Learning From Our Kids

The primary difference between training adults and youth is that training youth is all about giving them something physically constructive to do with “all that energy.”  For adults, it’s all about giving them some energy by giving them something physically constructive to do.

Youth are little fireballs of energy.  Adults are constantly looking for ways to get energy.  Imagine that if at 40, you had the energy you did when you were 10!  While there are certain neural and physiological factors that create a difference, let’s look at some practical behavioral differences that could help explain the contrast between energy levels in adults and youth.

Kids Sleep:  Young kids go to bed at the same time every night, usually close to when the sun goes   down.  They have a pre bedtime ritual (brush teeth, get in pajamas, read stories, say prayers, other “calm down” activities.)  Adults often go to bed at different times every night with no clear pre-bedtime process of calming down.  Kids don’t go to the playground complaining about the crappy night of sleep they just had.  Poor sleep patterns have been linked to a host of health problems.  Develop a pre- bedtime routine to supercharge your sleep.

Kids Laugh and Giggle:  Kids are always looking for an excuse to laugh or giggle.  When’s the last time you had a real belly-laugh?  When was the last time you got the giggles?  As adults, we have to search for these opportunities to be silly.  There is quite a bit of research on laughing and health.

Kids Move:  It can be somewhat of a “chicken or the egg” phenomenon, but kids are constantly moving.  Some argue it’s because “kids have more energy.”  That is true to a certain degree.  However, creating energy in our bodies is like a perpetual motion machine.  When we move, we create energy.  When we have energy, we want to move.  Our body depends on circulation to create and distribute materials to our cells to create energy.  No movement, no energy.

Kids Don’t Force Toxins Into Their System:  Your car stops running well if you use bad oil, fuel, or other low-grade or downright damaging materials for operation.  Your body works the same way.  While kids can develop poor nutrition habits (facilitated by adults), the amount of downright toxic substances they directly ingest is normally 0.  I’m talking about alcohol, drugs (legal and illegal), smoking, excessive caffeine, and other “adult” vices.  As adults, we know these are not good for our system, but we take them in anyway.  If something isn’t good for your vehicle and you put it in the gas tank anyway, what happens to the car?

Kids Play:  When was the last time you performed a physical activity without an essential, directed outcome?  “Play” is physical creativity.  It helps our body and mind develop the way they should.  Unfortunately, even the amount of play our youth participate in is now limited.  When you watch kids play, what do you see?  Probably a mix of movement, social interaction, and probably some laughing to boot!  Find some play outlets as an adult.  That may mean playing with your kids, joining a sports league, or merely shooting hoops by yourself.

The list could go on.  The point is that as children, we naturally separate ourselves from the things that damage our mind, body, and soul.  As adults we are almost forced to have an affinity for them.  This affects many things, including our daily energy!  I have a saying, “If you want to feel like your 20, act like you’re 7”.   Sleep, move, laugh, and play!

 Brett Klika C.S.C.S. Director of Athletics at Fitness Quest 10, is a world renowned human performance specialist, motivational speaker, author, and educator. In his 14 year career, Brett has accrued more than 20,000 hours of training with youth, athletes, executives, and every day people.  He uses this knowledge and experience to motivate individuals and audiences around the world through his writing, speaking, DVD’s, an d personal correspondence.

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Taste the Healthy Lifestyle. Real Foods For Real Kids

Are your kids “coocoo for Cocoa Puffs?”  Does there breakfast come in the form of pink moons, yellow stars, and orange clovers?  Are they receiving morning nutrition information from a rabbit?  Silly parent!  Trix are for kids!  Unfortunately now, so is obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.  Foods and drinks high in sugar are at the “heart” of the problem, no pun intended.  Unless your child is independently wealthy and has the means to drive to the store to purchase food, you are the nutritional gatekeeper.  It’s not an easy job, but it’s an important one.

The last significant societal decrease in physical activity was around the years of the proliferation of the television (the 60’s).  Since then, we have probably decreased our overall activity, but nothing considered statistically significant.  Despite no significant decrease in activity, we have seen a consistent increase in obesity.  Our bodyweight and bodyfat are regulated by the amount of energy we expend vs. how much we take in.  If we are not expending any more or less energy than we used to, we must be taking more in.  Even worse, in attempt to multiply our food supply, keep food costs down, and keep big food company profits up, there is less “food” in what we eat.  At the end of the day, we are consuming mostly flavorings, colorings, and preservatives with a little bit of wheat, corn, or potato product.  Does this sound like something that is good for us?  If this food was prepared in front of us and not behind well-protected doors at food production plants, would it still be appetizing?  Why do we eat it then?  The answer?  We are addicts that learned at a young age that this is an acceptable form of “food”.

