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Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Dear Fun and Fit: Kymberly and Alexandra:
Q: I need to get in shape, lose 20 lbs, and look even BETTER than I already do. 🙂 I have two young children, a 5-year-old boy and 1-year-old girl. I want to include them, but quite honestly, playing/exercising at their speed does not provide enough cardio. I have always been an avid, competitive soccer player, but last May I tore my meniscus and had to quit my league. The surgery was successful, but I still don’t have my confidence back and I don’t want to be tentative and get injured again… Between work, family, music and other pressures of life, I just can’t seem to find the time or energy. I know that once I start some type of program, the floodgates will open and it will be much easier. Recommendations?
Brian of Burbank. CA
A: Here’s how to jump start your efforts. Ditch the wife and kids right after breakfast on Saturday, play pick-up soccer all day (forget the competitive league stuff unless you’re the coach, in which case your exercise will be pacing the sidelines and yelling friendly, encouraging comments) then return home after a brewski with the team. In case your wife notices that this plan is all “jumpy starty” in your favor – hers, not so much – go to Plan B….
Plan B: you look in the mirror and notice that “looking better than you already do” will never happen. Didn’t you notice – You have kids…for many years to come. You will never look hot, young, or refreshed again. Wait, I have kids and I look way better than ever. Use my trick – sunglasses (like these cute back-to-school choices from our affiliate Warby Parker) and lipstick. Or…make a date with the wife for a nice walk several times a week. Do you have someone who will watch the kids for a half hour or so? Paying a sitter is waaaaay cheaper than a gym membership. And you will get some “us” time away from the kidlets. If you can’t do that, can you at least walk during lunch? I know, I know, you work through lunch half the time, right? But what about the other half? Hello Floodgates.
K: Geez, Alexandra is so depressing. Brian, you can look better than you do now because I am assuming you are giving off the tired, lethargic, and stressed look this year. Youthful hotness lies ahead! You mention having tried to use play time with your wee ones as exercise time so let’s focus on transforming that time, rather than trying to carve out minutes elsewhere. Would your daughter enjoy racing in a stroller while you sing and talk to her? If you can leave your older child with your wife for half an hour (giving her a break from double duty), and strap in the baby for a joy ride, then she is going at your pace, which had better be a jaunty one! If your current stroller cannot accommodate speed racing, then either get a baby jogger oooorrrrr get a sturdy baby backpack and take her for a power walk. I can guarantee you will get the intensity and heart rate you are looking for if you step lively with a 20 pound wiggly weight on your back. Then when you get back in the door after this sweat-inducing 30-minute cardio workout, get your son to sit on your upper back while you knock out push-ups until fatigue. If fatigue sets in at the first push-up then switch out the big boy for the little girl and get your pump on!
A: I could recommend waking an hour earlier for a walk or run, but that doesn’t sound fun AT ALL. Save all your work phone calls till lunch and answer them while you walk. Then you will mentally feel like you aren’t “skipping out” on your work duties. Schedule your walk or run into your calendar so it seems like it’s important. If it’s in the calendar, it will happen! Good luck. Or park your car a mile from work. Just the walk to and from the office counts as exercise.
K: My last suggestion: join a gym that offers day care while you AND your wife work out. Benies galore such as time to work out as intensely as you want; a chance to do something healthy with your wife; and a time for both of you to turn the little ones over to pro care and focus on you, you, you. And just for the record, those sunglasses Alexandra is looking out of are obviously rose-tinted shades. Advice to twinnie: get up that hour earlier you so nicely recommended and add more lipstick… and maybe a low brimmed hat… and soft focus lighting.
A: I got your soft focus right here.
Kymberly: Oh, Stacey, I could kiss your plump and nicely toned cheek for giving us a saggy boobs question! Think of all the hits we’ll get when people type in the key word “boobs.” Yes, We will become the porn fitness leaders of the internet world instead of the highly respected pros we thought we once were. Alexandra, you had better handle this one as you are the one with the smaller (secret code for “deflated”) boobs. That’s what you get for losing all that weight yourself, Miss “I am now so trim and everyone thinks I am your younger sister, not twin.”
Alexandra: If your boobs (let’s call them “plumpers”) are saggy and clinging to your ribcage, who cares about your skin? You’ve got bigger problems. And how much of that extra 20-30 pounds can you realistically blame on the saggers? I’d go for 10 pounds. So you only have another 10-20 to go! You are part way to your goal already. Do you like push-ups? Sure, you do. Every woman I’ve ever met loves them (Ahahaaaaaaa). But if you can get some muscle tone going all that sag, you’ll look perky and youthful.
But what if you don’t like push ups?. Here’s what you do: lie on your back on a mat or bench or even your bed (if it’s an extra-firm mattress). Do you have some weights? You are not off the hook if you don’t. Just grab a few bags of beans or cans of sauce from your cabinet – they can be your weights. I’ll let Kymberly describe your chest press form while I go check the mirror to assess my perky youthful qualities!
Kymberly: Good try foisting the chest press description on me. I want to emphasize the push-up option. Alexandra is so right that the secret to retaining firm frontage while working on weight loss (a separate question addressed in these posts: Best Workouts to Burn Fat for Women Over 50 and Managing Weight as You Age ) is to build up the musculature underneath. Push-ups are free, available everywhere, easy to pack, and the perfect option for lift and anti-sag. As your pec (chest) muscles strengthen underneath the breast tissue, you will have the internal support to get the look and lift you want. Push-ups also strengthen the mid and upper back muscles, which will assist in holding you erect.
Another KEY component to keeping the girls (also now known as your “plumpers”) up while bringing the weight down is posture. Standing tall, proud, and extended instead of rounded or even slightly hunched is like losing five pounds visually in a nano-second. If you want to assess your posture, try our quick test and check out the posts we link to in Look Younger and Thinner Instantly with Better Posture.
Now when we recommend push-ups, we suggest you start with your hands and knees on the floor and aim for ten push-ups, three to five times a week for a couple of weeks. Get some good suggestions on knee to toe push ups here. From there, strive to whip out (no, not the plumpers, you rascal) fifteen push-ups. Once you are comfortable with fifteen knee push-ups, try five on your hands and toes and ten more on your hands and knees.
Discover whether your push up form is fab or faulty by clicking our post, Push Ups: Wrong and Right Way
The goal is to work up to about twenty toe push-ups every other day. Give yourself two months or so to get to that goal. Not only will you see a positive difference in your cleavage, but also you will be on your way to weight loss and some pretty nice arms and posture. Locked and loaded!
Alexandra: What? Is that a math problem? If 5 push-ups are travelling toward 10 trains, at what speed will you crash on the carpet? Get a good bra and take a nap. Nah, get to work. Put a nice bowl of water on the floor and take a slurp each time you drop down on the push-ups. Not only will you know you dropped far enough down, but all that liquid will help your skin get ever so plumpy!
Awesome Action: When you are done with your water slurping and math accented push ups, subscribe to our blog. Get your FREEBIE download and active aging answers twice a week but only if you want to look, feel and move more youthfully!