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Friday, July 29, 2011

Seminar at TPS

We just heard back from the ISSA and the Ken Blackburn/John Brookfield seminar is approved for 8 ISSA continuing education units (CEU's). If you are a trainer that is not ISSA affiliated you cna present the ceu's to your provider for credit.

What if you are not a trainer? Should you come? YES! Let me tell you a little about the seminar. Ken Blackburn of the IKFF (link) will be presenting the art and science of the kettlebell for combat sport athletes. Combat sports are MMA, Football, Hockey, Lacrosse, Boxing, Muay Thai and any other where body contact is involved.

Ken will teach you how to use and apply proper kettlebell techniques to build speed, strength and unstoppable endurance. Trust me on this, you will not want to miss the opportunity to learn from
Ken. He is truly one of the best instructors that I have ever learned from.

Right after Ken's segment, strength legend, John Brookfield will be presenting Battling Ropes basics. John is the creator of the Battling Ropes system. Who better to teach it to you than the master?

There is nothing new under the sun they say, and this really applies to the fitness/strength world, but the Battling Ropes system is without question, one of those things that infuriates me. Every time I see it I think, "why didn't I think of that?" It is new, exciting, simple and effective. Everything you need in a tool for your fitness toolbox.

Using the Battling Ropes system you can do an almost limitless amount of exercises. You can use them for building stamina, strength, improving mobility and more and they re fun and challenging. Battling Ropes are one of the best tools to add to your training toolbox. If you are going to learn how to use them, why take a course form a guy who took a course from a guy who took a course? Learn them from the master of the system. Lucky for you, TPS is bringing him to you. This really is a no-brainer. Learn from the best. John Brookfield is the best. He is also coming here. You should too.

Go to to register

Fat Kids, an epidemic?

I'm going to touch on a topic that is dear to me this month: childhood obesity. I have my own theories as to why this is occurring and it does not jive with what a lot of the experts say. Let me preface this by saying that I am a parent and I know how tough it can be to get kids to eat healthy food. It can be a battle, but you must choose your battles and this one is not one to cave in on. Teach them to make sound nutritional choices now and it will stay with them for life.

I was not taught how to make good choices as a child and it still haunts me. Sure, I eat a lot better than the average American, but I still make some poor choices. I make them a lot more than I should. I do not make them in front of my son very much. He see's daddy eating "clean" almost 100% of the time. You can begin to do the same today. Make better choices as much as you can. If you don't know how, refer to the Nutrition Corner section on the TPS site for a good starting point.

Childhood obesity levels were between 5-25% in 1985, with the variances being racial. Minority kids had a much higher obesity rate than white kids. The number of obese kids has shot to over 30% in at least 12 states in the U.S. for 2011. This should be an unacceptable number for all of us to swallow. Without getting into the reasons for the difference between racial groups (which is well beyond the scope of this article) let's look at some of the primary causes of this epidemic.

When I say epidemic, I mean exactly that. Obesity opens your body up to more health problems that you can imagine, such as :

• High cholesterol

• High blood pressure

• Early heart disease

• Diabetes

• Bone problems

• Skin conditions such as heat rash, fungal infections, and acne

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Some of the real causes of childhood obesity are not genetic disorders as many people will lead you to believe. They are things like:
• a lack of exercise

• lack of physical education (gym) in schools

• consuming poor quality food

• playing video games/watching tv for too long

• drinking sugared drinks

• not enough protein

• abundance of refined sugar/wheat

• societal risks of letting your kids go out and play

• not eating the right foods frequently/ eating once or twice a day

I'm going to break these down into a few categories and discuss them more. First is lack of activity. Kids need to run around a lot. They need to play, jump, run, skin their knees, catch balls, climb trees and basically just be kids. They have an almost limitless amount of energy and it needs to be burned off. Without getting off on a tangent, a lot of behavioral issues will simply go away if your kids are tired from playing. Teach them to be active. Limit the computer time, video game time and tv time daily.

I mentioned societal factors earlier, let's face it, we live in a different world in 2011. Things are not like they were when I was growing up. Just a short 30-35 years ago when I was a kid, we were kicked out of the house and told to stay out until the street lights came on. We played hockey, baseball, basketball and ran around playing all day. There were not a lot of fat kids then because everyone was playing a lot.

In 2011, I would NEVER let my son go out unattended. There are way more freaks out there now just looking to snatch your kids from you and do awful things. You need to keep a close eye on them to keep them safe. This presents a problem to working parents and single parents. How do you get them to be active if you have to watch them or go to work? I don't know if I can answer this because my situation is different than yours. I have the luxury of being able to take a break from work and bring my son to the gym and disguise exercise as play, and to bring him to a friend's house or the park to play during the day. We all are not as fortunate, but you can do something that I do at home. You and your child will benefit from it. Teach them to do pushups, situps, squats, lunges and more at home. Make it part of the routine. Disguise it as a game. One thing I have done recently is when playing catch with the football, every time you miss it you have to do 5 pushups. I will miss the ball more than my son on purpose so he sees me doing the pushups too. I toss it to him about 80% of the time so that he will catch it. I will make him miss it the other 20% so he is in the grass getting strong. When your kids see you exercising, even when it is disguised as a game, they will want to do it too.

In the winter when it's too cold to go out, we make pushups, situps, and squats part of his pre-bed routine. It's like brushing the teeth at night, just something you have to do. Start out with just a few and add a few each week. Before you know it, your kids will be awesome at pushups, squats and situps. I'm sure that you can be creative and come up with some of your own games to play.

For those of you in your 30's and 40's, remember when you were in school? You had gym class all the time. You were sweaty and ran around and played all kinds of games in gym class. This doesn't happen anymore. Kids are lucky if they get one class a week. Some school districts don't even have gym. They have 35 social workers and lots of administrators, but no activity for the kids. That doesn't seem right to me.

