Category Archives for "I Want to Eat Better"

Can a 55 Year Old Have More Energy Than a 20 Year Old?

Alexandra Williams, MA

I am 55. My university students are about 20. After my 8 a.m. cardio class last week, one of my students asked me how I had so much energy. What do you think I gave as my answer?

Alexandra teaching Drums Alive

Teaching Drums Alive

After I gave my response, I walked back into the gym and taught two more classes – one Drums Alive ; one strength training on the ball. Once I was done teaching, I started thinking further about her question. Although it was really probably a compliment with no answer expected, I did ponder it as a sort of research question. You know, in an anecdotal sense, as I haven’t done any research on myself (trying two cigarettes in 7th grade sort of counts as self-research I guess. I smoked the wrong end, as we were hiding in a dark basement, so couldn’t see. Turned it around, inhaled deeply, almost died from coughing. End of smoking career).

First, the answers I rejected as to the genesis of my energy:

* Genetically gifted
* Good luck
* Students are super listless, so I look energetic by comparison (though they do look a bit like pale vampires peaked during mid-terms)
* I’m bionic
* Energizer batteries shoved up my … nope, that’s not it
* Optical illusion due to room lighting
* Crowd hypnosis
* Lots of caffeine (hahahah. I drink decaf coffee every few weeks, and think soda is evil)

Want to know what I told her? Three words: Exercise, Nutrition, and Willingness


Lizard's Mouth with Tamara Grand

Working at our over-40 Fitness with Tamara Grand

Most non-exercisers will think, “Hey, wait just a sec. Exercise makes you tired, not energized. W.R.O.N.G. That is short-term thinking. In the long run (and 55 is the long run, I assure you), the cardiovascular system becomes more efficient when it is challenged with exercise. I’ve been teaching for over 30 years, plus I danced and played soccer before that, so even when I had anemia in my 20s, I still had lots of energy. This post we wrote with 7 of the top reasons people exercise will enlighten you. And this other post with the other top 7 reasons will make you smile. Or so we hope.


It’s probably an unfair match-up between my eating habits and my university students’ because they are part of a demographic famous for eating (to say it delicately) crap. I require them to eat a healthy breakfast, yet I don’t actually monitor their personal lives, nor am I all that sure that their definition of “healthy” matches mine, though I do nag give them friendly advice about what constitutes a suitable breakfast prior to working out.
In our radio interview with personal trainer, author, and biologist Tamara Grand you can hear her excellent advice about clean eating for women over 40 (though her advice works for all ages).

I have taken her “tough love” advice about no longer being able to eat as I did in my younger years (due in part to estrogen and other hormones).


What the heck does this have to do with energy, and what do I mean by willingness? I really just mean attitude and being willing to do what it takes to be healthy and fit. I am not a of fan of the word “willpower” when it comes to moving and eating for health because it’s too easy to feel it’s a battle, and I don’t want to fight with myself. Trying to think succinctly, I’d say that I am pretty good at “If / Then” decisions. For example, I walk a lot. And when I walk I don’t actually like to sweat. But I think, “If I walk up the mountain road road for an hour, then I’ll have done my 10,000 steps (my daily goal) for the day.” Or “If I choose not to eat cookies or ice cream when I crave an evening snack, then I’ll be that much closer to my weight goal.” I think of the choices, then make conscious decisions. I essentially have a bargain with myself. Luckily, most of my bargains lead to a happy, energetic resolution!

picture of Alexandra being goofy

Take That, Age Assumptions!

I’m tempted to say, “Suck it, youngsters,” but I like my youngsters, and was once one myself. So I think I’ll just say, “Try to keep up. Maybe by the time you reach 55, you’ll have lots of energy too!”

For those of you above 40 (or know someone who is), do you have more energy now than you did then?






We are participating in a BlogHop that includes this post. We hope you’ll take a few minutes to visit some of the other fab writers in the group.


5 Foods to Eat to Defy Your Age (And 5 to Avoid)

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Book by Frances Largeman RothDiet choices you make affect your aging process. Are you eating to bring youth and vitality to your life? Or could you be ingesting foods that age you? We recently interviewed Registered Dietician nutritionist and bestselling author, Frances Largeman-Roth on our radio show to find out what foods extend our life and which shorten it.

Kymberly: The advice Frances shares is so achievable and easy to incorporate, we decided to share the highlights here. Makes me wish she’d asked which foods make my legs longer.


Interestingly, it also turns out your food choices can greatly impact your skin. If you want to feel good and look good, then eat well! Let’s find out how and what.

using the remote to watch tv and drink beer


Avoid These Unless You Want to Look Like You’ve Been Smoking for Years

  1. Sugar
  2. Sodium
  3. Trans-fat
  4. Alcohol
  5. Caffeine




Blueberries, Strawberries, Citrus

Yes. Three colors you’ll look good in. Or will look good in you.

