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3

Fun Fitness Facts to Motivate You

twins at Ranch arch Fitness FactsBy now you know that exercise is good for a lot more than weight maintenance. It acts as inexpensive medicine, positively affects the aging process, and makes us better people all around. Every year new studies reveal more ways movement increases happiness, healthiness, and longevity.  We baby boomers continue to redefine aging as we take advantage of increased awareness of the benefits of activity.

Let’s skim through a few fun fitness facts culled from recent research to get our motivation and life quality up, up, up! Nothing like some quick, practical hits to renew our “commit to be fit!”

Exercise acts as inexpensive medicine and positively affects the aging process. Get more Fit… Click To Tweet

General Fun Fitness Facts

Travaasa bike at ISPA Media event Fitness Facts

  • You can increase memory function, improve overall brain health, and reduce loss of brain matter via exercise.
  • Physically active older adults have more variable brain activity while resting than those who are not active. Brain variability is linked to enhanced cognitive function.
  • Indoor cyclists who pedaled vigorously for 45 minutes continued to burn additional calories for up to 14 hours post cycling than on days they did not cycle. (Burn baby, burn disc inferno! Come join me for a class as I just got Schwinn indoor cycling certified).
  • Not only does a good night’s sleep improve your memory, but also taking naps of 45-60 minutes helps you retain more information.
Taking naps of 45-60 minutes helps you retain more information & improve memory ZZZZzzzz… Click To Tweet

Medical Fitness Facts

  • People who exercise moderately are less likely to have risk factors for glaucoma compared to inactive people. (“The better to see you with, my dear.”)
  • Exercise may be almost as effective as flu vaccines for reducing respiratory infections. (Take two walks and see me in the morning).
  • Good nutrition is the least expensive form of health care.

Yoga and Mind/Body Fitness Factsyoga pose at the beach Fitness Facts

  • Taking yoga even just once a week can help people reduce lower back pain and the need for pain medications. (Save money when you practice yoga and don’t have to buy pain meds!)
  • Those who participate in yoga may also be more likely to eat mindfully and be physically active in other modes in addition to yoga.
  • Mindfulness, such as cultivated in yoga, enhances self-regulation abilities.  
  • A consistent Pilates program may improve dynamic balance for older adult women, helping prevent falls.
  • Older adults who took yoga twice a week combined with memory training for four weeks experienced improvements in memory performance and the ability to manage activities of daily living.
Mindfulness, such as cultivated in #yoga, enhances self-regulation abilities #Activeaging Click To Tweet

snacks at One Wine Santa BarbaraFood Fitness Facts

  • Peanuts or peanut butter for breakfast can control your blood sugar throughout the day and reduce your desire to eat for up to twelve hours. (I am not saying “nuts” to that! And See’s candies offers a dark chocolate with peanuts so that’s good news).
  • Drinking just 1-3 additional cups of water can help with weight control. Hydrators reduce intake of three S’s when they drink up – sugar, saturated fat, and sodium.
  • People who consume a greater variety of foods tend to have less body fat and be at less risk for metabolic syndrome than those who follow more limited food plans.

I don’t know about you, but I love Fun Fit Facts and Stats. You are seeing here just a few of the many I collect. What do you think? Do fitness facts, stats, and quotes motivate you as well?

If so, layer some Motivational Quotes with your Fun Fit Facts to keep yourself active and on track.  Get more quick hits in our posts, Motivational Quotes to Move You and Motivation, Fun Fit Facts, and Pretty Pictures for Boomers.

ACTION: Subscribe. Get motivation with your movement advice twice a week. Enter your email; claim your bonus; exit a more vibrant you!

By Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

4

Is Your Fitness Plan in “Stuck” not “Start”?

Boomers on the Loose graphic

Be Loose, Not Stuck!

Do You Need to Move Your Fitness Plan from Stuck to Start?

Arrrrghhh! That’s the sound of you spending another day stuck in sedentary patterns stitched with good exercise intentions. Another day of you bartering with yourself in an Annie mood that “tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow” the sun will come out and shine differently on your workout and fitness plan. But no actual exercise has occurred on a consistent (or even intermittent) basis. How many “tomorrows” have come and gone that you now admit, yup, you’re stuck and need a prod to get going. As in “today!”

From Nothing to Something; From Some to Some More

Let’s say you used to work out, or never did, but remember it seemed like a good idea. You’re not alone. A common request we get is how to go from park to cruise mode; from inactive to active; from nuffink much to sumpin. Note I did not say to zoom from 0 to 60 off the starting line.

