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37

Hiking with the Leeches and Wildlife in Thailand

Travel to Thailand? You bet! Then we got to the jungle.

Both of us managed to set records on our first big hike in Thailand. Unfortunately.

Rocking the leech gaiters!

Rocking the leech gaiters!

It all started with what we thought was a 70 baht ($2.20) joke perpetrated on unsuspecting tourists. “Buy the leech socks from the Khao Yai National Park gift shop before you venture into the jungle,” advised our tour guide. Uh huh – good way to raise a little money, we thought.  But we dutifully bought them just in case.

Alexandra’s perspective: First off, let me say that I loved Thailand. Khao Yai National Park is beautiful. At this park we saw monkeys, an elephant and deer.

Wildlife, as opposed to vampiric, blood-sucking leeches, at Khao Yai

Wildlife, as opposed to vampiric, blood-sucking leeches, at Khao Yai

See how sweet and innocent they look? Exactly. It’s the tiny leech that’ll get you. It’s the Gollum of the jungle world. Nasssssty. We loved all our hikes in Thailand except this one! When the park ranger showed up in leech gaiters to lead our group, we knew it was no joke. We were nervous, but not anxious. That changed about 10 feet into the jungle when we saw leeches all over the wet ground, lurking and stalking us! Over the course of several hours and 8 kilometers, Kymberly won the leech count championship – she pulled 28 of them off her gaiters! Winning was not her goal. I “only” pulled 7 off me, but one was partially embedded on my wrist, sucking my AB+ blood by the gallons! I managed to stay calm while Kymberly scraped it off using my credit card (yes, I brought it along; they said knives and credit cards worked on leeches), but I’m pretty sure I hyperventilated for a while.

For the record, we did a lot of truly enjoyable hikes during our trip. I would happily repeat any of the other ones. For this particular hike, I think I’ll enjoy nature via a documentary or museum next time. P.S. Our guide (his name was Not) laughed at me and my whimpering ways! We definitely hope you get to travel to Thailand. And we’d go back. With our gaiters on.

DSCI1957

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I used my magic scraping stick to remove 28 leeches

DSCI1963

Should I wade through a leech-infested river or not? Do I actually have a choice?

The only good part of the hike - getting to the observation tower! Travel to Thailand

The best part of the hike – making it out of the jungle to the grassland and getting to the observation tower!

Thai People Make Travel to Thailand Memorable

Kymberly’s perspective: First off, the Thais are very honest and generous so we were way off base thinking they wanted our 70 baht for any reason but leech protection.  By the way, anyone want to buy a used pair of lifesaving sock gaiters? Only 80 baht.

Secondly, keep in mind that this jungle trek was designed as a wildlife viewing adventure. Once underway we saw a butterfly and lizard. The monkeys, deer, and elephant were along the road before and after our dangerous race through the leech death traps. Temperature – an oppressing 97 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity – high. Visibility – well the leeches could see us, and we saw them, but only once they were on us. Topography – up slope the first 4 kilometers, over hill and dale, through thick greenery, and across a stream. Sweaty, pretty, and a great work out. But not exactly relaxing or fun except for the part where Alexandra and I kept telling each other that we’d laugh about this one day. Or post about it at least. Ha ha ha ha pant pant puff puff glug water glug screeeeeaaam! Or as Alexandra pointed out, we should have stayed back at the Visitor’s Center and walked up and down the road to maximize wildlife viewing.

What Triggers Leeches to Fall on You?

And when I spotted the embedded leech on Alexandra, I felt particularly bad for her. Though she is one great hiker and a good sport, she is no nature girl. She and one other woman were the only two to have leeches suck on them. Overachiever! She did stay perfectly still when I told her “don’t panic, but….”  If you wonder why I am wearing a long-sleeved shirt with my hood pulled up, it’s simply a survival tactic. Apparently Thailand leeches climb, crawl, drop, and brush off on you.  I thought they were attracted to me because of the red Vasque Velocity trail shoes I had on or my scent. Turns out they are triggered by vibration. Clap clap to that!

Moral to this story: Venture on all the hikes that come your way in life and travels. For sure travel to Thailand. Unless high muslin socks are recommended. Cuz’ leeches really suck!

Am I safe from leeches this high up? Travel to Thailand

Are we safe from leeches this high up?

The leech that attacked Alexandra (as described by her) Travel to Thailand

The leech that attacked Alexandra (as described by her)

What a Thai leech really looks like (before it sucks you dry)

What a Thai leech really looks like (before it sucks you dry)

 

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Photo credits: Leech – Flickr. All others are by us.

