A Queen and a Princess

With my mom a couple of months after being selected as SFVJACC Queen.

When I was a little girl, my mother told me that one of her dreams was for me to be in a Japanese American beauty pageant which was closely tied to a week-long festival in Los Angeles known as Nisei Week. The first Nisei Week celebration took place in 1934, and a year later, the queen pageant was added. With the exception of the years during which World War II took place, the Nisei Week Festival has taken place yearly. I knew how much my mother wanted me to participate in Nisei Week, but since I wasn’t that interested in vying for a queen title and being in a pageant, I tucked the idea of pursuing such a goal in the back of my mind and kind of forgot about it.

Shortly after I turned 18, I decided to contact the Japanese-American community center close to where I lived and inquired about the pageant, only to be told that the age requirements for queen candidates were changed to 19 to 25. The following year, I inquired again, but the area’s queen selection had already been made at that time. After that, I simply forgot about the Nisei Week queen selection. Then the year that I turned 25, I figured that I had one final chance to see if I could win a queen title and advance to the Nisei Week pageant. So I submitted my candidate profile and waited for the queen selection day to approach, while also keeping my plans completely hidden from my mom. I thought that if I wasn’t selected as the San Fernando Valley queen, I wouldn’t say anything to my mother, so as to spare her any disappointment.

While at the queen selection event, I noticed that I was up against only one other candidate, but that candidate had competed for the queen title for two consecutive years previously, and since she was also 25 years old, the event was her final chance at being selected as queen. I made an assumption that since the judges were familiar with the other candidate, she would most likely be chosen as their queen.

We were assessed on our physical appearance and poise, were asked impromptu questions while standing on a small stage, and were interviewed individually by every single judge. When it was time to announce the 1991 San Fernando Valley Japanese Community Center Queen, who would then go on to compete at the Nisei Week pageant with 8 other regional queens, I prepared myself to hear the other candidate’s name, so it was a complete surprise when I heard my name called. Next thing I knew, the judges and guests were congratulating me, and the former queen placed a bouquet of tulips in my arms. When I arrived home, I called my mom to tell her the news, and she was incredibly proud and thrilled.

At Mayor Tom Bradley’s office with fellow Nisei Week Princess and WLAJACC Queen Alice Akahoshi

Over the next three months, I went to pageant practice 3 days per week, attended events with the rest of the court, and was primed and polished for business visitations and parades. It was like attending Japanese-American charm school, and I was grateful for the experience. I wore a tiara to many events, and also wore a sash whenever clad in kimono or in the matching outfits the court was expected to wear during events and visitations. We performed in front of 1,200 guests during the pageant, and though I didn’t win the Nisei Week Queen title, I was a Nisei Week Princess, still held the Queen title for my region, and became part of an incredible community.

How to Live More Health-Conscious Without Worrying About Your Wallet

Image via Pexels

By Camille Johnson

Many people are finding it tougher than usual to make ends meet nowadays. So much so, that the thought of leading a healthier lifestyle has become more of a burden than an opportunity to lead a better quality of life. So, if you’ve been wanting to cut your unhealthy habits but were worried about how it could affect your disposable income, Dr. Stacey Naito weighs in on how to adopt a cost-effective healthy way of living.

Relook at your health insurance options

One of the perks of leading a healthier lifestyle is that you probably won’t get as sick as often, and you won’t need to see the doctor as much. Therefore, why not explore your options as far as health insurance goes and find a plan with lower premiums such as a High Deductible Health Plan, for instance. Not only will your premium amount be reduced, but you could also qualify for a Health Savings Plan where you can save even more money because of certain tax-deductible advantages that come with having this plan. Plus, you can even use a Health Savings Plan as an investment for when you retire.

You don’t have to pay restaurant prices

Maybe you’ve grown more fond of cooking home-cooked customized meals than you thought you would. And you’ve been left wondering why you ever had to resort to restaurants or takeout to get the nutrients you require. Furthermore, perhaps you’ve noticed the positive impact it’s had on your budget too, which makes it the perfect time to ditch dining out and rather save the extra money you would have spent at restaurants on creating a personalized eating plan for yourself.

Why drive when you can cycle?

Ever experienced the world from a cyclist’s point of view? If not, then perhaps you should skip driving to work all together and take the bike instead. If your commute is too far, you could opt to take an electric bike instead so that you don’t have to cycle all the way. You’ll not only be saving on fuel costs, but you’ll also be getting fitter, and you’ll be helping to save the environment too.

