by Jenny Gaal, Fitness Director

summer-body-workout-400x400There is no denying that spring is here and if you are like many of us who pack on a few extra pounds in the winter….otherwise known as the “winter coat”…it’s time to Shed the coat and get ready for sunny skies and summer time!  Check out our Adults and Kids Fitness Classes at Fun & Fitness Gymnastics and these helpful tips:

  1. Change your lifestyle.

When you go on a “program” to lose weight, you may set yourself up for failure. A program implies an endpoint, which is when most people return to their previous habits. If you want to lose fat and keep it off, make changes that you can live with indefinitely. Don’t over-restrict calories, and find an exercise program that adequately challenges you, provides progression and offers sufficient variety so that you can maintain it for years to come.

  1. Drink more water.

Water is the medium in which most cellular activities take place, including the transport and burning of fat. In addition, drinking plenty of calorie-free water makes you feel full and eat less. Drink at least 1 ounce of water per 2 pounds of bodyweight a day (that’s 100 ounces for a 200-pound person). Keep a 20-ounce water bottle at your desk, fill it five times a day, and you’re set.

  1. Consume fewer calories than you burn.

To figure out how many calories you burn a day, calculate your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)—the number of calories you burn daily doing routine activities, not including formal exercise—using this formula: RMR = bodyweight (in pounds) x 13. Next, determine how many calories you burn through exercise—a half-hour of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise burns around 350 calories in the average man, and a half-hour of lifting burns around 200. Add your RMR to the calories you burn in the gym, and keep your daily calorie consumption below that total.

  1. Reduce starchy carbs.

Consuming too many starchy foods, such as potatoes, rice, pasta and breads (especially at one sitting), provides your body with more than it needs for energy and glycogen stores; anything left over will be stored as fat.  You don’t have to eliminate starchy carbs completely but you should really cut back on them when trying to shed body fat.  Limit total starch servings per day to 3-5, where a serving size is one cup of pasta, rice or sliced potatoes.

  1. Limit sugar consumption.

Taking in simple carbs (sugars) right after weight training replenishes muscle and liver glycogen stores, but excess sugar consumed at other times will be stored as fat. Satisfy your sweet tooth occasionally, but try limiting your intake of sugar to fresh fruit. Replace sugary beverages like soft drinks and juice with water, coffee, tea or diet soda.

  1. Eat 5-6 small meals a day.

Dieters often decrease the number of daily meals in an attempt to reduce calories—a big no-no.  If you eat six meals a day versus three with the same total calories, you can lose more fat because more meals burn more calories by increasing thermogenesis, the production of heat, in the body.

  1. Increase vegetable consumption.

Vegetables are nutrient-dense, meaning they pack maximum nutrition value with minimal calories, leaving you more full on fewer calories. Consume five servings a day of veggies, whether as a snack, on a sandwich or on the side of a chicken breast. Order your next burger with fresh vegetables instead of french fries.

  1. Consume 25-35 grams of fiber a day.

Fiber lowers insulin levels—along with total calories.  Fiber absorbs water and takes up more space in your stomach, fighting off hunger pangs, too. Fiber rich foods include bran cereal, oatmeal and beans. Check nutrition labels for fiber content.

  1. Eat more healthy fats.

Healthy fats are totally underutilized by individuals trying to shed body fat. You have to reduce calories to get rid of body fat, but you don’t want to cut out healthy fats completely. Fats take longer to break down in your stomach and help control blood-sugar levels, leaving you more satisfied and reducing your cravings. Include avocados, fatty fish, olives, nuts and seeds, and oils such as olive, flaxseed and canola in your diet.

One of the more memorable sport movies of the last few years is “42” – the true story of Jackie Robinson’s first season in Major League Baseball as the first African American allowed to play in “the Show”, as it is often called. There is one particular scene in the movie that haunts me, and I hope it haunts you as well. I’m referring to the game when Robinson and the Dodgers play Philadelphia and take the field in front of a very hostile crowd. As Robinson runs out to his position in the first inning, a young boy sitting next to his father watches intently as his father yells racist remarks at Robinson for his mere existence on the field of baseball. Within moments, this young boy who appears to have been caught off guard by his father’s ranting, decides that he too should join in the degrading of the “villain” on the field; it seems like the thing to do.

Liam WOGA P BarsA parent can be a powerful influence on a child. A parent’s values become a child’s values. A parent’s words become a child’s words. A parent’s behaviors become a child’s behaviors. And it stands to reason that a parent’s villains become a child’s villains. What a sobering thought!

Perhaps it’s time to ask, “Who have you cast as villain in your world, and do you want your child to see and treat these people as villains – bad guys, undeserving of respect, targets of personal attacks, ridicule and blame? There are few things as destructive as racism; the movie scene demonstrates a father’s influence on a young mind. But it doesn’t have to be about the color of one’s skin for it to be damaging.

For instance, is it possible that our children learn disrespect for referees, coaches and judges by overhearing our repeated disgust over an official’s cal or evaluation? Can we really expect our children to take responsibility for their performances when we constantly blame the judges or umpires for calling it as they see it? How can we possibly ask our children to listen to their coaches when they frequently hear us criticizing the coach’s decision making?

In truth, parents can be respect-killers for every authority figure in a child’s life by attacking, ridiculing, criticizing, condemning and complaining about referees, umpires, judges, officials, coaches, and sport administrators. When we “villainize” someone, whether it’s during a competition, during the car ride home after a practice, or in front of children while talking to other adults, we should not be surprised when our children demonstrate disrespectful behaviors towards those same people. They didn’t learn it from a stranger.

