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3

Abs, Aging, and the Fountain of Youth

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: K and A:

Hi, I am a 54 year old woman who had been exercising most of my life. I enjoy exercising & eating correctly and I have been fit most of my life until recently. There is this thing called age that is catching up with me. No matter how much I exercise and eat right, I seem to have put on a couple pounds and my mid-section is getting larger (even with doing 200 sit-ups a day). I know it doesn’t help me any that I have fulltime “sit at a desk” job. Can you please tell me what I am supposed to do to help stop this process because I do not want to go up in my clothing size?

Thank you,

Doreen, Santa Barbara CA

K: Tip number one: Do not let age catch up with you. Run faster. Oh wait, with age the knees start to go so running might not be too comfy. And F and F LOVE comfy fitness. And dark chocolate. Tip number two: Retire super early from your full time desk job and do something that requires loads of outdoor activity. We do have our fitness priorities after all!  Then I woke up….

A: You may not like this, but you might have to run faster just to stay in place. TAKE YOUR FINGERS OUT OF YOUR EARS. I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME! At 54, the rate at which you burn calories has slowed down, especially if you sit on your Bartleby the Buttolomus (lost Latin term meaning “butt”) most of the day. So, you are not burning the kcals quite as quickly — fat goes up, muscle mass goes down — the roller coaster of your BMR and metabolism goes zooming along. Good news,  you don’t have to be the high bidder for a leftover “Gone With the Wind” corset. You do have to lift those weights a bit more. If you are currently doing strength training, you need to either do it more often or with heavier weights. Increase the cardio — either go longer or harder. And eat less! Shazaam 1, 2, 3.

K: Good news: cut back on the 200 sit ups. Remember, you cannot spot reduce. All the ab crunches in the world are not going to nuke any mid-section fat. You do need to expend calories to prevent fat and weight gain, so Alexandra is right to recommend the combo of cardio and weight training. Oooh, admitting her rightliness did not hurt as much as I thought. Or as much as 200 ab crunches per day with minimal results.

The short version of our advice is boiled down to three plain potatoes: eat fewer calories, or burn more through increased activity, or do both. Full disclaimer: Fun and Fit fully believe that movement is the Fountain of Youth, yet we must acknowledge that the Fountain is fed by “spring-in-the step pure exercise well waters” that require more pumping (iron) as we age.

The super short version of our advice is to say, “the heck with it. I needed a new wardrobe anyway.”  But probably better to pump the Fountain Well.

A: The final words from me: Forget about Mr. (Eating) Right. Go with Mr. (Eating) Less. But marry Mr. (Exercising) Good Enough.

Readers: Were you aware that weight training is part of a good weight-loss program? Have you ever visited the Fountain of Youth?

1

Get Inspired! Project interviews Fun and Fit

Get Inspired! Project 20 minute audio interview with Fun and Fit, Kymberly and Alexandra

Fun and Fit were lucky enough to be selected as one of the 365 inspirational interviewees for the Get Inspired! Project. Toni Reece and Rob Britt created the Get Inspired! Project, which interviews one person per day (or two, in this case) for one year. Their goal is to motivate and encourage people worldwide through sharing the stories and sources they find inspirational.

Listen to the audio version; read the transcript; be moved to get active and enjoy exercise. And be sure to check out the Get Inspired! Project main site. Lots to hear, listen to, and get inspired by!

Toni Reece: Thank you so much, Kymberly and Alexandra, for joining us today on the Project.  Our listeners and readers are in for a treat today.  But before we begin, can you guys please introduce yourselves?

Kymberly Williams Evans: Yes, hi.  My name is Kymberly; my full name is Kymberly Williams Evans.

Alexandra Williams: I’m Alexandra Williams.

Kymberly: We are twin sisters.  We’re identical twins who teach fitness and write about fitness and we are also moms, and many other things.

Toni: Well thank you both for being here today.  Now, before we begin, can you guys … we’re going to, for those that are listening and reading, we’re going to be trying … Kymberly will say that she’s speaking, and then Alexandra will say that she’s speaking, so hang on, guys, here we go.  So when you think about that word inspiration, who do you believe you inspire and how does that happen?

Alexandra: This is Alexandra.  Well, I would like to think that I inspire people who might have a bit of intimidation or concern about exercise and fitness and general well being and good health, and I would like to say that I try to inspire them to find it to be accessible and enjoyable and approachable, and also something that’s achievable for everybody, not somebody who’s already fit.

I once knew somebody who used to carry a card in his pocket to a club, but he didn’t go because he said he was waiting until he got fit.  So we want to be the people that help … I like inspiring people, so that it doesn’t matter if you’re doing a little bit or a lot, as long as you’re doing something more.

Toni: Okay.  Kymberly, who do you think you inspire and how?

