Posts Tagged ‘Fitness

07
Feb
17

Training Confident Kids (part 1)

I had some people ask me questions regarding a past post discussing motivation and it’s relation to confidence.  Here is the first of a 2 part post on Confidence and how we get kids to be more confident.

As coaches, we always want the best for our athletes. We train them physically to be strong, flexible and powerful. We train them cognitively to know the skills, routines, and rules. And we train them emotionally to be strong, brave, and confident. Or do we?

For our discussion lets explain confidence in relation to our comfort level in doing things. Our comfort levels are depicted by a box. Within the box we have everything that we are comfortable with, things we do easily, people we know, experiences that range from typical to mundane. Right outside the box are new and different things.  Experiences that put us on edge, make us a little uncomfortable, new places, people, and things. Far away from the box are the things we are very unsure of; things we feel very uncomfortable with, things that make us stressed or nervous.

Confidence is developed by knowing we can perform or interact with the world in a way that is comfortable to us. Things we do that are within our comfort box can be done confidently and things outside might be done with less confidence.

While the majority of our lives occur within our comfort box, it’s only when we reach outside the walls of the box  that we can truly grow and learn. Our comfortable box is where we wish everything to be, but sadly, that is not reality. In the box, we often operate by rote memory, we do our routines and our day to day existence just seems to happen. Chicken or egg? Are we comfortable in that “box” because we do things there easily, or are things easy because we have the confidence to do them? The answer is both.

I remember as a young baseball player, I played 3rd base, shortstop, second base, and catcher. Our coaches rotated us, what seemed at times to be, randomly. It’s likely that they were trying to find our ideal position, the place where we were comfortable playing and where we would be the most effective for the team. But what it also did was allow us to “try” other positions; positions outside of our comfortable little boxes. This was imperative for expanding our proverbial comfort zone as players and as kids.

We are always being advised to “step outside the comfort zone”, or “think outside the box”. When we are confronted with occasional challenges, it allows us to expand our acceptable “zone” or, put another way, our “box” gets bigger and more of the world outside comes within.

When we are no longer afraid of stepping outside the comfort zone, we find that the space within, where we feel in control, becomes bigger. When our coaches moved us around, often unexpectedly, we found that we became a more confident team. I know personally that I gained a lot of confidence because I knew I could handle more than I originally had thought.

For another example, let’s take a gymnast learning a new skill. At first the skill is new and requires focus and a lot of effort. After practicing it for a bit it gets added to the repertoire and becomes “just another thing she can do.” It no longer causes her stress or discomfort, it has become “easy.” But, that same gymnast no longer trains that skill, it is possible for her to “lose” it. That’s obvious. But also, if that gymnast is not challenged with performing the skill in a new combinations, on a new apparatus, or in a performance situation, like a meet or a public demonstration, the skill again may equally be lost. Coaches have to allow that gymnast to perform the learned skills under pressure so that when that skill is needed in a meet performance  it falls within the skills in the comfort box. When it does, it reinforces confidence in performance and positions the athlete to seek more new skills and more growth.

Confidence come from challenges

Confidence come from challenges

Sometimes we can be asked to reach far away from the box; this is when we have greater discomfort over a task or skill. When we feel that we are over our head or incapable of performing, it manifests as a lack of confidence and the feeling can be so strong that we believe that we cannot be successful without the help of someone else.

When an athlete  has rarely been challenged to step outside their comfortable box and are then confronted with change or challenge, they often cannot adapt. Usually this person must rely on others to carry them or assist them through their tasks. I have seen this situation in several scenarios: kids who freeze up, suddenly cannot do more simple skills, or devolve progressions for new skills. There are other reasons that these outcomes may occur too, but it’s often the lack of confidence is the culprit.

Confident people have a larger comfort box and  it affords them a expanded ability to adapt and feel adept.  Also, by occasionally being challenged it allows for a greater tolerance for uncertainty, which means that the areas that cause panic are minimal. However, people with confidence are not fearless. They do experience fears but the fear is often mitigated by both feeling that they can accomplish things with a little  effort, and/or with minimal help. Confident people have either made choices to be challenged or had life throw them enough curve balls that they have learned that they have the capacity to hit any pitch. Or more easily put; they’ve learned, by adaptation, to figure out problems and conquer what once seemed daunting.

Next time: 5 things we can do to create more confidence in our kids.

