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15

Get Fab 6-pack Abs: Part 2

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: What’s the fastest way to get a 6-pack?
Michael

When a 6-Pack Just Ain't Enough

Kymberly: The absolute fastest way is to acquire a 6-pack is to find a nice photo and paste it onto your mid-section. Or do some serious airbrushing. Or go to the grocery store and pick up a 6-pack of sodas. Can we go with a medium speed?: Reduce overall body fat through healthy eating habits and cardio workouts, while engaging in abs and resistance training.

The professional in me has to nag a moment and say, “are you sure your goal is just to gain the look of a defined 6-pack? Are you sure you don’t also want to gain core strength, have great movement ability and function, minimize back pain, improve posture and performance?” Cuz’ training all the abs will get you to all those Fab-u-licious Ab-u-licious goals.

But if your primary, super duper, “it’s on my holiday list” wish is to make “The Situation” envious and your torso more defined than a dictionary, then you have to focus on the rectus abdominis. That means stoopid crunches and some other, better moves too, such as seated rotational crunches with a medicine ball DONE PROPERLY and vertical toe touches. And just so you can tell everyone that we deliver more than we promise (and we promise bupkus except to give good advice), try the standing wood chop since you already had to go get a medicine ball.

Alexandra: Hoi, some of those “better” moves need to include getting rid of the Budweiser tumor sitting on top of your 6-pack (secret code for “zap the belly fat”). As my mom always said, “No pudding pop on top.” Okay, she didn’t say that; I made it up. She really said, “If you’re bored, go outside and play.” Which leads to my advice – go outside (or in – gyms are nice) and play. Lose the belly fat and set your inner 6’er freeeeeee!

K: Yes, you can have the most gorgeous abs in the world, but if they are hidden under a layer of fat, you are depriving the world of their view. Or you are really stashing a 12-pack. Either way, the only way you will see your 6-pack is if your body fat is low, low, low. So hit the cardio-o-o. And mix in strength training for all major muscles. Does this advice look familiar? I think so, so, so. Now go rip it up, young master!

Readers: What is your favorite ab exercise that actually helped you reach your goal? Were you relying on those crunches, not knowing better moves existed?

Credit goes to the American Council on Exercise for providing the motion exercises / images. Check out their exercise library at ACE Fitness

6-Pack Abs Photo Credit: Photobucket.com


9

TV Tells Us to “Get Off Our Keesters”

Kymberly Williams-Evans,MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: We’d like to pose our own question this week. Yours remotely, Fun and Fit, USA

Alexandra: Can watching TV make you more fit? Watch and learn, grasshopper. Watch and learn.

Watching You Watching Me

Or don’t, because watching TV really can’t do a thing for your hops, jumps or skips. But there sure are a lot of interesting show titles that almost make you want to get off your keester and kick some booty!

Too Much TV = Too Much Keester

Kymberly was left unsupervised with the remote control, and look what happened!

Kymberly: TV is sending us healthy messages, which we at Fun and Fit have decoded for you. TV show titles are  bold, just like us.

Are you 30 Pounds Overweight, want to Relieve Joint Aches or get rid of your Underbelly? You cry out that you want to Lose Inches Off Your Body, though not 300 because you feel Size Matters?! Yes, manly men, you can go from Two and A Half Men (when you should be just one) to Iron Man; from being Easy Prey and The Walking Dead to The Brave One or The Incredible Hulk. Women-personages, time to Stop Your Anxiety and become a DIY Dominator at any age — whether you’re in the Wonder Years, the Girls Gone Wild crowd, or one of The Golden Girls.

What is the The Law of Success? Do you ask yourself “How do I Run My Renovation and Sleep in Comfort?” Stay tuned for the answers next season.

A: Actually, the truth is that I whacked myself in the head today because I forgot to pay attention to the basics of car door-shutting mechanics, so am giving the heavy lifting of this post over to you, dear readers. Here are some more honest-to-gawd, dang me if these aren’t actual titles of TV shows. Your mission, if you decided to accept it, is to make up funny descriptions to go with the titles. No fair using the actual descriptions; yours will be more interesting anyway! Have at it. Once I’ve recovered from my bloody head pity party, we’ll read your comments and laugh ourselves silly. Oh, wait, we already are silly. So, we’ll laugh ourselves into Fits!

1962 TV Set

Healing Foods
Back Pain Solved
Shop Erotic
Anti-Aging Secrets
Best Bra Ever
Carve Abs in Bed
Zumba Dance
The Karate Kid
How to Train Your Dragon
Sports Country
Outrageous Foods
Drink Up
Rise of a Warrior
I Survived
Cardio Fitness
Whacked Out Sports

Forget TV - Beat Up Your Brother Instead

Photo credits: Creative Commons

11

Fitness Fact or Fiction – Aaahh, Freak Out!

