Meet The Maker Seminar at Body N Spirit Athletic Club

Join us for a fun and interactive seminar with Dr. Catherine Wilbert, Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, Nationally Recognized Wellness Expert. Dr. Wilbert travels across the country speaking passionately about small steps to get you “Set on Success” to reach all your health and wellness goals.

Don’t miss this opportunity to “Meet the Maker” of Swerve & all the PhytoCeutical Formulations products!

Learn the smallest, easiest changes that help you:

  • Live with vitality and end yo-yo dieting forever
  • Have better energy levels, better focus and better sleep
  • Balance blood sugar & regulate hormone levels…and much more!

Wed., April 15th, 2009
6:30pm – 7:30pm

Body N Spirit Athletic Club
2209 Lapalco Blvd.
Harvey, LA 70058

For more info, contact Tracey Fletes at 504-364-1881, of visit Body N Spirit’s website at

When is enough, enough? When Looking Good becomes an Obsession

Too small, too big, too fat, too skinny – so what is just right?  Can we ever be truly satisfied with how we look?

Dissatisfaction with how we look is not unusual in this day and age. With advertising and media pushing appearance at us from all sides, it is quite normal for many of us to think we don’t quite fit the mold of perfection. Appearance can play a big part in life for most people, but never in history have we witnessed so many issues and potentially harmful trends arising out of striving for that perfect body.

It isn’t difficult to recognize that we live in a culture obsessed with “the perfect body.” In fact, this obsession is showing up at younger and younger ages:

  • 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls report wanting to be thinner.
  • In a recent study of 4th graders: almost half the girls “wished they were thinner.”
  • 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat.
  • 8th and 9th grade girls have reported that the ideal female is 5 feet 7 inches tall, and weighs between 100 and 110 pounds. It is interesting to note that at this height and weight, most women would be considered clinically anorexic.
  • On any given day, approximately 25% of American men and 45% of American women are on a diet.
  • 40-60% of high school girls are dieting on any given day and over half of eighth grade girls report dieting during the past year.

The diet industry is a $40 billion dollar industry in the United States and growing every day. What is interesting is if diets worked so well, why would we need to keep throwing money away trying new ones? In fact, 95% of all dieters will regain their lost weight, and more, within 1-5 years. This is not a result of failed will power, but damaged metabolisms by trying to force their bodies to attain unrealisitc goals, and probably, unhealthy sizes.

Many people worry about their appearance, especially in their teens and twenties, when physical attractiveness, changing bodies, and social pressures come together to make appearance seem more important than ever. Who wouldn’t want perfectly clear lustrous skin, a beautiful head of richly colored hair, and the perfect physique? The answer for most people is sure, why not? But for some people, normal appearance concerns cross over into preoccupation or even obsession with their appearance. In more severe cases, these concerns seriously interfere with school work and relationships, and can cause significant distress. This relatively common but underrecognized disorder is known as body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD. Because BDD can cause so much suffering and disruption of normal functioning, it’s important to know about it. BDD, which usually begins during adolescence, can cause depression, social isolation, academic impairment, and, in more severe cases, unnecessary cosmetic surgery, psychiatric hospitalization, and even suicide attempts.

When we think of compulsive dieting, and what we might think of as a typical person with body dysmorphic disorder, anorexia and bulemia probably come to mind.  Never would we imagine that the bodybuilder or exercise fanatic, with “perfectly” toned and defined muscles would have an issue with body image.  Yet, for some bodybuilders, their body image is far from perfect. No matter how large they become, they may see themselves as small. What seems to others nothing more than exaggerated physical vanity may be a manifestation of distorted body image, or dysmorphia.  According to several ongoing studies of bodybuilders, it is speculated that as many as 10 percent of bodybuilders or as many as 500,000 to 1 million individuals may suffer from what is being termed muscle dysmorphia or “bigorexia”.

The physical risks of this type of BDD  or muscle dysmorphia are perhaps less life threatening than anorexia or bulemia, but are still quite serious as they are related primarily to substance abuse and secondarily to diet.  Muscle dysmorphia is a disorder defined mainly by obsessive thoughts about body size and shape, compulsive behavior regarding exercise and use of a variety of supplements and steroids in an attempt to bulk up and get lean. Anabolic steroids are the most commonly abused drug by those with the disorder and pose a host of physical and psychiatric risks. Chronic use may increase susceptibility to cardiovascular disease and other medical problems. Other drugs, including stimulants, pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid hormones, laxatives and diuretics may also be used and can pose dangers if used over an extended period of time.  Other health problems may also show up in the form of overtraining or continuing to exercise with injuries, often using analgesics to mask the pain.

