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4 Santa Slim-Down Tips

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit:
Each Christmas I seem to gain a few pounds. People call me jolly, but I think they’re being nice to my face because they want something from me. In truth, I am verging on rotund and starting to weigh down my sleigh. How can I keep from gaining weight this year and surprise the the Missus when she welcomes me home after a hard day’s night work?
Ho ho ho and how how how? Santa Claus, North Pole

Alexandra: Dear Santa baby: Most people (yes, I mean You, SC and our readers!) make resolutions, vows, promises and pinky swears about all the food they’re going to avoid, followed by all the walks they’re going to take. When this doesn’t happen 100%, guess what? Y’all berate yourselves. Now how is feeling bad about your so-called “failure” going to make you feel all warm and glowy about being fit and healthy?

So…here is my take on how to successfully help yourself over the holidays:

1. When the big holiday spread is laid out, look it over before putting any food on your plate. Decide which things you really love and just KNOW you’ll have seconds of. If it’s that sweet potato with marshmallows concoction, may I just say “Ewwwwww?” Then choose what you like fairly well, but can live with having just a single helping. For that food, take 1 less spoonful than you took last year. Then all you’re left with is the food that you HAVE to try because Favorite Auntie Elf made it “special” and you’ll hurt her feelings. For that stuff, just take a teaspoonful (or none, if you can get away with it) and move it around the plate a bit! Even if the stuff you picked for seconds is junk, at least you’re taking in fewer calories overall and it is just ONE DAY out of 365. Notice I am not recommending eating junk on a regular basis. Bad advice. Bad. Bad.

Kymberly: What??!! I LOVE yams and sweet potatoes. I am taking your spoonful Alexandra if you keep up that baditude.  May I also have your cranberry sauce?

A: Have at it! For my second tip:
2. On the days that aren’t a food-laden holiday, but might be more of a stress, busy, leading-up-to more stress and lots of chores kind of day, there are still ways to help yourself. If you’re going shopping, (do your elves really make all those gifts by hand? I think not!) take each purchase to the car, then go back to the next shop, rather than holding on to all the bags. That little bit of extra walking counts as exercise! And as you walk to the car, do a little bicep curl holding those bags. Dorky? Maybe. But having toned arms is pretty cool. I am not advocating buying more stuff just to have more to pump, although…..

K: Hmm, dorky and fit, or cool and unfit? I pick door number one.

A: Dorks rule!

3. I hate the word self-control. Why? Because it sounds like a panty hose ad. I prefer to say “self-choice.” This is a hectic time of year and it’s not easy or fun to prepare healthful meals all the time. But you can only eat what you bring into the house, right? So whether you grab something “to-go” or do a quick and easy meal prep, decide before you buy. For example, if you know you’ll be out late shopping, pick out the night’s dinner before you head out. It’s so much easier to make good choices before you’re grumpy and tired (yeah, I’ve done mall shopping with kids).

4. Consider making yourself a mental scale.

K: Note, she said “mental” scale. Don’t go stepping on any weight scales. They do not reveal anything about your fitness level or whether you look good in red.

A: True enough. When you start to get too busy or tired to take your walk (or whatever your preferred type of exercise is), ask yourself, “On a scale of 1-10 (1 being low and 10 being high), how badly do I want to give up the exercise?” Then ask yourself how you’ll feel afterward if you do the exercise. For example, “I want to make sure the Santa Sofa doesn’t get lonely” ranks a 7 because you really are tired, versus “I’ll feel like a 10 after I exercise.” Then it’s easier to make a conscious, deliberate choice because you’ve ranked your priorities.

K: So I shouldn’t leave out the cookies this year? Just the carrots? Will I still get great gifts?

Dear Readers: What tips do you have to share with others who struggle over the holidays? And what kind of cookies are you sending me (I love peanut butter)?

Illustration credit: Photobucket

What Have Fun and Fit Been Up To?

Dear READERS of Fun and Fit

Alexandra: While you all have been doing your abdominal workouts, we’ve been hard at work doing……..er, Kymberly, what have we been doing exactly?

Kymberly: Recording our upcoming radio shows for Women’s Radio, compiling two short e-books that are now for sale on Amazon for under two bucks each– hinty, hint, (73 Exercise Quotes to Help you Get and Stay in Shape and 63 Motivational Quotes to Help You Get and Stay in Shape) and getting ready for our New Year=New You: 30-Day Fitness Challenge. Plus trying to become computer-literate, which almost made my head explode!

