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Perfect Body Season is … Never In Season

Trying to lose weight over the holidays before you see any judgy relatives,  grandkids who want to play, or the crotchety old uncle who said you’d never amount to much? Fuggetaboutid! Give yourself the ultimate gift of self-love this season and revel in the ribald revelry of winter with some gusto, acceptance, and balance. Being “thin” was not always in. Being healthy and active (with good posture) is always in style. And hotter than mulled cider!

* See our series on the subject of how to assess, then improve your posture to look more fit. You are welcome!)

Health and beauty are inside jobs! Body image and a “perfect physique” are matters of perspective, culture, history, and whatever the mass media tells us.

Can you say “Mixed Messages?” Don’t believe us? Take a brief tour through past wistful wishes for va-va-voom figures. Look at what people were willing to do to achieve that “look du decade.”

Too Skinny, Men?

Hottie or Nottie?

Don’t make us talk about you years from now! Our gift to you as we wrap up — no, not gifts. We are not that organized! — Work the look you already have. Embrace it; Look it in the eye and say “Ell-bees – you and I are going into the New Year together baby, guilt- and stress-free!

Whoa now you Vixens, Dashers, and Red Nosed sorts! Don’t go overboard — or is that “oversleigh?” We said give yourself some body-lovin’ self-acceptance while staying active, not plunk down your hiney so finey!

Done with Exercise until 2016? Hope not.

ACTION: Subscribe to get us to come to you twice a week with active aging solutions tailored to women over 50. Subscribing is self love! Simply enter your email in one of the boxes AND get your bonus free.

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




Strength Training: How Often Should I Vary My Workout?

Dear K and A: I keep hearing I should change up my weight lifting routine to avoid muscle memory, especially once past menopause. How often should I change my strength workout and to what degree? Do I vary the repetitions?  The weight amount? Or do I choose  completely different exercises? Gina, Texas

Dumbbell, one free weight

Keep Your Mind Clear, Body Confused

Kymberly: Dear Gina: As you are doin’ the Tighten Up in Texas, keep in mind this pithy and wise quote I made up myself: “Keep the mind clear and the body confused.” Always know what, why, and how you are performing your resistance exercises.  That’s keeping the mind clear.

And change up those resistance training exercises every so often. That’s where the body confusion comes in. Be careful not to mix up the two and wonder what the heck you are doing and why, but gosh, you sure have done it for a long time. That’s akin to saying “gee the food was bad, but at least they had big portions!”

Distinguish Muscle Adaptation and Progression vs Muscle Memory

Anyway, we are really talking adaptation and progression here, not muscle memory. You want muscle memory, which allows you to achieve good form and coordination. And you want to constantly push yourself to progress. Once you adapt to a move,  it’s time to vary the exercise in one of many ways.

pic of TRX plank tuck

Alexandra tries different equipment. Tries.

Alexandra: I want some muscle memory. I want to remember what, why and where my muscles are! I had them just a minute ago. I think they got lost behind my Buns of Cinna! Geez, at this point I have a Samwise and pithy quote that I made up, and it’s better than Kymberly’s. It is this “Frodo, Frodo, it’s me – Sam. You have Muscle Alzheimer’s.” I too want to adapt and progress, but I call it something different. I call it “I let my boys make it through their teen years by reminding myself it would soon be over, and I would again find harmony and joy in their company.” Adapt? Yup. Progress? They’re alive aren’t they? So some days I lift my car keys and purse 15 times as I contemplate running away for 3 years. Other days I lift my car just once, and contemplate hurling it, and myself, over a cliff. Light weights one day, heavy the next.

Change Up Your Strength Training Program

Push ups can be done anywhere

Change the angle of your exercise to push progress. Pushy push-ups!

K: Ummm, so where were we? Basically, adaptation can occur anytime between 1 and 12 weeks– for each new move. Unless you are Alexandra, then it’s a lifelong process. For you, Ginaroo, I would change up about 20-30 percent  of my workout every few weeks. Don’t completely throw out one routine for another all at once. Morph your routine with one, two, or three new approaches each week without getting caught up in exact formulas. If you no longer see or feel progress with a given exercise, change something about it.  If you feel stale with a move, throw out the old Cinnabuns. Couldn’t resist.

What Elements Do You Change When Weight Training?

As for what element to change, that is the fabulosity (made up that word too and proud of it!) of resistance training. You can select to change any number of elements to keep your body adapting upwards and program fresh:

  • Number of repetitions
  • Resistance, load, or intensity
  •  Equipment or modality (a fancy term I did not make up that generally means “type”) such as free weights or tubing instead of a machine for any given exercise.
  • Range of motion
  • Organizing principle or order of your routine: from large to small muscles instead of small to large, or from head to toe vs toe to head; alternate front and back or upper and lower; or sitting to standing exercises.
  • Pace of each exercise: instead of four counts up and four counts down on a lunge for instance, do two counts down and six counts up;
  • The exercise itself; trade out one with a similar goal or focus: chest press instead of push-up;
  • Add a balance or instability factor: stand on discs or a BOSU instead of the ground; have a narrow instead of wide stance.
  • Change the stabilizing muscles: sit on a ball for tricep extensions instead of standing.
  • Substitute an isometric for an isotonic exercise (Isotonic = a move that moves with the muscles under tension. Your muscles lengthen and shorten with contraction. Isometric = a move that holds also with the muscles under tension though you are not shortening and lengthening them. A plank is an example of an isometric exercise; a reverse curl up is isotonic).

