Home Blog

How To Spot When Social Media is Spreading Fitness Misinformation

Wow. I thought Twitter was filled with diet and fitness garbage, which it is. But it’s nothing compared to the behemothic fitness dumpster that is Pinterest. I’d been out of the social media loop until recently and when I checked back in I was amazed at the constant flow of fitness crap on Twitter. It is as if the Twitter fitness people are stuck in a time warp. Leg warmers and headbands anyone? The other day I started digging into Pinterest because my wife is a big Pinner, and I gotta tell you I was shocked at the utter paucity of responsible diet and fitness info. Utter paucity, I say.  

From what I see on Pinterest you would think humans exist on all fours, kneeling or crawling around. Since we, as humans, walk around upright you would think there would be “Pins” featuring exercises with people standing up. Not so much. Clearly, yoga cures everything and will melt away love handles and jiggly arms, and give you the perfect butt and a flat stomach just by doing these (fill in the number) simple moves. Oh, and yoga will get rid of back fat, too. I didn’t realize that overhead tricep extensions also cured jiggly arms.

Whoever discovered this should be awarded the Nobel Prize. There are inner thigh exercises, outer thigh exercises and I would presume mid-thigh exercises. However, I cannot figure out why there are no upper and lower thigh exercises. Or maybe I haven’t dug deeply enough into the Pins to find them. With so many ways to get flat abs fast I’m amazed anyone is walking around with a belly. It’s amazing how much “made up” stuff makes up the fitness content on Pinterest. Sadly, most of it is by women, for women, and does nothing to improve a woman’s – or anyone’s – understanding of what it means to be truly fit and happy with their body. All of the greeting card sentiments via the hollow motivational bromides that Pinterest and its “Pinners” offer up doesn’t make up for the terrible messages being given to women. The horrible fitness information isn’t good, either.

What Can be Done to Improve Youth Football?

Recently, a huge amount of attention has been spent on the subject of safer tackling in football. I am fortunate to be part of this national debate, as last month I participated in an edition of ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” television series that dealt with the issue of USA Football’s Heads-Up tackling program. The debate regarding safer football has revolved around the issue of tackling and, to a lesser extent, whether or not any aspect of football can be safe. However, there hasn’t been much discussion about how to address the issues faced by youth football outside of the tackling issue. A first step must be to recognize that not every kid should/can play tackle football. Not every kid can play the piano or tap dance or tumble, so the notion that every kid can play tackle football has to be retired. And while there is no downside for a kid to pursue these other activities, there is the real potential for injury in tackle football. The most immediate action that should be taken is to raise the age for kids to be eligible to play football. The vast majority of 8-10 olds are not ready to play tackle football, and the case can be made that kids shouldn’t start tackle until they are 12.

Frankly I am sick of hearing from parents – mostly dads – that their Third Grader needs to play tackle and has to practice 4-5 times a week. Really, enough and shut up. You do not know what you are talking about and are making matters worse for those of us who do know what’s what. Stop living your athletic life by risking your kid’s overall well-being. Extending the age of participation for Flag Football will allow more kids to play – longer – and learn more than by having them tackle too early. The current system forces kids to tackle before they are ready, and no doubt kids drop out because of this arbitrary starting point. With regard to the technique of tackling, the only way to teach it and to learn it is to have kids tackle. There are some very basic points to proper tackling, a technique that worked for many decades worked very well. It still works well. Leading with the head was never taught and is a “technique” that players adopted on their own. Despite admonitions by coaches to “stick your head in there,” and similar phrases, using the head to tackle was never taught. Players in the NFL, in many cases, practice Heads Down Tackling, to their detriment. They are the ones with the most to risk, and yet they still lower the boom by lowering their heads.

But their problem isn’t youth football’s problem. At the same time, there must be the recognition that there is no nice way to tackle another person and that heads will hit, bones will break, legs will get rolled upon, etc.

There is nothing anybody can do to prevent this. This is a tough point for people to deal with and those who can’t handle the reality that injuries will happen, shouldn’t let their kids play. When it comes time to start tackling, we have to teach kids the proper way to tackle. But only when they are physically able to perform many of the other fundamental football, and movement, skills. Before a kid progresses to tackle he should have to display proficiency in a variety of movement skills, prerequisites if you will, for tackling. Teaching kids to tackle before they are physically ready to handle it is like teaching a kid calculus before they know how to multiply. There are steps that can be taken to improve youth football beyond the simplistic step of teaching Heads Up Tackling.