Eat These If You Want People to Ask “Is That Your Sister?” When It’s Your Daughter

  1. Blueberries
  2. Cocoa flavanols
  3. Red foods: watermelon, tomatoes, apples
  4. Broccoli and Brussel Sprouts
  5. Flax seed


Listen to our interview “Eat to Defy Your Age” with Frances to find out more about which foods to put into your body and which to put into your arch enemy’s snack bowl. Listen all the way to the end to discover the two foods this professional nutritionist, mom, and celebrity food author would never give up.

Alexandra: One of the five recommended foods is cocoa flavanols, so we have a giveaway for you. One person will win two boxes of CocoaVia cocoa flavanol powder sticks – Dark Chocolate & Fruit Variety Pack, two bottles of CocoaVia® cocoa extract supplement capsules (a 2 month supply), and the recipe book “Eating in Color” by Frances Largeman-Roth. You must have a U.S. address to be eligible.

CocoaVia powder sticksCocoaVia supplements

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you really want to slow and show the aging process who’s boss, subscribe to our blog and listen to our radio show. Experience some of the best leaders in the health, wellness, and fitness world every Wednesday morning at 8:00 PT/ 11:00am ET. Listen in (better yet, call in to 866-472-5792) to our new radio show Active Aging for Boom Chicka Boomers with guests who offer practical advice and cutting edge solutions to your active aging challenges. You’ll find us at on the Health and Wellness channel.


Insider List of Resources to Help You Age Actively

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

Kymberly and Alexandra in the 80s

We started actively aging in the 80s, so we can point you in the right direction!

If you’re wanting to read some books and listen to some audio that will help guide you along the path to aging actively, we’ve got a few recommendations. Actually, we could probably make a really long list, but we’ll start with just a few for now! (Keep scrolling down to get to Kymberly’s list).






Anybody's Guide to Total Fitness by KravitzAnybody’s Guide to Total Fitness by Len Kravitz, PhD

If you read only one fitness book, this is the one. It includes answers to 125 of the most frequently asked fitness questions. Now in its 10th printing, this book combines up-to-date research with practical information for establishing an optimal health, fitness and wellness lifestyle. From exercise instruction and workouts, to wellness and nutrition, Kravitz has been writing,  researching and speaking about fitness for over 30 years. He takes complex topics and research results, and explains them in an easy-to-comprehend format.

Ultimate Booty Workout by Grand

Ultimate Booty Workouts by Tamara Grand, PhD

The title doesn’t do justice to the knowledge and science that Grand puts into her exercise selections. The book includes a 12-week progressive program that includes strength training, cardiovascular training, and nutrition to support fat loss and muscle gain, and the recommendations are realistic and achievable. This book has sound advice based on solid research. You can hear Tamara explain why we gain weight in midlife in our radio interview of her: What Can You Do About Hormones, Menopause, and Menopot.


Two books by Jack Witt

Tight, Tone & Trim/ Cut, Cool & Confident

by Jack Witt, MS

This companion set has one book aimed more toward men, the other toward women, with exercises in both applicable to all exercisers. Effective exercises, lifestyle information and recipes are the three parts to these books. As both a health and fitness coach, Witt is good at explaining the links between emotions, nutrition, humor, a social network, and physical activity. While I disagree with some of his slang terms, and feel the layout could be a bit more polished, the information is trustworthy and written in a way that is suitable for a complete beginner.


Omnivore's Dilemma by PollanFood Rules, In Defense of Food, and The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

These three books cover just about cover everything you need to know in my (pescatarian) opinion! I love reading books about food and nutrition, yet keep coming back to Pollan’s because they make eating and food simple to understand. And he informs, where others preach. He’s also a very good writer, and I love good writing.

Food Politics, and Eat, Drink Vote by Marion NestleFood Politics Nestle

The titles of both these books let you know straight away that Nestle writes about the politics of food. If you are concerned about food advocacy and equality, plus food safety, read these. Her strong opinions are informed by research and statistics. In other words, facts! These books will help you become a more-informed decision-maker about what you eat.


Body and Brain

Originally two girls, the Bobbsey Twins

Kymberly is on the left. Or right. Who knows? Who cares?

Growing up as redheaded, freckle-faced, glasses-wearing, intellectual and sporty identical twins in a family of 5 kids, we had a lot of nicknames as youngsters. Some of the names we actually liked, such as “Bobbsey Twins” and “brainiacs.” The latter appellation must have made an impression as all the neuroscience coming out about the brain’s “trainability” and plasticity really captures my fancy. The link between cognitive enhancement and exercise particularly motivates me to move, think, and try new activities.

After reading dozens of new books on the relationship between movement and the brain, I hope you are inspired to check out my suggestions. But only if you want to be more fit inside and out!

Spark author, Dr Ratey says to add play

When Spark author, Dr. John Ratey says add play, we work it!

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, by John Ratey, MD

First up, read Spark. Actually, first read our posts about meeting Dr. Ratey, hearing him present highlights from his book, and sitting next to him at dinner without drooling. Ok, I did drool a wee bit as I handed him my book copy to sign. If you want to remodel and transform your brain for peak performance, this book is for you! Warning: You will be so sparked by the brain benefits of movement that you’ll disdain a sedentary life forever after.

