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15

Are These Boomer-Friendly Fitness Trends in Your Future?

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

IHRSA TRX booth

Hanging out at IHRSA 2015

Wonder which fitness products, trends, and exercises lie in your future active life? Then shoulder-shove your way down trade show aisles with us to catch highlights from the recent 2015 IHRSA Convention and Trade show (association for fitness club owners/ managers). Our mission? To ferret out and focus on the equipment and workouts suited for Boomers (or anyone who wants to age actively, yet has joint aches and pains and limitations, oh my). Yup, we’re both fitness trendsetters and trendspotters.

Alexandra: But first, a shout-out to ourselves, as it turns out we were both in the Top Ten for most socially engaged people at the convention.

We were beat out by keynote speaker Arianna Huffington, a popular conference speaker, and Dai Manuel (a fellow FitFluential ambassador). Maybe it’s time to raise our rates. Hmmmm.

20150311_175131

I’m sitting in the 4th Row Center where Arianna could see me and be inspired

Kymberly: Arianna can take first place as most influential online IHRSA “attendee” with no envy from me as she was so clever in her keynote. I almost thought Alexandra wrote her material, that’s how funny Mz Huff was. Please note that a certain Me was ranked higher than a certain Not Me twinster. Score!

Wearable Technology is IT (Get it?)

As for a key trend coming your way bigger than our hair and shoulder pads in the 80s — wearable technology is IT! Bands, apps, bracelets, watches, cords, equipment screens, club check-in software, online community connections, and more are infiltrating, permeating, hyperventilating our fitness future. Proof is coming in that tracking and measuring devices actually work! People who use technology are moving more.

Kila wearing the Skulpt AIm

No

Skulpt Aim measuring Kymberly's quad

Yes

We saw all kinds of amazing gadgets that gather your workout data, health profile, preferences, fat levels–you name it– in order to help you succeed with your health and fitness goals. Need accountability? Motivation? Feedback? Workout buddies? An exercise program to go? if you can conceive of it, you will find it at the IHRSA trade show which was loaded with ingenuity and visionary high techy thingies. Hey, I am currently testing out a handheld device that measures my body fat and muscle quality, courtesy of Skulpt Aim. I simply hold up to certain muscles the Skulpt Aim, which looks like a smart phone and voila — personalized data that I wish would lie to me. But it doesn’t.

You probably are contributing to the health and fitness tech trend right now. Have you ever used a pedometer? (Read our post on assessing pedometers) Slapped on a heart rate monitor? Synced a workout tracking device to your phone? Input info into a cardio machine that goes to a personal profile? Plead guilty to being a trend driver.

So you’re all fitted up with monitoring devices, but which workouts offer options for midlifers who may suffer from joint issues?

 

TRX Training for Midlifers
Alexandra: We have taken a few of the TRX suspension training classes before, but we wanted to know if they had a workout that would be suited for those of us with bad knees (Kymberly’s recent surgery), bad wrists (Alexandra’s recent fall), or other issues that make it necessary to modify so many other workout regimens.

pic of TRX training at IHRSA

Getting great instruction at the TRX booth

So many of our students have asked our opinion about suspension training, worried they might fall or embarrass themselves if they tried it, so we went straight to the top to find answers. By “top” we mean we had our very own personalized workout with Dan Mcdonogh, the TRX Training and Development Manager and 2012 IDEA (our professional association) Fitness Instructor of the Year.

With a focus on good form (we loved him for that), Dan took us through a myriad of options for some of the main moves: squats, lunges, planks, rows, push-ups. Every time we said, “that would be an issue for someone with knee problems,” or “how can I do this move if I’m worried about balance,” Dan had a solution. (Keep an eye out for our video of this workout coming soonish to our website. See Dan survive standing between us as we crack jokes and compliment his red hair).

End Result: We totally loved this workout, as it helped increase our strength, balance, core and flexibility, all of which are important for Boomers (well, anyone really). I will just mention that I was amazing. Kymberly might have been too, but I kept poking her in the surgery leg.

TRX with Dan O'Donough and Fraser Quelch

Two of the world’s top TRX trainers – Dan Mcdonogh and Fraser Quelch. We are Superstahhhs.

Kymberly: Poke, poke, no joke. I really kneed to find exercise options that offer intensity with minimal joint impact. After doing a pain free happy dance for TRX, I found my cardio nirvana on the Total Wave Fitness.

More than two months of no cardio (aside from mosey level dog walks) has left me desperate to get my sweat on. Where, oh where is a high intensity, low impact exercise mode right for knees in rehab? That is fun? With variety? And smooth comfort like a Tom Jones song? Oh my gosh, but gliding on the Wave machine is perfect for anyone who wants an aerobic heart rate with no bone pounding. If you want to go for a ride and slide from side to side, talk your club into getting one of these. Sore feet? Wonky knees? Try the Total Wave. No excuses or downtime for joint pain sufferers. Santa Barbara Spectrum are you listening? Buy this for me — and the other members too, of course.

This crazy looking contraption could be the answer to those of you for whom aches and pains keep you from taking cardio classes or getting on cardio equipment. If you send me one, I WILL find room for it in my house.