Muscle dysmorphia may cause social problems, with going to the gym  as their exclusive social activity.  They may exercise to the exclusion of dating and sex, and may even alter their careers to spend more time at the gym.

For many people who have the disorder, they see their behavior as normal and are comfortable with their symptoms. Although it many seem that BDD and their variants are trivial illnesses, they’re not. People can have their lives totally consumed by this disorder which can cause substantial impairment in social and occupational functioning, as well as increased risk of death or suicide.

The criteria for muscle dysmorphia, as a recently identified variant of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), are as follows.

  • The person has a preoccupation with the idea that his/her body is not sufficiently lean and muscular. Associated behaviors include hours of weight lifting and excessive attention to diet.
  • The preoccupation causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. Individuals often forgo dating and recreational activities, or slack at work to maintain workout and diet schedules. They may also avoid situations where their body is exposed to others or exhibit great anxiety when they are in such situations. They may continue working out, adhering to a strict diet, or using performance-enhancing drugs even when suffering adverse physical and psychological side effects of their regimen.
  • The main focus of their preoccupation and behavior is on being too small or inadequately muscular, as distinguished from fear of fat or other aspects of appearance typical of other forms of BDD.

It is important to remember that BDD is not a rare disorder, only an underrecognized one. Diagnosing BDD can be challenging because sufferers often keep their symptoms secret due to embarrassment and shame. People with BDD often worry that other will consider their concerns superficial and vain, thereby making themselves feel worse for having the symptoms of this disorder. Others may see the BDD sufferer’s concerns as attention getting and will become irritated with them. In addition to being underdiagnosed, BDD can be misdiagnosed by professionals, partially because it is not yet widely recognized and also because BDD sufferers are often reluctant to discuss their symptoms. But BDD of any kind is nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to keep secret – it is a serious yet very treatable disorder.

It’s critical for people today to be educated, empowered, and inspired to create a change in the unattainable standard of beauty and the ideal body in our society. We must work to create a world where self-worth is based upon the qualities of one’s character, the strength of one’s convictions, the impact of a person’s accomplishments, and the power of one’s voice rather than by their weight on a scale or the size of their jeans.

Weighing the Myths of Women and Weight Training

If you have yet to learn the benefits of weight training, or are still debating whether or not to try it, this information is for you.

Tufts University conducted a study on the benefits of weight training which involved forty postmenopausal women. The control group – half of the volunteers – simply maintained their lifestyle for a year. The others lifted weights twice per week.

At the end of the year, the sedentary women’s bones and muscles had aged. They had lost bone density and strength. And they were even less active than before.

Contrary to that dismal scenario, the bodies of the women who lifted weights were fifteen to twenty years more youthful. They gained bone density and their strength level soared to levels typical of women in their late thirties or early forties. They traded fat for muscle, therefore, looked trimmer and dropped dress sizes.

The women who lifted weights actually got smaller, not larger, once again debunking the myth some women still believe about weight training making them bulky. These women gained nine percent muscle, and lost a corresponding amount of fat. Since muscle is denser than fat, they were smaller, leaner and more toned and no one complained about looking unfeminine.

Aside from the physical changes, the women who lifted weights felt happier, more energetic and had greater self-confidence. These women also became more active as they got stronger. They not only felt younger, they were leading younger lives. Physical changes caused emotional changes, which impacted their lives positively. They regained enjoyment of life they thought they had lost forever. All of that for two workouts per week!

Although research has shown that when women maintain a regular strength training program they will benefit from the long list of health advantages, many women are still held back by the many myths surrounding women and weight training.  It’s time to dispel those myths so women of all ages will begin participating in weight training and can start feeling the life long benefits that come with it.

Myth#1 – I should loose weight before I start weight training.

Fact – Why wait when weight training burns fat best. Weight training is the best way to loose weight because it permanently increases your metabolism. It is important to understand that dieting without exercise causes the body to lose muscle, which slows the metabolism. Only the combination of weight training and positive nutritional changes makes it possible to lose fat and keep it off.  As you add muscle, your resting metabolism increases, so you burn more calories all day long. For each pound of muscle you gain, you’ll burn 35 to 50 more calories daily. So, by gaining only three pounds of muscle, you’ll burn an average of 120 more calories per day, or approximately 3,600 more calories per month. That equates to a loss of 10 to 12 pounds in one year!

