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5

Abs Revealed, but I Don’t Want to See Your Butt

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Today our review is about Abs, and how they can be Revealed in all their glory! So suck in and suck it up, suckers!

Abs Revealed (Butts Not)

Abs Revealed (Luckily not Butts)

Alexandra: We received both the book Abs Revealed and the app that goes with it, titled (oddly enough) Abs Revealed: The Exercise i-Library, by Jonathan Ross. He was chosen as Personal Trainer of the Year two times by industry professionals, so our expectations were high. Which reminds me of a coffee mug I’ve had for years, which says, “If all else fails, lower your standards.”

Don't try again; readjust

The Perfect Body Image Mug!

A: Sadly, over the years, everything about me has lowered in a gravity sort of way, but I went through Abs Revealed hoping against all hope knowing it would have some “Hey, lady, we can tell you pushed out a couple of big-headed babies” exercises to make me look completely fabulous, awe-inducing hot, 25 reasonably buff. Guess what happened? Total awesomeness! Yes, these exercises work. And Ross’s advice is dead on.

Kymberly: What’s to like?

  • The many helpful “Myths and Misconceptions” sidebars sprinkled throughout. Ross has definite opinions formed from years of experience, education, and an insider’s view of lame stuff out there so he does not mess around. For example, his reply to the myth that fasting, detoxes, and cleansing routines will cut fat is “Santa Claus isn’t real either.” Well if Santa were to follow these exercises he might just work his way both up and down the chimney.
  • The balance between text and visuals. The book offers common sense info at the start for those who want to understand the whys and whats behind, no, not the behinds, but the abs. Then the pics are easy to follow.

Not to like?

  • Ok, we understand the book had men as the target market so all models are men… with enviable 6-packs. And we also know that women can access all the moves in here as well as the men. But could we have fewer pictures of the really skinny guy and maybe a middle-aged fit dude who has some meat on his bones?  Seriously, we’re not all young and male you know.

A: The only thing that made me gnash my teeth and curse the Nordic gods disappointed was the number of exercises that required equipment I don’t own. And the clubs where I teach have not yet joined the worldwide fabulous phenomenon had the opportunity to provide TRX, which means I cannot try the 17 exercises that require a TRX set-up (Jonathan, where’s my air ticket to D.C., your home base? Please lift the restraining order so I can try out your TRX equipment).

K: Yes, and who the heck still has the slide and original slide booties in a back closet?  Though I do groove on the “Hip Roll with Thread the Needle on Stability Ball” move. More importantly for you, our fit-tastic readers, is that you can trust the science behind these exercises. I admit to being a biomechanic snob who actually cares whether exercises address more than a look. If you are going to spend time and effort on a move, why not know it’s safe, has a functional purpose, improves usable strength, and makes you hotter than the guy pictured on page 165.  I tried several of the moves myself, especially liking the ones using the ball. I introduced a few to my seniors’ class (yes, they are amazing older adults!) and had great feedback. I made my two cats do the moves and they bailed. Whatever.

Abs Revealed is top notch.  Buy it; do the moves; get strong; quit yer bellyaching!

Readers: Get a double dose of Abs Awesomeness and listen to our radio interview of author Jonathan Ross. Mistakes and Solutions When Selecting Your Best Trainer/ Interview with “Abs Revealed” Author, Jonathan Ross. The perfect companion piece you can enjoy while working out!

12

Off Your Rocker Shoe Review For You

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Welcome to the second in our new Thursday series offering reviews of fitness Products and Services, and inspirational stories of People. Do you have a successful exercise story to share? How about a product you’d like us to comment on (sure, it can be your own, but it better be right for our readers or we’ll get twisted and snarky). Today we look at rocker shoes as this remains one of the most popular questions we get in person in our hither and yon adventures.

A Shoe-in or Shoe-Off?

 

Shape Ups, Rockers, Skechers, Shoes

 

 

Kymberly: Whether you call them rocker shoes, toners, shape-ups, negative heel shoes, the funniest looking shoes you ever saw, or the shoes that saved the workout world, people are wearing them. And we are getting asked often “do they work? Are they worth the money?” “Are they actually helping me get more fit when walking?” We turned to self-appointed experts, ourselves, for a review.

Short answer: if wearing them moves you from “feet in slippers propped on the ottoman” to rocking it in your rockers, then they have value. You believe in them; therefore you walk more; ergo you get more fit. But we have to say that the only research thus far that touts their superpowers is all put out by the shoe manufacturers. Hmmmm. Fun and Fit is having a “suspicious ole’ coot” moment and wants to find out more. If you like lots of detail check out this short article: Shape Up Shoes and Other Negative Heel Wear, If you do not like detail, the general consensus is “the shoes don’t shape you up any more than any shoe or bare feet would.” So save your mega-dollars.

 

Wow. Earth Shoes

Okay, I admit to owning a pair in the 70s

 

Alexandra: I’ll just say right up front that aesthetically I will never, ever, never like any of these shoes because they remind me too much of the Earth shoes I bought in the 70s. I saved my money for a long time, got on a waiting list (demand way outstripped supply) and finally got my shoes. Guess what? I put them on once, decided they looked horrible on me and never wore them again. Now I see the originals on sale for $135. Guess I should have kept my unworn pair.

Hippie shoes for hippies in hippie vans

Wearing Earth Shoes did This to People

 

Looking past my traumatizing “sexy babe with immensely fat-looking feet” teen experience, let me say that professionally I tend to not like them either. I have a lot of fitness students of all ages, and have heard anecdotaly that the toning shoes have caused or exacerbated issues with balance and hip/knee joint pain. I have not had anyone yet vouch for them though. And we know a lot of podiatrists, chiropractors and biomechanic specialists who are not fans either. I wrote an article about choosing shoes and couldn’t get a single expert to comment favorably on any of the toning shoes. Actually, one of them went so far as to call them “nightmares.”

