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April 2014

How Do Study Skills Improve Standardized Test Scores?

How Do Study Skills Improve Standardized Test Scores?

How Do Study Skills Improve Standardized Test Scores?
By Susan Kruger

Educators are under enormous pressure to have students perform well on standardized tests. Since standardized tests assess students' mastery of state benchmarks, it is well known that the best way to improve scores is to provide clear instruction of those benchmarks.

As a result, teachers and administrators are spending vast amounts of time "mapping" their curriculum, carefully aligning their instruction to match state expectations. However, the most solid curriculum map in the world does nothing to ensure that students will learn that content effectively.

In other words, you can teach all the right content, but that does not guarantee that students are "getting it." Or, that they will "keep it."

Imagine the path to Benchmark Mastery is a freeway. The students enter the freeway as the teacher introduces the Benchmark to the class. They have a series of reading assignments, lectures, homework, and assessments to complete along their journey.

But, at each mile-marker, there are obstacles that can interfere with their progress towards Benchmark Mastery. Some students overcome these obstacles, but at every interval, several are forced to take the nearest exit ramp. Very few students will actually reach the final destination.


The teacher had done his part. He has followed his curriculum map, covered the benchmark, and provided plenty of instruction, practice, and assessment along the way.

The problem is, the students don't know HOW to learn! Take a closer look at some of these obstacles to see how they push students off course:

Mile Marker 1: Reading Assignment

Exit Ramp: Students cannot comprehend the information in the text. The technical structure and advanced vocabulary of a textbook will derail 80% of students, right out of the gate!

Mile Marker 2: Class Lecture

Exit Ramp: Students do not know how to take notes effectively. They struggle to understand the "big picture," therefore do not know how to identify key points, let alone create an effective study guide.

Mile Marker 3: Homework

Exit Ramp: Students do not do homework, or do it poorly. Even "good students" do not know how to do homework properly. They do homework just to "get it done." They do not engage effectively in homework to learn from it. Meanwhile, "struggling students" are frustrated because homework takes too long. They often decide it is not worth their frustration.

Mile Marker 4: Chapter Test

Exit Ramp: Students memorize information for the test, but forget it by the next day. They only know one method for studying: cramming!

Destination: Benchmark Mastery

Some students will avoid all of the exit ramps and reach Benchmark Mastery for the short-term. The problem is, the Standardized Test is three months away...


Students are never explicitly taught how to study or learn effectively. Our education system expects them to just "get it." However, students can apply strategies to homework and studying, just as they do with sports or video games. Someone just needs to show them what to do!

Imagine if students knew how to effectively read textbooks, take excellent notes, and complete homework efficiently? Imagine if they knew how to study so that they were LEARNING, not just memorizing and cramming?

Then, the situation would look like this:

Mile Marker 1: Reading Assignment

Since students know simple, time-saving strategies for reading a textbook, they do the reading. Most importantly, they UNDERSTAND it!

Mile Marker 2: Class Lecture

Students have reviewed the textbook and understand the "big picture," so they can identify key points. They know shortcuts for taking notes and write down important information. Their notes are now an effective study guide.

Mile Marker 3: Homework

Students know strategies for getting their brain into "high gear." They can now complete homework faster AND learn from homework at the same time.

Mile Marker 4: Chapter Test

Students are ready! They have been learning information every step of the way and have no need to cram. They know how to use their textbook to review, they have created effective study guides from their notes, and they have learned from errors on homework assignments.

Destination: Benchmark Mastery

Since the students were equipped to LEARN the content (instead of memorize), they have retained the information for the long-term. They can recall the information quickly. Now, they are ready for those standardized tests!

Study skills help students learn more effectively and efficiently by applying strategy to learning. They not only "plug" learning gaps to improve scores on standardized tests, they help students get more engaged in school and improve motivation! To learn more about teaching study skills in your school, request a free Teacher Toolkit at Susan Kruger, M.Ed. is a former struggling student and author of the worlds' best-selling study skills book, "SOAR Study Skills."