Of course, you could even make money with your new, more healthy lifestyle. Some of these money-making ideas could include:

Changing your shopping habits

Buying healthier foodstuffs doesn’t have to be as expensive as it looks. In fact, with just a few simple changes to your shopping habits, you can still enjoy all your favorite fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and healthy grains by taking advantage of special discounts along the way. Or you could even decide to buy some of your more healthy non-perishables in bulk to reap the benefits of cost savings in this way.  Or why not grow your own fruits and vegetables to drastically reduce the cost of your food bill every month?

Enjoy the outdoors for free!

If you have access to parks, outdoor gyms, jogging trails, etc. why not make use of these free activities to enhance your fitness levels even more? Furthermore, you’re more likely to stick with outdoor fitness activities because, for one, the outdoors is usually more varied and interesting, you could make friends along the way, and it’s better for your lungs, etc.

Making money with your newfound passion for leading a healthier life

Perhaps, you’ve found your real passion in your pursuit to lead a healthier lifestyle. You could then build a business around this and generate even more income besides savings on general expenses. For example, you could earn extra money through affiliate marketing if blogging is something you’re interested in doing. Or maybe opening up your own eCommerce store that sells gym equipment and workout gear has more of a ring to it. Either way (and amongst other things) you’ll want a professional-looking invoice to send to clients when they are due to pay. 

An online invoice generator can help with this by allowing you to design a customized invoice that you can tweak as you see fit, including inserting your special logo, personalizing your color scheme as well as adding any other important information on their premade templates.

In conclusion, living healthier is going to be an exercise (excuse the pun). But it doesn’t have to be draining on your income by any means. In fact, it could be quite the opposite if you know to adjust your existing lifestyle wisely.

Goals to Give You the Confidence to Return to the World

Image: Pixabay

Check out this inspiring and motivating article written by Camille Johnson on how to get back in gear after being on lockdown for so long.

Do you lack the confidence to re-enter the world after being indoors for an extended period of time? Maybe you lost your job due to the pandemic and are just now going back to work. Or maybe you were affected by lockdowns and are just now finding it safe to socialize again. Whatever the reason, it’s important to make sure you are confident enough to get back into the swing of things. Employ the tips below to help you build the confidence you need to overcome your fears.

Build your confidence and fitness with customized nutrition and fitness programs from Stacey Naito!

The Importance of Setting Goals

Setting goals is one of the most important parts of any lifestyle change. With just a few small changes, it’s possible to dramatically improve your life.

Many people have trouble setting and achieving their goals. This is because they don’t have a clear idea of what they want or need in their lives.

To avoid this, create a list of goals to give yourself the confidence you need to take on the world again. You could create lists with short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals that will help you reach your ultimate goal: happiness!

Reduce Debt, Reduce Stress

Debt is a major source of stress for many people, with 47% of Americans feeling overwhelmed by their debt. While there are a number of factors contributing to the level of debt Americans hold, one major factor is student loans.

Some people might believe that they are not able to take on more debt as they try to pay off existing balances. However, there are ways you can reduce your debt while still saving money, such as refinancing your home.

Refinancing allows qualified homeowners to decrease the equity in their homes and free up cash or reduce their monthly mortgage payments. Additionally, refinancing can be beneficial if you’re looking to take out a different type of loan. For instance, some people refinance a low-interest mortgage for one with an even lower rate.

Go Back to School

Oftentimes, people stop going to school when they get married and have children or they simply start to feel overwhelmed with life. But if you’re interested in progressing in your career, then why not consider going back to school?

Back in the day, it was common for people to care for their kids as a stay-at-home mom. In today’s society, women and men work outside the home. That said, being a working parent can be extremely difficult, and sometimes it might seem like there isn’t an alternative.

Fortunately, there is hope! Going back for an online degree in business, criminal justice, or nursing allows you to complete your education in a more flexible way. It also offers a lot of perks, such as:

  • The ability to balance work, family, and school
  • Not having to commute every day
  • Learning at your own pace
  • No dorm fees

If you’re considering going back to school for a degree or certificate program, now is the perfect time. It’s an investment that can pay off for years to come in higher wages and better job prospects.

In Closing

Setting goals, both short and long term, is not only a great way to stay on track, but it gives you the confidence to return to the world. When you are clear about what you are trying to accomplish, it’s easier to plan a course of action.

Work Logs During COVID

Image ID : 123934574
Source: 123rf.com
Copyright : Dmitrii Shironosov 

Ever since the pandemic began, many of us have become accustomed to working from home. For some, the shift to a home office environment may have enhanced productivity, while for those who struggle with self-motivation, a home work environment may have served as nothing but a challenge. Suddenly, work environments became riddled with completely new potential distractions, such as pets, children, package deliveries, and household chores. We have had to take more responsibility over our accountability and work ethic, while also working at a pace which doesn’t burn us out. I have a hunch that while some people have slacked off while working from home, more have probably worked harder while trapped at home than they ordinarily would while in a traditional work environment. I know that I have stayed up incredibly late at night to perform asynchronous telemedicine visits from home, something I would never be willing to do if I was working in a traditional clinic or medical office.

