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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!

4

Wassup with Warm-up?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: I understand that stretching and warming up before any workout is highly recommended, but for how long?  And what type of warm ups are best?

Noël, Missouri

 

The hanging stretch with perfect hair and "bits" tucked in

Does my dress match the floor/ceiling?

 

Kymberly: Oooooh, I love this excellent question because it brings back memories of an article I wrote and another I edited back in the days when warm-ups were still tepid and not yet globally warming. The simplest way to get my point across is to put it right out in the warm-o-sphere: the objective of a warm-up is to prepare the body to move and to literally heat up. Movements best achieve this; NOT holding still in a static stretch. A static, or “held” stretch is preparing the body to …. ta dum…hold still.  The best kind of warm-up ensures you are:

  • raising the core temperature
  • heating the muscles
  • increasing blood flow to the muscles about to work, and
  • elevating the heart rate

and dynamically stretching the muscles for the workload and range of motion ahead.  Major muscles come in pairs, so when you walk or lightly jog before a jogging workout, you stretch the hamstring every time the quadricep contracts, for example. Or if you perform an upper body rowing motion, your chest (pectorals) lengthen as your back (traps) shorten.

Alexandra: My brain is a major muscle and it doesn’t come in a pair. Okay, maybe “flex your brain matter” is just slang.

K: Love you sis, but the brain is not a muscle. Anyway, the best warm-up is one that contains the moves you are about to perform in your workout. We (I mean fitness pros in general, not just Alexandra and I) call this the “rehearsal” effect. If you are about to jog, then a light jog with a gradual increase in intensity is best; if you are getting ready for a boot camp class, then a lighter version of the moves from the workout will be just right. Take about 5-8 minutes to increase intensity, range of motion, and perhaps the pace.

A: Hoisting your leg up on a ballet barre is not the ideal way to warm-up: running around a bar is a good way to warm-up (especially if you tend to jog with a beverage in one hand). I’m going to quote here from a wonderfully comprehensive review on stretching by Len Kravitz, Ph.D. that I edited, “Thacker et al. (2004) concluded that pre-exercise stretching does not prevent injury among competitive or recreational athletes. They point out that studies incorporating a pre-exercise combination of resistance exercise, body conditioning and warm-up show promise for better injury prevention. Herbert and de Noronha (2009) state that stretching before and after exercise has not been shown to impart any additional protection from muscle soreness.”

 

 

baby stretch

I love those post-pool stretches; the sodden diaper not so much

 

All the way from Australia, (as opposed to “All the way from Washington”) read this article for some succinct info on warm-ups, although you should keep in mind that it was written in 2003, so the bit about static stretching should be taken with a grain of Tiger Balm, as Kravitz’s advice is more current. Here’s my question to you, Noël, Why do you have an umlaut in your name? Wait, that’s not my question. It’s: What is your goal with the warm-up? If it’s to prevent injury or muscle soreness, do the movement types Kymberly recommends above. If you are stretching for other reasons (such as to show off your shapely legs to a bunch of soccer players), we can’t help you. But we’ll be right over!

Young Americans (and old) should stretch post-workout

All the way from Washington (not Australia)

K: Well, she might be right over. I’ll be here making moves to refer you all to our post from a bit back on the best time to stretch.

Readers: What type of warm-up do you do? Are you one of those people who comes to an exercise class a bit late and misses the warm-up?

Photo credits: 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.

Want to learn more from author, Dr. Kathy Gruver for free? Click here to listen to our radio interview of her on the connection between mind and body.

Photo credits: Creative Commons

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

11

7 Benefits of Exercise

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun & Fit:
People tell me all the time that exercise is good for me for many reasons, but I can only think of one — weight loss. What are the other reasons?
Hates to exercise
Hygiene, Colorado

Is that skunk\’s name Jean?

Great question. And I’d ask about your city, but I lived near there and know it exists! But it is a “unique” name for a town. And I sure am tempted to say, “Hi Jean!”

There actually are quite a few great reasons to exercise, yet we’ll just give you the 7 that Mayo Clinic touts, starting with the one you already know:
1. Helps manage weight – Forget all that crazy talk pre-printed on the machines about fat-burning zones: a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. In a simple sentence that includes a verb, engaging in exercise causes you to burn calories. If you burn them, you aren’t storing them!