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Some Wonderful Tips to Avoid Weight Lifting Injuries

Some Wonderful Tips to Avoid Weight Lifting Injuries

Some Wonderful Tips to Avoid Weight Lifting Injuries
By Guy Long

Strength training exercises boost your metabolism, tone muscles, reduce risk of different diseases and help you lose weight. Moreover, these exercises make your muscles strong and increase strength and density of your bones. When strength training exercises are combined with cardio exercises on the regular basis, you can get your dream slim, toned and muscular body in just weeks. However, it is important to realize that when performed improperly, strength training exercises can lead to injuries including sprains, torn muscles and lower back problems. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to avoid injuries and I will discuss them one by one.

First of all, if you are new to the strength training, it is better to hire the services of a professional gym trainer to show you right angles and proper weight lifting techniques. Majority of the injuries in the gym can be avoided with proper guidance and right techniques. Moreover, if you have a previous weight lifting injury, you must inform your gym trainer about it and wait until it is fully healed before starting your strength training routine.

Before staring the regular weight lifting routine, it is very important that you do some warm up exercises to prepare your body for the tougher challenge. Cardio exercises like jogging on a treadmill, rope jumping and riding on a stationary bike make some wonderful exercises to warm your body. Make sure that you perform some light stretches as well.

If you are a beginner, then using dumbbells that are too heavy may lead to injuries. Make sure that you start with light weights and then gradually increase your weights. Furthermore, it is important that you don't train the same muscle two days in a row. Make sure that you give your muscles an adequate time to recover between workouts.

When picking up weights, make sure that you don't put too much strain on your back. In other words, you should not bend at your waist with your knees straight. Moreover, when performing standing exercises, it is important to maintain a slight bend in your knees in order to avoid a lower back injury. If you experience any problem with a particular exercise, then you should immediately inform your gym trainer about it and stop that exercise. It is important to keep in your mind that there might be many alternatives to a particular exercise. Always choose an exercise that matches your fitness level and age.

In order to avoid weight lifting injuries, it is also a good idea to eat foods that are rich in protein. Chicken, eggs, fish, cheese, porridge etc. provide a lot of protein to your body. Protein plays a very important role as it adds muscle mass to your body and strengthens your muscles. Lean and strong muscles mean that there are fewer chances of injuries and sprains. Make sure that you eat protein diets after your weight lifting workouts.

Guy Long runs Weight loss Program in Prahran and is a Fitness Trainer in Elsternwick where he specializes in resistance training, body transformation, weight control, and overall muscular strength for local residents.

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Diet Soft Drinks Could Give Older Women Heart Attacks, Study Suggest



Older women who enjoy diet soda may want to pay particular attention to how much they drink. According to researcher presented at the 63rd Annual Science Session of the American College of Cardiology, postmenopausal women who consume two or more diet sodas per day are at increased heart attack risk.

Lead investigator Dr. Ankur Vyas, fellow  Cardiovascular Diseases, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics presented findings wherein researchers analyzed data from 59,614 women whom participated in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study. The team was interested in the relationship between drinking diet soda, heart disease and mortality.

To find the answers, Vyas et al collected information via questionnaire wherein women told researchers about the diet soft drink and diet fruit drinks they had consumed over the previous three months. This information was later assessed in a three year follow up to the Women's Health Initiative Observational  Study. 

Researchers divided the women into the following groups:

  • women who drank two or more diet sodas per day
  • women who consumed five to seven diet soft drinks per week
  • women who consumed one to four diet sodas per week
  • women who drank zero to three diet sodas per month

All of beverages in Vayas's study were the equivalent of 12 ounces.


Women Who Drink Diet Soft Drinks Tend To Have More Heart Problems

The results of the study were alarming. After approximately 8.7 years of follow-up, Vyas et al learned that 8.5 percent of women who consumed two or three diet soft drinks each day were at increased risk for congestive heart failure, heart attack, ischemic stroke, coronary revascularization procedure, peripheral artery disease and death compared to 6.9 percent of women who drank five to seven diet soft drinks per week; 6.8 percent for women who consumed one to four diet soft drinks per week, and 7.2 percent for women who drank zero to three diet soft drinks per month.