Dr Hil and his book, State of Slim with Kymberly

What I’ll do to get an autograph

State of Slim, by Dr. James Hill and Holly Wyatt, MD

If you’ve listened to our radio show or been reading our posts for any duration (I really, really hope you answered “yes” to this “if”), then you’ll know I squee at the knowledge Dr. James Hill imparts with humor and facts galore. You’ll get proven, repeatable, long term weight loss and maintenance solutions when you listen to our recent radio show interview of him — Fat Loss: What Does and Doesn’t Work?

Prefer quick summaries of his talks on reducing obesity or knowing how your “why” affects your weight loss success? Read the write-ups we did after hearing him speak at two events. And of course, you will want to add State of Slim to both your library and cookbook collection. Don’t just add the book to your stacks. Actually read it. You’ll get recipes to unstick your metabolism; you’ll find out the 6 factors successful weight losers have in common, you’ll practically want to move to Colorado. Unless you are me and live in Santa Barbara, CA, in which case my butt is parked (not in “idle” mind you, but revved up).

Stay Sharp, Improve Memory, and Boost Creativity, Your Best Brain EverYour Best Brain Ever: A Complete Guide and Workout Michael S. Sweeney with 58 Brain Health Boosters by Cynthia Green, PhD.

And the book I am reading now? Glad you asked. See, my brain can make up creative conversations after tackling this list of super resources! After interviewing Dr. Cynthia Green for our radio episode, Your Best Brain Might Be Ahead of You I divebombed into Your Best Brain Ever. Michael Sweeney and Dr. Green give a lot of practical tips broken into short chapters with many examples. Not only will you easily find out what to do to enhance your brain health, but also why and how the brain functions. The two authors present the lowdown on your lobes in a super accessible, comprehensible manner. This book is a quick, easy read. Or I am just so much smarter reading it that it seems that way!

You can read while on cardio equipment; listen to our radio show interviews when on a walk, run, or drive; or simply kick back in the springtime sun and learn as you (don’t) burn (kcals or your skin). That’s a double wordplay for you. Fit brainiac status, here I come!

We make a few cents if you buy glasses from Warby Parker (see our “glasses” link above), which is great. Did we mention they have a Try Before You Buy program? 

Add more on target resources to your list by subscribing to our blog and listening to our radio show. Experience some of the best leaders in the health, wellness, and fitness world every Wednesday morning at 8:00 PT/ 11:00am ET. Listen in (better yet, call in to 866-472-5792) to our new radio show Active Aging for Boom Chicka Boomers with guests who offer practical advice and cutting edge solutions to your active aging challenges. You’ll find us at on the Health and Wellness channel.


Blue Diamond is my Golden Egg, or How I Made an Easter Coffeecake Using Coffee Almonds

Alexandra Williams, MA

Disclosure:I have been a long-time fan of Blue Diamond almonds. Because of this, I was asked to write a sponsored post for them. My opinions are all my own, as are my recipe fails & successes. You are welcome to both!

Golden Beehive Bread

Golden Beehive Basket with Golden Eggs (Bacon Buns)

Two baking events occurred recently. One: my brother-in-law gave me a bread cookbook that had been my older sister’s. Two: Blue Diamond sent me a package of almonds and crackers.

To honor my sister’s love of baking, I decided to use some of the recipes for our family’s Easter get-together. My way of choosing recipes seems to follow a specific pattern of questions I ask myself:

* what recipe looks potentially tasty for whomever the bread is intended
* what ingredients do I have in the house (or am I trying to use up), and
* do I have the skills (or time) for that recipe?

Easter Bake-A-Thon Time

Since I had lots of ingredients in the house, and a variety of people coming, I chose the most time-consuming, foolish, logical path and decided to make five different items in one day!

pic of Onion-Nut, and Multi-Grain bread

Top: Onion Bread
Bottom: Multi-Grain Whole Wheat


Lithuanian Ausytes: Bacon, and Jam filled

Ausytes: Lithuanian Jam Buns


Bacon Buns

Ausytes: Lithuanian Bacon Buns



Easter bread basket, also known as golden beehive

Beehive Bread – Turn it upside down – Voila: Easter Basket

Blue Diamond Coffee Almonds

Add to Brown Sugar & Cinnamon and Chop to Make Coffeecake Topping


















I’ll focus on the coffeecake, as that’s the one where I felt super relatively creative when I switched out some of the chopped plain almonds for the Blue Diamond coffee almonds in the topping. If you like coffee or mocha, you might try this idea in some of your recipes.

Even though it was more work than I anticipated (it always is), I am so glad I went to the trouble of baking so many things from my sister’s cookbook. She died 8 years ago, and I think and hope it made my brother-in-law happy to see her love of baking passed along through her book. Blue Diamond’s theme for the Spring is “Get Your Good Going,” and my way of doing that was to show love to my family through my baking creations.

My sister would have especially enjoyed the beehive basket. Even more so, she would have enjoyed watching my boys hunt for their Easter baskets. When we were kids, she’d bribe us to find her basket for her. For her, the thrill was definitely NOT in the hunt. She just wanted the candy.

