Make Physical Activity a Family Event


Nadia Hashemi-Toroghi, David Frisch, Courtney Novotny, & Jennifer Waldron, Ph.D.
University of Northern Iowa

We all know about the many benefits of physical activity and the negative consequences of inactivity. For example, physical inactivity leads to increased risk for diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, some cancers (breast, colon), and mental health issues. On the other hand, physical activity is related to an increased capacity for learning and concentration, as well as other physical and mental health benefits. Thus, as parents we want to implement physical activity into everyday life and encourage a healthy lifestyle among our children.

Physical activity is essential for healthy development and adopting physical activity habits early in life will increase the likelihood of children remaining physically active as adults. Participating in family physical activities helps children gain life skills as well as health benefits. For example, family physical activity can assist your child in learning teamwork, leadership skills, and quality decision-making.

Importance of Role Modeling

Parents and caregivers play an important role in shaping children’s ideas and development. Caregivers lead by example. Parents and guardians who display positive and healthy lifestyle choices influence the decisions and behaviors of their children. For example, children notice when you open a bag of carrots rather than a bag of potato chips for snack time. The following points are based on research in sport psychology and child development.

  • Children model the behavior of the adults in their lives.
  • Actions speak louder than words. Children are more affected by what they see their parents do than what their parents say.
  • Young adults often credit parents as sports or fitness role models.

Finding Time for Family Activity

How can you find family time for physical activity when you have a busy schedule?  Here are some suggestions.

  • At the beginning of each month identify weekly 30-minute time slots that all members of the family can dedicate to family fitness time.
  • Instead of watching TV after dinner, enjoy a family physical activity.
  • Ask other families to participate in an informal weekly game of soccer or volleyball.
  • Ask your children to select and organize activities.  It is empowering and motivating to be a part of the process and facilitates the development of both life skills and positive lifestyle behaviors.

Family physical activity need not be expensive. Here are some inexpensive options.  

  • Biking to the store or library
  • Rollerblading
  • Playing basketball in the park
  • Going ice skating or building snowmen
  • Having a family parade around the house with music and costumes (a good one to invite other families)
  • Walking the dog or volunteering as a family at local shelters to walk dogs
  • Playing disc golf
  • Visiting a museum
  • Working in the yard
  • Going on scavenger hunts
  • Playing yard games like catch, football, badminton, croquet
  • Blowing bubbles and chasing them
  • Stretching with the kids before taking them to school
  • Playing pretend animal games

Use community resources such as schools, YMCAs, churches, and parks and recreation services to find local events for engaging in physical activity (e.g., fun walk for charity). Second hand stores, garage sales, and used sporting good stores provide options for purchasing inexpensive equipment.

In today’s society, it is easy to overlook both family time and physical activity.  Try some of these ideas, or better yet – make up your own – and get double the benefits of improved health and family togetherness. 

Eight Ways Parents Can Communicate with their Children After Games


Larry Lauer, PhD
Michigan State University

Major Point: Eight ways parents can communicate with their adolescent children after games to enhance their relationship.

Youth and high school sport has the opportunity to be a tremendous experience for adolescents and for their parents. The bonding that occurs in sport can last a lifetime. Many of you can probably think back to a time where your parents were involved in your sporting activities. I would hope these are wonderful memories of spending time together, of learning life lessons, and of having fun.

Unfortunately, many parents unintentionally make the sport experience less than fulfilling for their children. These parents may have an inappropriate perspective of what sport is all about, but often it is the well meaning parent that says the wrong thing at the wrong time (and does not learn from it) that gets into trouble. It does not take much for a child to feel pressure to appease his or her parents. And, you can create pressure just by being at a competition, let alone acting negatively.

After the game is a critical time when adolescent athletes are still recovering from the intensity of the game. They may be elated, upset, indifferent, or angry. Their emotions will run the gamut just as yours would. Knowing what to say, and how to say it, will facilitate positive parent-child relations. Therefore, you should think through what you are going to say before approaching your child. Next, are eight tips for communicating in a positive manner following a tough loss or an exciting win.

  1. Be a positive source of support and encouragement.  Save the critical evaluation of player performance for your coaches, they are the experts. Be an unconditional source of support. Criticism will break down parent-child bonds.
  2. Be an attentive listener!  We all love to explain our competitive experiences to others, so allow your child to talk about the game. Listen to understand first, and then reply.
  3. Along those same lines, allow your child to start conversations about their performance. Try not to get into the details of the game as your child is still dealing with the emotions of it. If this is later that night or the next morning that is okay. They may just need time to get over it. If you do feel the need to speak to them about the game then wait a few hours and then ask “Would you like to talk about the game?”
  4. Avoid undermining the coaching staff in post-game conversations, even if you think your coaches are out to lunch. You may not always agree with the coaches, but they are the leaders of the team.  Second-guessing the coaches in front of your child can confuse him or her as to what he or she should do and ultimately may hurt performance. Also, you are undermining team chemistry and negatively affecting each person involved with that team.
  5. Following tough losses or poor performances (or riding the pine) remind your child that their worth as a person is not related to their abilities as an athlete. Helping them recognize that tomorrow is a new day and that with hard work they can overcome what is keeping them from their goals will help your child deal with the frustrations of sport.
  6. Be honest and sincere. Some parents get into trouble by saying “good game” or “you did your best.” If Billy does not think this is true you are going to get a sneer or sarcastic remark back. Be supportive in your comments but do not lie or exaggerate. Children will see through your well-intentioned attempt to support. If you attempt to hide your disapproval for your child’s performance your body language will signal the truth. Remembering that the goal of sport is to have fun and improve should help you in providing positive support and maintaining positive body language.
  7. Stick to your normal routine no matter the outcome of the game. If you go to lunch after a win, do the same after a loss. Otherwise, your child might relate the activities after the game with winning and losing.
  8. Avoid comparing your child to other children even as it relates to training methods or skills. It can create hurt feelings and pressure.