If this sounds familiar to you, it probably is. Recently researchers from Columbia Unversity and University of Miami Miller School of Medicine found a relationship between heart attacks and diet soft drinks.

Those scientists looked at 2564 men and women whom partcipated in the Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS). Although those researchers looked at a smaller sample size composed of both genders (2564 participants), the results are very similar to Vyas's results.

In fact, the Univesity of Miami and Columbia University research team found that people who drank diet soft drinks were 44 percent more likely to suffer heart attack than people who did not drink diet soda.

While Vyas et al found an association between diet soft drinks and cardiovascular disease, the team isn't definitively saying that diet soft drinks are the culprit. In fact the lead investigator said: “It’s too soon to tell people to change their behavior based on this study; however, based on these and other findings we have a responsibility to do more research to see what is going on and further define the relationship, if one truly exists.”

Indeed lifestyle habits could play a huge role in the resulted observed by Vyas' team.

For example, researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health recently used government survey data to study the subject of diet soft drink consumption and weight gain. Those scientists found that people who drank diet soda tended to put on extra weight. But the researchers also noted that diet soft drink consumers also ate a lot of food. In other words, the lifestyle of the  consumers contributed to their weight gain.

Another thing to consider is that Vyas et al followed postmenopausal women (average age 62.8 years) rather than looking at people across a range of ages. That's why they call for more research so as to learn whether a relationship between diet soft drink consumption and cardiovascular health does indeed exist.

Nonetheless, this study supports other research which suggests that drinking too many diet soft drinks could do more harm than good.


None of us can make it without the help and grace of God.


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Article References

American College of Cardiology News Release -

Diet Soft Drinks Could Give You A Heart Attack

Drinking Diet Soda Makes You Fatter


"Diet Soft Drinks Could Give Older Women Heart Attacks, Study Suggest" copyright © 2014 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.



Making Your Diet Plan Work for You

Making Your Diet Plan Work for You

Making Your Diet Plan Work for You
By Callie Durbrow

Are you ready to change the way you think about food? Are you done with your old eating habits? Are you ready to change your life? Then it's time to get yourself the best possible fat loss diet plan for your life and routine.

Mastering your food habit is probably one of the most difficult things you can do in your weight loss journey, but it will make the most difference. The best possible thing you can do for your body is to control what you put inside it. The best is putting natural fruits and vegetables and making sure that you are eating the correct potion sizes for your body. As the owner of a personal training and fat loss training company, I have some simple suggestions on how to curb your cravings and make the most of your fat loss diet plan.

Food begins at home - The best possible way to regulate your diet is to start at home. The best way to know how what exactly is going into your body is to cook it yourself. The night before, cook all of your food and put it into portion appropriate Tupperware containers. Be sure to incorporate lots of fruits and veggies. Consult a cookbook for recipe ideas. Also substitute healthier options - for instance, instead of white rice, use brown rice.

Curb your cravings - The most difficult part of dieting is forcing yourself to circumvent your cravings. Substitute what you'd like for other things. Want potato chips? Get the crunchiness in a potato chip through carrot sticks. Want sweet candy? Try eating mango or strawberries. Also, allow yourself one cheat item each week. Don't take an entire day to go off your diet, just one thing. This keeps you honest and gives you something to look forward to each week.

Daily snacks - To keep yourself full all day, make sure to incorporate some delicious, healthy snacks into your daily routine. These can be eaten ideally between breakfast and lunch, lunch and dinner, or as a post-dinner snack. The best ingredients include: almonds, yogurt, carrot sticks, Greek yogurt, and fruit. These keep your metabolism up.

Creativity - The best way to keep yourself engaged in your fat loss diet plan is to use creativity and have fun with your food. Use spices and seasonings to give new taste. Spices often don't have calories, so they are great options. Be careful and make sure that there is not a lot of sodium in your garnishes. A great option is red pepper flakes - these are spicy without having sodium and are a delicious option in any savory meal.

