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Sunday, February 28, 2016

No Pain, No Gain: Is Pain Necessary for Results?

When you hear “pain” and “exercise” in the same sentence, you probably think one of two things: “Heck, no!” or “Bring it on!” What comes to my mind? A bodybuilder grunting while heaving plates that are way too heavy or a runner wheezing on a treadmill set way out of their comfort zone. To be quite honest, I cringe when I hear that pain is required for exercise to be effective. Why in the world would I want to inflict pain on myself, especially when I enjoy exercise? Maybe you can relate.
This is an important topic for us to tackle because there are a lot of mixed messages about what it takes to see results from exercise. What really are the facts regarding exercise intensity?
“Good” Pain versus “Bad” Pain
While some level of discomfort can indicate exercise intensity, pain doesn’t always mean gain, and here’s why. Let me start by clarifying a very important difference between “good” and “bad” exercise pain.
“Good” pain is the slight muscle soreness in areas that you targeted during your previous workout. This discomfort likely means that your body is being challenged. This is a very positive feeling because exercise shouldn’t really be comfortable if you expect results. For exercise to be impactful — that is, to create a healthier heart and improve body composition — it should be challenging.
On the other hand, “bad” pain means that you’re hurting your body instead of helping it. Examples of bad pain include a pulled muscle, achy joints or pain that increases over time. Check out The Difference Between “Good” and “Bad” Pain During Exercise to learn more. As a beginner to exercise, it may be hard to tell the difference, so go see a doctor if you regularly experience significant pain while exercising.
What It Takes to Challenge and Change the Body
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following quantity and quality of exercise each week:
  • 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise and at least 2 days of strength training per week or
  • 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise and at least 2 days of strength training per week or
  • An equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity exercise and 2 days of strength training per week.
You may be sweating just looking at this list. If you run a tight schedule, you understand how hard it is to juggle time for family, chores, sleep and exercise. Rest assured. Research has found that doing three 10-minute bouts of exercise confers the same benefits as doing one 30-minute session. Be an opportunist with your time, and actively look for small bouts of free time during the day where you can sneak in exercise (e.g. walking your dog, taking a walking meeting, parking really far from the grocery store).
If you’re more time-crunched and can’t sneak in daily exercise, then the quality, or intensity, of your exercise is even more important. Make every minute that you do have to exercise count, and work to reach the moderate- to vigorous-intensity level for the minimum recommended time.
One efficient method for achieving results is through interval training, sometimes referred to as high-intensity interval training. HIIT is characterized by short bouts of vigorous-intensity movements (10 seconds to a couple of minutes) followed by a lower-intensity exercise or rest period. Research has shown that interval training may be more effective at improving cardiovascular fitness and reducing body fat than sustained exercise at a moderate intensity. Therefore, if you are short on time, a quick interval workout could be the best use of your time to really push your body and get the max benefits. Try a treadmill interval workout doing 1 minute of higher speed followed by a 30-second walk. If you are weight training, work hard during your sets, increasing your heart rate. Then, take only 30-second breaks between sets.
How to Figure Out Exercise Intensity
Because everyone is at a different fitness level, an intensity that is hard for you (think: a 5- minute mile pace) may not be for someone else. Instead, use these three simple techniques to gauge your exercise intensity. These tests apply to both cardiovascular and strength training:
1. Heart-Rate Monitoring: By monitoring your number of heartbeats per minute and keeping it within certain ranges, you can easily assess and manipulate your exercise intensity. Wearable heart-rate monitors make this process so easy. Moderate exercise intensity is achieved when your heart rate reaches 64-76% of your max heart rate and vigorous intensity is achieved at 77-95% of your max heart rate. Most wearable devices will figure out these ranges for you when you enter your gender, age, weight and height. For more on how to determine your heart-rate ranges manually, visit the CDC website.
2. Perceived Exertion: This is a test you can do on yourself based on a rating scale of your perceived exertion (aka effort). This is a subjective scale, so it takes a little practice to find your sweet spot in moderate and vigorous intensity. To do this, ask yourself how long you can continue at an intensity. At very light and light intensities, you should be able to continue the activity for a long time and have no problem breathing or talking (think: a leisurely walk). With moderate intensity, you should be able to sustain the activity for a couple of hours if needed and still be able to hold a conversation (think: a brisk walk, gardening, cycling at less than 10 mph). Vigorous activity should challenge your ability to hold a conversation and significantly increase your rate of breathing. You shouldn’t be able to sustain vigorous activity for the same amount of time as moderate intensity (think: running, hiking, swimming, high-intensity strength training). Near-maximal intensity exercise is a very short burst of exertion that usually doesn’t last more than a minute (think: sprinting, one-rep max in weightlifting).
Very light<9
Light intensity9-11
Moderate intensity12-13
Vigorous intensity14-17
Near-maximal intensity>18
3. Talk Test: The simplest of tests you can use to measure intensity is to see how much you can talk while exercising. During moderate exercise, you should be able to talk but not sing. During vigorous intensity, you should only be able to speak a few phrases before pausing to take a breath.
The answer to our big question here is: No, you don’t have to experience actual pain to benefit from exercise, but you should feel challenged. While any exercise is better than no exercise, you can get so much more from a workout by challenging yourself. The key is to push yourself to exertion, but take the time to notice the signs of “bad” pain so you don’t injure yourself.