So many ways to vary: the exercise itself, the equipment, the speed, the balance factor, the resistance factor, the range of motion, the order of your routine. Get happy and choose what appeals to you.

A: Forget your troubles, come on get happy, gonna chase all your weight away. Said Hallelujah, come on get happy, get ready for the push-ups day! What appeals to me has nothing to do with working out. It involves curly dark hair and manly t-shirt smell. Really, I just go to the gym and work out so I can sniff the hotties. Oh, and I’m paid.

Total Gym workout side lunges

Who likes side lunges?

K: And whoever said to change your routine to avoid muscle memory, needs to read our blog in a big way. You change your routine to avoid lack of progress from overadaptation. Force the body to adapt upwards. Just as I have had to adapt to having a twin who lifts car keys for a workout. As you can tell by the fine quality of my advice, I do all the heavy lifting for her.

Take Action Today to get stronger! Looking to improve your strength and lose weight with exercises that are specifically designed for women over 50? Check out our other posts on weight training, strength, and busting muscle building myths.  We double dare you to click those links to see how you can get MORE fit and fab!

You will then be so strong you will want to subscribe to our blog to get active aging answers twice a week. Subscribe now in the box above or to the right.

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

What Can You Gain By Attending an IDEA Fitness Convention?

We just got back from the annual IDEA World Fitness Convention, a gathering of 12,000 group fitness instructors, personal trainers, program directors, owners/ managers and duh-da-duh-da fitness enthusiasts.

backbend IDEA World Fitness convention

Rocking the fitness fashion with my SPIBelt holding my phone.

Put on by the industry association for fitness professionals, it has grown over the years to offer options for enthusiasts too. Two in particular might appeal to you when making your 2016 plans for July.

Expo Hall
Ahnu yoga shoesEntrance is free, so that’s a super incentive right there. Several hundred companies, ranging from heavyweights Reebok, Merrithew/ Stott Pilates, TRX, General Mills, and Lorna Jane to smaller and newer companies such as Ahnu Footwear, Siggi’s Dairy, Lolé Fitness Apparel, LaBlast Dance Fitness, and Functional Aging Institute were offering samples, demonstrations, workouts and discounts to visitors.

No matter what your age, ability, fitness level, or health preferences, you could find something of interest. Just a few of the types of free workouts – indoor cycling, slacklining, Core Stix, interval training, walking, dance, suspension training, strength training, treadmills & cardio machines, Pilates, yoga, competitive events – are enough to get you thinking, “Wow, for the price of, um, ZERO, I can work out all day if I want.”

Intel Recon Jet glasses

You can also shop for just about anything you need for fitness – clothing, shoes, apps, tech gear, equipment, healthy food, supplements, skin care, water in all kinds of forms (we saw dark brown mineral water that tasted just like clear water), education, pain relief, music. I’m wearing the Recon Jet glasses above from Intel.

OGIO backpack at IDEA ExpoBesides eating lots of free samples, I got a free functional fitness assessment. I didn’t do well, thanks to my knee that needs reconstruction, and my shoulder/ wrist injury, but at least I have additional information about ways I’m compensating. I also won free custom shoes from Reebok, and my sis won an Intel Basis Peak fitness/ sleep tracker. Other people won free spa weeks, a Schwinn indoor bike, mini-fridges, protein packs/ bars, clothing, music, training, books, and on and on and on.

I did a scope of the Expo Hall if you want video. And Periscope doesn’t allow horizontal filming yet, so bear with it on vertical. Oh, please also follow me on Periscope – AlexandraFunFit

Fitness Fanatics Day
Beto Perez doing Zumba at IDEA WorldYou don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to sign up for this, because once you participate in just one of the workouts, you’ll become one – it’s that fun. Open to both convention attendees and the general public, Saturday was a full day of workouts lead by the fitness celebrities who created them: Jillian Michaels, Todd Durkin, Leslie Sansone, Beto Perez and Jeanette Jenkins.

I didn’t do the workouts, as I was covering them for IDEA Fitness Journal and didn’t have time, but I did stop in to all of them, and can tell you that the room was packed for all five sessions, and the exercisers were having the time of their lives.

Jeanette Jenkins at IDEA WorldIf you’ve never enjoyed exercise, this “time of your life” concept will sound weird, but it just means you haven’t found the RIGHT exercise yet. I was really tapping my feet and wishing I could just stay in the “3 Mile Walk Concert With Leslie Sansone.” That was my favorite because it was easily accessible to nearly everyone. I saw people in there who represented typical Americans. This was not a class for the fit people; it was a class for the people. And since I’m a Boomer (with injuries) and I teach older adults (and university students), I am drawn to these inclusive kinds of workouts.

