Archive for the ‘youth sports’ Category

Yes, you read the title right…

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) 50% OF AMERICAN CHILDREN WILL BE OBESE BY 2010!!

That both disgusts me and saddens me at the same time…

So…How many of you are aware of one of the most saddest facts of our lifetime? How many of you are moved so deeply in one way or another deep within your soul, that you just can’t stand around and wait anymore for someone else to correct the problem and make it right again? I don’t know about you, but I can’t keep my voice unheard anymore and I for one want to do everything I can to try and make some kind of difference in stopping this from happening and maybe our kids might live long enough to lead healthy lives!

What do I mean by our kids living long enough to lead healthy lives? Well, here is another absolutely frightening fact, as researched by our own government lead by the Surgeon General’s office:

Our kids, your kids, my kids, the children of this generation, may just be the FIRST generation to NOT outlive their parents due to the complications of childhood obesity that has officially been classified as an epidemic.Check out this movie trailer for some absolutely shocking information on just how severe the obesity epidemic has become in our nation.

“Killer At Large” Trailer

So, have I got your attention now? I hope you took the time to watch this trailer, because if you didn’t watch it, you NEED to watch it. I want you to feel something happen inside of you when you hear what the Surgeon General has to say about the obesity epidemic…I want you to be moved in one way or the other when you see a 12 year old girl getting liposuction done, and I want your reaction when you hear that 60% of our military is overweight as soldiers stand in line at a Burger King stand….Are we going to keep our heads buried in the sand people or are we going to stand up individually, yet collectively and do something about it? Are you prepared to watch our country continue to degrade to the point that someday…SOON…if we don’t change our ways….that someday we will not even be able to defend our country because our military will not have enough healthy men and women to keep us safe? Do we really want to bury our children because they are suffering from a whole host of diseases due to being overweight or obese? C’mon, folks, what are we thinking!! We have to stop feeding our children so much processed sugar and junk food and get them outside playing like we did when we were kids!It’s not that hard, it really isn’t. But, if you’d rather contribute to these numbers:

33.3% of youth today ages 6-19 are overweight!
More than 34% of our TOTAL population are either overweight or obese…
Lets do some quick math…um, lets see, September 2008 the U.S. went over the 300million population mark…so, 34% of 300 mil = 102 million people in the U.S. alone who are overweight!
Thats totally whacked! People, wake up, you’re killing yourself, your children, your country!

Band-aid solutions are not enough…we need to be pro-active, do something about this epidemic before it kills our kids. What can you do? Lead.

Yes, thats right. Lead. Lead by your actions.
 Eat right, eat healthy and show your kids how to eat right and eat healthy. Get up off the couch and lead your kids with some exercise.
Only, don’t call it exercise, because as adults, we’ve grown to think of exercise as either a chore or boring….if you’re kids think you think exercise is boring or a chore, then why should they do it?
Our schools surely don’t give them enough exercise, so it’s up to US to lead them. It all starts at home, not with the school system or sports or youth centers…it starts at home.
Remember when you were a kid? You played…you didn’t exercise….we played in gym at school, had recess and played some more and then we played when we got home.
So, don’t “exercise” with your kids, PLAY with them….Playing is the best form of exercise there is and guess what, when you’re playing, you’re having FUN!!
That’s what kids want and need…FUN.
And we as adults, with our busy, hectic, stressed out lives, we need to have FUN too. So, by playing with them, not only do your children get the exercise they sorely need, but you get your body moving too and you are now leading them by design, instead of passing the buck to our school systems who think that academics are more important than exercise.

It has to start somewhere people. If it doesn’t, we are going to be a very sad, sad nation. And who will we have to blame?

Get involved. Do something for your kids. Don’t just think that by enrolling them in some sporting activity your job is done. It takes way more than that to keep them healthy and happy. For instance, did you know that over 3.5 million children annually get injured in youth sports…I’m not talking about bumps and bruises people. I’m talking about injuries that take their toll on a young kids body, like torn ACL’s, shoulder injuries, broken bones, head trauma, ect. And that’s just the stuff that is reported…how ’bout all the injuries that AREN’T reported? So, get your kids involved in sports, but don’t rely on sports to be the end-all-be-all to keeping your kids healthy. Get involved and then help your child to be the best athlete he/she can be by guiding them, loving them and teaching them some basic principles that will help them become better athletes and someday better adults.

What basic principles am I talking about? First, teach them the power of proper nutrition and how a properly fueled body will not only keep them healthy but perform to the best of their ability. Nutrition is the key to playing….whether it’s playing in the back yard or on the diamond or football field, ect. Your kids need proper hydration and nutrition. Learn the basics of this because you can not assume the coaches are going to know or follow any type of regimen of proper nutrition guidelines.

Second, teach them RESPECT…for themselves, for each other, for their coaches, their opponents, and other parents. You can teach them RESPECT, by leading by example. And don’t forget to give your kids some just due RESPECT as well. It goes both ways.

