Bad Ankle Bridezilla

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: K and A:

Hi, I’m 22 years old and sprained my ankle very badly a little over a month ago. For the last month I have been very good about not walking too much, but now I’m losing patience and need to figure out a way to get moving again. Furthermore, my wedding is in another month, and I need to get into bridezilla shape. I am encouraged to walk at the moment “just until it almost hurts” as the doc put it, but I’d like to know if there’s a way to strengthen the ankle and build myself up to doing more while lowering the risk of re-injury. I’m already doing your girly pushups! Thanks!

Julianna, Budapest, Hungary


K: If you are wanting to reach true Bridezilla status, you are already on the right path. Stay inactive, increase your frustration, lose more patience, and take out your stress, pain, and weight gain on those around you. Instead of saying “bum ankle,” pare down to just “bum” and mean your fiancé.

A: A true Bridezilla would claim that both ankles are sprained, and insist on being carried to all events. So you might just be a “Wanna-Willa-Zilla.”

K: Okay, fine, you can have some serious humorous advice. Given your pending wedding, focus on getting ready for that versus strengthening your ankle. Even with a sprain you have many workout options. Commit to a full strength training program: upper body, abs, lower body. Choose non- or low-weight bearing lower body exercises. For cardio, get into a pool or onto a bike. Then ride like the wind, Bridezilla! Cue up the Wicked Witch music from Wizard of Oz. You could also get onto low-impact cardio equipment such as a stationary bike, elliptical machine or rower. Avoid the treadmill or stairclimber for now.

A: Shouldn’t we tell her to avoid people for now too? I mean, it’s just a month until the wedding. Who wants to be around that? Any exercise suggestions we make are not medical advice, by the way. Make sure your doc or physical therapist approves of our winning ways before attempting bungee jumps or anything that “almost hurts.” With that in mind, I have lots of students who surf and skateboard, and I put them on wobble boardsdiscs, and the BOSU® to strengthen their ankles. Here is a link that describes some excellent exercises: bit.ly/9L28uP. You are required to print it out, decorate it with doilies and have all your wedding guests perform these exercises while your band plays, “Red Right Ankle” by the Decemberists. To prevent re-injury, you might want to find out about plantar flexion (bendy indoor plants), dorsi flexion (flipbooks about dolphins), inversion (a DVD you watch at home), and eversion (what I do when it comes to chores) bit.ly/9hEgDz. Why? So you can ask your physical therapist what your feet do and choose the right exercises for the future. You are planning an exciting future full of love, joy, candy, tip-toeing through the tulips, and a complete lack of spousal snoring, right?

K: Lastly, Fun and Fit are sorry you hurt your ankle so close to your big day. What a Bud-a Pest that must be!

A: The doc advised me to work with Kymberly “just until it almost hurts” and look how that turned out! Constant nagging pain. But don’t tell her that I call her that.

Dear Readers (and Bridezillas): What contributed to your pre-wedding stress? Have you had to deal with any Bridezillas? What are “girly” push-ups?


30 Days With the Grateful Shred

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: K and A

I am doing a DVD called “30 Day Shred.” The DVD has 3 levels. I’m doing level 1 currently and my muscles still fatigue at this level but cardiovascular-wise my heart rate (HR) is not getting as high. I feel cardio-wise I am ready for next level. Should I stay with this level and add more cardio or try to go to the next level?

Tamie, Lathrop CA

A: First of all, let me explain for any readers who are unfamiliar with this workout, it does NOT refer to chipped beef on toast (and I DO know the slang term for it – Fun and Fit get out a lot). “30 Day Shred” is a work out that combines muscle work with cardio moves. Tamie, if your muscles are fatigued in a good way (you have some soreness, but can still crawl to the DVD player to push “stop”) then you can move up a level, sure. But why would you want to do that? It wouldn’t be fun, so you wouldn’t continue, right? Just like me trying to live with Kymberly (I call those the “Bossed Years”). Because my metabolic set point is stuck on “lethargic,” I am almost too inert to tell you that……zzzzzz….cardio…next level…snork. To get to the next level, push the “up” button on the shred cardio elevator.