2. Improves mood – decreases stress, helps stave off depression, increases self-esteem and happiness, and is relaxing; all to do with brain chemicals.

Chocolate improves mood

3. Combats chronic diseases – We in the fitness industry have been shouting about this for years. But is anyone listening? Noooooo. Too bad, I’m going to shout it again: most chronic diseases can be prevented or managed with exercise – hypertension, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, colon cancer, abnormal cholesterol levels, stroke, arthritis. While we’re at it, you should also quit smoking!

4. Boosts energy level – When people say “I’m doing my cardio,” they are secretly talking about Biology 101. The cardiovascular system is more efficient when it’s all “exercised up.” Go Heart! Go Blood Vessels! While we’re here: Go Lungs!

5. Promotes better sleep – As long as I don’t exercise right before bedtime, I can improve..zzzzzzzzz. snort

6. Has positive effect on sex life – Women: Hello arousal! Men: Goodbye erectile dysfunction. Nuff said. Shut up and dance.

Shut Up and Dance

7. Can be fun – Okay, most of the people who live on this planet might wonder about the fun part, but obviously the researchers at the Mayo Clinic are whooping it up!

In the end, all you need is the one benefit that will get you motivated to exercise. Any list, no matter how long or short, will be irrelevant unless it resonates with you. And no, “resonate” is not a type of furniture polish!

Dear Readers: If you had to choose one of the benefits from the list above, which one would be the one that gets you motivated to move?

17

Be Your Body’s Best Friend

Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Readers: It’s halfway through January and some of you are frustrated by the gap between your resolutions and solutions. The other half of you don’t do resolutions and are frustrated more by the fact that it’s a long time until spring break! And the other half of you (this math is taken straight from the calculus textbooks) have given up and are just pissed. Three of you are working out while reading this!

Best Friends Know What’s What

Here’s the deal – it doesn’t matter in the end how much Kymberly and I know–which is a freakin’ lot –about fitness and health and living a quality life, if our information doesn’t make an impact. What really matters is YOU: your choices, your decisions, your actions! Okay, to us, we matter too! But our information can only help you if you help you! Let me tell you a story:I have a dad. Kymberly has a dad. Same guy, now that I think of it. We love our dad. But he can’t walk very well. And when he does walk, it’s with a cane and he goes very sloooooowly. And when he falls, he can’t get himself up. How did this happen? No accident, no disease, no genetic reason, he just formed bad habits over time. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. His life is limited because he didn’t choose to make changes when he could. Now he is ruled by his limitations. All his physical limitations are self-induced. You got that? Every problem he has is due to lifestyle.

We, his daughters the exercise experts, could do nothing to help him because he wasn’t motivated. I love having my dad’s genetics, because I can stay healthy my whole life as long as I exercise and eat right (almost) every day until I die. That’s all there is to it. That’s the big secret. I am genetically built to have a great quality of life.

NOT choosing to take care of your health IS making a choice. If you always put off taking that one small step, you are choosing the path of bad habits. Take a look at this hysterical video my mom sent along:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5N1Im1xbjWQ&feature=player_embedded#!

It has nothing to do with health or fitness, but it explains why I’m about to say

PEOPLE, DON’T BE STUPID!

Don’t wait until you’re in a wheelchair or can’t get up or your doctor says your obesity is the cause of your health problems. Those drastic conditions are created by thousands of small poor choices. Being healthy isn’t about drastic changes either; it’s about small good choices. Lot’s of good choices.

So what’s it going to be? What can you do TODAY? What is ONE THING you can do? Only YOU have to live in your body. YOU control its destiny. It’s YOUR job to be its best friend. Be a good best friend. And we are there to help.

Best Friends Will Jump With You

Thank you to all who have signed up for our 30-Day Fitness Challenge. We are honored to be your partners in this journey. I am especially excited because most of my journeys involve road trips with Kymberly and we know how much she can talk! And she ALWAYS remembers her back-seat driver’s license!

In honor of the great body your parents gave you at birth, we’d love to know what you are doing today to be a friend to your body.

