Category Archives for "I Want to Feel Better"

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!


Looking for Wellness in All the Right Places: Tenaya Lodge Health and Wellness Retreat

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Enter Tenaya here

Enter the zone here

Start saving your money now and clearing your schedule later to make a worthwhile investment in your happiness and well-being. If you have the opportunity, resources, and desire to attend a health retreat, then head to Tenaya Lodge and its Ascent Spa. (Take the stairs, not elevator as the spa is just one floor down).

Tenaya Lodge gift basket

Welcome to Tenaya Lodge Gift Basket

We’re going to let you in on a non-secret so that you can put it on your radar for next season while it’s still easy to obtain a spot–Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite runs a superior Health and Wellness Retreat.

We just got back from presenting at their first retreat of this kind, and we were blown away by the caliber of the services, presenters, and food. Whether you drive in from California or a neighboring state, or fly into Fresno, then drive into the Sierra mountains, it’s worth a trip.

View from Tenaya Suite

Room with a View

Tenaya Lodge sits at the gateway into Yosemite, so we knew the scenery was going to be fabulous. What we didn’t know was that the whole experience would be even more so!

In just 48 hours, we:

Ate copious amounts of amazing food created by chef Frederick Clabaugh, CEC, and attended workshops on:

  • Organic skin care by Kimberly Parry, owner of Kimberly Parry Organics,
  • Fitness trends and effective fitness consumerism by Jen Ator, fitness editor of Women’s Health magazine,
  • Tea tasting, history, and knowledge by Donna and Tai Tokugawa, owners of Chado-En Tea Docents, and
  • an Interactive cooking class with chefs Freddie and Didier (yup, he was French). We made pannacotta and sushi. We won’t mention that we rolled one so large that the chef called it a sandwich!
Presenting Posture session at Tenaya

Before I took my own posture advice.

Zann drums

Color to beat the drums about

Kymberly presented an edu-taining seminar, Great Gait and Powerful Posture, while Alexandra wore hot pink shorts to lead a rousing Drums Alive class. Oh, did we mention the 90 minute massage we each got? Or the nature hike where we tasted lichen, flowers, berries and pine needles? Hint – the sushi was better.



Kymberly feels lifted at Tenaya

Stumped for good places to visit? Head to Tenaya Lodge. Bring us!

From the gift basket and personal note at arrival, to the boxed snacks that included San Pellegrino limonata at departure, the entire experience had flourishes and flair. Heck, they even put Kymberly into a room with a jacuzzi tub. Her suite was bigger than the cabin she lived in for eight years, but we won’t remind her of those dark days!

We heard a rumor that Tenaya Lodge might run another retreat in the Fall, so you might want to sign up for their newsletter so you’ll be notified of the dates. We know you take our recommendations seriously, and we say with full confidence that this was a very high-class event at an affordable price.

Follow us to Tenaya (and our upcoming massage)

Follow us to Tenaya (and our upcoming massage)

Disclosure: We were not paid anything to share our opinions, though we did receive the entire retreat as a thank you for the workshops we led. At no point were we asked to write anything except our own truth.

ACTION: Subscribe to have us travel to you twice a week with ways to stay active in the second half of life. Visit Yosemite while you’re booking your rezzies at Tenaya Lodge. One of those actions is totally free.




Table decor at Tenaya

Even the table decor was healthy and creative

Yosemite views

Snow! Probably brought in especially for us!

Personalized cooking instructions to take home.

Personalized cooking instructions to take home.


Fashion apron gift from Tenaya

Fashion apron gift from Tenaya


Ascend to Ahhhhh at the Ascent Spa

Ascend to Ahhhhh at the Ascent Spa

Sign up to start "youthifying" today.


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



Weight Loss and Self-Love

Alexandra Williams, MA
picture of woman scared of scale

Noooo. I’ll never be Perfect.