Start Small

In fact, starting small is one of our key pieces of advice. We’re going to share some action items that are so easy to implement you’ll be asking yourself, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”

Take off the pressure of trying to change several health habits at once. Instead, do this Click To Tweet

Take off the pressure of trying to change several health habits all at once. That’s putting more weight on your shoulders than we’d recommend for a strength training program! Go step by step. Learn to enjoy movement and the youthful vibrancy it brings.

Old Fashioned Whoop Ass

Need a kick in the keester to get unstuck?

Say So Long Suckahs to Sedentary Stuckness

Kymberly: Transitioning to an active, healthy lifestyle is simpler than you think. Kiss frustration good-bye. Tackling just one of the items on the following checklist will progress you. Find one action you can complete today. Do it right away and check it off! You will move from inertia to energy in less than 5 minutes.

Alexandra: Can I at least have some French Vanilla ice cream with my inertia? And I didn’t know his name was Frustration when I kissed him. But I’d do it all again anyway.

Kymberly: For you, sis, you may partake of the can of Whoop Ass included in this post. For the rest of you, forget fitness trends, celebrity endorsements, or what you used to do when you were younger.

Fitness Over 50 - Get your fitness plan unstuck

Title slide of a presentation I offered fitness pros.

8 Easy Ways to Get Unstuck Starting … Now! When Else?

  1. Identify a space in your home where you can work out, even if it’s just big enough to fit a mat or towel on the floor.
  2. Forget the all or nothing, “practice makes perfect” approach. Practice makes progress. Practice makes permanent. Practice creates habits. Perfection is overrated and unsustainable. Simply do a little bit more than the day before.
  3. Set your expectations low to start. What’s the least you can do and commit to today? Tomorrow?
  4. Drink water. Instead of sugary drinks or ones that have the word “latte,” or “fountain” in them, or whipped cream, or carbonation combined with a can. See where I am going with this?  Being well water-drated will also minimize muscle soreness and fatigue.  Thats’ a twofer special right there!
  5. Find moves and activities you enjoy. This has been a recording. Beeeeep. Ever wonder why we named our blog “Fun and Fit?” Because we believe that movement can be enjoyable; that an active life is more appealing than a sedentary one; AND that at least some of the exercise you do has to be fun so you will actually do it. Oh, and because my sister is actually pretty funny. Yes, those of us who have crossed over to the other side know that it is more fun to move and groove than it is to think about it. And it definitely is not fun to force ourselves to perform exercises we hate. Bleeeeech! (as Mad Magazine used to say).
8 Easy Ways to Get Unstuck with your fitness plan Starting … Now! When Else? Click To Tweet
  1. Find a community to support you or at least one that will hold you accountable. Whether you pick someone in person, online, or long distance, make a pact with at least one other support person with whom you will actually check in. Maybe you’ll even find a workout buddy.
  2. Use technology if that works for you. Don’t use the lack of a pedometer, wrist tracking device, calorie counter or any other wearable technology as an excuse NOT to start. We are not Waiting for Godot or Go Pro around here. Just get out there with or without the latest gear. The lack of a device is not an obstacle to movement. However, if the presence of any wearable technology helps you giddy up, why then use it! Strap on and keep on truckin’!
  3. Have a restart Plan B. You will not meet your goals each day. That’s no reason  to give up. And by “reason” I mean “excuse.” Get back to the mat or gym or trail. Be prepared for the common, usual, and totally human reality that you will have “fail” days. What is your contingency plan when you get off track? Let’s hope it at least includes forgiving yourself, and looking to the future rather than berating the past.

Does one of the above actions speak to you? Then listen. And go for it.  You need implement just one item to get unstuck and on the path to new active aging habits.

Find 1 action you can check off today to move from inertia to energy in less than 5 minutes. Click To Tweet

Sales image for TransformAging

Time for Some TransformAging?

ACTION If you want even more support and ideas to transform yourself to a more fit you, then check out this cutting edge resource. Click to access the TransformAging page. The session “(Re)Starting Fitness Over 50” in particular is LOADED with strategies to get you happily and successfully going. And liking it!

By Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

7

Are You Safe Exercising in the Heat? Stay Hydrated, but How?

Kymberly's water bottle Stay hydratedStay Hydrated When You Exercise in Heat

Are midlife exercisers safe to exercise in the heat? Is it enough to simply stay hydrated? What are the dangers (and solutions) for active boomers who face high temperatures and humidity? Are you thinking yet of the Poindexter song, “Hot, Hot, Hot?”

Summer is here. We can all go outside and run (or walk, in our case). In the heat. And possibly where the humidity is high enough to make your body look like it’s crying. But wait, we’re not saying avoid outdoor exercise. Say nay to that. We want to encourage you to go outside and be active. Of course we always support going inside to group fitness classes, especially when the room has AC! But stay hydrated.