25
Feb
15

The benefits of ol’ Sol

Oy, I’m tired of winter. I need a little sunshine and fresh air that doesn’t hurt to breathe in. I brought up my feeling of missing the sun with a few friends and I was surprised that 2 of them said they would rather remain inside, even during warmer weather. What?  They believed that the sun could be so damaging that it wasn’t worth the risk. What?helenkeller120988

Helen Keller was blind and even she spoke about the benefits of the big happy light in the sky. In fact, there are even medical reasons TO go out in the sun.

Did you know that the sun was used to treat several skin disorders as well as having a benefit to strengthening the skins ability to be a barrier against germs and disease?

Did you know that before antibiotics it was the treatment for tuberculosis, and it’s still used to treat jaundice?

How about the fact that it treats Seasonal Affective Disorder? (yeah, I got that).  It helps regulate your body temperature, enhances biorhythms, and may be a treatment in treating T Cell Lymphoma. It may even help fight cavities. Really.

Click here to read more about the value of the sun from a post by Dr. Joseph Mercola.

So let’s hurry up to summer and get some rays. Are you all ready for a warm up?

31
Dec
14

Resolve for a better life by moving

Another year and another reason to start working out. Right? Will it be another year where you do it a few times then you hear the siren call of extra sleep, or worse, the beckoning of the couch and TV remote? What you need is a good sound reason. A reason that resonates with you and covers the attraction of the couch’s lure.My son asked me the other day, why I was going for a run when it was so cold outside. Usually not at a loss for words I stumbled around to justify changing clothes, different shoes, and bracing for the cold to and sweat outside until little icicles form on my cap. I think I had a hard time because I too was wondering: “what the heck am I doing?” But now I have had some time to think and a chance to sit inside and warm up a bit: so here are some reasons for you. I am writing them as I should have said them to my son (s). Maybe visualizing talking to your children will help. Find one that motivates you and get yourself moving.Winter runner1. Why are you going to run when it’s so cold outside?  And I say “Well, you know how sometimes you still feel sleepy when you get to school? After a run, my body is awake and alive. I get so much more done on days when I run.”

In fact, research has shown that people who exercise are more productive than those who are sedentary. Whether you exercise early in the morning, in the mid-day, or even late at night; your body becomes a more efficient machine.

2. Why are you going to run when it’s so cold outside? And I say “Sometimes I feel like I need a little time to get myself feeling better. When I exercise I feel good about myself. Sometimes the best cure for feeling down is to get yourself up and workout a little.”

Exercising hold many benefits when it comes to enhancing self-esteem. Being more fit makes you feel good inside. Even if you lose a few pounds or inches, or maybe you don’t; internally hormones are triggered to provide a feeling of happiness. Just like some people find with a beer or a candy bar but this is free and it has a longer lasting positive effect. That’s win-win.

“There are sometimes when I also just need to burn off some steam. Maybe if I had a stressful day or it’s a rough week, it helps me to deal with feeling overwhelmed by stress. I don’t like feeling like I have no time to do everything I need to do, and weirdly enough, when I spend some time exercising it seems to make more time for me during the day. Then I’m not so stressed out.”

Exercise releases endorphins that not only make you feel better, but help your mind prepare for stressors that might arise later. One of the best strategies to alleviate stress is to get up and move. From executives to laborers, exercise outside of normal activity gives you the strength to deal with stress.

3.  Why are you going to run when it’s so cold outside? And I say “You know I have to be sharp. I have a lot to know for my job and sometimes I have to make split second decisions. Plus, being your dad it’s important for me to stay on my toes. I always want to be there for you if you have questions or need help with your homework. When I exercise it keeps my mind functioning well.”

Not only does exercise prevent memory loss but it aids in production of cells in the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory and learning. You could say that exercise not only reduces memory loss, it reverses it. Also, research has shown that your chances of dementia are drastically reduced. Exercise is a “smart” thing to do in more ways than one.

4. Why are you going to run when it’s so cold outside? And I say ” Exercise makes me happy. What do you do to be happy? Maybe your Legos or playing with your friends makes you happy, and running just makes me feel good.

As I mentioned; exercise releases happy juice in your body. This creates a feeling of euphoria and can make you feel pretty good.  When you feel good, your days are better and you get through life with more smiles on your face than frowns. There is great research that shows the correlation of exercise and feeling fulfilled in life.

5. Why are you going to run when it’s so cold outside? And I say ” Well, I want to be healthy so I can be with you a lot longer.  If I make sure my body is healthy and working like it should I won’t get sick as much and I will live a lot longer. Maybe I can be around long enough to see your kids and I’ll get to hear how you answer these kinds of questions.”