One thing I hadn’t given much thought to, despite the fact that my telemedicine productivity is monitored online, is that some employers have required employees to fill out work logs which itemize every single task an employee performs while on the clock. Given the fact that home distractions are quite different from work distractions, I wonder how much reported work activities have conflicted with what someone actually did during a work shift. On the other side of the coin, should quick bathroom breaks and trips to the kitchen for a snack be reported as scheduled breaks?

Image ID : 134010584
Source: 123rf.com
Copyright : lightfieldstudios

Work/life balance is critically important for us all. We aren’t slaves, nor should we be treated as such. I truly believe that if an employee performs all required tasks for a given day, then the employer has no right to monitor every single second of that employee’s time, whether it is spent in the office/shop or at a home office. Another consideration is that while some would consider the presence of a pet in the home work environment to be a distraction, having a beloved pet around would reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and enhance mood. I know that when I have one of my cats sitting on my lap while I am working on the computer, I am much more at ease. As a matter of fact, I have my rescue cat Shima sitting on my lap while I write this blog post, and I honestly feel that she enhances the flow of ideas and gives me so much love and comfort, thus enhancing my work.

Image ID : 145851688
Source: 123rf.com
Copyright : lacheev

There are a multitude of benefits I can come up with for working from home:

  • No need to battle traffic or spend extra time sitting in a car or other mode of transportation as a means of traveling to and from a work site
  • Ability to perform relaxation breathing, rant, etc. while working especially long or frustrating hours without getting berated for it
  • You can work in your skivvies if you so choose

I’m curious to know who prefers working from home, and who is actually looking forward to returning to their regular work environment.

5 Healthy Habits Seniors Can Adopt in the New Year

Please check out this excellent article written by Karen Weeks, which covers healthy habits which seniors can adopt in 2021.

Image via Pexels

By Karen Weeks of elderwellness.net

A brand new year is ahead of us, making it the perfect time to adopt healthy habits like eating nutritiously, exercising regularly, and spending time with loved ones (whether in-person or virtually). Below, Dr. Stacey Naito offers five senior-friendly habits that can be adopted in the new year — and how seniors can go about incorporating them in their lives.

1. Eat Nutritiously

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, seniors need adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D, B12, dietary fiber, healthy fats, and potassium in order to lead long and healthy lives. And fortunately, seniors can get all the nutrients they need by consuming plenty of fresh leafy greens, lean meats, beans, and healthy fats like avocados and fish. Supplementation may also be necessary if calcium, B12, B6, or vitamin D levels are low.

 

If you’re looking for some ways to eat better this year, try buying a new cookbook or two, purchasing a grocery delivery service, or visiting your local health foods store to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies, healthy grains, and lean proteins. If you’re thinking of paying for a grocery delivery service, some of the best options for produce include Imperfect Foods, Misfits Market, and Farmbox.

2. Exercise Often

Like good nutrition, seniors need plenty of physical activity — including strength training activities, exercises for balance and flexibility, and aerobic activities such as walking, biking, swimming, or dancing. And fortunately, there are several things seniors can do to increase their physical activity in the year ahead:

 

  • Following along to exercise DVDs or online fitness classes.

  • Walking or biking alone or with friends (while practicing social distancing, of course).

  • Parking further away from store entrances when shopping.

  • Purchasing an elliptical machine, exercise bike, or treadmill.

  • Starting and maintaining a garden.

 

If you have a medical condition or you’re experiencing body aches or pains, a physical therapist can help you to select the best exercises for you. Plus, many physical therapists are offering virtual services amidst COVID-19.

3. Socialize With Loved Ones

Socializing is tough in the age of the coronavirus, but it isn’t impossible! With senior-friendly video chat software, online multiplayer games and apps, and safe in-person gatherings (like outdoor activities and walks with loved ones), seniors can safely spend more time with their friends and family members in the new year. Regular socialization keeps seniors physically, mentally, and emotionally well — and reduces their risk of cognitive decline and depression.

4. Keep the Mind Sharp

Speaking of cognitive decline, seniors should also make time for brain games and activities in the new year. Brain games keep the mind young and healthy, fight boredom, and improve overall mental well-being. A few brain training activities for seniors include:

 

  • Jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, and word finds.

  • Classes on cooking, foreign languages, dance, or music.

  • Arts and crafts like knitting, scrapbooking, and upcycling.

  • Reading, coloring, and drawing.