Jenna Braddock
Jenna Braddock
Jenna Braddock, MSH, RDN, CSSD is a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified specialist in sports nutrition working. She is a mom to two little boys and wife to a football coach. She shares real-life strategies for better health and doable and delicious recipes on her site Make Healthy Easy. She is active on TwitterInstagramFacebook and Pinterest

Thursday, February 25, 2016

4 Fitness Myths You Should Stop Believing Now

Courtesy from Myfitnesspal

There are tons of opinions about the best way to get in shape. How do you know what recommendations you should follow? The advice that resonates with you is the best to heed. If you haven’t found the right path to improve your fitness, here are a few things you may need to read:
1. You don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to stick with an exercise plan.
The reality is that the best time to work out is the time you’ll actually do it! While there are benefits to working out in the morning (one study showed that morning exercisers may sleep better), exercising in the evening can have its benefits, too. Another study revealed that between two groups of cyclists, those who worked out at 6 p.m. had higher power outputs than those who pedaled at 8 a.m.
What’s more important isn’t necessarily the timing but rather the consistency of your workouts.
2. You don’t have to do a ton of cardio to lose weight.
You’ll lose more weight more quickly by doing a combination of aerobics and strength training, not just a ton of cardio. Including resistance training in your plan means your body will have better shape and definition, too. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that among three groups of participants — one group performed only resistance training, one group completed only aerobics and one group did a combo of both — those assigned to aerobic training and aerobics plus resistance training lost more weight than those who did just resistance training.
While most forms of cardiovascular exercise can help you burn calories faster than resistance training, a combo of both can help you get the fastest, longest-lasting results.
3. You don’t have to suffer through your workouts.
Forget the idea that if you aren’t in pain, your workout isn’t effective! That’s ridiculous. I’ve seen too many clients come to me with knee injuries, shoulder issues and back pain because their workouts were too intense for their current fitness level and ability.
If your exercise plan leaves you feeling downright awful afterward, you could be doing more harm than good when it comes to seeing results. If your workout leaves you exhausted, you may burn fewer calories during the rest of your day. Plus, you may be setting yourself up for injury, which could potentially sideline you from all exercise for a while.
Finding the right fit with fitness means discovering movement that motivates and challenges you to the appropriate degree. Some muscle soreness is normal; being unable to walk the next day is not. A workout that is enjoyable and becomes something you look forward to is much easier to stick with over the long term, and this is the key to getting — and keeping — results.
4. You don’t have to look like a fitness model to be healthy, fit and energized.
Don’t let all of those “fitspo” images out there featuring rock-hard abs, chiseled arms and shelf-like buns convince you that if you don’t look like that, you aren’t healthy or in shape. I’ve known many models who looked amazing but were destroying their bodies with unhealthy dieting or obsessive exercising. Now, that’s not to say that having six-pack abs automatically means you aren’t healthy (there are plenty of healthy fitness models out there, too); it just shouldn’t be the standard by which we judge whether someone is “fit” or not.
Need some extra help achieving your goals this year? Check out my “Walk STRONG: 6 Week Total Transformation System.” This all-new, low-impact program has everything you need to succeed, including online support and accountability. Save 20% when you use the exclusive MyFitnessPal promo code “3Z74EZAT” at checkout on Amazon.com.