P.S. The golden egg in this story is the cookbook, as every single thing I made turned out perfectly. There is no goose or moral, except the one that comes right… about… now…
However you show love, do that today.

Subscribe to our blog and listen to our radio show. Experience some of the best leaders in the health, wellness, and fitness world every Wednesday morning at 8:00 PT/ 11:00am ET. Listen in (better yet, call in to 866-472-5792) to our new radio show Active Aging for Boom Chicka Boomers with guests who offer practical advice and cutting edge solutions to your active aging challenges. You’ll find us at on the Health and Wellness channel.


If My Metabolism is Stuck, What Do I Do?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Walkng at Gaviota

Get Stuck in the Right State

Trying to lose weight? Like me, were you lean and easily able to maintain a stable, healthy weight until menopause came around the corner and body slammed you? Have you restricted calories, increased your strength training, cut fat from your diet, yet seen no weight loss?

Not Going to Take it Anymore

I’m Not Going to Take Fat Any More!

Turns out, the above “solutions” don’t always work. When weight lifting andWhat DO  calorie cutting don’t produce the results we want,  we feel deprived, hungry, and frustrated. Add menopause into the mix and no wonder we’re fat as hell and not going to take it any more!

Fat and Getting Fatter

Obesity is one of our most serious public health concerns, according to Dr James Hill, one of the world’s top obesity experts and author of State of Slim. No way around it – our nation is fat and getting fatter. Years of evidence tells us what DOESN’T work to prevent weight gain and to reduce body fat. (That’s a link to our post on Reducing Fat. Click to lose). More specifically, the evidence spoke to Dr. Hill, who went on to co-found the National Weight Control Registry, which tracks people who have lost significant weight and kept it off over time.

We Know What Doesn’t Work

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 10.52.35 PMObviously as a nation, what we’ve been doing is not working. (Heavy dieting anyone?) But what does work? Armed with data and provable results, Dr. Hill recently filled us in when we interviewed him for our new radio show, Active Aging for Boom Chicka Boomers that airs via’s Health and Wellness Channel.

The Easter Bunny May Not Exist, But Stuck Metabolisms Do

We highly recommend you click on the link to Fat Loss:What Does and Doesn’t Work to hear what he has to say about stuck metabolisms and what successful weight losers have in common. Speak to me sagacious one! Our interview has Dr. Hill admitting that when people (and by people, he meant mostly women) came to him in the early days of his wild and trim youth, claiming they’d tried everything to lose weight to no avail and that their metabolism must be the problem, he poo-poohed the idea. (Knowing him, I doubt he actually scoffed, but I suspect he worked his professorial look of compassionate doubt). Then he did what good researchers do — turned to science. Lo and be bold! Turns out there is such a thing as clogged, stuck, non-compliant, downright naughty metabolisms.

Are you ready for the truth? One of the key reasons we midlife women, in particular might not be making headway could be due to having the dreaded “stuck metabolism.” Cutting calories is one of the BEST (secret code for WORST) ways to stay stuck!Anschutz Health and Wellness Center

What Does Metabolism Mean In the First Place?

What the what the what the!?!! Acck, we’re stuck! What exactly is a stuck metabolism? How do we shift gears out of it into its coveted opposite: a flexible metabolism? (Cue the singing lean angels). First, let’s clarify that metabolism simply means the process for converting calories (food)  into usable energy.

Who Wants a Flexible Metabolism? I Do, I Do!

Pretty sure we’re all clear on what a stuck metab is. Yeah, it’s the one we have right now, that excels at storing fat and holding onto it like my grip on a See’s dark chocolate walnut square. So let’s figure out what constitutes a flexible metabolism. Flexible metabolisers hum along efficiently burning fuel (a not at all fancy way to say “food, glorious food”). Even BETTER, they have the ability to adjust rapidly to ever-changing calorie intake and activity outgo. Flex Met people constantly shift internally to maintain energy balance. Give me a double dose of that, pronto so that I can achieve presto, change-o.

The Big Question: Where are Flexible Metabolisms on Sale???!!

To go from having a stuck (or “inflexible”) to flexible metabolism we have to……..:

  • Read at least the first few chapters of State of Slim where the reasons and solutions are explained much better than I can do here. Did you think it was going to be easy?Book State of Slim
  • Listen to our radio interview of Dr. Hill. Shameless plug and I’m not ashamed to admit it. The radio show is a good one and Dr. Hill is the bomb, so spend an hour and reach your weight loss goals! That link again is to Fat Loss: What Does and Doesn’t Work.
  • Accept that ultimately it’s not just about losing weight or cutting calories. It’s also not about dropping fat from our diet. It’s about creating healthy eating and movement habits we can live with the rest of our lives.
  • Be active. More active. MORE active! Exercise even!
  • Avoid being fooled that exercise will help with weight loss. Whoa! What just happened there? Details are important. We are talking three separate processes or stages:
    • Shifting a stuck metabolism to a flexible one
    • Losing excess weight
    • Keeping weight off or maintaining healthy weight forever
  • Activity is Critical with a capital C for keeping weight off. To lose fat and jump start our stuck metabs into hot, burning, fired up flexible ones (ooooh, I just described myself pre-menopause. Sigh) Movement and TEMPORARY diet changes are the key.
  • Eat the right foods at the right time to unstick — for two weeks, not months or years or anything unsustainable. For actual meal plans and exact exercise doses, go to Dr. Hill’s book. He gives all the specifics there for reigniting your metabolism.
  • Actually follow the plan. This last step is the one I keep bump- bump- bumping up against. Yes, I’m stuck in the middle with you (that’s me talking to my waistline)

