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?
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:
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:)
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!
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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
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.
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.
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.
* 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!
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.
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.
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.
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
Cherry Marketing Institute
Love Grown Granola
Western Dairy Association
Quebec Maple Syrup
Better Whey of Life
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!
by Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
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!)
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.
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:
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
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
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!
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!
K: We asked a few of our experienced running friends to comment on the hydration belt issue. They had some great comments:
Running Readers: is it all about distress or de-stress when entered in a half marathon?
When Kymberly wasn’t in classes, and Alexandra wasn’t doing editorial duties for IDEA Fitness Journal, they got together in the Expo Hall to find all the Funnerist and Fittliest tools, gadgets, machines, programs, snacks and mouth-watering beverages! And now we share some of them with you! (By “share” we mean we didn’t save you any).
First up was a stop at the Sproing booth. We will not explain this; we will let the video be your guide! However, we will say Kymberly particularly loved being able to run again since her two knee surgeries years ago. Sproing’s tagline is “Soft is the New Hard,” which relates to the soft and cushy pad you walk, jog, run, lunge, jump, and SPROING on. Wheee! Thanks Sproing; now try to catch us![youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3CuzJZkVgE[/youtube]
Have you tried Chobani Greek Yogurt yet? No pictures because we were too busy eating the samples. Greek yogurt is the latest recommended food for protein lovers! We can say from personal experience that Chobani works well in smoothies too! Just turn your blender to “power up” mode. Lemon, Pomegranate, Blueberry, Raspberry, Vanilla and more, more, more.
At the PopChips booth, they were giving away bags of their new flavors. If you had a hard time deciding, they gave you one of each. We were stars! But what the heck is with that pink tint on our faces? A secret PopChips ingredient?
We wanted a tasty beverage treat to go with our lunch (that’s the way we describe the free samples), and guess what?! You won’t believe it when we tell you! We found the FitFrappe booth. Why is that such exciting news (besides the fact that every single flavor was super delicious)? Because the day we left for the convention we received notice from Klout Perks that we were going to receive a FitFrappe sample package in the mail! Jeepers. Just in time for our birthday (it’s not too late for you to send gifts). Here we are, frapping it up with our pal Jim Wendt (do you see the look of fear in his eyes? I think we both goosed him simultaneously – twin sandwich).
What would you do if you got to meet a multi-platinum, Grammy-winning, totally smokin’ hot music producer & composer? Well, who cares, because here’s what we did when we met Kike Santander, the man behind Batuka, one of the absolute most funster, fitnessy workouts we’ve ever almost sweated to! Click on that link and check out the dancing AND the “Listen to the Music” button. Then come back to us as we are heading to Batuka training in November.
Lest you think only Alexandra tries the actual workouts (check out our Fun and Fit Facebook posts that show her sliding down the Strip Tease X-Pert Pole Dancing pole), rumors are true that Kymberly managed both a FreeMotion Rip:60 body weight workout AND a class using the CoreFitnessRoller. FreeMotionFitness Education Manager, Natalie, gave Kymberly a one-on-one session that worked all major muscles in under 20 minutes. Kymberly’s glasses stayed on and some cals came off!
Next stop, the CoreFitnessRoller booth, where our friend and fellow Santa Barbarian, Darya Bronston debuted her invention that incorporates the best of the foam roller, tubing resistance, balance, and cute helper boys. We dare you to balance on the CoreFitness Roller, work your core, and smile at the crowd all at once!
See what fun stuff lies ahead for you? Workouts and healthy food, here we come. Now that we are so fit and all……
Readers and Eaters: What new products and training programs do you plan to try this fall?
Photos courtesy of Kymberly, Alexandra, and anyone we corralled at the IDEA Expo.
Since we go for walks on a regular basis up in the hills above Santa Barbara, we thought we’d share with you some tips about the wrong, and right, ways to walk. Did you know there even was a proper walking technique? Watch and learn, grasshopper; watch and learn:
Once you’ve practiced
* swinging your arms in opposition
* bending at the ankle
* keeping upright at the waist and hips with good posture
you’ll be so good you can even Walk This Way:
When there are changes in the nervous system (spinal cord, brain, neurons, nerves, etc.) and circulatory system (heart, veins & arteries deliver blood to body’s tissues), this can cause a drop in the amount of blood getting to the brain. This decrease leads to Ka-Thunk – loss of consciousness. We discussed this right here and here.
* Anemia is having a lower than normal red blood cell count. Why does this matter? Because a low count means decreased oxygen to the brain. And lots of university students are iron-deficient, which is strongly correlated to anemia. Lots of females with heavy periods are prone to anemia too.
* Eating disorders wreak havoc on the body, so it’s no surprise that fainting is a result.
* Pregnancy is fairly uncommon, but not unknown to this age group. Besides changes to the circulatory system and dehydration, those dang fetuses can sit right on top of the blood vessels and SQUEEZE, there goes the brain’s blood supply.
