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1

Menopause and Weight Gain: Grrrrr

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored conversation written by us on behalf of Estroven. The opinions and text are all ours.

Some good things with 50

Some good things come in the 50s

Alexandra: This may be a rhetorical question for all women who are in the menopausal years, but have you noticed how stinkin’ hard it is to keep the weight off now? We have all pretty much figured out that drops in estrogen levels can trigger various symptoms, including weight gain. The important point is to figure out the most effective method for preventing or reversing that weight gain if that gain is associated with health issues (i.e., cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, joint instability). In other words, I am saying the weight gain itself doesn’t matter if your health is fine, although we all know that we care aesthetically!

Estroven Weight Management and Scales

Who’s Tipping the Scales Since Menopause?

Two Weight Loss Solutions: Exercise and Supplements

Research has shown that both cardio activity and resistance training affect body composition and abdominal fat distribution, so you will want to move more than you have been due to your slowed metabolism, and do some weightlifting . Notice I did NOT say bodybuilding.
A couple of years ago I wrote an article on the link between exercise and sexual health, which included this statement: “ In Australia, researchers looked at the relationship between exercise, body mass index (BMI) and menopausal symptoms to see if the first two had an effect on the latter (Mirzaiinjmabadi, Anderson & Barnes 2006). The findings should be welcome news to women wishing to relieve symptoms of menopause…”

Midlife Fitness Program

For us, it’s easy to create a fitness regimen, due to our 30 years’ experience, but we know that for most women, finding accurate information is difficult. So I am really, really happy to report that the Workout Plan Estroven provides with their weight management capsules looks safe and effective. Written by an ACE-certified trainer (that’s an accredited cert for fitness pros – we have the same one), the 8-week program is geared toward beginning exercisers. And it has a model who looks like us, not a flawless 20-year-old! Bonus! For financial reasons, I wish they didn’t require a stability ball, yet see the point, as it’s a wonderful tool for balance and core work. Plan on spending about $19 for a basic ball.

Plant-Based Solutions

Before I turned 50, I took only iron for anemia. Now that I’m on THIS side of the age scale, I find myself trying other supplements too. As I’m not interested in prescription meds for a natural event (excepting the epidural I had during childbirth), I look to plant-based remedies, which is why we agreed to write about Estroven. The main ingredients are black cohosh, listed by the National Institutes of Health as a supplement for hot flashes, soy isoflavones, a popular replacement to HRT, and synetrim CQ (Cissus Quadrangularis), which is believed to balance serotonin levels.

Estroven sent us each a 30-day supply, though they mention that it takes 8-10 weeks to notice benefits, so I might turn my capsules over to Kymberly so that she can give it a more thorough test. I’ll also turn this post over to her …

From Lean to Love Handles

Before Menopause. Heck, before my 50s!

Before Menopause. Heck, before my 50s!

Kymberly: My story is short and universal: I enjoyed a lifetime as an active, lean, fit person who never had weight issues. Then menopause hit and I gained 30 ell-bees in a blink, despite having better eating habits than when young, a regular exercise program, and professional knowledge about how menopause affects women.

Teaching fitness post menopuase

After Menopause: I’m Still Standing!

Don’t get me wrong. I am still one of the healthiest people I know. Still active; still happy and confident; still a qualified group fitness leader. With a menopot and a closet full of blouses that gap between the buttons! Who knows what I am talking about?

When I saw the claims estroven made about helping with weight management, hot flashes, and night sweats, I decided to give the pills a whirl. (I am past the latter symptoms and solely interested in getting lean again). I know; I know; no such thing as magic menopause pills. Unless they work. Then I do believe. I do, I do. Meantime, I continue to recommend exercise as one of the best ways to get through menopause — well, through life in general! Probably could increase the frequency and intensity of my strength training program as well. Just a thought.

For better thoughts and a story you might relate to, check out Managing Weight as You Age, by Jody Goldenfield.

Then click your ruby slippers (did you catch my Wizard of Oz reference earlier?) and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please follow us on google+Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter:  AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.
Hire us to speak at your next meeting or conference. We’re built for speed and comfort. Call (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Estroven. The opinions and text are all mine.

22

Supplements for Boomers: Pure Matters

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

As we age, are supplements necessary? Do they help with boomer health? With all the contradictory research out there, it’s hard to know what to believe or do. So we set out to discover whether specific supplements could help us with specific complaints.

GlucoChon MSM formula Pure MattersAlexandra: For most of my life, I’ve eschewed supplements as unnecessary. I’ve always been a believer that we can get what we need for our bodies through good nutrition and exercise. But that “most” of my life was prior to my 50th birthday. Now I deal with a reconstructed soccer knee and foot. And it takes longer to heal the rare times that I do get sick.