Study: CrossFit Training Poses Injury Risk, Benefits Similar to Other Programs

CrossFit Level 2 Seminar at CrossFit Vauxhall

A study published in the November edition of the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research revealed some interesting conclusions with regard to CrossFit training, most of which is not great news.
Despite the positive spin used in the headline, “CrossFit-Based High-Intensity Power Training Improves Maximal Aerobic Fitness and Body Composition,” the evidence presented in this study does not provide a ringing endorsement for the CrossFit craze. The words used by the authors of the study illustrate why this research isn’t really a good thing for the CrossFit nation.

Before getting into the details of the study this needs to be cleared up; the term “high intensity” has been misused by those who promote the HIIT-style of training. These programs are more accurately, “Low-Intensity Power Training,” or “High Volume Power Training,” as the high number of total repetitions performed per set and/or per workout disqualify these workouts from properly being considered “high intensity.”

Actually, depending on the workout, a more accurate name for many of these workouts might be, “Explosive Endurance.”
By rule, as repetitions increase (aka “Volume”), intensity must decrease. In these HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) programs, “high intensity” is misused to express a level of difficulty, in lay terms.
Also, the term “power,” used in the traditional engineering sense, has no real value when applied to human movement. That’s another discussion for another time…
So back to the research.

In the Discussion, section of the paper, “CrossFit-Based High-Intensity Power Training Improves Maximal Aerobic Fitness and Body Composition,” the authors bring up some problematic issues for CrossFit.

The authors write, “Despite a deliberate periodization and supervision of our CrossFit-based training programs by certified professionals, a notable percentage of our subjects (16%) did not complete the training program and return for follow up testing,” due to injury. They add, “There are emerging reports of increased rates of musculoskeletal and metabolic injury in these programs. This may call into question the risk-benefit ratio for such extreme training programs, as the relatively small aerobic fitness and body composition improvements observed among individuals who are already considered to be ‘above average’ and ‘well-above-average’ may not be worth the risk of injury and lost training time.”

Worth repeating is the phrase, “May not be worth the risk of injury and lost training time.”

The authors go on to state that HIPT can be beneficial for people of all fitness levels, which contradicts their statement regarding the “relatively small” improvements offered by these CrossFit-style programs and the associated high risk of injury.

The authors point out, “HIIT has previously been shown to improve body composition and Vo2 max in healthy adults, this is the first investigation showing that similar benefits can be obtained using a CrossFit-based HIPT (High-Intensity Power Training) program.” So what this means is that CrossFit style training is not really any different than other methods of what is considered to be “high-intensity” programs.

Furthermore, this study, which was conducted at Ohio State University, did not include a group performing a traditional HIIT program, or any group performing any other kind of exercise, which seriously minimizes the relatively minor positive information that is contained in this research. Without a control group or a point of comparison to other exercise programs, the improvements reported in this study are at least highly questionable and possibly meaningless.

Comparing CrossFit with a traditional, lower risk exercise program performed per the Tabata Interval program, or a program that included Olympic-style lifts and basic gymnastic and calisthenics moves, would have provided a valid point of comparison for the purposes of this research.

In the Conclusion section of the study the authors write, “Given that our subjects were following a Paleolithic diet, we cannot relate all of the observed weight loss to the HIPT training. However, HIPT and Paleolithic diet in combination could be used to promote positive changes in body composition.” Worth noting is that traditional HIIT training, as well as Circuit Training and other forms of safer and established training methods in conjunction with the “Paleo” diet also “could” help people lose weight.

The authors posit that their findings bode well for athletes who are looking to improve their fitness level while cutting down on time spent training; this statement ignores their own findings.
Out of the original 54 participants, 9 subjects did not complete the program, “citing overuse or injury,” despite the fact that these participants were highly supervised by qualified personnel. Imagine how this injury problem could mushroom without this level of instruction and supervision.

This data is extremely damning. In this study, with a group that is about the same size as many lacrosse or football teams, 16% of the participants went down with an injury directly related to the training activity. An injury rate of 16% from training is catastrophic for any team of athletes, especially one that already has to contend with the rigors of a physical contact or collision sport.
These findings, along with the problems with the design of the study, should not be spun as a positive for the CrossFit crowd. Despite the title of the study, there is little here to support the use of CrossFit, especially for athletes.