Tags:  fitness advice fitness myths 
Jessica Smith
Jessica Smith
As someone who struggled to lose weight for years, Jessica found that the key to her own 40-pound weight loss was making small, healthy lifestyle changes that led to big, lasting results. Now, as a certified wellcoach, fitness instructor and personal trainer, she has spent the last 15 years helping students and clients reach their goals in New York City, Los Angeles and Miami. She now reaches millions online through her YouTube Channel and home exercise DVD series. Please visitwalkonwalkstrong.com to learn more about her fun, results-driven programs for all levels of exercisers.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Junk food is tricking your brain: The depressing science behind your binging

Research reveals fats and sweets alter the brain's satiety-control mechanism, sending our appetites into hyperdrive...

Junk food is tricking your brain: The depressing science behind your binging(Credit: AP)

This article was originally published by Scientific American.
Scientific AmericanMatthew Brien has struggled with overeating for the past 20 years. At age 24, he stood at 5′10′′ and weighed a trim 135 pounds. Today the licensed massage therapist tips the scales at 230 pounds and finds it particularly difficult to resist bread, pasta, soda, cookies and ice cream—especially those dense pints stuffed with almonds and chocolate chunks. He has tried various weight-loss programs that limit food portions, but he can never keep it up for long. “It’s almost subconscious,” he says. “Dinner is done? Okay, I am going to have dessert. Maybe someone else can have just two scoops of ice cream, but I am going to have the whole damn [container]. I can’t shut those feelings down.”
Eating for the sake of pleasure, rather than survival, is nothing new. But only in the past several years have researchers come to understand deeply how certain foods—particularly fats and sweets—actually change brain chemistry in a way that drives some people to overconsume.
Scientists have a relatively new name for such cravings: hedonic hunger, a powerful desire for food in the absence of any need for it; the yearning we experience when our stomach is full but our brain is still ravenous. And a growing number of experts now argue that hedonic hunger is one of the primary contributors to surging obesity rates in developed countries worldwide, particularly in the U.S., where scrumptious desserts and mouthwatering junk foods are cheap and plentiful.
“Shifting the focus to pleasure” is a new approach to understanding hunger and weight gain, says Michael Lowe, a clinical psychologist at Drexel University who coined the term “hedonic hunger” in 2007. “A lot of overeating, maybe all of the eating people do beyond their energy needs, is based on consuming some of our most palatable foods. And I think this approach has already had an influence on obesity treatment.” Determining whether an individual’s obesity arises primarily from emotional cravings as opposed to an innate flaw in the body’s ability to burn up calories, Lowe says, helps doctors choose the most appropriate medications and behavioral interventions for treatment.
Anatomy of appetite
Traditionally researchers concerned with hunger and weight regulation have focused on so-called metabolic or homeostatic hunger, which is driven by physiological necessity and is most commonly identified with the rumblings of an empty stomach. When we start dipping into our stores of energy in the course of 24 hours or when we drop below our typical body weight, a complex network of hormones and neural pathways in the brain ramps up our feelings of hunger. When we eat our fill or put on excess pounds, the same hormonal system and brain circuits tend to stifle our appetite.
By the 1980s scientists had worked out the major hormones and neural connections responsible for metabolic hunger. They discovered that it is largely regulated by the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that contains nerve cells that both trigger the production of and are exquisitely sensitive to a suite of disparate hormones.
As with so many biological mechanisms, these chemical signals form an interlocking web of checks and balances. Whenever people eat more calories than they immediately need, some of the excess is stored in fat cells found throughout the body. Once these cells begin to grow in size, they start churning out higher levels of a hormone called leptin, which travels through the blood to the brain, telling the hypothalamus to send out yet another flurry of hormones that reduce appetite and increase cellular activity to burn off the extra calories—bringing everything back into balance.
