Fun and Fit: Q and A with K and A

Archive for April 2010

If you could take a pill that would give you your ideal body, who would still workout, exercise, be active? Why/ Why Not? “Fess up tweeps

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA


Dear Fun and Fit: Kymberly and AIexandra:

Q; I keep hearing that I should change up my routine to avoid muscle memory? How often should I change my workout, and to what extremes? Reps/weights? or completely different exercises?

Tina, Texas


K: Dear Tina: As you are doin’ the Tighten Up in Texas, keep in mind this pithy and wise quote I made up myself: “Keep the mind clear and the body confused.” Always know what, why and how you are performing your resistance exercises.  That’s keeping the mind clear. And change up those resistance training exercises every so often. That’s where the body confusion comes in. Be careful not to mix up the two and wonder what the heck you are doing and why, but gosh, you sure have done it for a long time. That’s akin to saying “gee the food was bad, but at least they had big portions!”

Anyway, we are really talking adaptation and progression here, not muscle memory. You want muscle memory, which allows you to achieve good form and coordination. And you want to constantly push yourself to progress. Once you adapt to a move,  it’s time to vary the exercise in one of many ways.

A: I want some muscle memory. I want to remember what, why and where my muscles are! I had them just a minute ago. I think they got lost behind my Buns of Cinna! Geez, at this point I have a Samwise and pithy quote that I made up, and it’s better than Kymberly’s. It is this “Frodo, Frodo, it’s me – Sam. You have Muscle Alzheimer’s.” I too want to adapt and progress, but I call it something different. I call it “letting my children make it through their teen years by reminding myself it will soon be over, and I can find harmony and joy in their company.” Adapt? Yup. Progress? They’re alive aren’t they? So some days I lift my car keys and purse 15 times as I contemplate running away for 3 years. Other days I lift my car just once, and contemplate hurling it, and myself, over a cliff. Light weights one day, heavy the next.

K: Ummm, so where were we? Basically, adaptation occurs between 1 and 12 weeks– for each new move. Unless you are Alexandra, then it’s a lifelong process. For you, Tinaroo, I would change up about 20-30 percent  of my workout every few weeks. Don’t completely throw out one routine for another all at once. Morph your routine with one, two, or three new approaches each week without getting caught up in exact formulas. If you feel stale with a move, throw out the old Cinnabuns. Couldn’t resist. As for what element to change, that is the fabulosity (made up that word too and proud of it!) of resistance training. You can select to change reps, resistance, modality ( a fancy term that I did not make up that generally means “type”) such as free weights or tubing  instead of a machine for any given exercise.  Change the exercise perhaps: chest press instead of push-ups. Add a balance or instability factor: stand on discs or a BOSU instead of the ground. Change the stabilizing muscles: sit on a ball for tricep extensions instead of standing. Change the pace of each exercise: instead of four counts up and four counts down on a lunge for instance, do two counts down and six counts up. So many ways to vary – the exercise itself, the equipment, the speed, the balance factor, the resistance factor, the range of motion, the order of your routine. Get happy and choose what appeals to you.

A: Forget your troubles, come on get happy, gonna chase all your weight away. Said Hallelujah, come on get happy, get ready for the push-ups day! What appeals to me has nothing to do with working out. It involves curly dark hair and manly t-shirt smell. Really, I just go to the gym and work out so I can sniff the hotties. Oh, and I’m paid.

K: And whoever said to change your routine to avoid muscle memory, needs to read our blog in a big way. You change your routine to avoid lack of progress. Force the body to adapt upwards. Just as I have had to adapt to having a lookalike who lifts car keys for a workout. As you can tell by the fine quality of my advice, I do all the heavy lifting for her.

Trying to do the tighten up? Tina from Texas asks about making progress w/weight training. Look for our advice later today.

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: Kymberly and Alexandra

Q: Why does my clingy, sexy workout wear that I bought ten years ago suddenly look like @@^%@ on me?

Signed, Muffin-top, San Diego, CA

Dear Muffin-Top:

A: The answer lies in your signature. No one looks good in clingy wear with 10 years’ worth of snacks hanging out. You need to put on your baggy sweats and get on a treadmill. Hang your cute workout clothes on a hanger in front of the treadmill for inspiration. Start walking and stop eating those muffins.

K: To put it another way, cut back on the batter that fills those muffin cups! Take a photo of your clingy, sexy workout wear and post it on the refrigerator or above the stove, If you eat out often, wrap the photo around your credit card so you can stay focused when ordering a meal away from home. But frankly, what I would do is buy some new gear that simply hides my muffin top (not saying I have one, mind you!!). After 10 years with the same stuff, you deserve something new, looser, and more figure flattering.

A: Now that I think about it, I believe your muffin-tops are only half the problem. The other reason your clingy stuff looks like (edited for family reasons) “doo-doo” is that it is out of style. All of your stuff from ten years ago is so…2000. As in “Turn of the Century.”


Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: Kymberly and Alexandra:

Q:I want to know the best way for me to determine my fitness level without going to a gym.  What kind of tests or guidelines can I use to test myself? (background – I’m 50 (!), run a horse ranch with my husband, have daily exercise, but not a set routine or cardio).

Dana, Santa Ynez, CA

Dear Dana:

K: I’ll meet your question and raise you one. What do you want to do with the information you get from a fitness test? For instance, you could ask “how do I know if I am fit enough to keep these hossies of mine in good condition and still have energy to plow the fields, till the land, and ride off into the sunset?” Then your fitness level is defined by your ability to function and continue doing the activities you love. This kind of fitness is called “functional” or “real life fitness.” Well, I call it “real life fitness” anyway and I think my sis will back me up on any terms I make up. Hey, I went along with her new word “plumpers” back on the posting “Perky or Saggy: Push-Ups or Push Up Bra.”

For determining your functional fitness level, you have an easy job. Can you do the ranch work and other daily activities with relative ease, comfort and range of motion without getting exhausted or injured at the end of the day? And can you keep doing that until you or your horses head out to pasture? Easy, shmeasy to measure, so I hope you go for that definition of fitness.

Your question might also be coming from the perspective of “how do I measure percent of body fat, lean muscle mass, flexibility, and endurance without actually taking those tests, which are the standards for defining and measuring fitness?” That question is a horse of a different color entirely. Oh, two points to me for getting that in! I have to cut to Alexandra for a moment while I contain (or applaud) myself.

A: I have to say that Kymberly is not containing herself at all; she is just horsing around! Oh, neigh it ain’t so! For all those measurement tests Kymberly mentions, you will need to go to a qualified personal trainer. Since you are a horse rancher, not a gym rat, get the trainer to come to you. You can find one in your area at acefitness.org/findanacepro/default.aspx. But…since you say you want to test yourself, go in your closet and try on all the stuff you haven’t worn in a year. If it fits, you know you are the same size.

Next, count how many push-ups you can do with good form. Make a record. Count your push-ups again in 3 months. Compare the numbers. Burst out in tears of joy. Same with lunges or squats. Gotta say, in all my years, it’s rare to see someone perform a lunge, squat or push-up with good form right out the gate (oooh, another horse reference). So we are back to that personal trainer idea.

Since you need at least one good chuckle from this blog, I’d say ask your husband to check you out first thing in the morning before you get dressed. If he says you look hot and exactly like you did at 30, you are fit. And he gets points for dodging that set-up. If he says you don’t look quite the same, throw a horse at him. If you can do this, you are fit enough!

Q from K and A to our readers: Who else wonders whether you are “fit enough?” And fit enough for what? Do tell.

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: Kymberly and Alexandra:

Q: I need to get in shape, lose 20 lbs, and look even BETTER than I already do. 🙂  I have two young children, a 5-year-old boy and 1-year-old girl. I want to include them, but quite honestly, playing/exercising at their speed does not provide enough cardio.  I have always been an avid, competitive soccer player, but last May I tore my meniscus and had to quit my league. The surgery was successful, but I still don’t have my confidence back and I don’t want to be tentative and get injured again… Between work, family, music and other pressures of life, I just can’t seem to find the time or energy. I know that once I start some type of program, the floodgates will open and it will be much easier. Recommendations?

Brian of Burbank. CA

Dear Brian:

A: Here’s how to jump start your efforts. Ditch the wife and kids right after breakfast on Saturday, play pick-up soccer all day (forget the competitive league stuff unless you’re the coach, in which case your exercise will be pacing the sidelines and yelling friendly, encouraging comments) then return home after a brewski with the team. In case your wife notices that this plan is all “jumpy starty” in your favor – hers, not so much – go to Plan B….

Plan B: you look in the mirror and notice that “looking better than you already do” will never happen. Didn’t you notice – You have kids…for many years to come. You will never look hot, young, or refreshed again. Wait, I have kids and I look way better than ever. Use my trick – sunglasses and lipstick. Or…make a date with the wife for a nice walk several times a week. Do you have someone who will watch the kids for a half hour or so? Paying a sitter is waaaaay cheaper than a gym membership. And you will get some “us” time away from the kidlets. If you can’t do that, can you at least walk during lunch? I know, I know, you work through lunch half the time, right? But what about the other half? Hello Floodgates.

