Tuesday, December 29, 2015

How Kim Kardashian Helped the Fitness Industry

However you feel about Keepin’ Up with Kim, she has been good for the fitness and health industry. Aside from the whole absurd waist-trainer that has fitness instructors and trainers, nutritionists, dieticians, chiropractors, physicians, medical professionals, and health experts in an uproar, that is. (Please, Kim! Stop with the waist-trainers already!)
Kim is, by today’s celebrity standard, larger than most. Beyond curvy, Kim recreated “sexy” in a waif-obsessed culture and made it okay to be on the plus-side of fashion. For decades, “fitness models” have been hipless, shapeless figures with breast implants and pipe-cleaner arms, perpetuating a look that has not only been unnatural but unhealthy for the average woman. Body shaming became “a thing” and the very people who could and would have most benefitted from exercise were intimidated and embarrassed to step inside a gym. Certainly the impressive booty proportions of Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez were helpful but it was Kim Kardashians constant selfies that reached a whole new generation of young women to show that extra pounds was not only okay but lovely.
For more than 20 years, the fitness industry – despite ridiculous media images – has tried to sell the idea that overall health is far more important than dress size. But how can we get women to believe this message when almost every beauty, fashion, fitness, and sport magazine glorifies the 112-pound pixie?
Thank you, Dove, for the great body image pic of women!
Recently, when a co-worker commented that Kim Kardashian has no muscle tone I found myself in the unlikely position of defending a Kardashian. She does. You might not see it as clearly as you would on one with less body fat but these are the perks of Kim’s curves. She does work out. She is committed to working with a trainer. She does sweat. And so … thank you, Kim. Keep Up with the Fitness!
To those embarrassed or ashamed about extra weight, to anyone struggling with body image vs. pop culture, for all who want to get healthier but are fearful of body shaming, own your life! Be proud that you are strong enough to move forward into the next year with the resolve to be stronger, healthier, sexier, and better.
Alexandra Allred is an award-wining author and  fitness/health expert, certified instructor, former natl’ and pro athlete who specializes in women’s health, seniors, and the special needs population.

Friday, December 25, 2015

A Gym Membership is Like Owning A Car

So, you got a gym membership for Christmas. Or, maybe you gave one. Given or gotten, the idea was a great one: Give health! Get wellness! Give strength! Gain confidence. It’s all the same but as either giver or getter, you have a responsibility. Year after year, the fitness industry watches as well-intending people enter gyms. Fresh-faced and full of hope, membership numbers spike in January, then dramatically drop in March. Why? The intent and the goals haven’t changed but something went awry …
Own That Membership Like You Own a Car!
The Learners Permit
When you turned 16 years old, did you just run outside, hop into your mother or father’s car, and zoom away?  Please say ‘no,’ please say ‘no,’ please say ‘no’ …
You took classes. You learned about the rules of the road, how to operate the steering wheel, and manage the brakes and accelerator. Even learning how to work the windshield wipers, hazards, and defrost was important to learn.
After weeks and weeks of study, you were ready for the road and began with a learners permit.
Giving the “Car” Gift
There is no way you would give a car to someone who had no idea how to drive. Not only would they need the experience and the license, they would need insurance. In giving a gym membership to a loved one, you have a little more leeway. While your loved one isn’t driving two tons of metal at high speed, he or she is lifting weights and possibly moving in ways that could be hurtful if done improperly. Every day, instructors and trainers see the most horrifying things that people – however unwittingly – do in the gym in the quest to be fit.
Buy Some Insurance
Make sure that the gym recipient is given at least one introduction to the gym by a qualified staff member and receives at least one session with a trainer. Too often, people come into the gym and are too embarrassed to ask for help. Give that extra insurance so your loved one can better understand how to work the machines, lift weight, and move.
Driving to Success!
By March, as many as 40% of new gym enthusiasts drop off. (Check out this great Top 10 List of “why” people quit)
Remember the first time you drove a car onto the highway? You had a death grip on the steering wheel because suddenly everything changed. Everyone and everything was moving so much faster than the quiet neighborhood streets. One slip up could do a lot of damage and plus … people could totally tell you didn’t know what you were doing!! It was mortifying!
Welcome to the gym! Don’t be the little chicken on the road. Sign up for classes. Ask trainers questions. Buy a few training sessions and learn how and why your muscles work! Once you understand the rules of the gym and how your body works, you can increase your speed to success. Own this and you’ll be amazed by how quickly you grow as an athlete and a student of health!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

When the (NBA) Dream Ends ...