After talking with Dr. Hill for our radio show, I am inspired to reread his book, follow his advice, and suck up the two weeks needed to go back to the flexible metabolism I used to have. I need to stay focused on my purpose. (learn how your purpose affects your success rate in another of our stellar posts) I How about you?

Unstick your finger to subscribe to our website and listen to our radio show. Experience some of the best leaders in the health, wellness, and fitness world every Wednesday morning at 8:00 PT/ 11:00am ET. Listen in (better yet, call in to 866-472-5792) to our new radio show Active Aging for Boom Chicka Boomers with guests who offer practical advice and cutting edge solutions to your active aging challenges. You’ll find us at on the Health and Wellness channel.


One Wine with Whole Foods: My First Wine-Tasting in 20 Years

Alexandra Williams, MA
This is a sponsored post for Whole Foods Market Santa Barbara. The opinions (and some of the wine) are my own, though I’d love to share with you!

 picture of the welcome table at the One Wine event Whole Foods here in Santa Barbara held a One Wine Spring Release 2014 event about a week ago, and I was invited.

As I haven’t gone to a wine-tasting in at least 20 years, and when I did it was as the designated driver, I was hopeful that I would blend in (haha, see that little joke there – One Wine is all about wine blends). Just in case my lack of knowledge was embarrassingly apparent, I brought along a ringer to help me. Turns out, the winemakers were quite friendly; not at all snooty or over my head.

picture at One Wine event in Santa Barbara

A pink shirt for the Rosé Revolution


I happen to live in Southern California’s wine country. As I live at the top of a mountain pass that leads from S.B. to Santa Ynez, I see the tour jeeps and buses loaded with visitors headed to the wineries every weekend. I mention this in case you decide to come to S.B., stop at Whole Foods for picnic items, then come up and over the Pass for a tour.

Weekend travel aside, I was a bit trepidatious when I walked into the wine section at Whole Foods for the event, as I actually felt a bit of an imposter. What if someone asked me about “legs” or “nose” or any other body part associated with wine knowledge? So I did what I do at fancy restaurants when there are too many fork choices – I watched what other people did and copied them. First thing learned: the mason jars were for pouring out any extra wine in your glass when you’re done tasting. Second thing learned; lots of snacks available!!!snacks at One Wine Santa Barbara

Actually, I learned a lot. One Wine is a collaborative effort between the So. Cal. Whole Foods markets and specific Central California winemakers. The wines selected to be part of the One Wine label are not only affordable, but also produced locally, by hand, in small batches, and support the local economy and land stewardship. For this event, Margerum Wine Company, Ampelos Cellars, Hearst Ranch Winery, and Sextant Wines were on hand.

drinking wine at Whole Foods Santa Barbara

The wine matches my jeans

I tried the 2013 Margerum Rosé (Grenache, Counoise, Cinsault), the 2013 Margerum White Blend (Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc), the 2012 Sextant Zinfandel (Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah), and the 2013 Ampelos Rosé) Syrah, Riesling, Grenache), in that order. If that’s the wrong tasting order, oh well. I kind of did a circle around the room. And I asked why Petite Sirah has an “I,” while Syrah has a “Y,” and learned it has something to do with them being completely different, yet somehow related way back when. Hmm, might have to do some follow-up work on that explanation.

When I confessed my lack of wine knowledge, Rebecca Work, co-owner of Ampelos Cellars advised me to only concern myself with three questions: 1 – Is it yummy; 2 – Do I lick my lips; and 3 – Do I want more? If that’s all it takes, I’m now a connoisseur! As part of my extensive wine knowledge, I’ll share an interesting tidbit. Ampelos Cellars is the first vineyard (2009) in the U.S. to be certified in all three categories: biodynamic, sustainable, and organic.

Ampelos Cellars Wines at One Wine event Santa Barbara

I can’t say which of these wines you’ll like, but I ended up buying some of the Margerum Rosé.

Sextant One Wine Santa BarbaraAnd right on the label it says only 224 cases were produced. So if you want some of this year’s One Wine blends, you should probably hurry to one of the So. Cal. Whole Foods markets for these Spring 2014 releases. I left a few cases for you.


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



What is Your Health Worth?

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Retreat to A Week at Sky Ranch Fitness

From Spa to Shining Sea

From Spa to Shining Sea

Is a fitness spa or resort vacation in your future?