Here’s to finding ways to work out as we age.
Readers: How has an injury or chronic condition kept you from exercising? What solution(s) did you find? And … is your klout score higher than ours? Comment below. And subscribe if you have not already.

 

31

Actively Aging with People Your Own Age

Alexandra Williams, MA

Last weekend’s BAM – Bloggers at Midlife conference – was the first time I’ve been around a large group of people my same age since my ten-year high school reunion in the 80s. I enjoy being with people of all ages, yet there is something to be said for spending time with people who have similar concerns, interests, cultural references, histories, fears and joys.

Photo credit to Lori Moreno

Photo credit to Lori Moreno

According to research by the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy, “being part of a cohort – a tight-knit, reliable, common-purpose group – is very important in different ways.” Not only were we tight-knit, we were on a mission to squish as many people as possible onto a couch. Sort of like a slumber party, but with a reasonable amount of sleep.

Meaning
As humans, we strive to create meaning in our lives, which we do by growing, learning and giving. We do these things best when we have connections. Connections with women who both support and challenge me helps me create meaning, especially when I believe those women understand me, or at least have the framework to share a language that leads to understanding.

Kymberly's ABC class students. Photo by Dorothy Salvatori

Kymberly’s ABC class students. Photo by Dorothy Salvatori

Fun
Okay, that’s all well and good and counselor-ish, but just like exercise, if it’s not fun, we aren’t going to do it. Speaking of which, our exercise classes for BAM were at 7 a.m. which we discovered was a bit out of the majority of the attendees’ comfort time zone. So now we have a conundrum to solve – how to help midlife women realize that you gain energy for a long day by getting up early to work out. In any case, Kymberly’s Abs, Balance, Core class and my Drums Alive workout were really fun for all who were there, as evidenced by these comments from Candace Karu of Cabot Cheese and Rebecca Olkowski.

picture of Alexandra with drumsticks

We didn’t actually do Drums Alive on the Nissan; we used chairs.

Stories
As I’ve aged, I’ve discovered that I’m an outgoing introvert, or maybe an extrovert who likes a lot of “listening and observing” time. While teaching or presenting (we also gave a talk about media kits for bloggers) I am very animated and sociable, yet found that much of my “people enjoyment” came from listening to others’ stories. Are you more of a talker or a listener? I found it extremely satisfying to hear the stories my friends (which was everyone at the conference) shared – stories of loss, powerlessness, poverty, struggle, heartbreak, exhilaration, achievement and reinvention. These stories enabled me to feel part of the “girl gang” as we all have histories that got us to where we are now.

The “In” Group
Do you ever feel like you are on the outside looking at those on the inside? I do sometimes, especially at my job at the university, where every year I’m a year older and the students are still 20. My heart and plans and thoughts and desires all feel young to me, yet sometimes my body reminds me that I’m in my 50s. Sometimes my two boys make me feel old, simply because they are now grown up. I don’t want to be young again, yet certainly don’t see myself as old either. Being around a hundred women my age automatically put me into the “in” group. We were ALL good-looking and effervescent; fashionable and interesting. No-one was dismissed; there was no “outsiders” group. Doesn’t that sound like Friend Utopia?

pic of bowling at Pinewood SocialFriendship
Do you have a good balance of new and long-term friends? As I age, I find it important to make new friends as well as relishing my friendships that go as far back as a half-century. After the conference was over, Kymberly and I were taken on a Nashville sightseeing adventure by good friends we made via social media over the past few years – Kathy of Live the Fine Life, and Brenda (a single redhead from Alabama; hint to single guys). When I was young, I just accepted that everyone I met was my friend. As I aged, that changed, yet I still know when someone JUST IS my friend. I like the freedom age gives me to choose my friends based on nothing more than that I like them.

Nashville CapitolTravel
On that note, you get to see some pictures of downtown Nashville, courtesy of my desire to improve my photography skills. I don’t know if the BAM conference will be in Nashville in 2016, but I do know Nashville has lots to offer. I also know that I’ll be at the conference no matter where it’s held, because – Friends.

pic of Hats Boots sign in Nashvillepic of window at Union Hotel NashvilleUnion Hotel Nashville Lobbypicture of Hatch Printing, Nashvillemosaic entrance Betty Boots, Nashvillewarehouse with crooked windows Money
As Kathy Bates said in Fried Green Tomatoes, “Face it girls, I’m older and have more insurance.” In other words, we have money. And we’ll spend it with brands that acknowledge our existence. The sponsors of the inaugural Bloggers at Midlife conference deserve a shout-out for doing just that.
Support these brands:
Stouffer’s
Nissan
Collective Bias
Vibrant Nation
Cabot Cheese
Always Discreet
1010 Park Place
Albertini Int.

2

I’m Spa-tacus! No, I’m Spa-tacus, and other Spa Industry Trends

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 10.40.03 PMDo you think the spa industry is growing, staying level, or declining as we enter 2015? For those of you who would enjoy some kind of spa treatment — and who wouldn’t, frankly? — spa and resort trends offer interesting insights into the direction our wellness culture is taking us.

We Feel So Spa-ritual!

Alexandra and I just returned from presenting at the second Tenaya Spa Wellness Retreat. We also presented at their first event, which we summarized in this post. We may not die with a lot of stuff, but we sure are rich in experiences! For one, who would have thought the gateway to Yosemite would be hiking-sandal weather and nearly snowless in mid-January? For another, who knew that smoked sturgeon tasted delicious when braised in tea?