Learning about food and structuring your fat loss diet plan is vitally important to your workout routine. If you can find a balance between enjoyment, creativity, and health, it's the best of all possible worlds. You'll feel better, you'll look better, and have better communication throughout all parts of your body, subsequently making you much healthier and happier.

Callie Durbrow is a strength coach and personal trainer in Boston, Massachusetts specializing in fat loss diet plans. She currently trains clients to lose body fat, gain strength, and challenge their bodies with each session. Her training style is a combination of conventional strength work, modified strongman training, and overall conditioning. Visit her at to find out more about personal training and small group training.

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When Eating Breakfast Becomes Productive

When Eating Breakfast Becomes Productive

When Eating Breakfast Becomes Productive
By Josh Schlottman

Does eating breakfast every morning really matter? I hear all the time how we don't have time in the morning to eat breakfast. Waking up after hopefully 8 hours of sleep our bodies are really dehydrated and hungry. The first thing I do every morning is drink about a half liter of water even if I have to force myself to do it. Our own personal productivity is heavily dependent on the way we start our mornings.

The first meal we eat is the key meal of the day. Why? Because the first meal sets the context for the rest of the meals you'll eat today. If the first meal you eat is a healthy and well-balanced meal, then the next meal you eat you will want it to be a healthy and well-balanced meal. But if you cheat and eat something bad for breakfast, then you're way more likely to eat bad the rest of the day. This is why the first one is so important.

Same things goes for your personal productivity. If you have a clear cut ritual you do every morning then you will be more likely to continue on with that productivity throughout the day. My morning ritual takes about an hour and here it goes; wake up and drink half a liter of water, meditate and deep breathing exercises for about 5 minutes, drink a Super Shake, next take care of personal hygiene and bathroom duties, then eat a bowl of oatmeal with some blueberries and finally take my vitamins.

Try to include exercise into your morning ritual for at least 30 minutes and take a shower afterwards. Oprah said by exercising in the morning it starts a fire in the body and soul for the rest of the day. It's also a great feeling to know you're done with your exercise and you don't have to worry about it for the rest of the day.

You may have to start waking up earlier and going to bed sooner than what you're used to. It's going to take around 30 days of this before it will become habitual. But if you do you're morning ritual every day then I promise you'll spend your day with more energy and will get much more accomplished.

Here is what I put in my Super Shake every morning; 1 cup of water, 1 scoop of protein powder, tablespoon of flax seeds, tablespoon of Colostrum, 1 cup of frozen mixed berries, tablespoon of plain yogurt, 1/2 cup of steel-cut oatmeal, and 1 scoop of Green Vibrance. Make your breakfast as healthy as possible, Registered Dietician Chris Mohr says, "If it has a cartoon on the box, then the cereal isn't healthy!"

This also applies for when you go to sleep. The hour before sleeping spend the first 30 minutes doing chores or planning the next day, spend 15 minutes to change into your pajamas and to take care of your hygiene and for the final 15 minutes or so spend it reading. To increase your personal productivity make sure you get the 8 hours of the sleep you need, determine what time you have to wake up tomorrow morning and count backwards from there, this is your bedtime.

Here is the first step for you to do, plan out your morning ritual on a piece of paper and get started on it tomorrow morning. Plan your meals and everything you're going to do. And don't check your email during it! Tonight also take a piece of paper and write down 3 things that must be accomplished and make them the priorities for tomorrow. Do them before everything else. The best advice I can give to do this is to START NOW and DON'T DEVIATE. You don't have to do this every day of the week, if you only do it once, do it on Monday and set the energy for the week. In fact, try switching up the morning ritual a little bit each month to perfect it. I'm a firm believer you never want to get too caught up in your ways, because it doesn't leave an opening for progression. Remember the saying, "what you stick with, you're stuck with."