3

“New Year=New You: 30 Day Challenge” is Coming

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit Readers, Movers, and (Booty) Shakers:

Pretend this is Kymberly after the Challenge

Do you want to become healthier, more fit, leaner, stronger, happier, more focused and um, where was I? Oh, right – focused…smarter, better-looking and on your way to a healthier lifestyle? All for under $10? Me too. Um, how exactly? Why, through the upcoming New Year=New You: 30 Day Fitness Challenge.

Starting shortly, you and all your friends, relatives, associates, Twitter twerps, workmates, stalkers, gurus, gym pals, neighbors, high school sweethearts and casual acquaintances will have the option to sign up for the Fun and Fit version of gettin’ your get up and go to giddy up! We’re making the gig ridiculously accessible cuz’ that’s how we roll and we want you and everyone you know to take part. Let’s get this 2011 fitness party started!

Our New Year=New You: 30 Day Fitness Challenge will share practical movement tips, motivational quotes, achievable lifestyle small steps, nutrition/diet hints, fitness facts and a lots of Fit-Tastic information that will put you on the road to lasting change. We’re so excited, we’re going to take our own advice and sign up! Okay, Kymberly will actually take Alexandra’s advice–that’s just how it works around here.

The New Year=New You: 30 Day Fitness Challenge is different and better than all those other programs you may have tried because it will offer well-rounded (like my butt-yes, that’s me in the picture above) advice that has already been proven effective for the thousands and thousands of students we’ve worked with over the years: practical, realistic, achievable and long-lasting lifestyle changes that you can use long after the 30 days are over. No gimmicks, no undue suffering, no taunting, no unsafe or short-term results; just new habits you will “sneak” into your lifestyle. Meanwhile, the 30 days are long enough to help you instill great habits with each day’s “challenge” while being short enough to stick with the jump start to 2011 and a new you.

Wanted: 1000 Challenge Participants

We hope to post YOUR photos, feedback, goofy moments, and successes–right next to the blackmail photos of Kymberly as she spends 30 days trying to work off 5 years of (dare I say it?) bad habits!

Old Year=Old Me: Pre-Challenge

The secret to success with the New Year=New You: 30 Day Fitness Challenge? We give you help, not take away things you love (hellooooo sprinkle donuts)! No Burn Out, just Bum Up (that’s British for “butt”). So make a New Year’s resolution you will feel good about throughout the year. Keep your eye on our site and hand on your credit card for sign-up details…as soon as we figure out how to set that up. We did mention that fitness, not tech knowledge, is our strength, right?

Quick Quiz Question (to be answered to Challenge participants): Do you burn more calories in one hour of hard core, full core, super duper exercise or in the other 23 hours of the day (even if those 23 hours are lethargic and mosey paced)? Knowing the correct answer will help guide your training choices.

17

Healthy Holiday Motivation – 5 Tips

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

I'm Dreaming of a White...

This is the time of year when millions thousands a crapload of people you and your best friends Betty and Veronica make resolutions and promises, some of them involving blood, toil, tears and sweat (quick, history buffs, who said this?)! This Season of Determination is quickly followed by the Season of Broken Dreams, as resolutions go out the door faster than old eggnog (an evil holiday beverage).

But do not despair; instead get motivated. There are ways to help yourself get and stay motivated to implement your goals.

Season of Broken Dreams

1. Focus on the Process, not the Outcome–The process is the road there; the outcome is the final destination. You cannot get from here to there without some sort of journey. In practice, this means take it one step at a time. Set yourself up for success by naming and writing down the steps it will take to get you where you want to be. “Get Super Buff” is a fuzzy outcome, because it’s not defined. What would that look like for you, and how will you get there?

Journey, not Destination

2. Make it More Fun–If you hate running, why promise yourself you’ll start a running program? In this situation, “running” is spelled F.A.I.L.U.R.E. As I mention in our Womensradio  radio broadcast on this topic, if you love to dance to Led Zeppelin, that’s what will be fun for you. Who cares if everyone else loves boot camp if your thing is boogie-ing down to disco classics?