Women, why are we so hard on ourselves? Why will we always look good “as soon as…?” And we all the know the joke about how men who are 30 pounds overweight look in the mirror and see a good-looking guy, while women who have 5 extra pounds see themselves as 30 pounds over! Except it’s not really a joke.

Valentine’s Day just passed, and I am glad to see it go. Not for myself, but for those who feel sad. Sometimes it’s from being single; though it can also come from being lonely in a relationship. But I think it’s most sad when it’s a case of feeling unlovable, which is totally different from unloved. In high school I thought I was ugly (I wasn’t – see that pic of me? Nothing to run from), which to me equalled unlovable. My high school experience was so unpleasant that I found a way to graduate a year early. I feel so lucky and grateful to have found confidence in my mid-20s.

Now here we are, many years past high school, and many of us are so self-denigrating about those extra pounds we’ve put on since high school that we don’t even know it. It’s habit. Automatic. “I’d be happy if I just lost 20 pounds.” “I’d love to date, but who’d want me at this weight?” I’ve been paying attention to my habitual thoughts about my weight as I lose the few pounds I gained over the holidays, and mine are definitely tied into looks and self-acceptance.

pic of Kymberly & Alexandra from the 1970s

Kymberly is smiling. Alexandra not so much. Too bad. We obviously had admirers!

Those of us who are moms are so good about showing our kids unconditional love, yet we let them see us denigrate ourselves. Worse, they see us defining ourselves by external, non-achievable goals and measures.

Time to rethink and reframe, dear Boom-Chicka-Boomers. We need to separate health from aesthetics. I’ll use myself as an example. Do my extra 5-10 extra pounds (I picked this number, not the government charts, which means the numbers are flawed from the start) affect my health? Truly, not in the least. I have no trouble going uphill or exercising or doing anything, except for playing soccer, which is due to a reconstructed knee, not an inability to have running stamina. And all my health and medical tests say that I’m secretly in the body of a 29-year-old (insert joke here!!). Which leaves aesthetics. Beauty. Looks. Which is a slippery ideal, as the definition changes from culture to culture, and person to person.

Am I saying we should give up on looking our best? Not at all. I’m totally vain and wouldn’t dream of going in public without at least lipstick! I’m saying:

A. Health is measurable. We can know if we’ve achieved it. Beauty is not measurable. The beholder really does have all the power.
B. We need to love ourselves for the things we accomplish that matter. We need to recognize the limits we place on loving ourselves, ESPECIALLY when those limits are based on ever-shifting criteria.

Picture yourself 20 years ago. Don’t you wish you looked like that now? But back then you were too busy unloving yourself to appreciate what you had. Picture yourself now. Flaw, flaw, flaw, comparison, comparison, disapproval, disappointment. Picture yourself 20 years from now, wishing you looked like you do now. Why wait 20 years to know how great you looked in 2014?

pic of Alexandra at Last Book Store in L.A.

Dear Myself in 2034 – You Sure Looked Great in 2014

Just so you know – when you exercise and eat well for health reasons, you gain confidence. When you gain confidence, you look happier. When you look happy, people are attracted to you. Ka-Ching. Definition of “attractive.” Along the way, the weight will fall off. But I know that when I’m 75 and still teaching group fitness, I’ll feel good about myself. And people will be attracted to me. Good health includes self-love. Health leads to Beauty. Beauty doesn’t necessarily lead to Health.

Watch this video and watch how happy this talented woman is at dancing. How can you not help but love her? And her wild abandon!



While you’re at it, view this video of four “regular” women who got the looks of their dreams. Did it make them happy?

I’ll probably never care for the artificially created Valentine’s holiday. And l’ll still lose those last few pounds. With friends to support me. I am one of those friends.

Photo credits: Woman on Scale: Chelsea3883

Want to love us as much as we love ourselves? Here ya go:

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

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



Why Does My Back Hurt After Shadow Boxing?

Juil sandals are perfect for kicking back

We’d rather Kick Back than Kickbox

How Do I Kick Back Pain from Kickboxing?