Josh Schlottman, CSCS, is an ACE certified Personal Trainer and he graduated from Sacramento State University with a degree in Nutrition. He also is a NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning coach. He is the Fitness Director at HealthQuest Fitness Center in Napa, CA where he leads an amazing team of personal trainers who specialize in helping people achieve their goals in fitness and life. You can reach him at

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The Power of Probiotics

The Power of Probiotics

The Power of Probiotics
By Yuri Elkaim

With all the nonsense we're seeing now with yogurt companies developing their own strains of supposedly "healthy" bacteria, I thought it was time to clear the air and give you the goods. I'm sure you've seen the commercials from yogurt companies with their bacteria called "B.L Regularis" and "Casei Defensis."

Just look at the name of these probiotics. Do you think anything in nature would exist with such ridiculous names - "regularis" implying that it will make you regular and "defensis" implying that it will keep you from getting sick!

I mean it's absolutely criminal! Remember, if it doesn't occur in nature, your body is better off without it. Probiotic supplements are simply supplements that contain "friendly" bacteria that you want in the digestive tract in large numbers.

Prebiotics [ie. fructo-oligossacharides (FOS), short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate, and inulin] contain the nutrients that these bacteria need to grow and thrive.

There are over 400 different types of these friendly bacteria in your colon that serve to complete the digestion of undigested foods, keep pathogenic bacteria and yeasts in check, add bulk to your stool, and produce vitamin K and some of the B vitamins. Until recently, the importance of a healthy and balanced gut flora (bacteria) has been neglected, but thankfully much research has shown its importance not only to the health of your colon, but to your overall health.

Dysbiosis, the imbalance between healthy and unhealthy flora in the colon, is very common in today's society considering how much we abuse our digestive system. If you ever experience intestinal gas, bloating, stomach upset, allergies, or constipation, then you will definitely benefit from probiotics.

The key probiotic bacteria that you want to look for are bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. Within these categories are many strains but the most helpful for the health of your colon are Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Streptococcus faecium.

Naturally, yogurts and kefir are good sources of probiotics. However, since I don't endorse the consumption of dairy, the best alternative is to find a high quality probiotic oral supplement. A good probiotic supplement should contain a wide array of bacterial strains, with the 3 mentioned above being the most prominent. Most importantly, ensure that your probiotic supplement contains a suitable number of microorganisms.

In general, choose a probiotic supplement that contains anywhere from 6 to 10 billion microorganisms and take the dosage once per day. Good probiotic supplements will also often contain adequate amounts of prebiotics to promote the proliferation of healthy bacteria. In most cases, it's best to take your probiotic on an empty stomach. I find just before bed works best for me.

Incorporating probiotics into your diet will make marked improvements in your digestion, elimination, and overall health. You will notice your bowel movements improve in consistency and regularity, you will help lessen the risk for the development of allergies, and you will dramatically improve the health of your colon and the rest of your body.

These friendly bacteria are truly amazing!

Yuri Elkaim is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and author of the raw food book Eating for Energy. Get with his FREE 17-lesson Raw Food 101 e-course and learn the easy way to start a raw food diet by visiting

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Fat Cells Stick Around

Fat Cells Stick Around

Fat Cells Stick Around
By Rusty Moore

You can gain fat cells, but the problem is that you can't lose them. Yes, you can shrink them, but they stick around forever in your body. Unfortunately, it's pretty easy to gain the weight back if you're not careful once you have those fat cells. Someone who has never gained that fat automatically has an easier time not gaining weight.

Harder to Stay Lean With More Fat Cells

A slim person has an easier time staying lean than someone who is or has been obese. Although an obese person can become quite lean, it will always be harder work for them to maintain a smaller size than a person who has stayed slim. Avoiding putting on those excess fat cells in the first place is the best way to stay lean and trim. There's just not a lot of room for mistakes in diet or workout for someone with excess fat cells.