Top Trends in the Spa Industry

Anyway, we drove up through sun, drought, and beautiful pine trees to offer two workouts: Drums Alive and ABC: Abs, Butt, Core and two workshops: Most Common Exercises Done Right and Wrong and 7 Movement Habits to Improve Your Brain Today. As presenters, we had the privilege to take part in the entire retreat. That included hearing American Spa magazine editor, publisher, and keynote speaker, Julie Keller Callaghan speak on Top Trends in the spa world.

Job Seekers Apply Here

Ascent Spa and Alexandra

Alexandra heard of the trend toward indigenous ingredients and started hunting for elderberries. Turns out they were in her bra.

One of the key points Julie made is that the spa industry is growing. No, make that Exploding. Faster than a hot flash in the middle of a public presentation.  As in, if you know people needing career direction, steer them to a resort. It’s not solely baby boomers driving the growth. Just as many people (mostly women, no shocker there) ages 30-50 are going to spas as those 50-70.

Special Can Mean Affordable

I was actually surprised, because, seriously — who has the money to head to spas so often? How can a luxury industry be taking over the wellness world? Turns out one of the trends is what Julie calls “Specialty Solutions,” which are affordable, specific indulgences. If you want just your lashes, hair, or skin treated, you can now find “beauty bars” and express services at mainstream rates, for example. As well, bigger, more expensive spas are branching into shortened and price conscious versions of their traditional offerings. You can now find 3 day or weekend deals at resorts that once were weekly only.

Luxury to Mainstream

tree view at Tenaya Spa

Look up. Look way up. Lie down. Lie way down. Close your eyes and go to sleep instead of taking pictures of squirrels.

Another trend is that the industry is shifting from being considered a luxury to a necessity. More and more of us are heading to the mountains, beaches, jungles, and forests to de-stress, rejuvenate, and catch up on rest. Just as having a personal trainer shifted in the late 90s from the domain of the rich and famous to mainstream middle class clients, so too is the concept of heading to the spa. Because I neeeeeed it!

You Are Feeling Sleepy

A trend Julie coined “Deep Sleep” highlights a solution spa professionals are creating for the 70 million chronically sleep deprived Americans. From having sleep experts on staff to meals devised to enhance relaxation to dream inducing treatments, spas are addressing sleep needs to keep us well and healthy. Budget minded sleepyheads can now nap in special “cabins” that have customizable aromatherapy and sound settings. ZZZZzzzzzzzzzone out for 20-40 minutes for $1 a minute you catnappers!

Soapmaking class at Tenaya Spa

Kymberly was asked to wear a face mask when she was discovered trying to eat the peppermint-scented Tioga Soap.

Get Real, Be Authentic

While American Spa’s editor, Julie covered 10 key trends, I will share just one more big one here: “Keeping It Real.” Spa goers seek authenticity. They — you?– crave experiences unique to a given location. Spas attract guests with ingredients and services indigenous to the region. The Ascent Spa at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite is right on top of that trend with its treatments. Many of the soaps, skin care products, oils, and scents they use come from local sources.

I did professional research on their authenticity by booking their “Half Dome (half hour) Hiker’s Delight lower leg massage. It was real all right. So real I went for a brief hike afterward just to test out the full foot effect. Worth it for sure! My feet felt so good I could have gone up Half Dome. (Ok, my knees did not work in harmony with this idea). So back I went to the Ascent Spa for my “thank you for presenting gift” of their Signature Firefall Body Treatment, which pays homage to the Yosemite historic firefall when parkgoers used to throw fires over the waterfall.  A little dangerous, but I am on board to be a trendsetter for that spa treatment!

Outdoors at Tenaya

Is is just us, or is that tree leaning over to hear us whisper the latest spa trends?

And we hope such delight lies in your future and budget. If you have been to spas lately, what trends are you spotting? Which trends do you HOPE kick in so you can take advantage of this booming industry? As for my sister and me, we hope our trend of presenting and teaching at such glorious places continues into the future. I want to be Spa-tacus. Yes, I’m Spa-tacus!

Can you really look 5 pounds thinner in less than 5 minutes? Get our free booklet when you enter your email in the box to the right. If you are already a subscriber, tell your friends. Friends don’t let friends age without sharing active advice.

7

Get Smarter: Learn New Skills

Alexandra Williams, MA
pic from AARP convention

I am reimagining myself much smarter!

We just got back from the AARP Convention. You know, the one for your parents, not you. Yeah, well, I brought my fake I.D. so they let me in. My fake I.D. looks a lot like my twin much older sister.

AARP, Intel & the RealPad
The very first thing we did when we arrived was head to the press event announcing the unveiling of the RealPad, a tablet designed in conjunction with Intel for the those over 50 who are “technologically shy,” as one of the panelists defined it. Simple to use and fairly intuitive (and only $189), the RealPad is a bridge to technology. More on that in a minute.

While listening to the press conference, part of me was thinking, “Wow, what a great tool. So easy to use and understand.” Boomers and Older Adults have consistently said their three top desires for technology would be to connect with loved ones, shop, and maintain cognitive health, and this tablet will help do that. Yet another part of me was thinking, “So basic. The RealPad would never be something I’d buy, as I am not intimidated at all by my various devices.”