Hi K and A: I read your article on kickboxing and back pain and was looking to get some follow-up advice. I have been working out since my mother threatened me from atop her bathroom scale that puberty would eventually “catch up to me” and I would one day lose my little waify ‘tween bod. I started shadow boxing (first with “kickbutt” and next with P90x) in college when I realized my mother was wrong — it was really beer that caught up to me.

I took such a liking to shadowboxing that I tried 10 classes of heavy bag training. It was love at first punch. However, as I am, and will continue to be for some unknown number of years, a grad student I couldn’t pay to train at any boxing gym. Thus, I bought a 70 lb heavy bag and started a little home gym set up for myself. It’s been 6 months and I’ve started to get killer back pain. I do my best not to flail around but sometimes I hyperextend my joints. Any tips for improving form on my own and helping myself after an injury? Thanks for the help!    Elena, the Tofu Tumbler, Bradley Beach, New Jersey

Hi Elena aka Tofu Tumbler:  We are so glad you got value from our post.  Whether you are in your 20s or 60s, back pain is hard to stomach. Ok, that was a bad word play. However, our answer is good!  For sure it’s better than that beer that stalked you so mercilessly.

It is hard for us to know whether your form is the cause of your back pain since we have not seen you work out. However, we can say that it is likely that attacking a 70 pound bag with anything less than fantastic form can aggravate backs, knees, and joints. Your complaint is quite common, unfortunately.

Kymbelry hangs from the arch entrance at Rancho la Puerta

Kicking back beats kicking rock posts! (Though our posts rock!)

Tip 1 = Make Abs Your Fiancé and Engage Them

Meantime, let’s try to figure out what might be going on. How strong are your abs and how much do you train them? Not how good do they look, but how functionally strong is your midsection? Next time you kickbox or punch bags pay good attention to how much you engage your abs as you strike. The more the abs take on the load, the less the back does so. Basically, your major muscles come in pairs (fancy term you can throw out at the party punch bowl is agonist/ antagonist).  If your ab muscles are not helping out, then their buddy, the back muscles are picking up the work slack. Two employees, but only one is working. Overtime. And peeved about it!

Try this back safe core move from our video series. Very little spinal flexion is needed and you get to leave your head on the ground!


Tip 2 = Tape Up (on video, not with first aid tape) ha ha aha

Have you tried videotaping yourself? Even a poor quality video might reveal habits you are unaware of. If you are locking out joints, the impact has to be absorbed somewhere. A look at yourself in motion might show if/ when you are hyperextending and where that impact is traveling.  Use your phone camera and get footage  from the front, back, and sides as  you are working out. Zoom in for close ups of your torso as your hands and feet make contact with the bag.

Tip 3 = Be aware, which is the first step to assessment and improvement.

Action: What doesn’t hurt and always helps? Why, subscribing to have us come to you, of course.

Sign up to start "youthifying" today.

Tip 4 = Pick up the phone or email us to book us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA


Fitness is Not Just for the Super Fit! A Rant and Rave

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Super Woman, Kymberly

Sometimes I Feel Like Super Woman. And Sometimes I Am!

Workout Words That Move You

Do you find the following workout saying a turn on or turn off: “Go Hard or Go Home!”?

I find this “so called” inspirational quote so maddening and wrong. Wrong, I tell you! Stick and stones may break our bones, but words will always affect us!

Last weekend Alexandra and I attended the LA Fitness Expo, an event we  suspected attracted few baby boomers, though lots of hard body youngsters. We love youngsters. Between us we have spawned three. Yet, we recognized that “Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore” as we looked at the words and messages plastered throughout. (We were at the Expo performing posture assessments on behalf of the attentive, service-oriented, and fun Sherpa company. Like us, they value midlifers).

Pain and Punishment

As Alexandra and I cruised the trade show aisles, we noticed a trend in the key words on booths, marketing materials, t-shirts, and tattoos. (Yes, I read tattoos as there was a lot of bared skin at the expo). The text was so overpowering and thematic, I started a list of words that stood out:

punishment –  beast – raw – fight – pound (as a verb, not noun) – brutal – challenge – ultimate – barbed wire (?!)