Don't Bulk Up and Build Fat Cells

Increasing your fat cells on purpose by "bulking up" just makes it harder in the long run for you to maintain a lean and trim body. Even if you are a bodybuilder. A person who does bulk up, can get lean again, but it's very easy for that person to put on excess fat again because those fat cells just never go away. Maintaining is difficult, and people who quickly gain excess body fat will always gain fat more easily. Some bodybuilders struggle and gain large amounts of weight quickly after the rigors of a competition end. Staying lean while you build up your muscle is the best way to go, it makes maintenance much, much easier.

Even if You Have Been Overweight, Stay Positive About Staying Lean

It's true that it will be harder for you to stay lean if you've been overweight. But, following a good workout and eating plan makes it very attainable. Strategies like "cardio workouts on an empty stomach" will ensure that you burn more body fat. Don't use the excuse that it's too tough, work hard and the results will show.

Avoid Adding Excess Body Fat and it's Easier to Stay Lean

If you avoid adding excess body fat in the first place, it is so much easier to stay lean. Those around you will marvel at your amazing metabolism, but your committed plan of working out and eating right will be the real secret. Keep on top of keeping in shape-never let yourself get more than 10 pounds out of shape, and staying lean will be simple.

Rusty Moore is a trainer who gives advice to men and women who want a body that attracts the opposite sex. Don't train to be bulky! Learn the Fitness secrets of Hollywood's finest and get lean and sexy instead. Visit his site

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The Many Things That Enzymes Do

The Many Things That Enzymes Do

The Many Things That Enzymes Do
By Helena Ederveen

Studies show that over 90% of the food we eat is cooked at temperatures of over 118 degrees F. This destroys the enzymes in the food. Since a shortage of enzymes in the system does not have any immediately noticeable effects, except for indigestion, most people ignore this fact and take enzyme filled digestive supplements to help with their digestive problems. While this is fine in the short term, understanding what enzymes do for the rest of the body will show that we need them for much more than digesting our food.

Enzymes are proteins that act catalysts for the body's metabolic system. The body's metabolism is really just an immense series of constant chemical reactions and the catalysts increase their efficiency and effect. Enzymes carry nutrients to various parts of the body and also remove waste and toxic matter from the system. They also balance the triglyceride and cholesterol levels and strengthen the endocrine system by supplying the required hormones. At no time and in no way can natural enzymes harm the body.

Did you know that enzymes help to fight disease? Fungi, bacteria and parasites that invade our bodies and cause sickness are made up of proteins. Even a virus is protected by a protein based shell. Although enzymes are themselves proteins, there is one called protease which breaks down other proteins. High levels of protease in the blood can help to break down the disease causing vectors in our body.

Research indicates that enzymes help in brain functions. The hypothalamus is the part of our brain that controls our endocrine system and this plays an important role in our emotional responses and balance. The hypothalamus needs glucose to function properly and this glucose, which is supplied from the liver, is protein based. Enzymes promote liver function and support its efforts to produce the glucose. The enzymes in the blood are what carry the nutrients to various parts of the body to provide the muscles the energy to function properly. With low enzyme levels, inadequate protein is carried in the blood and as a result tiredness and lassitude occurs in the muscles, including the brain.

All this is fine but there are so many things our bodies needs and which we never see producing results. Its easy to forget about the internal functioning of the body and take it for granted - easy but dangerous. The problems with deficiencies of enzymes and other essential elements needed by the body is that there are rarely any immediate signs of problems. These develop slowly and the onset is often so gradual that they are never noticed until they have reached a serious stage where medical intervention is needed.

But there is one thing that enzymes do that is visible. They help to control weight! They are not a weight loss chemical or anything like that, but they do help to digest food properly and efficiently and reduce the amount of it that is turned into fat. And its better to reduce the amount of fat collecting in our bodies than to have to take it off later.

Enzymes are not food in themselves. They are just elements of the food. While the body does produce some enzymes on its own, these are not enough for a healthy metabolism. Its important to know what kinds of foods are enzymes rich and how they should be consumed. As was said earlier, cooking destroys the enzymes in food. Processed foods also have no enzymes. Eating only raw, fresh, unprocessed foods is not a practical proposition. But a little care in controlling our diets can go a long way in ensuring that the body is supplied with the enzymes it needs to stay healthy.