Similarly, whenever cells in the stomach and intestine detect the presence of food, they secrete various hormones, such as cholecystokinin and peptide YY, which work to suppress hunger either by journeying to the hypothalamus or by acting directly on the vagus nerve, a long, meandering bundle of nerve cells that link the brain, heart and gut. In contrast, ghrelin, a hormone released from the stomach when it is empty and blood glucose (sugar) levels are low, has the opposite effect on the hypothalamus, stimulating hunger.
By the late 1990s, however, brain-imaging studies and experiments with rodents began to reveal a second biological pathway—one that underlies the process of eating for pleasure. Many of the same hormones that operate in metabolic hunger appear to be involved in this second pathway, but the end result is activation of a completely different brain region, known as the reward circuit. This intricate web of neural ribbons has mostly been studied in the context of addictive drugs and, more recently, compulsive behaviors such as pathological gambling.
It turns out that extremely sweet or fatty foods captivate the brain’s reward circuit in much the same way that cocaine and gambling do. For much of our evolutionary past, such calorie-dense foods were rare treats that would have provided much needed sustenance, especially in dire times. Back then, gorging on sweets and fats whenever they were available was a matter of survival. In contemporary society—replete with inexpensive, high-calorie grub—this instinct works against us. “For most of our history the challenge for human beings was getting enough to eat to avoid starvation,” Lowe says, “but for many of us the modern world has replaced that with a very different challenge: avoiding eating more than we need so we don’t gain weight.”
Research has shown that the brain begins responding to fatty and sugary foods even before they enter our mouth. Merely seeing a desirable item excites the reward circuit. As soon as such a dish touches the tongue, taste buds send signals to various regions of the brain, which in turn responds by spewing the neurochemical dopamine. The result is an intense feeling of pleasure. Frequently overeating highly palatable foods saturates the brain with so much dopamine that it eventually adapts by desensitizing itself, reducing the number of cellular receptors that recognize and respond to the neurochemical. Consequently, the brains of overeaters demand a lot more sugar and fat to reach the same threshold of pleasure as they once experienced with smaller amounts of the foods. These people may, in fact, continue to overeat as a way of recapturing or even maintaining a sense of well-being.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

17 Tips from Fit Moms on Finding Time for Exercise

So I have been battling with my own body lately....it's frustrating, and the results have been varying. Unfortunately, I'm back to square one all over again. In fact a little worse. Ah well, you can't help it when you're in a beautiful country with pure abundance of food indulgence especially with dairy, and weather wise too.

I know I have to be patient, I know I'm still settling down. My determination is wearing off and I need motivation again. I need to find the motivation at home. No doubt I'll get it at the gym, I now need to shift it to home. And hence the post below. To be motivated is to find motivation, and so my next obsession would be to follow blogs of fit moms :)

Original post here

Best Fit Mom Tips

Sticking with an exercise routine can be a struggle for anyone. But for moms, squeezing in workouts can feel darn near impossible. After all, how are you supposed to find time to work out when you can’t even go to the bathroom undisturbed?
Take Katy Widrick, for example. Before becoming a mom, the TV producer, blogger and group fitness instructor thought she was a master multi-tasker. “I juggled a full-time job with a blog, training for half-marathons and more. Then came my daughter — my perfect, amazing little girl. And boy, did she teach me that everything I thought I knew about managing my time was a joke!” she says.
Between caring for kids, workplace demands, household chores, doctors appointments, school and all the rest, there is often precious little time for moms to sweat. So we asked some of our favorite fitness-minded mom bloggers to share their best tips for making exercise a reality and a priority. (It’s possible. We swear.)

