Moderation Examples, Not Extreme Behavior to Achieve Your Resolutions

Extreme right wing, extreme left wing.  Extreme heat, extreme cold.  Obesity, anorexia.  Overuse injuries, injuries from underutilization.

When it comes to new health and fitness goals, extremes are way to common for January resolutions.  Waking up at 5:00AM to run 3 miles when you never wakeup before 6:00AM and haven’t run since PE in high school.  Drop 40 pounds on a liquid diet in 15 days, and you barely drink 3 glasses of water per day.  What are the odds of success in these situations?  Not much.

Photo by Charlotte May on Pexels.com

As a fitness industry expert, I have personally gone through different extremes with my body.  None of these extremes have ever lasted long for many reasons.  The body and mind cannot deal with depravation and over training for long periods of time without injuries.  What has lasted is a moderation of healthy lifestyle habits and activities that I enjoy.  The lessons learned from training for a bodybuilding contest and elite level obstacle course races, helps me maintain a fitness level that works for my personality and body type.

  • “I need someone to be super strict with me or I’ll never lose weight.”
  • “I have to workout for two hours every day.”
  • “I’m cutting all carbs from my diet and eating only meat.”

Do any of these statements make you nod your head in agreement?  If so, has that thought process worked for you beyond the length of a program/diet/contest?  If the answer to the first question is yes, the answer to the second is no.  You have reverted back to your previous self and feel like a failure for doing so.  This cyclic behavior is self-destructive and why your resolutions never work every year.

Regardless if you started and stopped already, or haven’t started yet, try a new moderate approach to changing your lifestyle.

  • No alcohol Sunday-Thursday
  • Replace soft drinks with flavored mineral water
  • Join a group to try new physical activities like hiking or cycling

In an article on NPR about a Swedish study on factors that help keep resolutions, ones that are for pleasurable activities instead of depriving are more successful.  Moderation in your lifestyle can lead to better choices overall.  Look at choices about exercise and food changes with an “if I do x, then I adjust y”.  For example, you’re going to dinner with friends on Thursday night.  Adjust your breakfast and lunch choices to allow for anything you want at dinner.  You fully enjoy the outing without guilt and still on track for your goals. 

NPC Physique competition 2014

Life is meant to be lived, not constantly have the fun taken away.  For 6 years I have maintained body fat percentage around 10% or less.  I don’t skip meals, turn down alcohol, or workout excessively.  The hard work was done during the bodybuilding contest prep.  Since then, I learned that is not the lifestyle for me.  Overall, I don’t drink sodas, keep alcohol to the weekends, and don’t buy sugary foods at the grocery store.  Total calories I eat are more than most people daily, the food is just not processed and full of fat. 

2021 doesn’t feel much different so far than 2020.  What you can take into the new year is a more focused view on your health and fitness to strengthen your immunity and reduce risk factors for heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.  In turn, you will be happier and have more self-confidence to take on the challenges 2021 will bring you.

For help with your goals, feel free to email me at athleteinthegameoflife@gmail.com.  Join the Athlete in the Game of Life Team on my website and receive a free copy of my book!

Who’s In Charge of Professional Development for PE? Nobody?

“Hi, I’m calling to find out who books PD seminars for physical education?”

“Good question! We really don’t have PD for our PE teachers.  We need to but hasn’t happened in awhile.”

The conversation is all to common for a majority of school districts.  Investing professional development funds into PE teachers is a great idea on paper only.  The practice of continuous investment into the physical health of students is more a fantasy than reality.  All the money is fed into “classroom” subjects because that is how kids get smarter and have higher test scores, or so school leaders think.  Sick kids who miss class because of poor health habits that aren’t taught in school definitely don’t have higher grades and scores.  Kids with behavioral problems because they’re forced to sit for long periods of time also don’t have higher test scores and grades.  Students who drift off from lack of focus due to sitting all day also don’t seem to achieve higher scores and grades.

PE teachers who receive investment produce a higher quality child because they know how to stimulate a child’s body and brain.  Just like the other subjects, teachers with ongoing education are better equipped to give the knowledge, level of attention and care, and dedication required for schools to receive funding from high test scores and academic performance.  Math teachers aren’t sent to a corner of the school to figure out how best to overcome a lack of equipment and motivation in their department.  PE teachers are, and I have seen it first-hand.  If parents knew the truth, they would be outraged.