5. Clean and Declutter

Clutter is harmful for a number of reasons. Not only does it create tripping hazards at home, but excess clutter often triggers anxiety, concentration issues, irritability, and even depression. So, if you’ve been feeling especially negative or depressed as of late, the new year is the perfect time to freshen up your living space by cleaning, decluttering, and letting in as much fresh air as possible. Redfin shares a checklist with some ideas for cleansing your home and creating a happier and healthier living space.

New Year, New You

It’s never too late to adopt healthier habits and take steps to improve your life, and these five tips will help you to tackle everything from changing your diet to eliminating excess clutter at home. No matter your age, the start of a new year is the perfect time to reinvent yourself and improve various areas of your life.

 

Looking for more health tips and advice? Visit Dr. Stacey Naito’s blog at staceynaitoblog.com.

The Men Who Built America – Financial Titans

When I was a child, American history was taught in a very static manner.  We were expected to memorize important dates and factoids, to the point where epic points in history like the Industrial Revolution, though pivotal and vital to the development of America, seemed dull and uninteresting.  It took imaginative historical books which I have read over recent years, and shows such as “The Men Who Built America”, for a keen interest in American history to ignite within me.

Most recently, I stumbled upon “The Men Who Built America” right around Halloween when I was searching on Amazon Prime Video for an entertaining show to watch. What caught my eye was the fact that the television series was described on IMDB as a miniseries which “shines a spotlight on the influential builders, dreamers and believers whose feats transformed the United States, a nation decaying from the inside after the Civil War, into the greatest economic and technological superpower the world had ever seen. The Men Who Built America is the story of a nation at the crossroads and of the people who catapulted it to prosperity.”  Those words were enough to draw me in.

The focus of this series centers around the lives of Cornelius VanderbiltJohn D. RockefellerAndrew CarnegieJ. P. Morgan, and Henry Ford.

Check out these descriptions of the episodes:

1 “A New War Begins” Ruán Magan David C. White, Keith Palmer October 16, 2012
Cornelius Vanderbilt grows from a steamboat entrepreneur to the head of a railroad empire, and gets into a heated rivalry with James Fisk and Jay Gould; the up and coming John D. Rockefeller founds Standard Oil. Many business owners lay their own rail lines which leads to the Panic of 1873. Later, Rockefeller starts to expand his wealth by diverting his business from the railroads to a new innovation, oil pipelines.
2 “Bloody Battles” Patrick Reams David C. White, Keith Palmer October 23, 2012
Andrew Carnegie builds an empire around steel, but finds himself struggling to save face after the ruthless tactics of his business partner, Henry Clay Frick, result in both the Johnstown Flood as well as the bloody 1892 strike at the Homestead Steel Works.
3 “Changing the Game” Patrick Reams David C. White, Patrick Reams, Keith Palmer October 30, 2012
J. P. Morgan proceeds to banish the dark with the direct current electric light of Thomas Edison, but the two soon face serious competition from the alternating current of George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla. As the 19th century comes to a close, the titans of industry must try to work together to stop a new threat in budding politician William Jennings Bryan, who threatens to dissolve monopolies in America.
4 “When One Ends, Another Begins” Patrick Reams David C. White, Keith Palmer November 11, 2012
Rockefeller, Carnegie and Morgan team up to help elect William McKinley to the U.S. presidency by paying for his 1896 campaign, to avoid a possible attack on monopolies. However, fate intervenes when McKinley is suddenly assassinated, and Vice President Theodore Roosevelt assumes the presidency and promptly begins dissolving monopolies and trusts in America. Meanwhile, Morgan buys out Carnegie Steel to make Carnegie the richest man in the world, and Henry Ford designs an affordable automobile with his Model T and starts his own business, Ford Motor Company, which sets a new business model for companies to follow.

It was mostly my interest in finance which locked me into this series, but I also truly enjoyed learning about the historical impact which these great men had on a sophomore nation.  If you’re looking for a great series which is relatively short (you could binge watch this over a weekend), then this is for you.

The Great Gym Equipment Shortage of 2020

Source: 123rf
Image ID : 35796318
Copyright : ramain

 

If you’re into fitness, then you probably have encountered elements of the exercise equipment shortage which emerged from the coronavirus lockdown.  People began scrambling to pick up all sorts of exercise equipment as soon as lockdown went into effect, and suddenly, dumbbells, kettlebells, weight benches, resistance bands, etc. became as scarce as a 12-pack of Charmin.  It turns out that weight training, as an e-commerce category, is the eighth-fastest growing category, even more in demand than toilet paper, paper towels, and hand sanitizer.  Interest in fitness gear is up over 500% this year.

Part of the shortage is due to the fact that a large percentage of the iron used for exercise equipment is forged in China.  In fact, every single piece of exercise equipment I have ordered online since March has been made in China.  Many factories in China have been shut down as a result of the pandemic, causing production to plummet, and forcing distributors to find other ways to manufacture items like dumbbells, kettlebells, weight plates, multi gyms, and barbells.

