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Trick but no treat….

On the radio today I heard a story about a woman who is refusing to give out candy to overweight children. She is instead giving these children notes to take home to their parents about how they need to lose weight.

These kids who may already feel self-conscious or be made fun of for their weight are going to be handed a note while their skinnier friends around them get candy….

Sounds like a great way to stop bullying and build children’s self-esteems!

NOT!

While teaching moderation is important it shouldn’t be done on Halloween OR in this way!

Ok I’m all for teaching our kids about healthy eating, but this simply is not the way.

Yes, childhood obesity is a problem. Yes, I would love to promote healthier eating to our kids. Yes, I kind of believe that drastic measures need to be taken and the community needs to become involved.

But NOT on a holiday based around eating candy until your belly hurts is not the time.

This is actually the attitude that irritates me more than anything else.

We vilify holidays and restaurants and even busy schedules as the reason why we or our children are overweight.

We focus on not eating “too badly” over Thanksgiving or Christmas.

But the real problem isn’t those few days during the year that we decide to indulge. It is the decisions we make those 300 some other days that really causes the problems.

Trick-or-treating on Halloween isn’t the cause of childhood obesity and a child shouldn’t be penalized on that day.

Instead we need to focus on teaching healthy habits on those other 300 some odd days that aren’t holidays.

So tomorrow indulge in those treats. Heck maybe even eat too many.

But then get right back on track the next day! The day after Halloween is the perfect time to instill the healthy habit of MODERATION with all that leftover candy (which half of it will finally be thrown away around New Years when all the yucky candy remains uneaten!).

Oh and one last thing….Embarrassing a kid isn’t going to change things. While teaching kids and telling kids the right way to behave is important, it is more important that we adults actually LEAD BY EXAMPLE.

So if this woman actually wanted to prevent childhood obesity, she would be working to get better food into the schools. Or help make healthier foods easier to obtain. Or even leading a class for parents about preparing healthy family meals on a budget.

But no…instead she is choosing to shame and bully a little kid….Great job fighting childhood obesity!

NOT!

PLAY

It’s funny. I don’t feel that old.

But when I look at kids today, I can’t help but think about how different my childhood was from theirs.

I was always playing. I was always active even if that meant climbing trees…actually climbing jump ropes that I hung from trees (that occasionally snapped…I didn’t say I was bright…Sorry Man Bicep Mom if you didn’t know that….)

But kids today don’t just go out and play. They don’t ride their bikes around the neighborhood or roller blade or run around like mad people.

They are playing video games or watching TV or SITTING DOWN.

Not that studying isn’t great and not that watching TV doesn’t have its place, but kids need to MOVE!

I mean you hear about the increase in childhood obesity all of the time, but what are we really doing about it!?! Sending out more literature about it? Telling parents NOT to let their kids watch TV!?!

Well how about we tell parents what can actually CHANGE the situation!

And what is one of the best ways to encourage young kids to move!?! MUSIC!

Ryan actually was the one to show me how important music actually was to getting kids to move.

Ryan was a preschool teacher and music teacher. Now he pretty much solely focuses on the music education end of things.His Rhymin’ Ryan music gets preschoolers and younger children off their butts and wiggling to the music.

And of course I am musically challenged…in every way. So I was excited when he started doing something musical that I actually understood…music and MOVEMENT.

And why does music work so well to encourage kids to move?

Because music makes movement or exercise into PLAY!

Kids will move if they think it is fun. When you make movement into exercise or a chore, they won’t do it. They will want to instead sit in front of the TV.

So stop forcing them to do certain sports or tell them they need to exercise because they play too many video games.

Instead of just saying, “You can’t watch TV” find FUN ACTIVITIES you can do. Be it dancing around to music or playing on the playground together, make exercise something fun not a chore!

The Man Bicep Mom Visits Boston

My mom came to visit this weekend!

One of the few people I look tall next to!!! ;-)

We ate lots of deliciously non Primal food. Walked around a ton (and went shopping!). Did an hour of cycling and lifted heavy weights.

The Man Bicep Mom took her first spin class and did 3 pull ups even though she never does them! AWESOME!

It was all in all – WONDERFUL.

A couple of “observations” from this weekend:

  1. We are killing our kids by letting them eat crap and be lazy bums on the couch.
  2. It is SUPER easy to eat Primally at almost any “nicer” restaurant. I mean honestly, you really have no excuse not to stick to your diet.
  3. Circuit training really does prepare you for any physical activity.
  4. Getting older shouldn’t mean just accepting physical decline.

Ok…so let’s start off with the first observation.

My mom and I went to Mike’s Pastry in the North End. It is sort of a tradition for us when she comes to visit. We get chocolate covered cannoli and cappuccinos and we sit and gossip at a table in the bakery for hours.

This last time when we were there, a hoard of 13-14 year olds came swarming in. They were probably on a field trip in the North End – seeing the Old North Church and some of the other landmarks in the area.

What surprised me was the fact that all of the kids were allowed to get HUGE pastries.

And the other thing that surprised me was that about 80% of the children were overweight.

I’m sorry if this sounds mean, but what popped into my head was “Why are these kids being allowed to eat this when they should be outside on this wonderful day running around?”

Why was eating crap at Mike’s Pastry part of this classes field trip? Was this really necessary? Why at least didn’t they take the snacks outside somewhere where they could also run around?

Am I the only one sort of sickened by the fact that the adults and parents didn’t seem to care that their kids were out of shape and really shouldn’t be eating all of the crap? Am I over-thinking this whole incident?