The NFL's Heads Up Tackling Program Still Won't Work

So, I have coached an entire season of youth football, watched well over a hundred hours of youth and high school football film, watched countless other hours of live football, and watched hundreds of hours of televised football, AND have yet to see an example of the NFL’s Heads Up Tackling Technique anyplace.
I have not seen one tackle, performed by any player at any level, that can be considered representative of this “safe” way to tackle. I have not seen one gameplay example of this Unicorn-like tackling technique on SportsCenter, the NFL Network, Fox Sports Network, CBS Sports Network, or NBC Sports Network.
I haven’t seen Mike Mayock, Jon Gruden, Phil Simms, Chris Collinsworth, or any other Mavens of the Telestrator breakdown this perfect, Heads Up Tackle in any telecast so far this season.
I haven’t seen a football player buzz their feet, spread their wings, come to balance or execute any of these other staples of the Heads Up Tackling technique. Not once.
What I have seen is players launching themselves headfirst into piles of players without regard for which colored jersey they pile-drove themselves into. I have seen kids and adults leading with their heads, lowering their heads, head butting, and hitting with and getting hit on their heads with equal abandon. At the higher levels, penalty flags are thrown. Not so much in the land where Heads Up Tackling is supposedly taught and enforced with the best interests of our kids at hand.
This is a long-winded way of re-saying that the NFL’s Heads Up Tackling Program will not work because humans do not learn to perform “large” – or complex – and spontaneous skills by having them broken down into small, individual sections. There is science that proves this.
You can’t teach complex skills in these small pieces and expect a person to then put them all together in the heat of competition. We aren’t wired that way. When we think, we stink.
Have you heard of, “The Yips,” where a golfer misses a short – Gimmie – putt? Or heard stories of where a catcher can’t throw the ball back to the pitcher? This is when the thought process infringes on the body’s ability to perform.
However, as a graduate of the Heads Up program, I can give you a more common-sense reason why the Heads Up program won’t work. In the entirety of the NFL’s Heads Up teaching materials, there is not one real world, gameplay example of the tackling technique that the NFL is teaching. Not one “game film” example from any level, from youth on up through the NFL, of this Unicorn-like tackling technique.
Let’s be real; there is no safe way to tackle. Better or worse, yes. Safer, nyet.
I have a buddy of mine who I’ve coached with for 15 years who is also a cop. And he always tells the kids, “There’s no nice way to put handcuffs on someone, and there’s no nice way to tackle.”
And herein lies the NFL’s problem. Football is not a nice sport, but the NFL wants every kid to play. Another problem is football is an exclusive sport, not an inclusive sport. Football is for a select few. Like the Navy Seals and Marines, Ivy League schools, concert pianists, and neurosurgeons. Every kid can’t go to Harvard, every kid can’t play football.
I coach every day. From youth level up through Division 1. Boys, girls, men, women. There is a huge difference between the athletes who play football and the athletes who don’t. All things being equal, the kid who plays football and basketball has an edge over the kid who plays just basketball.
The truth about football – the emmis – is that a lot of it sucks. Practice can be tedious and painful and all kinds of uncomfortable. The glory of playing the game win or lose is unparalleled in sport. But not every kid has what it takes to be a part of it. That’s not a popular message in our society in 2013.
The NFL has made some mistakes and miscalculations, but their biggest mistake is selling this idea that the game is for everyone. Flag football might be, tackle football isn’t. Flag is Checkers, Tackle is Chess.

Lifting Weights Has Caused More Damage to Major League Baseball Than Steroids

Despite the hype and hyperbole surrounding Human Growth Hormone, steroids, and other Performance Enhancing Drugs, the weight room – and other conditioning methods – has caused more damage to baseball players than damage from all the PEDs combined.
And in the aftermath of Matt Harvey’s catastrophic elbow injury, the New York Mets should get rid of every piece of weight lifting equipment in their training facilities – from the Major League level right on down to their Rookie League team – and start from scratch. Every Major League Baseball team should follow suit.

