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The Best Time to Work Out: Now or Later?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA


Dear Fun and Fit: What is the best time to work out?

Sooner or Later?

Now? Then? Tell me When!

Kymberly: Your timing on the timing aspect couldn’t be timelier as we just read a concise wrap-up of factors that help people stay consistent with a workout program. The absolute BEST time is when you will actually go. You derive benefits from exercise whether it’s o’dark thirty or too dam early o’clock. However, people who exercise early in the day tend to be more consistent and therefore more successful. The early bird gets the burn!



Morning workouts are best (just not too early)Rise and Shine, Workout People!



Alexandra: If you’re a procrastinator, I’d recommend the morning. That way you will be done with your exercise, and can focus on putting off all the other stuff you should be doing! And some of my university students sign up to work out later in the day simply because they don’t want to wake up early! Of course, by “early” they mean “before lunch.” So the best time for them is different than for most other age groups.

Motivate me up Scotty!

All for One and One for All

K: In short, the statistical reality is that human nature kicks in (sometimes even before the endorphin rush!) which plays out as those who put exercise later in the day tend to keep pushing it off…until it’s the next day, then the next. Those who schedule exercise first thing simply adhere better.

As for me, I love to exercise in the evening when the gym is quiet and I can watch tv guilt-free as I pedal along. But then, I teach morning classes, so I’d say for me, the BEST time is when I am paid to work out and people are counting on me to show up.  Yup– that is my favorite time!

Exercise with Gloria & her six daughters

Increase Your Exercise Adherence – Become Blonde!

A: Sort of related, but not exactly (meaning: “not much really, but I just want to put it out there”) is that one trait people who have lost weight and managed to keep it off for at least 1 year have in common is that they eat breakfast. It didn’t matter what time of day they worked out, yet it did matter whether or not they ate breakfast (Wing & Phelan, 2005).

Here’s the secret, no matter what time zone you’re in or if you put your workout where the sun does or doesn’t shine, Be Consistent.

K; Like F and F twins, great questions often come in pairs, so allow us to answer “what’s the BEST cardio activity?” while we’re at it.

Dear Readers: What time works best for you? Who works out before the sun is up? Why?

Photo Credits: Creative Commons


No Such Thing As “Before and After”: Inspirational Story

Guest post from Jack Sh*t Gettin’ Fit at http://jackfit.blogspot.com


Jack's After exercise and diet picture

After and During and Ongoing and On and On

I am… and will always be… a work in progress.

It’s taken me quite a number of years to come to that simple realization, but there it is.

It seems I’ve spent all my life shedding weight, packing it back on, losing it again.

Doctors will tell you that yo-yoing like that is tougher on the old bod than being obese. And each time you gain it back, it becomes that much tougher to shed the weight.

Two years ago, I drew a line in the sand.

“This ends today,” I told myself.

I was at my heaviest and my most unhealthy. I was lethargic, achy and miserable. I didn’t much like the fellow who was staring back at me in the mirror.

Before Getting Jacked Up Fit

The changes I made were simple ones… eat a little less, eat a little healthier, exercise more… things that any one of us can do if we put half a mind to it.

And that strategy… that simple, everybody-knows-it strategy… works. It’s always worked, and I suppose it always will.

Besides blogging, I kept a journal of what I did, what I ate and how I felt during those dark days. As the weight started falling, I saw the tone of the words in that diary change as well. Where everything seemed hopeless at the beginning, a ray of optimism eventually started peeking through the pitch-black clouds, which was eventually followed by confidence so bright you could hardly stand to look directly at it.

I am a work in progress… and I really like the progress I’m making.

Dear K and A: I bet you thought I’d forgotten about guest posting this… I forget NOTHING! Okay, I forgot my mom’s birthday last year… Jack

Dear Jack: What are you saying? That you forget Jack Sh*t?

Dear Readers and Future Fit People: Jack Sh*t is one of the funniest bloggers we know who makes the adventure of exercise and weight loss constantly interesting and a lark with an intellectual twist. We highly encourage you to visit him at   http://jackfit.blogspot.com. Or you could take this as a warning.


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


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


Stability, Balance and Age

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams. MA

Dear Fun and Fit: Why is it that our balance can get worse as we age? Is there anything I can do to prevent this or at least slow the process down?