Kymberly: Well concerning fitness and the world at large, I’d like to think … it’s very similar to what Alexandra said.  In our classes, we inspire those who are already active because they’re in the club already, they’re taking classes.  I also think that I inspire people to be active or to move or to engage in a healthy lifestyle, just because I am a regular person.  Not extremely fit, not teeny-tiny.  A regular person doing regular activity, but with lots of energy and lots of love for movement.

I’d like to think that I also inspired my daughter to be active throughout her life, so that’s been important is to live in a way that’s a role model so that she is someone who enjoys movement, enjoys being active, enjoys her body for what it does, not just for how it looks.

Toni: Okay.  When you guys think about how you work, and you set this example for others and you try to make it approachable for others that need and want to be fit, how do you think that helps people to explore their potential then?

Alexandra: This is Alexandra.  What I do to help people explore their potential is, on a serious note, I tell them they can wear whatever they want, as long as it’s comfortable, they won’t be embarrassed, and they can move effectively in it.  So I don’t care if they come in the right shoes or the right outfits or full of makeup or that kind of thing.  I just tell them “What did you do yesterday?”  Like a lot of times people will come to me and they’ll say “Oh, I’m not going to be very good at this because I’m new” and I’ll say “Well, 80% of the population doesn’t even work out and you’re already here, so you’re already in the top 20%.”

I would say that I use … that particular comment would probably come from my counseling experience where you reframe it in looking at the positive instead of the negative.  Because over the past 27 years, I’ve had people come to me all the time and tell me what they cannot do, and I like to reframe it for what they can do.  And I also like to think that to help them explore their potential besides just fitness is it helps them to maybe reframe things in other areas.

Another thing that I do is like if I make a mistake, I just say “Okay, I made a mistake” and move on.  Like if I cue them orally or something like that, or I run out of steam and I can’t do one more pushup or whatever.  I’ll say “Well, I did more than I thought I could” or “I did more than if I didn’t do any” so I try to be an example by that and let people know that it doesn’t matter so much what they can’t do as what they can do.

I’ll give an example and then I’ll let Kymberly.  This is on the humorous side.  For example, people say “I can’t do a pushup.”  I’ll say, “Well, just do a pushdown.  Just lower yourself to the ground, claw yourself back up, and do another pushdown.”  The secret is what I know; they’re training the same muscles.  But they get a laugh out of it because I called it a pushdown and I make a humorous comment about it, but it also makes it okay to not do 100%.  It makes it okay to work toward it.  So I’ll let Kymberly answer now.

Kymberly: Holy smokes, that was long!  I’m going to be shorter.  Okay, what do I do to help explore potential in others?  A couple quick quotes.  Number one, I like to remind people that perfection is highly overrated.  Forget perfection.  It’s overrated.  Just go for better than last time, or more than I did before.

Toni: Okay.  Kymberly, who do you think you inspire and how?

Kymberly: Well concerning fitness and the world at large, I’d like to think … it’s very similar to what Alexandra said.  In our classes, we inspire those who are already active because they’re in the club already, they’re taking classes.  I also think that I inspire people to be active or to move or to engage in a healthy lifestyle, just because I am a regular person.  Not extremely fit, not teeny-tiny.  A regular person doing regular activity, but with lots of energy and lots of love for movement.

I’d like to think that I also inspired my daughter to be active throughout her life, so that’s been important is to live in a way that’s a role model so that she is someone who enjoys movement, enjoys being active, enjoys her body for what it does, not just for how it looks.

Toni: Okay.  When you guys think about how you work, and you set this example for others and you try to make it approachable for others that need and want to be fit, how do you think that helps people to explore their potential then?

Alexandra: This is Alexandra.  What I do to help people explore their potential is, on a serious note, I tell them they can wear whatever they want, as long as it’s comfortable, they won’t be embarrassed, and they can move effectively in it.  So I don’t care if they come in the right shoes or the right outfits or full of makeup or that kind of thing.  I just tell them “What did you do yesterday?”  Like a lot of times people will come to me and they’ll say “Oh, I’m not going to be very good at this because I’m new” and I’ll say “Well, 80% of the population doesn’t even work out and you’re already here, so you’re already in the top 20%.”

I would say that I use … that particular comment would probably come from my counseling experience where you reframe it in looking at the positive instead of the negative.  Because over the past 27 years, I’ve had people come to me all the time and tell me what they cannot do, and I like to reframe it for what they can do.  And I also like to think that to help them explore their potential besides just fitness is it helps them to maybe reframe things in other areas.

Another thing that I do is like if I make a mistake, I just say “Okay, I made a mistake” and move on.  Like if I cue them orally or something like that, or I run out of steam and I can’t do one more pushup or whatever.  I’ll say “Well, I did more than I thought I could” or “I did more than if I didn’t do any” so I try to be an example by that and let people know that it doesn’t matter so much what they can’t do as what they can do.