Third, teach them to better understand the meaning of the word FUN…if you’re child is not having FUN, then this could lead to a whole host of problems, not the least of which is potential injury. Because if your child’s not having FUN, then when they are competing, their not truly paying attention to the game, and when their attention is drawn elsewhere as they drift in thought when they should be paying attention to the girl running full steam to set up a pick on the basketball court or your son is too busy thinking how much more fun he could be having playing ‘guitar hero’ as an offensive lineman is about to block him into next week, then not only will they end up injured, but then their drive to play sports will really wane. So, make sure they are having FUN. They should not be out there because YOU want them to be, they should be out there playing sports because they want to have FUN. When it’s no longer FUN, it’s time to stop, before it’s too late. Organized sports is NOT the only way to get your kids moving. If they don’t want to play sports, doesn’t mean they still don’t like to PLAY. Go PLAY with them. Have some FUN and reap the benefits of moving both your kids bodies and yours.

And Fourth…Teach them that it’s not all about the X’s and the O’s. You must coach your child just as the coach of the team is instructing them about the game. Teach them that’s it’s not just all about the W, but it’s about learning to achieve their own personal freedom and inner championship. Winning a plastic trophy is not what life is all about, and when we as parents get too caught up in that, so often times our children never learn to develop not just as a complete athlete but as a consumate human being. Teach with a holistic approach that slow, continuous development day by day is far more important for long term growth and will ultimately help them grow as both an athlete and a well-rounded, well-adjusted human being. If we all taught these principles with the same fervor we shout and scream at the coaches, refs and our children to WIN at all costs, we just might produce more W’s and less injuries while turning out some incredibly admirable, productive and healthy human beings.

The more health concious we are, the more we lead by our actions, the more we help our children to lead healthier lives, the more concientious we are about the nature of sports and how it impacts our childrens lives, the better our chances are as a nation of reversing this horrible epidemic that could very well end up as one of the most tragic events to ever unfold in human history.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” -Lao Tzu
Life’s a Game. Press Play!!
In health and happiness,

Todd G. Dattoli, M.S.

ACE Certified Fitness Professional
IYCA Certified Youth Conditioning Specialist

Here is a little interesting tidbit I thought you might find interesting, especially if either you or your child, especially girls, think they can’t play sports. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

In fact, I HIGHLY encourage ALL kids to get involved in some type of youth sport program. The benefits are tremendous! I could write an entire blog post, maybe even a book, on why and what the benefits are to exercise, youth sports and healthy eating habits. Maybe I will someday, but for now, I’m going to leave you with a few interesting facts on youth sports and girls, which makes for an extremely healthy combination in so many ways.

Did you know, that for the most part, research has been done that shows that both boys and girls between the ages of 6 & 9 years old are equally interested in playing sports? Maybe you already know this. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re still thinking that youth sports are something primarily for boys and you’re surprised to read this. The simple fact is, sports are for BOTH boys and girls and they both are equally excited in playing sports at an early age. However, it’s all how we as parents go about encouraging our kids, particularly girls, to get involved and play what they show an interest in.

And why is this so important? How ‘bout this for a quick but powerful reason: Not only will girls get the exercise they so sorely need to keep them healthy, but the benefits of youth sports include an array of talents girls need to succeed in life, such as learning teamwork, goal-setting and overcoming challenges. Learning these types of life lessons is just as important to young girls as it is to young boys, and the earlier they get a jump on things, the better prepared they are for LIFE and whatever comes their way. Nurture their spirit now as it will pay HUGE dividends for them later.

Ok, so maybe you’re still a little hesitant to let your little girl play sports or maybe you don’t believe me. ‘Cause who am I anyway, right? I’m just some exercise fitness guy who you think is supposed to say things like this right? No problem, fair enough. Don’t believe me. Believe in the research recently conducted by the prestigious Women’s Sports Foundation, led by Dr. Don Sabo, PhD., Director of Research, ( in a report where they highlight many more reasons, both mental and physical, as to the benefits of girls participating in youth sports. In there report, they provide what I feel are 10 AWESOME REASONS why girls should play sports.

  1. High school girls who play sports are more likely to get good grades and to graduate.
  2. Girls who play sports have higher levels of self-esteem and confidence and lower levels of depression.
  3. High school girls who play sports are less likely to become pregnant and to engage in sex.
  4. Girls and women who play sports or are physically active are less likely to get breast cancer.
  5. Girls and women who play sports may have a lower risk of developing osteoporosis, a brittle bone disease that affects 40% of women age 50 and older.
  6. Girls who play sports have a more positive body image and higher states of psychological well-being.
  7. Girls who play sports are less likely to smoke or use illegal drugs.
  8. Girls who play sports are more likely to engage in healthy activities like fastening seat belts when in a car.
  9. Girls and women who play sports eat and sleep better.
  10. Girls and women who play sports are less likely to be suicidal.