A: You lost me at “sale.” I got so excited I grabbed my credit card and started rubbing it, just like my magic lamp.

Genie, bring me a free VISA

K: Can your genie bring you a better credit card? One with no payments due…ever?

A: No, but here’s something better–all of you dear readers can go to our home page (Fun and Fit) and sign up to receive email notices of our radio shows & appearances, Fit Facts & news, plus be the first to receive info about any free stuff we might decide to give away! And, ta da ta ta, you can get info about the New Year=New You: 30-Day Fitness Challenge, which starts with the New Year. Bet you figured that out though.

K: A little interjection here. Signing up for the new stuff mentioned above is different from subscribing to our blog. That is a totally separate sign-up. Sure, you can do both, and why wouldn’t you? But they are different.

A: Just like you and me; similar yet different.

Mom always loved Kymberly best, understandably

K: Sort of.  Our Fun and Fit sign-up and subscription are both good, but in the case of us, well, I’ll say no more in case I hurt your feelings (psssst, Alexandra smells of elderberries and her mother was a hamster).

Taunt me a second time, you French person

A: Oh, go away or I shall taunt you a second time.

K: When was the first? Were you talking to me?

Photo credits: Photobucket and Elite Henneson


TV Tells Us to “Get Off Our Keesters”

Kymberly Williams-Evans,MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: We’d like to pose our own question this week. Yours remotely, Fun and Fit, USA

Alexandra: Can watching TV make you more fit? Watch and learn, grasshopper. Watch and learn.

Watching You Watching Me

Or don’t, because watching TV really can’t do a thing for your hops, jumps or skips. But there sure are a lot of interesting show titles that almost make you want to get off your keester and kick some booty!

Too Much TV = Too Much Keester

Kymberly was left unsupervised with the remote control, and look what happened!

Kymberly: TV is sending us healthy messages, which we at Fun and Fit have decoded for you. TV show titles are  bold, just like us.

Are you 30 Pounds Overweight, want to Relieve Joint Aches or get rid of your Underbelly? You cry out that you want to Lose Inches Off Your Body, though not 300 because you feel Size Matters?! Yes, manly men, you can go from Two and A Half Men (when you should be just one) to Iron Man; from being Easy Prey and The Walking Dead to The Brave One or The Incredible Hulk. Women-personages, time to Stop Your Anxiety and become a DIY Dominator at any age — whether you’re in the Wonder Years, the Girls Gone Wild crowd, or one of The Golden Girls.

What is the The Law of Success? Do you ask yourself “How do I Run My Renovation and Sleep in Comfort?” Stay tuned for the answers next season.

A: Actually, the truth is that I whacked myself in the head today because I forgot to pay attention to the basics of car door-shutting mechanics, so am giving the heavy lifting of this post over to you, dear readers. Here are some more honest-to-gawd, dang me if these aren’t actual titles of TV shows. Your mission, if you decided to accept it, is to make up funny descriptions to go with the titles. No fair using the actual descriptions; yours will be more interesting anyway! Have at it. Once I’ve recovered from my bloody head pity party, we’ll read your comments and laugh ourselves silly. Oh, wait, we already are silly. So, we’ll laugh ourselves into Fits!

1962 TV Set

Healing Foods
Back Pain Solved
Shop Erotic
Anti-Aging Secrets
Best Bra Ever
Carve Abs in Bed
Zumba Dance
The Karate Kid
How to Train Your Dragon
Sports Country
Outrageous Foods
Drink Up
Rise of a Warrior
I Survived
Cardio Fitness
Whacked Out Sports

Forget TV - Beat Up Your Brother Instead

Photo credits: Creative Commons


Test Your Fitness Funny Bone

In honor of the quiz that Alexandra is giving today to her university students, we thought we’d share the fizzy quizzy fun and ask all of you, our dear readers, a few questions. Feel free to post your answers in the comments section, as this blog is Pass/Fail and no-one has failed yet (except spammers). As we are helpful and generous, we may or may not provide hints and clues, spattered about like hot little spetters (Dutch for “splashes”) of bacon!