Andre National tv  III.jpgAndre Mills will tell you … he didn’t care about school. He didn’t need to. Education was simply an annoying obligation to make it to the pros. In high school, he was slated for the NBA. Scouts aggressively sought him out, he traveled on the McDonald’s dream team for high school standouts, and received countless benefits from being “the best.” School was low on his list of priorities. So much so, in fact, he was barely passing his classes. His grades were often padded and his absences were excused. He was going places! He was going to be a star! Then the unimaginable happened.

Mills went up for a jump shot, landed and shattered both his shin bones. A rare vitamin D deficiency brought everything to an excruciatingly painful end. The dream was over and, suddenly, so were the passes in school. Friendships ended. People he thought he knew faded into the background.

In his book, BALL IS NOT LIFE, Mills is as raw and real as one can get about being a young African-American male headed for the NBA one minute and just another kid struggling in school the next. But he understood that he had a choice. He could wallow in self-pity or take on education as he once had “the game.” As hard as he worked on the court, he admits, school was harder.

Down but not out, Mills began speaking to schools, sports teams and organizations about the value of education and being respectful to authority figures. He has “get real” discussions about social media, peer pressure, and self-worth. Mills has mentored hundreds of students and has only just begun.
At age 19, Mills is now an author, motivational speaker, mentor and a student in progress! Check out Mills in his international television debut and see what a real sports role model is all about. The sports world has never looked so good!

Friday, December 11, 2015

If Schools Would Teach Health ...

If schools would only teach health, think what this could mean for our nation. Today’s children, teens, and 20-somethings do not understand basic nutrition. They cannot identify many vegetables, don’t understand the true value of proteins and carbs, and are paying the price for it. In fact, we all are. Americans are simply not getting proper education about nutrition and it is killing us. Worse, it is generational. Young parents are unable to pass along proper nutritional and fitness habits to their children.
Across the nation, we are seeing 40, 50, and 60-year olds (all of whom grew up with physical education) out-performing, out-lifting, out-running, out-squatting the typical 22-year old. Why? What is happening to our youth?
Not Enough Education in Education
 In the interest of saving money, schools have been cutting physical education programs for years while childhood obesity continues to grow in this country. The argument has been that children can exercise at home but they are not. Children and parents are more sedentary than ever. By cutting these health programs, we have created nutritional and physical deficits that have steep medical costs to this nation.
Not Enough Sleep
 Our young people are always “plugged in.” They fall asleep with and wake up to their iPhones and pads and are not getting proper rest. Real downtime is unplugged time. Children under the age of 10 should get 10-11 hours of sleep, while teens and young adults are recommended to get almost as much. Without enough sleep, long term issues can develop, from poor health, weakened muscles, to depression and anxiety.
Energy Drinks and Poor Eating Habits
 The highly popular are greatly misunderstood. In fact, these energy drinks can be very harmful to young people, particularly those in puberty. Because so many parents do not understand the ill effects of these drinks on the human body and developing brain, they are willingly providing dangerous habits for their children. Teens and young adults abuse caffeine use, causing ER visits to more than double from overuse.
In a recent NBC online poll, 94% said they want to bring physical education back to the educational system. Bringing back physical education as a mandatory course will improve grades, sleep, nutritional education, as well as overall health and happiness. Bringing back physical education to our young people can help prevent diabetes, obesity, poor muscle development, and other childhood obesity related illnesses, but also teach our young how to be strong, be confident, how to win and lose, and be better teammates in life.
For the health and well-being of our future generations, for our dignity, our strength, and our successes, BRING FITNESS BACK TO OUR YOUTH!

Friday, December 4, 2015

What can I do with my Kinesiology degree?

    With a degree in kinesiology, students will learn the foundations of Kinesiology, the science behind nutrition, how to care for and prevent athletic injuries, first aid and safety procedures, as well as the anatomy associated with the movement of the body. Kinesiology can open a path to numerous great careers such as a physical therapist, sports manager, physical education instructor, massage therapist, exercise physiologist or a chiropractic physician.

