Simple Sips: Hydrating Techniques for Youth Athletes

Yes, I’m going to talk about water again :) WAIT! All the info will help, even if you don’t fall into the youth category. Besides, it’s a way to look busy at work so read on!

If you are the proud owner of a young athlete then you should know one important detail (other than the fact that your own life will need to take a back seat while those in your back seat get carted around like Ms Daisy)…adolescents dehydrate much faster than adults AND the signs are not as readily noticeable. The reasons? Well, dehydration occurs faster in those between the ages of 6-14 due to the fact that their bodies are still in need of more water for the growing of bones, sinews, ligaments, etc. More water is already being used for that pesky growing process, so the muscles and surrounding tissue don’t hold as much. This means that as your athlete plays their heart out, they are dehydrating at an accelerated rate. So, why don’t the symptoms show up? Well, technically they probably do, it’s just that most don’t notice them. The symptoms of dehydration can include the following:

  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Achy muscles all over
  • Trouble collecting ones thoughts
  • Feeling thirsty (I know that’s a DUH, but by the time we feel thirsty we’re in the danger zone)
  • Slow in perspiration, no matter the temp
  • Slow in hand/eye coordination

Now, these don’t generally all hit at once and when your kid is playing for the win they tend not to notice a little cramp here or a dry mouth there. It’s not that the symptoms aren’t there, it’s that they have better things to think about. Your job is to focus on preventing dehydration altogether as opposed to simply trying to spot the symptoms. Once we reach the point of nausea, muscle cramps, slow perspiration and cotton mouth, chugging a liter will do no good. As a matter of fact, rapid water consumption at this state will more than most likely end in the water running for the nearest exit….meaning a barf bomb for your kid.

In order to prevent dehydration in young athletes, we need to plan ahead. For starters, don’t feed your kid crap on a training day! I see this over and over on the football field: a kid has a couple of hot dogs for lunch and washes them down with a soda…THAT is the one who passes out on the field. They end up starting a grueling 2 hour practice already dehydrated (food for thought: carbonated beverages pull water from your bones….yeah) and then end up on the ground or in the hospital. Use your parent brain and take care of them. Make sure they drink water throughout the day (that’s why schools have those fancy fountains!) and if practice or the game lasts more than 45 minutes OR is in extreme heat, consider sending a sports drink with your kid. Since sugar is the enemy of hydration, I opt for G2 or other low sugar drink. You can also water it down a bit as needed. The sodium and potassium help the body to hold onto water so as not to dehydrate during a game/practice session. I also really like the Gatorade chews. They have some that are simply for hydration and easy to carry in one’s pocket as well as some pre-game carbohydrate chews that help the body stay fueled without pulling from its own muscle. Head to the game with water in hand and place it on the sidelines for your kid (nobody wants their mommy running water out to them people!) and make sure to have a hydrating beverage in the car when you pick them up from practice.

Snacks can help with hydration as well. Vegetables are water dense and can provide a whopping 30% of our daily water IF we eat enough. I always send my son brocoli, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. at lunch, especially on game pr practice days. If your kids are more used to burgers and fries, offer them the knowledge on what it takes to become a better athlete. Example: world-class athletes don’t chow down on a double meat and fries before a game…. Train your gut and your butt and you’ll reap the benefits on the field or the court, simple as that. Ask your kid to try it for 2 weeks and see how they feel. My son noticed a large difference in how he felt when he took a homemade lunch and when he bought the processed junk at school. He now asks that I make his lunch and often times throws in some help as well. And he’s in highschool now :)

Limit seriously salty snacks before games, but don’t take salt out of your athletes diet! Athletes need more salt. That’s reason to become an athlete for some people… Keep the diet varied and spend just a little extra time getting prepped for games. Pack a cooler with healthy snacks, including LOADS of fruits as these provide hydration and quick energy. Think you’re too busy? Tell that to the doc who has to stick a huge needle in your dehydrated kids arm. Yeah, you can pull time. In today’s world most grocery stores have fruits, veggies and even recovery drinks already made and within close proximity to each other. Invest in refillable bottles and for goodness sake, make your athlete help in this process! Life isn’t a one man show, but a big production where we all have a part to play :)

Stay hydrated and stay healthy!




Youth Athletes: Sports Nutrition and Training

Happy Monday!