Ok observation number two…It is super easy to eat well at any nice restaurant.

I’ve found it to be very interesting that at nice restaurants they cook mostly Primal foods. Usually they don’t even cook things in vegetable oils, but instead use lard and butter and olive oil.

Also, unless you go to an Italian restaurant, there really aren’t even that many carbs on the menu. At steak houses, they generally serve potatoes. At seafood places, it is usually potatoes or maybe even rice.

And at this restaurant Clio that we went to, there were only even a handful of non-vegetable/fruit carbs served throughout the entire 7 course meal! There were only a few potatoes and parsnips served in a couple of dishes. No rice. No bread. No pasta.

No excuse to really cheat on your diet.

So if culinary tradition says we should cook with animal fats and barely serve any carbs besides fruits and vegetables, why do we load down every meal with carbs and vegetable oils? When did cooking with processed crap and carbs become the norm while only restaurants run by Iron Chefs cook with whole foods?

Don’t you think there is a reason that our culinary tradition avoids using a ton of wheat and vegetable oils? To me this is just more proof of how right the whole idea of eating more “Primally” is.

So my third observation has to do with the Man Bicep Mom. My mom does weight training and plyometric circuits. She never does pull ups and she has never taken a spin class. She also has never done any powerlifting. Yet today she did all three…pretty easily actually.

She survived an hour of spin that would be difficult for even an advanced cyclist (trust me I know…I had people who spin all of the time in my class today who looked like they were dying).

She then also did some powerlifting and busted out three pull ups even though she literally never does them.

Why could she do all of this so easily?

Her weight training and cardio circuits!

She does fast paced circuits that pretty much incorporate everything. She uses dvds from The Firm, which I might add are great for a home exerciser who doesn’t necessarily want to only do powerlifting moves.

The circuits include weights and plyometrics, kettlebells, yoga and even Pilates. They really strengthen the entire body.

And because she is doing all of these different things to build her strength and cardiovascular endurance, she had no problem doing the spinning or the weight training.

I have people who attempt their first spin class after only doing hours of cardio who struggle. And you wouldn’t think they would, would you?

But they do. They aren’t prepared for the short bursts of high intensity sprints. They aren’t prepared for adding a ton of resistance as they climb a hill. They legs aren’t prepared for jumps or even isolation.

They aren’t prepared because they are only used to one thing – long, chronic cardio.

But the Man Bicep Mom? She was prepared. The plyometric drills included in her circuits prepared her for sprint intervals. Her weight training strengthened her legs and core so she could climb hills and easily stabilize her body in and out of the saddle.

Her body was used to variety and used to being pushed.

So if you want to be a renaissance fitness woman,  you’ve got to do circuits and mix it up! Even if you love running, throw in some weight training circuits every once in a while! They will even help your running!!!!

This all leads to my fourth and finally observation for this weekend – Age isn’t an excuse for being out of shape PERIOD. End of story. That’s it.

I have clients that say to me, “Well I’m ____age. I’m not going to be able to do the same things I did when I was young.

Can I just say that the statement above is absolute HORSE SHIT!?! (Sorry but it honestly is.)

Yes your body is going to age. Yes some things may become more difficult and you may decide you don’t like doing certain exercises any more because they do bother your body more.

But you can still be fit and as physically able as when you were young.

Don’t believe me? Just go look at the Man Bicep Mom posts! Just read what I wrote above!

I mean even just today my mom said that she honestly didn’t feel any different from when she was younger except that sometimes she feels like she gets out of shape a bit faster when she takes time off.

So next time you think you can’t do a physical activity because of your age, think about hitting the gym a couple of times a week. A little hard work in the gym can go a long way toward better quality of life and renewed physical strength. You may even find that some great circuit training will make you stronger and help you move better than you even did when you were younger!

So age is no excuse! Workout and stay young!

Anyway, I hope all of you Man Bicepers out there had just as wonderful a weekend with someone close to you as I did. :-)

Workout Toys For Kids…Are they a good thing?

Let’s first acknowledge two facts:

  1. Childhood obesity is an issue.
  2. Kids love to act like their parents and do what their parents do.

My question then is, can you use the second fact to solve the first one?

WOD Toys thinks you can! They’ve created a new line of fitness toys so that children can “work out” like their parents!

I wish my face looked that cute when I snarl!

Is this workout equipment for kids a good thing?

I think so, but at the same time I’m not sure it is really a solution to our childhood obesity epidemic.

The equipment (and the little girl using it) are pretty darn cute! Plus, I can imagine lots of kids loving to lift like their parents do.

For years, companies have made toys that allow kids to mimic their parents.

Mowing the lawn was fun before you realized it was a chore...Although getting an allowance made doing the chore a little more tolerable! :-)

Now children have a toy that will help make them more active! And the thing is, they won’t think of “working out with their parent” as a chore…to them it will be playing!

And if kids start associating “lifting” with “playing” at a young age, maybe they won’t dread working out as much as they get older?

Some question I have are…How often do most parents workout in front of their kids? Most people here don’t have their kids watching them workout…Are Crossfitters bringing their kids to their workouts?

I mean I used to watch my mom do her workout tapes at home, but how often are parents using a barbell for Olympic lifts at home? How often are most parents even working out at home?

AND are the kids with parents that DO WORKOUT, the ones that are really a part of the obesity epidemic?

My guess is probably not.

So while this equipment may be encouraging kids to be active…Is it encouraging the kids who need it the most? Is it really a solution to the obesity epidemic?

What do you think? Would you buy this for your kids?

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