 Here are some options in preparing for a career in Kinesiology:

  • For physical education option: Consider securing teaching certification. Develop the ability to motivate and teach students. Develop good interpersonal and communication skills.
  • For athletic training option: Consider obtaining certification by NATA. Acquire teaching certification. Attend conference. Work in student fitness center.
  • For dance option: Consider obtaining part-time or volunteer work in recreational or community facility teaching dance to children. Work in a summer camp program or community theatrical productions.
  • For exercise & fitness management: Consider attending graduate school. Obtain summer or part-time employment in health clubs. Become an aerobics instructor. Work in student fitness center. Attend trade shows. Join professional organizations. Attending conferences. Work with sports conditioning programs or in on-campus cardiac rehabilitation program.
  • For sports management option: Consider part-time jobs with intramural department or community recreation department as a supervisor or sports official. Volunteer with youth leagues. Attend conferences and join professional organizations such as NIRSA/NRPA. Work toward certification as recreational sport specialist. Work in summer camps. Work with SMSPA (Sport Management Student-Professional Association events. Volunteer in Athletic Dept.
    Kinesiology students will not only learn the foundations of kinesiology, but also obtain a marketable set of skills employers today seek.


Walsh, D. S., Veri, M. J., & Willard, J. J. (2015). Kinesiology Career Club: Undergraduate Student Mentors' Perspectives on a Physical Activity--Based Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility Program. Physical Educator, 72(2), 317

Beasley, J. (2015). Understanding Kinesiology. Journal Of The Australian Traditional-Medicine Society, 21(1), 44-46.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Sickle Cell in Athletes

Sickle cell is a mutation of a gene which causes the hemoglobin to change the shape of red blood cells into a “quarter moon” shape, or sickle1. This blood cell sickling poses potentially life-threatening problems to anyone with the gene, but especially to athletes. Sickle cell anemia can cause conditions such as acute exertional rhabdomyolysis, which in-turn can lead to kidney failure and death. Sickle cells can also lead to organ damage, reduced blood flow, and stroke1, which are all potentially fatal.
When it comes to sickle cell, there is the trait and the anemia. Sickle cell trait is the inheritance of one sickle cell gene, and one normal hemoglobin gene. Sickle cell anemia is the inheritance of the sickle cell gene from both parents. Sickle cell trait should be monitored, but generally does not cause problems. Sickle cell anemia, however, has a much greater chance of putting people at risk for exertional illnesses.
Sickle cell is especially dangerous in sports do to the exertion of athletes causing a rapid depletion of oxygen in the blood. When the blood cells are not carrying oxygen, they are susceptible to “log-jamming”2 in the vascular system, leading to ischemia, or lack of blood flow2.
Signs and Symptoms of a Sickling Collapse
• Sickling collapses may occur early in a workout.
• Usually during high-intensity, sustained training
• Seen usually with maximal exertion over a short term period2

Features of Sickling2
• People that are sickling will slump to the ground with weakness in their muscles
• They will lie still but otherwise look normal
• Players caught early and treated will recover swiftly

For athletes suffering from sickle cell, vital signs should be checked, high-flow oxygen should be administered, and EMS should be activated2.
To prevent any issues for an athlete with sickle cell, the athlete should build up slowly with training and should participate in conditioning programs to stay in shape. Sickle cell athletes should not participate in performance tests, such as mile runs or suicide sprints, as these have a high risk of sickling. Generally, when sickle cell athletes are allowed to set their own pace, they don’t usually have any problems.


2 Consensus Statement: Sickle Cell Trait and the Athlete. (n.d.). Retrieved 2015, from http://www.nata.org/sites/default/files/SickleCellTraitAndTheAthlete.pdf