Boogie Down with your Fit Self

3. Allow Yourself Opportunities for Mastery–Find activities you can do that allow you to become good at something. For example, if you hate push-ups, why beat yourself up that you cannot do a flying push-up (maybe I’ll post video of this someday)? Instead, try a wall or knee push-up.  Then you can legitimately tell yourself, “I did a push-up.” This is highly motivating and will lead to further successes!

4. Go With a Friend–Whether it’s in person, (a walk or exercise class together), or by check-in (“Hey, did you go to your fitness class today?), being accountable to a friend dramatically increases the chance that you’ll keep to your plan. No-one likes to be the one to let a friend down.

5. Avoid Comparisons–Face it, you will never be the person you were in college or your wedding (unless they were in your very recent past). You are older, and probably have a better ability to pace yourself now anyway! Comparing yourself to your distant past is like asking for a date with disappointment (yes, I know him. He was all hands). And comparing yourself to how you should be in some never-quite-there future doesn’t work either. If you must compare yourself to something, choose yesterday. Then do something that is more than yesterday and you’ll have a good basis for comparison. While you’re at it, don’t compare yourself to others either. They’re all either better-looking (darn your parents for those imperfect genes) or worse-looking (that’s just mean), so stop it right now! (Of course, I have an identical twin, so have a lot of experience with the comparison business – so sad for her!)

Speaking of my imaginary twin, she wrote an excellent piece on this very topic (wow, what a coincidence)!

Photo credits: Photobucket

Dear Motivated Readers: What little “tricks” do you use to help yourself stay motivated? And why is the word “ate” in “motivate?”

11

Fitness Fact or Fiction – Aaahh, Freak Out!

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

QUIZ TIME! How well do you know your Fitness Facts? Yes, it’s time to get your freak on with Fun and Fit, who examine the DARK side of activity this time around. At least one of the following Freak Out Fitness Facts is in fact, not a fact. Sadly, some of them are true. Can you pick out the fiction?

1) Adults and children spend an average of 70% of their awake time sitting (driving, eating, watching tv, reading, working at a computer, playing video games).

2) Kymberly is sitting now, being sedentary and adding to the dismal stats about sitting and butt parking. Oh, Meow!

3) The average woman adds 10 pounds of fat every decade.

4) Our readers are not average and therefore are bucking the fat gain stats.

5) Sedentary jobs have increased 83% since 1950; Physically active jobs now make up only about 25% of our workforce. That is 50% less than 1950.

6) Alexandra is way more fit than Kymberly.

Alexandra doing a back bend

Kymberly almost worked out

7) Eighty percent of midlife women (age 40 to 60) have one or more heart disease risk factors.

You better have said “number 6.” Or else……

Let’s end our time together today boys and girls with a few Fun Fit Facts….or Fiction???!! Can you pick out the Fun Fit Facts that do not belong?

1) Just five minutes of “green exercise” – cycling, gardening, fishing, or other outdoor activities – can enhance your mood and self esteem.

2) Exercise can improve your brainpower .

3) Fun and Fit are brainiacs beyond belief, partly because they work out regularly.

4) Studies show that for every hour of walking, life expectancy may increase by two hours.

What the heck??!! Did you think number 3 was the fiction? No way; that is solid fact. In fact, all of the Fun Fit Facts are TRUE. Motivated yet to at least go take a walk? 

Now, where did I put my high-heeled exercise shoes & fitness mini?

Photo Credits: Creative Commons & Photobucket

8

Eating Pre- and Post-Workout

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

Dear Fun and Fit: What should we eat before and after a workout? (there are loads of different stories about it).

Hanna, Mooncoin, Ireland

What’s the best thing to consume BEFORE a workout? And how long should you wait after eating before hitting the gym for maximum performance and gain?

Mary, Holland, Michigan

A: Hanna and Mary, have you two met? Similar question – different countries. Destined to meet and eat. Before and after a workout you should eat…wait for it…food. Healthful food. Stand back, experts at work. Dare I say carbohydrates and protein? In an excellent article, Jenna Bell-Wilson, PhD, RD, LD (this all means she’s an official expert) gives more complete details, but here are some carb/protein combo nuggets of info for you (no chickens were harmed in the making of our nuggets):

whole-grain toast and peanut butter
orange and cottage cheese
yogurt and granola
nuts and apple
hard-boiled egg and wheat bagel
chicken breast (still not a nugget) and rice
string cheese and pretzels

If you are looking for the donut and coffee combo, I’ll just tell you now, it ain’t going to happen. We would never recommend such a combo (although a certain twin who is NOT Alexandra would consider consuming it.