The overwhelming message was that exercise is painful, should hurt, is hard core, and meaningful only if attacked with full force. Not really sure how the barbed wire fits into the equipment bag, but then I am still getting used to seeing large tires being flipped over as the way to fitness. No wonder our nation is leery of exercise. This journey into “land of the Ueberfit” appears daunting and so negative. “Be All in Or Get Out!” How enticing is that for the new or occasional exerciser who most needs support and motivation??!

Thailand Beast Sculpture

Who Wants to Embody the “Beast” Workout?

I see the same sort of “admonition motivation” all over instagram and Facebook as well. Repeated postings warn us that:

  • “Sweat is Weakness Leaving the Body.”
  • And that we have to “Suck it Up Now so You Don’t Have to Suck it In Later.”
  • Apparently name calling is also de rigeur: “‘Obsessed’ is What the Lazy call Dedicated.”
  • Were you aware that “Excuses are for People Who Don’t Want it Bad Enough”?

Two Negatives Don’t Make a Positive

Am I showing a baby boomer undies gap? None of these messages encouraged me to work out. All of them are negative with an aspect of alienation. They made me want to ice my knee joint, take a nap, and hide my menopot under layered workout wear with a lot of give. Or run away, but without the running.

If I felt excluded and overwhelmed — with a lifetime of being active as a former aerobics competition winner, athlete, and fitness professional with 33 years in gyms and clubs — how do most midlife women feel when bombarded with such messages? Exercise is not just for lean and fit hard bodies. It’s for every body. Especially the soft bodies.

Threatening Sculpture

Whip Into Shape or Else!

Progress Over Perfection

As fitness professionals, my sister, many of our colleagues, fellow healthy living bloggers, and I hope to motivate you to move. Often. Consistently. With joy when possible. Age actively for all the positive reasons. Don’t “whip yourself into shape.” Instead acknowledge your progress. Celebrate your movement minutes. Find what you enjoy and do that. If we want to stay active for a lifetime, we have to enjoy the process. I am positive about that, you ultimate raw beasts!

Readers: What do you think of the perennial classic “No Pain, No Gain”? Do you have a favorite exercise quote?

Strive for Progress, Not Perfection

Our Kind of Saying. Just Sayin’



3 Ways to Perfect Your Posture: Tenaya Healthy Living Retreat is One

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Disclosure: In our capacity as fitness experts, we are being compensated for the events mentioned below. We don’t make any money if you join us; you just get great advice and a fabulous experience with two service-oriented companies – Tenaya Lodge and Sherpa.
Good Posture vs Bad Posture

Good Posture vs Bad Posture

In our previous post, Look Younger and Thinner Instantly with Better Posture, you discovered some of the benefits of good posture. Today you get tips on ways you can find and maintain good alignment. Plus we want to extend invitations to our west coast readers who are eager to revel in better health and happier bodies. (Hint – treat yourself to a spa weekend at the Tenaya Healthy Living Retreat in late March).

Kymberly: First up – Pretty Posture Pointers

  • Stand with your back to a wall. Do your shoulder blades, buttocks and heels touch the wall? Evenly?
  • Stay at that wall to do some of your exercises (such as bicep curls or forward raises) with your back and shoulders against it. Focus on whether you can maintain contact with good spinal alignment. You will easily notice coming out of alignment if you fall forward off the wall.
  • Do only back and downward shoulder rolls. Skip up and forward rolls. Why roll the shoulders up and forward when they are most likely already in that tense and hunched position?
  • When you are sitting in a chair, scoot your hips as far back in the chair as possible. Keep your feet flat on the floor. Even better, sit on a stability ball instead of a chair or stool.
  • When sitting on a hard surface, center your weight over the front edge of your “sitz bones” (ischial tuberosities) and imagine wiggle wagging your tailbone into the correct position.
  • Set a timer to remind yourself to lengthen into good posture, stand up, walk around, and reestablish alignment. Name the timer “mom” and let yourself be nagged, er reminded.
    Stop! In the Name of Posture