Let's look at the nutritional side of things now. First off, fast food and the crap for sale in the grocery stores is heavily marketed to kids. They stick a cartoon character, or a superhero on a box of processed crap I wouldn't give to my dog, pay the stores to keep it at kids eye level and make millions poisoning our youth. Much of the time, parents either don't know how bad this stuff is or are too tired/stressed out to cause a scene on the store by telling the kids they can't have it so they buy it and then the kids eat it and the marketers have won.

Why doesn't the produce industry put Spiderman on apples and Batman on bananas? I'm sure that if they were on there, kids wouldn't be eating Sugar O's for breakfast. Super heroes eat super foods like oatmeal, fruit, whole grains and grass fed beef. Kids' love superheroes and will mimic what they see.

If any of you know someone in the marketing department of Chiquita banana, tell them to contact Marvel and put the Hulk on a bunch of bananas. Their margins will go sky high.

And another thing, why do the lowest bidders get the contract for the food that goes to schools? And who are the RDA's that make up the diets plans for the schools? They should hang their heads in shame. Have you ever seen the food or the menu at a school? It is horrendous. The government needs to get their heads out of their you know what and stop the lowest bidder nonsense. They buy CHEAP, low quality food and put it in the cafeteria. Most of it is made in a factory where the real vitamins and minerals are processed out and chemical ones are added in later. Does this seem right to you? How about getting real food that is locally sourced and not from a conglomerate and then having someone actually cook it? It is not that much more expensive and the government will save money later on down the road when they don't have to pay for all the health care issues caused by feeding kids garbage in school. But I digress on a political diatribe.

This is a much bigger issue than you think because a lot of kids get the two best meals they eat all day at school. When they get home, many parents are too tired from working, or don't now good food from bad and whip up something from a package that is loaded with sodium, processed flour, and lots and lots of chemicals to keep the crap form spoiling. This is where I say parents are not on board with good nutrition. It's not because they don't want the best for their kids. They just don't fully realize the low quality of many foods and are not knowledgeable about nutrition.

If we can get parents to learn just a little about proper nutrition and the health benefits it has, as well as the problems that poor nutrition will cause later in life, we will be moving in the right direction. This is more difficult than you think. The average person simply has no idea that you should not eat foods that are in a box. To them it's just a quick meal that will feed the family. Foods that are processed and packaged have very little nutritional value. All of the good in the food has been processed out of it. The food conglomerates add in chemical versions of vitamins and minerals to replace what was lost in the manufacturing process. They use very low quality, refined grains and load the food with sodium. They also add in a host of chemicals to stabilize the food to prevent it from spoiling while on the shelves.

Of course the FDA tells you that the additives in food are fine. Really? Didn't the FDA fastrack Phen/Fen and it killed people because of pressure from the drug lobby? But I digress. We simply don't know enough about the food additives to risk using them on our kids. There are plenty that we do know are really bad.

Let's look at a commonly thought healthy snack for kids, Sunmaid /Yogurt Covered Raisins. You would think these are good and natural right? Well, they contain something called titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide is a suspected carcinogen and it has a whole host of issues with it. Of course the FDA says that it is safe. I don't know about you, but I'm very skeptical of the FDA. There is a lot of conflicting information about titanium dioxide. I believe a lot of the good information about it has been surreptitiously spread by the titanium dioxide producers, as it is one of the 50 moist common chemicals produced in the world. That adds up to big profits for the people who make it. Of course they want you to think it's safe.

This is just one example of a food additive, there are hundreds. Start reading labels. If you can't pronounce the ingredients, don't buy it.

Let's talk about sugar. Sugar is everywhere and it is very easily converted to body fat. Sugar is in many forms too. White flour, white bread, high fructose corn syrup, and many more are all forms of processed sugar. Drinks are loaded with sugar, especially the ones you think are healthy. Kids should drink water. They should drink some REAL juice. They should never drink soda and the non-caffeinated drinks disguised as juice. Consuming excess sugar IS one of the real reasons that we see a rise in juvenile obesity.

Our kids are bombarded with sugar, from almost all cereals, to drinks to prepackaged starches, like rice and pasta dishes that cook in a minute. It's all a form of sugar that they don't need. Feed your kids whole grain pasta, real rice, and water with fruit added to it for flavor. It's cheaper and better for them. It only takes a few minutes more to cook and prepare.

A good rule of thumb when you go shopping is to buy foods that are on the outskirts of the store and avoid almost all of the aisles. The periphery of the store has fruit, produce, meats and poultry and dairy. The aisles have garbage, except the rice and healthy pasta section. Read the bread labels too, look for breads that have whole grains, seeds and no added sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

This leads me to the next section that you can start to implement today. Use the concept of all the time foods, sometimes food and never foods. All the time foods are any real food product. Think fresh vegetable, lean meats, fruits, low fat dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds and grains.

Sometimes foods are juices (real juice), butter, bacon, ice cream, candy, pizza and things you would have on a special occasion. It's ok for kids to have a piece of candy or a dish of ice cream sometimes. It won't kill them. Be judicious about this.

Never foods are highly sugared cereals, packaged rice and pasta or just about anything in a box or a frozen package and fast foods. I know, I know, your kids love fast foods. They really should never eat it. I know it won't kill them if they only have it sometimes and I am guilty myself of letting the boy have it occasionally. This is something we need to stand fast on.

I'll try wrap this up: feed your kids real food that you made at home, make sure that you shut off the tv and play with them and keep them active, educate them about good food, and let them have a treat occasionally. If you try and do all these things, maybe we will see the epidemic come to an end.