Next year the IDEA World Fitness Convention is back in Los Angeles July 13-17. Mark it in your calendar now. You’ll recognize me. I’ll be the one standing on the side of the room taking notes and tapping my feet. Except when the disco songs start. Then I set my stuff down and “help” the leaders show the youngsters how it’s done.

by Alexandra Williams, MA


Global Wellness Day

Global Wellness Day is a day to encourage living well. This year it’s on June 13th. The meaning behind it isn’t to celebrate living a high-cost life; it’s to bring attention to living a life of balance and well-being.  Founded by Belgin Aksoy of Richmond Nua Wellness-Spa in Turkey, it will be celebrated this year in more than 30 countries on six continents.

Richmond Nua Wellness Spa, Istanbul

Richmond Nua Wellness Spa, Turkey/ Photo credit: Richmond Nua Wellness Spa

At the recent ISPA (lots of spas all in one place, treating us like royalty) event in Beverly Hills, I got a chance to chat with Frank Pitsikalis, Founder and CEO of ResortSuite and one of two Canadian Ambassadors for Global Wellness Day. He told me that it’s a way to complement the traditional health care system in a way that focuses on prevention rather than treatment. “So much of our health care is tertiary, meaning we try to treat a problem after it’s already occurred. Global Wellness Day is looking at primary, preventive care. Why not lead lives that help prevent illness and doctor visits? Life is moving at a record pace, and this is a day to remind and inspire people to live a little more consciously, and turn living well into a way of life.”

Woman meditating sculptureSince the goal of the campaign is to spread awareness about the holistic benefits of exercise, healthy nutrition, and mental and emotional wellness, we are all for shouting (in a calming way) it from the spa rooftops. Or something like that. On Saturday, the Global Wellness day ambassadors want you to ask yourself this question, “”How can I live a healthier and better life?”

Pick a card, any card. Do you want to improve your eating habits? Your exercise habits? Your spiritual well-being? Your relationships? What would be the ONE thing you could do on Saturday to live a healthier, better life? Maybe one of the 7 steps recommended by Aksoy:

Walk one hour daily
Drink more water
Eat organic, locally sourced produce
Give up plastic bottles
Do a good deed
Eat a family dinner
Go to bed by 10pm

living centerpieces from FarmBox

Living Centerpieces

One of our favorite wellness women, Deborah Szekely, co-founder of Rancho la Puerta resort in Tecate, Mexico, says that having a day dedicated to the benefits of wellness is like having a calling card; it’s an introduction to something enticing that will get you hooked.

We agree with that sentiment. Once you get in the habit of feeling good, dare we say great, in your own body, you will be hooked on a life of wellness.

While we haven’t been (yet) to Istanbul to visit Richmond Nua Wellness-Spa, we definitely have a few spa resorts to recommend. Our faves:

Rancho la Puerta – Tecate, Mexico

Aqua Class at Glen Ivy

Aqua Class at Glen Ivy

Glen Ivy Hot Springs – Corona, California

Now THAT'S  a scenic hike!

Scenic hike at Tenaya Lodge/  Photo credit: Tenaya Lodge

Tenaya Lodge – Yosemite, California
Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program – Rochester, Minnesota
Anschutz Health and Wellness Center – Denver, Colorado

More to the point, we hope YOU will call your local spa and find out if they’re offering any free or discounted activities or treatments on Saturday. You can also head over to the Global Wellness Day Facebook page and get inspired.
Live it up this Saturday. While you’re at it, Well it up, Relax it up, and Kale it up (heh heh)!
Be well.

Turkish Bath/ Photo credit: Richmond Nua Wellness Spa

Turkish Bath/ Photo credit: Richmond Nua Wellness Spa

Speaking of healthy living, we want to give a well-massaged thumbs up to Rancho la Puerta, sponsors of our TransformAging Webinar: For Women Over 45 Who Don’t Want to Just Grow Old, But Intend to Age Actively! Six videos with accompanying slides, eight experts, hundreds of hot tips on aging INTO health, not out of it. Click here to learn more and order your set.

Rancho la puerta

by Alexandra Williams, MA


Intro to Planks

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Often, people are reluctant to attempt a plank because they’ve heard that you have to hold a long-lever plank for 5 minutes in order to be “cool.” Not true. Planks are accessible to nearly everyone, as many versions exist.

Perfect Form Plank - Oh Yeah!

Perfect Form Plank – Oh Yeah!

If you’re considering adding a plank to your fitness regimen, this video shows four different modifications, and instructions for good form.

Proper Technique:

  • Planks are more effective if you rest on your elbows, not your hands
  • Elbows directly below the shoulders
  • Hands loose and relaxed; a correlation exists between clenched fists and breath-holding
  • It’s better for your lower back to have your hips slightly piked rather than dropped, though a straight line is your goal
  • Pretend you are wearing a belt, and tighten all places where it would touch

One caveat: We mention holding for 30 seconds in the video, but research also indicates you can hold for as little as 20, take a short break, then get back into plank position. Whether you choose 20 or 30 second intervals, stick with the plank position that gives you the best form.