Jan, Los Angeles, CA

Keep your balance

Life is a Balancing Act

Alexandra: Wow. Yes. And Sure. Other than that, buckle your seat belt as things may get technical (meaning I’m about to use some very long words). In order to have balance, you rely on information from your body in space and the environment. There are 3 systems that provide this information; I call them See Me, Feel Me, Hear Me:

  • Visual (the most heavily used) – You notice where you are in relation to the terrain and anticipate and adjust accordingly.
Arm yourself with good vision

Armed with Good Eyesight

  • Somatosensory (the feely-meely one) – Let’s say it’s dark; your proprioceptors that are within the joints, muscles, and inner ear give you info about your body’s movement relative to its base of support and the various body parts.
Feel your way through life

Feelings, shmeelings - Damn You, Somatosensory System

  • Vestibular (drinking alcohol really messes with this one) – The inner ear is connected to the head, is connected to the other two systems, is connected to you staying upright! (are you singing the song yet?)
Vestibular system & inner ear & vertigo

Faulty Vestibular System = Vertigo Aaaaaaahhh

If any of these 3 systems give data to the Central Nervous System that are pfffffffftttt, your response will be also pffffffffftttt. Bad data in; bad data out. So if you have weakening eyes, inner ear issues or simply need to improve your strength and endurance, you could be out of balance!

Kymberly: Another reason balance becomes tricky with inactivity has to do with stride length (notice how I am distinguishing between the real culprit, “decreasing activity” and the red herring, “amassed years on the planet”). As people accumulate years of insufficient strength or aerobic activity, they start shortening their gait, taking smaller and smaller steps. Think about it. Every step we take involves a moment of balancing on one leg as the other swings through. As people become less confident or capable, they do what it takes to minimize time on one leg, ie taking shorter strides.  So their base of support gets narrower and narrower. Much easier to tip a narrow base than a wide one. Thus begins the dizzying downward cycle of worsening balance.

A: I edited an interesting article by Evan Osar, DC a few years ago, and he strongly suggests looking at foot, ankle and hip issues, therefore I strongly suggest you read it! I was thinking to make a nice list of all the exercise tools that have the words “balance” or “stability” in them, but was seized by lethargy and decided to give you access to this lovely brochure by the American College of Sports Medicine instead. Guess what it’s about? Balance Training! After your balance training (which you get to do every day–yes, you heard me correctly!), do your resistance training several days a week; (that’ll do).

K: Add to what’s her A’s advice my blah blah of balance, which is to take walks– they can be slow ones–wherein you exaggerate your stride length. Get back into the habit of a bold, daring, aggressive stride. You’ll get your balance juju back!  Walk enough that when Alexandra sings you can neither see her, hear her, nor feel her. Ya’ feel me?

Dear Readers: Are you ever imbalanced or unbalanced? Can you spell somatosensory with your eyes closed?

Photo credits: Creative Commons


Move That Duff if You Want to Be Buff!

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: Okay- I have given up not working out. I realize now that I don’t feel good (my back hurts) and I know that it’s because my core is weak and I have to do something. I have an ab wheel that I’ve been using and it is really kicking my behind errr… stomach. I hate crunches, sit-ups, etc. Tell me how to feel better and not actually have to feel like I’m working out. It doesn’t help that I sit on my duff at work a lot (and in the truck).

Also, I’m going to spring break with a bunch of kids and I know that I’m going to feel fat and gross…. at least I can have something to look forward to if I can get a program together for myself and stick with it. I don’t want to join a gym or anything. I just want you to work some miracle via your website. If you send me a bill for this I will pay you in ice cream recipes. Ha!

Nick,  Auburn, AL

You broke your WHAT during spring break?

Gotta get strong so I can enjoy Spring Break

Kymberly: Aha! So you admit that your “not working out” plan was not working out? Our “work a miracle plan” is practically guaranteed to be more challenging successful. So far your request is pretty much in line with most people’s secret exercise hopes, wishes, and fantasies: no gym, minimal effort, maximum transformation, and in lickety split time.  We have the perfect solution to meet your parameters. Alexandra, why don’t you tell Nick what lies behind the magic door? (Foist!)

Alexandra: Hey, Nick, answer this: Do you care more about the spring break deadline or the “not actually feel like I’m working out” criteria? The answers are different depending on your priority. We’ll answer for both, okay? I’ll pretend I’m you….(said in deep Alabama accented-voice) Way-ull, ah care moah about spring break because ah don’t prefer to feel fay-utt and gross around those young persons (okay, how do you spell an Alabamahooian accent?).

Big Boy Ain't Cute

Don't Be a Big Boy

This choice means you have a short time to do a lot. Meaning you might actually feel and be working out! Two words – Interval Training. This article says it all, and has a bonus – the word “Fartlek,” which should give you a quick laugh. Since spring break is especially soon, you might even consider HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) since you’re going to suffer anyway in this scenario. While we’re here (and not in Alabama), don’t forget your weight training.