What I really should have thought was, “I am not intimidated by things I have already learned.”

Cogntive Health

We have written many posts about the cognitive benefits from exercise, including these three:
Exercise Can Train Your Brain
Spark Your Brain with Exercise
Exercise Your Right to a Better Brain 

Learning new tasks is also a well-known way to maintain cognitive health. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “by increasing the complexity of the environment, these activities may increase cognitive reserve. In general, there appears to be support for a positive association between cognitive activity and cognitive functioning in late life.”  By this standard, I now have a huge reserve of smartness awaiting me in old age. Want to know why? (there is only one right answer)

pic of Canon Rebel T3

My birthday camera from Samy’s Camera

 

Steps to a New Skill

For my birthday I asked for a DSLR camera as I want to take better photos for the blog. I have never used anything but a point-and-shoot, nor have I ever had a photo class. And I have zero artistic sense. But right after receiving the Canon Rebel T3 I signed up for a photography class at our local community college. A week late. So I had some catching up to do. Which meant this:

 

 

* Get home Saturday night from the convention, leaving one day to prep for the Monday class
* Read the camera manual (which turned out to be totally different from “understand the manual”)
* Learn the computerized college system for finding, reading, and downloading info
* Download the Adobe Lightroom program/ app
* Watch tutorial videos on how to use Lightroom and the Canon
* Search Google repeatedly for help, as I got stuck a lot
* Figure out how to use the camera (I had to get 2 other people involved for a few places where I got stuck, when even Google was too advanced in its explanations)
* Take photos
* Take a self-portrait (which meant learning to use my tripod and the camera timer)
* Upload photos from my camera to the computer, then to the photo app
* Follow the professor’s instructions for labeling and sending the selected portrait to her
* Send the photo in by the deadline (and do the assigned reading, which assumed I already did all the above)

picture with Canon Rebel T3

My first homework assignment – a self-portrait

That is a lot of f***ing steps. I would have quit if I hadn’t signed up (and paid) for the class, as it was overwhelming to have so much to learn in just one day. But I know that about myself, which is why I signed up for an in-person class instead of just buying an online tutorial that I’d never actually get around to. I felt exhausted after spending most of the day just trying to get up to the baseline required just to take, save, and send a photo. I also felt smarter. Because I did it.

pic of AARP's RealPad

The RealPad from AARP & Intel

 

Which brings me back to the RealPad. I now remember how daunting it can be to learn computer skills. Actually, I tried to quit setting up my Twitter account in 2010, but a friend wouldn’t let me. She held my hand (telephonically) until I figured it out. So if you’re intimidated by the computer (or know someone who is, as you obviously know how to read this blog post online), the RealPad could be a very happy solution, as it truly is ready to use right out of the box. You can learn about it by clicking on this ———–> link.

After feeling incompetent and frustrated for much of the day, I actually ended the day feeling quite proud and smart. And tired. My brain needs a nap. The rest of me needs to move after sitting at the computer for too long. So this post is now over.

12

What Does Your Fitness Future Hold? Two Troublesome Trends from IDEA

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

IDEA World 2014 and KymberlyWhat’s in your wallet fitness future? What fun fit facts and trends did Alexandra and I pick up at the recent IDEA World Convention for fitness professionals that might affect your active life?

Uh oh, but the two biggest trends don’t bode well for midlifers.

Hurts so Good Bad

1)  Trend one was the focus on dealing with chronic pain.

We baby boomers are the first generation to grow up with exercise as part of our post high school curriculum. Our parents did not transition from youth to adulthood expecting to work out the rest of their lives. (I’m talking national averages here as I don’t know YOUR parents, of course). With our years of continuous movement comes a toll: aches and pains — yes, I did teach up to 20 high impact classes per week back when I was young and immortal.

20140814 IDEA Anaheim Copyright 2014 Len  Spoden Photography.

IDEA Trade Show Shows Off!

In Implementing Anti-Aging Solutions Into Fitness, session leader, Sue Hitzmann asked participants “who suffers from chronic pains that limit your life?”  Out of 200 fitness pros, at least 195 of them raised their hands, myself included. And that’s a group that knows how to move with good form and body awareness. Youch and ouch! Apparently this high percentage of injury sufferers is the new norm, especially for the over 50 crowd.

You can believe that the companies at the IDEA trade show know this, as there were a lot of booths devoted to pain relief. Whether via creams, programs, massages, electrical stimulation, rollers, supplements, or mind/body techniques, the services and products addressing pain were in dramatic ascendancy! So you could say this is a good trend, insofar as solutions are out there. (Yes, I searched for the magic wand for better knee joints, but heard it was on aisle 245 ¾, which I never found.)

lank on a plank at Rancho la Puerta

Moves I want to do: Plank on a plank.

Fitness for the Fit

2) The second trend that whumped me upside the head is the return to fitness programs for the fit.