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

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14

Yoga Offers Freedom, Even From Internment Camp Hardships

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Yoga Legacy, Phyllis PilgrimWhat can yoga do for you, especially if you face challenges, stress, and negative forces? What if you had spent 3 1/2 years in a Japanese prison camp as a child? Could yoga help rid your mind and body from such experiences? Yoga and meditation master teacher, Phyllis Pilgrim is living proof of the healing power of yoga.  Her story is so inspirational that we interviewed her for our Fun and Fit radio show.

Rancho la Puerta entry door

Enter Rancho la Puerta through these doors to Balance, Compassion, and Yoga

We met Phyllis 28 years ago when we were newbie guest instructors at Rancho la Puerta Fitness Resort, located just south of the border in Tecate, Mexico. At the time we knew her as the Group Fitness Director and well loved and respected yoga teacher. But we knew very little about yoga except that it seemed for the fringe and oohie woohie sorts, nor that Phyllis had lived in many countries and through war horrors. She was always so nurturing, funny, warm, and positive that we never imagined her history. That fact alone bespeaks the effect that yoga and meditation can have.

The Hidden Passport

The Hidden Passport

Bring some of those same positive feelings into your practice by listening to Phyllis’s story.  Can’t wait to listen?  Click on the radio episode and finish reading this post later. Not only will you appreciate what yoga can do to improve your life, but also you’ll get a kick out Phyllis’s sense of humor and English “elocution.” Then read the book she wrote of her childhood prison experiences, The Hidden Passport, which was easy to read and fast paced.

Given the hardships and cruelty she faced as a child imprisoned in Japanese war camps, Phyllis is especially appreciative of the ways yoga brought joy and awareness back into her life. “Yoga offers Balance, Compassion,and Gratitude,” she asserts.  “Yoga is not just what you do; it’s also who you are.” Some of the benefits yoga or meditation include:

  • finding more compassion for yourself
  • appreciating your body and mind
  • embracing change more effectively
Find Your Way

Find Your Way at Rancho la Puerta

Looking for the ultimate yoga or guided meditation treat? Head to Rancho la Puerta, a place we hold near and dear to our hearts. Take Phyllis’s classes in person. Discover an entire range of fitness classes, hikes, cardio workouts, art classes, and top quality instructors. (Side note: if you are thinking of going to “the Ranch” let us know as we can save you $250).

Please click to visit us at FunandFit.org, subscribe to our YouTube Channel, and follow us on twitter: @KymberlyFunFit and @AlexandraFunFit.  See our instagram pics at: @KymberlyFunFit and @AlexandraFunFit. We follow back!

We were not compensated in any way for this post.  Our goal is for you to listen to our radio show and have a healthier, happier life.  For more on yoga, take a look at our post, Yoga: For Flexibility? Weight Loss? Animals?

51

I Am Awesome: You Can’t Fake Awesome

Alexandra Williams, MA

I just walked (and ran a bit) the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco. I will pause for a moment before letting you know how completely AWESOME and AMAZING that makes me!

Waiting for the start of the half marathon

Sure, lots of people have done full marathons, running no less, but none of them were me! I don’t run. I hate running. I loved soccer. For soccer, I ran. Then I had an injury that left my knee hanging on just by skin! I was 38 and the doctor said that was old. I gave the doc my best stink eye when he said that. This summer I had to get my big toe joint fused; again, related to an old soccer injury. And I’m 16 years older than the knee injury (did you just stop for the math?). My chronological age is set according to my birth date, but my physical age is whatever I do to take care of my body and mind.

The Sleepover Girls Danced to Cheer us On

Sometime in August, I was invited by Yurbuds (They make earphones that stay in your ears. They are designed specifically for women. They are amazing and come in fab colors) to participate in the race. I said yes, mostly as a way to set a surgery recovery goal for myself, thinking “If it works out, fine. If it doesn’t, that’s fine too.” But as the race got closer, I realized I actually wanted to challenge myself to train and finish the half marathon.

Inspire for Women

Stupid would have been aiming for running or a full marathon. Smart was aiming for something difficult, yet achievable and safe for my foot (and knee).

I Rule!

I can. I did. I will again.

It’s really hard to say why I trained and then walked a full 13.1 miles (I even beat the time I had set for myself), because I don’t truly know. It’s hard to know why I started crying at the finish line, because I’m not particularly sentimental. It’s even hard to understand why I might do it again even though it was outside of my comfort level. Maybe I just wanted to prove that injuries and surgeries and aging don’t mean I’m limited; they mean I choose new directions and challenges. Nike lost my race time, but I know what it was. It was ME time! Look at the smile on my face in these pictures – I’m having fun because I am a winner. It feels good to be a winner.

That Lion Didn't Stand a Chance, 'Cause I Roar Louder!

I truly am grateful to Yurbuds and FitFluential for the opportunity to join the 25,000 other winning women of all ages who ran and walked in the marathon. I would never have considered doing a half marathon prior to receiving their invitation. I wish you could see the cool t-shirt they gave me, but sadly, I put it into the bag I picked up for another runner and it’s now on its way back to me via the postal system. Our mail carrier’s truck caught on fire, so the mail got burned. But that’s another story. You can at least see the headband and bright lime green earphones Yurbuds gave me.