While we’re on the subject of good form, this is the second of two videos that Depend Silhouette Active Fit shot with me as one of the models.

For the video where I do some jumps (using the core strength I earned doing lots of plank intervals), read our recent post: Cross Your Legs; Don’t Sneeze: The Boomer’s Exercise Dilemma.

While we’re at it, you may also want to enter for a chance to win one of three sets of KettlePOP non-GMO, organic kettlecorn and sea salt popcorn.
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A Peek Into Vegan Living with Attila Hildmann

Alexandra Williams, MA

Knowing I’m a vegetarian and fitness pro, a P.R. friend of mine recently sent me two books by Europe’s top-selling (almost 1 million copies) cookbook author, Attila Hildmann. The books are “Vegan for Fun” and “Vegan for Fit.”

Vegan for Fun by Attila HildmannVegan for Fit by Attila Hildmann










I was a bit hesitant to accept them at first, as we are extremely picky discerning when it comes to recommending lifestyle philosophies. After looking through both books, I can see why Hildmann is so popular. He isn’t a zealot, yet shares his passion. He details how and why he became a vegan in a straightforward way that feels inviting rather than browbeating. The best part? He agrees with so much of what we say! Hahahaha. Don’t we all think someone is clever when their philosophies are close to our own?

Main Selling Points for Me

Quotes such as, “Vegan for Fit isn’t a diet, but rather a healthy way of eating,” and “The recipes…weren’t in any way influenced by the food industry.” And my fitness favorites – “It doesn’t matter what shape you’re in; you can start now-even if you just walk around the block at your own pace… Starting slow and then building up is the key to success. My workout plan serves primarily to increase my feeling of well-being.”

He recognizes that vegans can be the worst advocates for veganism. For example, when Hildmann discusses his transition from vegetarianism to veganism, he acknowledges the “all or nothing” mentality that puts many people off.  “What makes me really sad is this ‘I’m a better vegan than you’ phenomenon.”

The people who took his 30-Day challenge have realistic Before and After pictures and results, and Hildmann includes the downsides as well as the upsides when he shares those results.

The actual recipes. Once he gained my respect, I was ready to check out the food. The pictures and ingredients looked really enticing and surprisingly achievable for me (based on the ingredients I keep in the house). I tried a few of them, and they were super tasty. Except for green bell peppers. I’ll never like green bell peppers.

picture of Tofu Bolognese from Attila Hildmann

Spaghetti with Tofu Bolognese

To get a well-rounded feel for Hildmann, I sent him some questions, which he answered in more detail than I was expecting. To put the interview into context, you should know that his dad’s death was a catalyst for his transformation from overweight, junk food eater to healthy chef.

Interview with Attila Hildmann

How old were you when your Dad’s death caused you to make a life change, and what was your life like prior to his death? Were you already into fitness?
I was 19 years old when I watched my father die of a heart attack. You can’t even imagine the pain I felt because I always looked up to my dad. Before it happened the doctors didn’t tell him to change his diet in a specific way; they prefered to open up his ribcage for open-heart surgery and after that was done, pump him full of pills to lower his cholesterol. I was also worried about myself because at that time I was severely overweight at 230 pounds and my cholesterol was critically high. I always loved sports, competed in Triathlon and swimming from an early age, but I always struggled with keeping my weight consistent. Yo-yo dieting was what I did, so the weight always came back in the off-season. And I loved what many young people love: burgers, fries, steak, chips and ice-cream. One day I went to the doctor for a check-up and he did a blood test. When he got the results he told me “Attila, if you keep eating what you’re eating, you’ll end up just like your father!” I had to change something so I did some research and cut out all the foods that contained cholesterol and worked myself up to a vegan diet. Instantly I felt better, my skin got clearer, my energy level went up, I had more power and the fat around my hips melted away. It was the best decision in my life!

Can you share some of the specific steps you took to get from the Before to the After?
The first step was to forget about the clichés that I had in my mind about healthy vegan eating. At first I was afraid about belonging to a group of hippies that eat nut roast for Christmas and preach to people that meat-is-murder. It all began in my head. And I just wanted to try it out as well, as I always like to challenge myself. But I fell into one trap that many new vegetarians and vegans fall into which is vegan junk food. Although it may not contain cholesterol, soy pudding, soy ice cream, fries with ketchup and vegan burgers with meat alternatives still do contain a lot of calories and I ate way too much of that in the beginning. Back in 2000 I hated vegetables. So first I learned how to cook so that I could make them tasty and delicious for myself. Working out is always a good idea but 80 percent of my weight loss success is due to sticking to a balanced vegan diet!

What do you recommend as the first thing someone should do who’s a carnivore, yet is curious about the benefits of being an occasional vegan?
You don’t have to go all the way and change your whole life! One vegan dish per week or a day is a great step toward a healthier life. It should be fun – don’t force yourself into something. If you start to like it, that’s great, and you can incorporate more vegan dishes into your diet plan. About 600,000 Americans die of heart disease every year; that’s one out of four deaths. We have to start somewhere. Make baby steps and pat yourself on the back for doing them.