Cryotherapy and Compression

           In “The Magnitude of Tissue Cooling During Cryotherapy With Varied Types of Compression”, the authors discuss the differences in the use of elastic wrap for compression with cryotherapy versus Flex-i-Wrap for compression with cryotherapy. The question the authors want to answer is whether or not Flex-i-Wrap has the same level of effect on surface and intramuscular temperatures as does elastic wrap when used in conjunction with cryotherapy. The hypothesis is that temperatures associated with the use of elastic wrap will be lower than temperatures associated with Flex-i-Wrap.
           The study consisted of a 2 (depth) x 3 (compression type) x 13 (time) within-subjects, repeated measures design. The independent variable compression type consisted of no compression, Flex-i-Wrap, and elastic wrap, and the independent variable time consisted of 0,5,10,15,20,25,30,40,50,60,70,80, and 90 minutes. The dependent measures of interest were surface temperature and intramuscular temperature 2 cm below the surface.
           Fourteen college students volunteered to participate. All participants with a skinfold thickness greater than 15 mm of their posterior calf were excluded from the study. All participants provided written informed-consent.
           Surface temperature was taken using 2 PT-6 thermocouples, with mean of these readings used for analysis. Intramuscular temperature was taken using a sterile 23-gauge thermocouple, which was implanted with a 21-gauge disposable needle. The thermocouples were disinfected and the needles were replaced after every use.
           Three treatments were applied to each participant; 1 treatment per day separated by 24-28 hours. Treatments included 30 minute ice-bag applications to the right posterior lower leg with no compression, compressed with Flex-i-Wrap, and compressed with elastic wrap.
           Before ice-bag application, no difference was found among compression types on surface temperature. At 5-10 minutes of ice-bag application, surface temperature were not different between Flex-i-Wrap and no compression, or between elastic wrap and no compression. Differences were found between elastic wrap and no compression from 15 minutes through 80 minutes. No differences were found at any time in surface temperature between no compression and Flex-i-Wrap or between compression with Flex-i-Wrap and elastic wrap.
           Before ice application, no difference was recorded among compression types on intramuscular temperature. At 10 minutes of ice application, both elastic wrap and Flex-i-Wrap provided greater intramuscular temperature reductions than no compression. At 25 minutes of ice application, elastic wrap produced lower intramuscular temperatures than Flex-i-Wrap and the difference persisted throughout.
           Ice-bag application with Flex-i-Wrap was not different from ice-bag application with no compression or with an elastic wrap with respect to surface temperature.
           Intramuscular tissue temperature decreased 5.60 degrees Celsius with no compression, 7.87 degrees Celsius with Flex-i-Wrap, and 9.40 degrees Celsius with an elastic wrap at the conclusion of a 30 minute ice-bag application. Lowest temperatures were recorded 10 minutes post-treatment. In the end, the hypothesis was correct, elastic wrap produces lower temperatures with cryotherapy than does Flex-i-Wrap.

Tomchuck, David, Mack D. Rubley, William R. Holcomb, Mark Guadagnoli, and Jason M. Tarno. "The Magnitude of Tissue Cooling During Cotherapy With Varied Types of Compression." Journal of Athletic Training 45.3 (2010): 230-37. Web.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Stay healthy and work hard at the end of the Season

I have been a part of a Cross Country and Track team for more then ten years and each program is unique in itself in that they can market themselves and spread what the program is and stands for. I’ve learned that running is not the most popular sport in the world of athletics and with the exception of the parents that show up to track meets the fans are few and far between. The teams that I have been with have all driven and marketed very differently. I think I would take the approach of how my high school coach brought awareness to our program. With having a positive attitude and constant drive our team was able to stay motivated at the tasks that needed to be done.
Although, I would agree athletes need to be challenged in the competition that they compete against, I think going to meets where they are low key and the competition is minimal will also help with team morale and it would look great in the publics eyes. It’s important though that your athletes understand the morals that you their coach leads and stands by, for me I would rather have athletes on my team that aren’t troublemakers then win a few championships. I truly respect the kind of coach Charlie Strong is because although tons of coaches preach about having a team with great morals, he is one of the few that has followed through with kicking the athletes off the team that aren’t willing to be the exceptional young men he expects. Lastly, I would help build the community around me to be more running friendly, so that both my athletes and the community can benefit off the success that my team will be producing. There are runners everywhere but no everywhere is running friendly and a lot of the time the runners are hard to find.
   Cross Country and Track and Field are overall overlooked until the program is very well established and continues to have decades of success. Building a program is not an overnight fix when it comes to track and cross country but I have seen first hand where these programs can be a huge part of the school. Having athletes that love your program as much as the coach does and are willing to buy in is going to be the key component to the success of raising awareness about the cross country and track program. Your athletes will be your best marketers if other people can see the excitement and the success that you are bringing to the school other students will want to be apart of what your program represents. Lots of coaches all around don’t really understand how effective parents and other students can be at marketing your team especially if the moral and the success of the team is on the ups. It all starts with the positive attitude of the coach though and how bad that individual is willing to spread the word on his or her program. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Fitts’ law and the speed accuracy trade off: A football throw