Ultimately, you want to have a plan of attack for post-game. Get your emotions under control and check your body language. Remind yourself of what matters – being a good sport and giving your best effort. And, if you are in a tough situation you can always just give them a hug or a pat on the back and wait until emotions subside.

Best of luck in the emotional world of sport!

Youth Sports Coaching: Not a Job, but a Calling!


Posted In CoachingLeadership

So they call you Coach, huh? Have you ever stopped to consider what that means?

You have taken on one of the most beautiful, powerful, and influential positions a person can ever have. Some people may call it a job, and others a profession, but in reality, being a great coach is not that at all. It is so much more than that.

By becoming a coach, you have chosen to work with young athletes. You have chosen to guide them through the trials and tribulations of learning two beautiful games: sport and life. You are in a position to change their lives forever, not only by making them better athletes, but better people. You are a leader, you are a role model, you are a person who serves your athletes, and you are a person to whom they entrust their physical and emotional well-being.

Never take this responsibility lightly.

Coaching can be one of the most difficult jobs in the world. We work with young athletes in highly emotional and public situations. We keep score, and because of that our work is often judged week to week, even day to day, based upon the performance of a bunch of kids, how well they play, how much they play, and where they play.

Every time we coach, our words and actions can have a huge impact in the lives of our players, both positively and negatively. We are faced with moments of success and failure, and with calls from officials both good and bad. Our words and actions in these situations can stick with our players forever.

The thing is, we don’t get to choose which things stick, and which ones they forget, so in everything we say and do, we have to choose wisely.

Coaching also means you will be dealing with parents. Many of them are wonderful, and will support you and be grateful that you have taken the time and energy to teach and mentor their child. Celebrate them, and be thankful they are on your team.

Others are not so wonderful. They have unrealistic expectations for their children and the team. They will be a friend to your face, and an enemy behind your back. They will make life miserable for their own child, and often for you and the rest of the team as well. Do your best to educate them and minimize their negativity, and empower others to do the same. Most importantly, be a trusted mentor for their child. Those kids need a positive role model more than most, and it’s not their fault that mom or dad has lost the plot.

The science of coaching and teaching has evolved tremendously in the last few decades. We now know that many coaching and teaching methods used when we were kids are not as effective as once thought. Fear and intimidation does not work as well as an environment of love and respect. Lines and lectures are a thing of the past. Rote repetition is effective only to a point. Just because you taught something does not mean your players learned it. Just because you went over it does not mean they retained it and can replicate it in a game. Far too many coaches are focused on running exercises in practice that are successful 90% of the time, when in reality messy practices that replicate game situations are far more powerful learning tools. Do you have these type of practices on your clipboard?

Every player we coach, we leave a lasting impact. There is no way around this; you will influence every player you come in contact with. What will your influence be? Will it be something positive and affirming that bolsters your athletes and serves them throughout life? Will it be a more fulfilling experience for you and your players, more enjoyable, and more successful?

Or will it be something that tears them down, that diminishes their self worth, that makes them fearful of failure, or ties their self-worth with sports success? We all mean well, but sometimes when we are pushing to win a game, or talking to our teams after a tough loss, we say and do things that we later regret. I know in the past I have, and I never considered for a moment that my harsh, personal and often over the top criticism of a kid might follow him or her off the field. But it did.

I believe that being a coach is so much more than running a bunch of practices and organizing kids for games. It is about connecting with your players as people first, and athletes second.

It is about being passionate, and loving the game you teach, so your players will play with passion and love.

It is about empathy, making every player feel important, and giving him or her a role on the team.

It is about integrity and consistency for kids during good times and bad.

It is about being a model of the behavior you expect from your athletes, both on and off field of battle.

It is about being a teacher, not only of the X’s an O’s of a sport, but about life, about optimism, about persistence,  and about character.

No, coaching cannot simply be a job. It must be a vocation, a calling to a place that best suits your skills, your passion and your ability.

You can change lives with a single word, a single pat on the back, and a single conversation that says “I believe in you.”

The world needs great coaches more than ever before. The world needs you!

Are you ready?

Please leave a comment below about a great coach in your life, someone who made you better on and off the field. And if you want to study the secrets of the world’s greatest coaches and cultures of excellence, join our email list and stay tuned for info on our upcoming Coaching Mastery Course.