Why do you prefer veganism over vegetarianism?
At first I was a vegetarian, but even that increased my cholesterol level. I also like the aspect that you save lives by eating completely plant based — it is so good for the environment, climate and the planet! Vegan foods touch so many levels of my well-being, it’s absolutely incredible.

vegan dessert recipe by Attila Hildmann

Crumble in the Jungle

Do you have any simple recipes for people who are time-pressed?
I have a lot of easy, quick to make recipes in my books. You can order them on amazon.com. There are also free recipes on my website attilahildmann.com. I love to make vegetable pasta with a spiralizer and serve them with a quick Carbonara sauce made with almond butter, smoked tofu and parsley. And I looove sandwiches: whole wheat bread, lettuce, some hummus, roasted peppers and some pesto and you are good to go. It’s really that simple! Vegan cooking is even easier and less expensive than cooking with animal-based products!

I’m not trying to persuade anyone to become a vegan or buy these books; I’m just sharing my opinion. But if you are interested in knowing more, you might want to enter the giveaway, as we are giving away one copy of each.
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A Trip to The Past in a Car For the Future: Driving Around Los Angeles in a Chevy Volt

Alexandra Williams, MA

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Chevy.

Trunk space in the Chevy Volt

Either I am giving myself a jolt with the Volt battery, or demonstrating the roominess of the trunk. Or just being dorky!

pic of Hermosa Pier plaque

The Hermosa Beach Plaque at the Pier

I grew up in Hermosa Beach, in Los Angeles County. Over the past 30 years, I’ve probably gone back 5 times, mostly because I had moved far away. Thanks to Chevy, I was offered a Volt to drive around for the weekend anywhere I wanted to go in L.A. Immediately I knew I’d head to Hermosa for day one. For day two, I picked downtown L.A., as I fell in love with the downtown area when I took a tour with the Los Angeles Conservancy a few months ago.



Day One – Hermosa Beach:

When I was growing up, Hermosa was a family beach town. Parking was not really an issue. It is now! First off, I didn’t care how far I had to park from the beach, as I like walking. Secondly, it was a moot point, because I was so excited by the OnStar feature that I called to get locations of charging stations, and was directed to a spot about 2 blocks from the beach, right in front of the local surf shop. Not only was the charging station free, I got to park for as long as I wanted, as opposed to the 2 hour max for everyone else. Score!

collage of Pier Ave. Jr. High

I went here when it was Pier Ave. Jr. High. Shop and Home Ec. were where the museum now is. My friend’s parents are listed on the plaque as supporters of the community center that it became. And I played volleyball (dressed in ugly green stretchy one-piece gym suits) where the skate park now is. As to the art show, it’s worth a visit when they hold it. Truly gorgeous works. Oh, the movie “Carrie” with Sissy Spacek was filmed here.

pictures from the Hermosa Beach Pier

The Hermosa Beach Pier doesn’t have concession stands or rides, so it’s uncrowded and worth a visit. You can see south all the way to Palos Verdes, and north to Santa Monica. A few years ago, city leaders added a Surfer’s Walk of Fame, including a high school cohort of mine. If you like to people-watch, walk, bike ride, play or watch volleyball, surf, swim, paddleboard, stand-up paddle, or build a sand-castle, this is the perfect spot.

picture of lifeguard station at 22nd street in Hermosa Beach

This is my favorite picture from the weekend because it’s the 22nd St. lifeguard station at the beach by my childhood home. We would dig for sand dabs, get sunburned, put sand in our hair, bury each other in the sand, swim in the ocean, and even build July 4th bonfires before they were outlawed. I sat here for a while and teared up, thinking of my childhood. Enjoy the present so that you can have happy memories when it’s the past.

picture of charging station at surf shop in Hermosa Beach

A free charging station in front of the surf shop on Pier Ave. & Monterey in Hermosa Beach. I parked here for 4 hours for free! And the Chevy Volt got fully charged in that time!

After walking around H.B. all day, I called my new BFF at OnStar, and headed off to a party that a high school friend was giving. In the 70s, my mom directed plays, and she encouraged this friend in his love of working with sound. He grew up to own one of the most respected sound companies around, doing many of the concerts you’ve probably been to. You just never know how a seemingly small act of encouragement can grow. He credits my mom for his path. I credit him for throwing a party that had fire-dancers, aerial silk artists, and excellent music, sound and a light show. I wore hot pink shorts for the hot tub and completely ruined my niece’s life. I forgot the Auntie Dress Code for a moment! hahahahah. She’s now scarred for life.

Day Two – Downtown L.A:

After sleeping in till 8:30 (it was a non-alcoholic party, FYI; I was just tired), I drove the Volt downtown. Did you know you can park in Pershing Square on the weekend for just $7 all day?

picture of Pershing Square

Pershing Square. Look for the inlaid river going into the fountain. And the pet walk area. In the winter they convert part of the Square to an ice rink.