So when we were asked to try out Pure Matters supplements, I was leery, yet willing. Knowing the history of supplements, I checked out the company first, and was comforted by their commitment to clean ingredients, including this statement on their site: “Trustworthy – We will use only wholesome, scientifically proven ingredients composed in clean facilities. And when our formulations can be improved, we will improve them.” My two biggest issues with supplements – Can the ingredients be trusted? and Will these help my health?

We're Smiling After 24 Hours of Travel Because we are NOT in Pain! But we ARE Tired!

We’re Smiling After 24 Hours of Travel Because we are NOT in Pain! But we ARE Tired!

I chose to try Biotin (skin, nails & hair), Omega-3 Fish Oils (heart health) and GlucoChon MSM Formula (joint & tissue health). If you read my previous post about getting my blood tested, you might recall that the consulting registered dietitian recommended Omega-3 Fish Oil to me. Boom!

Declare all Stiff Knees at Customs!

Declare all Stiff Knees at Customs!

Today I will focus on the GlucoChon MSM Formula, because that is the one where I definitely noticed a difference. Normally when I fly, my reconstructed knee gets very stiff, and I spend the day after flying with a slight limp and some swelling at the knee. I took 3 tablets a day for a month. At the end of that month I flew from California to Europe and back, for a total of 5 flights. My knee didn’t feel stiff for those flights, nor did I end up limping. No inflammation either. It wasn’t a controlled study, and who knows what other variables were in play, but this was the first time since my 1998 knee surgery (and a handful of subsequent surgeries) that I had no issues after flying. Cause and effect or correlation – I have no idea. But I would take these supplements again (besides trusting their ingredients, I also am a huge fan of their customer service). Since I’m not a doctor, I cannot make supplement recommendations, but I can recommend Pure Matters as a company I trust to work with me as a consultant for my health needs. I can also say that I believe these supplements worked for me.

Kymberly up a treeKymberly: Do you have joints that predict weather? Ever since I broke both wrists as a teenager falling out of a tree, they ache when the weather changes. That is, my wrists did creak and moan until I made one change: taking Pure Matters “Joint Health” supplements. To be honest, I committed to trying the supps to help my knee joint (which has arthritis and chronic pain after a soccer injury and two surgeries. Sound like a certain twin we all know?). Then I noticed that my wrists were not predicting the weather anymore. In fact, they felt so good I forgot about them until I finished my last “Joint Health” tablets. Within two days, my wrists were aching and futuretelling once again.

This should predict weather.

My wrist joints predict the weather better than this weather vane.

As for my knee, it is hard to tell the supplements’ effect as my knee ached off and on a lot during the trial period. (See my prior post on the subject). But I have been breaking in new orthotics this past month, which has thrown that rascal joint into confusion. I need to give the “Joint Health” another go to really note the effect on my knee (and to keep my wrists from competing again with the evening weather report).

Speaking of nights, what did work wonders was the “For Healthy Sleep” formula I also tried. Anyone else yearn for those nights where you fall asleep and stay asleep until morning? No stumbling trips to the bathroom, no night sweats, no cats wrestling on your back at o’dark too early, no insomnia with a list of “to do’s” running through your head, no hubster cover hogging?  I love my cats and hubster, but I also love when I travel and stay in hotel rooms. Alone. Cuz’ I remind myself what a good night’s sleep feels like on those occasions.

My wrists feel so good I can finally do this move again. It's been AGES!

My wrists feel so good I can finally do this move again. It’s been AGES!

So I was happily surprised when the “For Healthy Sleep” tablets provided the same great sleep as my nights in hotels. As in, like magic and immediately. And less expensively. Now if only my knee would feel so refreshed!

Have you found supplements that have worked for you? Others that have been expensive pee? Let us know!

Supplement your fitness knowledge by subscribing to our YouTube channel and blog. Please also follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this campaign. All opinions are my own. 

Photo credit: Dusseldorf Customs: Courtney Price; Smiling at Airport, Brandon Smith

25

Pain Free Movement in 2013: Who Wants In?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Joints that are Pain Free, Born Free, Live Free, Stay Free

To move and exercise pain-free–That’s one of my huge desires for 2013. Who else has that hope? Yet certain baby boomer joints just don’t want to cooperate, darn it anyway!