17 Tricks That Will Make It Easier to Be a Fit Mom

1. First Things FirstWork out before the day gets away from you. “If I waited until after work, I’d never get my workout in. There are just too many activities and commitments that come up,” says Angela Bekkala, clinical exercise specialist, mom of twins and creator of Happy Fit Mama. “No one will schedule a meeting at 4:30 a.m. That’s my time to rise and sweat,” she says. Meredith Atwood, author of Triathlon for the Every Woman and blogger at Swim Bike Mom offers another reason to sweat early. “You’re finished before the kids wake up!” she says.
2. Block It OutIf you have an appointment on your calendar, chances are you show up. That same tactic helps Madeline Glasser, the blogger behind Food, Family and Fitness and a full-time student, find time for her sweat sessions. “If I set aside specific times in my planner, they feel more like an appointment I have to keep,” she says. Each Sunday, Widrick manages her family’s calendar. “I’ll actually block out ‘Katy goes to yoga’ on Thursday nights, so my husband knows it’s his night to pick up our daughter and prepare dinner. I do the same for him,” she says. Schedule it as part of your day and make it non-negotiable.
3. Have a Plan for How You’ll SweatOnce you’ve penciled in your workout, don’t forget to think about what you’ll actually doonce you get to the gym. That’s one strategy Ashley, of Coffee Cake and Cardio, uses to make her 5 a.m. workout a reality. Gia Alvarez of Run Gia Run and mom of twins adds, “It’s one thing to find the motivation to work out. It’s another thing to find the motivation to figure out what to do for a workout. If I know beforehand exactly what I plan to do, I make it happen,” she says.
4. Don’t Worry About Your OutfitPrinted capris or plain black? Tank top or t-shirt? Don’t waste your little free time debating wardrobe choices. To make it to her early morning workout, Ashley lays out her clothes the night before. “Heck, sleep in your workout clothes if that helps!” she advises. Glasser says, “Eliminating that one step of figuring out what to wear helps getting up at 5 a.m. easier.”
Best Fit Mom Tips
Photo: Pond5
5. Take RUNchIf crack-of-dawn or after-work training sessions aren’t your jam, try taking runch aka “running lunch.” “Since I work full-time, I block out time on my calendar every day from 12 to 1:30 p.m. to workout,” says Nellie Acevedo, creator of Brooklyn Active Mama. Katie McFarland also believes in taking runch. The director of corporate real estate strategy and voice behind Mom’s Little Running Buddies runs in the afternoon at work when possible. “You have half an hour. Do your workout, run, yoga, whatever but you have to create the opportunity and then commit to it,” she says.
6. Include Your KidsIt’s hard to find dedicated “alone time” as a parent — but do you really need it? “I struggled with finding time to work out alone without the kids. I quickly learned that wasn’t always possible,” says Rachel Steffen of Running Rachel, a stay-at-home mom. “I’ve embraced working out with my boys, and they see that Mommy is a strong woman who enjoys working out,” she says. Personal trainer and mom Tamara Grand ofFitKnitChick agrees that you should ditch the ‘either-or’ attitude. “Children instinctively love to move. Resistance bands are great for playing ‘hop over’ and Bosu balls make fun mini trampolines,” she says. As your children grow older, workouts can be bonding time. Tracy Morrison of Sellabit Mum has always made a point of introducing her daughters to fitness. “Now my oldest daughter runs with me a few times a week, and we just ran her first 10K together,” she says.
7. Make the Jungle Gym Your BootcampWho says that you’re too old to play outside? “When I take my kids to the playground, I try to play right along with them. I’ll do triceps dips off a bench, incline push-ups, step ups, and try to do a pull-up on the monkey bars,’ says Bekkala. “Those little bursts of activity do add up quickly!”
8. Run With ‘EmWhen her childrens’ increasingly early wake-up times threatened to ruin her early morning jog, Morrison ran with it. “I’d put them in the jogging stroller and take them with me. I’d sing and chat during our run together. Instead of spoiling my run, it just made it a little bit sweeter,” she says. Michele Gonzalez of NYC Running Mama, also relies heavily on a running stroller. “It requires a bit more planning since the kids have to be dressed and I have to pack snacks, books and drinks, but it was a great way to spend time with them while exercising,” she says.
9. Sweeten the DealSometimes, you have to grease the wheels in order to fit in your workout. “My best ‘trick’ is to bribe my children,” says Steffen. “Whether the bribe is a fruit snack, park play [time], or something else, my boys are more willing to participate with minimal complaining when there is something in it for them,” she says. No shame in that.
Best Fit Mom Tips
Photo: Pond5
