in the 90s!

Anyway, my fitness inspiration is my mom. Growing up in the 60’s in Hermosa Beach, CA was a lot of fun and the decade we got a black and white TV. But that inspir-poopy mom of ours limited our tv time to two hours … per WEEK! From a list of approved shows. What’s a baby boomer girl to do with only 4 siblings, a big front and back yard, a ping pong table, and a trampoline when she can’t watch the telly? Why, play and fight outdoors of course!

Our mom taught modern and performance dance when we were young. Twice a week she would take us all with her to the dance studio, where we’d join in the classes and productions. That meant we also rehearsed at home, made up dances for each other, and generally leapt about the house with dramatic flair and em-PHA-sis. Always moving, always moving.

Kymberly, Alexandra, and mom in Thailand

Have walking stick, will go places! Check out our mom’s pink crocs!

As well, mom (and dad) encouraged us all to play sports. Keep in mind this was pre-Title IX when sports did not really exist much for girls. Heck, girls had to wear dresses or skirts to our elementary school — no pants or shorts allowed. In a family with four girls and one boy (the baby, poor thing), my mom was quite progressive for her time. She instilled in us a confidence and belief that girls could do everything boys could do, both academically and athletically. When AYSO (American Soccer Youth Organization) FINALLY formed the first ever girls’ soccer teams, my parents enrolled Alexandra, our younger sister, and me lickety split.  Around then, my mom went back to college to get a Master’s Degree in Dance (the first of a few advanced degrees). So you can see that she valued movement. Or time away from a passel of kids. We’ve always wondered.

Hermosa Beach sign

No junk food, no sugary cereals for breakfast. What a place to grow up.

Never once did she nag any of us about our weight, though she did have strict rules about food. No sodas, max of one piece of candy per day (Two after Halloween. Whoo hoo! Live it up!), no sugary cereals (“Please let us have Captain Crunch or Sugar Pops, please!), dessert only after dinner. Mom herself was never on a diet, nor did I ever hear her express dissatisfaction with her own body. The focus was on how our bodies moved and functioned, not how they looked. Only in hindsight do I realize she was an anomaly among her peers in that she had no eating or weight issues.

When I left for Berlin after college, ultimately teaching at the first aerobics studio on the European continent, my mom gave me great advice: “Have a wonderful time; make lots of memories; be open to new things; find many adventures; don’t fall in love and stay abroad!”

Yup, even though she’d miss me, she supported my going far away  — first learning to teach fitness, then training new instructors throughout the world. But I heard my mom’s message – move across the globe, move to music, move others to move. Then come back to the States!

IDEA theme sign - Inspire the World

Who Inspires You?

Our mom just celebrated her 84th birthday. Guess how? She drove herself to her weekly acting class followed by her twice weekly aqua aerobics class. I think it was the two birthday cakes that inspired her. She does have a sweet tooth these days. She’s earned it! Thanks mom for inspiring me to be active all my life!





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