Our “taste” for food is formed at a young age.  If high doses of sugar represent “breakfast” when you’re a kid, that’s probably what it will represent when you’re an adult.  The same goes for a high salt, high fat food representing “lunch”, “dinner”, or “snack”.  The tastes in these high sugar, salt, and fat foods aren’t even real tastes.  They are enhanced so that we will have a more significant taste experience, making us want to buy the product again.  If you grow up on this type of food and then have something homemade with whole food products, it doesn’t have the perfect uniform consistency and taste.  It doesn’t taste like “food” to you.  You eventually go to the doctor and receive your certain death sentence if you don’t change your diet.  Now you must re-train yourself as to what food actually “tastes” like.  Due to the high emotional significance related to food and taste, this becomes a daunting battle for your health, and consequently, your life.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with letting a child have a processed, sugary, fatty, salty treat every once in a while.  The most important intervention with kids however, is to have this regulated by the parent.  Kids can’t make long-term, rational decisions about their health.  Of course a sweet chemical taste is going to seem like a better choice to them. If you fill their breakfast bowl with sugar cereal, their lunchbox with processed lunch items, and their belly with fast food for dinner every day, what are you teaching them?   It’s your job as a parent to teach them that it’s OK to eat that stuff every once in a while, but it’s not actually “food”.  Food is what mom or dad prepares from a recipe and serves at the dinner table.  Try to eat “food” at meals 90% of the time.

Real food can be delicious.  Involve your kids in the process. Take them to the grocery store, especially if it’s a more “adventurous” one like Whole Foods. Let them pick out some crazy looking fruit or vegetable to try. The vivid colors and shapes of most fruits or vegetables are actually appealing to kids if they are properly exposed to them. Show them real food and get them to have an appreciation for it.  Maybe even take them to a garden or involve them in growing a small garden at home.  Spend time when they’re young showing them how to make real food.  Not only do they learn the basics of cooking, they learn that real food is created, not bought in a box.  Finally, when mom and dad complain that real food is “health food,” kids relate “health food” to “tasteless”.  Create a culture of health in the home.

In today’s busy home and work environment, taking extra time to instill better nutrition habits is a challenge.  However, it’s a challenge we must accept.  The alternative is far more inconvenient.  If we continue with our current trend of obesity, our kids that are 5 right now will inherit a trillion dollar health care expense specifically dedicated to obesity related maladies by the time they’re 25.  That’s not to mention the personal impact of poor health.

Create a “taste” for health at a young age to create a future of happy, healthy, pain free adults.

INSPIRE MILLIONS!!

Brett Klika C.S.C.S., Director of Athletics at Fitness Quest 10, is a human performance specialist, motivator and educator. A graduate from Oregon State University, Brett has directed sport camps all over the nation. While in college, amidst playing club soccer and lacrosse, Brett worked with the strength and conditioning department for 3 years. A year long resident sports performance internship at the Olympic Training Center brought Brett to San Diego. Brett’s work with the Olympic athletes, as well as local high school athletes nurtured a passion for creating excellence in individuals.

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Wanna Jump Higher? 3 Ways to Improve Vertical Jump

By Brett Klika, C.S.C.S. Director of Athletics, Fitness Quest 10

One of the most common questions I get as an athletic performance coach is “How can I/my child, improve my/their vertical jump?”  The most effective intervention would be to travel back in time and select a man and a woman with superior vertical jump abilities to parent either you or your child. In short, genetics is by far the greatest determining factor in an individual’s vertical jump ability.  Since time travel is not currently available (to the general public) we have to work with what we’ve got.  Here are the 3 most effective tried and true ways to improve vertical jump.

1.  Improve strength-to-weight ratio.  The vertical jump involves culminating muscle force quickly to propel body weight off the ground against gravity.  If the muscle force ability is low and the body weight is high, gravity will win.  Proper nutrition, frequent activity, and developmentally appropriate resistance training will aid improving strength and decreasing excess weight.  Get stronger, get leaner.