* Stress affects the nervous system, and not in a good way. Blood pressure goes LOW, LOW, LOW when you get under stress. This is rare for university students, as they never, ever worry about finals, papers, social issues, money, grades; that kind of stuff!
* Drugs do not mix well with exercise, including some prescription meds. Actually, if you’re misusing or abusing drugs, fainting is probably the least of your health worries!
* Medical issues, such as cardiac (heart) problems, seizures, or certain types of migraines are a big deal. If you’re fainting a lot or for longer than a minute, get checked out!
* Hyperventilation (fast breathing) causes carbon dioxide (CO2) to decrease in the blood. Combine exercise with an anxiety/panic attack, and you see the problem!
* Overexercising pisses off your histamine receptors, and they get so upset that they overact.
* One of the most common reasons students faint is dehydration. Drink more fluids, especially water, and eat properly before your workout. Sadly, this is so easy to prevent, yet accounts for most of the fainting. Does this sound like you? If so, get a water bottle. Use it!
* Another frequent reason for passing out in class is becoming overheated. This goes along with getting dehydrated, so after you get your water bottle, stand by the fan, A/C unit or the open door.
And now we come to the reason that I suspect there’s an epidemic of fainting this particular quarter – too many people in the room. More students are showing up to class, which means they are all getting hotter, sooner. Considering the fact that students are not fainting in the early morning classes, but are dropping with alarming consistency in the mid-day slots, my guess is a reasonable one. Now I just have to figure out if it’s better to have fewer students (it’s hard to say no to all those eager undergrads) or require them to bring personal spritzers! Or ask them to be absent more often!
Bonus word: Syncope – This is the medical term for “fainting after exercise.” Pre-syncope is when you have signs that you’re about to faint, but manage to recover before fainting occurs. Not to be confused with “syncopate,” which is to place musical accents on the normally unaccented beats, or to shorten a word such as “Sequim” to “Squim.” (Anyone from the Pacific Northwest knows this one!)
Photo credits: Creative Commons
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Alexandra: By now you might all know that I am into the organic, meet the farmer, grow your own, bake and cook from scratch, you are what you eat thing. So the drinks we tried reflect that. Organic, sustainable, farmer-friendly, with a percentage of proceeds donated to relevant causes.
Kymberly: (For the record, Alexandra already was silly before we started the drinkathon.) As for the Runa, I drank it straight–no sugar, no honey, no accompanying crumpets–and found it perfect for a hot, energizing start to a demanding, rainy day. Runa Guayusa is a cultural, communal drink from the Amazon that has less caffeine than coffee and more than black tea. Normally that spells “JitterBug Alert” for me, but I actually found myself concentrating better. Runa means “fully living human beings” so live it up and support small farmers from Ecuador in the process.
I was so happy to enjoy my first taste test foray that I plunged straight into the next round of bevvies: Happy Planet Health Shots. What was I thinking by not reading the label first? The Energy+ All Natural Body and Mind Fuel shot has Yerba Mate, a stimulant. Beam me down, Shotty! I had so much energy I had to warn my advanced Step class to step back or else. I have to admit, the taste was rather medicinal so I will not be returning to that flavor, though I did bask in the “Glow All Natural Beauty Drink.” Come on, I have to like something where the label promises “to add to my overall hotness” and skin nutrition. No sugar added. Perfect to pack into a gym bag for after your workout.
Cute guys Some people think identical twins are 100% identical (oh, we have fun with that), but it’s not true. Kymberly and I differed quite a bit in our drink preferences of Jarrow’s PRE Probiotic Enhancer. That means “a fruity beverage that stimulates the growth of probiotics.” Yes, we did try every single flavor (we’re just that thorough). I preferred the organic 50-calorie per serving (be aware–two servings per bottle) flavors to the stevia-sweetened 10 calorie versions. My favorite was Pomegranate White Tea (Kymberly’s least favorite), though I was not as enthralled with the Passion Orange Guava, one of her faves. My 14-year old asked us to PLEEEEEZE get more of the Pomegranate Blueberry!
K: Swig-a-licious! Who can resist a drink called “PRE Pomegranate Yumberry?” It called to me; I answered. What’s not to like: low cal, good taste, helps my digestive tract, organic, and a percentage of profits goes to charity.
A: To relax myself after all that heavy lifting, I went for one of my favorite drinks – black tea with milk and honey. I discovered PG Tips when I lived in England during the
mesozoic, Victorian, when Jane Austen was alive, disco era, and have been in love ever since. We are holding hands right now. Ah heck, I’m just drinking it here at the computer, hoping the cat doesn’t knock it over…again!
K: As for me, after testing all the flavors of the new drink on the block, PRE Probiotic Enhancer, I really gotta PRE cuz’ they were so yum-Meeee.
Dear Readers: Thirsting for another review on the latest health drinks? Check out Healthy Beverages from Expo 2011. If you want to get back to basics, we always suggest drinking in our post, “Water: Chilled, Stirred, or Straight From the Pool.”
Photo credits: Creative Commons and the beverage manufacturers’ websites.