Oh, so Minnieous Mousieous

1. Which part of the body comes in three Disney flavors: The Maximus, Minnieous and Mousieous (aka maxiumus, medius and minimus)?

Your Ass?

2. Who tends to reduce muscle mass by 1/3 and lose 12-14% of their strength by age 60?

Not a day over 60!

3. Slower and longer cardio exercise leads to more relative fat than carbos burned (as a percentage of energy used) ; faster and shorter cardio leads to more calories burned (per minute; not necessarily overall), as an absolute number. What does slower and shorter lead to?

That is not exercise!

4. What’s one of the best ways to save over $500 per annum?

Drop and give me 40


5. There are five diabetes-reducing healthy behaviors that are under your control. The first four are: Walk (or comparable activity) at least 30 minutes per day, Eat a diet with reduced trans-and saturated fats, Drink alcohol in moderation, and Don’t smoke. What is the fifth?

Sleep, my pretty

Well, how did you do? Are you now all whipped into shape?

Snap Crackle Whip

Thank you, and we hope we passed the audition!. Now get out there and kick some girly ass!

Whip your Ass, Fools

Photo credits: Creative Commons


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


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


Why No Weights While Walking?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear A and K aka F and F: Why do they say NOT to use hand weights while walking? Regards, Charlotte, CA

Kymberly: “They” who? Is someone following us? I am not paranoid, but why do “they” keep showing up and talking to me?. “They” told me to tell you that adding weights at the end of a lever (hand or ankle, for example) that is moving rapidly is a good way to stress joints, tendons, and ligaments. Carrying hand weights risks raising your blood pressure, when it’s really your heart rate you want to elevate. If your goal is to get a good cardio workout (I think this is a safe assumption that will not make an ASS out of U and ME), then ditching the weights will allow you to walk faster and thereby ditch the body weight…… in a roadside ditch that you pass while out power walking!

Alexandra: Let me walk back through your question…why do you want to use hand weights while walking? Are you trying to save time by doing your strength training while on the walk? Knock that off. Stand still – pick up biggish weights – be a better person. Unless, of course, your hand weight is a sword, umbrella or small dog:
In that case, go for it!

K: In brief–Not Inserting a picture of husband in briefs here–use weights for your weight training; use your walk time to get your unhampered groove on!

A: P.S. Unhampered groove looks like this:

Dear walkers: What do you hold while walking? And do NOT say “my breath.”

Photo credits: Creative Commons


Shape Up or Ship Out Shoes?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: Okay, what’s the truth about those “shape up” shoes.  Can I get into shape without going to the gym?  Will they really straighten my posture, burn more calories, firm and lift my butt?  Should I be firing my old sneakers?

Diane in Orcutt, CA

Kymberly: “Truth? You can’t handle the truth!” Or can you?

Alexandra: More importantly, can you handle Jack Nicholson? Walk closer to me in your black high-heeled pumps and I’ll whisper the answer–“Yes, you can get in shape without going to the gym.” Let me put it this way; 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” really magical? Um, only if they come with a magician. Here’s a direct quote from an unbiased study (meaning the shoe company didn’t fund the study): “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.” In plain English, that quote means, “Toning shoes–Meh!”

K: Fire up the old sneakers. Fire the new sneakers. But be sneaky about it.

A: Whether you walk in high heels, toning shoes, old sneakers or your favorite bunny slippers, you will feel some effects after your walk simply because you are “mixing it up.” No, that is not a reference to Joe’s Bar on State Street in Santa Barbara (great place to mix it up, BTW); it means any change will make you feel like your butt just got some new “firmware.” Here’s some very dry, potentially boring information you should read about choosing your exercise shoes. And I’d know…I wrote it!

K: As for lifting your butt – you want info on the bottom line? — The bottom line is WALK. Walk some more. Wear whatever motivates you to walk often and happily. People who wear and love the new “shape up” shoes report being more fit. Most likely it is because they are simply walking more. Hey, whatever it takes….. Now where did I put my bunny slippers?

Readers: What motivates you to get out of the house and take a walk? Yes, you can say “my dog.” We are not picky; we are nosy.