Green plants, native plants, and a butt plant

Green plants, native plants, and a butt plant

Lately I have been more and more frustrated with the fact that my knee and foot issues are preventing me from working out as often, intensely, and comfortably as I want. The optimist in me is convinced I will wake up one day and discover that my left knee has forgotten it ever had two surgeries. As a result, my right foot would then decide it no longer has to compensate for that knee by bearing the impact brunt in a painful manner.

Fortunately, I am still able to  teach fitness, walk my dog, and engage in lots of activities (though lunges and snowboarding are now out barring some medical or aging miracle).  But I definitely worry about limited days or types of action. Ahhh, to enjoy high impact aerobics again! And I feel the pain. Nevertheless, I persevere in trying solutions, solutions I want to share with you in case you are experiencing similar joint pain.

A combination of factors helps me continue going for the gusto in my beloved step classes, on powerwalks, and in all forms of dance and cardio classes. If you are also suffering from joint pain and want to stay or become more active, try the following. Let me know if any of my strategies work for you. For sure speak up if you have found other ways to move pain-free with each added year of an active life.

One set of shoes for walking; Sport specific shoes for fitness classes

First and foremost, get shoes that are comfortable, supportive, and designed for each exercise mode. Don’t follow trends; follow your medical or fitness professional’s advice and your own body. I invest in several pair of workout shoes, and wear them only for the designated activity. I fully embrace my boom chicka boomer status at this point and care more about pain-free movement than fashion, style, and low cost. Vive la TheraFits when it comes to my fave walking shoes!

Orthotics

Confession time: I pooh poohed orthotics for years, advocating fixing movement patterns instead. A youthful biomechanics snob was I. Experience (code word for “joint pain”) has taught me that even good form, attention to footfall, and body awareness can’t totally fix my foot problems. Orthotics are taking the pressure off my arthritic big toe, which makes me hopeful I will avoid the toe surgery my sister had for this same problem. But now I have new pains in the pad of my foot. The gait shift from the orthotics may be the culprit. Or the savior. I am still experimenting with the orthotics. Any tips?

Looking for pain in all the right places

Looking for pain in all the right places

Supplements for Joint Health

I’m currently in the first month of a two month trial of Pure Matters Joint Health supps. At first it seemed as though the supplements were not making much of a difference. I believed they would work miracles; I wanted them to be the magic pills; yet my knee still hurt. Maybe I expected too much. Then I neglected to bring the tablets with me on a 2 day trip and boy, did my knee hurt – a lot!. You bet I raced back to the tablets before teaching advanced step yesterday. Yes, my knee felt better. This stark comparison makes me hopeful that joint supplements do provide some relief, albeit subtle at first.  More on the Pure Matters Joint Health effects in another month or so.

Strength Training for Supporting and Surrounding Muscles

No surprise that I advocate and abide by having strong muscles to bear as much load and impact from exercise as possible. The stronger my core and lower body, the more I can count on muscles and less on joints and ligaments to power me through activity.

Pool Classes

I hate being cold and wet. Don’t you? So I get into pools only when both the water and air temp are toasty. Or when my joints scream after mountain hikes like a slipped fan belt. ( I LOVE hiking and powerwalking except when every step hurts). When at Rancho la Puerta I hiked every morning, then hopped myself into several aqua classes as I really, really, really wanted to exercise without holding back.  Ignoring the pain was not really working any longer as an option. (Forgot to mention that the “ignore” solution has been one of my go to strategies for years.)  While I prefer land classes, I gotta give full props to aqua classes as the place to plunge in for joint protection while working out hard and heartily!

Cranial Sacral Therapy

Rock Star as I Live Free, Stay Free!

Rock Star as I Live Free, Stay Free!

Bring on the mind/body healing modalities! Suffice to say that you’ll be reading more in a future post about the Cranial Sacral Therapy sessions I took while at Rancho la Puerta. Spoiler alert – my knee pain has gone down a bit since then. Will more sessions help more? Can this modality actually realign my knee, foot, and gait and bring them back to their pre-soccer injury condition? Hello knee from my twenties! Good-bye aging joints! Stay posted as I seek out a few more CS sessions.

Where does that leave us? Combining all of the above has allowed me to keep on keepin’ on. No solution alone seems enough. Is it unrealistic to believe I will again be pain free? I really want to do MORE with the rest of my life, not less.

Makes me think of the song Alexandra and I sang in a talent contest at age 10 — Andy Williams’s hit, Born Free. Verse one went great as we wooed the judges in our matching wool plaid skirts and knee socks. We were soooo cute, if our mom did say so herself. Born Free, as free as the wind blows.

Then came the painful part. One of us went with “Stay Free” as verse two; the other launched with “Live Free.” Twins fighting, then laughing hysterically onstage in the middle of our song did not make for a big talent win. Or place. Or show. Ahhh, good times!