Granny Smith Apple Green

I listen to Adele singing “Set Fire to the Rain” on them because I set fire to the race course, even though it was misty and rainy!

Music to My Marathon Ears

After the race, I discovered that Yurbuds had an oxygen station. I sat on a stool and breathed in the scents of berries and citrus.

Happy Scents for the Senses

I wish for you the same kind of satisfaction and joy that comes from taking on a new challenge. It’s cool to be a winner. But of course, you already know that!

Crossed The Finish Line

Photo credits: me. I took them with my iPhone. 

Yurbuds provided me with the entry invitation to the marathon, plus they gave me the green earphones shown above. All opinions and song preferences are my own!

6

Unmentioned Benefits of Working Out: Guest Post

Guest Post from Taylor Ryan whom you can find at The Art of Weight Lifting

I am so excited to be writing this post! I have been a long time reader of Alexandra and Kymberly, and I feel honored to have the opportunity to write for them! Thanks ladies!

As a personal trainer it is my job not only to deliver amazing workouts to my clients but also to do my best at “implanting the workout seed” into their lives. I love when people work out not just because they have 15 pounds to lose by their next vacation but because they want to live a healthier lifestyle and genuinely enjoy the feeling that exercise brings them.

Okay, so if you’re not an avid gym goer, you might be saying “what’s there to enjoy about working out?” We all know exercise burns calories, helps you tone up, and be healthier. But these are things you would respond with “well, no duh!”

So today, I present some of the amazing benefits of working out that you maybe haven’t heard about that will make you say “oh, cool!”

5  Benefits Of Exercise You May Not Have Heard of:

  1. Radiant Skin. Most women associate working out with breakouts and greasy skin, but it’s quite the opposite. Sweat is one of the best ways to naturally clean your skin. In fact, it helps to naturally push oil and dirt out of pores and is proven to help decrease acne and blemishes. Sweating is a natural detox method for the body. But it is important to wash your skin post workout so that the oil and dirt don’t settle back into pores as this would defeat the purpose.
  1. Improved intimacy. Exercise helps in this department for several reasons, all of which are motivating. For one, according to a study published by the University of Arkansas, people who exercise regularly feel more confident and more desirable than those that don’t. This allows women to be more relaxed with their partner without feeling judged. Also, of course exercise helps to improve endurance and strength both of which are proven to be beneficial in the bedroom. The bottom line, aim to get just 20 minutes of exercise in most days of the week and you might be surprised how this affects other activities in your life.
  1. Change your genes for the better. As we are able to study gene expression we are able to learn what factors affect the genes that get passed from generation to generation. Factors such as diet, stress and yes, exercise all can influence what genes are expressed. It sounds complicated but here is something that isn’t: a recent study published by Harvard discovered that an hour of exercise most days of the week can actually help cut genetic tendencies towards obesity, making it less likely for your body to want to hold onto fat and making it less likely that those “obesity genes” would be passed down should you have kids.
  1. Forget about colds. Okay so maybe from time to time you will still catch the occasional cold. However following a regular exercise program can cut your chances of catching a cold by as much as a third. While most people catch 2-3 colds or upper respiratory infections a year, regular fitness lovers may experience 0-1, according to a study from Loughborough University. Though intensity matters, the same research also shows that too much exercise, such as training for a marathon, can weaken your immune system so it’s important to keep your workouts to a moderate and healthy level if preventing a cold is a goal.
  1. Be forever young. Everyone is looking for a way to live longer and look younger. Well, instead of looking to expensive potions, pills and shakes, look to your fitness shoes. All the health benefits of exercise (improved heart, lungs, decreased chance of cancer, and better genes) all come together to help you live a longer, healthier life.

Now is the time to get moving. No more excuses. If you are already following a regular workout plan then you can smile knowing the amazing things you’re doing for your body.  Sure weight loss is important and a great motivator but isn’t it refreshing to see all the other benefits you can get?

Guest Author Bio:
Taylor Ryan is a NASM certified personal trainer and owner of a women’s boot camp in Charleston, SC where she lives with her husband. She also is the head trainer of the women’s only community The Art of Weight Lifting.

Photos provided and paid for via Taylor Ryan from www.stockphoto.com

 

35

Exercise Kindness

Alexandra Williams, MA

Today’s post is serious in nature, yet hopeful. You see that MA listed after my name up there? It’s for my advanced degree in Counseling, with an emphasis on Marriage and Family. I got it because I had so many fitness students come to me with issues beyond my scope and I wanted to be more informed.