The injury suffered by Harvey, Steven Strasburg, and other young pitchers is a sign of the failure of a system of player development where athletes are over-stressed 12-months of the year thanks to the irrational belief that an athlete can never do too much. The problem is that there is ample evidence, in multiple sports, that there is such a thing as doing too much, and yet players are still working themselves into injuries with the blessing and sanction of teams and coaches.
Steroids didn’t ruin Barry Bonds’s body; his Neanderthal personal trainer and his ridiculous training program did. Without the foolish workout regimen Bonds would have hit 800 home runs and would not have missed well over 250 games over the last 9 years of his career.
Throwing and hitting a baseball is among the most complex movements in all of sports, and the pitching motion is even more sophisticated, requiring complete synchronization of, and balance between all body parts. Pitching is also one of the most fragile of athletic movements, where the slightest flaw in a Pitcher’s delivery can have a wide-range of negative performance, and physical, implications. Look-up Dizzy Dean’s broken toe.

Pitchers produce a tremendous amount of force and need to do so quickly, and when there is a flaw in their delivery this force is distributed unevenly and as a result, certain body parts are over-stressed. Think of it as the Chinese Water Torture; a tiny effect repeated over a period of time can produce a massive effect.

In Matt Harvey’s case, the massive effect is the torn elbow ligament.
The response to this argument will be that Matt Harvey had sound mechanics, as opposed to Steven Strasburg, and had been on a pitch count and innings limit, as well.

For any Pitcher who lifts weights, pitch counts and innings limits are ineffective and will only postpone the inevitable. These arbitrary non-measures give comfort to those who employ them but looking at the evidence, provide little else. Especially in the face of the damage being caused by modern-day conditioning methods.

Weight lifting has resulted in an imbalanced athlete, an unbalanced baseball player. Treating the body as a collection of parts that can be strengthened individually in an attempt to improve the performance of synchronous movement that requires natural balance and harmony is a mammoth contradiction.

Some of the discussion surrounding the Harvey injury has focused on, as the option to surgery, performing exercises to strengthen the structure surrounding the partially torn elbow ligament. Again, this idea displays a lack of understanding with regard to how the body works.
Throwing and pitching are movements that cannot be replicated or improved, by lifting weights. The modern baseball player is out of balance thanks to the weight room, and the effects of this imbalance are seen in the injuries of the obliques and in the pitching and throwing arms and shoulders. Throw less and workout more is a failing proposition.

The Mets are not solely to blame for Harvey’s plight, as at all stops along the way mistakes were made. However, now is the time for the Mets, and the other Major League teams, to make major changes to the system, or else the next time a player suffers this type of injury they will be to blame.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Personal Trainer’s Nonsensical Program

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s personal trainer serves as a great example of why celebrity fitness gurus should be ignored. Despite recognizing how ignorant most members of the general public are when it comes to fitness, it is still amazing that this kind of pap gets to play in the media, and that many folks actually give credence to what Paltrow’s trainer says.

Almost every statement attributed to this personal trainer, Tracy Anderson, is infused with bad information. Or more accurately, no information. Here’s the first example. “While running and cycling may burn calories, they do not design feminine muscles or get rid of an imbalance that may masquerade as a ‘problem area’—even on women who are genetically thin.”

This statement is total nonsense. “Design feminine muscles?” “Get rid of an imbalance?” Wow. You would think that this is as bad as it gets. But it’s not, there’s more.

Ms. Anderson claims, “Performing repetitive movements in fitness (such as running) creates a distinctive imbalance in the muscular structure and causes the large muscles in the legs to charge up.” Know-nothing says what? Large muscles “charge up?” Aren’t all movements repetitive? How about walking? Watch the video clip of Ms. Anderson’s routine and you will see all kinds of repetitive movements.

Check out the article at this link.

This article claims Anderson has “remodeled half of Hollywood,” and has worked with both men and women, although she won’t name the men. They are probably embarrassed to be associated with the baloney. And of course, we know that Hollywood types and trainers would never rely on plastic surgery or drugs to help them remodel their bodies. Right?

Here’s one last heaping pile of fitness crap courtesy of this “guru.” “While bulkier muscle looks OK on women in their 20s and 30s, it doesn’t age well. The sooner you build a long, lean, and feminine arm, the more sustainable the results will be – and with no sacrifice in strength.”

It is a shame that a woman would regurgitate this garbage to other women, being that women are the targets of misinformation and the misplaced and misguided emphasis on body image and being thin over being healthy. Do yourself a huge favor and ignore anything recommended by Tracy Anderson and Gwyneth Paltrow.

The NFL’s Heads-Up Tackling Will Not Work

The NFL’s Heads Up Tackling Program will not work. This isn’t an opinion based on some subjective viewpoint of football and tackling but is based on the recognition of legitimate scientific research and a basic understanding of motor learning, motor control, and skill acquisition.