K: Let’s look at the other scenario, where you want to coast to buffdom and ease your back pain. First, let’s graduate you out of the ab wheel and get you handling core work that is lower risk and less focused on abdominus rectus and more on transversus. Our friend and two-time trainer of the year Jonathan Ross, has a book called Abs Revealed, which has the foundational four. If you can do these, your back will show its love by letting the abs take over. Notice – no crunches or sit-ups. Do these:

Supine draw-in (seems simple, yet very effective)
Supine brace (even though he doesn’t know “lie” from “lay”)
Prone plank
Side plank (we showed this one in a previous post, “Fabulosity Comes to Those Who Weight”)

K: Next, pick a card(io), any card(io) and tell everyone what it is. Commit! Then go make it happen at a pace and schedule that work for you. Keep in mind that anything is more than you are doing now since “wishful thinking” does not count. Walk around your truck a few times; swim in the alligator infested rivers of Alabama (keep up a good pace), bike ride, jog. Walk in place or do knee lifts, squats, lunges when you are on the phone.

Also, get going on a resistance training program. Yes, resist ice cream, sitting too long, hunching, feeling bad about yourself. Trucks and push-ups are manly so combine them by whipping out a few push-ups whenever the back end is down — of your truck, of course. Hands go wide on the lowered lift gate. The home workout I recommend here is also manly…and safe for your back. Think of how impressed your young ‘uns will be to see you working out.

A: And you don’t mention your diet, but if it consists mainly of ice cream, your duff won’t be buff! End of story.

Man dressed as ice cream (does he know it?)

Be At One with the Ice Cream

Dear Readers: Did you know that sore backs are usually due to weak abs? And do you also wish there was an easy way to get fit quickly?

Photo Credits: Creative Commons


7 Top Secret Reasons People Exercise

In an earlier post, a reader asked why people should exercise besides having the goal to lose weight. Courtesy of the Mayo Clinic and our weighty experience, we gave the top 7 scientific, “just the facts, ma’am” reasons. That got a few people asking us, “Come on now, what really motivates people, especially if they don’t check research to know why to work out?!” So we prepared our list of “Top 7 Reasons People Really Exercise.” Do any of these reasons get you going like an Energizer Bunny?

Energizer Bunny Loves to Exercise

Energize Me Into Some Bunnycises

Why People Really Exercise:

(based totally on random pseudo-science pulled out of our butts brains)

1. To look hot, awesome, available, Dead Sexy, tolerable (before 2:00 a.m. closing time), fine and bootylicious. If you don’t believe me, we did a search for “reasons to exercise” and got a link to an article that had an ad “Meet Fit Singles” right there! In bold! No, we are not sharing that link!

What really motivates people to work out? Click To Tweet 2. To meet and hang out with people who are not necessarily their partners, children, co-workers or peripheral relatives. Yes, I know we all love our families (Alexandra thinks her kids read her stuff so she had to say that; Kymberly knows her daughter can’t be bothered), but it sure can be nice to have like-minded adult friends, eh?

Sign up to start "youthifying" today.

3. Flat Abs – This is, like, totally different from #1. Ask anyone. But not while they’re doing their ab exercises. Nor while they are reading our posts on Abs. Wait till they’re done. Courtesy and all.
4. To be stronger and physiologically younger. Personally, Alexandra would rather have a fit 60-year-old body than an unfit 28-year-old one. Either way, she’d send him home in the morning!

Bring on the Older Men Hotties

By “Older” we mean 60

Inexperienced Stinky Guys with Bad European Manfume

Will good Manfume help a 28-year old?

5. To be able to do stuff. Being limited physically is no fun. I mean, what’s the point of living if you can’t touch your toes? Or someone else’s?
6. To feel better about yourself. Oh, and fit into all that expensive stuff in the closet. (Psst, did you know men exercise to lose weight because they actually are overweight (health reason), while women exercise to lose weight due to body dissatisfaction (appearance reason) Ingledew and Sullivan (2002).
7. Bragging rights. Just between us, isn’t it sort of satisfying to share your exercise stories? By the way, have we told you about our 5-mile trek in the snow yet?

What is your secret, unconfessed reason for working out? Click To Tweet

Whatever YOUR reason for exercise, guess what (Fun Fit Fact ahead): people who exercise for health reasons will stick with it a lot longer than those who do so for appearance. Use this motto all year (you’re welcome): Come for the looks; stay for the health.

Readers: Why do you  exercise? No, really. We promise to keep it between us. All of us.