Myth #2 – Aerobic exercise is better than weight training to burn fat.

Fact – If you really want to lose fat – and keep it off — the best way to do it is with weight training. While it may feel like running on the treadmill for an hour (while you are dripping with sweat) is burning tons of calories, it’s only burning calories while you are exercising and for one to two hours after. Weight training is the most effective way to burn fat because the more muscle you gain, the more fat you burn all the time – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  With more muscle, you are not just burning fat one or two hours when you’re exercising, but every hour of every day, whether you’re exercising, eating, sleeping or sitting at your desk.

Myth #3 – If I weight train I will get bigger and I want to look smaller.

Fact –  Muscle actually takes up less space than fat, so ultimately, by weight training, you will be smaller, firmer and toner; and your clothes will fit better. What about weight? Yes, you may end up weighing the same or even more because muscle weighs more than fat, but remember the true test is how you look and feel – not what the numbers on the scale say.

Myth #4 – Weight training will make me bulky and masculine – I don’t want to loose my femininity.

Fact – No worries – weight training will not turn you into to an Arnold Schwarzenegger look-alike over night. Women don’t become overly muscular – it’s just not possible.
Women don’t naturally produce enough of the hormones it takes to grow massive muscle.
Weight training will, however, give you that toned look you’re striving for – you can’t burn fat off to see muscle tone that doesn’t exist. Crash diets that burn precious muscle tissue only leave you with a temporarily smaller version of your original fat self.  “Skinny fat” is still flabby, but muscle is sexy!  If you want curves and definition, and a tight toned body, weight training is the way to go.

Myth #5 – I’m too old to start weight training.

Fact – It’s NEVER to late to start weight training.  Studies have shown strength improvements and numerous other benefits from weight training are possible at any age, even in subjects well into their 70s and 80s.  In fact, a recent study, published in the
Journal of the American Medical Association, found that post-menopausal women can reduce their body fat, increase muscle mass, build up their bones, and improve their balance by lifting moderately heavy weights on a regular basis. Biologically, the women were about 20 years younger then they were at the start of the yearlong study.

Research has also found that weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density by as much as 13 percent in six months. So weight training is a powerful tool against osteoporosis.  The benefits of weight training are now indisputable, both to prevent the effects of aging in pre-menopausal women and reverse the effects of aging in post-menopausal women.

And if all that isn’t enough to convince you the weight training is the single most effective way to burn fat, increases metabolism, build strength and increase bone density, here are a few other benefits you may want to consider.

  1. You Will Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes. Adult-onset diabetes is a growing problem for women and men. Research indicates that weight training can increase glucose utilization in the body by 23 percent in four months.
  2. You Will Fight Heart Disease. Strength training will improve your cholesterol profile and blood pressure.  And the benefits only increase your regimen also includes cardiovascular exercise, flexibility training and a good nutrition and supplement program.
  3. You Will Be Able to Fight Back Pain and Arthritis. A recent 12-year study showed that strengthening the low-back muscles had an 80 percent success rate in eliminating or alleviating low-back pain. Other studies have indicated that weight training can ease arthritis pain and strengthen joints.
  4. You’ll Be a Stronger Woman Physically and Mentally. Studies have shown that moderate weight training increases a woman’s strength by 30 to 50 percent. Extra strength will make it easier to accomplish daily activities, such as lifting children or groceries. Most strength differences between men and women can be explained by differences in body size and fat mass. Pound for pound, women can develop their strength at the same rate as men.  In addition, a Harvard study found that 10 weeks of strength training reduced symptoms of clinical depression more successfully than traditional counseling did. Women who weight train commonly report feeling more confident and capable as a result of their program.

As you can see, the benefits of weight training far outweigh any myths that might be associated with it.  So hit the weights — and get ready to reap a host of health benefits that you probably never imagined possible with just one small lifestyle change.
See you at the gym!

The Case for Supplementation

“Do you believe in supplements?” It’s a question often asked as if taking vitamins were based on some kind of blind faith that they will actually provide some benefit or serve some useful purpose.  Thankfully supplementation, as a progressive and proactive approach to healthcare, is not based on blind faith, but on a growing body of science that is finally taking its place along side other health sciences.  What I do believe is that more and more people are increasingly interested in nutrition as a means of improving their lives and preventing illness.  They want to live longer, healthier lives, look better, feel better, handle stress better, have more energy, and minimize their risk of everything from the common cold to cancer.

