1. No-one else is at the gym. People are all out shopping and eating on the run, which means you can run on the treadmills and ellipticals without having to wait. And the gym trainers will be more available to help you figure out how those totally confusing computer programs work on the machines. Yeah, I’ve been teaching for over 25 years, but still do not know how to program the cursed treadmills. Damn things buck me off every time – video to prove it! * * (Stay posted for that video in a future post)
2. It’s cold in December. Exercise makes you warm. Just ask our friend Scott over at Your Inner Skinny. He lives in the part of Canada that no-one goes to on purpose, and it’s currently -42C, which is something like -3,956 in Fahrenheit. So get moving, you’ll warm up. Hug sweaty Canadians! Then steal their down parkas.
3. It’s the gifting season, and what better gift is there than making yourself healthier, which means you’ll probably live longer, and your kids will have you around for a long time, and you’ll be able to do stuff with them without getting exhausted, and your insurance will cost less, and you’ll feel and look better and you’ll get so strong and energetic that you’ll have the strength to read this very long, “make your high school English teacher crazy” run-on sentence.
4. Your stress levels will go down. Yup, exercise reduces stress. Even if you’re “downright out of shape,” as this Mayo Clinic article states. Holiday Season = Stress Hits the Up Elevator. Exercise = Stress Hits the Down Elevator. So basically, if you are a fan of higher math like I am, that means December will be just as relaxing as the beach in July once you start exercising.
5. You can get a good spot in the group exercise classes before the New Year’s crowd gets in the room. And everyone is in a festive mood, so they’ll be even more welcoming than usual. Instructor ad right here – professional group fitness instructors are always welcoming, and they set a good example for “their” students, so in truth you’ll be welcomed year-round. But they’ll share their eggnog and smile when they ask your name in December.
6. You will avoid the somewhat unrealistic (cough, cough) expectation that you can get fit on the morning of December 31st in time for the evening’s party. Much more realistic (as in “not really”) is to start a wee bit sooner. Since you can safely sustain a weight loss of 1 ½ to 2 pounds per week, if you start today you will be about 6 or 7 pounds lighter by New Year’s. If you’re thinking, “Hey, my goal is 35 pounds. What good is 6 or 7,” my answer is this – you’ll be 1/6th (oh, crap, math again. Yes, I estimated) of the way there. But, your outlook and how you feel will be 75% of the way there, because research (our BFF) says that you will start to view yourself as an exerciser, which means your habits will change to meet that self-image. In straight-talk, that means you’ll feel like a total hottie at the party. That is way cool!
7. You will save money. You will have more energy. You will look better. You will feel better. You will meet a lot of cool people. Your math skills will improve. You’ll get an end of year tax deduction…One of these may be false. Hint: Exercise makes you smarter, so it’s actually quite possible your math skills will improve. For example, I was going to write 10 Reasons, but got bogged down when I carried the 1, multiplied the 0, subtracted the junk food, added the Lycra and Voila!!!, ended up with 7 Reasons!
Remember December as the month you did the Zoom Zoom for your Boom Boom! If you come to Santa Barbara, we’ll even let you into our classes for free!
Dear Reader: What reason to start exercising now would you add to this list?
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA & Alexandra Williams, MA
So we’re going to suggest a few gifts that are fitness and health related. Suuuur-prise, suuur-prise!
First up is Angie Miller’s “Crave Results” strength and cardio DVD. Here at the Fun and Fit ranch, we are sticklers for good form, technique, knowledge, modifications, progressions and attention to the latest research.
Alexandra: Angie does an excellent job incorporating:
I’d move the static stretches from the warm-up over to the cool-down, but that’s essentially my only quibble with it. I am a huge fan of substance, safety and effectiveness, and “Crave Results” is a workout I definitely recommend. And I rarely say that. You can get it at Angie’s site for $19.99, plus the cost of hand weights and the optional resistance tube.
Alexandra: The holidays are associated with food, and we are not here to change that. But there’s no culture rule that says holiday food has to be crap! Pure Bliss Eats treats are organic, healthful and oh-so-appealing. If I told you the ingredients, you’d think, “Oh, a health food with stuff I never heard of.” So instead I’ll tell you the names of a few of the treats: Instant Boost Chocolate Balls, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins, Apple Spice Granola, and even Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins. My package is arriving soon, so you just know I’ll be posting pictures of myself eating up with a smile! I just made up a new motto for these: “Get the good without the guilt.” After you try them, let me know if you agree!