Is it too much to ask that my joints Live Free and Stay Free, as free as the roaring tide. Life is worth living, especially worth living if it’s Pain Free! Who’s with me on this singalong?

Dear Readers: Have joint issues changed your exercise life? If so, what strategies have you put into action in order to stay active?

Free yourself in 2013 with action that will help you live free:  Subscribe now to our YouTube channel and blog. Please also follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above. Please share and subscribe!

 

16

Holiday Fitness Gift List

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Super Shopping or Super Stressful? The holidays can be both. And they can also be much more. Giving. Gratitude. Guests. Good deals too!

Your fitness and health should stay front and center during this season. In the spirit of combining your lifestyle with the desire for finding quality gifts, we offer this list of 5 products that promote an active, healthy life!

Red Shoes for a Redhead. Now, THESE were made for walking!

Therafit Athletic Shoes for Women

A fairly new company, Therafit makes shoes that are super comfy right away, which is a must for a fitness shoe. Actually, the minute Alexandra tried hers on, she said, “Look, They’re a Fit!” ahahahah. We like to crack ourselves up over here!

Wrap it up Zorro and give us the TheraFit shoes, while you get the wrapping!

If you’ve read any of our posture posts,you know how important good posture is. And if you haven’t read them (what’s stopping you?), you may want to know that good posture makes you look taller, younger and stronger. The Therafit shoes are actually endorsed by the National Posture Institute. And they come with tiny removable rods under the heel (they look like hidden secret scrolls) that let you adjust the impact and cushioning. At first we wondered if the rods were a fancy shmancy gimmick, but dang, they work. And our reconstructed soccer knees and arthritic big toes (soccer again!) would know!

Bonus(besides the comfort and joint support): For every pair you order, Therafit donates $1 to a charity of your choice. Perfect for the season of giving.

Steam Me Up, Scotty!

Mr. Steam towel warmers

Ah, luxury. Wouldn’t you love to step out of the shower or bath to a nice, warm, snuggle-bunny towel, especially in the winter? Kymberly has a wall-mounted unit and Alexandra has the standing one; we are both happy. We’d be even happier if they came with a masseur genie. Or Four Yorkshiremen!

Love the Novica sweater. Wouldn’t mind if the guy handed me a warm towel!

 

Novica

You worked hard to look good, so treat yourself and loved ones to handcrafted gifts from around the world. In association with National Geographic, Novica supports artisans who are working to preserve culture and tradition. Kymberly got a super soft ivory sweater from Peru that her black cats tried to lie on. Get off, you fur flyers! Lie on the new, black skirt from Thailand instead.

Wake me up before you Go-Go

Hanna’s Herbs Anti-Fatigue

Teaching fitness classes all week, being a mom, getting too little sleep, worrying about the bills, and hunting for Monty Python video clips can make a person very tired. We like this Vitamin B Anti-Fatigue supplement from Hanna’s because it has no caffeine. None! The description for these tablets says, “Our adrenal glands are the seat of our physical power.” We might argue that our physical power comes from our core, but we have noticed that our (gah, should we admit it?) somewhat aging bodies need a bit of a boost sometimes.

 

Argyle Compression Socks for the Sexy Beast in You!

Zensah Seamless Performance Apparel

In our teens, twenties and thirties, we both played soccer. Lots of it. We loved it. It didn’t love our knees and toes, as noted above and in the post we had about overcoming life’s challenges and being awesome! Zensah compression socks and sleeves to the rescue! If you’ve ever had post-foot-surgery swelling, you might have discovered how frustrating it is to NOT fit into your shoes. I, Alexandra, was very sad because my body would not cooperate with my desire to teach. When Zensah stepped in with socks and leg sleeves that decreased the swelling and came in wild, fun colors, I became a brand enthusiast for life!

These are 5 companies that have helped us live our lives as we want to. We didn’t write this list or associate ourselves with these companies to get free stuff – our reputations are not for sale. We are proud to associate ourselves with them because they offer excellent products. We feel a personal connection to the brands and the people who work for them.

Ask yourself these questions when planning your shopping:

  • Do these products fill a need I have?
  • Do these companies offer excellent customer service?
  • Are these companies contributing to the greater good (via charitable works or earth-friendly policies)?

For us, the answer was Yes, Yes and Yes. Let the holiday season begin. Or, as we call it, the Season of Fs – Family, Fun, Fitness, Food, Friendship and Frolicking!

Frolic on your keyboard to give yourself the gift of fitness solutions when you subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog. Follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click on the icons in the right sidebar. We’ll be ever so Thanksgiving grateful!

