BE FIT AND FEARLESS
Inner Strength is
developed when a
FEARLESS MIND fights
hard to conquer a
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As early as possible.
Of course you say that Shan, you’re a strength coach!
It’s true, I’m biased, but my bias comes from experience of success. I’ve trained kids as young as 6, in a sibling pair or in family sessions. At this age, I’m focusing on appropriate technique, safety in the sport, and of course, the fun of the sport!
Kids learn early on about feeling powerful, engaging in self-care and healthy living habits, healthy eating, as well as mindful eating, as I often engage my young clients with different snacks I create. They gain a sense of excitement to try new foods that can be healthy and nourishing.
Family sessions build the family relationships along the common interest and helps siblings feel proud of each other’s accomplishments without breeding sibling rivalry. I focus on making the drills age appropriate and modify the workouts for each child. Working with younger siblings helps the older sibling feel helpful and builds leadership skills. The younger sibling is able to feel capable in a similar area without having to measure up to his/her older sibling. The whole family walks away feeling powerful in their bodies.
An elementary school client I recently worked with has a great success story off the field. Her parents hired me to focus on strength training and basketball skills. Focusing on a sports interest improved her confidence. We worked on being proud of her accomplishments and taking ownership of them—a tough thing for girls to do in our society without being considered arrogant. This increased confidence led to her feeling more capable initiating friendships at a new school. She was able to find friends with a common interest in the sport and this helped sustain the friendships.
What was your earliest memory you have of focusing on how strong you are? Let me know in the comments!
The CDC recommends youth engage in at least an hour of physical activity per day. A study completed in 2015 determined only 27.1% of high schoolers met this expectation (Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Study, 2015). It’s important to support your youngster’s passion in sports or physical activity early, to help them continue a healthy lifestyle into adolescence and beyond.
If less than 30% of the high school aged population is exercising daily, it makes me wonder what we can do to help our youth beat the obesity epidemic. In my last post I discussed unexpected lessons children/teens learn from sports. Now that we know more about what they can gain, let’s talk more about how to get them involved.
Try to start young
If you are a parent of young children, capitalize on their general desire to be physically active by enrolling them in a variety-focused sports camp. They can try their hand at many sports to see what they are interested in. When my sister came home from reffing U-6 soccer in high school she used to refer to it as ‘bumblebee ball.’ All the kids would swarm around the ball and follow it around the field. They had little direction, and struggled to hear the coach’s instructions because they were too busy having fun!
Set the expectation
You can give your child a choice of what sport (maybe offer 2-3 choices after doing some research about what’s available in your area), but require participation in one. This way the activity chosen is what’s negotiable, not whether your child/teen participates in any sport.
Maybe it’s midseason and your kiddo is interested in soccer. See if his friend’s coach will allow him to join in a few practices to try out the sport before committing next fall, or having to wait until winter for indoor soccer. Check your local YMCA or community college for weeklong summer ‘classes’ on the skills involved in the sport if your child is timid or feels it is too late to start.
Remember sports don’t have to have a team component, or work toward scoring points on a scoreboard. Fencing, dance, cheerleading, and martial arts are all intense options for your kids to feel a sense of accomplishment and break a sweat.
What are other ways you try to get your kids up and moving? Let me know in the comments!
When considering the wealth of extracurricular options kids have these days, here are a few reasons to consider enrolling your child in a sports league.
‘Teamwork’ is the first benefit that often comes to mind when parents consider why their child should participate in youth sports. The very opposite is also true. Children and teens are able to build a sense of self on the field, as well as learn the lesson to push themselves to meet their team’s goals. They gain the important quality of self-confidence which pushes the child to feel the ability to accomplish her goals. With this confidence comes the ability to try out new experiences with less support from parents in other areas of their life.
Your child learns to navigate communicating with his/her teammates, as well as with the coach. As it takes all types of people to make the world turn, your child will gain valuable lessons of how to advocate for himself, make friends, set limits with teammates, and follow a leader. All of these skills are useful on and off the field.
This one may seem a little more obvious, but what is important to ensure this lesson is learned is the nature of the role of the parent. As much as we want our children to succeed in their sport, it is important to give them the responsibility to avoid failure. If we are dragging them out to the yard in the evening for drills practice they do not learn the importance of self-motivation. Let your child know you value her participation in the sport by requiring attendance at the practices and games (teaching commitment), but leave the ball in their court when it comes to scheduling extra practice. If they are truly passionate, they will find the time to play.
Your child learns the ability to focus for an hour with continued practice and participation. In a game that requires skill, problem solving, and anticipation, there’s little time to think about what’s on TV later, or what test is coming up next week. The ability to be mindful in the moment will help your child be successful in other avenues of his life as well.
Your child will fail. Even on a team that’s undefeated, he will miss a goal, fumble a pass, or trip on his own feet. These experiences will teach him that no one is perfect. Humility is a key quality in good sportsmanship. Without it, a child can end up wanting to taunt the opposing team when they win because he feels insecure about his mishaps on the field--not a good look for anyone.
Just as she learns she’s not perfect in sports, she will also learn to consider how others feel in their situation. She will learn to cheer up a dejected teammate, and not out of pity. As a result, she will develop a sense of contribution to the team morale.