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

QUIZ TIME! How well do you know your Fitness Facts? Yes, it’s time to get your freak on with Fun and Fit, who examine the DARK side of activity this time around. At least one of the following Freak Out Fitness Facts is in fact, not a fact. Sadly, some of them are true. Can you pick out the fiction?

1) Adults and children spend an average of 70% of their awake time sitting (driving, eating, watching tv, reading, working at a computer, playing video games).

2) Kymberly is sitting now, being sedentary and adding to the dismal stats about sitting and butt parking. Oh, Meow!

3) The average woman adds 10 pounds of fat every decade.

4) Our readers are not average and therefore are bucking the fat gain stats.

5) Sedentary jobs have increased 83% since 1950; Physically active jobs now make up only about 25% of our workforce. That is 50% less than 1950.

6) Alexandra is way more fit than Kymberly.

Alexandra doing a back bend

Kymberly almost worked out

7) Eighty percent of midlife women (age 40 to 60) have one or more heart disease risk factors.

You better have said “number 6.” Or else……

Let’s end our time together today boys and girls with a few Fun Fit Facts….or Fiction???!! Can you pick out the Fun Fit Facts that do not belong?

1) Just five minutes of “green exercise” – cycling, gardening, fishing, or other outdoor activities – can enhance your mood and self esteem.

2) Exercise can improve your brainpower .

3) Fun and Fit are brainiacs beyond belief, partly because they work out regularly.

4) Studies show that for every hour of walking, life expectancy may increase by two hours.

What the heck??!! Did you think number 3 was the fiction? No way; that is solid fact. In fact, all of the Fun Fit Facts are TRUE. Motivated yet to at least go take a walk? 

Now, where did I put my high-heeled exercise shoes & fitness mini?

Photo Credits: Creative Commons & Photobucket

10

Eating Pre- and Post-Workout

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

Dear Fun and Fit: What should we eat before and after a workout? (there are loads of different stories about it).

Hanna, Mooncoin, Ireland

What’s the best thing to consume BEFORE a workout? And how long should you wait after eating before hitting the gym for maximum performance and gain?

Mary, Holland, Michigan

A: Hanna and Mary, have you two met? Similar question – different countries. Destined to meet and eat. Before and after a workout you should eat…wait for it…food. Healthful food. Stand back, experts at work. Dare I say carbohydrates and protein? In an excellent article, Jenna Bell-Wilson, PhD, RD, LD (this all means she’s an official expert) gives more complete details, but here are some carb/protein combo nuggets of info for you (no chickens were harmed in the making of our nuggets):

whole-grain toast and peanut butter
orange and cottage cheese
yogurt and granola
nuts and apple
hard-boiled egg and wheat bagel
chicken breast (still not a nugget) and rice
string cheese and pretzels

If you are looking for the donut and coffee combo, I’ll just tell you now, it ain’t going to happen. We would never recommend such a combo (although a certain twin who is NOT Alexandra would consider consuming it.

K: Hold on. I don’t drink coffee. Gee, what kind of aspersions are you casting about, twin who is NOT mine. As for the aspect of timing your food and workouts, the best answer is to listen to your own body. Mine tells me to skip the coffee and donuts – so there! – but to eat for sure. In fact, I am one of those hearty sorts who can exercise intensely five minutes after eating, no prob.  In general, though, time your workouts according to your meal size. If you eat a large meal — of carbs and protein — wait two to four hours before intensely exercising. If you want to work out sooner after you eat, then chow down on a smaller meal and wait about an hour or two. The Mayo Clinic further suggests that you eat protein and carbs within two hours post-workout.

But you know what? I live in the practical, real world. If I want to work out in the morning, I for sure want to eat brekkie first. But I am not going to wait until midday – three or four hours post brekkie – to get a’ goin’. Nor am I going to wake up at “too early stupid o’clock” to eat at 4:10am to be able to catch an 8:00am class. Remember the big picture: eat when you are hungry; be active as much as you can; focus on carbs and protein pre- and post-workout. Ta da!

A: Here’s what I always tell my students at the U–the closer it is to the ground, the better it is for you. The best workout food is grown, not processed into a foodlike substance (as Michael Pollan calls it).

So this: yes

And this: no

K: Dear regular fit people (not high-level, competitive athletes):  in case you are busy timing and planning your food and exercise, let me sum up the relevant portion of the article my sis recommended. “…consume a balanced snack 2–3 hours prior to exercise and … consume a carbohydrate- and protein-containing snack or meal following the session to help (you) advance (your) workout, enhance (your) glycogen stores and recover successfully.”
Please pass the box of chocolates.