K: Answer-wise, you are cardio-wise to wonder. Like me trying to figure out what Alexandra just ad-wised. Can you pretend you are at Lululemon trying on clothes that Mix and Match? Is the DVD workout set up in a way you can view Level 1 for the strength training part and jump to Level 2 for the cardio part? Sounds as though you do have the option to select a higher intensity cardio portion while sticking with the initial level of resistance work. Ideally you want to enjoy both the process and the goal. If you are too wiped out to move up a level with joy and eagerness, you have entered the “30 Day Dread” zone. You are probably not a’gonna last 30 days into Infinity and Beyond! (Toy Story, Level 1).

A: I think I’ll put this whole thing into terms I can understand. You have a new boyfriend.You expect eternal joy to occur in 30 days. You like going for walks on the beach with him, but it’s kind of boring and your heart doesn’t go “Ka-thunka, ka-thunka” like you wish it would. But he has these other fine qualities that make you go skippity-hop through the tulips until you are all tuckered out. You are asking if you should go bounding through the sunflowers and get exceptionalistically (definition found in “Nabokov’s Dictionary”) exhausted or stay with the eye-gazing beach stroll-a-thon. I say, stick with the tulips (my favorite flower), but start running on that beach. If he (let’s just call him Hearty Rat – or HR) really loves your body, HR will catch up and adjust. I shall now sip a beverage of deliciousness while Kymberly translates.

K: Translate??!! Alexandra, we already established that we do not have twin telepathy. (See “Spinning, Walking, Treading Are Big Fat Pains,” June 2010 post ) We don’t even have the same parents or husbands. Stick with Level 1 for metaphors but jump to Level 2 with Hearty Rat HR attack while Tamie mixes, matches, and shreds in batches.

Readers: What do you do when your heart rate says “yes,” but your muscles say “no?” Would you rather work out with Woody or Buzz? And does anyone actually eat chipped beef on toast?


Weights or Cardio – Who’s On First?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit:

Q: When I work out at the gym and plan to do both strength and cardio, which is better to start with? Spending time on the treadmill/elliptical/bike before the weights or vice versa?

Thanks K&A, love your blog!

Denise, Los Angeles, CA

A: I will give the “it depends” answer since I am not sure of your specific goals. Based on experience, and being a woman myself (a designation started by my parents), I shall take the wild and crazy guess that you want to mainly be toned and lose extra poundage, yes? If you are training for a body-building competition or simply for mass and strength, then you should do the strength training first. Otherwise, probably the cardio. In any case, if you are training for body-building, I don’t want to give you advice as you might get big and strong and hunt us down if you don’t like our fabulicious advice.

K: Let me tell you a true story from my teaching career. A woman who used to come devotedly to my morning Step class suddenly disappeared. Two months later I saw her in the gym. She had gained 20 pounds. Ok, maybe just 10, but that’s what she gets for skipping my classes. “Oh, Kymberly, I miss your Step class so much. But my personal trainer told me I had to do weights before cardio. Since I drop off the kids at school just before coming to work out, I can longer make it in time to Step as I have to fit in the weight training first.”  The professional in me asked what she was now doing for her cardio training (even though I really wanted to ask “what the @#XXamp;^* was your trainer thinking since you are now heavier?”) “Oh,” she fessed up, ” I don’t do cardio anymore since I am too tired after weight training. I used to do my weight training after your class while my energy levels were still pumped up.” Readers, do you like how I am working in total compliments to my teaching skills? Just another fitness benie (a benefit morsel).  In short, she cut her workouts in half to accommodate some arbitrary order of exercise. The only exercise order is what Fun and Fit tell you.