Alexandra: My physical, emotional and mental fitness is important to me. Ever since January, when I wrote about trying to lose the ten pounds  that found me, I’ve been working hard at moving differently (“more” isn’t my issue; adding interval training is) and eating smaller portions. And after comparing how many hours I worked in 2013 with how many hours I spent doing things I enjoy with friends, family, and myself, I also promised myself that I’d spend more time AWAY from the computer in 2014.

Sometimes serendipity comes along, which is how I find myself heading to a local Santa Barbara week-long fitness vacation camp with Sky Ranch Fitness.

The Serendipitous Steps to a Week at Sky Ranch Fitness

  1. Start a new radio show in 2014
  2. Interview movement expert Dr. Michael Luan on our radio show
    wine tasting at SkyRanch Fitness

    Wine Tasting

  3. Perk up ears when Dr. Michael talks about his upcoming presentations at Sky Ranch Fitness/ Bacara Resort
  4. Perk up mood when Dr. Michael introduces us to the owner of Sky Ranch Fitness
  5. Pack up when we are invited to participate in a week of Sky Ranch fitness fun As part of being participants in this luxury fitness event (yes, those two words DO go together), we have promised to help get the word out about Sky Ranch.
Bacara Resort and the beach - Santa Barbara

A few of the 354 luxury rooms at Bacara Resort

As everything the camp offers aligns with our mission and values, we are totally jiggy with that!!! Let’s lay it out for you, and you can decide whether you’d find this appealing or not. The event includes:

  •  Six nights at Bacara Resort, which sits on the beach in Santa Barbara
  • Complete fitness assessments
  • Nutrition education, including a cooking class in a local setting
  • Sunset dinner cruise along the California coast
  • Wine tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley (made famous in the movie “Sideways”)
  • Hikes, fitness classes and personal training
  • Massages
  • Lectures on wellness and health
  • Take-home individualized fitness and nutrition plans
  • Post-event accountability check-ins


Santa Ynez Valley

The location of one of the hikes

Kymberly: When interviewing Dr. Michael for our radio episode, Reframe Your Brain to Heal Chronic Pain, he had a comment that I latched onto as an insta-quote to share with you all:

“The healing whispers we hear in our mind are drowned out by the chatter in our heads and dramas of the day.”

Is that true for you? When it comes to dealing with deadline stresses, the ache of my knee arthritis, bills, my newly developed plantar fascitis, and a never-shortening “to-do” list, I don’t pay attention to the calming whispers. Worries, pains, anxieties, and the feeling of fleeting time create a cacophony that’s hard to turn off.

Even this amazing, fortuitous offer to attend the new Sky Ranch Fitness spa week started the chatter. “Will we alienate our readers by writing about attending such a high end resort or will mainstream midlifers see this as a retreat worth saving up for?” “Can I get all my work done in two days to be able to immerse myself in the experience for the week?” “Can I take advantage of the hikes the spa week offers given my teaching schedule or should I sub out another class?” “Will my foot and knee restrict me?”

And on and on and on. Chit chat fret fret worry drama. Doesn’t this sound like I need a week off? A week that offers the time and space to allow the nurturing whispers to infiltrate? As a baby boomer, I like to think I have the age and experience to make good decisions. Finding out more about a new, local business that combines two things I hold dear — wellness and Santa Barbara County — seems like an opportunity that comes once in a lifetime.

My goal while at the Sky Fitness Ranch at the Bacara Resort, which I am stating aloud AND whispering in my head is to achieve the healing strategies Dr. Michael summarized in our radio show:

  1. Smile as often as possible to reset my brain
  2. Re-evaluate my walking technique and style
  3. Find, form, and pursue my passions

My second goal is to share that experience with you in a future post, so you can achieve the same. Maybe vicariously; maybe in person one day in Santa Barbara.

hiking with Sky Ranch Fitness

Beautiful hikes every day

Photo credits: Stuart Gildred of Sky Ranch Fitness

Disclosure: We were not paid to talk about Sky Ranch, though we did receive the week-long adventure at a seriously discounted rate. Seriously!


3 Food Trends for 2014

Alexandra Williams, MA
pic of Expo West

Natural Products Expo West

For the fourth year in a row, Kymberly and I spent several days at the Natural Products Expo West, sampling delicious (and healthy) food and beauty products, and attending sessions so that we could share the latest news with you.

In this first part of our trend-spotting series, I’ll share three food trends.

1. Products that seemed out of the ordinary a few years ago are now getting even MORE unique – examples of this include calamansi flavored sparkling coconut water from JaxCoco, South Asian-inspired snacks from Zouq,

pic of Zouq snacks

Zouq snacks are my new go-to munchie

wheat free, gluten free, sugar free, all cheese chia seed parmesan crisps from Kitchen Table Bakers , frozen desserts sweetened with monk fruit from Arctic Zero, and even grassfed, organic, bacon cranberry bison bars from EPIC Bar.

2. Parallel, yet not diametrically opposed is the trend toward making healthy food accessible and available to all (especially families). According to Steve Sidwell, founder of Lúvo, the number of lunch eaters has dropped, while the number of snack eaters has risen. Those snacks (and all food) should be good for you, and accessible – including at work, school and airports. In other words, bring the healthy food to the people, not have the people search out the food.

pic of Steve Sidwell

I was trying to steal Steve’s Lúvo jacket.