What are other unexpected benefits you gained from playing sports as a kid? Let me know in the comments!
Hello! I know I've been radio silent lately--I've been off to the races partnering with various community organizations around the Seacoast! Stay tuned for more information about where you can find me this summer!
For youth sports, I believe it is more important for my clients to build their inner conversations of strength so this can carry on throughout their athletic interests as they grow. Especially for my middle schoolers.
Though I take their passion for their sport seriously, I also ensure my work with them focuses on building a foundation of strength that can translate to another sport if they change their focus. While we work on sport-specific skills, we also run drills that are easy to translate across multiple sports. If you have a middle schooler who is exploring competitive sports, here’s how you can foster a growth-mindset while they juggle the intensity in competition as they grow.
Click here for more information about where you can find me this summer!
Transformation occurs on the inside leading you to feel strong, healthy and confident enough to conquer any obstacle that lies ahead. Inner strength is developed when a FEARLESS MIND fights hard to conquer a Goal. I am sharing with you my story of transformation to inspire you to realize anything is possible with the right mindset and coaching.
In 2012 (me on the left) I was in my 1st year of my training career. I had hit an unexpected obstacle in my life, and found myself lost in an eating disorder. Anorexia and bulimia attempted to destroy me; it took over my life and for months I was depressed trying to figure out how to get out of the mess. I had over-trained for a Tough Mudder race. Leading up to the race, I felt healthy inside and out, feeling super energized. Little did I know, by training 2x per day and not increasing my macronutrients, I was actually depleting my muscle mass and over-training prior to the race.
This obsession of doing more each day only increased and spiraled out of control. It took me a few months to finally wake up one morning, look myself in the mirror and tell myself I would not spend another day depressed, lost or confused. Once I realized I needed guidance and a coach, I hired a trainer and nutritionist. I started to follow the plan day in and day out for several months. I know what its like to not feel satisfied with your body and the incredible strength it takes to take those first steps towards change.
It took weeks and months of consistent hard work and check-ins to finally feel like I was making progress. One thing my dad always told me during my toughest times was “You can choose happy” and “to keep smiling” that was hard to see at that point. Then I began to start thinking happy thoughts, smiling even if I had to force it. My mom always supported me; she was the one who inspired me to learn more about nutrient dense cooking and how to really feed my body the right way. I am so thankful for my family and friends’ support during that time. It was hard to admit to them I needed help; I was just blindsided by the eating disorder.
Fast forward to today (me on the right) I am the healthiest and strongest I have felt in years!! I am back to running road races, Spartan races, coaching lacrosse and playing all the sports that keep me feeling alive and excited about life.
A transformation occurs from the inside out and that is exactly what Fighter HIIT is focused on. We work on developing a strong mindset around nutrition and physical movement that it becomes a lifestyle transformation. I focus on encouragement while also holding you accountable on your goals. No more hour+ trips to the gym to wonder what you are going to do in there. You start with a customized plan. We take the workouts outside to take advantage of the huge mental benefits to training outdoors! We start with bodyweight training to focus on moving efficiently before we add weights to your program.
As I was gearing up for the first week of Fighter HIIT I started preparing myself to explain in greater detail the benefit of HIIT to my students. Here are my thoughts, and I hope they help you stay motivated with your fitness goals this spring!
The theory behind high intensity training is directly related to your mental focus. You have to believe you can train at a high level of intensity for a sustained amount of time working in intervals before you commit to the program. Your thoughts have a direct relation to how you perform. Take control of your mindset before entering a vigorous program. HIIT workouts should run from 25-30 minutes per session. If you go past 45-60 minutes in a HIIT workout this could lead to muscle mass breakdown, which can result in overtraining. The key is to work outside of your comfort zone for a longer duration of time and match it with lower intensity work for a shorter distance to challenge your aerobic and anaerobic systems.
Form and breathing patterns are extremely important throughout the high intensity intervals. HIIT does not only relate to running, biking, swimming, stair climbing or sprint intervals. HIIT can be applied to a body weight-training program, dance fitness workouts, and boxing or kickboxing programs. These workouts will keep you constantly moving while working on power, speed and reaction to develop your inner strength. As you incorporate these workouts around heavy lifting days you will find yourself developing a sense of core and oblique activation.
By gaining this knowledge and applying a HIIT program 2x per week into your training you will perform better mentally and physically. As your inner strength develops, your mindset improves, your confidence grows and you become Fearless!
Below is an example of an outdoor HIIT Workout!!
Band Work: Shoulder and Chest Openers 10x2, Hip Openers and
Hamstring Pull backs 10x2
Dynamic Warm Up:
2) Lunge to high knee pull x10 each leg
3) High knee skips x10
4) Single leg squats x10
3 rounds to start:
1A) Stair sprints x8-10
2A) Frog Jumps (squat jump forward into squat jump backwards) x10
1B) Rotating Lunge Jumps x10 each leg
2B) Push-up to Plank x10-12 each arm
1C) Stability Ball Pike Up or modified: drive knees in while
holding push-up position x12-15
2C) Speed Skater Lunges x12 each leg
For more workouts like these and to learn about programming customized for you, check out my TRAINING section above!