How ‘bout those reasons for some inspiration, as well as staggering facts on the power of youth sports for girls?

Now, if someone says to you, “You’re going to let your daughter play sports? Aren’t you afraid she will get hurt?”, or anything remotely like that, give ‘em some of these reasons! Ask them to refute these facts rationally and logically…I’m willing to bet you won’t get much of an argument, and if you do, it will be either weak or just for the sake of arguments sake. ‘Cause you know, some people just love to argue because that is their nature. In fact, you know what, send me your feedback on this. I’d love to hear what YOU have to say. I DARE YOU.

For more information on this, I encourage you to check out
as they have some wonderful and inspiring information on youth sports for girls and women. The organization was founded in 1974 by Billie Jean King and their whole mission is to “To advance the lives of girls and women through sport and physical activity.” Check it out, seriously.

I hope you found this article informative and helpful, as my whole mission in life is help people, especially kids, adopt a healthy lifestyle and play the game of life like it’s a sport. See ya next time.

Life’s a Game. Press Play!

Pay no attention to what the critics say; no statue has ever been erected to a critic.”
–Jean Sibelius

In health and happiness,

Todd G. Dattoli, ACE Certified Professional Fitness Expert
IYCA Certified Youth Fitness Specialist

Let me ask you a question…

Remember back when you were a kid?

Back before X-box, the internet and the Wii, Playstation and cellphones, when fun was anything but sitting still?

Think of all the things that YOU DID during the winter to play, stay active and enjoy yourself.

:: Sledding anytime there was a hint of snow.

:: Building everything from snowmen to forts or little igloos.

:: You might have even thrown a snowball once or twice. (I know I threw my fair share!)

:: Playing football in the snow just so you could slip and slide all over the place and have fun!

:: Maybe you suited up, put on your skates and went to a local pond to ice skate.

Heck, I even got a bunch of kids from the neighborhood together and we played frisbee in the snow! That was FUN! Who cared about how cold it was? You just wanted to get outside and PLAY!

And if you were inside, winter seemed to bring out the best in your creative side.

:: Building clubhouses with anything you could gather from chairs and boxes to pillows and blankets.

:: Creating all sorts of different scenes with your toys that usually covered your entire bedroom floor. (My five year old currently does this now, just like when we were kids)

:: Running around the house for any reason you could think of, always to the frustration of your parents : )

I don’t know about you, but those were some of the BEST times of my life.

So make sure that your kids get those types of experiences too. Especially during the winter.

I know we are living in different times, but winter does not mean you and your kids can’t have fun. You just have to be creative, just like you were when you were a kid. Here’s a few ideas:

:: Play games with them that require them to move and be imaginative. (Anyone remember Twister? Play this with them, it is a lot of FUN!)

:: Build things with them. Let them know how fun boxes, chairs, pillows and blankets can be. Be a kid again. I guarantee you will have FUN!

:: Clear out some space and wrestle with your kids. Not only do kids love to “wrestle”, both girls and boys, but it is a total body “workout” for you and gets both of you moving. Just keep it safe. Wrestling with them doesn’t have to be “wild and crazy”. In a contained area, it can be a lot of FUN for you and your kids, as not only will your kids enjoy some “play time” with you and gets their bodies moving, but your body gets a workout too with all the bending, twisting, dodging and movement that you’ll get doing this.

An even better place to do this would be outside. Bundle up and go have some fun for a half hour. The kids will love it! I wrestle with my 5 year old son almost every nite and used to do this with my daughter until she became a teen. Now, she exercises with me in my home gym. (And guess what, we still “fool around wrestle style” from time to time….um, all depends on her teen moods, nuff said)

That brings me to…

:: Get outside. Don’t let the winter stop you. Try these two ideas for some fun activities for both you and the kids.

:: When we get some snow, building snowmen and sledding are still as fun as ever.

:: If there is no snow, take the opportunity to spend some quality time with your kids by taking a walk around the neighborhood and look at Christmas lights one evening. It’s both invigorating to be out and moving and very rewarding.

Your kids may be part of a different generation, but I guarantee that if you share some of the favorite winter activities from your childhood – they’ll love them just as much as you did!

Now go have some FUN! : )

In health and happiness,

~Todd D.

Peak Condition LLC
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Check out this video to see me in action with a young man who has been training with me since he was 9 years old. This boy is absolutely a remarkable boy. I have grown very fond of him and I just thought anyone reading my posts might be interested at a glimpse in on how I incorporate both coaching and fun with training. Kids don’t need regimented training that is boring and consists of the same old routines…they need to have fun while they learn. Scott has become an excellent athlete as well as a fine young man that I am extremely proud of. I hope to always be a part of his life and watch his successes in life mount. I hope you enjoy the video. Have a great day.

-Yours in health,

Todd G. Dattoli