I’ll give an example and then I’ll let Kymberly.  This is on the humorous side.  For example, people say “I can’t do a pushup.”  I’ll say, “Well, just do a pushdown.  Just lower yourself to the ground, claw yourself back up, and do another pushdown.”  The secret is what I know; they’re training the same muscles.  But they get a laugh out of it because I called it a pushdown and I make a humorous comment about it, but it also makes it okay to not do 100%.  It makes it okay to work toward it.  So I’ll let Kymberly answer now.

Kymberly: Holy smokes, that was long!  I’m going to be shorter.  Okay, what do I do to help explore potential in others?  A couple quick quotes.  Number one, I like to remind people that perfection is highly overrated.  Forget perfection.  It’s overrated.  Just go for better than last time, or more than I did before.

Toni: Okay.  Kymberly, who do you think you inspire and how?

Kymberly: Well concerning fitness and the world at large, I’d like to think … it’s very similar to what Alexandra said.  In our classes, we inspire those who are already active because they’re in the club already, they’re taking classes.  I also think that I inspire people to be active or to move or to engage in a healthy lifestyle, just because I am a regular person.  Not extremely fit, not teeny-tiny.  A regular person doing regular activity, but with lots of energy and lots of love for movement.

I’d like to think that I also inspired my daughter to be active throughout her life, so that’s been important is to live in a way that’s a role model so that she is someone who enjoys movement, enjoys being active, enjoys her body for what it does, not just for how it looks.

Toni: Okay.  When you guys think about how you work, and you set this example for others and you try to make it approachable for others that need and want to be fit, how do you think that helps people to explore their potential then?

Alexandra: This is Alexandra.  What I do to help people explore their potential is, on a serious note, I tell them they can wear whatever they want, as long as it’s comfortable, they won’t be embarrassed, and they can move effectively in it.  So I don’t care if they come in the right shoes or the right outfits or full of makeup or that kind of thing.  I just tell them “What did you do yesterday?”  Like a lot of times people will come to me and they’ll say “Oh, I’m not going to be very good at this because I’m new” and I’ll say “Well, 80% of the population doesn’t even work out and you’re already here, so you’re already in the top 20%.”

I would say that I use … that particular comment would probably come from my counseling experience where you reframe it in looking at the positive instead of the negative.  Because over the past 27 years, I’ve had people come to me all the time and tell me what they cannot do, and I like to reframe it for what they can do.  And I also like to think that to help them explore their potential besides just fitness is it helps them to maybe reframe things in other areas.

Another thing that I do is like if I make a mistake, I just say “Okay, I made a mistake” and move on.  Like if I cue them orally or something like that, or I run out of steam and I can’t do one more pushup or whatever.  I’ll say “Well, I did more than I thought I could” or “I did more than if I didn’t do any” so I try to be an example by that and let people know that it doesn’t matter so much what they can’t do as what they can do.

I’ll give an example and then I’ll let Kymberly.  This is on the humorous side.  For example, people say “I can’t do a pushup.”  I’ll say, “Well, just do a pushdown.  Just lower yourself to the ground, claw yourself back up, and do another pushdown.”  The secret is what I know; they’re training the same muscles.  But they get a laugh out of it because I called it a pushdown and I make a humorous comment about it, but it also makes it okay to not do 100%.  It makes it okay to work toward it.  So I’ll let Kymberly answer now.

Kymberly: Holy smokes, that was long!  I’m going to be shorter.  Okay, what do I do to help explore potential in others?  A couple quick quotes.  Number one, I like to remind people that perfection is highly overrated.  Forget perfection.  It’s overrated.  Just go for better than last time, or more than I did before.

Number two is, as Alexandra said, we try to use humor a lot because I think that’s a real bond between people, and it does break down barriers.  And so really our teaching style, our writing style, just our own regular personalities is pretty in your face, and usually we will use humor in our teaching style to try to connect people and ourselves to the people that we’re working with.

And then thirdly is when I’m teaching, I make mistakes and I’ll tell them.  “Hey, here’s the deal, it’s a coupon special, double offer, two for one – it’s actually ten for one.”  If I make one mistake when I’m cuing and I cue them the wrong way when I’m teaching, I say “Okay, you get 10 freebies.  No expiration date.  You can head over to the right when everybody else is going left.  You can trip up over your feet.  I don’t care; I just made one, you get 10 freebies.”  So I guess that helps them explore their potential.

Alexandra: Also, I’m interjecting … this is Alexandra.  First of all, perfection is overrated, but my parents did a really good job with me, especially.  The other thing is, what Kymberly didn’t tell you is that she also tells people that if she makes a mistake, again picking on pushups, she tells the people they can  have 10 free pushups for themselves, because there’s a money back guarantee.  If you don’t like my style, you don’t like my jokes,  you can  have all your pushups back, so she gives a refund.  Kymberly, sorry.  You can finish now.