We (family tagged along) wandered around looking at whatever caught our fancy, and swore that we’d do a Conservancy Theatre tour soon.

Exterior views in downtown L.A.

When you go downtown, remember to look up, as there’s always a unique detail to catch your eye. Or art. Or the reconstruction of a landmark. And even the grand opening of a quirkily-named shop! Watch out for griffins!

When we were kids our mom took us to lots of museums, including the La Brea Tar Pits, where we all threatened to push each other in (my parents had 5 kids, hoping to eventually strike gold, I guess), but I don’t have memories of going downtown. I love history (my undergrad degree was in medieval history, which my dad said qualified me for government work), so I am that nerd who reads every plaque on every building. Downtown L.A. has a lot of historic buildings, so it will take me years.

picture of interior scenes in L.A.

Did you know you can go inside the Bradbury Building, the Biltmore, and of course, The Last Bookstore.

picture of Angel's flight and farmer's market in downtown L.A.

No trip to downtown L.A. is complete without a visit to Angel’s Flight (you can ride it when it’s working, which is rare, sadly) and the Farmer’s Market.

You got that, Chevy Volt people? I need the car again FOR YEARS, as I finish these trips through history and my memory. I promise to stop yelling, “Charge me up, baby” at all the charging stations!

pic of some oddities seen in downtown L.A.

I decided that I need to wear THIS and decorate the tailpipe of the Chevy Volt with THIS. So L.A.

This trip started and ended with the Chevy Volt, so it’s fitting it should start and end with pictures of it. In my own inimitable style, of course. If you are on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, you can see my other photos using the hashtag #ChevyFitTrip. Four other bloggers will be sharing their trips around Los Angeles and New York using this same hashtag, so follow along all summer.IMG_7876

And of course, for more about fitness, fun and active aging, follow Kymberly and me:

1) Follow us on Google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit.

2) Pick up the phone or email us to book us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.


Fitness Products & Trends That Caught Our Eye for 2014

Alexandra Williams, MA
pic at Total Gym booth at IHRSA 2014

7:30 am Circuit Class

March was a busy convention month, as we went right from the Natural Products Expo over to the IHRSA convention, which serves the health and fitness club industry. The majority of attendees are club owners or managers, and we go every year to learn the latest, both for products and industry trends.

We stop at Expo booths that catch our eye because they have something that will work for us as instructors, or for you, our readers and radio show listeners, or because there appears to be a fun or unique baby boomer angle.

pic of Sproing machines

Our knees like the Sproing workout system

As the major players for all the fitness equipment and machines are exhibiting their latest inventions or upgrades, it makes perfect sense that they offer workouts in their booths. So we got up at super-pre-dawn o’clock and did a circuit class with Total Gym, followed by a really boingy and sproingy “run” on the Sproing  not a treadmill “soft surface system.” We loved both, especially the Sproing, as we have crappy, genetically flawed reconstructed knees from our superstar soccer days (the word “superstar” needs to be read with a twinkle in your eye).

pic at the Regupol booth IHRSA 2014

Getting irregular with Regupol

Speaking of needing to exercise on soft surfaces, we had some fun goofing off testing out the shock absorption of the flooring surfaces at the Regupol booth. Made of post-consumer tires and post-industrial rubber, we did our best recycled splits!

To recover from all our hard work, we invited ourselves into the sauna room at the Helo booth. The heat was on!! Actually, after only a few hours’ sleep, we were kind of tempted to take a nap in the sauna. The reps were nice about it until my sis started snoring!

Helo Sauna booth at IHRSA 2014

Say Hello to Helo

pic of Nexersys machine

Muscles Meets Nexersys


If you ever take any of my group fitness classes, you will find out rather quickly that I’m not a fan of teaching kickboxing-style workouts. That was before. This is now. On a whim, we stopped at the Nexersys booth and gave the machine a good workout. Or it gave us one. Something tiring. Essentially it’s an interactive machine with punch and kick pads. Some people want chocolate or jewelry; I want this machine. Their website tag line is “Get the Body You Want.” He never showed up, so I did a four minute workout with the body I had – mine!

All group fitness pros need music, so we grapevined our way to Power Music, and signed up for their digital music subscription service that lets you access unlimited pre-made and custom mixes. We were going to buy CDs, as that’s about our level of technology, but the guys at the booth were so into customer service that they explained how much money we’d save with the service, then walked us through the entire downloading process. I left with music already on my phone AND a sheet of instructions. Props to the peeps at Power for major hand-holding. Now I just have to figure out how to use my phone with the sound system at the university. Sad, I know.

pic at LifeFitness booth IHRSA 2014

Helping Marc Coronel do the splits at the LifeFitness booth

Shout out to LifeFitness and the Synrgy360 system for A: having a workout set-up that resembles a playground, and B: hiring the ever energetic, always positive Marc Coronel to demo the workouts. Second shout out to DietBetter (formerly DietBet), a social media, interactive weight loss game. You can win money for safely losing a specific percentage of your weight. We met the founder and learned that some new, top-secret fun things are on the horizon.

pic at DietBetter booth IHRSA 2014

DietBet = DietBetter





The day ended with us relaxing completely testing for research purposes on the SolaJet DryWave massage beds. You lie down on something akin to a modern waterbed, but with more support. Warm water jets move up and down your body, providing a deep tissue massage. We intended to fake sleep so we could do intensive research, but the people at the booth actually let us stay until the Expo was closed.

pic at Sola Jet booth IHRSA 2014

Is that Thumbs Up or Surf’s Up at the Dry Wave Massage?