3. Beverages that are designed to aid your body are so varied and unique, there’s no reason to ever drink a sugar-laden soda or hospital-visit-inducing energy drink. Ever. Teas with chocolate or vegetables added, sparkling, vegan, organic probiotic drinks, (my fave is the new Hibiscus Berry Daily Cleanse from KeVita, flavored kombucha that even non-kombucha people like myself enjoy (try the black currant from Clearly Kombucha), and even different types and flavors of chocolate milk and coffee. Oh, check out Teas of Texas. Not only do they have pecos cantaloupe white tea, they also do limited edition teas for college football teams. Good sense of humor. I even found a skin rejuvenation collagen drink! I thought that was called “water” back in the day. Oh, you heard it here first – Organic Valley has protein shakes coming out in June. You can’t find them yet, but let me tell you – they’re delicious. You’ll see.

pic of Texas Tea at Expo West

Check out these Flavors

Stay tuned for more trends in upcoming posts. In the meantime, let us know your guesses as to what those might be in the comments below. Oh, we also have lots of giveaways coming up too, so keep an eye on our Facebook page.






Finally, less than one week (March 19, 2014) until the re-launch of our Active Aging for Boom Chicka Boomers radio showon a bigger platform – Voice America, Wednesdays at 8 am PST live/ 8 pm PST rebroadcast. Up first, author, scientist and personal trainer Tamara Grand, on “Hormones and Menopause.”

We were not paid to share any of these products with you. We did receive press passes and samples at the expo. 


Why It’s Great to be a Boomer

Alexandra Williams, MA 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Much is written about the joys of being young, but how much is said about the advantages of being a Boomer? I speak as an expert when I say we Boomers are in full bloom. I asked a few of my friends and age cohorts what they liked best about this age, and I certainly got a full list of advantages!!

pic of orange tulip

A Beautiful Bloom

Caring Less about what others think
Variety of choices and opportunities
Knowing myself well
Doing what makes me happy
Wisdom and perspective
Being comfortable in my own skin
Able to enjoy my kids as adults
Laughing really loud and not caring
Opportunity to start over
Mentoring and sharing our knowledge

I also sat down and wrote out my personal Top 10 reasons I enjoy this age:

1. I’m not waiting for my life to “begin.” I am living it.
2. When I travel I can stay in nice hotels, not youth hostels.
3. I can prepare what I like to eat instead of catering to kids’ preferences.
4. Though I want to look my best, I no longer worry if I am pretty enough.
5. I have the freedom to sing, dance and act silly without really caring what “they” will think.
6. Fashion is what I say it is.
7. All the good music is from my era.
8. I have tried and true friends who’ve been there for decades.
9. I am skilled at a number of things.
10. I have taken care of my body, and it’s reflecting that care in a positive way.

Since Silk is the company that approached me for my input about how their products (for me, it’s the Silk Vanilla Almondmilk mainly) help me to Bloom, I think I’ll elaborate on #3 and #10. A few years ago, I tried almondmilk for the first time at the Natural Products Expo. I’ve been a vegetarian since 1998, and love almonds a LOT, yet had never tried almondmilk, thinking it would be “weird” or too “hippy dippy” for me.

Turns out I was wrong. I now use Vanilla Almondmilk in my chai, smoothies, baking, oatmeal, blah-de-blah-blah (that’s more interesting than saying “etc.”). I care about the politics and origins of my food too., so Silk’s leadership in the the non-GMO initiative matters to me.

Silk believes in a plant-based diet; so do I.

I believe 100% that part of why my health is so good, my weight is stable, and my energy level is high is due to my nutrition. If you eat well, your body does well. For those of you with lactose or gluten issues, Silk milks are also free of those.

As I tell my university students, take my word for it AND try for yourself. By clicking this link you can sign up for a coupon to save on Silk’s Almondmilk, Soymilk or Coconutmilk. You might even win a free year’s supply! Actually, I’d like to win that, as I just sampled the brand new Protein + Fiber Vanilla at the Natural Products Expo this past weekend, and got super happyfied. Hey, if Nabokov could make up words, so can I.

Because I am a Boom-Chicka-Boomer, I have a 1970s trivia question for you. What do Barry While and Silk Almondmilk have in common? They are both silky smooth and oh, so good for you! Just listen to Let the Music Play and see if you don’t feel silkily seduced and stress reduced! That was actually a rhetorical question. My trivia question is this – What year was this song released? Hint: I graduated the same year from high school.

pic of menu board for White Wave at Expo West

Silk Menu Board at Expo West

Boom to the Bloom!

What do you prefer – coconut, almond, or soy milk?


Reaching Your Fitness Goals, or How Are Those New Year Resolutions Coming Along

Alexandra Williams, MA
dogs at the beach in Santa Barbara

Best Dog Buddies on Their Walk

We are one-sixth of the way through 2014. This is about the time when many people give up on their New Year’s resolutions to move more, eat better, lose weight – the list goes on. It’s easy to understand – the weather isn’t cooperative, you aren’t seeing improvements, there’s no time – that list goes on too!