As Alexandra alluded to in her post, about feeling invisible as she ages hard core is in! “Go Hard or Go Home” is the new mantra. Oooommm, OMG! If you want me to do high impact moves, you’d better be ready to wipe up more than my sweat. (insert incontinence ad here). Back in the 80s and 90s, a common excuse for avoiding the gym was “I have to get in shape before I can head to the gym.” We have come so far since then. Let’s not return, but look ahead at how much tailored movement can help our midlife bodies and minds. Much as I’d love to go back to the future and bring back my younger body all gift wrapped and shiny, it ain’t a gonna happen. I love to work with purpose and to sweat puddles and oodles (I think those words combine to make sweaty poodles: Rough Ruff are you Tough Enough??!)  But if you look again at Trend #1, workouts based on More, Harder, Faster, Louder, Sharper, Barfier actually hurt.

I want to be able to do this: Kymberly hanging from atch at R la PWithout feeling as though I landed in this:

Ranch cactus

Turn the (Heart) Beat Around; Got to Avoid Concussion

Ya feel me? Fortunately fitness professionals are creative and dedicated. They (maybe my sis and I??)  will find more solutions for baby boomers who want to move energetically, work out intently, and age actively. We know it’s possible to do so while increasing body comfort, not adding to our dis-ease . Gravity has its benefits, just not on my joints and face. Am I right? Don’t drop down and give me 100. Stay up! Do what you enjoy and can sustain for your enlivened future!

Does your event need education, motivation, and fit-elation? Call us to speak at (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

Confortably move your way to our YouTube channel for short videos that will improve your active aging adventure! Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please follow us on google+Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

Readers: What is your least favorite or most painful exercise?  What trend(s) do you see in the fitness industry? What crazy move do you want to try?

 

 

19

7 Healthy Living Products You Want to Know About

Alexandra Williams, MA
Louis van Amstel at his LaBlast booth

Our dance BFF Louis van Amstel with his LaBlast program

We are just back from the annual IDEA World Fitness Convention with some products and info that should interest you. This post will focus on food and products, while Kymberly will write later this week on trends she discovered.

Though there were hundreds of vendors in the Expo Hall, I shall share seven that grabbed my attention.

Beyond Meat

The founders wanted to make a substitute that tasted like meat, and they’ve achieved their goal. Free of gluten and cholesterol, the 100% plant protein beef and chicken products are also non-GMO. Great flavor. The ingredients list for the beef crumbles: Water, non-GMO pea protein isolate, non-GMO expeller-pressed canola oil, beef flavor (yeast extract, maltodextrin, natural flavoring, salt, sunflower oil, onion powder), rice flour, tomato powder, caramel color, contains 0.5% or less of: calcium sulfate, evaporated cane juice, potassium chloride, oregano, dried marjoram, ground basil, lemon juice concentrate, citric acid, black pepper, salt, dried thyme, dried rosemary, red chili pepper flakes, onion extract, garlic extract.

posture apparel by Intelliskin

IntelliSkin Sports Bra

IntelliSkin

Cute compression fitness apparel that assists with posture support and pain relief. As we mentioned in one of our six posts about posture, it’s important to “zip” down the back as well as up the front. When I stopped at the IntelliSkin booth, they emphasized this aspect too. Technology truly is being woven into our clothing, just as predicted in this 2007 article about the fitness facility of the future.

picture of Gerolsteiner mineral water

Gerolsteiner mineralwasser comes to the U.S.

Gerolsteiner Mineral Water 

My very first aerobics job was in 1983 in West Berlin, and this is the mineralwasser I drank when I lived there. So to me, Gerolsteiner has been around for a long time, though it is definitely new to the U.S. In the 80s, I drank it because I liked it. Now I know about its health aspects too. No calories, no sugars, and no preservatives, it’s even sold in glass bottles, as plastic bottles are known to have phthalates. With over 2,500 mg/ minerals per liter (yup, the Germans don’t do quart measurements), the three main minerals are calcium (bones, teeth), magnesium (metabolism, muscle & nerve function), and bicarbonate (regulates acidity). Even though it’s the world’s #1 sparkling natural mineral water, Gerolsteiner is just now coming to the U.S. so you might have to request it from your local grocery store. And I don’t think they’ll mind if you pronounce it wrong.

picture of Workout Wypes

Ready to wipe sweat off any machine in sight (or a shopping cart)

Workout Wypes 

If you don’t want to leave your workout machine to get some wipes, you no longer have to, as this is a packet of wipes that attach to an arm band. The sales crew at the booth had me at “helps prevent staph infections” because my son got staph when he wrestled in high school, and it was serious. The website is under partial construction, as the Wypes are brand new, but don’t let that deter you from spending $3.79. Total deal.

Tree Nuts

Okay, nuts aren’t new. But I did learn that peanuts are not a tree nut. The nine that are: Brazil, almond, hazelnut, walnut, pistachio, pecan, cashew, macadamia and pine nuts. The council had research papers that I grabbed, knowing you’d be interested in the health findings. I read that tree nuts are inversely associated with both metabolic syndrome and obesity, and total and cause-specific mortality , plus associated with decreased health risk factors for cardiovascular disease. I happen to love almond milk, and am glad it’s working with me and my body. I still hate Brazil nuts.

pic of Ahnu Shoes

Come to Mama, little Ahnus.