Tags: athletic developmentcoachingleadershipyouth sports

Does Advocare Performance Elite Work


Are you asking the question, does Advocare Performance Elite Work? This article discusses the highly-rated range of products from one of the top sports supplements makers today.

This is the first thing that you will likely ask the moment you hear about the positive reviews that these products have been getting lately.

Advocare has risen to become one of the most reputable makers of sports performance supplements. It was a relatively unknown brand until SuperBowl MVP Drew Brees became one of its endorsers.

You may raise an eyebrow and say that Brees was paid to become an endorser. But one thing you need to know is that Brees was already using Advocare Performance Elite products before he became the company’s key endorser. Click here to read more about his endorsement.

Speaking of Advocare Performance Elite products, there are 12 of them. It can be categorized into three groups- fitness, endurance, and power.

Here’s a closer look at these highly sought after products:


There are four Advocare Performance Elite products that are designed for people who want to be fit and are engaging in low intensity weight lifting and cardio exercise. These are:

1. O2 Gold– This is an herbal dietary supplement that is to be taken an hour before your workout. It has powerful ingredients that can improve your energy and endurance, so you can perform exercises like running or lifting weights without feeling tired easily.
2. BioCharge– This is another supplement rich in branched-chain amino acids and B vitamins that can help reduce muscle soreness and muscular damage after a tiring workout. This should be taken while working out.
3. Muscle Gain– After your workout, drink this performance protein shake mix that is rich in amino acids and other components needed for muscle building and protein synthesis. It has vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin C and B-6.
4. Nighttime Recovery– Just before going to bed, take the Nighttime Recovery amino acid and herbal supplement so your muscles can repair and recover after the backbreaking activity while you sleep.


In case you want to improve your endurance through cardio workouts, you can turn to seven Advocare Performance Elite supplements. These are:
1. O2 Gold – Same as above.
2. VO2 Prime– This is a pre-workout bar that can be used as substitute for O2 Gold. Like the latter, it has 3 kilograms of beetroot juice powder as well as antioxidants that are found in blueberries and cranberries. When taken 60 minutes before a workout, it can give you the stamina you need to exercise a little longer.
3. Arginine Extreme – Take this 30 minutes before a workout as it is designed to improve your endurance. The Arginine Extreme multi-nutrient sport drink has 2.5 grams of L-arginine that is known to improve athletic performance. Arginine Extreme can also promote the good condition of the cardiovascular system, so you’ll be able to endure a demanding workout.
4. Biocharge – Same as above
5. Rehydrate Gel– Like Biocharge, this is to be taken while you are working out. It has a light lemon flavor, and you should take one so that you will be able to endure an intense physical activity.
6. Post Workout Recovery– after the workout, take this sports performance drink mix that can provide your body with the vitamins, minerals and nutrients it needs to recover from a grueling activity.
7. Nighttime Recovery – Same as above.


There are also Advocare Performance Elite products designed to support your goal of building muscle mass and improving your strength.
1. Muscle Strength– this is a dietary supplement that should be taken 60 minutes before a workout. It has ingredients that can enhance muscle size and improve muscle strength. One key ingredient is HMB which aids in reducing muscle breakdown.
2. VO2 Prime – Same as above
3. Advocare Muscle Fuel– this is a dietary supplement that should be taken 30 minutes prior to a workout. It can help your body maintain the energy needed for an intensive activity.
4. Mass Impact– another pre-workout meal, it has creatine as its key ingredients. Creatine is known to improve athletic performance.
5. Biocharge – Same as above
6. Post Workout Recovery – Same as above
7. Nighttime Recovery – Same as above

Real Customer Reviews

Looking at the ingredients of Advocare Performance Elite products, you can easily determine that the products can deliver on the manufacturer’s promise to help its users improve their stamina and hasten muscle repair and recover quickly after a workout.
Of course, you would have to look for Advocare Performance Elite reviews to determine whether the supplements actually work.
You can look for reviews on on Advocare Performance Elite products, such as the Arginine Extreme. One review of the said supplement indicates that it can give an energy boost whic+h would come in handy during an intensive workout.
The reviewer also added that he trusts Advocare products, finding them safe and effective. He also mentioned that he has been using Advocare supplements for more than a decade.
Another reviewer on wrote about the Advocare Muscle Fuel and he said he took the supplement after deciding to work out again, as he was sedentary for quite a while. He shared that on day 1 he spent 30 minutes on the elliptical machine. He then had an arm workout, focusing on the biceps, shoulders, triceps, chest, and upper back.
He expected to his muscles to be sore the next day, but was quite surprised that he still had the energy to go through his daily tasks without feeling tired at all. He was so satisfied with Advocare Muscle Fuel that he has even recommended it to his sister.


Advocare Perfomance Elite products are generally effective in providing its users with the energy and stamina to endure strenous activities. Taking these supplements before, after and during a workout would give you the added power and endurance needed to achieve your fitness goals. Moreover, using the post-workout supplements can make your body deal better with the soreness and hasten muscle repair and recovery.
So if you want to know does Advocare Performance Elite work, the answer is a resounding YES. Try these products if you are serious about building muscles, enhancing endurance, and improving your overall health.