10. Be a Workout NinjaStealthy workouts become a must when your schedule is overflowing. “You have to sneak around and get your workouts in wherever you can – and sometimes that means in some curious ways,” says Atwood. “But you can do 10 to 15 minutes of strength training while the kids are eating. Find a show they love and get on the treadmill. You are guaranteed at least 20 minutes of uninterrupted time while they are calm and quiet,” she says. Amanda Tress of Fit Parenting and Pregnancy and work-from-home mom says, “If I have a super busy day, I will break up my workout throughout the day and do some high-intensity interval training (HIIT) at home in 10 to 15 minute spurts. Bethany Meyer of I Love Them Most When They’re Sleeping saves her strength training for the evening. “Getting it done in the family room while catching up with my husband and sons satisfies my need to multitask. Often, somebody will join me for planks and bicycle twists!” she says.
11. Take to the StreetsBeing a soccer mom in a minivan is cliché — so ditch the ride. When weather permits, make your commute an active one. Walk your kids to school or bike to work. “I live about a mile and a half from my daughter’s daycare. When the weather is nice, I push the running stroller to and from school,” says Widrick.
“I’ve learned to accept the time I do have and make the most of it.”
12. Audit Your Schedule“Regular exercisers don’t find time, they ‘take’ time,” says Grand. “Most of us have unused chunks of time in our day. Those 30-minutes we spend on Facebook or Pinterest. Those 10-minute intervals we spend checking email or cleaning. Pay attention to how you’re spending your time and figure out which activities you could ‘take’ time from,” she says. “If possible, lump them all together and use them for a workout. If not, spread your activity throughout the day.”
13. Music Class for Them…Gym Class for YouBetween soccer practice, ballet or music lessons, kids are sometimes as busy as their parents these days. “Use the time that your kids are in classes,” says Alvarez. “Your kids are getting their fitness in, why shouldn’t you?” While her son is at soccer practice, Meyer squeezes in time on the track. “My kids decompress from their school day, get some exercise, and connect with their friends on the playground. And I get to do the same on the track,” she says. Naptime is another prime time to squeeze in a workout. “As soon as my kids go down for a nap, I leave them with Dad and I go out for a run or to the gym. I am back by the time they wake up and everyone is refreshed,” says Acevedo.
14. Don’t Beat Yourself UpLet’s face it, life happens in the form of sick days, tantrums and gigantic messes that won’t clean themselves. “There are days when I only have time for a few miles instead of the planned 7 or 8 miles on my training plan,” says Gonzalez. “I’ve learned to accept the time I do have and make the most of it. I might run the miles faster than planned or run a few more miles the next day,” she says. If you do miss a day, don’t stress. “Don’t compare yourself to other moms,” says Laura Peifer, Health and Running Coach, and creator of Mommy Run Fast. “Do your best for you.”
Best Fit Mom Tips
Photo: Pond5
15. Make Any Space a Home GymWhile not making it to the gym or a class is a convenient excuse, the truth is, you don’t need fitness special equipment, or a gym membership, to work out. “If I’m truly stuck at home…I use what I have at my disposal,” says McFarland. “Sometimes it’s nothing more than a chair, but you’d by surprised at the range of exercises you can do with a chair!” For example, we’re pretty sure you can do this “Sexy Chair” Dance Workout and How to Booty Pop video anywhere (well, almost anywhere).
16. Build a Support CrewJuggling the responsibilities of family, work and life can feel overwhelming, but you’re not alone. Like-minded parents are a great support system. “Find a buddy or share your workout on Instagram. It really helps to have others hold you accountable,” says Ashley. Fellow parents can also sympathize when life gets messy. “I was up with a fussy, crying toddler at the wee hours of the morning and sure didn’t feel like working out after that!” says Widrick. She posted her experience in a local mom’s Facebook group. “Not only did I get some good tips on how to ease my daughter’s pain, I got a lot of empathetic comments that reminded me that this too shall pass,” she says. And ask for help when you need it. “A few times a week, I hire a babysitter for a few hours so I can accomplish housework and fit in a workout,” says Tress. “I’ve come to realize that it’s OK for me to ask for help. Then, I’m refreshed and able to focus on quality time with my family.”
17. Make It Worth ItAt the end of the day, spending more time with your family is always a priority. “Working full-time, traveling, blogging and everything else means less time with my kids. One of the mantras I’ve adopted is: Make it worth it,” says McFarland. “If I’m going to choose to run or go to the gym rather than spend time with my kids, I better make sure I’m pushing myself the entire time.” McFarland incorporates a mix of compound moves and HIIT to maximize her time at the gym.
Fitting fitness into a busy schedule is hard and exercise is often the first thing to get scratched from the calendar. But, with a little forethought and planning, it’s doable. “Make your well-being a priority,” says Widrick. “I just don’t allow myself to think of my health as a secondary priority. When Mommy’s happy and healthy, everyone else has a better shot of following suit.”
What tips and tricks do you use to find time to workout?