For more in dept information you can go to Holistic health practitioner

Helena Ederveen is an Associate Member Australasian College Nutritional & Environmental Medicine; Clinical Nutritionist; Certified Master Practitioner NLP & Advanced Practitioner Eriksonian Hypnosis; Counsellor. 25 Years Experience. Are You Serious About Discovering Your Own Individual Blueprint Of Health? Free "Health Blueprint" Assessment.

My own health is what has driven me to become supremely qualified as a holistic health practitioner.

By 2002 I was involved in looking at pathology profiles with completely different eyes. It deepened my understanding of certain scientific laboratory technologies that can define and suggest how to rectify health imbalances before they mature into full-fledged disease.

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3 Ways To Strengthen the Muscles Used in Surfing

3 Ways To Strengthen the Muscles Used in Surfing

3 Ways To Strengthen the Muscles Used in Surfing
By Hayden Rhodes

1. The first mistake professionals and amateurs often make is listening to personal trainers that focus on gym based strengthening exercises rather than a professional surfing coach. Developing strength and power with surf specific exercises in the gym is important; however, surfing is a beach/water sport that requires fast, dynamic movements performed consistently on a wave followed by endurance paddling. Whether in competition or free surfing a surfer must deal with these conditions. This means surf movements, beach training and water based exercises have priority for stronger surfing.

The muscles involved in surfing are best strengthened through surfing; just look at swimmers' and surfers' bodies and you see strong backs, shoulders, torso's and arms. Yes other activities do help, but for the most part the actual movement of surfing and swimming will develop functional strength, and this is what you want. So when there is surf, surf. The second best option is to swim. Use a surfing coach who is experienced in surfing, sport specific training and is a swimming expert.

A great idea is to perform basic strength movements combined with water activities on the beach (or poolside) to aid strengthening for competition or improved performance. Please remember to consult with your physician before undertaking any movement program. A good option is circuit training specific to the demands of professional surfing and should only be performed after medical clearance and with a surfing coach.

For Example.
-Lye on the sand at waters edge
-Quickly Pop to feet (Mimic a surfing 'pop up')
-Run or wade through small shore break waves duck diving (surf live saving style) and swim out to shore break area or equivalent distance if no waves
-Get your breath and then body surf or swim in.
-Recover and repeat a number of times.

You can also perform this same drill with a board. Remember surfing is about creating speed on the wave with the ability to quickly recover while paddling and preparing to power up again. In order to develop the correct form of strength avoid training non stop without some recovery time.

2. The second mistake surfers make is using machines rather than their body weight. There are many smaller muscles surrounding joint capsules, holding bones in place, stabilizing and assisting all the exterior 'bulk' muscles, maintaining posture etc. and it is imperative to strengthen these muscles with body weight movement patterns that challenge the nervous system specific for surfing.

When you surf you use your entire body and by performing body weight exercises you are more likely to remain in balance and improve flexibility at the same time. Chin ups, press ups, yoga down dog, Pilates, core work, skipping, boxing, wobble boards, ankle stability boards etc, are all used by a professional surfing coach because they all involve your entire body and move the body in all planes of motion. This is crucial for surf performance, especially if you are wanting to compete or are all ready on the ASP world tour. Specific surf exercises that strengthen your entire system will be much more beneficial than generic strength training.

3. The third mistake is not conditioning for the specifics of each surf location or performing the same routine all the time. Just like on the ASP world tour, pro surfers are tested in all conditions as athletes. Some spots are fast and furious while others are long and calculating. Some spots require faster reactions, others require longer paddles or have reef currents to deal with. A surfing coach uses sport specific strengthening as a crucial element that most people do not consider, so co-ordinate your training to coincide with where you will be surfing and when you know the swell will hit. Just surf training because your going on a surf trip to Indonesia is not specific enough.

