Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Case For Active Kids: Be A Good Role Model

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As a parent, you have the ability to make or break your child’s sporting experience.   You are your child’s role model whether you like it or not, both good and bad.  It is crucial to set a good example because our children will emulate the behavior they see displayed.  Here are a few points to keep in mind:

Attitude – Attitude is everything.  Your attitude will reflect on your child’s attitude toward the game.  If you complain about the amount of (or lack of) practice, the coach’s choice of players or plays, and the referees call in the fourth quarter you are sending a negative message about the sport to your player.  There will always be things you don’t agree with, but your player may not see them as a problem until you bring them up, so don’t.

Handle Conflicts Appropriately – When a disagreement with a coach, parent or peer happens, show your child how to handle it appropriately.  This means calm discussions of facts, offering and accepting constructive feedback, formulating a plan of action and sometimes agreeing to disagree.  This will provide a powerful example for your player of how to handle their own disagreements when you aren’t there to fight the battle for them.  With that solid foundation in place, encourage your child to handle their own conflicts when they arise.

Fair play – Playing by the rules is essential in sports for the enjoyment and safety of all participants.  Support the coach, the team and your player by learning the rules of the game and helping your child apply them. When dealing with talent gaps on a team, keep in mind that young, developing players will greatly improve by playing with more experienced players.

Good sportsmanship – You’re going to win some and you’re going to lose some.  How you do both is a good sign of your character.  This will be witnessed and mirrored by your child.  Make the reflection one that you would like to see.

Take an active role – Show your child that you think this endeavor is worthwhile and that you are committed to their success by getting them to practice and games on time. Help out at practice when you can.  Even if you don’t like or don’t understand the sport your child has chosen to participate in, your presence and dedication says that you care about them and support their choices.

There is a Chinese Proverb:  Tiger father begets tiger son.  Our children will become what we teach them, both through what we say and more importantly through what we do.  Be mindful to always do the right thing.

The Case For Active Kids: Boundaries For Sports Parents

We all want our children to be successful in their chosen sport as well as in life.  We have their best interests at heart but sometimes in our exuberance to offer them every opportunity we lose focus of what they should really be learning.  Boundaries are often overlooked but essential for good life balance and a positive sports experience.

Don’t over schedule.  Make sure there is time available for your child’s academics, friends and other interests as well as free time to do whatever they choose.  Busyness is not a measuring stick for success.  In fact, it may be the biggest factor combating success by spreading precious time and energy too thin.

Too much of a good thing:  Don’t specialize too soon or feel that your child needs to participate in every camp, clinic or training opportunity to “keep up with the pack”.  This is actually counter-productive and can lead to over-use injuries and burn out at an early age.  Most sports will complement each other by training other aspects of the child’s body and mind.

Your child’s sport should not be the entire focus of their (or your) identity.  Too much early specialization in a sport can lead to a one-dimensional self-concept.  It also increases the pressure to perform well for building self-worth.

Be realistic. Only 30% of children who play youth sports will continue to play in high school. Of those high school athletes in the US, less than 5% will go on to become college athletes and less than 2% will receive full or partial scholarships.  Less than 1% of college athletes turn pro. (NCAA.org)  Adjust your expectations accordingly.

Set a budget and stick to it.  Sports can be expensive. Multiple kids in multiple sports will multiply those expenses. You know what state your finances are in and should plan according to what you can spend. Let your player know that it is a privilege that your household dollars are allocated for their well-being and that it is their responsibility to ensure that those dollars are well spent on the investment by them performing to the best of their ability.

Say “No” to your child.  (Gasp!) Handing your child an All Access pass to life may not be what they need to succeed.  Parents’ time and money are finite resources and should be treated as such.    If you can’t afford a camp or don’t want every night of the week scheduled by the hour, just say “no”. This also applies to saying “no” to other parents.  Don’t feel bullied into having your child to sign up for every training opportunity available or leagues that require an hour commute unless this is something you find value in.

Set your limits for time and money and stick to it.  If you have to stop and think about this for too long, then, yep – I’m talking to you.