Thursday, February 11, 2016


This is SUPER important for the parents with kids.

I remember back in the days when my mom and dad just let me on the loose to explore anything and everything I want eventhough I lost interest through. It is somewhat maximising the kids life by letting him/her seize her moment with new exploration until the phase is over or perhaps it may go on into something that she/he really wants to do and focus on in the future :)

Thank you Sport Factory

How To Destroy Your Child's Athletic Future In 3 Easy Steps
In over two decades of coaching athletes I have had the pleasure of seeing some of my junior athletes make it all the way to the professional level.  Along the way I have developed a somewhat global perspective on what it takes to go from this point A to the very distant point B.  I worked with some wonderful parents that contributed greatly to their child's successes.  But I unfortunately witnessed more parents, sometime unwittingly and always with the best intentions, sabotage their child's athletic future.  If they had just heeded a few simple rules, or examined a few of their motives, not only would their child been a better athlete, they would have been a better competitor, happier, and healthier child. 
If you are find yourself excited at the potential of your child's athletic career, I invite you take an objective look within.  And if you catch yourself doing any of the three following things, I can all but guarantee your child will not end up where you believe they will.
1.  Imposing your own ambitions upon your child.  I find it interesting that some of the most accomplished athletes I have known are not the overbearing parents you might expect when it comes to athletics.  In fact they may take a somewhat laisez faire attitude towards their young children's athleticism.  My personal opinion is that these parents have a greater understanding of the developmental process.  Laying the foundation, learning the skill sets, and graciously handling the pitfalls competition are put above awards and accolades.  They are intimately familiar with the long timeline and sacrifices required to get to the top of a sport, and even the odds of getting there.  They tend to be more respectful towards the coaches and patient with the coaching process.  They in short have gained a perspective most of us do not possess. 
Parents that have not experienced competition simply never developed the mental skills sets required of an athlete.  They may be experiencing athletic competition for the first time through the prism of their child; which can be a very slippery slope.  Others believe their child represents a "second chance" at righting the wrongs of their not so illustrious athletic past.  At any rate the most important thing to understand is that a pre-adolescent child has three basic motivations for participating in a sport: to have fun, to socialize, and to please their parents.  Too many children end up just doing the later, and that almost never works for long.  These kids seldom last in a sport to high level competition, and may even end up quitting their sport, after years of development, because it is an convenient way to rebel against a parent.  Post- competition, often the first words I hear from parents are evaluative or criticizing when they should be simply "did you have fun today?"       
2.  Over-specializing too early.  I once consulted with a somewhat anxious dad regarding his injured daughters training. The doctor had advised three weeks off of training to allow her injury to heal, but he felt this was too conservative and that his daughter would give up too much ground by taking this time off. She was NINE years old by the way. Obviously he had his own agenda in mind and not his daughters best interest. I seriously doubted that she would still be competing in her sport at twelve.