ACTION: Be the person who brags to your friends about finding more secret reasons to be a more fit “you.” Subscribe to transform yourself and age actively. Enter your email into any of the subscription boxes.

Photo credits: Photobucket

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA


Gender Bias at the Core with Abs and Weight Loss

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: Why do some strength training exercises with equipment (i.e., core board, tubes, large balls) appear to be easier for females than males?

Brad, UC Santa Barbara

Buff, hot guy

Alexandra: Oh, Brad, there is a part of me that just wants to say, “because women are so totally

  • a. awesome
  • b. super awesome
  • c. totally awesome
  • d. all of the above

but that’s more of a Twitter word than a fitness word so I’ll just have to exhale and move along….

Kymberly: And a part of me wants to agree with Alexandra, but just a rare part, mind you. Some of the seeming ease women have with the equipment you list has to do with coordination. Coordination is learned and adaptable. By college age (which I assume you are or your signature needs parental permission), women have more experience, on average, than men with these specific types of balance and exercises. I am referring not only to specific equipment, but also to general activities like dance and gymnastics that require good balance, and torso and hip coordination.

The good news about coordination is that with practice, you and other men about town can achieve similar comfort and neuromuscular adaptation (a fancy way to say “coordination”).

A. I’ll speak from my experience working with thousands and thousands of exercisers over the years, many of them university students. Lots of men, especially the more broad-shouldered ones, tend to work the areas of their body they care most about, which is chest, arms and shoulders. These “mirror muscles” can look “hot” and “buff” fairly quickly, which is exactly why men care so much about them! Take a brief moment to yourself and see if you can figure out which area of the body women most care about. Well? I hope you didn’t come up with “booty” because that’s only in the top 5. Number 1 is abs.

So…..while women are getting strong in their core, men can bench-press their best friend (even the burly ones), yet have the strength of 37 butterflies in the mid-section. Stability balls (see the word “stability” there? It is just another way to say “ab strength”) and core boards (“core” is another way to say, “dang, it’s ab strength again, isn’t it?) are all about the mid-section (anywhere the belt touches, unless your belly hangs out and causes your belt to be lower in front than in back, but that’s a story for another day).

K: One more technical point about men and crunch-type exercises in the supine position (lying down on your back): On average, men have more mass distributed waist-up than women. Given men’s heavier and larger heads, wider shoulders and relatively heavier upper body mass, they are lifting slightly more weight than women. Add a destabilizing force, such as balls or boards and men simply have to work harder and get used to it. As for a bias with elastic resistance/ tubing, I have not seen a big gender difference. If there is one, I am tempted to say that women tend to follow directions better than men and tubing use is usually taught by a fitness teacher or trainer giving instruction. Let the wild rumpus controversy begin!

A: I’ll leave you with some heartening information – men tend to lose weight faster than women. Does that cheer you up at all? And Brad!? I suggest you do less of this:

big biceps, big shoulders, muscle beach, bodybuilding

Touch, Don’t Look

and more of this:

planks, exercise ball, core training

Not as Easy as It Looks (unless you’re a woman)

Dear men and women readers: Why do YOU think core training is easier for women? Or do you…..?

Photo credits: Photobucket


Wave Bye-Bye to Baby Weight! More Than 5 Ab Exercises for Fallen Souffle Bellies

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: My baby/toddler’s 18-month b-day is coming up, but this momma still has a bunch of baby fat to get rid off. Any advice on what strength exercises to do so my abs can be nice and tight again and I can fit into my pre-pregnancy pants? I usually swim about 3-5 times a week, and I walk and cycle a bunch, too, but it ain’t helping (so far)… 🙂 Oh, and my baby still nurses.  Marit, Carpinteria, CA

pre-pregnancy jeans, post-baby abs

Even If I Have to Stay Here for A Year!

Alexandra: First of all, knowing you are still nursing brings back painful sleep-deprived crazy-pants fond memories of being bitten by nursing my own kids. Other than that, there is one part of being a mom that is the same as for non-moms–calories in, calories out. Good news: you are expending extra kcals since you’re nursing (about 500 per day), but other than that, getting into your pre-pregger pants includes staring down those extra snacks. Kiss your baby hello and the snacks good-bye.

Kymberly: Momma-cita, you are asking about tackling two fronts: reducing “baby fat” and getting your “tight abs” back (or was that back in the front?). And you are right! You do have to reduce overall body fat Let’s start by mentioning that the coupon allowing you to call extra body fat “baby fat” expired about 6 months ago. Keep up the swimming, walking, and biking as it IS helping! However, you may need to increase the intensity to burn more calories to achieve caloric deficit. As for strengthening exercises to move those abs back in time, the focus needs to be on the transversus abdominals, as they get most affected by pregnancy. Did you click on that link? Then stop here and do so as it contains the technical background and juicy wuicy details.