Ahnu Footwear

As the owner of four pairs of Ahnu Shoes, I was stoked (70s organic-y, surfer expression) to see them at the Expo for the first time, showcasing their super attractive footwear. We even got to meet the co-founder, Jacqueline van Dine (a good Dutch name if I ever heard one). Now owned by Deckers (conveniently based in our town of Santa Barbara), Ahnu has a catalogue full of cute shoes. We even got a sneak preview of their upcoming line, which made us drool a little bit on ourselves. And they follow the Ethical Supply Chain Guidelines.

picture of Lily weights from Bling Fitness

The “Lily” floral pattern for the Bling Fitness weights

Bling Fitness

With a mission to “provide style choices for women that spark interest in fitness and promotes healthy lifestyles in mind, body, and spirit,” this company makes dumbbells and kettlebells that are cute and colorful. Not just a single color – boring. These weights come in pink camo, floral blue, cheetah, zebra and hope. I had fun playing with these at the booth. And I like their tag line – Strength Comes in Many Colors.

 

 

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
One last thing – I’ve seen the various celebrity ice bucket challenges (fundraisers for the fight against ALS) going around, and saw a big one live at the convention, when the founders of IDEA joined up with some of the fitness industry’s leaders for a group ice-freeze, but had no interest in doing one myself, especially here in drought-stricken California. But this morning my nephew wanted to tag me, so I agreed because I believe in the project (if not the waste of water) and couldn’t say no to a kid. Known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is well known to the fitness industry, due in large part to our long-standing relationship with Augie Nieto, founder of Life Fitness and Augie’s Quest. I hope you watch my video and go tag three people with your own video. Of course, the point is to raise money, which seems to be working.

Go forth and be healthy! Challenge yourself to something new today.

12

Wine, Aston Martins and Beaches: A Santa Barbara Weekend

Alexandra Williams, MA
Driving an Aston Martin in Santa Barbara

Pick a car, any car

Santa Barbara, the land of wine, women, and Sean – Connery, that is. In an Aston Martin. Driving through wine country. Ahhhh, such is the life I lead. Well, sort of.business of blogging session with Alexandra Williams and Kymberly Williams-Evans

The Wine Bloggers Conference was held here in S.B. County over the weekend. As presenters, Kymberly and I were invited to participate in the events. The first weekend highlight was visiting five Solvang tasting rooms, followed by dinner at Cecco Ristorante and gelato at Café Dolce. I’m going to list the 5 tasting rooms so that you can visit them when you come to SolvangIMG_8319

Solvang Wineries

The Good Life
Carivintâs Winery
Lucas & Lewellen
Presidio
Sevtap
Sevtap winery in Solvang

picture at Carivintas Winery, Solvang

Living Well is not a Sin; Not Appreciating it Is

Every single one of them had very outgoing, personable owners. The fact that I know very little about wine was not a deterrent to my experience. I just tuned out the wine talk (you need a translator if you’re not a wine person) and focused on the taste. Turns out I’m a Gewürztraminer and port person (I discovered this at Presidio).

The second highlight was driving an Aston Martin. I had planned to drive the DB9 (seen just below), but got distracted by the blue color of the Vanquish. photo 4-7IMG_8379My son got to go in the Rapide.

picture of Aston Martin Vanquish

This is not the Rapide, as they went so rapidly I couldn’t get a photo!

We found out that Aston Martin does tour events too. They have a Pebble Beach – Lake Tahoe – Yosemite event coming up in August. Fast cars and mountain roads. I’ll wait for James Bond Daniel Craig to pick me up.

picture of Bacara Resort

Bacara Resort – From Pool to Ocean

The event was based at Bacara Resort, so we took a walk along the beach afterward. No matter what car you drive, or whether you do or don’t stay at the resort, the beach is open to the public. People think it’s private, but locals know it’s not, so you might like to add Haskell’s Beach to your visit.

Haskell's Beach near Bacara Resort

Haskell’s Beach by the Bacara Resort

The third highlight was a tour of some of the wine rooms in Santa Barbara – first in El Paseo downtown, followed by the funk zone. We got around the funk zone via surreys. Did you know you can rent surreys, Segways, scooters, skates and bikes (of course) down by the beach?

Surrey rentals in Santa Barbara

Pedaling our Surrey

And pedaling the surrey counts as exercise. I’ll link to the places that hosted us, and let you decide for yourself which of their wines you prefer.

El Paseo Downtown S.B.

picture of El Paseo in Santa Barbara

El Paseo – Tucked Away in the Heart of Santa Barbara… Seriously. It’s Tucked Away Right in Front of You

Au Bon Climat 
Grassini Family Vineyards
Margerum Wine Co. & MWC32
Jamie Slone Wines (opening next month, but we got a sneak peek)
C’est Cheese (they sell a huge variety of world cheeses and wine, so get a sandwich to complement your tasting adventures)

pic of Grassini tasting room in Santa Barbara

G for Grassini; 5 for 5 Grassini daughters

pic from C'est Cheese

C’est Cheese (and wine and pastries and fruit and sandwiches)

Funk Zone

Fox Wine Co. (lots of art too)

Fox Wine & Art Foundry in Santa Barbara

Art at Fox Wine

Municipal Winemakers (my favorite for the vibe – they are in a former scuba shop, complete with swimming pool behind the wall)

picture of chandelier at Municipal Winery in Santa Barbara

Muni’s Chandelier – Look Closely

 

Municipal Winery in the Funk Zone, Santa Barbara

Join Club Awesome at Municipal Winery

Santa Barbara Winery

S.B. Winery in the Funk Zone

The back room at Santa Barbara Winery

Deep Sea (which is over the water on Stearns Wharf)
If beautiful cars, beaches, and people (that’s me, in case you’re confused), plus wineries galore don’t tempt you to come visit Santa Barbara, then you are jaded I tell you, jaded. FYI, Santa Barbara isn’t known for jade, unless it’s the color of the sea. While you’re here, come take our exercise classes so you can speed along during your surrey ride.