Are midlife exercisers safe to exercise in the heat? Click To Tweet
Mud Run water duct with Alexandra

Take your water bottle everywhere. Over hill, under dale, through sewer drains

Often we’ll put sunblock on, then a hat and head outside (Head. Hat. Get it?), but leave behind a water bottle because we won’t be gone long, or it’s a hassle to carry, or or or.  Be well-prepared especially if you aren’t well-hydrated. We won’t lecture you (but we’d like to) if you don’t take along your water bottle, but we WILL share some definitions and information. Then you can know when you’re in harm’s way or safe to beat the heat. 

Euhydration – normal hydration. Your body is taking in the same amount of fluid as it’s expending. In a hot environment, that’s about 3500 milliliters (compared to 2500 on a normal day).

Hypohydration – a reduction of body water as the body progresses from a euhydrated to a dehydrated state.

Dehydration – when water losses due to sweat are not offset by water intake. Read Water: Chilled, Stirred or Straight from the Pool Post-Exercise? if you wonder whether to drink cold or tepid water:

Hyponatremia – abnormally low plasma sodium concentrations. When more fluids are consumed than are lost, excess water accumulates relative to sodium. Danger, danger.

When exercising in heat, is it better to drink a lot at once, or go w/ lots of sips spread over… Click To Tweet

Exertional Heat Exhaustion – the body’s heat production exceeds its ability to dissipate heat, and core temperature rises to >104°. Symptoms can include excessive sweating, nausea, dizziness, and headache.

Exertional Heatstroke – more severe than heat exhaustion. In addition to the above symptoms, heatstroke sufferers can also experience a gradual impairment of consciousness, difficulty concentrating, sweat-soaked, pale skin (these symptoms are different from classic heatstroke), and even death.

Hiking makes you sweaty so stay hydrated

Sweaty shirt competition. We both win.

Hot Tips to Stay Cool

* Rather than taking sips of water over the course of your outdoor exercise, drink a larger volume all at once. You’ll stay in euhydration longer.

* If you exercise longer than 90 minutes, rehydrate with water that has electrolytes added (primarily sodium and potassium, though some sodium is reabsorbed by the sweat glands – the body sure is amazing, eh)?

* Drink water before, during AND after exercise – yes, all three.

* Before you go out, eat a small salted snack such as pretzels. As “opposite day” as that sounds, a salted snack will stimulate thirst, plus the sodium helps you retain waterWater - stay hydrated.

As to whether it’s better to drink cold or room temperature water, the research clearly indicates that … it doesn’t really matter. The temperature that’s most effective is … the one that will induce you to drink more water.

If you find water boring, that’s no excuse to go buy sugar-laden drinks or skip the water bottle. Simple throw in a sprig of mint or rosemary, or a wedge or orange, lemon or lime, and off you go. Up hill. Down dale.

ACTION: Drink up biweekly solutions for aging actively and exercising effectively and safely when you SUBSCRIBE.  Enter your email in any of the subscription boxes floating about.

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

Sign up to start "youthifying" today.

11

Too Tired To Start Exercising?

Hi Alexandra and Kymberly: I am frequently exhausted and ache. I don’t know where to start to build in a sane way. Weights, (brief) high intensity intervals, gentle cardiovascular like walking? Just getting through a work day wears me out and I usually need to nap after exercise. Anne from Olympia, WA

Dear Anne: We can say you are sane enough already to ask a great and common question. Actually you managed a three-in-one special deal as you actually have three separate issues:

  1. Why might you be too tired to exercise in the first place?
  2. Why is exercise making you more fatigued?
  3. What entry point exercises are good to build from?

And because we like package bonus deals, you get a four part answer to make you happy and zippy!

First, Consider What is Exhausting You

Problem: Are you dehydrated? Solution: Drink more water

Being underwatered will suck you dry! Even slight dehydration—as little as 2% of normal fluid loss—will reduce your energy levels. Dehydration reduces blood volume, thickening your blood. Then your heart pumps less efficiently, reducing the speed at which oxygen and nutrients reach your muscles and organs, thereby draining your energy.

Problem: Are you anemic? Solution: Get your blood tested

Anemia would cause your stated symptoms. Find out if you’re getting enough iron or losing more than you’re replacing.

Problem: Are you choosing energy-sapping foods? Solution: Check your eating habitsAlexandra drinking wine

Alexandra drinking wine

Wine, dine, and nap

Too much sugar? Not eating regular meals or skipping breakfast? Drinking wine late at night or starting the day with simple carbs? Powering through your day by relying on caffeine? Any of these habits will result in overall fatigue.