And daaaaahlink, we tell you: research is 50/50 on this one. Does your body feel better doing one type first? Then that is the better order for you. Does your schedule fit better one way than another? Match activity to you, not you to it. I used underline, bold, and italics on this quote so you would be impressed by its depth of meaning. I will forever quote myself on that one from this point forward. Denise, which goal is more important to you on a given workout day – strength, cardio, catching the finals of World Cup while on the elliptical machine? Do that activity first.  Rack up the activity minutes however you set the order. Didn’t that sentence sound like a cell phone company ad?

A: Some trainers recommend strength training first, because they are thinking about depleting your glycogen stores (glycogen stores are little mom-and-pop shops where you can buy sugar) to augment the amount of fat used for your cardio, but for the average exerciser this is not the case (Fun and Fit are not saying you are average, but your muscles and metabolism might be). Still awake? You can alternate the order of your workout (She loves me, She loves me not), but if your big deal is that you think you are a big deal (overweight), you will be happier doing the cardio first. Besides, after all that treadmill stuff, you can sit down at the machines or benches and rest while you lift 7-pound weights. But keep the big 30-pound weights at your feet so people think you are a bad mama who can actually lift those suckahs without engaging in a medical procedure known as “self-induced hernia.”

K: Hi again. Just got back from weight training first. Why? Cuz my favorite cardio machine was taken and I didn’t want to be hanging at the gym all night. I have better things to do — like ask my parents if Alexandra was always a woman or just wild and crazy.

Readers, especially scheduler types: How do you order your exercise activity? Off the menu, through the window, or special delivery?  Tell us at funandfit.org

For those of you thinking Fun and Fit make up half their advice, you are so right! The other half is supported by experience, knowledge, industry articles  and research such as  bit.ly/wtsorcardiofirst


Spinning, Walking, Treading are Big Fat Pains

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Q: Dear Fun and Fit: Kymberly and Alexandra

I am really trying to get into better shape. But all my joints ache. The worst are my knees. I work out on an elliptical trainer for 25 minutes and a spinning machine for 20 minutes and do 10 minutes of stretching to start each workout. I do this M/W/F. The other four days I deal with the pain. I am a 61-year-old male and I am trying to lose 25lbs. It is not fun and I am really hating the pain. What do I do?

Frank, California

K: Swim

A: Swim

K: Hey, I said it first!

A: I thought it first!

K and A: We thought it at the same time. Whoa! Twin telepathy. ……. Ahh haa haaa made you look.

K: Now that you wonder whether we really do have twin telepathy, I can tell you what Alexandra was thinking. Bupkus. But I am thinking that getting into a pool and doing laps really is the best option. If swimming is not a realistic option for whatever reason – no pool handy, hate to get wet, you only wear a bathing suit in the privacy of your bathtub–whatever–then we have to come up with more clever solutions.

A: Solution: Do something else.

Wow, that was a quick and short blog post. But since there is lots of white space left, and Kymberly whimpers if I get the last word, I’ll continue. Have you already ascertained that these machines are the best (meaning “most pain-free”) choice for your knees? How about the water aerobics in the pool? That is way easy on the joints, especially deep-water classes. First of all, the best type of pre-workout stretching is to do the movement you’re about to do. Huh, what? Who’s on first? What I mean is, I don’t know what kind of stretching you are doing, but the wrong kind could start you off on the wrong path (have you ever gotten lost on an elliptical?). Let’s say you decide to take my excellent pool class advice. The best warm-up for that is to get in the pool and move. Not stand still and clutch your foot to the back of your hind end (aka “gluteus attractivus”) for example.

K: Frank, are you sure it’s the cardio machines causing the pain and not the stretching? Without more detail about your stretching regimen it’s hard to tell what to suggest. Do you do any upper thigh strengthening (quads especially)? Put static stretching at the end or your workout. Add in some strength training for your legs twice a week. Make sure the seat of your spinning cycle is set high enough for your leg length. Nag, nag, nag. Lastly, given your goals, commitment and pain level, invest in a personal trainer for at least one month. Get your form, equipment settings, stretching plan all checked by a professional. And I don’t mean us. We’re way too busy holding our feet to our gluteii attractivi (Latin plural for that technical word Alexandra made up above). The non-technical word for this position is the “Frank in Footer” ).