We have a huge responsibility to teach tolerance and respect for those who volunteer their time (or are paid very little) to officiate or coach our children. If we hope to maintain the services of our officials and coaches, as well as teach our children respectfulness, we must first learn to control our emotions and our reactions on the sidelines of competition. Many organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to retain officials and coaches due to the verbal abuse they suffer at the hands of parents! Yet those same parents expect their children to control themselves.

If youth sports is truly a laboratory for learning life lessons; if its purpose is to help our children develop physically, mentally, and emotionally – then it stands to reason that parents cannot temporarily suspend such virtues as respect and self-control during the minutes of a game or course of a competition. If you recognize the tendency to get emotionally hijacked by your emotions during competitions here are some suggestions:

  • Increase the physical distance between yourself and the field of play; sit farther away from the action
  • Closely monitor your self-talk during the competition to stay focused on only the things within your control; an official’s decisions or scores are NOT within your control so leave them alone
  • Guard your reactions, especially in the first 10 seconds after a play or routine, or a “call” or score by a referee/judge
  • Ask yourself, “How would I feel right now if I were an official at a youth sport competition having to make a close or controversial call, or determine which deductions I should take?”
  • Be ready to consider this question at any moment: “What life lesson is my child exposed to by having to deal with the adversity of a ‘bad’ call, or score during this competition?”

Give these strategies a try. They will go a long way in helping you set a good example for your children and make it safe for our referees, umpires, and officials to continue doing the task they enjoy.


Chang WOGA P Bars

It’s important for children who are involved in athletics and team-based activities to learn from a loss or setback instead of letting it negatively affect their attitude and performance. Violent incidents and excessive “drama” involving athletes (and/or their parents) and referee and judges have made recent news headlines, such as the Detroit-area soccer player who was accused of punching a referee after receiving a red card in a recreational league game. Unfortunately, this act of violence was fatal.

Of course it’s necessary for all young people to know that neither rage, and/or most certainly violence is never the solution, but the adrenaline rush that accompanies sporting events can present a challenging emotional situation for child athletes and sport parents, making it necessary to address the young athlete’s disappointment or anger before emotions flare out of control.

Teams are like families, and they can choose to let their values ooze out of their conversations, decisions, policies, and practices. Meetings before and after practice, as well as quick conversations during practice can be opportunities to reinforce good sportsmanship, respect for the event, and for opponents and other participants. The gym locker room, car, and competition site are settings ideal for story, example, or testimony that says to all, “this is who we are.”

“Many young athletes need a paradigm shift in how they see competition”

The most fundamental challenge coaches and sport parents face in youth athletics is shifting the athlete’s thought process about the competitive experience.

I’m referring to a shift from:  “This loss is proof that I’m no good and therefore devastating.”  To: “What does this outcome represent to me in the way of feedback that I can use to get better?”

This more logical approach will not occur to most deeply competitive athletes immediately – as in the first 10 minutes after a poor performance or loss.  Unfortunately, it’s common for athletes to blame others for a defeat, whether they put it on the judge, equipment, teammate, coach or parents. The Detroit soccer player clearly allowed his poor sportsmanship to reach a dangerous level; he is being charged with second-degree murder for fatally punching the referee (and father of two).

In the case of young athletes, the sooner the initial “Boo-Hoo” (pity party) can be replaced with the question “What can I learn from this?” the sooner real progress can begin toward the goal of performance excellence.  This paradigm shift represents a more direct pathway to future victories than the pathway of anger, resentment, self-degradation, and self-pity – which only prolongs the immaturity of the athlete.

This is not to say that the outcome of a competition doesn’t matter, but it matters in a different way than most kids are being taught.  A poor performance is not who you are; it’s only what you did.  It is the responsibility of adults- parents, coaches, mentors- to teach young athletes this concept through leading by example and offering encouragement.

When a child is emotional following a loss, poor performance or setback of some kind, they need to feel understood, but they also must learn to handle defeats as a learning experience. This is where you- the parent, coach, friend or other adult- can help an athlete approach the issue from a positive perspective, guide them on the path to evaluating their own missteps, and not the possible fault of others, and inspire them to try again. Eventually children will begin to process these concepts on their own, allowing them to accept this day’s outcome and work toward higher levels of athletic performance for tomorrow.

by Jenny Gaal, Fitness Director

Getting fit doesn’t have to be rocket science! Did you know Simple body weight exercises are a great choice for achieving gains in strength, building muscle, boosting cardiovascular fitness, and burning fat.  Need more convincing?  Here are some more reasons…..

  1. Super efficient work outs: Since there is no equipment involved, bodyweight workouts make it easy to transition quickly from one exercise to the next. Shorter rest times mean it’s easy to quickly boost heart rate and burn more serious calories.2. Combined cardio and strength training:  We are all pressed for time but could all benefit from cardio and strength training and one.  Time to knock it out in one efficient class.

    3. Fast fat burning: Looking to shed a few unwanted pounds? Just a few minutes of body weight training can have a major impact on your metabolism.

    4. Something for everyone: Bodyweight exercises are a great choice because they are easily modified to challenge any fitness level.  Adding extra repetitions, performing the exercises faster or super-slow, and perfecting form are all ways to make even the simplest exercise more challenging. Fun & Fitness offers a variety of fitness classes to suit the whole family.

    5. Improve core strength: The “Core” is more than just Abs. In fact, at least 29 muscles make up the human core and many simple bodyweight movements can be used to engage all of them.  Such exercises improve core strength for better posture and improved athletic performance.