Next, Motivate Yourself Past Pre-Exercise Fatigue

Your work day is done and so are you! We totally get how tempting a nap sounds after a long, perhaps stressful work day. And maybe what you need is simply to sleep more or to revel in naps, guilt free. Most North American adults undersleep. But you asked about moving, and we are all about activity.

In fact, we bet you already know the counterintuitive reality that exercise increases energy. Studies indicate that as little as three bouts of cardio activity a week for 20 minutes per session boosts energy in as few as six weeks. Once you get past those first few weeks of starting to move more, you will enter that energizer bunny zone where exercise pumps you up rather than drags you down.

Sign to Happy Room

Which activity puts you into your Happy Room?

To get yourself doing something, the key is to commit to anything, not everything. What is the least you can do given your current exhaustion and ache levels? Determine what is achievable and head for the minimum. We really mean it. Take the mental pressure off yourself and head for the LEAST, not MOST you are willing to start with.

Rather than plunging into high intensity interval training or facing overload weight training, find something you enjoy and that comes easily to you. A resistance training fitness class where you are encouraged to go at your pace. A walk, brisk stroll, or march in place. A yoga, Pilates, stretch, or other mind/body class that combines movement with visualization, relaxation, or quiet time at the end. What about lunges during tv commercials or a few ab exercises before dinner? Just 5 minutes on an indoor bicycle?  Steps at home you can go up and down a few times. Water time if you have access to a pool or natural body of water- swimming, pool class, water jogging.

If you still find yourself needing a push to take the fork in the road towards activity, not lethargy, get a dog that likes walks. We might say “later” and “no” to ourselves, but who can deny a pet pooch whose daily walk is the day’s highlight? Wag wag, perky ears and out you go!Dog walk at More Mesa

Third, Reduce Being Worn Out Post Work Out

If exercise is wearing you out, most likely you need to drop the intensity of your workout. Another possibility is you are choosing stressful moves. Stress will wear you out even if the activity is low intensity.

  • Have you chosen activities you don’t enjoy?
  • Are you setting overly high expectations and demands on yourself?
  • Are you a perfectionist?

And of course, we have to interject that your post-exercise nap might be the best thing for you. But if you feel movement is wearing you down, then reduce the intensity or duration. You are either going too hard or too long at this phase of your re-entry program.

Which Bring Us to — Choose Moderate Moves

Try our Whole Body, No Equipment Needed, Easy as 3-2-1 Routine

K planking in ThailandBefore this post gets too long and tiresome (aha hah ha) let’s go with a simple, straightforward, “gee, we really don’t know your goals, limitations, time available” starting point program. If nothing else, do the following three moves that will address all major muscles of your body. Easy to perform; multi-joint so you get a lot of bang for your buck; and needing no equipment.

  1. Lunges or squats for the lower body
  2. Push ups on the wall, counter, knees, or toes for the upper body
  3. K planking in ThailandPlanks or reverse curls for the core

When you’re done, walk for 5 minutes.

You will feel so energized you’ll want more. Find that “more” in these posts that also answer your questions:

Tips to Get Your Butt to the Gym

I Want to Get Fit, but How Do I Start?

And of course, we have to mention our recent TransformAging Summit webinar session, “(Re)Starting Fitness Over 50,” which is sponsored by Rancho la Puerta Wellness Resort, a perfect place to ease into exercise. ,  For sale along with the other 5 presentations. Slides included. $34Sales image for TransformAging

18

How to Avoid Overeating on Thanksgiving

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

‘Tis the season for Thanksgiving, not Thanks-gorging.  Enact Our 7 healthful tips to avoid the holiday feast trap.

Perhaps you’ve spent months being diligent about exercising and eating healthfully. And now the holidays are creeping up faster than a heart rate monitor. How do you stay trimmer than a decorated tree and less stuffed than a turkey come Thanksgiving?

The following suggestions will serve you well from day’s start through end.

1. Drink lots of water and green tea before the feast. You will feel full and less inclined to overeat.

2. Eat your usual breakfast and lunch. Don’t skip a meal thinking you will then be free to make up for lost calories later when the “good stuff” arrives. Inevitably you will be so hungry come THE meal that you will overeat or choose whatever is closest.

3. Mentally sort foods into 3 categories:

  • Food I love and will probably have seconds;
  • Food I like and will take a little just once;
  • Food I don’t need to eat at all.

Planning and paying attention have a definite effect on how much you pile on your plate.