HomeBody Workout

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: Just read your article at noozhawk.com and I’d love to hear your suggestions on how to add 15-20 minutes of weight-training exercises at home 3-4 times a week using free weights, bands, etc.  The more specific the better! I do different types of cardio during the week, all outside here in beautiful Santa Barbara! I realize at the age of 52 that it is more and more difficult to tone up and lose some fat and weight, just about 5 pounds. I do not belong to a gym and so would like to have the tools to do this at home so my metabolism can rev up and that flab can turn to leaner muscle! many thanks

Alexandra, Santa Barbara, CA.

Alexandra: Let’s start with two wondertastic exercises you can do at home with NO equipment where you could get lots of ROI (Rugburn On Impact) – squats and push-ups. The problem is that most people do these with poor, less-than-ideal, blackmail-photo-worthy form. Let’s just say this is where trainers earn their money. But this site has some very specific total body and lunchtime exercises that will have you worshipping me so much that you’ll want to change your name to Alexandra, just to be like me! Hey, wait a minute!


Kymberly: Disclaimer – this is not my sister questioning herself. That could happen, mind you. But in this case, TWO Alexandras exist in one website. 2 Good + 2 Be = 4Gotten. Next to acknowledge is that reading our posts at noozhawk will lighten your day. And maybe your body weight! .

A: One of the all-time best workouts we’ve experienced that will kick-start your metabolism comes from Aileen Sheron. You might like to check out her tubing variable resistance DVD. Or get a motorcycle and pump it over your head a few times. Zoom Zoom.

K: Just get the darn DVD. You will have so many awesome (euphemism for “butt kicking”) exercises to choose from. And, no we get no kickback from the Fun and Fit bump we just gave the DVD. (Aileen, if you are reading this–and you should, geewillikers!–send us free DVDs will ya??!) Not too proud to beg.

Back to you, Alexandra #2: Also perform ab exercises as part of your program. I LOVE reverse curls as they activate the ab muscles from the bottom up, instead of the top down. No, that is not a suggestion of how to wear your sports bra when training or how to drive your convertible. Ab exercises involve the spine, which can flex and bend all over the place. So you can pull your hip bones toward your rib cage (bottom up) or you can pull your rib cage toward your hip bones (top down). Either way, the move is free, portable, available at home, and important for your goals. The one thing I would change in this video is to keep your legs parallel, NOT crossed at the ankle. I always suggest training to achieve symmetry and balance, so minimize the crossed feet. Maximize the name “Alexandra” though as it is a way cool name. Almost as cool as my name.

Photo credits:Photobucket

Readers: What is your all time FAVE home weight training exercise and why should we care?


Spin, Rinse, No Wash Out Cycle

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

Dear Fun and Fit: I want to amp up my old ass metabolism. I spin 3x a week for an hour. Would it be better for me to go every day and do cardio for a half hour instead? I have been spinning for years. Doing an hour is easy for me heart wise, but still tires out my legs. Molly,  Dayton, OH

Alexandra: The very short answer – 30 minutes 5-6 days  a week, but push the intensity a bit – in little bursts. And you need weight training to kick-start the donkey pulling your metabolism. Your mission is to read No Hulk, No Bulk.

Kymberly: Two words for you Good Golly Maxed Out Molly: Interval Training. Ok, two more since I am feeling generous: Routine Variation. You are spinning… your wheels. Any activity, no matter how great, is going to offer diminishing returns if you do the same thing week in, week out. Wait, are we talking about my investments all of a sudden? Change up girl. Is there another cardio activity you can switch out for one spinning workout? You want to force the muscles (the heart being one) to constantly adapt upward which occurs when you have something new going on. New workout gear does not count.

Regardless whether you are spinning, cycling, rinsing, washing, running, treading, stepping — pick cardio activities and classes you enjoy — you can implement Interval Training to boot your booty into the spin-o-sphere. In short, alternate 3-10 minutes of your regular pace with 1-2 minutes or so of a high intensity, all out, “if my mom could see me now,”  “balls dolls to the wall” burst. And we have eyes in the back of our heads so don’t think this means suddenly cruising at low intensity for the “recovery” or “regular” part of the ride.  Start with the pace you usually handle, and try to go right back to that pace after each interval burst.

A: If you follow our advice, your “old-ass metabolism” will be so energized that you’ll be able to do this:

Dear Cyclists and Old-Asses: Have you had a fitness routine that left you feeling like you were spinning your wheels? What did you change up to re-kick start yourself?

Photo credits: Photobucket.com