Hence the shortage and the inflated prices we have been seeing all over the internet.  Bowflex Selecttech Dumbbells have been selling on eBay for grossly inflated prices, jumping from as little as $200 for a pair last fall to as much as $1,500 during the peak of the equipment buying panic a couple of months ago.  I have had a Bowflex Selecttech 552 set with the stand for eleven years, and I am so grateful to have it.  Never once did I think about jumping on the opportunity to make a ridiculous amount of money by selling the set, because I was using the set every single day, and my fitness and sanity mean far more to me than making a quick buck.  Plus, they’re pretty awesome, enabling me to select any weight from 5 to 52.5 pounds, in increments of 2.5 pounds.

There were other purchases I made which were a test of my patience.  I ordered a hyperextension bench which took two months to arrive, and I went through so many sites and online searches and apps before I found items like the Marcy Diamond Elite MD-9010G Smith Multi Gym through OfferUp.  I also had to pay more than the original sticker price because the demand for such items is so high.  However, I swooped in on this item before prices went through the roof.  The current lowest price on Amazon for this multi gym is now $2,700.99 and arrives September 25th – October 13th!

 

If you happen to see a piece of equipment which you want, you had better snap it up immediately, since the demand will not abate any time soon.  Gyms have been shuttered, and there’s no telling how long it will be before they will reopen, so we all need to get comfortable with assembling the best home gyms possible.

Marcy Diamond Elite MD-9010G

Children and Weightlifting

I wanted to share this post from artofmanliness.com which discusses the benefits prepubescent children can obtain from weightlifting.  I was inspired to discuss this topic after three of my nephews and my niece, all ranging from 7 to 10 years in age, invaded my home gym during my dad’s memorial dinner and begged me to show them how to lift weights. I obliged, all the while monitoring their form and also making sure they were lifting a reasonable amount of weight.  They enjoyed the session so much, they have asked their parents to let them have a sleepover at Aunt Stacey’s so they can train, and play with the cats, and have fun in an environment other than their own homes.

Source: 123rf
Image ID : 50131018

Original post can be found here: Art of Manliness Article

Brett and Kate McKay • March 1, 2018 Last updated: March 24, 2020

When Can Kids Start Lifting Weights?

vintage young boy lifting dumbbell teachers look worried

Maybe you’ve been following a barbell training program for a while now. Maybe you do your workouts in a garage gym at home, and your curious kids have been hanging out with you while you exercise and cheering you on for getting swol.

Maybe they’ve even wanted to imitate you, and would like to start lifting weights just like Dad. You start letting them hoist an empty bar a few times, and they feel like they’re ready for more.

But your wife catches wind of what you and the gang have been up to and starts raising Mom concerns. “Is it safe for kids to lift weights? Doesn’t it stunt their growth?”

Bless Mom’s heart, but she needn’t be worried.

Below we deconstruct the myths about kids and weightlifting and discuss how to safely get your kiddos started with pumping a little iron.

The Myths About Kids And Weightlifting

Weightlifting can stunt a child’s growth. This is probably the most common fear surrounding kids and weightlifting. Supposedly, if a child lifts weights it can stunt their growth in a couple of ways.

First, there’s concern that weightlifting will cause the growth plates in a child’s bones to fuse together prematurely, which will in turn hinder their overall growth.

The other concern is that weightlifting can somehow fracture growth plates, and consequently stunt growth that way.

But no proof exists that either of these worries are valid. According to Jordan Feigenbaum and Austin Baraki, who are both medical doctors and strength coaches, no evidence exists that suggests weightlifting inhibits a child’s growth. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

Further, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, a growth plate fracture from weightlifting hasn’t been reported in any research study. In a Barbell Medicine podcast on this topic, Dr. Feigenbaum explained that growth plate fractures are extremely rare and require a severe amount of trauma, more than a child would ever experience lifting weights safely.

So don’t worry about weightlifting stunting your child’s growth. It’s a myth.

Weightlifting is just dangerous. Okay, weightlifting may not stunt a kid’s growth, but doesn’t the activity carry other dangers? Couldn’t children hurt their back, pull a muscle, injure their rotator cuff, damage their tendons, etc.?

In fact, your kid is more likely to get injured playing soccer or baseball than they are lifting weights. Contrary to popular belief, weightlifting is one of the safest physical activities to take part in, for folks of any age.