(For more motivation and strategies to keep you on track, click to download our radio episode as a podcast you can listen to while working out – or when avoiding that one weird relative who is coming over Thursday:)

3 Tips to Thrive Through the Holidays

http://www.audioacrobat.com/sa/W2g0916Q

The First Turkey Trot: Real Blunderbusses for the Finish Line!

4. Opt for a salad instead of dinner plate.  You’ll be inclined to eat less.  Most of us are visually triggered, so we stop adding food once our plate looks full, regardless of plate size.

5. Get up from the table when done. Do not sit with food in front of you calling your name á la “Little Shop of Horrors.” And don’t leave food just sitting out. You can end up eating an entire meal’s worth just from picking at the stuff that’s in front of you. Put it away right after the meal (or at least as soon as is politely possible). Your guests will  probably thank you. Ok, maybe thank you.

6. Put your mind over matter. If you’re a person who likes to talk to herself (like Alexandra does), just ask yourself this when you’re filling your plate, “Am I choosing this because I’m hungry or because it tastes good?” We aren’t here to say you “shouldn’t” this or “should” that, but the awareness will help you make a considered decision.

7. Go for a walk. What better way to spend quality time with your favorite rellies or friends than by putting on a jacket and getting outside?

Readers: What tips do you have to share? We’d love to know them, especially with December almost here!

Fill up with fitness solutions and some fun 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!

Photo credits: via Creative Commons:  RBerteig (jumping turkey),  sassyarts (pilgrims walking)

6

Fun Summertime Fitness Activities & Their Calorie Counts

Guest Post by Adrian Dunn
Kymberly is teaching at Rancho la Puerta spa in Mexico and Alexandra is recovering from foot surgery, so our colleague Adrian is here to step in! Thanks! 

How Many Calories Can You Burn Doing Fun Summertime Activities?

The long days of summer are here and along with barbecues and watermelon, it’s also the best time for outdoor fitness activities. You can have fun with family or friends and tone up up your muscles and burn calories at the same time.

All calorie counts are approximate and are based on a 150-pound person engaging in the activity at moderate intensity for 30 minutes.

Hit the Trail

Find a bike path and enjoy an easy bicycle ride with the family. Even a moderate pace burns 200-300 calories, and increases your leg strength and cardio fitness. Take a picnic and ride off the calories on your return trip!

Or take your roller blades on the path and you can firm up your legs and buns and burn 250 calories.

Head for the Hills

If you are lucky enough to have hills or a nature preserve near you, take a day hike. With some good sneakers or hiking boots, you can explore the natural terrain while burning around 200 calories.

Rock climbing is a growing sport that is challenging and builds strength, stamina, and flexibility. Be prepared to take some lessons and find out what you need to enjoy this sport. You can burn up to 270 calories.

Fun with Animals

Fly Like a Doggie

Try “Keep away” Frisbee with your favorite dog and a friend. Just remember, there is no such thing as a dog-proof Frisbee, so bring an extra one for Fido. Calories burned: 100.

Always wanted to try horseback riding? This activity can take you to places you wouldn’t ordinarily go. The horse is doing most of the work, and you still burn 150 calories.

River Wild

Get a great upper body workout by kayaking or canoeing on your local river. Burns about 150 calories and tones arms, shoulders, and back muscles.

Beach Benefits

See those smiles? They’re running on the beach!

Jogging on sand is a super workout for your legs and great for cardio fitness too. You can burn an easy 200 calories. Or rev it up by joining a game of beach volleyball and burn 280 calories.

Keep It Safe

* Use sun protection: hats, sunglasses (we like our affiliate Warby Parker because for every pair sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need), and sunscreen.

* Insect repellant. Don’t forget the black fly, ticks, and mosquitoes! They don’t forget you.

* Stay hydrated: drink plenty of water before, during, and after physical activity.

* Bring a snack: pack portable foods that won’t spoil in the heat, like whole fruit, trail mix, or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

* Wear protective gear: bike helmets, knee and elbow pads for roller blading, moleskin to prevent blisters when hiking, flip-flops for hot beach sand.

The Backpacket is a combo sunscreen & insect repellant

* Take your cell phone: take a charged cell phone if you hike or ride off-road, in case of unexpected events.

* Avoid the hottest time of the day: if you live where it is hot (and who doesn’t this summer), do your most strenuous outdoor exercise in the morning or evening when it is more likely to be cooler.

Let this be the year you try a new summer activity. Invite your favorite companions and head for the hills, the trail, or the beach. Getting back to nature is a great way to have fun and get fit at the same time!