As Americans seek to attain longer, healthier lives, and to reduce chronic disease, the evidence to encourage the use of supplements grows stronger. A recent study commissioned by the Council for Responsible Nutrition estimated that 8.7 billion dollars could be saved on four major diseases if Americans consumed optimum levels of the antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene.  Diets optimal in these nutrients have been shown to reduce costs associated with breast, lung and stomach cancer, and dramatically reduce the incidence and severity of cataracts.   Additionally, the council evaluated ten years of the best scientific studies related to the benefits of vitamin and mineral supplements and concluded that the long term benefits could reduce neural tube birth defects by 70 percent, sick days could be reduced by 50 percent, and health-care costs by delaying cardiovascular disease, stroke and hip fracture could be reduced by a staggering $89 billion per year.

And while perhaps some of these benefits could be derived from diet, most individuals do not eat the five servings of fruit and vegetables as recommended by the National Cancer Institute.  In fact, it has been estimated that less than 10 percent of Americans actually consume two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables per day and that over half eat no vegetables at all.  As for those of us who do practice better eating habits, and do include those daily five, we are still being left nutritionally void of many of the nutrients we believe we are consuming.

Food is not what it used to be.  Today our food is both less (nutritionally speaking) and more (chemically contaminated) than in the past.  On an average our food travels 1300 miles from farm to market shelf.  Nearly every state buys 90 percent of its food from out of the state.  Through irradiation, our food is bombarded with the equivalent of 233 billion chest x-rays to kill bacteria and extend shelf life.  Thirty percent of American dairy animals are fed genetically engineered bovine growth hormone.

Many modern agricultural practices adversely affect the quality of our food and its nutrient levels.  Many foods are grown using methods designed to increase quantity or to facilitate transportation and storage, and these methods often are detrimental to the nutritional value of the food. Modern farming methods also often degrade the quality of the soil in which our food is grown leaving it very low in minerals, and with added pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals that are added during the growing process. High nitrogen fertilizers accelerate growth so fruits and vegetables are marketable size, long before they have had time to absorb minerals or synthesize nutrients.  Often foods are not allowed to develop to their full level of vitamins and minerals, which increases greatly during later stages of growth. Fruits and vegetables are often picked before they are ripe, or allowed to ripen during transit to the market, which greatly diminishes their vitamin or mineral content. Transportation and storage can also adversely affect nutrient content of fruits and vegetables as they can start to lose significant amounts of vitamins as soon as they are cut or harvested. Transit time alone can provide for produce that has been severely depleted of its nutrient content.  Produce can lose as much as 50 percent of its carotene (pro-vitamin A) and 60 percent of its vitamin C within as little as three days of being harvested.  Additionally, certain fruits and vegetables can lose significant amounts of vitamins when they are stored at cold temperatures or even at room temperatures.  Green vegetables lose all of their vitamin C after just a few days of being stored at room temperature.  Drying, as well as exposure to light and oxygen also diminishes nutrient content.  And while some may argue that many foods have been grown with the addition of certain nutrients, the nutrients optimum for plant growth are not necessarily optimum for our consumption.  Chemical fertilizers that facilitate plant growth do not replace the minerals necessary for human nutrition.  Even organic fruits and vegetables, while they are free of pesticides, are still harvested and transported using these same practices, unfortunately also rendering them nutritionally insufficient.  And unfortunately, produce is not the only food group fallen victim to modern processing and refining practices. Whole grains have suffered probably the greatest injustice inflicted by the food industry.  When wheat is processed in to white flour, up to 40 percent of the vitamin C, 65-85 percent of the various B Vitamins, 59 percent of the magnesium and 72 percent of the zinc are lost along with significant amounts of protein and fiber.  All in all more than 26 essential nutrients are removed.  Even our meat, fish and dairy products do not contain the nutrients we assume they do.

Supplements are a way for us to make up for nutrients lost in our food as a result of growing, shipping storing and processing practices.  Incorporating a good multivitamin into your daily routine is a good start to optimizing your nutrition plan and one of the simplest ways to begin a supplement program.  But even making good supplement choices can be difficult and often confusing.  The following are a few tips to help assure you get the most out of your choice.