Some of these items cost a lot, so ask your fitness facility to buy them. Pitch a fit so you’ll get your way. Cheer yourself up with a Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt CLIF Mojo bar. Also for research purposes.



Did you know that we’ve moved to a bigger platform for our radio show? Give us a listen Wednesdays at 8 am (live) and 8 pm (rebroadcast) PST on VoiceAmerica Health and Wellness channel.



Who Inspires You to Live a Fit and Healthy Life?

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Our friends at Attune Foods (Erewhon & Uncle Sam Cereals) put out an invitation to write about our #FitClean fitness role models as a way to pay forward our gratitude. We decided to take them up on it and share who motivated and inspired us to live active lives.

Alexandra at 25, living in Berlin

Alexandra at 25, living in Berlin

Alexandra Sticks Close to Home by Traveling to Europe

Back in 1983, I was invited by Kymberly to come to West Berlin and join her in teaching at a club that offered a new kind of program – aerobics! As we had grown up with dance and soccer, it sounded like an ideal way to travel and earn money.

Kymberly told me to take a few classes at the Jane Fonda Studio (I lived in L.A. at the time) so that I could figure out what the aerobics hoopla was all about. Besides learning some cardio moves and instructional tips, my forays to the Jane Fonda classes taught me a lot about spot poaching. People really like “their” spots in the group fitness room! But I digress.


When I flew to Berlin, my sis spent the week giving me teaching tips so I’d be ready for my first class. The two that really stuck with me were, “If you forget what comes next, do eight more of whatever you’re currently doing,” and “Smile and make eye contact.” I still use those tips on the instructors I mentor and train.

Thanks to her, I got to live and work in Berlin, including a stint on the U.S. military’s TV channel there, demonstrating exercises. If only Kymberly and I had owned video cameras back then!!

Two buff twins hanging out in Berlin in 1983

Two buff twins hanging out in Berlin in 1983

Rocking the 80s Fitness Fashion and Moves!

Rocking the 80s Fitness Fashion and Moves!

When I got back to the States, I taught aerobics as a way to make money while I studied Russian at San Diego State University. What started as a side job then turned into a 30-year (and still going strong) career. When IDEA Health and Fitness Association needed fitness writers, my sister recommended me, and I’ve now had hundreds of articles published (and am an editor too). I’ve traveled to many parts of the world as a fitness leader, and met thousands of active, happy people. Even better, I’ve met thousands of inactive people who became active once they found how much joy and energy they got from moving and exercising. More importantly, my boys have spent their entire lives as part of an active family that values health. They see movement and good nutrition as normal.

If Kymberly hadn’t talked me into moving to Berlin, I doubt I would have become an instructor. Upon reflection, it’s funny how one seemingly minor decision led to an entire lifestyle. I live #FitClean.

Kymberly Gets Some Mom-Spiration

Remind me to tell you some of the funny stories about Alexandra learning to cue aerobics in German. Or the time I borrowed her workout gear without asking for one of the TV episodes she was not in. Oops – forgot she planned to watch the show.

Mom and Zann in Thailand

Our mom – traveling in Thailand in her 80s with temps in the 90s!

Anyway, my fitness inspiration is my mom. Growing up in the 60’s in Hermosa Beach, CA was a lot of fun and the decade we got a black and white TV. But that inspir-poopy mom of ours limited our tv time to two hours … per WEEK! From a list of approved shows. What’s a baby boomer girl to do with only 4 siblings, a big front and back yard, a ping pong table, and a trampoline when she can’t watch the telly? Why, play and fight outdoors of course!

Our mom taught modern and performance dance when we were young. Twice a week she would take us all with her to the dance studio, where we’d join in the classes and productions. That meant we also rehearsed at home, made up dances for each other, and generally leapt about the house with dramatic flair and em-PHA-sis. Always moving, always moving.

Kymberly, Alexandra, and mom in Thailand

Have walking stick, will go places! Check out our mom’s pink crocs!

As well, mom (and dad) encouraged us all to play sports. Keep in mind this was pre-Title IX when sports did not really exist much for girls. Heck, girls had to wear dresses or skirts to our elementary school — no pants or shorts allowed. In a family with four girls and one boy (the baby, poor thing), my mom was quite progressive for her time. She instilled in us a confidence and belief that girls could do everything boys could do, both academically and athletically. When AYSO (American Soccer Youth Organization) FINALLY formed the first ever girls’ soccer teams, my parents enrolled Alexandra, our younger sister, and me lickety split.  Around then, my mom went back to college to get a Master’s Degree in Dance (the first of a few advanced degrees). So you can see that she valued movement. Or time away from a passel of kids. We’ve always wondered.