    Stop! In the Name of Posture

  • Implement my famous “Zip trick” Imagine a zipper that runs from your pubic bone to your chin. Zip up. Then (here’s the important part) imagine a second zipper that runs from the base of your neck to your tailbone. Zip DOWN right between the shoulder blades. Watch our Posture Zip Trick video.
  • Strengthen your back muscles.
  • Strengthen your core. Yes, we know these last two constitute more than “tips.” But what discussion on posture would be complete without mentioning the real, long term criteria to achieve beautiful alignment?

Alexandra: Posture Assessments at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite

I’ll add a tip that works for me – pretend you’re a marionette with a string running through the top of your head and down the center of your torso. Now imagine that the puppeteer is pulling the string up. If you’re more technical, just pretend it’s a plumb bob.

Because our Posture Series has made us so famous (hi Mom, hi Dad), we’ve been invited to a super duper event, where we’ll be offering posture assessments (and an energetic, fun Drums Alive class).

Stand Up and Sherpa Right

Stand Up and Sherpa Right

At the Yosemite Healthy Living Retreat at Tenaya Lodge, March 28-30, 2014 we’ll present a posture workshop, as well as a Drums Alive class to the attendees. Be part of Tenaya’s inaugural healthy retreat and join us at one of the world’s best wellness resorts (according to USA Today). Their focus is on interactive, fun, take home sessions and activities in a breathtaking setting.

Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite

Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite

Besides our classes, you will have exclusive access to wellness education on topics ranging from fitness and yoga to nutrition and personal care.  Your weekend also includes special treatments in the Double Silver LEED-certified Ascent Spa, products and classes from Kimberly Parry Organics, and a hands-on culinary class and dinner with Executive Chef Frederick Clabaugh.

Now THAT'S a scenic hike!

Now THAT’S a scenic hike!

Why not book the weekend and join us? All kinds of good stuff going on for those with perfect (or imperfect) posture! You can focus on perfecting your gait too, by joining us on a walk right at the gateway to one of our nation’s most revered national parks.

Outdoor Yoga at Tenaya Lodge

Outdoor Yoga at Tenaya Lodge

No matter what, dear Posture Pals, do as the Dirty Heads suggest, and

“Stand tall, it gets a little better
I see the wall that we can break down together
Stand strong, it gets a little better now”

When you’re done singing and standing tall, sit down at your computer and book your trip to join us at Tenaya Lodge.

Photos: posture graphics – Dreaming in the deep south; all others – Tenaya Lodge


Look Younger and Thinner Instantly with Better Posture

Want to look 5 pounds slimmer instantly? With no needles or sweating involved? Then it’s time to improve your posture! Especially if you have spent many moons pointing your nose and nipples to your toes.

Straight, yet unnatural posture. Go for those Natural Curves!!

Straight, yet unnatural posture. Go for those Natural Curves!!

Definition of Good Posture

Kymberly: What is good posture anyway? Let’s first establish what it is NOT: a straight back. The biggest mistake people make when trying to correct poor posture is to stand ramrod straight. The back has natural curves designed to absorb impact. And nothing about looking like you have a rod rammed up your spine is attractive! Or good for you.

What it IS: having alignment that creates the least amount of strain on your supporting muscles and ligaments when you stand, sit, move or perform weight-bearing activity. Notice that our list leaves out “sleeping” so feel free to hunch, slouch, curl, or straighten out when conked out!

What Does Good Posture Offer You?

For starters, standing tall helps you stay young by maintaining your range of motion and staving off age-related skeletal changes that make you shorter with each passing decade. But that’s not all folks!