A: Without knowing your method of delivery, I’ll just say that getting your abs to pre-baby hotness is generally a bit more work if you had a C-section, because (to word it tastefully) your muscles were sliced in two by a Black and Decker medical device! We are fans of reverse curls, which are great for any type of delivery (you can do the crunches listed too if you want, even though Fun & Fit have sworn off them)!

K: May we assume that you and your wee one are on a semi-decent sleep schedule? If not, and you are still sleep deprived, you may need to take more naps to lose weight. Is that AWESOME advice or what??!! Basically, interrupted sleeping affects your metabolism, slowing it dooowwwwnzzzzz. Buuuuuut, WAKE-UP! this is usually the case when your baby is a newborn so you may have used up that coupon special as well. And we’re back to the fewer cals in, more cals out with cardio, and adding the disciplinarian parent: strength training!

sleep-deprived, nap, sleep, tired

Getting enough sleep?

A: Baby or no, the main point is that you burn more calories overall (even during that nap) with a combo of cardio and strength training. We covered that topic right here: Walk Off Weight. In any case, here are some fun (my students at the U get nervous when I use this word) abdominal exercises:

I love the dead bug simply for its name. But smile when you do them, ‘cause you are a ladybug!

Photo credits: Photobucket and Creative Commons

Readers: Are you craving more ab exercises? Have these cravings coincided with an enlarging belly? Then check out our Get Fab Abs Series: Get Fab Abs, Part 1, Get Fab Abs, Part 2, Get Fab Abs, Part 3.


Getting Dizzy. Snap, crackle, pop!

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

Dear Fun and Fit: Enjoy your articles. Regarding the “heart above head” post [Be Still My Beating (Cardio) Heart], what does one do in the event of the dike bursting and a full-on blood flow rushes to the head, aside from sitting down? What if I am already sitting down? Also, what should one do if dizziness occurs during exercises? On a different note, what do you tell someone when they say things like: “my neck just went crack?” or “my shoulder just made a popping sound?”

Thanks, Eric, from the Goodland of Goleta, CA

I want a brownie

Alexandra: Dear Eric:  First of all, I’m wondering if you really mean to ask about blood rushing from the head, rather than to it since you mention dizziness. But I’ll stick with what you have for now, ok? You are referring to a fun activity called “vasodilation,” in which your blood vessels widen all up. Are you extra pissed off when you exercise? I ask because that big ol’ dike blood burst is generally correlated with anger. In case that doesn’t get you all riled up, smoking pot or cigarettes can have the same effect. And who knows what happens if you light up AND get angry! Kaboom!

By the way, are you exercising upside down? Just want to cover the possibilities here.

Watch me spin – urp

As to the dizziness during exercise, there are a number of reasons why this could be occurring.

Kymberly: Yes, if you are not eating properly, are dehydrated, accelerating your pace too quickly, not getting enough iron, or if you have low blood pressure, you are more susceptible to getting dizzy. If you breathe irregularly or hold your breath you can also feel faint. I once was teaching and right in mid-cue saw the stars and blackness coming at me almost as fast as the floor. But in that case, it was because I had donated blood then la-de-dahed my way to aerobics. Experience like this is what qualifies us to dole out advice.

A: Yes, and Eric asked what to do, not how to avoid making your weird mistakes. The non-medical degree that I don’t hold makes me want to say, “Check with your doctor if this is happening often or severely.” Actually, I wanted to say that so badly that I just did. If there’s no medical reason, I’d do just as I do with my students in real life (this blog is a figment of my imagination; not real life at all), and suggest maybe you eat or drink more before class. Are you hot?” (And I don’t mean “hot” like “yowza,” I mean “hot” like “turn down the sun). Then find ways to cool off (water comes to mind again). And what have you got against sitting down? It does work.

As to what I tell people whose necks crack and shoulders pop, I say nothing–I’m too busy running away from what could be a full-body explosion.

K: Personally I think Eric was getting dizzy laughing at all our fine posts. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. Unless my head swells up so much that I start feeling faint.

A: That popping could be your tendons or ligaments having a party in your joints. Or, in a more “ewwwwww” kind of way, it could be escaping gas. Ah, don’t be insulted – it’s just oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen. Or fermented kvas.

As delicious as Bovril!

Dear readers: Did you know you had noisy gas in your joints? Have you ever gotten dizzy during exercise?

Photo credits: Photobucket