  1. Always buy well-known, reputable brands – this is more easily assured when you buy from reputable nutrition stores with a knowledgeable staff, willing to assist you in making the best choice for you.
  2. Always choose food based, rather than chemical based vitamins.  Food based vitamins are more bioavailable, contain nutrients as they occur in food, and are not made from by- products of the petrochemical (or gasoline) refining process.
  3. Choose a vitamin that is taken in divided doses throughout the day rather than “one a day”.  While it may seem a little less convenient to take three pills as opposed to one, it is necessary to replace certain nutrients throughout the day.  Many vitamins are out of your system, or completely used up within hours of ingestion.  It doesn’t really make much sense to have antioxidant protection for the first three hours of your day, and not the next twenty-one.  Time released multivitamins also leave you lacking in nutrients, as vitamins and minerals are absorbed through different points in your digestive system, and often the timed release is “releasing” past its point of absorption.
  4. Avoid multivitamins that only offer 100% of the RDA. The recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) were established more than fifty years ago as the minimum amount of nutrients needed to prevent deficiency diseases in most healthy people.  These amounts do not take into account environmental changes and our constant bombardment with pollutants, or individual needs based on age, stress or dietary considerations.
    A good example of this would be with Vitamin C.  The daily intake of Vitamin C required to prevent Scurvy is between 30-50mg.  That is approximately the amount found in one orange, lime, or lemon.  Years ago, before much was known about the many other biochemical roles of Vitamin C, the RDA for ascorbic acid was set at 60mg, the minimal amount to prevent Scurvy. Despite recommendations by the Food & Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences and the fact that over several decades many scientific studies have shown that optimum health requires many times more than 60mg of Vitamin C, the official RDA remains at 60mg.  Considering just one cigarette destroys approximately 500 mg. of Vitamin C (this includes second hand smoke), 60mg is well below the minimum necessary for those focusing on optimizing their health.

But remember, supplements are just that – supplements.  They should be taken in addition to, not in place of, an intelligent diet. Supplements will not make up for a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugars and saturated fats, low in fiber, or a sedentary lifestyle.

As for the discouraging news about our produce, a visit to your local farmers’ market is well worth the trip.  This is one of the best ways to get vine ripened, fresh picked produce, that is more colorful, flavorful, and certainly more nutritious.

Weight Training: Weighing in for Adolescent Weight Control

In the United States at least one child in five is overweight and the number continues to grow each day. Over the past two decades, the number of children who are overweight, as well as the number of grossly obese children has more than doubled. And no, children do not out grow it. Overweight children are at a higher risk of becoming unhealthy adolescents and adults. And, it’s overweight adults who are most at risk for a number of problems including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and all forms of cancer. Overweight in children and adolescents is generally caused by lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns, or a combination of the two, with genetics and lifestyle both playing important determining roles. Children whose family members are overweight are also at an increased risk of becoming overweight, although not all children with an obese family will become overweight. However, it is more likely then not, shared family behaviors such as bad eating habits and lack of activity will have an impact on a child’s body weight.

Our society has become very sedentary with television, computer and video games contributing to children’s inactive lifestyles. Children are spending less time playing outdoors and more time watching TV or sitting in front of their computers, and as a result, they’re getting heavier.  In fact 43% of adolescents watch more than 2 hours of television each day, and only half of U.S. children get as much exercise as they need. As a result, children are displaying signs of heart disease and diabetes before they even reach their teens.

The good news is that almost any kind of physical activity can help prevent the rising tide of obesity. In addition, studies have found that physically active children are far less susceptible to emotional problems, are more likely to stay away from drugs, resist smoking cigarettes, delay sexual activity; develop more self-confidence and higher self-esteem, and even get better grades.

In addition to competitive and recreational sports, weight training has become increasingly popular as an effective method of exercise for preadolescents and adolescents. From Hercules to Arnold Schwarzenegger, the image of the muscular hero has inspired children for generations. And now, perhaps more than ever, physical education experts are encouraging kids to hit the weights.  The benefits of weight training in the preadolescent and adolescent population outweigh any possible risks. Improved muscular strength, endurance and flexibility; prevention of bone loss and osteoporosis; improved self-image, confidence and well-being; improved motor coordination and sports performance; decreased risk of injury; lowered blood pressure and cholesterol levels; weight maintenance; neuromuscular therapy and physical rehabilitation; improved aerobic capacity; and the promotion of a lifelong lifestyle of physical activity can all be attributed to weight training.