A: You are smart to choose relatively low-impact activities, as they are easier on the knees, yet since you are still in pain, I recommend the New Jersey approach and fuggedaboutit. I can tell by your frankness (ooh, that is a pun you have not heard in 61 years), that you are an outgoing guy, so why don’t you find a local gym with a “seniors” program (a euphemism for “anyone older than myself”) and take a group low-impact class? The variety of movement will decrease the potential for pain and the ever-so-enjoyable atmosphere will make your workout go by quicker. At the very least, you’ll still be in pain on the 4 non-exercise days, but it will be fun while you’re in class. And that’s an improvement. Unless you take my sister’s class – in which case your pain will increase tremendously. Have you heard her jokes? Like an emery board on the ears. By the way, quit calling your wife “the pain.”
Readers: When exercise has been painful, what did you do about it? And do you think twins have telepathy with each other?


Water: Chilled, Stirred or Straight from the Pool Post-Exercise?

Kymberly's water bottleQ: I know that drinking water is very important before, during, and after exercising.  Does it make a difference if the water is cold or room temperature?

Noel, St. Joseph, MO

Alexandra: Who cares? Water is boring. The only people who should be drinking water are kids in highly chlorinated pools – big gulps – just to make their parents crazy. —beep beep beep important interruption—– I myself drink water. But after 20-some years of teaching exercise, I have not found that the temperature perks up the flavor any, now does it? But since I am a consummate professional (I think that means I am a French clear soup), I definitely recommend water. It’s so much cheaper than flavored water. Fewer calories too. And you pee or sweat it out anyway, so why invest your hard-earned money and “individual plastic bottle” guilt? Me, I care more about the non-plastic, recyclable water bottle that your water comes in than the temp.

Kymberly: Yes, drinking water is super deluxe important for all people, especially active ones. Read our post on water’s benefits and how it acts to help keep you youthful. No, the temp does not matter, unless it matters to you. My work here is done. Oh, except to say that it’s also good to avoid sugary water drinks whether hot, cold, or in between.

Alexandra: If you are working out hard enough to want water, you won’t care about the water temperature anyway. You’ll be happy to grab whatever is closest and easiest. Am I right or what? However, do you prefer cold water? If so, then you will drink more, get rehydrated sooner and be an all-around healthier, good, popular person.

Okay, technically speaking, cold water is absorbed by the body faster than room temp water, according to some research. However in a 2007 position statement by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) on water temperature, ACSM mostly just wants you to drink enough water to stay hydrated and avoid renal failure, dehydration, mental & cognitive performance decreases, exercise-induced hyponatremia, rhabdomyolysis or other grave illnesses, such as death. I only said all that stuff to distract you and make you think I read the research, but all I managed to do was scare myself. Gotta go. A jug of cold water is calling me, followed by a jug of room temp water. Maybe then I’ll be able to pronounce “rabbit – my – old – sis” or whatever that last illness is.

Dear waterlogged and dehydrated readers alike: Do you like water? Do you have a preferred temperature? Can you pronounce “rhabdomyolysis”?

ACTION: Subscribe to our site but only if you want your fitness questions answered by longtime pros.
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA















Laughing All the Way to the Abs

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: Kymberly and Alexandra

Q I prefer to laugh off my calories. Is that possible?

Maureen, San Diego, CA


K: If you read our blog, not only is it possible, but practically inevitable (with fitness comes unwarranted confidence, as you’ll note).  Alexandra and I are offering a double calorie burn-off special if you laugh at our blog AND tell all your friends to subscribe to “Fun and Fit: Q and A with K and A.” Since you are the type who laughs, we assume you have friends…???