The following disclosure relates to the Therafit shoes: FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own. In all cases, we were provided with products. In all cases, you are getting our honest input … AND some swell cat pictures!

 

8

Health Benefits of Adaptogen Herbs and Supplements: Adapt-tastic!

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Ever heard of adaptogens and what they do? We recently caught wind of them, so asked longtime Fun and Fit supporter and herb expert, Sara Beth Watson of Kroeger Herb Products (aka Hanna’s Herbs) to fill us in. Her reply was so helpful we asked her to share it with you in a guest post. Can you sense her excitement? (Read to the end to to enter a giveaway).

Guest post by Sara Beth Watson

Ah, herbs. You’re so cool, especially adaptogens, which offer so many benefits. Clearly I’m excited to talk about these little bad boys in capsules so let’s just get adapt-tastic, shall we?

Adaptogenic herbs have been used for thousands of years worldwide and are only now really gaining momentum in the west as we begin to accept herbs as medicine and not just as flavoring. Schizandra, Ginseng, Licorice Root, and Rhodiola are examples of adaptogens. Each adaptogenic herb is unique to a specific organ or bodily function. And each performs under the umbrella of boosting the immune system.

Getting to the (Licorice) Root of what Adaptogens Can Do For You

When we’re learning to deal with things, we’re adapting to them, which is what adaptogens help us to do really. As our bodies adapt to our surroundings, we become less sick, fatigued, and stressed. And that’s just the bare bones of what these amazing herbs can do. Overall, adaptogens are subtle rejuvenators. If you are trying to improve your sleep, alertness, mental acuity, or resistance to illness, for example, these herbs will help. We are not always talking dramatic change, but a general uplift. (I’m not sure if you can tell but I’m really trying to calm down as I am typing this because, legitimately, I’m in love with adaptogenic remedies).

Rhodiola is specific to brain and mood health. People who suffer from depression, other mood disorders, or memory loss can look to improve their conditions with this natural remedy. When our company decided to introduce Rhodiola and began formulating our capsules, I bought some from another company to test the effects. After a month I found myself writing and thinking more clearly.

Schizandra is a Chinese berry that has been useful in addressing sexual dysfunction and liver health, mostly in women, though great improvements for Erectile Dysfunction have also been noted in men. Over a year ago when Hanna’s Herbs introduced Schizandra I thought, “what the hey,” and took that to see how I felt. I’m already an energetic, happy gal but I’m here to tell you—I felt like a million bucks.

Yup, you get the scoop here on adaptogen herbs!

Adaptogens can work well for everyone, but the positive effects can become less noticeable over time. Say you decide to take Schizandra because you’re feeling fatigued. After a month you’ll see and feel the difference but after about 3 months the effects won’t be as noticeable. That’s the time to switch to another adaptogen and enjoy the benefits it can provide.

Quite a bit of skepticism surrounds adaptogenic herbs, mostly because of tricky marketers trying to make these herbs seem like a cure-all or a wonder drug. They’re not. You will not experience a miraculous event from taking adaptogens. But people who suffer from mood disorders, depression, sleep disorders, fatigue, social anxiety, sexual dysfunction, or memory loss should notice an evening out or lessening of symptoms. Even fun and fit, happy, adorable, outgoing, brilliant women can benefit from adaptogens!

Ok… I’ll make myself stop there. Hopefully I’ve gotten you interested with this brain dump. I’ve included a link to “Adaptogens—You Never Knew You Could Feel THIS Good” if you want to learn more. Or email me with your questions, as I love answering them (as you probably could tell). sarabeth@kroegerherb.com

Bio: Sara Beth Watson has been part of the herbal world as Marketing and Social Media Director for Kroeger Herb Products./ Hanna’s Herbs. When she’s not researching natural wellness you can find her watching college football, being a vegetarian foodie, or enjoying the Rocky Mountains with friends.

Hanna’s Herbs has been gracious enough to offer 5 bottles of the Anti-Fatigue tablets to five of you! Just tweet out this message: I want to win a free bottle of Anti-Fatigue tablets from @HannasHerbShop via @AlexandraFunFit & @KymberlyFunFit, then leave the tweet url in the comments below. We’ll randomly select five winners on Friday, Sep. 28th. If you want to check out the Anti-Fatigue tablets, click on the ad in the right sidebar.

Do you have an agreeable, adaptable outlook? Heck, even if you don’t, boom chicka keystroke click on our links and subscribe to our YouTube channeland our blog. Follow us on Twitter: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click on the icons in the right sidebar ——–>