Guest Blogger Adrian Dunn is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, Wellness Coach, and Fitness Coach for EverydayHealth.com and its calorie counter tools.

 

Photo credits: Creative Commons: Ronnie Macdonaldgvdveen51,  scovophoto, Backpacket

12

Fitness Health Bloggers Conference: Staying Fit While Traveling

by Alexandra Williams, MA

The recent Fitness Health Bloggers Conference (FHBC) was held in Denver, Colorado. I live in Santa Barbara, California. So of course I decided to drive 1,200 miles, each way, rather than fly. And I discovered it is possible to stay somewhat active while driving, just not simultaneously (although I do tend to finger dance to good music on the car radio).

I brought along my 15 year old son. By definition, he does not drive. I hate driving. But I do like traveling. And saving money on airfare. My solution: make lots of stops to get out of the car and take photos with my new iPhone. Yup, oddly enough, having Instagram (an app that lets you take photos and send them out via social media immediately) motivated me to get out of the car and move.

Route to the Fitness Health Bloggers conference

Santa Barbara to Denver via the I-15 & I-70 - Lovely except for HOT Nevada

Any time we spotted a viewpoint or something interesting along the road (yeah, Hwys. 15 and 70 are both major interstates with shoulders just wide enough for me to pull over and not get “whoomped” by the draft of 18-wheelers passing by), I’d careen carefully pull over to the side of the freeway, get out and take some pics. I even took my poor, long-suffering kid on a few short hikes, trying to get the “best” shot. FYI, I am not actually a photographer, I was just determined to get my kid moving.

Driving home via the southern route: Denver to Santa Barbara

The long, hot route from Denver to Santa Barbara. Scenic though!

There has been so much research lately about the detrimental effects of sitting too long that I wanted to be sure and move, both while on the road and at the conference.
I also wanted to be sure and eat healthfully, as good eating habits sometimes get tossed out the window (along with fast-food trash) during road trips.
See for yourself whether I met my movement and food goals.
[youtube]http://youtu.be/ciXcVDN1lxQ[/youtube]

If you read our post “Lose 2 Pounds in 2 Days,” or our other conference-related post “3 Excuses You Can Use When Mountain Hiking,” then you already know that we went to the conference to speak about blogging and learn about the latest research in the health & fitness field. The attendees were a combination of fitness industry pros and enthusiasts; what we all had in common was our love of fitness and social media. And food. Um, yeah! Food!

This is the section where I tell you about the amazing brands that sponsored the conference (and my fabulous fashion choices). I say “amazing” because they treated us extremely well. Not just well; extremely well.

Anschutz Health & Wellness Center

goodnessknows
Cherry Marketing Institute
Attune Foods
Rockin’ Refuel

Chipotle
Driscoll’s Berries
Love Grown Granola
Western Dairy Association
Adora™ Calcium
TechnoGym
Quebec Maple Syrup
Better Whey of Life

My gear:
Black Jacket: Qignition
Presentation pink outfit: Aventura Clothing
Orange backpack/ purse: Overland Equipment
Totally comfy wicking socks for the hikes: Goodhew
Hat that protected me from the sun and sweat: Headsweats
Fabulously awesome, fit body: My parents (no link haha, although you can see our mom in this posture video)

Disclaimer: Thank you to Refuel with Chocolate Milk for providing us with a scholarship for the conference registration, and to FitFluential for making it possible for us to be panel speakers and moderators. All opinions, silly faces and poorly lit pictures are my own!

29

3 Excuses You Can Use When Mountain Hiking

by Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Go for a free hike up the Rocky Mountains with an outdoor Breathe yoga class afterwards, deluxe charter bus, lunch and snacks provided? Count us in!

Alexandra and I just finished attending and presenting at the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference that took place at the deeevine, high tech, and new Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, just outside Denver. CO (yes, I liked it so much I wanted to go back to grad school just to take advantage of all the Anschutz Center offers).

Prior to taking off we were offered two of 20 spots on a bonus pre-conference tour put on by Goodness Knows  Snack Squares and Zephyr Adventures. Fun fact #1 – I am SO glad I went on the excursion, which was beautiful, amazing, well-organized, and a great chance to take advantage of the beauty the area offers. Not so Fun Fact #2 – I SUCKED at this hike. As in sucked air. Big, wheezy, gaspy time. Yes, I was “THAT PERSON” at the tail end of the group who had to stop every 5 minutes to “enjoy the view,” “check my Omron Heart Rate Monitor,” “get my water bottle out of my backpack,”  “retie my trail shoes.” (THANK YOU Overland Equipment and Vasque Velocity for the super comfy backpack and trail shoes. At least I looked like a pro hiker and my feet felt great!)