Please don’t get discouraged. Keep at it. Being stuck or slow at achieving your goals isn’t an issue of willpower, so don’t waste time berating yourself about a perceived lack of it. It may be an issue of willingness or need for skill development, which we talk about in our 5 Steps to Create Permanent Lifestyle Change.

Ten Reasons We Don’t Achieve Our Resolution Goals

According to Psychology Today, “approximately 50% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions, most having to do with weight loss, eating healthier, improving finances, or getting a new job. But less than 10% successfully achieve their goals.” Hmmm, does that mean that the other 40% unsuccessfully achieve their goals? It would appear that ten common mistakes could be getting in the way, writes psychology professor Shawn Meghan Burn, Ph.D.

pic of Polar Loop

What?! I’m Getting Insulted by my Polar Loop?

1. Forgetting Change Is a Process and Resolutions Are Only the Beginning
2. Making General Rather Than Specific Resolutions
3. Making Unrealistic Resolutions
4. Having A Half-Assed (or No) Specific Change Plan
5. Giving Up Too Quickly
6. Failing to Overcome Or Manage Ambivalence
7. Failing to Obtain Social Support & Identify Healthy Role Models
8. Failing to Address Emotional Issues That Sabotage Success
9. Failing to Address Environmental Issues That Sabotage Success
10. Adopting Simple Solutions Peddled By Unscrupulous Salespeople

Good squat form

Full-Assed Squats

How many of these have gotten in the way of your progress? I recognize several, with #4 being my particular issue. Maybe I need to get more “full-assed,” both metaphorically and literally. Maybe I need to do those 30 squats that the Moscow subway set up in exchange for a free ticket.

The Good News

Anyhoo, let’s focus on the good news. The happy statisticians at the University of Scranton (tanget – my son had that as his 2nd choice university) discovered that “people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.” So be explicit!! Which should not be confused with illicit… or elicit. Look them up – they are definitely NOT interchangeable words.

Our dog has no qualms about reaching her exercise goals. Every afternoon she starts whining and giving me the “chin on lap sad eyes” trick that means it’s time for her walk. She doesn’t care if I had explicit or illicit goals – she just wants to move.

Now, two things occurred on Saturday that affected my specific plan to walk at least 10,000 steps every day. One – we had a major storm here in Santa Barbara, complete with flooding, one guy swept out into the ocean, property damage, and freezing, Arctic, Canadian, polar vortex, unheard of, lower than usual temperatures in the (eek) 50s. Not so motivating. Two – I received an email from FitFluential about a March challenge to run, walk or hike 100 miles this month. That works out to under 10,000 steps a day, so I should be able to run, hike or walk that easily. Game on!

pic of sea foam

Sea Foam from the Storm in Santa Barbara

Side Note

If you want to receive free info about challenges (with prizes), recipes, workouts, fun events, and motivational tips from some famous fit celebs, sign up for FitFluential. Put my or Kymberly’s name in the “How did you hear about FitFluential” section, as it leads to magic weight loss dust being sprinkled on us or something along those lines.

picture of Hendry's Beach at low tide after the storm

The Sand was Washed Away by the Storm

Back to the Dog

I called my sister, hoping she’d come walk the dogs at the beach with me so we could see what the storm hath wrought, but she was B.U.S.Y. which is really spelled L.O.S.E.R. According to #7 above, I failed to obtain social support. But wait, what is that whining I hear? The dog was volunteering to be my social support? Guilt won and we headed to the beach for what turned out to be a super amazing walk. Seaweed and sea foam everywhere. Sand and ocean detritus washed all the way up to the parking lot. New hidey holes created in the cliffs by the over-the-top high tide.

Alexandra’s Set Up For Success Tips

I have pondered what made me successful at getting my half-ass out the door, and came up with a few.

1. I have a dog. Yup, go get yourself a dog. You will walk a lot more.
2. Guilt. I knew the dog would be bummed. Yes, guilt is a success tip.
3. I really, really want to hit 10K steps every day. I’m competitive with myself.
4. I recognize that I already have good eating habits, and don’t want to eat less, so moving more is the key to shedding my last bit of holiday belly bobble. I like to move.
5. I wanted to see the beach after the storm. I cared more about that than walking.

picture of a rock exposed at low tide in Santa Barbara

Follow Your Path To Your Dreams

Find whatever success triggers work for you and incorporate them. While we’re at it, make your resolutions behavior-based, not goal-based. And you don’t need to wait for January 2015 to change your behaviors. Now is good. Want to join me in doing 100 Miles in March? That way we can all be Awesome in April!

Want great info with a touch of humor to help you reach your goals? Join us every Wednesday live at 11 EST/ 8 PST beginning March 19 on our radio show on VoiceAmericaHealth. What?! You’re all ears? Perfect.

logo for VoiceAmerica Health channel

Starting Wed. March 19. So Listen Up, Y’all!






Resolve to follow us on Google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter:AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

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


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