Schools say the need evidence-based programming to justify spending money.  With the CDC providing a mountain of evidence regarding the positive correlation between 60 minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity on a child’s cognition, why is it being constantly ignored by school leaders?  Educating the physical education specialist at a school is a priority to maximize the benefits a well-trained classroom teacher can provide to all students.  PD for PE isn’t about shooting 3-pointers or doing sit ups.  Quality professional development discusses SEL opportunities, assessment options, fundamental movement skills, and healthy habits.  These are just an example of what can be learned when a school district invests into a PE department.

My company provides a variety of PD topics to public and private schools for their professional development.  We have done feedback surveys to ensure we hit the mark and aren’t wasting time and money.  The PE teachers are so grateful to have the seminars, even if they do nothing immediately with the info.  It refreshes their soul and gives them a glimmer of hope their school leadership give a damn about them.  We never know what piece of information or motivation makes a difference, and likely never will.  The faith in each teacher we speak to, that they will institute some positive change to benefit their students that keeps reaching out to more school districts.

People that feel appreciated in their jobs put forth more effort, regardless of the job and conditions it’s in.  On the flip side, yes there are more mediocre and bad PE teachers out there then good ones because of lack in accountability.  Give the teachers appreciation, love, and accountability like other subjects, and watch them grow as people and true educators, I guarantee it!  For more info on our professional development seminars for PE, please email Matt Peale, mpeale@movementacademy.net.

Physical Activity in Class Equals Higher Grades than Butts Glued to the Chair

Fact or myth:

The CDC publishes guidelines on exercise and physical activity – FACT

Majority of PE teachers & fitness pros know about the guidelines and follow them – MYTH

Exercise volume and intensity are not important – MYTH

Academic test scores improve with more time sitting in class – MYTH

In 2018, the CDC published the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Report.  It was the first update to their original report published in 2008.  Sad part is both reports are mostly a mystery to the public and those in the health and fitness industry, including PE teachers.  While there are a number of common-sense findings, there are also new updates specifically related to mental health.  This blog article talks about the findings specifically regarding school-age children and why they are suffering under the old rule of butts in the seats yields better grades and test scores.

Do you feel smarter and more attentive from sitting in a four-hour meeting with no breaks to walk around?  The answer is likely no.  You feel restless, ready to leave the room, your mind wanders to everything but what’s being presented, and sleeping is eminent.  Kids feel the same way in class except they haven’t developed the mental fortitude to behave appropriately after such long and miserable sessions.  The 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines give a much different story.

Youth ages 5-17 require 60 minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.  In that 60 minutes, muscle and bone strengthening activities at least three times-a-week are required.  Obviously PE class isn’t doing it and a lack of recess doesn’t help.  How does that affect their grades and test scores?  “…the evidence indicates that both acute bouts and regular moderate-to-vigorous physical activity improve cognition, including memory, processing speed, attention, and academic performance,” per the report.  Since schools are limiting exercise and physical activity opportunities in the name of higher test scores, why are they contradicting the evidence?

Government institutions such as public schools, are all about evidence and studies, of which 1 in 100 teachers/administrators actually read.  The question is why are school leaders denying these facts and not taking steps to help themselves?  At the basic level, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to have students do any kind of movement by their desks.  No additional degree or certification is needed.  You can’t argue against the CDC in our country, especially when schools have to follow the nutrition guidelines it provides for cafeterias.  Back to why is it such a fight against the stated evidence?

“A single bout of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity will … reduce anxiety symptoms and improve cognition on the day that it is performed.”  Student benefits go beyond physical and into emotional, which all teachers know can be a huge disruption in class.  Classes that have fewer behavioral problems also perform better on tests.  Taking 3-5 minutes for a physical activity break have these results which aren’t coaxed out, but natural effects.  How do you feel after brisk exercise?  Aren’t you more attentive and relaxed?  Simple adjustments in a class period can yield massive natural results.

My company, Movement Academy, has a program that meets SHAPE America’s standards and is grade level appropriate.  Older kids won’t feel embarrassed dancing, and everyone can participate regardless of athletic desire or ability.  Get your school started in January and receive 50% off.  Email me at mpeale@movementacademy.net for more info and to improve the academic performance of your school’s students today!