Kymberly: We would be amiss (or two misses; or is that a hit and a miss, with me being the “hit”?) if we did not mention the ultimate stocking stuffer–our digital and e-books: “73 Exercise Quotes to Help You Get and Stay in Shape,” the companion e-book, 63 Motivational Quotes to Help You Get and Stay in Shape,” and “Mind Your Fitness,” another collection of motivational sayings, exhortations, quotes, and “blurbs,” co-published with another FitFluential Ambassador pal, Heather Frey of SmashFit. So if you are looking for gifts under $5 or even under $2, then odds are good you will stay on track and under budget with these babies!
These gift ideas sort of cover Fitness, Feeling Good and Food! We weren’t paid anything to share our opinions, although we’ll happily do sponsored posts (and just as happily give our frank, professional opinions). We did receive a free review copy of Angie Miller’s “Crave Results” DVD.
Photo credits: AngieMillerFitness.com, PureBlissEats.com and peppersprayingcop.tumblr.com
Readers, go-getters, and go-givers: What’s on your gift list?
By Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Alexandra: Hold on a sec. What do you mean by “literal” brain growth? Is there some other type of brain growth? Are you saying if you exercise, you will have an “exceptionally large mind?”
K: Yes, I mean your brain will literally grow dendrites, extend axons, and branch out more like a social climber at a networking party. While any of the following factors alone will enhance brain power, combining them into one Mega-activity will propel you above and beyond:
Hmm, when you put all these elements together, does it make you think of any particular kind of workout? Like group fitness classes, for instance? Get thee to a classery (active people will recognize the reference cuz’ they’re so with it).
Oh, and another factor that aids brain growth is:
Preferably not while engaging in the aforementioned group fitness workout.
A: Right after you finish your exercise, call your school and politely demand they make P.E. mandatory and daily! That way your kids will be as smart as you (only while they’re teens). We have a few favorite programs that combine the “smartener elements” so we’ll give them a shout-out right now:
Drums Alive & Academic Beats by Carrie Ekins (you can listen to our radio interview with her as of Oct 19 at http://www.womensradio.com/users/Kymberly-and-Alexandra-Williams-Evans/1022/episodes.htm!) Batuka Dance: We are getting all trained up in this so we can revisit our childhood dancing talents…(we use the word “talents” here fairly loosely, but our mom was a dance teacher, and we have the leotards to prove it). Any well-taught Step class. Why not attend Kymberly’s Step classes at Spectrum in Santa Barbara? No pressure! Maybe she’ll wear one of the leotards I saved for her.
Photo credits: Creative Commons avhell
Do you have brain envy? Even better, would you like others to have brain envy of you? We do! We just got back from the annual IDEA international fitness convention and found all kinds of interesting stuff to share with you. Dr. Daniel Amen, author of “Change Your Brain, Change Your Body” and 27 other books gave a lecture called “The Secrets to Being Thinner, Smarter and Happier.” Want to know those secrets?
Alexandra: The brain is linked so strongly to what you eat and how much you move that its size, shape and function actually change. As your weight goes up, your brain size goes down. You do NOT want to become a victim of Dinosaur Syndrome – big body, little brain = extinct! Sadly, the brains of obese people look 16 years older in scans than they are. And Dr. Amen showed a picture of a very healthy 82 year-old brain, so age does not guarantee brain deterioration.
Kymberly: However, having a birthday this weekend guarantees age! Only 6 more shopping days until twinnie’s birthday. I hope she gets some new dendrites, ganglia, and neurotransmitters for her big day.
Having read 6 of Dr. Amen’s books, I developed serious brain envy, so for my birthday I plan to work out and eat healthfully. Right after the small piece of chocolate cake. I want to do what it takes to stave off any mental decline and have the heaviest, most active brain possible into my 90s and beyond! My real birthday wish is for you all to have the same!
A: The mind controls the body, not the other way round. It’s your brain that tells you it’s okay to eat a second helping of ice cream, and it’s also your brain that tells you to push away from the table.
K: So, does your lifestyle enhance your brain power or detract from it? Remember, the choices you make today affect your brain TODAY and into the future. Hey, if my brain is the ultimate controller, why does Alexandra keep saying she’s in charge?Choices you make today affect your brain TODAY & into the future Click To Tweet
Dear readers: This seems like a perfect moment to direct you to our TrasnsformAging webinar slides and recordings. If you are ready to improve your brain and body, click to see what’s on the other side.