Hermosa Beach sign

No junk food, no sugary cereals for breakfast. What a place to grow up.

Never once did she nag any of us about our weight, though she did have strict rules about food. No sodas, max of one piece of candy per day (Two after Halloween. Whoo hoo! Live it up!), no sugary cereals (“Please let us have Captain Crunch or Sugar Pops, please!), dessert only after dinner. Mom herself was never on a diet, nor did I ever hear her express dissatisfaction with her own body. The focus was on how our bodies moved and functioned, not how they looked. Only in hindsight do I realize she was an anomaly among her peers in that she had no eating or weight issues.

When I left for Berlin after college, ultimately teaching at the first aerobics studio on the European continent, my mom gave me great advice: “Have a wonderful time; make lots of memories; be open to new things; find many adventures; don’t fall in love and stay abroad!”

Yup, even though she’d miss me, she supported my going far away  — first learning to teach fitness, then training new instructors throughout the world. But I heard my mom’s message – move across the globe, move to music, move others to move. Then come back to the States!

IDEA theme sign - Inspire the World

Who Inspires You?

Our mom just celebrated her 84th birthday. Guess how? She drove herself to her weekly acting class followed by her twice weekly aqua aerobics class. I think it was the two birthday cakes that inspired her. She does have a sweet tooth these days. She’s earned it! Thanks mom for inspiring me to be active all my life!





Who inspires you to live #FitClean?

If we inspire you to be more active, why not do the following?:

Hire us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

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Follow us on google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter:  AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.


Why Do You Exercise? Is Looking Good Enough?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

FitBlogLA name tag

This personalized Meet and Tweet Greet was Sweet!

“The ultimate goal of working out is to be happy and healthy.” So opened fitness celebrity, Tony Horton of P90X fame at the FitBlogLA Meet and Tweet event I just attended courtesy of Fitness Magazine.

When Tony followed up that comment by reminding us that “one size exercise program does not fit all,” I started to trust his message a bit more. Known worldwide for his high intensity, high impact, high energy exercise programs, Tony was the last person I expected to advocate for moderation, caution, and mental flexibility. Yet here he was spreading the word that “our goal as fitness professionals and (healthy living) bloggers is to get more people into the movement game” while getting our ego out. He admitted up front that his program, or ANY high intensity workout is right for some, but not all. As baby boomers, we might want to go all out, but if our joints don’t agree, then we’re wise to modify. I, for one, am neither happy nor healthy when I push too hard and increase my knee pain. Sure, I love the benefits intense workouts offer, but not if I suffer long term.

Stick with me as I share a few more quotes and key comments from Tony’s talk on “The New Way to Work Out” that may elevate your happiness and healthiness levels! (For more on the effect your reasons for working out matter so much, also read our post Why You Want to Lose Weight Affects Your Success.

Why Do You Work Out?

Kymberly at FitBlogLA pool

Being strong enough to wear new outfits makes me happy!

What gets you into the movement game? Why do you exercise? If you are like most people I have taught and met in fitness classes over the last 34 years on 4 continents and online, you work out to … wait for it … wait for it… look better. You may also want to feel better, to live longer, to think more cogently — or reap a zillion other benefits that movement offers. But looking better continues to pop up as reason numero uno. If we ask ourselves why we want to look better, what lies beyond? To do what? To be what? To get what? I think Tony nailed it that we really seek a level of happiness. Oh Yes, I firmly believe active people are happier people.

What Scary Activity Will You Try?

Snowboarding in Lake tahoe

Not Yet Going Scary Fast

“Do scary things that won’t kill you,” challenged Tony, himself a baby boomer. What physical activity have you thought about doing that scares you a bit? For me, it was learning to snowboard. Going downhill fast still scares me. Doing plyo jump squats scares my knee into “cap” – tivity. Get it? Ha ah aha My sense of humor scares others, but not me.

Do You Prioritize Skill Over Number, Amount, Duration, Speed, Flash and Flair?

“Focus on getting better as opposed to going through the motions.” Tony’s emphasis on form and technique over pushing hard and damn the torpedoes was a welcome message I hope you take to heart. And to the gym. Doing more bad reps does not give you better results. Better form gets you to your happy place. In fact, your body will change when you focus on skill. Well, your body will change regardless (thanks again menopause!), but we’re talking changing for the better with mindful movement.

Remember the mantra from our post, Reducing Obesity — What Does and Doesn’t Work: Move More: Sit Less and you will be on your way to more happiness. Don’t Worry; Be Happy (Thanks Bobby McFerrin for getting that tune stuck in our heads).  Feel free to leave answers to the questions in our post down in the comment section.

Got an event that could use a twin pack of movement and great fitness info?

A) Hire us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

B) Subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog.

C) Follow us on google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter:  AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.


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