Did I mention I won a bottle of wine during the conference? Yeah, I win good stuff. Oh, and standing by an Aston Martin makes you look like a model. See what it did for me?

picture of Alexandra Williams at Bacara Resort

Who’s that behind those shades?

15

5 Things Wine and Exercise Have in Common

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

How would you respond if you were asked to speak at a big wine event yet rarely drank wine? Of course, we raised our hands (if not our wine glasses).  Hey, wine has legs; so do we.  Some wines get better with age; so do we …. uh, whatever. Wine drinkers swirl; we twirl!

Therefore this weekend finds us presenting at the Wine Bloggers Conference.  And just to show how much we know about wine as it relates to exercise, we created this handy dandy infographic for you to pin, read, share, and toast!

5 things wine and exercise have in common

Wine is not the only thing that gets better with age. You can too when you :

1) Follow us on Google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit.

2) Pick up the phone or email us to book us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

3) Add to our list in the comments below. What else do wine and exercise have in common?

8

Free Health Screenings: Walgreens & the Way to Well Health Tour Came to Fitbloggin’

The following post is a partnership between me and Walgreens. They are offering free health screenings, plus a way to track your activity levels, so I am all in favor of you reading about it!

Alexandra Williams, MA
picture of Alexandra Williams speaking at Fitbloggin 2014

Giving my talk at Fitbloggin. Got some almonds stashed in that bag next to me.

This past weekend I spoke at the Fitbloggin’ conference in the truly gorgeous (yet mightily muggily muggy) city of Savannah, Georgia. I can’t wait to return… in anything but summer!

A few days before leaving the west coast for the east, I got notice that Walgreens would be a Fitbloggin’ sponsor, offering free health screenings, chances to win a FitBit, and a talk about wearable fitness devices.

I totally admit to being a health screenings geek. I love knowing my body’s stats, plus I wear a fitness tracker so I can know even more numbers. Being goal-oriented, I want to be a winner with my own body! Note the part where the word “free” snuck in there? Sa-weeeeet! (that is not the way to drink southern tea; that is my excitement at getting a free screening).

picture of Alexandra at the Walgreens booth at Fitbloggin' 14

Hamming it up at the Walgreens booth at Fitbloggin’

Life got even better when Walgreens asked me to help them get out the word about a few things – all FREE!!!! You can:

Get a health screening during the Way to Well Health Tour

Along with the AARP and the National Urban League, Walgreens is traveling around the U.S. providing “free tests, assessments, education and consulting services to communities with the highest uninsured and unemployed populations.” I live closest to Los Angeles, which has four dates – July 10, 19, 20 and 21 – but the screening bus will be stopping in many states, so look up the closest stop to you via their locator.

dates for the Walgreens Way to Well Health Tour free health screenings in Los Angeles

Walgreens is coming to L.A. very soon

Join their Balance Rewards program

I am working on getting points for all the steps I do. The average U.S. inhabitant does 2,000 – 4,000 steps per day. The goal is to get to 7,000. To stave off weight gain, most of us should all be doing at least 10,000 (only 8,000 if you’re over 65) Amish men do 18,000 steps per day, with a 0% obesity rate (go dudes with beards), and Amish women have a 4% obesity rate and do 14,000 steps per day.

picture of historic steps in Savannah

Yeah, I risked getting stronger!

The Balance Rewards program gives points for doing what you do every day – moving. Just by logging in my steps for the past week, I’m already up to 920 points, which can be traded for things I need to buy. The FitBit is a popular device that syncs up with the Rewards program. I have a Polar Loop, which doesn’t sync, so I manually enter my daily steps. I’d prefer the syncing, but I can pull the info off my Loop or from the synced app that came with my Loop and heart rate monitor, and just transfer the info.

Read a full recap from the Fitbloggin session about wearable fitness devices

Local Savannah trainer Drew Edmonds was joined by three panelists who answered questions about using fitness trackers to reach your goals, be it weight loss, better sleep, more movement, calories expended, heart rate, and all kinds of other info depending on the device. Research is starting to come in showing that people who use fitness tracking devices tend to do more to accomplish their goals than when they do not wear them.

The Walgreens Way to Well Health Tour bus

I looked even happier AFTER getting my free health test results!

During the conference, I signed up and got my free assessments, all of which took less than 20 minutes. Did I mention the Way to Well Health Tour bus was air conditioned? Inside the bus I had a quick finger stick to collect some blood. It was NOT a needle draw, so you can do it! Then a pharmacist met with me to explain my results, which you can see just below. Since scales cannot tell if your weight is from muscle or fat (I prefer to go by how my clothes fit), I am not a huge fan, so I’ve left that part crossed off. The important thing is what the blood reveals about me, including how that plays in to my weight.