Hugs are Free in Every Language

In systems theory (my type of counseling) we believe that no one operates in isolation; what one person does affects the next. We should probably call it “ripple theory.” This week I’ve seen a very sad example of these ripples. A friend of my niece’s died this week. She was only 19. She was also a twin.

A lot of people are devastated. As a friend of mine said, “This is a special kind of hell.” As a twin and a mom, I cannot fathom the amount of despair that her family feels, especially her twin, whose identity is now changed forever.

Why am I writing all this on a blog about healthy living? Because I believe that all of us have a responsibility to reach out to those who have fallen out of health, both physical and mental. You do not need to have special training to be kind, smile at others, share a hug, or just listen.

I was quoted in an article the other day as saying the one thing I always bring with me to class is a smile. This is intentional. I work with college students and people in their 80s, two groups prone to stress, loneliness and depression. When I show up to class I have no way of knowing what the students had to do just to get there. I just know that they are there and that there is something they need that they’re getting from the class. Maybe all they need is to earn a credit to graduate, but maybe it’s the one time of the week they get to see a friendly face.

Please be the friendly face when you’re on your run, or in your class, or at the weight station, or working out to a DVD while your kids play in the background. Whether you believe it or not, you are a role model. Maybe you’ll only be told once in your life that you made a huge difference to someone, but since you don’t know when that once will be, try to be kind each and every day.

One of my professors in grad school had a saying, “When people are at their most unlovable is when they need love the most.”

I’ve been hugging my kids all week long because I’m scared. Scared that I can’t keep them safe always. Scared that they’ll think the way it is in high school is the way it will always be. Scared that I can’t protect them from hurt and pain and bad accidents. But I know I’m not really supposed to do that. But what I can do is make them feel wanted.

People, go out and make someone feel wanted. As to me, I’m off to send a “love ya” text to my kids.

Photo credits: Creative Commons:  B.girlpink (Love) and  wdroops (Abracos)

24

11 Random, Yet Enticing, Tidbits about Alexandra

By Alexandra Williams, MA

I was tagged by Tara Burner and a few other bloggers (sorry, but I got overtired and forgot exactly who the 3 others were) to do a post sharing 11 random things about myself. I normally don’t like to share…unless it involves raw mushrooms, in which case I will share ALL of them, but I can’t disappoint my friends, so this is my contribution. This chain mail blog post tag hootchiemagootchie is in 3 parts: 1. Share 11 things about myself. I get to choose. 2. Answer the questions given to me by Tara. 3. Write my own set of 11 questions then tag 11 of my suckers friends. They have to then write a post and answer MY questions.

My Random Life has been Fun so Far

And awaaaaay we go:
Eleven random things about myself:
1. I am the shortest of 5 children.
2. I get vertigo when too stressed.
3. My children are ethical and compassionate. This means I did a good job as a mom.
4. I used to be a DJ on a radio station in Santa Barbara County. Ralph Story complimented me. He’s dead now. It’s not because of me.
5. I love disco. Get over it.
6. I wish I’d known how adorable I was back when I was.
7. Some woman has been stalking me for years. She says she’s my twin.
8. I’m the same size I was in high school. I suspect sizing has changed.
9. I went water skiing when I was 16 and my bathing suit top fell off. Needless to say, I let go of the rope and stayed in the water until my 30s.
10. I feel sad when my younger son isn’t included in things.
11. Being up on a stage with a microphone is really fun for me.

These are the questions I was asked by Tara Burner
1. Juice? Coffee? or Tea?
Is this the part where I get to strut my stuff in the airplane and say, “Or me?” Giving me caffeine is about the same as giving me mint mojitos and Bailey’s – I just talk faster, tell bad jokes, and twitch wildly when handsome guys go by. So, um, that would be tea.

2. What’s your favorite food?
Well, the thing I chew on the most is my fingernails, so do they count as food? If not, maybe freshly baked bread. I like anything fresh (you hear that, Colin Firth?).

3. Do you have any hidden talents?
No, all my talents are well-publicized. Mostly by me. On bathroom walls. I suppose my master’s in counseling might be hidden. Or maybe suppressed. What does that say about my relationship with my train set? And I can speak parts of a number of languages.

4. Have you ever hitch-hiked?
Yes. It did not go well. It involved police and a pervert. They were not one and the same.

5. What’s your favorite workout program?
Any program where I outlast my 20-year-old students and they get that look of awe, respect, and fear in their eyes!

6. Do you experience road rage or just drive in peace?
I drive in peace, but those other drivers are idiots.

7. Favorite place to vacation?
In my head. Every day. Ohhhhhhmmmmmmm. Or the Netherlands. Or the nether regions of my brain. But it’s windy there.

8. Are you spontaneous or like a schedule?
I’m answering this one out of order just to prove I’m spontaneous. Next I’ll mix coffee with a mint mojito, just to see what happens. Then I’ll spontaneously throw up most likely. And I’m not “like a schedule” although I do follow one.