2.  Work on jumping technique.  There are biomechanically advantageous positions in which to jump as well as land.  Proper arm action alone can account for 20% of vertical jump ability.  Quite often, there are strength and mobility limitations that can limit the body’s ability to go into biomechanically advantageous position to jump.  For example a proper bodyweight squat is a pre-requisite to vertical jump technique.  If you don’t have the strength or mobility to do the first one right, you won’t be able to do the second one right.  Work on jumping and landing in proper squat position, then progress from there. Click here for a video on vertical jump technique. Do it right to do it better.

3. Jump!  Make sure to incorporate plyometrics into your program.  Think of your plyometric training in two phases:  Plyo prep and max effort plyometrics.  Plyo prep is activities like jumping rope, hurdle hops, and repeated sub-maximal jumps, hops, skips, etc.  These function to prepare the involved tendons, ligaments, and muscles for the force demands of jumping and landing.  These activities help you get off the ground quicker, not necessarily higher.  Max-effort plyometrics are those that require a near-maximal effort to achieve.  High hurdle hops, high box jumps, high backboard touches and other jumping activities in which you have to achieve a certain height criteria are examples.  You may even add resistance through bands, cords, or external weight.  This functions as “practice” for propelling your body against gravity with a true maximum effort. Maintain technique.  Practice makes perfect!  Youth should perform plyo prep activities for quite some time with proper technique prior to max effort work.

There is no “magic” machine, device, program, or funny-looking shoe that supersedes any of the above.  Get in shape, jump correctly, and practice it with intensity and frequency.  Unless, of course, you have access to a time machine.

Brett Klika C.S.C.S., Director of Athletics at Fitness Quest 10, is a human performance specialist, motivator and educator. A graduate from Oregon State University, Brett has directed sport camps all over the nation. While in college, amidst playing club soccer and lacrosse, Brett worked with the strength and conditioning department for 3 years. A year long resident sports performance internship at the Olympic Training Center brought Brett to San Diego. Brett’s work with the Olympic athletes, as well as local high school athletes nurtured a passion for creating excellence in individuals.

Inspire Millions

Americans are no longer chubby, portly, or overweight.  We are corpulent, obese, and rotund.  We don’t move like humans are supposed to move.  We don’t eat like humans are supposed to eat.  We are not just merely dying from this plight, we are suffering.   What would happen to a Cheetah if we fed it Cheetos and made it sit idle?  It would get sick, it would get depressed, it would develop pain and it would die.  Why? Because Cheetos are not what Cheetahs are supposed to eat, and sitting idle is not what cheetahs are supposed to do.  As cruel as the above treatment may seem to an animal, many Americans live, embrace, and defend their “right” to this scenario.  After all, there is a robust, nearly unchallenged industrial machine to support it. Unchallenged, until now.

This is a call to action.   A much higher calling than sculpting a six-pack, toning thighs, selling gym memberships or slinging miracle supplements.    It’s a call for our society to lift each other up off the couch and move.  It is a call to educate each other to eat food instead of chemicals.  It is a call to INSPIRE MILLIONS to stop suffering and live like humans are designed to live.

You don’t have to be a personal trainer, life coach, or physician to grab a loved-one’s hand and say “let’s go for a walk”.  How do you know if you are walking fast and far enough?  When someone no longer needs to pull you off the couch to go for a walk.  You don’t have to be a dietician, nutritionist, or chef to select food that is actually “food” and not merely a chemically-induced taste.  How do you know what “real food” is?  The ingredients list should be the food itself.  For meat, well, if you know what the animal’s name was prior to being on your plate, it’s probably safe to eat.

We don’t have to be hot, ripped, toned, shredded, sculpted, or beautiful.  We need men, women, and children to get off the couch, stop eating poison, and get out of pain.  Everyone can contribute.  Do something today, right now to change the way you live or INSPIRE someone else to do the same.  It may not happen overnight, it may take time.  Person by person, household by household, city by city, state by state.  Working together, we can stand up and INSPIRE MILLIONS to be happy, healthy and pain free.  After all, that’s how humans are supposed to live.

We at Fitness Quest 10 are going to contribute to the cause by posting a variety of “2 minute challenges” on our Facebook page.  These challenges may include short workouts, flexibility, quick meals, motivation, and a variety of other aspects of wellness.  Two minutes may be all it takes to start a chain reaction to change someone’s life.  Once these challenges receive 5,000 views on Youtube, or 100 total “likes” on Fitness Quest 10, Brettklika.com, and Underground Wellness through Facebook, we will post another 2 minute challenge.  Pass it on to someone you think you can help change their life!