There has been an astounding rise in orthopedic injuries among children in the last decade.  This corresponds with the rise in early single sport specialization.  Kids are training too hard, too often, too repetitively and way too early without a proper foundation.  Training and coaching programs have capitalized on this, often ignoring orthopedic guidelines for training children in favor or showing early results to the parents.  Children do not have a stable enough platform to put high volume training upon, especially during growth phases.  Injuries to growth plates, vertebral discs, meniscus tears, and tendon/ligament strain can leave a child with permanent damage.  The body is not designed to repeat specific movements over and over, especially at an early age.  We are designed for multi-planer movements which is more akin to "going outside and playing" vs. training.  If you really want to develop an athlete from a young age you do just that- develop them.  You develop skill sets and general coordination, strength, and agility that is age appropriate.  A good coach/parent should be charting growth phases and adjusting training load accordingly, monitoring rest and recovery, teaching and imposing proper nutrition, and developing mental skill sets. Yet these equally important areas of opportunity are often neglected.  The bottom line is that if your child is getting chronically injured, or even if their team mates are sustaining a high level of overuse injuries, the coaching and training system is failing your child no matter how well their top athletes are performing.    
3.  Focusing on a Single Sport.  It is somewhat logical to believe that the more time spent training a sport the better an athlete will become over time.  And no doubt the occasional Tiger Woods comes along.  But this mentality more often leaves multiples of young athletes broken down on the side of the road.  Developing an athlete is like unlocking a door.  You must have exactly the right key, that engages all the tumblers of the lock, to open the door.  Training is just one of the tumblers- not the key.
A child will not self-actualize in a sport until adolescence as I mentioned above.  In order to find out what they are really good at, really enjoy, and really want to succeed at they must try a number of things.  This is good, this is healthy, and it keeps them from burning out in a single sport.  But too many parents see a bit of talent of aptitude and want to call it their child's "sport."  Participating in multiple sports or activities may even help prevent the injuries associated with over-specialization.  You should be asking your child if they want to try different sports, or even gently prodding them to do so.  Over time they can narrow their focus.  Joining the traveling soccer team at an early age may keep your child from finding out that they were more talented at (and passionate about) baseball.  
If your child is under the age of twelve, and you find yourself on the sideline with the words "champion," "scholarship," and "phenom" swirling around your head you likely need a perspective check.  One of the hardest lessons you will have to learn is that at some point they will get to decide if they want to continue in a sport.  And there will be nothing you can do to make them compete if they no longer have the will or desire. It is a simple fact that all your hours in the car, thousands paid out for coaching, and years spent attending games and practices will likely, statistically, lead- nowhere.  But that is not to say that they will get value out of the experience of competition.  Sport can bring out the best (and sometimes the worst) in both athlete and parent alike.  The values taught and gained on the athletic field will be far more valuable than any award; values such as sportsmanship, honor, integrity, fitness, hard work, and team work.  Your relationship that you develop around your child's competition will have a huge impact on their future. The decisions you make as a parent will have a tremendous effect not only on your child's athletic development, but their health, well being, and ethics.  Choose wisely.  
Matt Russ has coached and trained athletes up to the professional level, domestically and internationally, for over 20 years. He has achieved the highest level of licensing by both USA Triathlon and USA Cycling, and is a licensed USA Track and Field coach. Matt is head coach and owner of The Sport Factory, and coaches athletes of all levels full time. He is also freelance author and his articles are regularly featured in a variety of magazines and websites. Visit www.thesportfactory.com for more information or email him at coachmatt@thesportfactory.com