Readers: What are your hot tips on what and when to eat relative to your workouts. And don’t tell us anything boring or we’ll drown our boredom in a donut.

Photo credits: Creative Common

9

Animal Desire

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

We often get asked whether our pets are as fit as we are. Maybe… How are you defining “fit?” So in a departure from our usual format, we focus our experienced laser beam on the pet world this week. In fairness to our exercising animal companions, Fun and Fit present SOLID, DOCUMENTED proof that animals love to move and be active. One thing we learned, they enjoy yoga moves and incorporate them into their daily regimen. Let’s take our example from our fab felines and caring canines. They consistently exercise and reap the benefits that intense workouts bring.

Caturanga Pose
What can we say. Bella has reached nirvana as she salutes the sun and welcomes the asanas ahead. So active; so devoted; so inspiring!

Bella mastering the look and feel of the Caturanga asana

Down Dog
Chloe loves her yoga practice and is getting really good. She was able to hold this pose for half an hour.

Great extension from Chloe practicing the Down Dog for her yoga class

Up Dog
To novices this may look a lot like the Down Dog pose, but yoginis and discerning readers can see that Chloe has elevated herself to the “up” level of enlightenment.

Chloe wants to finish strong with the Up Dog pose

Puss-in-BootCamp Pose
Carrot is getting ready to rock it at Puss-in-BootCamp. Just thinking about the exciting workout ahead gets her super fired up!

Carrot prepping for Puss-in-BootCamp

Catboxing Workout
After an intense hour of kicking, biting, scratching, and clawing his way through his CatBoxing class, Zorro is ready to check his heart rate. He knows he put it all out on the exercise floor.

Zorro takes a quick break from his CatBoxing class

Max Tracks with TRX

Max knows how to throw his body weight around when he suits up for his TRX workout. Long tail for balance; great alignment and focus; sleek workout gear. He knows what it takes to reach his resistance training goals.

Max Tracks TRX

So there you have it: the motivation and inspiration you need to get your tail a’ waggin’ and your fur all fluffed. Now get out there and have some workout fun people!

Legal disclaimer and nod to pet lover advocates: No animals were exercised in the making of this post.

Readers: What exercises and workout classes do your pets love? If you’re going to claim it, better prove it! Oh Meow!

From reader Kathleen: See her comment below. Admire her cat, Bailey right here!

Bailey doing spider curl-ups.

Bailey getting ready for her whirlpool bath.

4

Go Ahead. Motivate My Day!

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: I am relatively healthy, but over the years I’ve developed arthritis and diabetes…. I have meds that have added to my weight gain…. Although I have access to a gym, I don’t have workout clothes. As someone with chronic pain, any suggestions on how to motivate myself to exercise?

Liz, Alexandria, VA

A: I’d say you motivate yourself the same way as those who aren’t in pain – by yelling, guilt, comparison with others, negative self-talk and a serious taunting of your mirror! Oh, wait (hits brakes and skids into ditch), those are actually found to NOT be motivating. Oh, that’s very different. Never mind.

1. Go with friends.

2. Wear comfortable clothing (doesn’t have to be “workout” clothes), but not ugly, baggy stuff that makes you feel frumpy.

3. Research has shown that arthritis pain is ameliorated by exercise.

4. Some interesting news just came out a few weeks ago showing that diabetes can be reduced or even reversed in combination with a good diet.

5. Only do a few minutes at a time. You will be miserable and unsuccessful if you try too much.

6. If your club offers a free intro session with a personal trainer, take it. Make sure it’s someone with knowledge of medical issues. A good trainer will be encouraging and give realistic, achievable goals.

Kymberly: I am pretty sure Alexandra was talking about her parenting techniques in that first part. Finally she can put her Master’s Degree in Counseling to some use besides making us all crazeeeee!. More to the point, I want to add a few points:

1) Wear whatever will get you to the gym. Except the MC Hammer pants. So last decade or two. Believe me, everyone else is too busy with their own workout and body image to worry about what you are wearing….unless you are not wearing anything. Guaranteed attention getter. For more on this plus a laugh or two, check out our post from waaaaaay back when we were the same age and weight as now: Do Sexy Clothes Make The Workout.

2) Ask yourself: “What is the LEAST amount of exercise I can do today and still feel I made some progress and did not aggravate my pain?” Whatever the answer is–5 minutes, 12 minutes, 49 seconds–commit to this least amount and revel in accomplishing it. Keep asking this question every day. Lo and behold, you will find the minutes adding up, the guilt and overloaded feeling going down, your pain levels dropping, and your gym fees worthwhile. But not going up. One hopes….