Dino photo: Creative Commons
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Guest post from Catherine Garceau
“If I could just recommit to regular exercise, get to sleep before 10pm every night, do the master cleanse for 10 days, and stop bingeing, I’d get my body back,” I thought again and again. But the more I aimed for perfection, the more I found myself plunging into a bag of M&Ms or Doritos (or both!). My dedicated weeks of “perfection” came back to haunt me every time, leading to humiliating binges, chronic fatigue, and depression.
Does any of this sound familiar? If so, I hope you can find, as I did, a whole new way to approach weight loss and exercise. For me, this turn-around started when a naturopathic friend gave me a gift: a Qigong DVD. “Qigong…for weight loss?” my athletically obsessed and skeptic mind chattered. But at that point, I was desperate and willing to try anything. So I began the daily practice of this Qigong (wuyijiehe.com). And to my surprise, little by little, my days became more peaceful and my body calmer. Qigong started to fill me with increased energy from within. Still I wondered: Could I ever get my strong and toned body again? And was it even necessary? I decided I’d only commit if I could do so without imposing harsh and regimented training routines on myself. I flew out into the cosmos my intention to find a ‘whole new way’ of experiencing weight loss, exercise and healing.
Gradually I lost weight as I accepted and embraced my body’s needs for rest, balanced nutrition, and a spiritual foundation of faith. Above all, I followed a ‘no rushing‘ rule—I was in this for the long-term– no more quick-fix.
Synchronicities kept showing me the way. For instance, I’d think of a question I had about one aspect of digestion, and ‘poof’ someone would hand me a book addressing this very issue. I’d follow my love for dolphins and ‘poof’ be offered a job to perform as a Mermaid in Vegas. Just short of one year later, after I had decided to move back with my family to rebuild my life and career, my mother kept telling me about a nearby phys-ed teacher who was attracting up to eighty women per night to dance it up in a neighborhood school gym. Never would I have guessed that Zumba Fitness would be this ‘whole new way’ of exercise for me… but that day, after one hour of Latin inspired aerobics, I came home smiling, sweaty, energized and full of hope!
And just as Qigong had become my body-mind practice to foster deep energy generation and rejuvenation, Zumba classes became my time to forget about my worries, loosen up, and have fun. What was most transformative for me wasn’t the great sweat and cardio I got out of each class, but most importantly, I learned to exercise without the cruel energy of punishment featured by my Olympic training workouts in the past.
Even Dr. Daniel Amen, whom I interviewed for my Wellness Olympiad expert library, confirmed the benefits I was getting out of Zumba: “Few activities stimulate as wide a variety of brain systems as dancing does,” says Dr. Amen. And he was right! Much more than weight loss and toning, my organizational skills got better, my memory improved, my body felt lighter and I refound my zest for life! Everything I had studied for so long and seen manifest in others became my reality too.
Now, in addition to coaching privately and teaching 360 Degrees Of Nourishment, a 6-week course I teach online, I now teach both Qigong and Zumba in my local community. This is all great practice for an exciting future ahead, involving dancing and public speaking.
My greatest hope is that YOU find YOUR ‘whole new way’ to exercise and LOVE your body. Five keys to help you:
Please visit www.wellnessolympiad.com/free for some of the freebies I now offer. Also, look out for my book, Heart of Bronze. Until then, keep it light!
Olympic Bronze Medalist,
Founder of the Wellness Olympiad
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
This blog is mine, all mine. (Insert maniacal laughter here) as A-twin is off on vacation. She’s probably upping her serotonin and dopamine levels, which is a brain balancing good thing! So you all get to hear about my fave topic these days (ok, my “obsession”) –– how can we achieve the healthiest brain possible?
That’s enough sitting and reading for now, eh? Time to get a move on. She’s a brainiac, brainiac, on the floor, and she’s dancing like she’s never danced before!
For the record, the rumors of twins being half-wits are not true! I got all the brains! Alexandra got the
looks, personality, inheritance, sympathy cards.
Readers: What would you do to get smarter with age and be the most intelligent 100 year old around?
Brain Graphic courtesy of the talented Heather Frey, aka SmashFit, a fitness pro par excellence AND a graphic designer! Did I mention that exercise also increases creativity?