The NFL’s Heads Up Tacking Program will not work because it cannot work. Forget for a moment that there is no such thing as a safe way to tackle another moving person; even if this unicorn-like tackling form existed, the way the NFL is teaching kids to tackle cannot work.

The methods employed by the NFL and USA Football ignore over 100-years of research that shows teaching complex skills in segments is ineffective. When this kind of teaching methods is used, learning occurs in spite of what the coach says or does, not because of it.

This brain-centric model of teaching – “put the right foot here, get your arm up, keep your head up” – assumes everything is stored in the brain. However, this kind of process works only in simplistic laboratory settings, not in complicated environmental situations like sport. Certainly, this approach cannot work when teaching proper tackling technique.

Motor patterns are related to external forces – “context-related variability” – and there is no way a central command center – the brain – can control this. So for tackling another moving person, this motor pattern, the tackle, is dependent on an endless and unpredictable variety of external forces. The variety of ways to tackle cannot be prepared for by breaking down a complex movement into segments, while not wearing equipment against an imaginary opponent.

Now we have to delve into what is called Motor Learning Principles, Part-to-Whole Skill Training, and Whole Skill Training.

In the NFL video, there are 5 steps to the tackle and they breakdown each of these steps. This is known as the Part-to-Whole Skill training progression, which has been shown to be ineffective. Here we have at least 14-16 parts.
* Feet
* Wings
* Sink
* Hands
* On the Clinic Video they add “Stomp leading with the left and right foot.”
* Buzzing the feet
* Quick Rapid Ground Contact (can there be quick, slow GC or slow, rapid GC?)
* Moving forward
* Coming to balance
The NFL combines these last two, but they are separate actions, as you can’t both come forward and come to balance
* Have to be in the right position to make a good solid tackle
In the instructional video they are teaching kids to come to a stop to get into this position.
From what is known about motor learning this is a) not possible b) not controllable c) counter-productive
* Double-uppercut action
* Knuckles up
* Elbows Down
* Explode the hips – exploding the hips from a kneeling position is a completely different action than doing the same from a standing position, and moving is different than stationary.
* Head up
* Chest down

The different drills are shown practicing all of these elements in and out of equipment, which is an ineffective way to practice. Not being in equipment completely changes the way the body moves. If these moves aren’t practiced in an environment close to game and scrimmage conditions there is little, if any, carry over.

Teaching this hit position and separating from the actual tackle – stopping before the point of the tackle to be in the “proper” position – could be considered the worst part of this progression.

Which brings us to the research done by Rushman and Pike. The maximum benefits of a training stimulus – acquiring a skill as permanent behavioral changes – can only be obtained when the stimulus replicates the movements and energy systems involved in the activities of the sport. There is no better training than actually performing in the sport.

The paper, “Motor Learning Principles and the Superiority of Whole Training in Volleyball,” by Steven Bain, Ph.D and Carl McGown, Ph.D examined the method of Whole Skill Training as compared to Part-to-Whole Skill Training and their findings reveal how ineffective the Part-to-Whole Skill method is that is used by NFL and USA Football to teach tackling.

Bain and McGown write, “Part to whole progressions are used because they “make sense” but have no basis in scientific evidence and published research that goes back nearly a century that conclusively demonstrates that part progressions have the minimal transfer to the whole skill and in a number of scientific studies part training methods have demonstrated negative transfer…The most important practice variable in terms of motor skill acquisition is practicing the skill itself…Taken together the weight of scientific evidence indicates that the specificity hypothesis may be as close to a law as any principle in motor learning science.”

Frans Bosch, a coach of elite jumpers, sprinters, and rugby players, a biomechanics and motor learning expert, and a professor of biomechanics at Fontys University in the Netherlands, had this to say about the methods used to teach the Heads-Up Tackling technique. “This is nonsense. There is not one aspect, biomechanical, motor control, motor learning, method, or pedagogical that touches on how the body functions Totally inappropriate in real situations. The only good thing about it is that it is such bad teaching that it will not have any impact. It is just passing time.”

So breaking down the tackle – look at all the segments in the above list – into component parts is a waste of time. The bigger problem here is that a method of tackling is being sold that if it really is safer is not being taught in the proper way. Just like there is no nice way to put handcuffs on a criminal, there is no nice way to tackle another moving person while on the football field. The message should be that football is a violent sport that is not for everyone and that if you want to play you are accepting a great deal of risk, and if you have any doubts you or your kids should sit it out.