9. Meat eater? vegetarian? vegan?
I eat vegans. Actually, I’m a vegetarian. If it has legs and a face, I don’t eat it.

10. Pets?
Yes, I like to be petted. A feel would be nice too. Just kidding. Don’t touch me, ya weirdo, or I’ll sic my dog and 3 cats on you. My cat Ella is spontaneous. She falls asleep in the sink. And leaves dead lizards and snakes where she knows I’ll step on them. Pets are mean that way.

11. Makeup? or natural?
I didn’t make up anything in this post. It all came to me naturally. While I was shaving my legs and buying Chanel lipstick. That’s my secret indulgence that I didn’t mention above. It was a secret until just now.

And, these are my questions for
Nora dePalma
Todd Vendituoli
Nick Lovelady
Bob Borson

Ginny Powell
Matthew Poster
Brian Kelley
Courtney Alev
Kris Beal
XLMIC
Alfonso Moretti

1. What was your favorite subject in high school?
2. What makes you laugh?
3. If you had to describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be?
4. What is one thing you wish you had never done in your life?
5. What is one thing you’ve done that you’re 100% sure was the right choice?
6. What’s one place you’ve never been that you want to visit?
7. Steam or sauna?
8. Have you ever been on a blind date? If so, how did it go?
9. Push-ups or planks?
10. What is your worst cooking disaster?
11. If you had to give a one-sentence toast to your beloved, what would it be?

Tag Rules:
1. Post these rules in your post.
2. Post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions set for you in the tagger’s post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag.
5. Go to the blogs of the people you’ve tagged to tell them they’ve been tagged.
6. You legitimately and actively have to tag 11 people. No saying “you are tagged if you are reading this.”

26

11 Random Fitnessy Things About Kymberly

Alexandra and I got “tagged” the other day by our friend and fellow fitness blogger, Tara Burner. Welcome to the online version of chain mail. No way do I want to be the one who triggers 7 years of weight gain.

Here’s the gig: the tagged person (Exhibit Myself)  is to write a post (Exhibit This One), list 11 random things about oneself, answer 11 questions posed by aforementioned Tara The Tagger; then ask our own 11 questions of 11 people we tag. Pass the chain mail love dish please! I got a workout just following all those instructions. So here goes: My TMI moment. Since (Exhibit A for) Alexandra is out of town, this is the perfect time to mess around. And fair warning given — she was tagged as well so y’all come back now, Ya hear?

11 Random Things About Me, Me, All Me (How are you enjoying the east coast, sissie?)

  1. Since this is a fitness blog, I arbitrarily make up my own rules. So all random items will be fitness oriented.
  2. In 30 years of teaching group exercise, I have fallen off the stage twice. One of those times I was 9 months pregnant.
  3. When shooting a live tv show about pool exercise I once twisted out of my cross-tied, one piece bathing suit when showing a move from the deck. Ratings did not go up. My bodacious ta-tas sure did though.
  4. I almost got a speeding ticket for choreographing a routine while driving. As the beats and moves got faster, so did my gas pedal foot. Confessing this to the cop made him laugh and put away his ticket book. Honesty pays!
  5. If I teach a class before 8:30 am I cannot sleep well the night prior as I worry about missing the wake-up time.
  6. I truly LOVE the people who come to my classes. Except that one lady.
  7. If I take a class and the teacher is off the 8 or 32 count, it drives me bonkers.
  8. When I taught fitness on a cruise ship that embarked from Hamburg, I made it but my luggage didn’t. My clothes, fitness gear, toiletries – everything! – joined me 3 days later on a special drop off near the Arctic Circle.
  9. The first time I ever heard of “aerobics” was in 1978, when a friend asked whether I’d like to join her in this “dance type class where you move the whole hour without stopping and get really breathless, but it helps you lose weight.” I looked at her like she was crazeee and asked “why the heck would I want to do that?”
  10.  One day I got two notes about me in the same comment box: 1) “Kymberly is the worst teacher on the entire schedule” and 2) “Kymberly is the best teacher on the staff.” Obviously Kymberly is the most schizophrenic teacher.
  11. I love disco music and disco moves. Yes, I could happily work out to disco tunes and Turn The Beat Around through the Last Dance cuz I’m Staying Alive.

My answers to the 11 questions posed by  Tara Burner who tagged me.