In my podcast interview with Dr. Feigenbaum, he highlighted research that shows that the injury rate for weightlifting injuries per thousand participation hours pales in comparison to injuries in other supposedly kid friendly sports. For example, one study found that the injury rate for weightlifting was .013 injuries per thousand practice hours. For soccer it was 1.3 injuries per thousand participation hours. So your kid is 100 times more likely to get injured playing soccer than lifting weights. Yet despite the prodigious injury rate for soccer, you don’t see parents keeping their kids from taking the field.

Bottom line: when done with proper form and supervision, weightlifting is an incredibly safe activity for your kid to do. 

At What Age Can a Child Start a Serious Weightlifting Program?

So weightlifting is safe for your kids — it won’t stunt their growth, and they won’t kill themselves doing it. That means you should definitely start your eight-year-old on the Starting Strength program, right?

Wrong.

According to Feigenbaum and Baraki, while it’s perfectly fine to let your kids do a few sets of deadlifts or squats with some light weights, you shouldn’t put them on a regimented, progressive training program (where they’re increasing the weight every session) until they’ve reached Stage 4 on the Tanner Puberty Scale. When a teenager is in Tanner Stage 4, they’re basically in full-blown puberty. Pubic hair is adult-like in both males and females. Females have almost fully developed breasts; males have larger testicles and penis, and their scrotum has become larger and darker. Males in Tanner Stage 4 will have underarm hair and the beginnings of facial hair growth, and their voice will also be deeper.

The reason you don’t want to start regularly weight training a child until they reach Tanner Stage 4 is that before then, they just don’t have the hormone levels (specifically, testosterone) to drive progress and recover from session to session.

Generally, children enter Tanner Stage 4 between ages 11 and 17. It’s different for each child. You might have a 12-year-old who’s in Tanner Stage 4 and physically ready to train when they’re in sixth grade. But you also might have a child who’s a late bloomer and won’t be ready to train until they’re a junior in high school. Don’t try to rush it. Let your child’s physical maturity determine when they start a dedicated training program.

My Prepubescent Kid Wants to Lift: What Should He Do?

Until your child reaches Tanner Stage 4, they don’t need to follow a set program; just let them lift weights in a sporadic and playful way.

The goal with weight training in prepubescent children isn’t to crush PRs, but rather to learn the movement patterns for the lifts and cultivate a lifelong love of fitness.

Research shows that prepubescent children can get stronger following a supervised weightlifting program, but the strength they gain comes from an increase “in the number of motor neurons that are ‘recruited’ to fire with each muscle contraction.” Basically, as your kids practice the barbell lifts, their motor neurons become more efficient, and they’re better able to display strength. Your kids won’t start packing on real muscle from strength training until they reach Tanner Stage 4 puberty.

Here are a few guidelines on how to guide your prepubescent children in weightlifting:

Don’t force weightlifting on your kids. If they express an interest in lifting, encourage it. But don’t force them to do it. That’s a surefire way to instill a dislike for exercise later on. They’ve got the rest of their lives to be serious with their workouts. Most of the professional, super strong dudes I know who have kids have never proactively tried to get them to lift weights. For example, powerlifter Chris Duffin makes his living being strong and teaching people how to be strong. But he has a policy of not actively encouraging his kids to lift. If they want to, he shows them how, and he keeps the session light and fun.

Keep the weight light. Your kids shouldn’t be grinding out super heavy singles when they lift. The focus should be on form, not weight lifted. Most adult-sized barbells will be too large for a child. Get a bar specifically made for kids from Rogue. They weigh about 11 lbs.

Standard barbell weights should be just fine for kids. They probably won’t be using the 25-45 lb plates for a while, but most kids should be able to lift a barbell with 2.5-10 lb plates depending on the lift. My four-year-old daughter, Scout, can press the Rogue kid’s bar with 2.5 lbs on each side 5 times without any trouble. That’s 16 pounds total.

If you’d like to have your kids lift even lighter weights, consider buying some microplates. They allow you to make .5-2.5 lb increases in load.

Keep weightlifting sessions fun and playful. The primary goal when kids start lifting weights or doing any exercise program is help them get the movements down and to instill a love fitness in them. Also, a lot of young children just don’t have the attention span to follow a regimented program yet. Just let them play with barbells and provide feedback on form. With my kids, when they come down to “train” with Dad, they put some weight on the kid bar and bust out a few sets, then they go play with something else, before maybe coming back to do another set. It’s not structured at all.

If your kid wants a program, keep the reps high and increase weight gradually. If your kid really wants a program, create one for them but keep the reps high, and increase weight in small increments over a long period of time. One study that looked at youth weight training found that 1 to 2 sets with 6 to 15 repetitions per set was ideal for young children.

Start kids with a weight that they can lift 10-15 times, with some fatigue but no muscle failure. Then gradually make small increases in the weight. Once your kid can easily do 15 reps of an exercise, you increase the weight by 5-10%.