Regular exercise is shown to reduce the amount of cellular damage to tissues and organs that lead to many chronic diseases and even many acute sicknesses like colds and flu. A system of regular exercise makes you less likely to have heart disease, Type II Diabetes, Hypertension, and a myriad of other ailments that our US sedentary lifestyles have blessed us with.

There are studies that link extended life expectancy to exercise (This is just one study, there are literally thousands).  So out of all the reasons that I stated here: feeling energized, reducing stress, better self-concept, better brain function, and a happier life, this one may be the most important. Whether you have kids or not, the fact that you could contribute to our world for a longer period of time is paramount to a fulfilled existence.  Knowing that I may someday see grandchildren, or that I will get to see my team kids grown up and be successful, makes the temporary discomfort of a cold weather run well worth it. 30 minutes of exercise and icicles on my hat is a small price to pay to feel good, think better and still be around to play human for another 50 years. Honestly, is it too much of a price for you?  

29
Oct
14

Hmmm, that is interesting

File this under “Hmmm, that’s interesting” but you have to say it with one of your eyebrows raised.

I was chatting with a friend the other day and we were talking about how many people could be described in certain ways in reference to the world population. Like, how many people take gymnastics, what percentage? What percentage of people cannot swim (couldn’t find a reasonable answer for the world)? How many own cars, bikes, houses? Etc. So, of course, being nerdy we both pull out our phones and begin researching.

The world just tipped the 7 billion mark but  it’s hard to grasp things when contemplating such huge numbers. We found a really cool graphic that asks “What if the world were only 100 people?” So we battled each other on finding how many of the 100 would do various things:If the world were only 100 people

Of the 100 people, 50 are male, 50 are female, 26 are “children” and 8 are over age 65.

Of all these (100) people only 5 of us speak English. 5 others speak Spanish but 12 speak Chinese.

17 People cannot read.

23 have no shelter to rest their head.

51 live in the city.

13 have no access to water.

21 are overweight, and 15 are undernourished.

31 don’t get any exercise outside of their job or their daily living.

15 of the 100 are smokers.

13 people own cars.

Sadly, less than 1 does gymnastics. (sad face)

Side note: If the US was only 100 people; 80 (vs. 31 worldwide) would be sedentary, still less than 1 would be a gymnast (still sad face) and only 44 could swim.

I know it’s simplistic, but maybe if we saw the world as a smaller number, a number that could fit into one room, we would do something about the problems that the world faces. Maybe we could get 13 people a drink of water, we could convince 15 people to stop smoking, we could give 17 the gift or literacy, or we could motivate 31 of them to get up and move. When the numbers are easier to grasp the problems of the world should become harder to accept. I know that if the whole of the world’s people were only 100 that I could get more of them doing gymnastics, that’s for sure.

01
Oct
14

How clean is your pool?

This is gross. So, sorry. But we went for a swim at a friend’s place the other night and the water was looking a little green. I asked him if his filter was working and he told me that they were having some issues, but that it was still probably cleaner than a public pool.

Interesting. So I began looking at some stats on my tablet that night while I waited for sleep to hit me. I was a little disturbed and so, it took a little longer to fall asleep. But here is what I found.

6% of people who have been in public pools, read that as any pool that is given access by a general population, admit that they have swam while having a cold. 11% admit that they have swam with a runny nose. 70% say that they don’t shower before entering a pool and that may explain the 50% of pools that have traces of human fecal matter in them. Ick, right?

"It looks clean" is not good enough sometime

“It looks clean” is not good enough sometime

But, wait, what about the chlorine used to keep public places clean? That’s a great question. Lets talk chemistry. When Chlorine is combined with Uric acid (yes, everyone does pee in the pool), two dangerous gases are given off: Cyanogen Chloride and Nitrogen Trichloramine. Both are skin irritants, and can affect the lungs and even the heart negatively. A study out of Purdue U, explains that these gaseous byproducts are the reason that our eyes burn when in pools. So what most pool managers do is …wait for it….add more chlorine.

Bromine is also used in some pools and similar byproducts are given off, but it is way more expensive. So most public pools still rely on chlorine.

Now is that enough to stop me from swimming? No. I also let my kids swim in public pools all the time. In fact, my kids learned to swim in a pool program that we trusted. Not only were the instructors good but they took their pool maintenance pretty seriously. I never had burning eyes and we were in that water a lot. (See Madison Swim Academy). But we have also been in several hotels that were not as good. One place in Illinois had my eyes burning without even getting in the water.

So I guess it’s up to us to keep an eye out for good clean pools for our kids. But remember that when you smell strong chlorine, it’s because the pool is giving off gas made from people waste. Make good decisions, stay healthy.