Warrior Pose by Kymberly

(Darn you Burner! I will find you and make you pay, you vixen!):

1. Juice? Coffee? or Tea?
Thai Iced Tea, 100% juice watered down  (no “juice beverage”). If I drank coffee with caffeine, it would be like giving oxygen to a FIYAH.
2. What’s your favorite food?
Whatever good chefs cook for me from healthy, fresh, nutrient-dense ingredients
3. Do you have any hidden talents?
If I told you they would not be hidden.  Ok, ok, sewing and restoring historic houses
4. Have you ever hitchhiked?
Once and it was once too often
5. What’s your favorite workout program?
A well-taught advanced step class with fun, challenging choreography. Or a dance-oriented cardio workout such as Qignition.
6. Do you experience road rage or just drive in peace?
“Get out of my way you slow poke dumba$$!”  I drive in peace. Take me to your leader.
7. Favorite place to vacation?
Depends. Who’s paying? I love discovering new places.
8. Are you spontaneous or do you like a schedule?
I prefer a schedule that allows for some spontaneity
9. Meat eater? vegetarian? vegan?
Meat eater seasoned with hints of verging vegetarian.
10. Pets?
Always! Pooosy cats Zorro and Bella; Black Lab puppy Kila (Hawaiian for “seal”)
11. Makeup? or natural?
Somewhere in between. Refer to Question #3.

Questions for those I tag. Passing that dish of love to background music Chains, Chains, Chains, Chains of Love

Kymberly at Rancho la Puerta

  1. Favorite blog post you have written? Title and link please.
  2. Why is it your fave?
  3. On a 1-10 scale, 1 = totally a couch potato who never moves; 10 = ready for the Olympics, where do you rate your current fitness level?
  4. What annoys you most: bad grammar, bad punctuation, bad photos/images?
  5. What is the wackiest or lamest excuse you have ever used to get out of a workout?
  6. What is the lamest or most outlandish excuse you have ever use to get out of a social event?
  7. What is your preferred workout place – home, club, outdoors, in your dreams? Other?
  8. Favorite book that was turned into a movie?
  9. Favorite (or handiest) motivational quote?
  10. What do you think “qi” means?
  11. What question do you wish I had asked?

Rules for Tagees:

  • Post these rules in your post.
  • Post 11 random things about yourself. (They do not have to relate to fitness at all)
  • Answer the questions set for you in the tagger’s post.
  • Create 11 new questions for the people you tag.
  • Go to the blogs of the people you’ve tagged to tell them they’ve been tagged.
  • You legitimately and actively have to tag 11 people. No saying “you are tagged if you are reading this.

Tag, you’re it:

* Denise Wakeman   Slim People in Progress http://www.slim-people.com/ or http://denisewakeman.com/
* Life Lessons Halfway Through http://life-lessons-halfway-through.blogspot.com/p/about-me.html
* John Poole  http://birminghampoint.co/blog/
* Lacy, Modern Sauce  http://modernsauce.blogspot.com/
* Jody Goldenfield http://www.truth2beingfit.com/
* Megan Merchant http://meganmerchantsblog.blogspot.com/
* Ron Fritzke http://cycling-review.com/
* Toneka Pires http://embraceu.com/
* Margo Donahue, BrooklynFitChik  http://brooklynfitchick.typepad.com/brooklyn-fit-chick/
* Evelyn Parham, Become a Healthier You http://evelynparham.com/
* Rebekah Borucki, Bex Life   http://www.bexlife.com/

8

Patriot Push-Ups Challenge Round Up

by Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

January 2012 is now over, which means the Patriot Push-Ups Challenge is now over…sort of. Before we explain the “sort of,” let’s recap what the challenge is.

Come on, only 210 to go!

Joe Evans, Matthew Poster and Alexandra started talking on Twitter about honoring our U.S. servicemen and women who were killed in action in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. We decided to do a Patriot Push-Ups Challenge. That meant 6,347 push-ups in the 31 days of January. We’ll do the math for you – it’s essentially 212 per day.

Halfway through the Patriot Push-Ups, we highlighted some of the participants. Now we shall show you some video of a few of our very dedicated participants. You’ll want to read all the way through!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoWVuDpVkR4[/youtube]

This is Joe Evans. We think he did all of them on his toes. At something like 4 in the morning. He is a military man. He is very disciplined. Chat with him on Twitter.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c04nHXwXQJU&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]

This is Matthew Poster. He has been encouraging families to get active for a long time. Chat with him on Twitter about his GetFitSu workout cards.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIjEeJcye0s[/youtube]

And this is Chuck Runyon. He owns Anytime Fitness. They donated a one-year membership to one of our challengers. When Chuck isn’t doing push-ups, he’s touring the country, talking about his book Working Out Sucks. But you know, it’s all relative. We think the 6,347 men and women who died on our behalf would much rather work out and be alive. They were killed in action. Honor them – don’t kill yourself from inaction!

Now we’ll explain what the “sort of ” alluded to at the start means: Although we’re done with the January push-ups, we are going to switch over to #PatriotAbs for February. Since it has only 29 days in the month, that means 219 per day. Please join us by commenting below. If you’re on Twitter, use the Patriot Abs hashtag listed here.