K: Hold on. I don’t drink coffee. Gee, what kind of aspersions are you casting about, twin who is NOT mine. As for the aspect of timing your food and workouts, the best answer is to listen to your own body. Mine tells me to skip the coffee and donuts – so there! – but to eat for sure. In fact, I am one of those hearty sorts who can exercise intensely five minutes after eating, no prob.  In general, though, time your workouts according to your meal size. If you eat a large meal — of carbs and protein — wait two to four hours before intensely exercising. If you want to work out sooner after you eat, then chow down on a smaller meal and wait about an hour or two. The Mayo Clinic further suggests that you eat protein and carbs within two hours post-workout.

But you know what? I live in the practical, real world. If I want to work out in the morning, I for sure want to eat brekkie first. But I am not going to wait until midday – three or four hours post brekkie – to get a’ goin’. Nor am I going to wake up at “too early stupid o’clock” to eat at 4:10am to be able to catch an 8:00am class. Remember the big picture: eat when you are hungry; be active as much as you can; focus on carbs and protein pre- and post-workout. Ta da!

A: Here’s what I always tell my students at the U–the closer it is to the ground, the better it is for you. The best workout food is grown, not processed into a foodlike substance (as Michael Pollan calls it).

So this: yes

And this: no

K: Dear regular fit people (not high-level, competitive athletes):  in case you are busy timing and planning your food and exercise, let me sum up the relevant portion of the article my sis recommended. “…consume a balanced snack 2–3 hours prior to exercise and … consume a carbohydrate- and protein-containing snack or meal following the session to help (you) advance (your) workout, enhance (your) glycogen stores and recover successfully.”
Please pass the box of chocolates.

Readers: What are your hot tips on what and when to eat relative to your workouts. And don’t tell us anything boring or we’ll drown our boredom in a donut.

Photo credits: Creative Common

14

Hot Tub: Warm Muscles

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: I like to warm up my muscles in a jacuzzi before my swim workout. Is it okay to stretch under this scenario? Claire, Goleta, CA

Kymberly: Wow! How big is your jacuzzi that you can stretch out in it and then take a swim? Can we come party at your place? With a few…….. hundred fitness pals? If so, then my answer is whatever you want it to be.

Alexandra: Warm up as in “Boy, that lobster in the pot sure has a surprise coming?” Are you asking if it’s okay to stretch after the jacuzzi dunking but before the pool swimming? One school of fish thought says that it actually doesn’t matter if you do the jacuzzi or the pool first; you’ll gain in flexibility in either case. The determining factor is the type of stretching. (Did you know flexibility came in choices – stretchy, super stretchy & Gumby?) There is some evidence that immersing yourself in a nice cold pool (by which I mean icy) can help with flexibility and muscle soreness after an intense workout, but I suspect this is not your plan! The American Council on Exercise likes your plan, though, so we give it the pool toy of approval. They recommend “doing a few stretches immediately after a shower or while soaking in a hot tub. The hot water elevates body and muscle temperature enough to make them more receptive to stretching.”

P

Make sense? In translation, I just said you should pretend your muscles are modeling clay (Gumby’s baaaack). If they’re warm, your muscles can do all kinds of bendy, pliable type moves. But take that clay straight from the fridge and brrrrrr, snap. Torn muscle. All in all, looks like you are okay to keep doing what you’ve been doing, which is good as you probably would have ignored our advice if we said no anyway!

K: I will add one key “ahoy matey” warning. Soaking in a hot tub tends to dehydrate a person. Swimming can do the same. So drink water before and after you swim, and not from the pool or hot tub YUCK! Ewwwww.

Readers and jacuzzi lovers: What has been your experience? Does a lovely warm soak help you stretch or just make you want to stretch out on the chaise longue (and yes, this is spelled correctly) and relax?

Photo credits: Photobucket