The Case For Active Kids: No More Excuses

The biggest excuses for not being getting enough exercise are no money, no time or just not being athletic.  Let’s take a closer look at each –

Money:  Priority will be the key word for this discussion.  According to 24/7 Wall St. (Top 10 Things Americans Waste the Most Money On, Feb. 28, 2011) in the ten categories of unnecessary purchases, sports equipment came in 8th. Number one is food away from home, number 3 is television, radio and sound equipment.  Even pets and alcohol came in before health at #4 and #7, respectively.  At least sports equipment beat tobacco out (#9).  Another statistic states that Americans spent $25.3 billion on video games in 2009 (Today’s Gamer Survey by Newzoo and TNS).  54% of kids have a TV in their bedroom (Ibid). Priority.  “Sorry son, no money for a baseball glove, but would you like a new video game for the 42” flat screen in your room?”  If you are still wrestling with spending priorities, try thinking of it as buying your child a super-sized helping of self-esteem with a side order of confidence.  Always a good ROI.

Time: The average kid spends 4 hours a day watching TV.  Children spend more time watching television than in any other activity except sleep. (Houston and Wright, University of Kansas, “Television and Socialization of Young Children).  Conclusion:  your child has enough time.  Alright, but what about the parent that needs to get them to practice and games?  Consider: You have the same amount of time that everyone else on the planet has.  24 hours every day, no more, no less.  You can’t buy extra no matter how rich you are and no one can take it away from you no matter how poor you are.  How you choose to manage those hours is up to you.  Again, priority.  Do the things that fill your hours all take a higher priority than your health or your children’s health?  Admittedly, it may require some thought and planning, but it can be done.  Think in terms of calendars and carpools.  It’s time to trade the remote for a baseball bat and instead of watching the stars dance, go do a little jig of your own.

Non-Athletes:  Coordination is not necessarily a trait that you are either born with or don’t have at all. Coordination comes from your body and your brain working together to form connection in order for a task to be done effectively and efficiently.   In other words: coordination can be taught through practicing a particular skill over and over.  If a child is frustrated and wanting to do better in a sport, break down the process into small steps and practice, practice, practice. Kids won’t want to do what they aren’t good at, especially in front of their peers.  To help them gain confidence in their bodies’ ability to perform a sport you may want to consider sports conditioning training offered at a local gym or enlist the service of a personal trainer who is knowledgeable in child development.  Other options include a gym membership,  DVD’s or equipment they can use at home until they reach a comfort level for sports and have a the confidence to succeed.

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Move On

Move On is a website intended to encourage children to be active by utilizing the resources already available to them in their local community.  Move On is working to provide a complete listing of youth sports options available in every community so parents can choose the opportunity that offers the right level of skill development, competition and frequency to fit their family and their child’s needs. Move On includes a directory of facilities such as rinks, fields, pools, field houses and other community resources and also provides a listing of additional camps, clinics and other training opportunities to help athletes stay in shape and improve their skills in the off season. Our retail partners make it easy to get the gear needed to play, apparel to outfit active endeavors and products for additional training such as DVD’s and TRX.  Move On allows users to add additional opportunities that aren’t already listed in order to make the directory as accurate and complete as possible.  Move On is intended to be a resource for parents and children, providing education and inspiration while promoting physical activity through youth sports.

Click here to visit Move On.

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Things I Will Do When My Kids No Longer Play Sports

As parents of kids that play sports, we make sacrifices.  We sacrifice our time, our money and a few gray hairs so that our children can be healthy, well-rounded individuals.  We often times dream of reclaiming a bit of our life that is currently spent on all things sports related. This is my list:

Ten Things I will do when my kids no longer play sports:

  1. Enjoy a mid-winter vacation somewhere other than the tournament-city destination.  Duluth in January is nice, but…
  2. Own outer wear in non-team colors.
  3. Drive a vehicle that does not require 5 tons cargo space and gets more than 5 miles/gallon.
  4. Enjoy dinner out somewhere other than Buffalo Wild Wings.
  5. Have fingernails during try-out season.
  6. Probably never use the “sanitize” feature on my washer again.
  7. Know more about attractions in local cities other than the size of their Rec Center.
  8. Take Rinkfinder.com out of my “favorites” list.
  9. Read books other than The Baffled Parents Guide to Coaching Girls Lacrosse, 2011 Official Rule Book for Youth Soccer and The Talent Code.
  10. Miss meeting fantastic families that I may otherwise never have crossed paths with, if it weren’t for the common interest of our children’s athletic preferences.

The Fitness Journey: What a Personal Trainer Can Do For You

Strength gains, resistance training, cardiovascular health.  These may be foreign terms to many people who want to embark on a course toward a healthier life but don’t know where to start.  In order to help you navigate, think of hiring a personal trainer as your tour guide.  Your fitness journey begins where ever you currently are and will take you where ever you want to go.  Your trainer will be there to help you decide on your destination, map the route to get you there, plan and execute the itinerary, and be there to help you if you get lost along the way.  All you need to do is show up and enjoy the ride.

Pick your destination:  First, you’ll need to decide where you want to go, or set your fitness goals.  This seems simple yet many people have not given their goals much thought.  Setting your goal destination is the most critical step of the process, because you will never know when you get there if you don’t know where you are going.  If you are first time traveler on a fitness trip, you may want to start with any easily attainable goal.  This will allow you to gain some confidence in your ability to control of your environment and body.    If you would like to see some weight loss, an easy start would be a 5 pound goal.   It’s easy to get to, kind of like Chicago, drivable and scenic, but not very exotic.  Your trainer will work with you to help you decide what an attainable goal will be specific to you.

Decide on your mode of transportation:  Florida is a great destination, but it’s going to take you a long time to get there from Minnesota if you walk, even longer without a map.  Same goes for big fitness goals and no plan for how to get there.  Your trainer can help you by putting together a detailed plan and attaching a timeline to it so you will know exactly what to do and when you expect to see results.  You and your trainer will work together to find the perfect mix of challenge and variety that will make the journey enjoyable and interesting instead of drudgery.  Having a firm plan in place will keep you on a steady pace.  Think of it as being handed a first class plane ticket when you thought you’d have to drive your broken down vehicle. It makes for a much more enjoyable trip. Perhaps one you could even look forward to instead of dreading. Don’t worry if you do get sidetracked periodically, just get back on course and focus on the final destination.

Enjoy the trip:  This journey is not about a starting point and an ending point, rather the journey itself becomes the adventure.  Embrace the changing scenery and savor the local flavors.  In other words, as you see changes in your body, acknowledge that your hard work is paying off.  Revel in the fact that your clothes fits better.  Delight in having more energy.  Delight in a better attitude toward your body and celebrate your feeling of contentment knowing you are doing the right thing.  This will definitely help you stay motivated and on course to the final destination. Your trainer will keep you on track and engaged by offering a variety of new exercises whenever things start getting stale. Enjoy the foods that will nourish and fuel your body and avoid the ones that will prolong you from getting where you are heading.  Your trainer can also help you put together a nutritional plan allowing you to experiment with exciting new foods and flavors that you wouldn’t have come up on your own.  Challenge yourself to find new ways to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Remember that the journey is the experience.

Rinse and repeat:  Once you reach your destination and bask in your accomplishment for a while, it’s time to set a new goal and enjoy another tour.   Your trainer will be there to help set another goal, suggests a different course and help you get there once again.  Your success will be the key to staying on course and your trainer will be the one to offer you a plethora of options to get there.

Before you know it, you’ll become a seasoned traveler.  You may even gain the confidence you need to go it alone.  You’ll be running, cycling, swimming, whatever you can imagine.  Your trainer will applaud your efforts and accomplishments and hand you some shiny brochures on other places you may want to try in the future.  Kettlebells?  TRX?  Boot Camp?  Bring it on, you’ll say.  I want to see it all

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Where Can I Find the Money For a Personal Trainer

Let’s pause for a minute and think of all the other things that we will spend our money on instead of our own bodies:

  • Perhaps you’ve upgraded your perfectly fine box television for a sleek new flat screen.  Think of updating your back side with some sleek new curves.
  • Manicures, pedicures and facials are fantastic ways to make you feel more attractive.  It doesn’t get much more attractive than flaunting a healthy, fit body.
  • Lottery tickets and casinos are, of course, a gamble.  For a sure thing, invest that money in your health and wellbeing.
  • Seriously? Did you really need another (insert item here).  Example: pair of sandals, shoes, boots, video game, movie, etc.

Let’s go as far as to say a lot of people are more willing to spend their money on things that are actually bad for their bodies, as opposed to things that will help them out.  For example:

  • Beer, wine, alcohol – Lots of empty calories here and exercise won’t give you a headache in the morning.
  • Tanning beds – Nope, being darker does not make you healthier.  Sorry.
  • Coffee – The extra fluff on your latte is also contributing to your extra fluff.
  • Pop – Aspartame, phenyketonurics and other chemicals that you can’t pronounce.
  • Diet “wonder” pills – Exercise and good nutrition will always be the best and safest way to lose weight.
  • Girl Scout Cookies – Yep, these are definitely not helping your cause.
  • Dinner out, again.  Tons of extra calories and fat (did I mention calories?)
  • Energy drinks.  Nope, taurine is not considered a power food.
  • Cigarettes – Really, do I need to explain this one? You are inhaling tar.
  • Other drugs – If done correctly, personal training won’t land you in jail.

Most people would easily come up the money to buy a pill that promised a slim figure.   They do every day.  These dollars are wasted when the product doesn’t live up to the promise.   A much wiser investment would be to hire a trainer to educate you on how to work out, what to eat and how to treat your body to get the results you are looking for.  You will also get a better return on the investment you are already making for your gym membership by actually using the equipment correctly and most effectively.

Stop, think and spend wisely.

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How Everyone Can Afford a Personal Trainer

You realize that you need the help of a personal trainer but just don’t think you can afford it.  Truth of the matter is – Personal Training is expensive and these are tough economic times.  Well, tough times call for creative measures.  It’s time to take a look at how you can put a trainer to work for you with whatever amount you have to invest.

The first step is to figure out what your budget is.  A typical session will run about $70.  How often can you come up with that?  Once a week?  Every other week?  Once a month?  Keep in mind purchasing a multiple session package will greatly reduce the cost.

Then decide what you need from your trainer.  If you’re new to exercise you may need your trainer to put together your entire program from scratch.  If you have a good thing going already, perhaps just checking in once a month for a fresh routine will keep you motivated and be sufficient.   Even a monthly fitness assessment may be all that in needed to keep you heading in the right direction.  Most people will fall somewhere in between and need some weekly guidance to reach their goals and stay motivated.  Here are a few different options with varying ranges of commitment and investment:

One on One Training:  The ideal situation would be to train with your trainer 3 times every week.  That would ensure your workouts are geared 100% toward you reaching your goals.  This is a very effective approach, however, expensive.  One 60 minute session: $70.  Of course it is much less expensive if you commit to the program and purchase a package.  A 20 session package drops the rate to $49 for a 60 minute session.  Much more reasonable.

Less Frequent Sessions:  One way to cut costs is to meet with your trainer once a week.  This is a great option if you can make it to the gym regularly on your own and don’t need someone watching your form.  Your trainer can give you workouts to do on your own when the two of you are not together.  The key here is that you will actually do the workouts without someone else pushing you.  A once a week program will allow a 20 session package to last about 5 months.  You should be able to see some major improvements in 5 months!

Partner or Small Group Training:   If you are already coming to the gym with your workout buddies, this is a fantastic option to save some money.  You will still get personalized attention and a plan geared toward your goals, plus additional camaraderie that you wouldn’t get on your own.  You may find yourself working harder with someone else to challenge you and additional the accountability will keep you focused.  If two or three participants purchase a 12 session package, the cost per person is only $35/session.

Express Training: A great way to save money on a trainer is to invest in shorter sessions.  You can do your warm up and cool down on your own and spend your time together focused on your specific goals.   A 30 minute high intensity session saves you time and money and will still produce results.  A 20 session package of 30 minute sessions is only $27/session.

Periodic Check Ins:  Ask your trainer for a workout to do on your own.  Check in every 3 or 4 weeks for a new routine to keep things fresh and avoid plateaus.  You can also do periodic fitness assessments to make sure you are achieving the results you are after.  A 12 session package allows you to meet with a trainer once a month for only $60 a month.

Specialty Classes:  Here you meet with a trainer in a group of 4 to 6 like-minded individuals.  The class format is already set so it is not individualized to your specific goals, but you still get the attention of a trainer to watch your form and push you through a tough workout.  This is great if you want professional guidance and team support with a low price tag.

Your options include:  Kettlebells, TRX, Kettlebell/TRX Fusion, 5K Training, Get Fit Boot Camp, and Pilates Reformer.  A 30 minute class meeting once a week for 7 weeks will run you $70, just $10 a session.  A 45 minute class is $98, just $14 a session.  A 60 minute class is $126, that’s $18 a session.

Say you’re greedy and want the best of all worlds.  You can purchase a one-on-one session once a week, train with a group once and week and enroll in a few specialty classes.  You would be working out with a trainer, or group of trainers, almost every day just like those professional athletes at a fraction of the price they are paying.   Mix and match the above options to find a plan and a price that works for you.

Is it worth the investment?  Of course it is.  Think of it as buying self-confidence, an increased life expectancy and an increased immune system.  As a bonus, the knowledge you gain is yours to keep for life, as is the body you create.

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