I’m getting back into the swing of things since the Summer is winding down (sad, but so true). Today, I’m going to start off August with info on Youth Athletes. Your kid (if you have contact with ANY young athletes, this will help you!) can benefit greatly from proper knowledge on training and nutrition as the sports seasons start to come into full swing. Some youth prefer seasonal sports such as football and basketball, while others can play soccer or baseball seemingly year round. If you know youth (I’ll be working mainly with ages 8-17 here) then the knowledge you will gain during this month will prove priceless in keeping them on top of their game and injury free. Let’s get started!

Parents and Caregivers:It’s NOT about you…

Harsh start, I know. Here’s the real deal though: your kids chosen sport has nothing to do with you. If they chose baseball because it was your idea and your hopes are hung on them going farther than you did and reliving your glory days….it will end badly. Usually resulting in pushing too far which can ultimately lead to life long injury. Our jobs as parents and caregivers are to encourage them and help them along their own path…not relive our own.

Nutrition is PARAMOUNT during the training season.

Developing solid nutritional habits is the most important step you can take during training. They can run faster than anybody on the planet, but poor nutrition will outrun even the fastest kid. This can be difficult to understand as most people equate nutrition with weight. Nutrition is way bigger than weight, it’s about preventing injury and creating an environment in which the body can fully thrive. For example: a water loss of 10% (this is before the thirsty feeling kicks in) can cause delayed reaction times and dizziness. This means that if your athlete starts the game slightly dehydrated they have a higher chance of injury due to overcompensation. Too few carbs in the diet can lead to the body pulling from muscle during a training session or game. When the body begins to eat its own muscle, we experience painful cramps that can slow us completely. The body hits survival mode and your kids could be the one hitting the grass in severe pain. Poor refueling after training or games will result in muscle loss and encourage more catabolic behaviour within the body. The result? Your athlete will slowly begin to think that they aren’t “meant” for the sport…refuel properly and they have the best chance for keeping the muscle their body is trying to establish and raising the bar on the game itself. All because you rock as a parent :)

Consider hiring a professional.

PROFESSIONAL is the key term here. Interview the person that may be working with your athlete. Don’t assume they are qualified just because they work at a gym or for a sports facility. I know a lot of completely unqualified people who work in those arenas. It’s a simple question: are you certified to work with youth athletes? Follow up to a yes: May I see that certification? Aside from that, feel free to ask for records of CPR certification, insurance and any other specialties. I believe in making it a point to ensure you are hiring somebody who knows what they are doing, especially when it comes to your kids.

Educate your athlete.

The number one thing I have learned in working with young athletes is that mom and dad can’t just fall back on the Nike slogan JUST DO IT. Kids are ripe for planting knowledge. Explain to them WHY they need to drink their water. Explain the benefits of potassium and sodium in the diet. Explain why that double meat fast “food” burger isn’t nearly good enough to refuel after training. Size your response to questions based on your athletes age. My kids started learning about nutrition very young and now, they get it. They understand why they need to pay attention to their bodies and they dig the fact that we don’t do fast “food”. Why? Because it’s NOT food! It’s processed junk and the body would rather not use it to fuel muscle, so it gets stored. We have burgers…but they’re the really good ones :)

Every week I’ll bring you a recipe for pre-training/pre-game. This week:

Protein and Carb Pancakes

Both of my young athletes (and myself!) LOVE these things. They are the proper ratio of proteins to carbs (60/30) with just a tiny bit of fat (10) since you don’t want to train or play on a fatty stomach. Serve these 30-60 minutes prior to training/gaming and your athlete will be ahead of the pack already.


2 whole eggs + 4 egg whites

1/2 cup quick cooking oats

2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour (you can use gluten-free if needed)

cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, etc for spice

OPTIONAL: 1 scoop whey protein, flavor of choice (I only recommend if your athlete is over 10 years old and pretty active)

milk of choice until consistency meets how your kids digs their pancakes (my kids like them pretty thick)

Mix together and cook in pan or on griddle until slightly golden brown.

Top with fruit (bananas rock!), natural honey or natural maple syrup.

The natural sugars will help with energy, but don’t overdo as too much sugar can upset the GI tract during vigorous activity.



Come back all month for more on keeping your athlete on the top of their game!


Thirsty Thursday! Post 4th

Hi everybody!

The above video is brought to you by my son and I hope you can get some ideas on chest and ab work to help build strength and confidence.

Do each move for 10-12 reps, working through the moves up to 5 times total.


Did you know that the most healthy individuals on the planet eat pretty much the same diet daily? It’s true! A recent study out of NYU states that the most fit and healthy people stick to the same menu. What’s on the healthiest menus? Check it out!