Remember, you do not want to put on too much muscle, your goal is strength, strength endurance and power, not bulk. Work with a professional surfing coach who knows what they are doing, otherwise you can create imbalances and inflexibility therefore surf slower not faster.

Hayden Rhodes has coached professional and amateur athletes improve their performance through scientific personal training, hormonal testing, nutritional coaching and performance conditioning principles.

If your a professional surfer or just getting started and want to improve as a surfing athlete then please visit

Do you want a better body or improve as a surfer? For a free 5 day coaching guide on boosting your surfing performance please visit

If you have any questions or comments I look forward to helping you with your health and performance.

Hayden Rhodes
Powering Surfing Athletes

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What to Eat After a Workout

What to Eat After a Workout

What to Eat After a Workout
By Yuri Elkaim

I just got back in from a really good, quick workout, and I thought I'd take this opportunity to answer a question that I recently got asked on my blog about exercise nutrition and what we're supposed to eat after a workout.

This question is from Natalia. "My question is with respect to post-exercise nutrition. I frequently play tennis at night and finish my game around 10 pm. My games typically last for an hour and a half or a couple of hours, and given that I finish my workout/game so late, what sort of post-exercise meal would you suggest?"

Well Natalia, and for everyone else who has the same question, you want to keep it as simple and as liquid as possible. The last thing you want to do is go to bed on a full stomach. That is only going to bog you down and leave you with a poor night's sleep, which means you will wake up in the morning feeling terrible. What you want to do is go to bed feeling slightly hungry - not starving, but slightly hungry. This will allow your body to spend its energy on all the regeneration that it has to do during the night. During the night is when growth hormone is released and the body's cells are repaired. If you have too much food before you go to bed, that energy is taken away from the repair process and is used for the digestive process, and that is not what you want.

So, having said that, what I am having after my workout is a green juice. In it I have kale, collard greens, parsley, lemon, apple, and carrot. A lot of people might say, where's your protein? Where is your carbohydrate? Well, it's all in there. Green vegetables, anything green is your highest source of amino acids and amino acids make up proteins. So I am getting my meal in a liquid form, a very simple form in amino acids, so my body can assimilate them very quickly. Also, there are very simple sugars because any time you juice, you remove the pulp which results in a tall glass of simple sugars that can reach the muscle cells that much faster to replenish your glycogen stores. That is very important because with post-exercise nutrition there is a window of opportunity of about 30 minutes where you need to get something in, and preferably liquid. So the sooner you can get the liquid into your body the better - first of all water, and then simple sugars back into your body in a liquid form are you best options.

For the athletes that I work with I really try to make sure that they are getting in some type of sports drink, preferably a home-made, natural sports drink right after they come off of the field or the ice, or out of the gym - whatever it may be. Remember the crucial time - 30 minutes. During the 30 minutes after you finish your workout, you need to get some liquid nutrition into your body. It's going to give you the energy you need to recover a lot faster.

So if you don't have a juicer, another idea you can use is a green smoothie. A smoothie that I often make after a lot of my workouts or games is banana, a scoop of almond butter or other nut butter. I'll throw in some raw cacao, some flax seed oil or some fish oil to get in some healthy fats. I'll throw in some ground flax seeds to get in some good fiber and bulk, and I'll blend it all up with water or some rice milk. The end result is beautiful. You can throw in some hemp seeds for a great source of protein, or even whey protein if you use that - whatever is good for you. In this smoothie you get the amino acids, the health fats, and the carbohydrates that your body needs right after a workout.

So, I hope that answers your question Natalia, and for anyone else who was wondering what to eat after a workout or wondering what to eat late at night after a game. Liquid nutrition is the best, right? You don't want to go to bed on a full stomach. Keep it simple, keep it light, and make sure you pack in quality nutrition and you're going to recover a lot faster and your performance is going to go through the roof.

Yuri Elkaim is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and author of the raw food diet book Eating for Energy. Find out how his work has helped more than 22,000 people lose weight and live their healthiest life ever - visit

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