K: Geez, Alexandra is so depressing. Brian, you can look better than you do now because I am assuming you are giving off the tired, lethargic, and stressed look this year. Youthful hotness lies ahead! You mention having tried to use play time with your wee ones as exercise time so let’s focus on transforming that time, rather than trying to carve out minutes elsewhere. Would your daughter enjoy racing in a stroller while you sing and talk to her? If you can leave your older child with your wife for half an hour (giving her a break from double duty), and strap in the baby for a joy ride, then she is going at your pace, which had better be a jaunty one! If your current stroller cannot accommodate speed racing, then either get a baby jogger oooorrrrr get a sturdy baby backpack and take her for a power walk. I can guarantee you will get the intensity and heart rate you are looking for if you step lively with a 20 pound wiggly weight on your back. Then when you get back in the door after this sweat-inducing 30-minute cardio workout, get your son to sit on your upper back while you knock out push-ups until fatigue. If fatigue sets in at the first push-up then switch out the big boy for the little girl and get your pump on!

A: I could recommend waking an hour earlier for a walk or run, but that doesn’t sound fun AT ALL. Save all your work phone calls till lunch and answer them while you walk. Then you will mentally feel like you aren’t “skipping out” on your work duties. Schedule your walk or run into your calendar so it seems like it’s important. If it’s in the calendar, it will happen! Good luck. Or park your car a mile from work. Just the walk to and from the office counts as exercise.

K: My last suggestion: join a gym that offers day care while you AND your wife work out. Benies galore such as time to work out as intensely as you want; a chance to do something healthy with your wife; and a time for both of you to turn the little ones over to pro care and focus on you, you, you. And just for the record, those sunglasses Alexandra is looking out of are obviously rose-tinted shades. Advice to twinnie: get up that hour earlier you so nicely recommended and add more lipstick… and maybe a low brimmed hat… and soft focus lighting.

A: I got your soft focus right here.




Q: Dear Fun and Fit: Kymberly and Alexandra: I live in Kuwait where exercising outdoors is practically impossible and I struggle to use my indoor treadmil, WII Fit and eliptical exerciser on a regular basis. It’s boring. If I lose weight (probably 20 – 30 lbs is required), will my boobs be flat bags of skin clinging to my ribcage?? I would rather be plump with nice skin tone than skinny with saggy skin!

Stacey, Kuwait


Kymberly: Oh, Stacey, I could kiss your plump and nicely toned cheek for giving us a saggy boobs question for our first blog!Think of all the hits we’ll get when people type in the key word “boobs.” Yes, We will become the porn fitness leaders of the internet world instead of the highly respected pros we thought we once were. Alexandra, you had better handle this one as you are the one with the smaller (secret code for “deflated”) boobs. That’s what you get for losing all that weight yourself, Miss “I am now so trim and everyone thinks I am your younger sister, not twin.”

Alexandra: If your boobs (let’s call them “plumpers”) are saggy and clinging to your ribcage, who cares about your skin? You’ve got bigger problems. And how much of that extra 20-30 pounds can you realistically blame on the saggers? I’d go for 10 pounds. So you only have another 10-20 to go! You are part way to your goal already. Do you like push-ups? Sure, you do. Every woman I’ve ever met loves them (Ahahaaaaaaa). But if you can get some muscle tone going under all that sag, you’ll look perky and youthful.

But what if you don’t like push ups?. Here’s what you do – lie on your back on a mat or bench or even your bed (if it’s an extra-firm mattress). Do you have some weights? You are not off the hook if you don’t. Just grab a few bags of beans or cans of sauce from your cabinet – they can be your weights. I’ll let Kymberly describe your chest press form while I go check the mirror to assess my perky youthful qualities!

Kymberly: Good try foisting the chest press description on me. I want to emphasize the push-up option. Alexandra is so right that the secret to retaining firm frontage while working on weight loss (a separate question addressed in future blogs) is to build up the musculature underneath. Push-ups are free, available everywhere, easy to pack, and the perfect option for lift and anti-sag. As your pec (chest) muscles strengthen underneath the breast tissue, you will have the internal support to get the look and lift you want. Push-ups also strengthen the mid and upper back muscles, which will assist in holding you erect. Another KEY component to keeping the girls (also now known as your “plumpers”) up while bringing the weight down is posture. Standing tall, proud, and extended instead of rounded or even slightly hunched is like losing five pounds visually in a nano-second. Now when we recommend push-ups, we suggest you start with your hands and knees on the floor and aim for ten push-ups, three to five times a week for a couple of weeks. From there, strive to whip out (no, not the plumpers, you rascal) fifteen push-ups. Once you are comfortable with fifteen knee push-ups, try five on your hands and toes and ten more on your hands and knees. The goal is to work up to about twenty toe push-ups every other day. Give yourself two months or so to get to that goal. Not only will you see a positive difference in your cleavage, but also you will be on your way to weight loss and some pretty nice arms and posture. Locked and loaded!

Alexandra: What? Is that a math problem? If 5 push-ups are travelling toward 10 trains, at what speed will you crash on the carpet? Get a good bra and take a nap. Nah, get to work. Put a nice bowl of water on the floor and take a slurp each time you drop down on the push-ups. Not only will you know you dropped far enough down, but all that liquid will help your skin get ever so plumpy!


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