Your kid should always be able to do 10 reps without much strain. If they can’t, then the weight has gotten too heavy for them.

If the weight is kept light and you’re not increasing it every session, letting your kids do 2-3 sessions a week (on non-consecutive days) should be fine. Even just one a week may satisfy their nascent curiosity and interest.

Even If Your Kid Is Following a “Program,” Mix Things Up

Even if your 10-year-old is following a semi-structured weightlifting program, make sure they mix in other exercises. Kids should be exposed to as many physical movements as possible when they’re young. Specializing at a young age can be detrimental to athletic performance later in life, so make sure they throw medicine balls, swing a kettlebell, do pull-ups, and perform simple bodyweight movements and MovNat exercises.

Bottom line: Weightlifting is perfectly safe for your children to do. It won’t stunt their growth and they aren’t likely to injure themselves doing it. Before your kid hits puberty, let them practice the movements as much as they want with a light bar made for children. Don’t introduce regular training that progressively adds significant load to each session until they hit Tanner Stage 4 puberty. Keep on being a good example of fitness until they’re out of the house (and beyond!).

Home Sweat Home

Image ID : 45950016
Copyright : Katarzyna Białasiewicz

 

When I first decided to write a blog post on this topic, it was a couple of years ago, and I sat on it, procrastinating. What finally prompted me to complete this post was the inevitable, terrifying lockdown which washed across the globe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Times have certainly changed in a heartbeat, and many of us find ourselves in unfamiliar territory, being forced to remain within the confines of our homes, socially isolated, concerned about a very uncertain financial and economic future.   Gym rats like me everywhere have been banned from alighting daily upon gyms and fitness facilities which have provided much needed iron therapy, daily “me” time, and a chance to clear up all the mental clutter which our frenetic society has thrust upon us.

Whether you are stuck indoors without much more than a list of streaming shows to check off, or you have had the good fortune to remain gainfully employed during this difficult time, you might be interested in some exercises which can keep you lean and mean.

Image ID : 22284944
Copyright : Marcin Balcerzak

 

Throw in a few quad stretches during your day to keep soft tissues limber!

 

It may seem to be a daunting task to devise a workout routine outside of a gym or health club, but it is absolutely possible to get decent workouts in on a daily basis whether you are at home, or away from home with limited equipment. Whether you take a few minutes to exercise at your desk while at work (just remember the safe distance rule), throw together a calisthenics routine in an open outdoor area, use your living room floor to eke out a workout, or use furnishings in a home office area to crank out a sweat-inducing regimen, you honestly have ZERO excuses to avoid a workout. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need fancy gym equipment to move and challenge your body.

If you truly are new to exercising on the fly, here are some suggested workouts which can get you going.

Image ID : 45461087
Copyright : Andriy Popov

 

Got a stability ball chair?  It’s great for balancing on while you get a good rib stretch!

 

SUGGESTED EXERCISES:

CALISTHENICS/PLYOS for full-body:

Star Jacks:  These are similar to a jumping jack, but you flair your arms and legs out, while jump explosively from the ground. To make it more challenging, touch the ground at the beginning of the move.

Try 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 12 reps.

 

Jump Squats:  Start in a crouched squat position with feet shoulder width apart.  Then jump up quickly Upon landing, return to squat position again.

3 to 5 sets of 10 to 12 reps.

 

UPPER BODY BLAST:

Tricep Dining Room Chair Dips:

You can perform these triceps burners on the edge of a chair or a firm bed, or a bathtub.

  1. Place your hands at the edge of the bed with palms facing down so you are supporting your upper body.
  2. Bend your knees at 90 degrees so that your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  3. Dip down slowly, keeping elbows in line with your shoulders.
  4. Push down against the support to raise yourself back up to the starting position.

 

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

 

Incline Push Ups (use the floor or chair):

  1. Place your hands on the bed or a chair with your feet on the floor behind you in a push-up position.
  2. Slowly lower yourself down to the bed while keeping your abdominal region tight and squeezing your glutes.  Don’t round out your back!
  3. Push back up to the starting position and repeat.

 

3 sets of 10 to 12 reps

 

Decline Push Ups:

When you are ready to get more of a challenge from your push ups, move to this exercise.

 

  1. Start with your feet on the bed and your hands on the ground. Keep your body in a straight line and your abdominals tucked in.
  2. Slowly lower your chest down to the ground while keeping your elbows in close to your body.
  3. Push back up to the starting position and repeat.

 

One Arm Milk Jug Rows:

Use a milk jug or similar weighted item for this exercise.

  1. Start bent forward at the waist, placing opposite hand on low table, chair, or sofa.
  2. With other arm, bend at elbow and bring weight up near ribcage, squeezing muscles in mid back to bring weight up.  Return to start.