A  direct quote from an unbiased study (meaning the shoe company didn’t fund the study) states: “Across the board, none of the toning shoes showed statistically significant increases in either exercise response or muscle activation during any of the treadmill trials. There is simply no evidence to support the claims that these shoes will help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories or improve muscle strength and tone.”

How does the study above seem so different from the studies touted by the shoe companies that say toning shoes are almost mystical in their ability to transform your body? One, it could be the type of study conducted– clinical versus normal daily activity (although nothing has yet been done long-term, so it’s almost a moot point); two, there is a big ol’ difference between marketing science and real science. If you’re a really invested consumer, read the studies carefully. However, if you’re not into that plan, it might be best if you try on a pair and walk around the store.

K: Then sit down and take the darn things off your feet! If your goal is to be more toned, have shapelier legs, burn more calories, may I politely suggest DO YOUR DARN WEIGHT TRAINING! Ok, so I politely yelled. Why take yourself away from your body’s natural movement patterns? We keep looking for quick fixes. Instead, learn or relearn how to move in the body you have. Our feet are actually designed to help us walk in the best manner possible.

A: I’m trying to have an open mind (but not open toe) so I’ll mention the advantages. If you wear the shoes and start to walk more and stand up straighter, then the shoes are working because you are now moving the body that’s in those shoes. Are the toning shoes actually the key to lifelong buffness, happiness and a firm, lifted butt? Maybe. And maybe you’re just walking more since you feel so fabulous and groovy in your new shoes!

My final recommendation? If you loved Earth Shoes, you might just be a candidate for toning shoes. Otherwise, it’s way more important to move than it is to spend money on toning shoes.

Use your feet. Walk.

Start with your feet. Let them move your body. You'll get toned.

 

K: My final recommendation? When the foot experts, medical community and unbiased research say “oy vay, no way; save your mo-nay,” then I am going with that and lacing up my foot slimming, outfit matching, tried and true walking sneakers. Shoe-off!

Readers: What is your opinion or experience with the toning shoes? Did you know there are more than 25 companies that make them?

Photo credits: PhotoBucket and Creative Commons

2

Alternative Thursdays and Health Choices: Read All About It!

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit readers, movers, shakers, and occasional barca-Loungers: So many of you (and we’re not even counting our mom here) have asked us to tell you our opinion of products, services and stuff you should and should not buy to get into the Buff Zone.  Starting today, we launch our Products, People, Services series. Monday posts are still devoted to answering your fitness questions. Thursdays are for reviews and inspirational stories (email us if you have one to share).  We do not accept money for any reviews but we do get some of the products and services free. If you have a question about a fitness purchase, send it in! We hope someone asks us to review a week at Rancho la Puerta spa so we can do up close and personal research! So far we are reading books, watching DVDs, and trying out exercises.

The Alternative Medicine Cabinet

I’m Taking Charge, Baby

Alexandra: We recently read the book, The Alternative Medicine Cabinet by Kathy Gruver. Before I comment on the book, let me just say that Kathy has her doctorate in traditional naturopathy, plus about 4 other titles. In other words, she be all qualified and suchlike.

Kymberly; We also want to disclose that we know her personally (lucky her, eh?!) and that she is a friend of ours–which could all end now that we are totally unbiased, impartial, unbribable, trustworthy reviewers.

A: Wait a second. I’m totally open to bribes. At first I wondered if this book was going to be what I sometimes refer to as “a co-op book,” meaning full of suggestions to eat stuff I can’t pronounce or can’t imagine eating (disclaimer: I belong to a co-op). In actuality, it is a book that gives information on various non-pharmaceutical, non- invasive ways to improve your own health, with practical advice about treating depression, improving your sleep, using alternative cancer treatments and lots more. My favorite parts were the definitions of the different types of massage, homeopathy, Reiki and medicinal herbs, and the top 10 nutrition picks. And I’ve always wanted an excuse to use the word “tincture” because it’s such a fun word. There are several places where exercise is touted as a medicine so of course I’m going to love this book! Take 2 push-ups and call yourself in the morning.

Concoct me some herbs

You say tinctures, I say concoctions – who cares if there’s red wine?

 

K: What readers of this book will like are its short, self-contained chapters, conversational tone, and down to earth suggestions. What lovers of great grammar will need is an alternative medicine for the many proofreading and grammar errors.  (Read the book to get suggestions for headaches and stress!)  Good thing the author is an expert in alternative wellness, not editing. Note to author: hire my sis next time. She a reeel fine editore.

Here Reiki Reiki Reiki

Your purr works just fine

 

A: I’m giving this book my “headlights up” because it’s comprehensive, informative, well-researched and organized. Um, and mostly because I was able to read it while working out on the treadmill. Actually, I liked it because Gruver doesn’t preach or try to make me grow out my leg hairs and live on a farm; she just shares information that is exceptionally well-documented (I love to have references, but maybe I’m just suspicious). I won’t be trying all the suggestions or concoctions, but luckily that isn’t the point–the point is to get you thinking about your health from a “take charge” perspective that considers and accepts the connection between the mind and the body. As a matter of fact, I just gave my body a salad so that my mind would be proud of myself!

K: When did you get headlights up, Alexandra? Your mind is lying to your body or something like that. I am giving this book a level 4 out of 5 on the Incline Setting. (And yes, I can think of some popular products that get a -4 on the Decline Setting!) Quick read, chock full of easy to implement changes that will help, and gosh darn, we simply like the author and her message.

 

Photo credits: Creative Commons

Readers: What are some products or services you are wondering about? If you need ideas, watch any insta-fitness infomercial.

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