We use green chemicals to clean our gym. Our mats are sanitized weekly and our gym not only cleans the floors, mats, and equipment, we spend a lot to clean our air. The musty gym smell comes from odor holding dust that accumulates on ceilings, and structures that we cannot reach. But rest assured that Gymfinity is clean and safe; it’s what we want for our kids. It’s what we want for your kids too.

 

See also: Our gym page at Gymfinity.com

10
Sep
14

why you should slow down on fast food

Look, gloves off, here is the straight scoop about fast food. I have written before how fast food is more a function of economics over taste or preference. I myself am not a total stranger to the drive through window, but I know that I indulge in that only once or twice a month.  Also, I am under no illusion that I am getting real food, I know I am filling my gut for a short term solution to a time crunch, period.

We all know that a regular diet that includes fast food will lead to  weight gain and can increase the likelihood of developing diabetes. That’ s a fact, and if you didn’t know that…..well, now you do.

Her’s another fact: let’s start with breakfast. Fast food eggs are made of dimethylpolysiloxane (found in lubricants and silly putty) and gycerin (found in soap). Though it might be better to just eat the soap and lube because other menu items might be surprising too. For instance, most fast food burgers contain only about 2 to 14% real meat. Most of the patty is chemical filler, that’s why they don’t spoil. When something doesn’t rot, you can bet it’s not organic or natural.  So forget the beef, get the chicken.

looks harmless

looks harmless

Maybe not. “Dad, which part of the chicken is the nugget?” Great question. It’s actually from various parts. In fact it’s from a process called mechanical separation: which is made from a slimy soup created from processed bones and other unusable carcass parts. (Mmmm right?) So, skip the chicken and go for a salad.

Hold the fork because even the salad choices are suspect. For example, a BK salad is 500 calories with 28 grams of fat and a day’s worth of sodium. But sadly still, probably your best choice. But often the salads are loaded with High Fructose Corn Syrup, a cheap sweetener (definitely in the soft drinks and desserts) and a study from Princeton showed HFCS as a major cause of obesity.

Did you also know that fast food can be addictive? Yup, a study by Garber & Lustig shows a correlation of addictive behavior and fast food consumption. The CDC explains that obesity has gone up 100% in children and 300% in adolescents since 1984. So let’s connect the dots: HFCS causes obesity, HFCS is in many fast food menu options. Obesity is in a raging increase. Draw your conclusion.

For a healthy choice for your kids see: Our gym page at Gymfinity.com

27
Aug
14

the battle for control of our children

I was a health teacher in a middle school. I said the same thing to my health students, boys and girls, as I do to my team kids and my own children today. “Losing control of yourself is the worst thing that can happen to you. Whether you lose control to another person, like a boyfriend or girlfriend, or to a thing like alcohol or a drug; not being able to determine what you do is the worst position you can be in.” I believe that we should be empowering children for their life.

I feel that we are fighting an uphill battle. Not in regard to drugs or drink, though that could be argued. I feel that we have to realize the impact of what our kids see in marketing messages. Girls particularly have so much to overcome to get to a point where they can feel OK about themselves. From the get-go, they hear that they are not attractive and attractive is all that matters. They are not fashionable, and fashion is matters. They are not strong, and strength only comes with satisfying your man.  These are all wrong.

We need to unite as A.A..C’s (Adults Affecting Children)* in teaching children that they are OK just the way they are; and despite the advertising world trying to make them feel inadequate, they are just fine. They need to understand that no matter what they wear, where they go, or who they see, it is the person inside that people should know. It is only by letting others know who we are inside that we can find if they are friends or not. If not, then too bad for the lost friend, you didn’t need them anyway.

So when we see a company advertising to our children that they are somehow not good enough or incomplete without a given product, we need to understand that the company is trying to control our children’s minds. They are forming those kid’s thought realities.  When you are school shopping, watch the messages that your kids hear. Explain to them that the first day of school is just another day, it’s not a pageant and it’s not to judge the other kids by what they have or don’t have, wear or don’t wear.  Lets empower them to be strong, independent, and unaffected by high pressure marketing. We need to be there to bring our kids back to the truth. Can we all agree on that? Please. I can’t do it alone.

* Yes we do all have an effect on children but A.A.C. is not a real title or organization, it’s just me being hilarious**

** I often feel that I am funny, and I am really quite funny in my own mind. When I write things like that it’s best to  just smile and nod.

See also: Our gym page at Gymfinity.com




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