3 sets of 10 to 12 reps

 

LEG BLAST:

Wall Squats:

  1. With your back to the wall, lower down so that your legs create a 90-degree angle.
  2. Hold this position for as long as you can.

3 sets of 30 to 60 seconds

 

Bodyweight Squats:

  1. Start in squat position.
  2. Squeeze glutes and backs of legs to raise up halfaway.
  3. Return to start.

4 sets of 12 to 15 reps

 

Front Lunges:

  1. Start standing with feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Step forward with right foot into lunge position, knee bent at 90 degrees, with right thigh parallel to ground.  Make sure knee does NOT extend past your toes!
  3. Return to start position by pushing off right foot and squeezing left glute.
  4. Repeat on other leg.

4 sets of 10 reps each leg

 

Walking Lunges:

  1. Start standing with feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Step forward with right foot into lunge position, knee bent at 90 degrees, with right thigh parallel to ground.  Make sure knee does NOT extend past your toes!
  3. Now advance by stepping forward with left foot into lunge position, knee bent at 90 degrees, with left thigh parallel to ground.  Make sure knee does NOT extend past your toes!
  4. Keep moving forward, alternating legs.

3 sets of 10 reps each leg

 

Diagonal Lunges:

  1. Start standing with feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Step forward with right foot out at a 45 degree angle from the center line into lunge position, knee bent at 90 degrees, with right thigh parallel to ground.  Make sure knee does NOT extend past your toes!
  3. Now advance by stepping forward with left foot out at a 45 degree angle from the center line into lunge position, knee bent at 90 degrees, with left thigh parallel to ground.  Make sure knee does NOT extend past your toes!
  4. Keep moving forward, alternating legs.

3 sets of 10 reps each leg

 

Single Leg Deadlifts:

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Lean forward at the hips and shift your weight onto right leg while extending left leg straight behind you.
  3. Lift your extended left leg while leaning your upper body forward until your body is almost parallel with ground, arms hanging down or with hands at hips.  Slowly return your extended leg to starting position.
  4. Repeat with other leg.

3 sets of 10 reps each leg

 

Assisted Pistol Squats:

  1. Start by balancing on right leg, toes pointed forward.
  2. Straighten out left leg in front of you while you crouch down.  Lightly lean on chair back with your right hand as you crouch down to assist with movement, until your extended leg is parallel with ground.
  3. Press back up by engaging muscles in your right leg, pressing away from the floor to return to start.
  4. Repeat for designated number of repetitions, then switch legs.

3 sets of 6 to 8 reps per leg

 

Leg Kickbacks:

  1. Get down on all fours on the floor with an exercise mat or towel under you for cushion.  Align your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  2. Without changing the angle of your knee, extend your right leg back and up until your thigh is parallel with the ground with the sole of your right foot facing the ceiling.
  3. Contract your glute at the top of the movement and hold for a count of 1-2.
  4. Return to your starting position without touching your knee to the ground and repeat.
  5. Do 12 to 20 repetitions, then switch sides.

4 to 5 sets of 12 to 20 reps per leg

 

Hip Bridge:

  1. Lie flat on your back, with knees bent and arms by your hips, palms down, and feet hip distance apart with heels a few inches from your glutes.
  2. Push through your HEELS and squeeze your glutes to lift your hips up so that they are in line with your torso.
  3. Pause at top for a count of 2 to 3, then lower back down.

3 to 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps

 

ABDOMINAL STABILIZERS:

Basic Plank:

  1. Place forearms on the floor with elbows aligned below shoulders and arms parallel to your body at about shoulder width.
  2. Feet are about 6-8 inches apart, with toes ground into floor.
  3. Squeeze glutes and make sure your entire body makes one long line.
  4. Neutralize your neck and spine by looking at a spot on the floor about a foot beyond your hands. Make sure your head is in line with your back.
  5. Hold the position for at least 30 seconds.

One Hundreds:

  1. Lie on back with knees bent at 90 degrees and hips at 90 degrees from floor.
  2. Reach arms down along torso parallel to floor, then lift head and engage your abdominal muscles with shoulder blades off the mat.
  3. Move your hands in a repetitive percussive motion about an inch or so off the floor then down while you inhale for a count of 5.
  4. Exhale for a count of 5 while continuing the same percussive hand motion.
  5. Repeat for 9 more full breaths with same cadence.

V-Ups:

  1. Lie on your back and extend your arms above your head. Keep your feet together with toes pointed.
  2. With legs straight, lift them up as you simultaneously raise your upper body off the floor. Keep your core tight as you reach for your toes with your hands. Slowly lower yourself back down to the starting position.

How To Do V-Ups

%d bloggers like this: