Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Weight Loss Question

A member asked some questions that I think a lot of people would like to ask, so I will share the questions, and the answers.

The Question:
Hi Kristin,
I have this book called The New Rules of Lifting for Women, that suggests on days you are working out you should be eating around 2300 calories, because your body needs it to fuel the work outs. However, in magazines that you read they suggest you cut back on your calories to 1300-1500 in addition to doing an exercise program to lose weight. So I'm confused as to which way is the healthiest way to lose weight.

I also wanted to know what you think about working out in your target heart rate zone. I have heard that when your heart rate is at a lower level you are burning fat, but that once you go over that level you are into the cardio zone and not really burning the fat. I feel that when I am working out my heart rate goes pretty high and I'm not sure if I should try to keep it lower to lose weight effectively. When I do try to keep it lower, I don't feel like I'm really working out.

Overall, if your goal is to lose weight, should you focus more on cardio or strength training? I know both are good, but is there one better than the other.

The Answer:
Good questions. Don’t subscribe to the magazine hype!
Most women have a resting metabolism that burns somewhere between 2300-2500 calories a day, this is before exercise. The best way to lose weight is at the highest calorie level you can lose weight, because it will have the least effect on your metabolism; which means your weight loss will be maintainable. Low calorie diets are responsible for ruining the resting metabolism and the Yo yo diet syndrome. A healthy maintainable weight loss is about 1% of your body weight each week (for most people that is 1-2 lbs/wk). 3500 hundred calories is equal to 1pound. So you need to be in a 500 calorie deficit each day to lose a pound a week. Let’s say you burn 300 calories a day through exercise, and assume your resting metabolism is 2400 calories~ then your calorie consumption should be 2200 calories.
Strength training is important for keeping your resting metabolism high. Your body needs a lot more calories to maintain muscle cells; so keeping the muscle on your body means you burn more calories when you are sedentary. Cardio is important for burning fat and calories and creating the calorie deficit you need to lose weight.

Your cardio workouts should be varied for the most efficient fat and calorie burn.
Yes working at lower heart rates (65%-75%) burns more calories from stored fat, but less overall calories. Working at between 75-85% will burn a mix of stored fat and carbohydrate, but will burn more calories overall. Working above 85% will burn the most calories, but most of them will come from carbohydrate, and working at this level can only be done for short time periods, and requires a lot of recovery, so as not to create fatigue. So, mix is up; go 2 days long and slow, go 2 days medium hard, for a slightly lesser duration, and do one day of intervals 3 minutes at 85-90%, 2 minutes at 65-75%, repeat 5-6 times.

A Suggestion:
Consider working with one of our personal trainers for a few sessions. Their knowledge, expertise and encouragement will help provide you with answers and support you need to reach all of your fitness goals.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

E-Drive Success

Was there a better day to hold an Electronics Recycling Drive than this Saturday? I doubt it, and if you were one of the many recyclers that came down you know how beautiful it was! The E-Drive was a huge success. The Computer Recycler themselves reported a huge influx of business this Saturday and that means less chemicals are being leaked into landfills at this very moment. If you want an idea of some harmful effects of these materials just scroll down to my last post. So enough talking, here are the stats.
More than 400 electronic items were recycled including:
  • over 65 radios, speakers, sound systems, tape players, CD players, or DVD players
  • over 50 phones, answering machines, or faxes
  • just over 50 computer monitors
  • 55 computer keyboards
  • over 65 computer towers
  • about 15 laptops
  • over 80 scanners, routers, mice, or printers
  • and many other odds and ends
  • *more than 25 cell phones will be donated to the New Horizons Domestic Violence Shelter in Middletown*
We know some people had a hard time finding the Computer Recycler because of the wrong address, thank you for being patient.

Because this even was such a huge success we plan on holding another event in the late Fall. Stay tuned, and do not throw out those electronics! If you can't wait until then go to The Computer Recycler and check out the times you can drop off your electronics for free. Thanks again for helping to keep our community clean!

If you or any teens you know are interested in helping out with projects similar to this check out the Middlesex YMCA Earth Service Corps on Facebook or on the YMCA web site.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Youth Coaches: Teaching Life Skills through Sports

Posted By Michele Rulnick:

Spring is coming and soon those of us with grade school children will be spending our evenings and weekends at ball fields watching our aspiring athletes participate in friendly competition. This ritual is such an important part of our family life. Growing up my two brothers and I played every sport we could. My parents made the sacrifices necessary to drive us town to town and provided us with the equipment that we needed to participate. My father coached many of our teams and I can’t remember a time that either parent missed a game. They pushed us to work hard; they never let us quit a team and supported the coach (even when they didn’t see eye to eye). Through participation in sports we learned the value of hard work, the joy of winning and the agony of defeat. We felt what it was like to be both a champion and part of a losing team. As a result of sports we experienced the disappointment of having to sit on the bench and the pressure of batting clean up. We felt the pride of scoring the winning basket and the pain of making an error that cost our team the game. As adults, those memories and experiences are all relevant and important. The real and lasting value of participation in youth sports is the friendships made, the relationships built with adults who cared more about us then the X and O’s and the life lessons that sports provided.

This is why we start this ritual anew as parents and as coaches. Like my father, my brothers and I all coach youth sports teams. We do so because we love the game but more importantly we love what participation in sports can do for children. We also coach because we understand the value and lasting impact that one adult role model can have on youth development. Coaching involves much more than teaching the game; a great coach teaches life lessons while developing an athlete’s knowledge and personal skills. Liberty Mutual has a great website called Responsible Sports. The website offers terrific tips for coaches, drills and age appropriate skills, and strategies for making a lasting impact. The website is responsiblesports.com. In the coaching resource the ELM is introduced as a philosophical guide for youth coaches. ELM stands for Effort -- always give 100%, Learning -- improve constantly as you gain more knowledge and Mistakes are OK -- mistakes are how we learn. These are the life lessons that shape us into responsible, successful adults. Having more wins than loses does not make one a great coach. A great coach teaches athletes that hard work, focus, personal sacrifice, achieving personal goals and supporting each other as teammates is what makes a great team and a great athlete. I hope that when your child steps onto the field this season they have the opportunity to work with a great coach. If you happen to be that coach – best of luck and have fun!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Importance of After School Programs

High quality after school programs play an extremely important role in the development of a child's mind, body and spirit. Long gone are the days of being able to send a child home after school to an empty house. Times have changed and a new set of challenges and pressures are facing children in the United States. After school programs play a large role in providing children with the skills and support they need to avoid negative peer pressure and become productive, healthy adults.
Knowing that your child is safe and supervised during the after school hours has always been one of the top reasons that parents choose to enroll children in after school programs. Research is now showing that there are additional positive educational and social outcomes to participation in after school programs. Here are some of the other benefits of after school programming:
  • After school programs support a parent's ability to maintain employment. Parents have piece of mind knowing their children are safe and can concentrate more on their work. They have less childcare issues which can lead to a decrease in absenteeism from work.
  • After school programs support academic achievement and help children feel more connected to their school. Children participate in homework clubs and enrichment activities that focus on learning concepts in a fun, hands on way. Children who participate are less likely to be tardy or absent from school.
  • After school is a fantastic opportunity for children to learn social and problem solving skills. A group setting is the perfect venue for children to learn and practice how to interact in a positive way with children and adults from all backgrounds and cultures.
  • The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention states that quality after school programs can cut the risk of youth becoming involved in crime by up to 75 percent. Boredom that can lead to experimentation in risk behaviors or crime is eliminated by an adult supervised environment that provides activities that are of interest to children.
After school care is so much more than just babysitting. It has evolved into an environment for children to gain new skills, participate in activities that reinforce learning in a fun way while spending time with positive adult role models. The field of after school has truly turned into a profession with networks of professionals who are dedicated to positive youth development. I am very proud to be in this field and to work with the dedicated youth development staff here at the Middlesex YMCA.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Electronic Recycling

Last Monday as I walked up the sidewalk to the YMCA I couldn't help but envision myself in Bambi; yes, the Disney movie. I felt as if I could be gallivanting through the forest with cute fuzzy animals in tow whistling chipper show tunes while orchestrating complex (for woodland animals) dance numbers. It was spring, and it felt great for those four days.

Flash forward to the disappointment of this weekend's washout. What is there to do in March when it's raining outside? SPRING CLEANING of course!
I vacuumed, dusted, organized and washed. What did I discover after hours of scrubbing and moving? A computer, broken speakers, a Playstation, radio, a broken fan, and camera; all of which had long outlived their usefulness. These electronics had not been used, or usable in years, but I didn't know what to do with them until now.

Now is the perfect time to do your spring cleaning. Find all those old electronics because you can now recycle them for FREE at this weekends Electronics Recycling Drive held by the Middlesex YMCA Earth Service Corps!
Here are a couple of reasons why you should recycle your electronics this weekend:
  1. Old electronics take up a lot of useful space
  2. Many places charge for the recycling of some electronics: this weekend it's FREE
  3. Electronics can leak harmful chemicals into your house or a landfill if you throw them out: Arsenic found in some integrated circuits can cause damage to your digestive tract, and Beryllium found in battery contacts can be carcinogenic after long term exposure.
  4. All cell phones will be donated to the New Horizons Domestic Violence Shelter. Help support those in need in your community.
So you found all your old electronics and you want to recycle them; what are the specifics?
  • The drive will be held at The Computer Recycler in Cromwell. The building is located west of the police department just off Rt. 372 at 400 Corporate Row.
  • The Drive is on Saturday, March 20th from 9am-2pm.
  • Bring your cell phones, computers, computer accessories, digital cameras, power tools, stereos, gaming systems, and most other used electronics (no TV's) and just drop them off.
  • Cell phones with chargers are appreciated, but not necessary. We will collect them and drop them off with the New Horizons Domestic Violence Shelter in Middletown.
  • For more info (including directions) visit www.midymca.org and scroll to the bottom right corner of the page, or go to www.thecomputerrecycler.com for a complete list of items, or go to Facebook and search for Middlsex YMCA Earth Service Corps.
Now you have all the info you need to keep your community clean and safe. We hope to see you there on Saturday!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Green Eggs and Ham Literacy Event

On Wednesday March 10th the Phelps Ingersoll Center for Children's child care center at the Northern Middlesex YMCA, hosted an evening with Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss's birthday was this month and the center has been working on curriculum development around literacy and using the books Dr. Seuss created. Literacy is a very important component of the center and the teaching staff wanted to create an event around literacy, that would be beneficial for parents and children.
For the past couple of weeks, teachers have been working with the children reading Dr. Seuss books, such as Green Eggs and Ham, Cat in the Hat, The Foot, and Sneetches and tying them to learning activities in the classrooms. On Wednesday night, Parents, Grandparents and Children were invited to the center for a dinner of "Green Eggs and Ham" which was followed by some of our Middletown community partners LT. Heather Desmond of the Middletown Police Dept. and Asst. Fire Marshall Matthew Scarrozzo to read the story "Green Eggs and Ham" to all 3 preschool classrooms of children and families. After the story, Parents were invited to participate in an activity that their children have been doing in the classroom. In the Jungle room, children and parents created their own plate of green eggs and ham using art materials. In the Ocean room, parents and children got to make a "Cat in the Hat" hat. In the Orchard room, parents and children made individual puzzles from their favorite picture in the Green Eggs and Ham book.
The evening ended with some words from the teaching staff to parents about the importance of reading daily to children and having children becoming life long reader. Parents were sent home with a list of popular and appropriate books for preschool aged children. A good time was had by all!

Why I Love the NCAA Tournament

At the beginning of March I start to get this itching feeling that something exciting is about to happen. My foot taps wildly to the beat of some unheard music. And I seem to have the urge to eat pizza and chicken wings.
It's NCAA tournament time and besides maybe Christmas and Memorial Day it's my favorite time of the year. I've never really thought about why I love it so much, I just assumed it was the natural inclination of every man or woman that ever attended the University of Connecticut. But now that I have children I find myself being much more contemplative, so I spent some time examining why March Madness is so great...and here's what I came up with:
  1. Spring is in the air.- The tournament is in harmony with the seasons. I don't think that it is a coincidence that teams are "seeded" at the same time that my lawn and garden are also.
  2. Brackets are fun and easy.- It is very complicated to try to explain to my wife all the different conferences and automatic bids and at large bids and so forth (most of the time I don't understand it either) but once the 65 teams are chosen and put into the bracket, it is very easy to follow along.
  3. Shared knowledge (or lack of it).- Since almost no one knows about IUPUI or Mount St. Mary's or Robert Morris, we are all in the same boat when we choose our winners.
  4. Upset Specials.- Let's face it we love the underdogs. We root for Davey vs. Goliath and we hope that the small school with no scholarship players can beat the NBA factory school.
  5. Healthy Competition.- Sometimes I do get a little tired of hearing about the multi-million dollar contracts that professional athletes sign and it's nice to just watch young men and women that are playing hard for their team and their school. I'm sure winning the championship comes with certain "rewards" but in essence they are playing for bragging rights.
  6. Great stories.- Each year there are always a few incredible stories about individual players that have battled difficult circumstances in order to attend college and play basketball. They may not have an NBA career ahead of them, but then neither does my son, and I'd rather have him look up to a young person whose tenacity and character shines through more brightly than their basketball skills.
  7. Connecticut- Okay, so I'm a homer. I'm a UCONN fan (a disappointed men's fan and an amazed women's fan).
For me the NCAA tournament is a wonderful display of great physical feats and riveting emotional intensity.
And since UCONN is out, I need to find a substitute to root for...any suggestions?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Spend Time With Your Family This March

"Time flies," as the old saying goes, but in today's fast-paced world, it's never been so true. How many times this winter have you put off building a snowman or sledding with your family, and thought "We'll do it next week"? Before you know it, all the snow is gone, spring is right around the corner and that snowman was never made. Most parents realize the rewards of close family ties, yet the demands of jobs and day-to-day household activities can be stressful and tiring. It's easy for quality time with our kids to get left out. You don't want to waste another season thinking about that family hike you never made it to.

Spending time with your children gives you a chance to shape their values. As your children get older, you can provide a good frame of reference as they are exposed to the growing influence of peers and popular culture. The more time you spend with your children, the more you will be able to help them tune in to their abilities, skill-building activities, and healthy friendships.

This time of the year is a great time to get in some quality time with your family. Spring brings the renewal of love for the outdoors, spring cleaning, Easter eggs, St. Patrick's Day and of course the Shamrock Shake. However, did you know that March is National Craft Month? What a better way to spend time with your family than celebrating with your family with a few St. Patrick's Day and Easter themed projects. Check out kaboose for some great craft ideas that you can do right at your home!

If you are looking to get out of the house, Visit New England and Uptake have easy to read lists of family friendly events in our area and beyond. Of course YMCA Camp Ingersoll's Egg-Stravaganza, Saturday March 27th is a great way for young families to enjoy time together.

Don't spend this spring putting off the things family memories are made of. Let's get outside, spend time together and have fun!