And finally…please help us congratulate Angela (@KidsHusbandandI). She is the winner of the one-year Anytime Fitness membership. She did her push-ups very diligently as she was quite motivated (even with a bad shoulder). As she said, “My motivation for doing the push-ups is to show my appreciation for the US Troops that gave the ultimate sacrifice.  My father is a Vietnam Veteran and I will always hold a special place in my heart for our soldiers.  As soon as I read the push-ups idea, I knew it was something I would do.”

 

Photo Credit: Robert Couse-Baker via Creative Commons

5

Fitness Secrets and Details Revealed About K & A

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Once upon a time there was a princess who cleverly disguised herself as “Brooklyn Fit Chick.” She had the good fortune (some say she was cursed, but this is our blog, so hesh up!) to make the acquaintance of two A-DOOOOOOR-ABLE twins, Kymberlicious and Alexandretta (names are cleverly disguised for no real reason). Princess Brooklyn Fit Chick (BFC) asked to interview these two magical, mystical, maniacal soosters and get to the bottom (or top) of their journey through the fitness realm.

Their interview replies–first posted on BFC’s blog— have been preserved for all time throughout the land … so stick around and partake of the plethora of pithiness.

BFC: Twins, how do you like to be properly addressed?

Alexandra in her younger days but still older than K

A: I never like to be properly addressed; improperly addressed is a lot more fun! But I go by Alexandra. On Twitter I am @AlexandraFunFit.

K: Please address me as “Kymberly, the much younger twin” aka @KymberlyFunFit or Kymberly Williams-Evans.”

Kymberly a certain number of ell-bees ago

BFC: What is the name of your magazine, class, program, or blog?
A: The name of our blog is “Alexandra is Infinitely More Interesting than Her Stinky Sister Kymberly.” For short we call it Fun and Fit.

BFC: How would you describe it to someone who has not read it before?
A: For people who have not read our blog before, tell them it’s lots of naked pictures of us from our college days. For those who have read our blog before, it’s more of a lighthearted look at fitness, exercise and good health, backed up by current research. We answer fitness questions from real people, create videos to enhance readers’ workout results, do reviews of stuff we find interesting, and post inspirational stories about people who have made a healthier life for themselves. Once in a while, we do weird stuff, such as smash strawberries all over ourselves, but that’s only when Kymberly forgets to provide proper supervision!
K: What we really do with our blog is wait by the phone for people to call and hire us as speakers, emcees, or writers once they see how edu-taining we are. tick tick tick. Rrrring! Oh yay! Gotta go. Phone is ringing!

BFC: How did you get interested in writing?
A: I got interested in writing about 20 years ago when I discovered you can get paid for it. I didn’t realize they meant in zlotys! Besides, my brain goes too fast for my tongue so I need another way to get my thoughts out as my tongue was exhausted.
K: My start in writing hearkens back to high school, when I discovered I could tussle with words and win! Since then I have been writing non-fiction of all sorts. Our Fun and Fit blog is the first place and time I have co-written with what’s her sissie, Alexandra. She cracks me up so I has me some reel fun writin’ wid her!

BFC: What is your favorite workout?

Clive Owen

Clive. Call me. I said "Please."

Colin Firth

Colin, I have been drooling on you since "Pride & Prejudice"

A: My absolute favorite workout is the one someone else does. Why should I have to do all the sweating? But I love soccer, step and walking. Er, um, I don’t actually play soccer anymore, but I still have delusions of a fabulous soccer career! If my parole officer weren’t looking, I’d say that my favorite workout involves Clive Owen or Colin Firth – curse that restraining order!
K: My favorite workout is Advanced Step with complex choreography and a skilled group fitness instructor. My second favorite workout is any power walk in beautiful scenery. My third fave is on a cardio machine with my headphones on watching “Dancing With the Stars.” My fourth favorite workout is the one I’ll be doing when DWTS calls Alexandra and me to appear as their first set of twin contestants! (Pick up the phone NOW DWTS people! How hard does a person have to hint around here?!)

BFC: Who are your “fitness heroes?”
A: My fitness heroes are all from the fitness industry: Len Kravitz, Aileen Sheron, Fred Hoffman, Carrie Ekins – they all are ehhhhh-xcellent at what they do and they make it accessible for everyone. FYI, Len is actually a researcher and professor; he hasn’t taught classes since the 80s. So I guess I’ve been tracking his action for a while.
K: My fitness heroes are the people who take my group exercise classes. They come every week with great attitudes, energy, willingness to work hard, and fun personalities! I am on the schedule to be in class; they could have stayed home, but they came to move and groove with me instead.