When you extend into good posture, you:

  • Look leaner instantly. Slumping and slouching turn off the abs, which allow the belly to protrude. As you lengthen into good posture, you engage the abs and compress, immediately taking weight off the middle visually.
  • Look younger (it’s not called “old lady dowager hump for nothing)
  • Project better body language
  • Increase energy
  • Enhance ability to breathe easily, freely, deeply. No wonder you have more energy! You can get oxygen more effectively to your brain, lungs, muscles — well, just about everywhere in your body.
  • Improve your confidence and mood. A 2009 study in the European Journal of Social Psychology (Brion, Petty, & Wagner 2009) looked at how posture influences self-confidence. Researchers found that poor posture led to decreased self-confidence; good posture had the opposite, positive effect.
  • Diminish aches, strains, and pains
  • Decrease neck tension
  • Reduce back pain
  • Decrease wear and tear on joints, reducing the possibility of arthritis
BackJoy for Better Posture

BackJoy for Better Posture

Alexandra: Just a few days ago, a friend who’s an interior designer asked for posture suggestions because his back has been hurting from prolonged sitting. I recommended to him, and pass along to you, the BackJoy,  which sits on your chair while you sit on it! (Disclosure: I was sent one free of charge to test out). Then you do the Hokey Pokey, except it’s more like the Finey Spiney. “You put your tush right on, you tuck your abs right in, your chest lifts up so quickly, and your spine becomes a Win! That’s what it’s all about!”

My older son has drummer’s slouch (I coined that term to describe his crappy posture, which he has when drumming, and well, all day long), so he’s been using the BackJoy during dinner. It has helped him, so I’m a fan. In my ideal world, my son (and everyone with posture issues) would do core and back strengthening moves. In the real world, the BackJoy is a complement to those exercises.

Come back on Thursday for our next post, which will also have some great posture info, plus an invitation to a wellness event where we’ll be doing posture assessments. Hint: the event is in a location that’s consistently rated as one of the top wellness spas. And that’s all I have to say about that! (Watch this video) P.S. Note his perfect posture.

Benefit from Our Posture Series

Motivated to learn more about how to asses and improve your posture? Then take advantage of our Fun and Fit Posture Series, provided in both posts and short videos. Going back to our early days of Fun and Fit, start with a humorous take on the subject,

The Straight Scoop on Super Posture. Then zip your way through the series, starting with

What’s Your Natural and True Posture?  From there, proceed to

Want Perfect Posture? Come on, who doesn’t? Next, enjoy knowing what landmarks to look for in

Assessing Posture from the Side.  Once you know what you’ve got goin’ on, it’s time to

Fix Your Posture Part 1. Then meet our mom, who helps you Fix Your Posture Part 2. Plus you learn the Kymberly Zip Trick.  For those who want to sit nicely, then

Seated Posture Pointers will get you squirming out of your chair (and onto a ….).  Gotta click and see to know.  Lastly – whew! Will this series ever end? Not until you stand up taller! Anyway, lastly, check in with your

Chin Placement. Odds are you are trying to Get Ahead — and have become a dreaded Head Thruster.

What’s that you say? You want to short cut to the videos? Click the following to go right to our YouTube videos.

How to Find Your Natural Posture: Part 1
Quick Tips to Assess Posture Before Correcting It: Part 2 
Look Longer and Leaner Once You Assess Posture from the Side, Part 3
Simple Exercises to Help Fix Posture: Part 4
Time to Fix Your Posture: Part 5 
Seated Posture and Spinal Alignment: Part 6 
Do a Chin Check to Get Proper Posture: Part 7

Call to Action: Saaay, want more concise, active aging videos designed for the over 50 woman to get results? Subscribe to our YouTube channel when you head over there via any of the above links. We also appreicate Thumbs Up and likes!

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA


Benefits of a Spa: We Went to Glen Ivy Hot Springs & Learned How to Relax (and Have Great Skin)

Alexandra Williams, MA

Glen Ivy Hot SpringsAs a new year begins, many of us resolve to put our health first. This includes relaxation, or at least some down time. With this in mind, the Fun and Fit clan headed to Glen Ivy Hot Springs  in Corona, California this past week in order to start 2014 in a wellness way!