The Definition of Fitts Law in its simplest form

The bigger an object and the closer it is to us, the easier it is to move to. Individual who is performing a skill will sacrifice speed for accuracy or vice versa has been termed the speed accuracy tradeoff.

Fitts’ law is centered around a mathematical equation that is used to illustrate the time it takes to reach a target object. Named the Index of difficulty, D is the distance from the starting point to the center of the target. W is the width of the target. The width (w) and index of difficulty have an indirect relationship. which means as the width decreases, the index of difficulty increases. So therefore, as the width increases, the level of difficulty decreases. That's why you want a 6’5 receiver at the wide out position; he can cover more space with his frame and athletic ability.

Football Pass -- Football, if i'm a quarterback and i need to get the ball to my Wide receiver fast because the alignment of the defender I sacrifice accuracy (speed accuracy trade off). Rather than if  i need to throw the ball over the defender and my wide receiver's shoulder I sacrifices speed of the throw to put just enough sauce on that pig.
Learning basic movement skills is the first step toward learning sport-specific skills for athletic performance. Understanding these basic movements helps coaches make good training decisions for proficiency as well as for fitness and strength and conditioning.


1. Goldfarb, S., Leonard, N. E., Simen, P., Caicedo-Nez, C. H., and Holmes, P. (2014). A comparative study of drift diffusion and linear ballistic accumulator models in a reward maximization perceptual choice task. Front. Neurosci. 8:148. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2014.00148

2. de Grosbois J, Heath M and Tremblay L (2015) Augmented feedback influences upper limb reaching movement times but does not explain violations of Fitts' Law. Front. Psychol6:800. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00800

Monday, November 30, 2015

What is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is cut off due to a blood clot.1 When the blood flow is cut off the brain cells become deprived of oxygen and begin to die.1 A stroke is similar to a heart attack but it occurs in the brain, a “brain attack”.1 How a person is affected by the stroke depends on where the blood clot occurred and how long the brain is damaged.1 There are two different strokes that can occur; a hemorrhagic stroke and an ischemic stroke.1  
Hemorrhagic strokes are the least common of strokes and only account for 15% of all strokes.1 A hemorrhagic stroke is either a brain aneurism burst of weakened vessel leak.1 An intracerebal hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a diseased blood vessel within the brain bust allowing the blood to leak inside the brain.2 A subarachnoid hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel just outside the brain ruptures allowing blood to fill around the brain.2 Although a hemorrhagic stroke only accounts for 15% of strokes, they are responsible for about 40% of all stroke deaths.1
An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel carrying blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot.1 Ischemic strokes account for 87% of all stroke incidents.1 There are two different types of ischemic strokes. An embolic stroke occurs when a blood clot or plaque fragment forms somewhere in the body and travels to the brain.1 About 15% of embolic strokes occur in people with atrial fibrillation.1 A thrombotic stroke occurs when a blood forms inside one of the arteries supplying blood to the brain.1 This type of stroke is more prevalent in people with high cholesterol.1
A stroke is similar to a heart attack in the aspects of living a healthy lifestyle can help prevent or lower your odds of suffering a stroke. Some statistics on strokes include:
·      Each year 800,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke.1
·      A stroke happens every 40 seconds.1
·      Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S.1
·      Every 4 minutes someone dies from a stroke.1
·      Up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.1
·      Strokes are the leading cause of disability in the U.S.1
Take the extra cautions and steps of a healthy diet, exercise and annual check ups at your doctor to prevent yourself or someone you love from suffering from a stroke.

1What is stroke? (2014, July 16). Retrieved November 23, 2015, from http://www.stroke.org/understand-stroke/what-stroke

2The Internet Stroke Center. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2015, from http://www.strokecenter.org/patients/about-stroke/ischemic-stroke/