Kymberly: I think I’m done with that question. Unless Toni, you want to ask more on that.

Toni: Well no.  What I’m hearing – this is Toni – and what I’m hearing from you guys and I wrote down certain words, which is what I do.  When I’m doing these interviews, there’s words that come to my mind, and I’m listening to you both, and I wrote the words “humanized fitness.”

Kymberly: Yes!

Toni: That’s what I’m hearing from both of you …

Alexandra: Well I have to … sorry, go ahead.

Toni: That is an oxymoron though, isn’t it, because you are dealing with humans, but you really are humanizing the experience for someone.

Alexandra: This is Alexandra.  You’re right, but it isn’t an oxymoron because I would say, really it’s as high as 80% of the population thinks that fitness is for somebody else, and punishing, tortuous exercise is what they should have to do in order to achieve this fitness thing.  I don’t think it’s an oxymoron.

Kymberly: That’s a great way to put it.  I hadn’t thought of it with one word except that two other words we might use are “just fun” – we hope people see movement or activity as fun, even if it’s not formal fitness – and the other is accessible, as Alexandra said earlier.  Just accessible.  Just walk out your front door and walk a little bit.

Toni: Right.

Alexandra: This is Alexandra.  I tell people that we’re going to bring out their inner hotness.

Toni: Fantastic!  So guys, what inspires you?

Kymberly: This is Kymberly, I’ll answer first.  What inspires me and what I need to be inspired?

Toni: You bet.

Kymberly: People, number one.  Number two, my sister, because for writing, without her I wouldn’t get inspired because she’s so off the wall that that’s what kind of gets me going, and a microphone usually inspires me, and a stage usually inspires me.  So those are good elements to get me rolling.  Also, on the benefits of fitness side, so that’s what’s inspired me, I should say, to teach fitness and to write about fitness.

As far as what I need to be inspired overall, I love moving, and I think in terms of the concept of keeping your world large, versus the world shrinking.  Normally with age and inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle, the world starts shrinking.  Things that you could at 40 you can’t do at 50.  By the time you’re 60, 70, well, “I can’t do this activity I once loved, and I can’t go to this place that I once was able to get to.  I can’t travel there because of these barriers.”  That is a world that is shrinking, and what inspires me to keep fit and to keep moving, in addition to being able to be with people with that activity, is trying to keep my world large.

Alexandra: This is Alexandra.  You lost me at hello.

Kymberly: I tried, but you’re still here following me!

Alexandra: This is Alexandra again.  I guess what I need to be inspired is a good night’s sleep, a good breakfast, and my preferred makeup regimen – sunglasses and lipstick.

Toni: And are they very large sunglasses?

Alexandra: Yes; they cover my entire body.

Kymberly: This is Kymberly.  I suggested to Alexandra that she include a low-brimmed wide hat with that fitness, excuse me, with that makeup regimen.  I don’t think she was going for that.

Alexandra: This is Alexandra.  In addition to that, what I need to be inspired, in all truth, people.  Social interaction.  If I were alone for a long time, I would start to talk to myself, beep, beep, beep, more than I do …

Kymberly: Quit calling me then!

Alexandra: I might start answering myself.  It’s other people.  When I see … like I have a lot of Twitter friends, and I see how hard people are working.  In a sense I think, well, I have it easy, although I don’t.  I worked hard to get where I am.  But I’m the same size, clothing wise, that I was in high school, and it inspires me to think you know what, I work hard.  And the people that I see around me who are trying to achieve whatever is the right size or weight for them, are working 10 times harder, which gives me a lot of respect for them, because I feel like I work pretty hard, and so to imagine the multiplication – I’m missing the word I mean – but the amount that they must be putting into it always gives me a lot of respect for the people with whom I deal.

I never … I probably prefer the unfit in my class to the super fit.  Not that I don’t like the super fit, but I always volunteer to teach the new classes because I like working with newer exercisers, because I feel that they’re going to be more successful and happier, and also they need me more, and I like to be needed.  My teenagers don’t need me anymore unless I have a wallet and car keys.

Toni: So to both of you ladies, how are you continuing to explore your own potential so that you can keep this attitude towards fitness and life and helping other people alive?  What are you doing to keep stoking that potential in yourselves?

Alexandra: This is Alexandra.  I need one of those AAA Triptic maps.  Other than that …

Kymberly: Okay, you’re lost with her on the explore site?

Alexandra: My map.  My road map to exploring my own potential.  I couldn’t find my own potential without a road map.  Can you translate my joke for me?

Toni: So when you find your potential, what happens with it?  What do you do with it?

Kymberly: We’ll be rich!  Wait, this is Kymberly.  No, Alexandra, back to you.

Alexandra: Okay.  I need … well now, besides the fact that I have hundreds and hundreds of students every quarter at the University who are forced into the position of having to listen to me, and I inform them on the very first day that they’re going to enjoy that experience, so they don’t have to decide later whether that’s true or not; they just know in advance.

The other thing I need to explore my own potential is a forum for expression.  So Kymberly came home with this idea to write our fitness blog together.  I realized you know what, just that little spark or that little kick in the keister – I’d like to speak metaphorically, but you should see her aim – I need to feed off other people’s good ideas, but also what I need to explore my own potential is to try new things and like I said, to find a way to express myself, particularly like in writing and in humor, because I’ve done a lot of standup type of stuff, but now to be able to write it, and then I see it.  I see it written, and it kind of spurs me on even more, and then I’m thinking about the reader, from the reader’s perspective to make sure that they’re not just laughing, but they’re also getting some knowledge.

So that’s what I need is kind of like that interaction.  I say this so that people will be encouraged to put lots of comments on our comments page, because we always write back.  Kymberly?

Kymberly: Toni, would you mind asking me that question again, but in different words?

Toni: When you are doing what you do, are there ways that you explore other ways  of doing it, other ways to learn from things yourself, development for yourself so that you can continue to explore your own potential so that you can keep getting stronger and stronger in what you’re doing?

Kymberly: Okay, okay.  Thank you, Toni.  This is Kymberly.  Then that’s two answers – there’s an internal answer and an external answer.  How are we doing on time?

Toni: We’re okay.

Kymberly: Okay.  For the external answer, I’m an education junkie, so I just would, in the sense of how you’re asking exploring potential or developing or constantly pushing boundaries, I would say always looking for a high learning curve and just somebody who always looks for something new with a learning curve.  So if there’s … once I get something to status quo or once I get bored with it but then I’m ready to either move to something else or to work on that original thing in a different way.

For example, when I was at the University of California, Santa Barbara, as a faculty and fitness advisor in the Department of Exercise and Sports Studies, when I took the program over, it was time to add a new track to the program.  We were training fitness instructors, but we weren’t yet training personal trainers.  And so the couple years that we put into place to create curriculum and train personal  trainers, that was a very exciting time for me because I had to learn a whole new area so that I could turn around and then teach it.

Once that program was up and running comfortably and we had reached all our goals, then it was something that was better done by somebody else.  That wasn’t as interesting for me because okay, I’ve done what I need to do, and now it’s just managing it.  So when there’s a new learning curve, for example, this fitness blog, Fun and Fit, that Alexandra and I now do, that is kind of pushing a little bit too, saying “All right, well we’ve never written together.  We’ve written separately.  We’ve never written humorously together.  So let’s be ourselves a little bit more in this rather than answering straight.  Let’s answer straight plus twisted and quirky.”

Alexandra: This is Alexandra.  I wonder by implication if she’s saying she’s going to get bored with this pretty soon.

Kymberly: Well, the questions are new each week.  This is Kymberly.

Alexandra: Maybe you’ll have to get a new twin when you get bored.

Kymberly: I already tried cashing you in.  This is Kymberly again.  On the internal side of that, I guess this comes more with age, because Alexandra and I are now 51.

Alexandra: No – this is Alexandra – Kymberly is 51.  When we hit 50, I gave her the rest of my birthdays.

Toni: Okay, okay.

Alexandra: I’m 50 with experience.  You check with us in a year, I’ll be 50 with more experience.  She’ll unfortunately be a lot older.

Kymberly: Yes, that is true.  I’ll just divert for a second – this is Kymberly – because I did come up with the twin birthday plan, and I want to share it with any of your listeners who are twins and want to get in on this plan because it’s really helpful.  It’s kind of redundant each year for the twins to both have a birthday and both turn a year older, so we thought we could just alternate.  So really, we’re both 25.

Toni: Fantastic idea!

Kymberly: So on her year, she gets to pick the cake and the dinner type, and get the present, and then next year when I turn 26, I’ll be up, and then she’ll turn 26.  It’s just a little redundant otherwise.

Alexandra: This is Alexandra, and I forgot to inform Kymberly, but on my year, I stopped picking the cake and now I just pick the age.

Toni: There you go.  Well, ladies, unfortunately we are running out of time, but I want to make sure that I capture and put back out there what you guys are doing and how you’ve come at not only who you inspire, but also what you need to be inspired.  And who you inspire are the people that you are with every day, and you are in their presence every day with humor and grace and comfort, and that is so important, and that will help a lot of people with their potential if they feel comfortable.  And then, what you guys both need to be inspired as far as the strength and to be able to have that learning curve as you spoke of, but also keep finding new things to poke at, you know, for yourselves, but for others.  I think that’s what I’ve heard.  Am I pretty close?

Alexandra: Yes.

Kymberly: Yes, and people.

Alexandra: And also further education, like workshops.

Toni: Absolutely.

Kymberly: But we need people.

Toni: Absolutely.  At the core of all of this are the people that you’re working for.

Alexandra: Yes.  We eat them for snacks.

Toni: Absolutely … well, ladies, it has been a pleasure and thank you so very much  for being part of the Get Inspired! Project, and we will post a link to your blog so that people can comment or ask your questions.

Alexandra: Thank you.

Toni: So for your time today and for being part of this, we cannot thank you enough.

Kymberly: Thank you, Toni.

Toni: Take care.

4

Water: Chilled, Stirred or Straight from the Pool Post-Exercise?

Kymberly's water bottleQ: I know that drinking water is very important before, during, and after exercising.  Does it make a difference if the water is cold or room temperature?

Noel, St. Joseph, MO

Alexandra: Who cares? Water is boring. The only people who should be drinking water are kids in highly chlorinated pools – big gulps – just to make their parents crazy. —beep beep beep important interruption—– I myself drink water. But after 20-some years of teaching exercise, I have not found that the temperature perks up the flavor any, now does it? But since I am a consummate professional (I think that means I am a French clear soup), I definitely recommend water. It’s so much cheaper than flavored water. Fewer calories too. And you pee or sweat it out anyway, so why invest your hard-earned money and “individual plastic bottle” guilt? Me, I care more about the non-plastic, recyclable water bottle that your water comes in than the temp.

Kymberly: Yes, drinking water is super deluxe important for all people, especially active ones. Read our post on water’s benefits and how it acts to help keep you youthful. No, the temp does not matter, unless it matters to you. My work here is done. Oh, except to say that it’s also good to avoid sugary water drinks whether hot, cold, or in between.

Alexandra: If you are working out hard enough to want water, you won’t care about the water temperature anyway. You’ll be happy to grab whatever is closest and easiest. Am I right or what? However, do you prefer cold water? If so, then you will drink more, get rehydrated sooner and be an all-around healthier, good, popular person.

Okay, technically speaking, cold water is absorbed by the body faster than room temp water, according to some research. However in a 2007 position statement by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) on water temperature, ACSM mostly just wants you to drink enough water to stay hydrated and avoid renal failure, dehydration, mental & cognitive performance decreases, exercise-induced hyponatremia, rhabdomyolysis or other grave illnesses, such as death. I only said all that stuff to distract you and make you think I read the research, but all I managed to do was scare myself. Gotta go. A jug of cold water is calling me, followed by a jug of room temp water. Maybe then I’ll be able to pronounce “rabbit – my – old – sis” or whatever that last illness is.

Dear waterlogged and dehydrated readers alike: Do you like water? Do you have a preferred temperature? Can you pronounce “rhabdomyolysis”?

ACTION: Subscribe to our site but only if you want your fitness questions answered by longtime pros.
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

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2

From 1 to 10 for your 6 pack

Kymberly Williams-Evans,MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: Hey Wondertwins!

More a diet question than a fitness question, but here goes: I work out fairly strenuously and notice definite strength benefits from it. However, my diet is awful and I am simply not making a dent in the gut. For the life of me, I can’t say no to the splurges on sweets and other carbohydrates, and I find preparing an army of chicken breasts for my various meals and maintaining greens that will wilt after a few days to be a real pain. Any tips on how I can shake my frame of mind that has me living off of fast and/or processed food and instead be happy eating my grilled meat and greens? Thanks! Keep up the great work 🙂

John from somewhere in the US

K: Hello John and thank you for submitting your question to Fun and Fit. We look forward to answering it , but be prepared that we may take our sweet ole time. Genius cannot be rushed.  Meantime, keep reading and moving! Sincerely, The Wondertwins (we liked this moniker, so have to use it, of course)!

John: The wait’s no problem. The weight is 😉 ooooh delicious puns. Can’t wait to see you two make it big!

K: Excuse me, did you say “delicious puns” or “delicious buns?” We get so confused once baked goods enter the equation. But let’s talk now about your wilted greens and withering will power. Dear boy, you are really talking about priorities and trade offs. While we are not nutrition experts, we know a self-sabotage when we see one. Why set up the choice as either fast food or ascetic eating? We are not proponents of forcing yourself to eat food you don’t like just because you think you should. Instead we believe in forcing people to do our exercise bidding. And finding foods you enjoy that are not on one end of the spectrum or another.

A: According to my favorite medical expert, Dr. Me, I believe you are suffering from a common disease known as “Budweiser Tumor.” Why go from 1 (stuff like that KFC double down fried chicken with bacon, 3 trillion calories and enough sodium to refloat the Dead Sea) to 10 (wilty greens)? Can’t you go from 1 to 2, then move up to 3 after a while….and so on until you reach nutrition improvement? First step, switch out one thing you can live without (processed food product #1) for something that is healthier and that you like (non-processed delicious thing such as a fruit smoothie). Until you get away from your bad-boy fitness attitude of “either – or” you will be stuck correlating healthy with “icky, nasty, wilty, lots of prep,” and fast food with “I’m in charge and no-one can make me not enjoy this lump of lard with seasoning.” Notice how you’ve put “grilled chicken breasts” right there with the military allusion, and splurges on sweets with “I can’t say no.” One is rigid; one is all loosey-goosey. And, yes, I do have a counseling degree, so I can say that “loosey-goosey” is a real diagnosis! You can say “no” – you just don’t want to. I suspect you are very popular on dates. BTW, I have no tips on making you happy. You already worship us so I am mystified as to what else you might need.

K: What you may need is simply to clarify what you really want most: sweets and splurges or abs that have more definition(s) than wikipedia. The other tip is for you to set a goal to find healthy foods you LIKE. Your words “real pain” and “happy” do not usually mix well at a party. Ditch the foods you hate but think you should eat for the nutritious foods you like that also taste scrumptious. Those foods are out there. I found them over at Alexandra’s house. And I ate them before she got home. result = happy.

Readers: What do you tell yourself when faced with a tempting non-nutritional food that will undo all your workout efforts?

2

Exercise No Child’s Play for Busy Parent

Listen to the audio version!
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: Kymberly and Alexandra:

Q: I need to get in shape, lose 20 lbs, and look even BETTER than I already do. 🙂  I have two young children, a 5-year-old boy and 1-year-old girl. I want to include them, but quite honestly, playing/exercising at their speed does not provide enough cardio.  I have always been an avid, competitive soccer player, but last May I tore my meniscus and had to quit my league. The surgery was successful, but I still don’t have my confidence back and I don’t want to be tentative and get injured again… Between work, family, music and other pressures of life, I just can’t seem to find the time or energy. I know that once I start some type of program, the floodgates will open and it will be much easier. Recommendations?

Brian of Burbank. CA

Dear Brian:

A: Here’s how to jump start your efforts. Ditch the wife and kids right after breakfast on Saturday, play pick-up soccer all day (forget the competitive league stuff unless you’re the coach, in which case your exercise will be pacing the sidelines and yelling friendly, encouraging comments) then return home after a brewski with the team. In case your wife notices that this plan is all “jumpy starty” in your favor – hers, not so much – go to Plan B….

Plan B: you look in the mirror and notice that “looking better than you already do” will never happen. Didn’t you notice – You have kids…for many years to come. You will never look hot, young, or refreshed again. Wait, I have kids and I look way better than ever. Use my trick – sunglasses (like these cute back-to-school choices from our affiliate Warby Parker) and lipstick. Or…make a date with the wife for a nice walk several times a week. Do you have someone who will watch the kids for a half hour or so? Paying a sitter is waaaaay cheaper than a gym membership. And you will get some “us” time away from the kidlets. If you can’t do that, can you at least walk during lunch? I know, I know, you work through lunch half the time, right? But what about the other half? Hello Floodgates.

K: Geez, Alexandra is so depressing. Brian, you can look better than you do now because I am assuming you are giving off the tired, lethargic, and stressed look this year. Youthful hotness lies ahead! You mention having tried to use play time with your wee ones as exercise time so let’s focus on transforming that time, rather than trying to carve out minutes elsewhere. Would your daughter enjoy racing in a stroller while you sing and talk to her? If you can leave your older child with your wife for half an hour (giving her a break from double duty), and strap in the baby for a joy ride, then she is going at your pace, which had better be a jaunty one! If your current stroller cannot accommodate speed racing, then either get a baby jogger oooorrrrr get a sturdy baby backpack and take her for a power walk. I can guarantee you will get the intensity and heart rate you are looking for if you step lively with a 20 pound wiggly weight on your back. Then when you get back in the door after this sweat-inducing 30-minute cardio workout, get your son to sit on your upper back while you knock out push-ups until fatigue. If fatigue sets in at the first push-up then switch out the big boy for the little girl and get your pump on!

A: I could recommend waking an hour earlier for a walk or run, but that doesn’t sound fun AT ALL. Save all your work phone calls till lunch and answer them while you walk. Then you will mentally feel like you aren’t “skipping out” on your work duties. Schedule your walk or run into your calendar so it seems like it’s important. If it’s in the calendar, it will happen! Good luck. Or park your car a mile from work. Just the walk to and from the office counts as exercise.