  1. Oatmeal. Yes, everyday. It does a body awesome, just ask Bob Harper :)
  2. Salads with leafy greens. No iceberg here people. The more color you can get in your salad, the better!
  3. Beans and legumes. Packed with protein and fiber, these truly are super foods.
  4. Lean protein. This includes turkey, chicken, lean red meat and fish, which take sup to #5.
  5. FISH! The essential fatty acids in fish have been proven to increase joint health and aid in weight loss as well as curb craving. Remember, if it’s fried, it’s no longer food.
  6. Fruits and veggies. The healthiest people stick to a diet full of in season fruits and veg, prepared in a variety of ways.

So, now that we are all in on the real “secret”, we can better navigate our grocery stores and feed our families healthy meals. As you can see above, none of this breaks the bank either! Want more? Here’s a sample of a SHORT grocery list from my personal shopping:

  • Produce: apples, romaine, berries, melons, snap beans, lemons, limes, kale, spinach, mushrooms, eggplant, peppers, peaches, nectarines, cabbage, squash, avocado (these change depending on season)
  • Low sodium, no added sugar turkey lunch meat
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Dried beans
  • Long grain brown rice
  • Frozen fish fillets (whatever is on sale, preferably salmon or a meaty white fish)
  • Frozen veggies (great for quick meals and soups)
  • Low fat milk
  • Coconut/almond milk
  • EGGS!
  • Low fat Greek yogurt

These are basic staples in our home. As long as I have the basics, I can whip up just about anything. To keep cost low, buy proteins on sale and portion and freeze for later use. Also, your produce should be in season and you’ll know if it is by the price: the lower the price, the better the produce.

Peaches are in full season right now and I enjoy them in oatmeal almost every morning. Remember that oatmeal that is classified as slower cooking (3 minutes) is better for your digestive system and blood sugar than it’s quicker cooking counterpart.

Peaches and Cream Oatmeal

1/2 cup dried whole grain oats cooked in 1 cup water

1 peach, chopped

Dash of cinnamon

1 small handful of walnuts

Drizzle of honey

Drizzle of coconut milk

Cook oats as directed. Once water has absorbed, throw in peaches and stir, placing lid on top. Cook for about 45 seconds to 1 minute.

Place in bowl and add walnuts and honey (both optional) and coconut milk. Stir together and enjoy with your morning beverage.

Until next time, have a healthy day!



Essential ABS for ANYONE

This is my precious daughters very first fitness video!

This abs series can be modified to any fitness level, but it is meant to be tough.

Perform each movement for 30 seconds consecutively 5x through. Then bump the time to 45 seconds and eventually a minute, leading up to 5 minutes. Wowza! You’ll have flatter, more functional abs in no time.

Do this circuit on its own a couple of times during the day to help tighten and tone the abs, or add it to your workout.

Either way, put in the effort and you will be rewarded!

Michelle (and Deb)


So, as we move into the weekend, what comes to mind? Is your weekend full of adventure and fun? Or is it the more mundane tasks that await?

If you find yourself in the latter end, no worries! You can take the opportunities given to make sure you get some extra, fun movement into your everyday lifestyle.

  1. Choose to start the day out right! I am well aware that not everybody appreciates the early morning weekend hours like I do :) , but you can choose to get your fit on before breakfast. Check out the fitness page on for FREE workout vids. Most of which are about 10 minutes long. You can pick anything, from Pilates and dance, to kickboxing and weight lifting. It doesn’t have to last an hour to brighten your mood.
  2. Plan your meals/snacks in advance. This time of year a lot of us are headed to the ball park to watch the kids play. Don’t succumb to ball park food! It’s not just the calories, but this type of food is highly processed and the more you ingest throughout your lifetime (how many years have your kids been playing ball?) the slower your metabolism will be.
  3. While at the park, get OFF the bleachers and stop being the bench warmer in life. Yeah, I said it…. You can cheer your little ones even better while standing and moving, keeping your blood flowing, oxygenating your brain for better function, and showing that you really are involved!
  4. I know you need to clean the house (as most of us do!) so split up the chores and make it a game. Got young ones? Make them honorary detectives and send them on a “hunt” for items that need to be put up. Then, end the housecleaning with a walk. If a local ice cream parlor ends up on your walk, well then it was meant to be! :)
  5. Plan a little park time. Take the kids to the park and challenge them to chin ups on the monkey bars. By the way, totally cool if you “let” your kids win! Run around the park with them, or walk through the glorious nature around.
  6. Lounging by the pool? Not if you’re fit! Laying out is detrimental to your skin (SPF ALWAYS!) and your waistline, so get moving. Swimming is good, water volleyball is even better. Challenge others to a game, or see which one of your kids can out do you on laps. Make it fun and make it count!