So I compiled my excuses during the many breaks I took while climbing. Perhaps you can use some of them in your next outdoor workout:

1) I just flew in from sea level living to mile high altitude climbing. No wonder I felt my heart imitating the alien explosion birth in Alien. Pretty sure I did not look as good as Sigourney Weaver though. The fact that stoopidhead Alexandra whisked her little way up at the head of the pack was not taking this excuse away from me. Gasp Gasp Sweat pouring down back of my knees, face, underarms. Oh wait, she drove from Santa Barbara to Boulder so had time to acclimate. Excuse still intact and usable! And I was ahead of the 25 year old from New Jersey and 40 year old from Boulder. The three of us were making the front pack possible!

2) I have had 2 knee surgeries after all. Ok, so my knees did not actually hurt on the climb up since I have strong lower body muscles and powered each step through my glutes. Still, past surgeries and injuries are something to think about when contemplating a path straight up. I might think better if I sit down for just a panting moment.

Something was hot on this hike and it wasn't I

3) It was HOT! Yes, I flew in just in time for record heat in Denver. Don’t even start with that whole “it was just as hot for everyone else who was ahead of you, prancing, frolicking, and talking while climbing.” Heat makes me cranky so back off and let me enjoy the exercise, scenery, new experience, and rest stops.

Honestly, I thought I would ace this hike with lipstick and reputation intact given that I teach fitness 5 days a week and power walk almost every day. And I am happy to report that while my heart rate shot up to 158 while climbing, it dropped to 115 within a minute so my recovery rate was good.

What I learned from this potentially humbling experience:

  • Thank goodness I hike a lot at home as I had no muscle soreness the next day.
  • Breaks are my friend. Interval training is my friend. Guides who say “go as slowly as you want” are my friend.
  • For every thought I had to turn around early I had four positive, encouraging thoughts that kept me on track (literally).
  • The view at the top was worth the effort. I actually LOVED this whole day and was so grateful for the opportunity.
  • I don’t always have to be at the front or the best.
  • Alexandra gets to wear the backpack on the way up, not down next time.

As for the yoga class awaiting us back at the bottom of the mountain? I managed 5 minutes following the darling teachers’ well-cued Down Dogs, then took full advantage of the Corpse pose for the rest of class. Namaste ZZZzzzzz

Goodness Knows Alexandra did the whole yoga class. Grrrrr

Disclaimer: We were not asked to write about any of the above companies or products. However, we did receive the excursion free as well as the Overland backpack, Vasque trail shoes, and even a water bottle and yoga mat from Goodness Knows. All opinions are my own.

Actions you can take right now without any sweat or mussy hair. Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Subscribe to our blog. Follow us on twitter: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit Heck also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

22

Fun Fitness is More Than Exercise

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Today, as Kymberly and I reviewed the scheduled posts we have ready, I realized I wanted to just write about my weekend, and how I had fun and got fit at the same time. The fun came first; the fitness was just a byproduct (does that sound like a chemistry class word?).

Alexandra: I hope you are interested in what I did over the past few days. If not, read this anyway as I am massively captivating!

It was so hot even the Gecko had some chai!

On Friday I went for a long walk (maybe 5 miles) with my friend Diane. We’ve been friends for over 25 years and meet for a walk and lunch every few months. Have you ever spent time with a really good friend and thought, “Wow, how did 3 hours pass so quickly?” At lunch we drank a lot of vanilla iced chai because it was really hot in the Santa Ynez Valley.

All the way from CT, just to see the S.B. Courthouse Tower!

On Saturday a friend of mine from Connecticut was in town, so after baking muffins (it was her birthday), we met up for some good ol’ Santa Barbara sightseeing. She also enjoys walking, so we did a combo drive & walk tour. Sometime around 3 pm she finally let me know that she actually might like some lunch. Oops, not very hospitable of me to forget to ask a guest if she’s had anything to eat! Late in the afternoon I went to my veggie garden and pulled weeds. Even found a few strawberries that were ready to eat. So I ate ‘em!

Strike a pose!

Sunday was extra special, because of the Master QiDance class that was held at our club. Kymberly and I have been pushing for about 6 months to get this program in town, having fallen in love with it at the fitness conventions last year. The class was full and the members loved it, so it’s going on the schedule as soon as the instructors get trained. Again, it was so fun that one of the participants asked if future, “regular” classes would be longer than 30 minutes. The class was actually an hour long, so the time obviously passed quickly for her!

