By Coach Marcel Mandagaran

       I am seeing a very scary and serious trend with our youth these days. They just aren’t moving anymore. What happened to the good old days when you could just jump on a bike a ride across town to see your best friend or pick up a landline, call your buddies and meet up at the park to play some B-Ball? My guess would be all these awesome video games and living the social media life, while eating these yummy goodies you can get just about anywhere, designed to lure em’ and hook em’. (If you didn’t guess, I’m talking about sugar and processed foods). Our bodies were NOT designed to sit for long periods of time. No, they were designed to Hunt, Gather, Protect (Run, jump, throw, hang etc.)

       Our kids go to school, sit for 8 hours, and not to mention, are being served poor nutrition. That’s a question I ask my CrossFit kids every class. “What did you eat at school?” Pizza bagels for breakfast and Pizza Lunchables for lunch isn’t the best for their bodies and brain function. High gluten and sugary foods are linked to behavior issues in kids. With the sneaky sugars in the juices and breads we give them, it is no wonder they have attention disorders. Quick bursts of unnatural energy only to crash, hard. Then, after they sit for 7-8 hours combined with the consumption of a Pizza-fest, they then go home and jump on the Xbox, Play station, or whatever new gaming devices. All that sitting without any activity is called sedentary, a dangerous lifestyle.

       It’s a very serious situation when my youngsters come into class and they can’t touch their toes, can’t hang from a bar, squat to full depth, raise arms fully over their head. Their cervical spine is starting to look like an 80 year old’s as if gravity has been beating down on them for nearly a century and they’re on 10 years old! I mean they still have 70 -80 years left to live and if we don’t make some changes in our youth, they are doomed for a very long-rough and sick life.

There is a bright side to all this.

       Once we can get our kids off their phones, feed them proper nutrition, and get them moving around, the progress they’ll make is insane! I’ve been working with a handful of kids for the past year now and the difference is night and day. They’ve gone from not being able to hang, to climbing ropes 12’ in the air. Squatting and deadlifting some weight they never thought possible. Self-confidence goes through the roof. It goes from being afraid of jumping on a 12” box to walking around like they can conquer anything. They turn into mini Super Heroes. They have all the good stuff running through their bodies that a lot of people pay some good money to get.

        All they need is a little guidance to get them on the right track. It is our duty as Parents, Coaches, and Teachers, to lead by example. There is nobody else to blame. If they see us sitting around watching TV with a bag of Dorito’s in one arm while the other cups a Starbucks Vente Caramel Macchiato with whip cream everyday, of course they are going to go down the same path or… worse. Its time we give them the attention they deserve.

        So, how can we help? Great question. Leading by example for one, eating and teaching what quality food is.

Two Immediate Small Changes to eliminate excessive sugars:

  • No more Juice drinks and replace with water and real fruit (ALL, juice. Yes, even the ever-so-genuine-claiming 100% Natural Juices.)
  • No more Nightly “desserts”, even if they finish their Hollandaise Asparagus

         And two, spending time with our kids. Take them hiking, play hide and seek, have a nerf war with them. Get them involved in new sports and activities. Teach them how to cook, how to build, how to work hard, get dirty, and to stay active. Don’t be afraid, you don’t need to baby them. Let them fall, get bumps and bruises, trust me they will get back up. Skinned knees are easier to fix than Type II Diabetes. As coaches and teachers and authority figures let’s not just talk the talk, lets walk the walk. We can all make some positive changes in our lives. It’s not too late. Believe me, I’ve seen it. They are amazing little creatures.

Sincerely,

Coach Marcel Mandagaran

REFERENCES:

YouTube ( 0:59 sec):  Fire+Ice CrossFit Kids

SUGAR KIDS

The Truth About Sugar in Kids Drinks

Kids CrossFit