K: My last suggestion: join a gym that offers day care while you AND your wife work out. Benies galore such as time to work out as intensely as you want; a chance to do something healthy with your wife; and a time for both of you to turn the little ones over to pro care and focus on you, you, you. And just for the record, those sunglasses Alexandra is looking out of are obviously rose-tinted shades. Advice to twinnie: get up that hour earlier you so nicely recommended and add more lipstick… and maybe a low brimmed hat… and soft focus lighting.

A: I got your soft focus right here.




 

16

Perky, not Saggy: Push-Ups or Push Up Bra?

Dear Fun and Fit–K and A: If I lose weight (probably 20 – 30 lbs is required), will my boobs be flat bags of skin clinging to my ribcage? I would rather be plump with nice skin tone than skinny with saggy skin! I live in Kuwait where exercising outdoors is practically impossible and I struggle to use my indoor treadmill, WII Fit and elliptical exerciser on a regular basis. It’s boring.   Stacey, Kuwait

Woman in saggy corset and perky girdle

Push Ups or Push Up Bra? Why Not Both?

Kymberly: Oh, Stacey, I could kiss your plump and nicely toned cheek for giving us a saggy boobs question! Think of all the hits we’ll get when people type in the key word “boobs.” Yes, We will become the porn fitness leaders of the internet world instead of the highly respected pros we thought we once were. Alexandra, you had better handle this one as you are the one with the smaller (secret code for “deflated”) boobs. That’s what you get for losing all that weight yourself, Miss “I am now so trim and everyone thinks I am your younger sister, not twin.”

Alexandra: If your boobs (let’s call them “plumpers”) are saggy and clinging to your ribcage, who cares about your skin? You’ve got bigger problems. And how much of that extra 20-30 pounds can you realistically blame on the saggers? I’d go for 10 pounds. So you only have another 10-20 to go! You are part way to your goal already. Do you like push-ups? Sure, you do. Every woman I’ve ever met loves them (Ahahaaaaaaa). But if you can get some muscle tone going all that sag, you’ll look perky and youthful.

chest press

Chest press with the stars

Try a Chest Press

But what if you don’t like push ups?. Here’s what you do: lie on your back on a mat or bench or even your bed (if it’s an extra-firm mattress). Do you have some weights? You are not off the hook if you don’t. Just grab a few bags of beans or cans of sauce from your cabinet – they can be your weights. I’ll let Kymberly describe your chest press form while I go check the mirror to assess my perky youthful qualities!

Or Go Straight (and Curvy) to Push Ups

Kymberly: Good try foisting the chest press description on me. I want to emphasize the push-up option. Alexandra is so right that the secret to retaining firm frontage while working on weight loss (a separate question addressed in these posts: Best Workouts to Burn Fat for Women Over 50 and Managing Weight as You Age ) is to build up the musculature underneath. Push-ups are free, available everywhere, easy to pack, and the perfect option for lift and anti-sag. As your pec (chest) muscles strengthen underneath the breast tissue, you will have the internal support to get the look and lift you want. Push-ups also strengthen the mid and upper back muscles, which will assist in holding you erect.

Posture Please for Perfect Plumpers

Another KEY component to keeping the girls (also now known as your “plumpers”) up while bringing the weight down is posture. Standing tall, proud, and extended instead of rounded or even slightly hunched is like losing five pounds visually in a nano-second.  If you want to assess your posture, try our quick test and check out the posts we link to in Look Younger and Thinner Instantly with Better Posture.

Kymberly pushupsStart On Your Knees to Keep You on Your Toes

Now when we recommend push-ups, we suggest you start with your hands and knees on the floor and aim for ten push-ups, three to five times a week for a couple of weeks. Get some good suggestions on knee to toe push ups here. From there, strive to whip out (no, not the plumpers, you rascal) fifteen push-ups. Once you are comfortable with fifteen knee push-ups, try five on your hands and toes and ten more on your hands and knees.

pussy cat push-ups aka puss-ups

Doin’ mah puss-ups!

Discover whether your push up form is fab or faulty by clicking our post, Push Ups: Wrong and Right Way

The goal is to work up to about twenty toe push-ups every other day. Give yourself two months or so to get to that goal. Not only will you see a positive difference in your cleavage, but also you will be on your way to weight loss and some pretty nice arms and posture. Locked and loaded!

Alexandra: What? Is that a math problem? If 5 push-ups are travelling toward 10 trains, at what speed will you crash on the carpet? Get a good bra and take a nap. Nah, get to work. Put a nice bowl of water on the floor and take a slurp each time you drop down on the push-ups. Not only will you know you dropped far enough down, but all that liquid will help your skin get ever so plumpy!

Awesome Action: When you are done with your water slurping and math accented push ups, subscribe to our blog. Get your FREEBIE download and active aging answers twice a week but only if you want to look, feel and move more youthfully!

 

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