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Who Inspires You to Live a Fit and Healthy Life?

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

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

Alexandra at 25, living in Berlin

Alexandra at 25, living in Berlin

Alexandra Sticks Close to Home by Traveling to Europe

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

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


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

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

Two buff twins hanging out in Berlin in 1983

Two buff twins hanging out in Berlin in 1983

Rocking the 80s Fitness Fashion and Moves!

Rocking the 80s Fitness Fashion and Moves!

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

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

Kymberly Gets Some Mom-Spiration

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

Mom and Zann in Thailand

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

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

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

Kymberly, Alexandra, and mom in Thailand

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

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

Hermosa Beach sign

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

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

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

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

IDEA theme sign - Inspire the World

Who Inspires You?

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





Who inspires you to live #FitClean?

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

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About Fun and Fit

Get practical exercise advice, your fitness questions answered, and cutting edge health edu-tainment that is accessible and doable from long time fitness experts, Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA. We have taught on land, sea, and airwaves for 3 decades on 4 continents. From writing to speaking, emceeing to hosting a radio show, reviewing products to teaching classes, we believe that little steps turn into big paths. Move a little more than the day before. FitFluential Ambassadors and award-winners both online and off.

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12 Responses to Who Inspires You to Live a Fit and Healthy Life?

  1. Alison December 2, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    Love this post! My grandma was my inspiration-rollerblading at 70!
    Alison recently posted..Energizing JuiceMy Profile

  2. Jody - Fit at 56 December 2, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    It all makes sense now!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!! I see how you got started & what an amazing family! You guys have surely lived!!!! WONDERFUL!!!

    Although we ate bad in my home as a kid, my parents were still progressive in oh so many ways so I did do a lot of activities & sports – I would have been way overweight rather than just “overweight”. ;)

    I had to decide myself to lose weight in high school for superficial reasons & then I just kept pushing myself. It was a guy in the gym in my 30’s that really pushed me to the next level in weights & will always be thankful for him even though he disappeared & I could never track him down after that….
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted..Gratitude Monday & Holiday GratitudeMy Profile

  3. Haralee December 2, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    Your Mom did a great job. She is inspirational!
    Haralee recently posted..WelcomeMy Profile

  4. Debbie @ Live from La Quinta December 2, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    I loved reading about your fitness inspiration! So much fun to learn about what leads people toward their life.

    My mom inspired me in many ways. Though fitness wasn’t her thing when she was young she discovered Jazzercise in her 60s and never looked back. I think we actually inspired each other to fitness since I had just started to look toward a fit life myself.
    Debbie @ Live from La Quinta recently posted..Wow! What a Weekend!My Profile

  5. Gretchen December 3, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    Thank you! This was very inspiring. Gretchen
    Gretchen recently posted..Be Inspired to Age Actively: Deborah Szekely at 91My Profile

  6. Kathy @ SMART Living December 7, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    Thanks Kymberly for your great story about your mom. She was CLEARLY inspiration for you but her story should inspire us all! And Alexandra, you are so right about how one simple decision can create your entire future–so let’s all be paying attention to our choices. ~Kathy
    Kathy @ SMART Living recently posted..10 Simple Ways to Create A Happy Minimalist HolidayMy Profile

  7. Pat December 8, 2013 at 5:20 am #

    Great post! Your mom is inspirational and I am so glad that she believed in fitness for all even back in the day pre Title IX when vigorous exercise was considered dangerous for fear it could cause women to collapse.
    Pat recently posted..Hug a Coach Day – Celebrating Our MentorsMy Profile

  8. Frederick December 13, 2013 at 7:50 am #

    I have a friend who is a cancer and kidney failure survivor. Before he was very thin and we usually call him bones. But now, he is a macho man! I never thought that he would become a muscular man at a very young age. He became my inspiration so that I would also do the same. Thanks!
    Frederick recently posted..Fasting for Blood Work FAQsMy Profile

  9. Craig W. December 15, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your story…and no, you were not two buff twins back then. You looked quite nice!
    Craig W. recently posted..7 Principles To Maintain Your Workout MotivationMy Profile

  10. Sharon Greenthal January 21, 2014 at 8:41 pm #

    Hey, I went to SDSU also – I bet we were there at the same time!

    It’s so great that your inspirations are each other and your mom – clearly your family is close, supportive and healthy!
    Sharon Greenthal recently posted..Not Your Ordinary Single White FemaleMy Profile

  11. virginia sullivan January 21, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

    What a wonderful tribute to your Mom. I am anxious to see what we will look like when we get older and how we will keep going until our 90s. I’m loved your comment about the sweets- it’s good to know that we all deserve something a little sweet in the end. Virginia- FirstClassWoman
    virginia sullivan recently posted..Making the Steps Small EnoughMy Profile


  1. Healthy Living and Healthy Inspiration Series – #1 | Evelyn Parham - December 17, 2013

    […] about healthy aging for boom chicka boomers.  Alexandra and Kymberly asked a question, “Who Inspires You to Live a Fit and Healthy Life?”  This article inspired me to move, because after learning about how their mother was the […]

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