Rise, Delicious Breads, Rise

I was so invigorated, I came home and made rosemary fougasse, potato sourdough bread, oatmeal sandwich bread and strawberry shortcake. (Here’s the definition of fougasse from my King Arthur cookbook: “A specialty of Provence, France, it’s made from a basic flour/water/yeast/salt dough, into which is incorporated fresh herbs, etc.” After rising it’s shaped into a ladder-like form, and I top it with olive oil and kosher salt.) It was nice to enjoy myself and feel so relaxed, happy and productive. Of course, we already know from the research that Exercise Doubles Your Happiness!

Kymberly: You say fougasse; I say fou-tato. My short addition to the theme is simply this: A great group fitness instructor can really transform a workout class into a party blast. I rarely take classes as my teaching schedule is fairly well rounded and full. So when I experience a workout wherein I am transported to Funsville (MapQuest the place and check in via foursquare), then I give the teacher credit. Thank you to Ms Larissa S-Y of Qignition for coming prepared, energized, confident, full of fun, and focused on us — the class! Not only do I appreciate an hour well-spent exercising, but also I enjoy mentally noting superlative teaching skills in action.  I find that very motivating— both as a participant and as a fitness leader always striving to improve.

If you take a class and time passes quickly because you are having so much fun, let the teacher know! Amazing classes are out there waiting for YOU to take part in them.  Next weekend – the teaching training course to learn the Qignition program. This week – a reinspired time to offer my class participants my best teaching skills.

What did you do this weekend that was so fun you didn’t realize you were actually moving?

Disclosure: We were not compensated in any way for this post. Though we sure do love compensation all day and every day! 

15

Running a Half Marathon: Hydration Belt or Water Stations? Gels or Sports Drink?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: So, I signed up to do this half marathon in October.  I’m scared to death, but seem certain this is something I need to do.  I’m required to maintain at least a 14 min/mile throughout or be disqualified.  So, I need to finish in 183 minutes, basically.  I’ve found training that seems to be working for me and my knee issues that allows me two short runs, an easy walk and a long run during the week.

At any rate, I’ve bought a hydration belt and have been using it. I’m wondering
a) if you think it best to wear it for the race and (keep to) my drinking schedule instead of relying on water stations (except the chocolate aid station. This is Hershey’s!).
b) do I need energy gels or just go with Gatorade in one of my drink bottles
c) anything else?
Amy, Hershey, PA

Alexandra: Dear Amy: First of all, my condolences. In my vast experience of running races (none), I believe that’s 13 miles. My first reaction is to advise you to drive–you’ll definitely meet the 14 min/mile rule. But you seem intent on actually running. Sigh. You know that cars have been invented, right?

During your race, if you find energy gels to be more convenient or mentally a “boost,” choose that. Researchers tend to differ, but it does seem that most of them held hands, sang “Kumbaya” and decided to agree that you are just as well off with a less expensive alternative. Say, you can even put some grape jelly into a baggie, then cut a hole and squeeze that into your mouth during the race. Urgle – I feel saccharine-sweet just thinking of that! Heck, the Stone Research Foundation even recommends a Pop-Tart over an energy bar!

Jelly for running energy

Grape jelly has been around longer than marathons it seems!

Pop-Tarts everywhere

Pop-Tarts: an almost natural color!

 

Kymberly: As to the decision about Gatorade or water, we will say that the most important aspect is taking in carbohydrates and electrolytes when engaging in a true endurance activity. So a sports drink is probably better than water since you’ll be running for 183 minutes, which is essentially two soccer matches. Now we’re talking!

 

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3U8pAM4VXvI[/youtube]

 

A: As to the chocolate station, forget your troubles, come on get happy, ‘cause chocolate milk is a good post-exercise recovery drink.

chocolate milk as post-race recovery fuel

Chocolate Milk - the perfect post-race fuel

 

K: We asked a few of our experienced running friends to comment on the hydration belt issue. They had some great comments:

  • “If you’re in a very specific or exact hydration routine, then I would recommend carrying your own water. If nothing else, it’ll be a nice safety net for if something goes wrong (super-warm weather, big crowds, lack of supplies, etc). I’ve had several races where I wished I’d brought my own hydration and zero where I was sorry that I had.” Dawn Dolobowsky
  • “Always stick to what you do in training. Wear the belt.” Sarah Stanley
  • “I’ve found that I need to drink when I need to drink and having the belt has been a life saver.” Erika Howder
  • “If you have your own belt, you drink when you need to AND you can always use course-provided fluids if/when needed. If you use something like Heed or other electrolyte replacement you can carry your own and not worry about the race-provided fluids causing GI distress.” Amanda Brandon

Running Readers: is it all about distress or de-stress when entered in a half marathon?

 

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