Weight training also offers particular advantages to children who are overweight and struggle to keep up with their peers in more traditional sports.  By lifting weights, children can improve their strength, endurance and coordination, enhancing their performance in other sports. And, when they lift weights, children can exercise in privacy, away from the critical eyes of their schoolmates.

Despite increasing acceptance of strength training for preadolescents and adolescents, some parents, coaches and instructors are skeptical that weight training offers benefits without causing harm. Myths and misinformation have helped persuade many to disapprove of preadolescent weight training. This is changing, however, as new knowledge replaces old misconceptions. The most common is the concern about musculoskeletal injury and epiphyseal fracture, however, this old “damage the growth plates” myth has never been clinically proven to occur as a result from weight training, but most often from falls due to horseplay or simple accidents.  If we consider that a standard push up involves pressing 60% of your body weight with the muscles of the arms and chest, then a child weighing 80 pounds doing 10 push ups is basically pushing 48 pounds with his arms and chest for 10 repetitions. Why would this be safer than having the same child do a bench press with a 20 pound barbell for 10 repetitions? The answer is…it’s not!!  Damage to the bones and epiphyses, or growth plates, is potentially serious, however, it is more likely for injury to occur due to improper training techniques or lack of supervision. The risk of injury can be minimized with a properly designed training program and close adult supervision.

As with any sport, however, children can injure themselves if movements are not performed properly or with too much intensity. Children should not be treated as miniature adults, particularly in terms of intensity, and training principles for adults do not necessarily correspond to those for children. Children are affected by interacting components such as musculoskeletal growth and sexual maturation.  Therefore, borrowing exercise prescriptions from adult strength-training programs is inappropriate. For example, pushing to failure and performing forced may be dangerous. Exercise prescriptions must be tailored to children’s individual needs, and fitness professionals or certified trainers must closely supervise all children while performing weight training exercises. It is imperative that trainers possess the background knowledge and experience to handle the preadolescent population, as well as have current CPR and first aid certifications.

In 1996, the National Strength and Conditioning Association laid out guidelines to ensure the of children safety who want to lift weights.  Considering these general guidelines, as well as some basic principles of a good beginner weight-training program, the following recommendations should be considered when starting a child on a weight-training program.

Children can begin around the time they would participate in organized sports (about age 7), but each child’s readiness needs to be evaluated on an individual basis with careful attention given to their ability
to follow directions.

Children should use machines that are properly designed for their size. Only child certified machines or weight-lifting equipment specifically designed for children should be included in a preadolescent and adolescent weight-training program. Machines designed for adults are not safe for most children because children’s arms and legs are not long enough to use them correctly. Light free weights may be more appropriate for some children, but even doing squats while holding a broomstick may be a good starting point.

Optimal prescription parameters, such as the number of sets and repetitions, have yet to be defined for the preadolescent population. It is recommended that children use the minimum amount of training that produces beneficial improvements in strength and health without undue risk.

Of all of the strength- training parameters, exercise intensity seems to be the key determinant of an effective program. Present guidelines suggest that intensity be moderate (approximately 10 to 15 repetitions) and that preadolescents avoid lifting maximal amounts of weight.

A child should begin a program with one set of little or no weight and concentrate on learning proper form. Once proper technique is demonstrated, a resistance can be selected that allows approximately 10 repetitions to be performed. The number of repetitions is slowly increased until the maximal number (15) can be completed. Resistance is then advanced in small increments of one to three pounds. As the child advances, one to three sets can be performed as tolerated.

The sequence of exercises should progress from larger muscle groups to smaller ones, and the frequency of training can start at two days per week and advance to three, as long as at least one day of rest is permitted between each training session.

Workouts of approximately 30 minutes should be preceded by an appropriate warm-up and finished with a cool-down. Proper training techniques, such as lifting in a controlled manner, must be demonstrated and consistently emphasized throughout the program.

Supervising trainers should encourage children to achieve at their own personal best and discourage children from competing with their peers.

Competitive sports such Styles of Olympic powerlifting and bodybuilding should be highly discouraged in the growing child and adolescent.

Perhaps the most valuable lesson is to be a good role model for your child and teach the next generation how to develop a lifelong habit of physical activity. If your child sees you enjoying healthy foods and physical activity, he or she is more likely to do the same now and for the rest of his or her life. Promoting a healthy lifestyle, maintaining the habit of activity throughout the school years and preventing sedentary behaviors in adulthood will benefit not only today’s children, but also future generations to come.