The NFL’s Heads-Up Tackling Program cannot work because it does not properly teach kids how to tackle. There is a lot more to the issue, but the bottom line is that if there is a better way to tackle it, the teaching method used by the NFL and USA Football isn’t the way to teach it.

Why Do You Exercise Lying Down?

Lying down when exercising is a bad idea, so why do so many people do it? We don’t operate lying down; we sleep. Working a muscle, or muscles, when prone or supine or on all fours does nothing to prepare them for the reality faced 99% of our waking moments when we are upright.

Our bodies need vertical stability, not horizontal stability. Gravity is the main factor to consider when performing an exercise, and when we are in a lying down position gravity has a completely different effect on us than when we are standing. As a hypothetical, take a bookcase that is meant to hold books in a horizontal position, and then tip it on its edge and watch all the books fall out. The books don’t stay in the case because it’s being used in a manner not consistent with how it was built.

So if you get better at doing a plank or crunches (yuk!) or a TRX exercise, you are only better at that specific exercise while in the horizontal position. There is little, if any, transfer of strength to movements performed while horizontal.

The goal is horizontal stability, not vertical. So if you spend a lot of time exercising while lying down – bench press, crunches, planks, “hydrants” (yuk, again) – you are wasting your time.

Holiday Eating Guide

I enjoy the simple things in my routine, and I look forward to Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season.

With this in mind, I am struck by how petty and insignificant most day-to-day “problems” really are, especially when it comes to the way we eat.

As clients, friends and acquaintances prepared for the storm, nobody I spoke to was concerned about scoring organic, gluten-free, fat-free stuff. People wanted bread, milk, eggs, booze, coffee, cookies, cake, ice cream, and other comfort foods. Some of my most finicky eaters told me they were going to hunker down with their favorites and not be consumed by what they consumed.

It was nice to hear that for a change, to be honest with you.

Now I realize we cannot go around every day, gorging ourselves, blah, blah, blah. But the thought of being “without” for a period time as a result of this storm made people show their true colors when it comes to what food they really want, especially when they “try so hard to eat good,” most of the time.

So at the holidays keep this in mind, especially if you “try so hard to eat well.”If you like pumpkin pie, eat pumpkin pie. Don’t eat that garbage, no-fat/low-fat, substituted ingredient, ersatz abomination desert stuff that some people peddle at this time of year.

Avoid all of that stuff because it does not satisfy your cravings and will lead you to eat other stuff that you may not want. If you’ve ever eaten any of that fake desert crap you know that you eat more of it because it doesn’t “scratch your itch.” And another thing, don’t decide to start a diet during, or even close to the beginning of, the holidays.

It is sure to fail. Get it out of your system. Gorge yourself. Start fresh in the New Year.

The Confusion About Hydration

I am being polite when I say that there is confusion about hydration. The less delicate among us might say that there has been a purposeful effort on behalf of the sport drink industry to spread misinformation about hydration. One of these “less delicate folks” is a fellow by the name of Dr. Tim Noakes

Dr. Noakes, who has a long and distinguished career as a researcher, educator, athlete, and author, has written a book titled, “Waterlogged: The Serious Problem of Overhydration in Endurance Sports,” that exposes the hydration myths that have been created and spread by the sports drink industry. This book is a must-read for any athlete, recreational or otherwise, and for the parents of kids who participate in sports. The simple fact is that, as Dr. Noakes writes, “Dehydration is simply a reduction in the total body water content. The only symptom of dehydration is thirst, and often it is an overwhelming sense. If at any time a healthy athlete does not sense thirst, the athlete is not dehydrated. Period.” So, there is no need to drink on a rigid schedule that disregards the sense of thirst. The people most at risk for the dangers of over-hydration are recreational athletes, not elites. Furthermore, drinking more than thirst dictates does not improve performance, does not prevent cramps, and offers no benefits.

There really isn’t a heck of a lot more to say on the subject. Despite what the well-funded sport-drink industry says, dehydration isn’t a major problem that can only be solved by drinking bottles of their product before, during, and after activity. When it comes to keeping your kids hydrated for sports it is as simple as making sure that they have enough water to satisfy their thirst. You don’t need Gatorade, Powerade, or any other “ade.” Tell your kids to drink when they are thirsty and do not force them to drink just for the sake of doing so.