And you can get a mini-ab workout in as well. When you laugh – heartily, mind you, not in some simpering little tee hee giggle sort of way – you get the abdominals involved in a big way. The rectus abdominis and transversus muscles contract, which, though not a huge energy expenditure, is a good and easy way to rack up a few extra burned cals. Burn, baby, burn. Disco inferno!

A: I disagree with Kymberly. I think fitness is no laughing matter. You should suffer and be tormented for hours on end. That is what makes it so fun. You are allowed to laugh when your workout has ended for the day; quietly to yourself and more like a fleeting smile than a guffaw. If you want to laugh, watch your children deal with their children!

Readers: Do you ever laugh during exercise? Why? Did you pee your sweatpants?


From 1 to 10 for your 6 pack

Kymberly Williams-Evans,MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: Hey Wondertwins!

More a diet question than a fitness question, but here goes: I work out fairly strenuously and notice definite strength benefits from it. However, my diet is awful and I am simply not making a dent in the gut. For the life of me, I can’t say no to the splurges on sweets and other carbohydrates, and I find preparing an army of chicken breasts for my various meals and maintaining greens that will wilt after a few days to be a real pain. Any tips on how I can shake my frame of mind that has me living off of fast and/or processed food and instead be happy eating my grilled meat and greens? Thanks! Keep up the great work 🙂

John from somewhere in the US

K: Hello John and thank you for submitting your question to Fun and Fit. We look forward to answering it , but be prepared that we may take our sweet ole time. Genius cannot be rushed.  Meantime, keep reading and moving! Sincerely, The Wondertwins (we liked this moniker, so have to use it, of course)!

John: The wait’s no problem. The weight is 😉 ooooh delicious puns. Can’t wait to see you two make it big!

K: Excuse me, did you say “delicious puns” or “delicious buns?” We get so confused once baked goods enter the equation. But let’s talk now about your wilted greens and withering will power. Dear boy, you are really talking about priorities and trade offs. While we are not nutrition experts, we know a self-sabotage when we see one. Why set up the choice as either fast food or ascetic eating? We are not proponents of forcing yourself to eat food you don’t like just because you think you should. Instead we believe in forcing people to do our exercise bidding. And finding foods you enjoy that are not on one end of the spectrum or another.

A: According to my favorite medical expert, Dr. Me, I believe you are suffering from a common disease known as “Budweiser Tumor.” Why go from 1 (stuff like that KFC double down fried chicken with bacon, 3 trillion calories and enough sodium to refloat the Dead Sea) to 10 (wilty greens)? Can’t you go from 1 to 2, then move up to 3 after a while….and so on until you reach nutrition improvement? First step, switch out one thing you can live without (processed food product #1) for something that is healthier and that you like (non-processed delicious thing such as a fruit smoothie). Until you get away from your bad-boy fitness attitude of “either – or” you will be stuck correlating healthy with “icky, nasty, wilty, lots of prep,” and fast food with “I’m in charge and no-one can make me not enjoy this lump of lard with seasoning.” Notice how you’ve put “grilled chicken breasts” right there with the military allusion, and splurges on sweets with “I can’t say no.” One is rigid; one is all loosey-goosey. And, yes, I do have a counseling degree, so I can say that “loosey-goosey” is a real diagnosis! You can say “no” – you just don’t want to. I suspect you are very popular on dates. BTW, I have no tips on making you happy. You already worship us so I am mystified as to what else you might need.

K: What you may need is simply to clarify what you really want most: sweets and splurges or abs that have more definition(s) than wikipedia. The other tip is for you to set a goal to find healthy foods you LIKE. Your words “real pain” and “happy” do not usually mix well at a party. Ditch the foods you hate but think you should eat for the nutritious foods you like that also taste scrumptious. Those foods are out there. I found them over at Alexandra’s house. And I ate them before she got home. result = happy.

Readers: What do you tell yourself when faced with a tempting non-nutritional food that will undo all your workout efforts?

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