As you can see, my total cholesterol is a bit high, so I will do a full blood panel (the needle kind) at my next check-up to separate out my low from high cholesterol to discern if there’s an issue or if this was a one-time result.

picture of Alexandra Williams' blood test results from Walgreens Way to Well Health Tour

Dear Body, You are amazing. Thanks for being 12 years younger than my birthdate.

The good news is that all my other results were fantastic! When the pharmacist told me that my body thinks I’m 43, I was overjoyed. My vanity was even more excited. Who wouldn’t want to be 12 years younger? I tell you, exercising, eating right and sleeping (marginally) well is truly the Fountain of Youth.

I totally encourage you to see if the Way to Well Tour bus is coming near you. Even if it’s not, why not do the Balance Rewards program and get free stuff? Oh yeah, did I mention I also got a free year added to my AARP membership just for doing the screenings? If you’re too young for AARP, they let you give it to an older family member.

P.S. I’m a sucker for John Corbett (think “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and “Northern Exposure”), who voices the “At the corner of Happy & Healthy” commercials for Walgreens, so I was kind of hoping he’d personally deliver the happy, healthy good news about my test results. Oh, well. At least I can say he lives just over the mountain pass from my home in Southern California.

11

Speaking of Fitness (to Whoever Will Listen)

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Boom Chicka Boomers on the LooseHeeeeelp us! Back in junior high days, Alexandra and I got sent to the principal’s office on a semi-regular basis. We had been caught being naughty — repeatedly. What was our transgression?  “Talking too much in class.”  Yakety Yak: Don’t Talk Back

Anyone caught by surprise with that one? Shocked to know we still talk a lot? Professionally!! On stages; on air; with mics; and audiences!

Yes, in addition to co-hosting our radio show on voiceamerica.comActive Aging for Boom Chicka Boomers — we present at conferences, retreats, community get-togethers, book club meetings, charity events as professional speakers. Speakers who can use your help.

My sister and I want to offer the healthiest, most relevant, helpful sessions possible that attract those who hire speakers and those who listen to them. Below are titles and descriptions of some of our presentations. Which two or three speak to you most? (See, we’re not the only ones who get to talk around here).

Our goal? To bring our message of active aging to more people; Your role? Share your top picks in the comments section below. Please give us your opinion and vote on the topics you’d be most likely to attend, book, or refer to others. Pretty sure you burn a few calories when you comment.

Presenting Posture Pointers at Tenaya Lodge

Presenting Posture Pointers at Tenaya Lodge

1. Fitness Affects Your Bottom … Line

Why should you, as a business owner or professional person care about your exercise activity, beyond the obvious of looking and feeling better? This presentation will leave you feeling motivated to move, wealthier, and less stressed since you will know exactly how to achieve a leaner, healthier you in minimum time.

2.7 Ways to Enhance Brain Power With Exercise

The latest in brain research is clear: To move towards a sound mind and body, your brain must be in balance. The brain must be stimulated, and one of those ways is through exercise. Simply put, movement improves brain power. More than any other organism in the body, the brain is affected by your workouts, lifestyle, and eating choices.

While pretty much ANY type of exercise will help the brain (and body, of course), certain approaches give you the MOST bang for your brain buck. So which elements are the ones to pay attention to and incorporate into your workout program if you have a goal to improve cognitive abilities? Add any one or combination of the 7 best ways to balance your brain and body.

3. Small Steps Lead to Greater Fitness

What motivates people (including YOU) to get healthy and improve their fitness level in a way that is meaningful, sustainable, and realistic?

  • How can you finally, once and for all reach your fitness goals?
  • What do fit people know about staying active and motivated that you can learn from?
  • What do you do to keep going if you are not seeing results?
  • What tricks can you use?

Get the answers and some practical tips in this action-oriented session.

4. Great Gait and Powerful Posture Can Be Yours Today

She's Fit; She's Social; She's Speaking

She’s Fit; She’s Social; She’s Speaking at FitSocial

Do you walk and stand in ways that age or support you? Find out what’s going on behind your back. And in front of it! Get ready for some fun, informative, helpful, and practical posture work and gait analysis.

When you attend our session, you:

  • go through guided partner and group posture assessments;
  • participate in gait analysis that will reveal surprises, movement patterns, and walking habits you never knew you had;
  • discover imbalances in your stance or stride that may be aging you;
  • learn how to improve mood, energy, and overall fitness via better posture and stride;
  • take home practical Fun Fit Facts to support efforts to sit, stand, and walk more healthfully

5. Active Aging for Boomers Who Blog

Presenting at Rancho la Puerta

These Boots Were Made for Talking …

How can you both blog (often sitting long hours) and find time and energy to stay fit?

Session attendees will gain practical wellness solutions so that they can age as actively as possible.

They will (power) walk away with:

  1. Strategies to deal with weight gain that are realistic, accessible, and proven;
  2. Key motivational and applicable Fun Fit Facts;
  3. Some edu-tainment based on the latest research and fitness industry best practices;

That’s it! And to thank you, allow us to leave you with the wise words that our 7th and 8th grade teachers and principal could have used with us ….but didn’t!

Hesh up

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