No matter what the weekend has in store, it’s up to you to become an active participant in your life. So get moving and find the FUN!


P.S. I’ll be trying out paintball for the very first time this weekend. I’ll let you how it goes!

How to feed your youth

One of the biggest debates that resides in the minds of parents and caregivers usually has to do with the nutrition of those in their care. I mean, it stands to reason right? We spend a lot of our time feeding ourselves and our loved ones. With childhood obesity on the rise, nutrition is honestly the forefront of winning this ever-growing battle. As parents and caregivers we have the ability to set our children up for a lifetime of good health OR a lifetime of poor health. The choice is all ours.

So, let’s start with the basics. The first fact is that we buy the food in the house. I mean, I don’t send my 10-year-old to the store alone to pick up that weeks groceries. So, the first thing is to make sure that you are involved in planning the food for the week. Think ahead, just like you would if you’re planning a big road trip. Make sure that you have PLENTY of healthy snacks on hand at all times. Fresh fruits and vegetables are very appealing to young taste buds IF they are already washed and ready to go. I wash my fruits and veg after the store trip, then chop them up and put them into small containers. These containers are then placed in a prominent place in the fridge: EYE LEVEL. Yes, I know there are several drawers for this purpose, but when was the last time you dug into the drawer as opposed to hitting the chips in the pantry? Yeah, EYE LEVEL. The bright colors and freshness of the produce has been shown to create an immediately favorable response. That means if it’s available and ready to eat, kids will reach for it!

Another tip is to limit the amount of processed junk that is allowed to hang out in the house. It doesn’t mean that chips will never again cross the threshold of your kitchen, BUT it does mean that in the fight to better health, these foods are limited and no longer deserve permanent residence in your bread box. You and child deserve better food and better health, simple as that. So the chips, cookies and candies are bought only on special occasions. This will begin to treat the emotional dependency on food for comfort.

Potions are usually out of control for most of us. I know I can put away MASSIVE amounts of food if left to my own devices! When in doubt, use your hands as your guide. Protein will fit in the center palm, veggies take up 2 handfuls, grains are a closed fist, and fats are the tip of both thumbs. This holds true for your kids as well. Far too often we as parents give our children the same amount we eat and sometimes even more. We over feed to show love (totally different post!) and this causes a world of health issues. Stay within your childs portions and when they aren’t hungry, don’t force them to eat it all. In our home, we simply put leftover food away and if my daughter pops up “starving” an hour later, we reheat. Most times kids just may not be hungry at the time. If your child is chronically not hungry, look at the amount of snacks being eaten as well as the amount of movement between meals. Ever notice how little Timmy is famished when he gets home from school, but after a snack and some TV he’s not interested in a healthy dinner?

Last, don’t put your child on a “diet” of any kind. Children need to focus on the nutrients they get (adults too, but again: different post) and by placing children on any type of diet, we cut out essential nutrients that they need to grow. This will affect growth of healthy tissue as well as brain function. So, let the focus be on gaining more access to better nutrition and they will be set for life :)

Be sure to check back tomorrow for a fun family game that incorporates fitness into game night!

In good health,

Welcome to YOUTH Health, Fitness, and Safety Month!

I cannot get more excited about a topic than I am right now! Of all the certifications and specialties I hold, I think youth training and nutrition is by far my biggest passion. The reasons are really hard to number, but I’m sure it’s due to the fact that I have 2 wonderful children of my own :)

So, for the entire month of April we will be discussing the following issues surrounding the health of our youth:

  • Initiating movement and making exercise fun.
  • Family fitness.
  • Special nutrition needs of youth.
  • Hydration for the youth athlete.
  • Youth sports nutrition.
  • Injury prevention.
  • Foundations for health and Fitness.
  • Family meals and kid friendly recipes.
  • Kid Fit: Ideas for finding fitness at any age.
  • Different ages and stages: recognizing when and what to teach your children about health, fitness and nutrition.

Keep in mind that you do not have to be a parent to be a positive influence in the lives of children. You CAN help improve the health of the kids you come into contact with everyday!

Check back soon for more information on youth health, fitness and safety month!