Photo credits: Photobucket

Dear Readers: What skills do you draw upon to motivate yourself to be active? What is your favorite motivational quote?

12

Spin, Rinse, No Wash Out Cycle

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

Dear Fun and Fit: I want to amp up my old ass metabolism. I spin 3x a week for an hour. Would it be better for me to go every day and do cardio for a half hour instead? I have been spinning for years. Doing an hour is easy for me heart wise, but still tires out my legs. Molly,  Dayton, OH

Alexandra: The very short answer – 30 minutes 5-6 days  a week, but push the intensity a bit – in little bursts. And you need weight training to kick-start the donkey pulling your metabolism. Your mission is to read No Hulk, No Bulk.

Kymberly: Two words for you Good Golly Maxed Out Molly: Interval Training. Ok, two more since I am feeling generous: Routine Variation. You are spinning… your wheels. Any activity, no matter how great, is going to offer diminishing returns if you do the same thing week in, week out. Wait, are we talking about my investments all of a sudden? Change up girl. Is there another cardio activity you can switch out for one spinning workout? You want to force the muscles (the heart being one) to constantly adapt upward which occurs when you have something new going on. New workout gear does not count.

Regardless whether you are spinning, cycling, rinsing, washing, running, treading, stepping — pick cardio activities and classes you enjoy — you can implement Interval Training to boot your booty into the spin-o-sphere. In short, alternate 3-10 minutes of your regular pace with 1-2 minutes or so of a high intensity, all out, “if my mom could see me now,”  “balls dolls to the wall” burst. And we have eyes in the back of our heads so don’t think this means suddenly cruising at low intensity for the “recovery” or “regular” part of the ride.  Start with the pace you usually handle, and try to go right back to that pace after each interval burst.

A: If you follow our advice, your “old-ass metabolism” will be so energized that you’ll be able to do this:



Dear Cyclists and Old-Asses: Have you had a fitness routine that left you feeling like you were spinning your wheels? What did you change up to re-kick start yourself?

Photo credits: Photobucket.com

1

Pregnant, Physically Phit, and Powerful

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: My wife is incredibly active, and pregnant. She is strong and not the type to consider a walk exercise but the doctor’s advice has been too generic.  “Don’t do more than you can handle” type of answers. What are the best activities for her, activities that are still challenging? She’s at the end of her 1st trimester; has been running, biking, and swimming. She used to do Triathlons. Didn’t do one this weekend because she’s been zapped of energy lately.

Jeremy, Goleta, CA

Kymberly: Good thing you came to us, since we were once fetuses AND pregnant moms. Yup, revel in those credentials! And we have some super specific, non-generic, targeted advice honed from years hours minutes of checking with the real experts. Listen to your body. If an exercise feels good, it probably is; if it feels like too much, it probably is. Seriously! Read this article, The Pregnant Athlete and see for yourself. Show your wife when she is not having any kind of hormone surge. The bottom line, or would this be the “middle line?” — is that a woman who is fit and active prior to pregnancy will have a good sense of her body and therefore be the best judge. In general, she could continue with her activities, reducing intensity when her energy is low and changing position or exercise when she feels uncomfortable. The American College Of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Guidelines put the kibosh no-no on just a few activities: downhill skiing, contact sports, and scuba diving. Whew! Looks like triathlons are fair game if she wants. What the heck, looks like parasailing is an option. Basically, medical advice is that common sense takes over as MD (Most Decisive).

Alexandra: When your wife hits the 3rd trimester, she will probably not find the swimming too much fun. Not because of the exertion, but because those pregnant-lady swimsuits are so ugly simply lovely.

If she doesn’t mind looking like she’s sporting her own personal life ring in the pool, then she’s active, strong and deluded courageous! Truly, I’d rather give you advice. No matter what, even if she asks and looks oh-so-innocent, you are to say, “You look absolutely fabulous,” as the answer to any question that is even remotely worded like this – “Do you think I look big/huge/large/different/unappealing/unattractive?”!!! And look be sincere!

K: When I was pregnant and teaching 8 group fitness classes a week, the activities I found “best” yet still challenging were buying cute outfits that were gender neutral; holding myself back from snapping at my husband for good no reason; and avoiding hot tubs. No, no, not because the heat was too high for the developing baby, but because I kept displacing too much water.

Physically phit moms: When you were pregnant, what did “active” mean to you? And what did you do with your maternity swimsuit?

Photo credits: Creative Commons