BFC: The biggest physical challenge you have overcome?
A: Shoving Kymberly out of my way at press conferences. And knee replacement surgery. That sucked. Shoving my sister is way more fun!
K: I am tempted to say “holding my ground while A tries to elbow me out of the way,” but my biggest physical challenge really is staying active after two knee surgeries.  My soccer and running days may be over, but I am thinking of finding a knee-friendly sport and entering the National Senior Games.   Once I am old enough, I mean……. AND right after Alexandra and I compete in DWTS (ABC — you have a second chance here!)

BFC: Besides your blog posts, what are you favorite reads?
A: I like to read my laundry tags so I’ll know if I’m doing the laundry right. Otherwise I get laundry guilt–very traumatizing. I have some blogs I love – lifeofanarchitect, coffeewithanarchitect, modernsauce, kittenagogo, lifelessonshalfwaythrough. – because they are funny and poignant.
K: I LOVE reading lots and oodles, so it’s hard to narrow this down. I am going through a phase right now reading about the connection between the brain and movement: “Incognito,” “The Brain That Changes Itself,” “Prime-Time Health,” The Magnificent Mind,” and “Spark.” I also love reading whatever my sister writes, especially if it’s a check to me!

BFC: What is your favorite TV guilty pleasure?
K: Favorite tv show? Duh, Dancing With the Stars, unless they don’t call to get Fun and Fit on the show. Then it’s any soccer game that happens to be airing, especially if it’s Women’s World Cup USA action with Hope Solo, as then I get both soccer AND a Season 13 contestant all in one.

BFC: If you could trade places with a specific person from any time in history for one day, who would it be and why?
A: I’d trade places with any of my former bosses so that I could give myself a big honkin’ raise.
K: How fun could this be? Sooooo, I would either want to trade a day with an upper class Victorian woman from London who wields enough clout to have some independence. She could enjoy my life for a day seeing how far women have progressed since Victorian times. Motivating for her; interesting for me!  Orrrrr, trade with myself in high school and kick some butt from my more mature perspective. Plus I’d make some investments using my magic time travel knowledge so that I’d come back to now with serious moolah and “visionary” real estate purchases.

BFC: How do you motivate yourself when your mind & body are saying “Ugh, not today?”
A: I say, “How can I embarrass my teen sons if I don’t stay one step ahead of them?”
K: After having read the books I mentioned above, I think of the effects on my brain and intelligence that exercise confers and that motivates me to giddy up.  I want to be a mentally with-it older person one day. Heck, knowing how much exercise helps brain power, I am motivated to motivate my husband, daughter, and nephews to exercise as well. You can imagine how FUN I am at those moments. They love my helpful nagging encouragement.

BFC: What’s your favorite place in the world to chill out?
A: Inside a cathedral with great acoustics when the choir is practicing. Then I can sing along.
K: Outside the cathedral with the doors closed. Meeeeoooowww — are those caterwauling cats I hear or a certain “A” personage?  Or snorkeling anywhere with calm, warm water and lots of marine life.

Something to complain about

Ah, quit yer bitching!

BFC: Who/what makes you laugh when you need a mood lift?
A: I have a few weird friends who will text me or send me tweets that are hysterical. But if they’re not around, I go to my friends’ blogs and post snarky comments. That always cheers me up. Oh, by the way, check your inbox!
K: My daughter, my husband, and the older adults in my Friday “Senior Strength and Cardio” class crack me up almost as much as Alexandra does.  Gotta admit I also love the “Jon Stewart Show,” “Steve Colbert Report,” and “Whose Line is it Anyway?” That’s my final line, and I’m sticking with it!

Photo credits: Creative Commons and the dusty archives of A & K.

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6

I Lost Over 370 Pounds: The Story of Steve Nicander

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
 

At the recent IDEA World Fitness Convention, we met Steve Nicander, who has followed keynote speaker, Dr. Daniel Amen’s program to improve his brain and body. Who is Steve, you wonder? A remarkable man who made a decision that would keep him alive. To do this, he had to shed several people…sort of. He shed enough weight to total several people!

A few short years ago, Steve weighed just below 650 pounds! That is not a typo – he weighed just under SIX HUNDRED FIFTY pounds!

Steve weighed a LOT

Steve at 638 pounds

No, he was NOT comfortable. Nor was he happy. He was suicidal and depressed. But….Steve is a determined cuss. After a trip to the hospital, he made a decision to turn his life around – back toward life and away from the death he knew was near. At the start, he couldn’t even get out of  his chair. So he moved his feet and legs. Eventually he lost 175 pounds! Once he could stand, he started walking, then bike riding. Steve has lost over 370 pounds and is still losing weight and gaining muscle strength. We’ll let him tell and show you right here:

So, what do you think? Could you do what Steve did? What if your life depended on it? And did you even know that a person could have 50 pounds worth of skin?

Here is the Summer of 2011 Steve:

Steve in August 2011

Inspire the World to Fitness

If you want to know more about Steve, and follow him in his journey, check out his site. Be inspired. Get moving.

Photo Credits: Steve Nicander