Brett Klika C.S.C.S., Director of Athletics at Fitness Quest 10, is a human performance specialist, motivator and educator. A graduate from Oregon State University, Brett has directed sport camps all over the nation. While in college, amidst playing club soccer and lacrosse, Brett worked with the strength and conditioning department for 3 years. A year long resident sports performance internship at the Olympic Training Center brought Brett to San Diego. Brett’s work with the Olympic athletes, as well as local high school athletes nurtured a passion for creating excellence in individuals.

Five Strategies to Improve Your Child’s Nutrition

By Brett Klika

Getting kids to eat right is a challenge for parents.  With busy schedules, discerning palates, and poor food choices always readily available, it’s important to make a commitment to your child’s nutrition.  Below are some tried and true strategies I have derived from research, experience, and working with a large number of parents and kids.

1.  Your children will mirror your behavior.

Very few things will influence your child’s nutrition more than your own attitudes and behaviors towards nutrition.  If they see you miserably “eat healthy” to lose weight, they start to see “eating health” as a punishment.  If I have to sit through another consultation with a 300 pound parent complaining that their kid “won’t eat healthy” I’m going to transform into the incredible Hulk.  You won’t like me when I’m angry.

2.  Make good choices available.

“My child just eats fast food all day!”  Apparently, unbeknownst to me, 10 year olds are now driving to fast food and to the store to get junk food.  That’s the only explanation I can come up with as to how they are making these choices against their parent’s will.  Our kids eat what is readily available to them.  If we make real food available during snack time and meal time, that is what they’ll eat.  Keep a lot of fruit and whole food around the house.

3.  Kids need to eat breakfast!

There is a robust body of research highlighting the various physical, mental, and psychological benefits of eating breakfast every day.  They have found a link between skipping breakfast and future obesity in the United States.  Commit to getting your child to eat breakfast!  In an ideal world, we would stick with eggs, breakfast meats, whole grain toast, oatmeal, peanut butter, and other high nutrition items.  My parents fought this battle with me when I was young and to this day, I’m glad they won!

4.  Sit down for dinner.

Having dinner together is a great tradition for a variety of reasons.

Research has found that children who eat dinner with the family eat up to 7 times more nutritionally dense foods like fruits and vegetables in a month’s time.  As we abandon this tradition, our kids learn to look for the fastest dinner alternative available, of highly processed food.  With our busy schedules, it’s not always going to happen, but we should make an effort.

5.  Establish the concept of “Real Food.”

Taking what we know about children, the best way to guarantee that they will do something is to tell them not to do it.  When we are trying to get our kids to make better nutrition choices and we talk about “Don’t eat fast food because you’ll get fat” or “It’s bad for you” we may be actually challenging their natural rebellion.  Instead of “good” or “bad” if we can create a notion of “real food vs. not real food” it’s much more effective.  When I was growing up, real food was the stuff we had when we sat down for dinner every night.  I would see mom get the stuff at the store and cook it.  Even at a young age, I knew what was in everything.  My parents would make a big deal about cooking with food we grew in our garden, so I would be extra-excited to try these home-grown foods.  While we still were treated to an occasional McDonalds, even at a young age, I knew this was like candy.  It tasted good, but “food” was something else.  Have your child read ingredients labels.  Have them actually write out the ingredients in potato chips, sugar cereal, etc.  Spark the question “Do you know what that is?”  Educate them on chemicals that go into processed food. At the end of the day “kids will be kids” but the better educated they are, the better choices they will hopefully make.

Brett Klika C.S.C.S., Director of Athletics at Fitness Quest 10, is a human performance specialist, motivator and educator. A graduate from Oregon State University, Brett has directed sport camps all over the nation. While in college, amidst playing club soccer and lacrosse, Brett worked with the strength and conditioning department for 3 years. A year long resident sports performance internship at the Olympic Training Center brought Brett to San Diego. Brett’s work with the Olympic athletes, as well as local high school athletes nurtured a passion for creating excellence in individuals.

Brett joined forces with Todd in 2000, helping create the athlete performance program at Fitness Quest 10. Since then, Brett has worked with thousands of athletes, corporate executives and everyday people helping them not only to improve themselves physically, but to foster greatness in all aspects of their lives. Brett provides motivational speaking internally with Todd Durkin Enterprises, and has produced and co-produced DVD’s on sport performance and executive fitness.

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