And we found wellness galore! Originally known as “Temescal Sulphur Springs” (“temescal” is the Aztec word for “sweat lodge”), the spa was first advertised in 1860 to those who desired the health and recreational benefits of the medicinal waters.

Come for the Medicinal Waters!

Come for the Medicinal Waters!

So there we were, over 150 years later, clad in our swimsuits, robes and sunscreen, deciding which of 19 pools to go in first. From our concierge (yup, great service at the spa), we learned there is a recommended order for a few of the pools, so these are listed in the order that we used them.

So Many Types of Pool Water

The Aqua Class Makes People Smile

The Aqua Class Makes People Smile

Aqua class in the lap pool: A combination of cardio (for the heart, and calorie burn) and muscle toning, our instructor (and long-time friend) Meg Root  made this class fun for everyone. From a 17-year-old to an 84-year-old; from total beginners to fitness professionals, this aqua class is accessible.

Time to Relax

Time to Relax

Saline Pool: A natural antiseptic, salt water helps with a variety of skin conditions, reduces acid levels after a workout (think of lactic acid buildup), and oxygenates the cells.

Mineral Baths: These are the geothermal mineral waters that come directly from the earth at Glen Ivy, and are what made it famous back in the days of the California Gold Rush. At 104°, the waters are known to soothe aching joints and muscles.

Getting Muddy Wit' It at Club Mud

Getting Muddy Wit’ It at Club Mud

Club Mud: This pool is pretty fun and funny. You grab red clay (Silica Dioxide, Aluminum, Iron, Calcium Oxide, Magnesium Oxide, Potassium Oxide, & Titanium Oxide) and rub it all over yourself, then sit in a heated “cave” while it dries. The clay softens your skin, draws out impurities and exfoliates dead skin cells. It can also stain a light swimsuit, so don’t wear your brand new white one-piece.

Crap, that's Cold. Son Went In Fully. Not I.

Crap, that’s Cold. Son Went In Fully. Not I.

Hot Pool & Cold Plunge: You’re encouraged to go in the hot pool for a few minutes, then do a 30-second dip in the VERY cold plunge for up to 10 cycles, but I did a half-body 10 second plunge in the 55°-65°F cold, followed by a 5 minute “recovery” in the hot. My legs were tingly. Athletes use this type of therapy to shorten muscle recovery time after intense workouts, but it’s good for anyone who wants to increase blood flow to the muscles. I increased my blood flow by jumping OUT of the cold plunge quickly. See the expression on my face?

Painted with Green Grotto Goo (Moisturizer)

Painted with Green Grotto Goo (Moisturizer)

The Grotto: First of all, you know it’s going to be quite the experience when you enter an elevator to descend below-ground! Once there, the staff members paint your body with copious amounts of green body moisturizer (aloe vera, shea butter, coconut oil and other ingredients including eucalyptus). From there, you go into a warm cave room and let the lotion soak into your skin. You then move into the shower room, which has shower “pods” that spray warm water from above and the side. If you can drag yourself away from that, the final room is a cool, misting area where you can have tea and apples. After removing impurities in the saline and mud pools, the grotto is where you go to moisturize.

Somehow in our busy schedule of relaxing, we managed to eat lunch and go in most of the pools, though the Roman bath, sauna, and steam room will have to wait for next time. If you are near Southern California at any time, we hope you’ll check out Glen Ivy Hot Springs. Repeatedly lauded as one of the best day spas, it’s hard to believe we didn’t know of its existence until a few years ago. But we know now!!!!

Map of Glen Ivy Hot Springs

Map of Glen Ivy Hot Springs

May your 2014 be full of wellness, health, family and friends. And if you want a list of 44 benefits to Steam Bathing, click this link from our friends at Mr. Steam.

Relax while you follow us on Google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter:  AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Doing so won’t help you exfoliate, but it will help you gain knowledge & support!

Hire us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email



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