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Modeling Lifelong Healthy Habits for Kids

Dr. Muth is a pediatrician, registered dietitian and board-certified specialist in sports dietetics (CSSD). Muth also serves as an ACE Senior Fitness Consultant and subject matter expert, regularly contributing to ACE blogs and to the ACE Certified News monthly newsletter. Her first book, Eat Your Vegetables and Other Mistakes Parents Make: Redefining How to Raise Healthy Eaters, was published by Healthy Learning in May 2012.

ACE: As a registered dietitian and pediatrician, what would you say is the biggest challenge we face in overcoming the obesity epidemic?

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Recipe for Health: Rub It the Right Way

Can’t stomach another plain grilled chicken breast for dinner? Before you begin sifting through the millions of recipes you’ll be hit with by a Google search, head over to your spice rack.

Mixing dry spices and rubbing them onto meat has been used by barbeque pit masters for years to procure meat with deep and layered flavors. Thankfully, you don’t need a smoker or 7 hours of cooking to take advantage of a dry rub. All you need is the right spice combination and a willing chicken breast, pork tenderloin or fish fillet.

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$10 Dinners? You Can’t Afford Not To!

Getting back into the swing of a busy work and school routine can make it challenging for families to put together a home-cooked dinner most nights. But Ten Dollar Dinners (Clarkson Potter 2012), the first cookbook by Melissa d’Arabian—Food Network star and busy mom of four young girls—provides a blueprint of 140 recipes and 100 tips for creating fresh meals any night of the week. Each recipe is carefully calculated to serve a family of four for less than $10.

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Ask the RD


Omega-3 fats are essential fatty acids, meaning we need to get them from food. Well-known for improving heart health, omega-3 fats are necessary
for proper brain functioning and may also help treat asthma and depression. These healthy polyunsaturated fats are found in a variety of foods, but the best source—fish—is not a main staple of the American diet. It’s no wonder that taking fish oil supplements has become the norm. Jumping on the bandwagon, food companies are offering more omega-3-fortified foods and beverages—from breads and cereals to milk and eggs.

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Food Focus: Broccoli

President Bush the elder snubbed it. Your mom probably made you eat it, wisely explaining how good it was for you. If you learned to love it, you’ll gain satisfaction from the following facts about this powerful vegetable. If you still don’t love it, maybe it’s time to try it again with a different preparation. Either way, it’s hard to argue with the nutritional goodness packed inside these miniature green trees that are in season now.

Broccoli Facts
Broccoli is named for its appearance; the word is derived from the Latin word brachium, which means arm or branch.

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Drought Burns Consumers Around the World

Expect your grocery bill to continue increasing in the coming months. The worst drought to hit U.S. farmland in the Midwest and West in more than 50 years has desiccated much of America’s corn crop, causing farmers to plow under acres of these amber waves and send food prices up sharply across the world.

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Clean Fifteen™ and Dirty Dozen Plus™ Lists of Fruits and Veggies

The 8th edition of Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ was released recently with updated information on 45 popular fruits and vegetables and their total pesticide loads. EWG highlighted the worst offenders with its new Dirty Dozen Plus list and recognized the cleanest conventional produce with its list of the Clean Fifteen.

Which of these do you regularly put in your shopping cart? It may be time to reassess your organic and nonorganic choices.

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Could Coffee Consumption Be Linked to Longer Lifespan?

Research published in the May 17, 2012, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine (366 [20], 1891–1904) shows that coffee consumption may keep the Grim Reaper away for older adults—at least a little bit longer than for noncoffee drinkers.

Older adults who drank coffee—caffeinated or decaffeinated—had a lower risk of death overall than others who did not drink coffee, according to a study by researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and AARP.

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Spotlight on Stretching

Do you want to enhance your workouts and activities of daily living? Then improve your flexibility through stretching! To help you understand how to stretch in a safe, effective manner, Len Kravitz, PhD, program coordinator of exercise science and a researcher at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, shares guidelines and strategies for stretching.

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Yoga Safety

I just finished reading the article “Is Yoga Safe?” by Shirley Archer, JD, MA (July–August). It is really terrific for students and teachers alike. I am a yoga teacher, trainer and holistic health counselor. Increased awareness regarding yoga safety and its medical benefits, as well as proper training for new teachers, is extremely important to the future of yoga. Thank you so much for the information, as well as for the suggestion that potential students look for a teacher with a background in somatics. Great advice!

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Create a Finale

At the end of every thrilling fireworks show is a great finale. Wouldn’t it be anticlimactic to close with quiet music and a few sparse booms? Similarly, a heart-pumping, challenging class deserves its own finale. If you’ve ever spent an entire class energizing participants only to leave them slowly peeling themselves off the floor in a dark room half-asleep, read on for some fun ideas to help them walk out feeling invigorated and excited to come back.

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Sample Class: Playing the Field

If you want to offer a class that helps participants break out of a rut, leave the group fitness studio behind and head outside to a playing field. Scout out a local football, baseball or soccer field and transform it into a training ground. Use the existing field design and the premarked lines (hash marks, yard line markers and goal lines) to create an exciting and dynamic class. Combine speed, agility, power and body weight strength drills to tap into the inner athlete in everyone.

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Creative Ideas That Inspire

ShockWave, offered at Equinox® facilities nationwide, is a “total-body circuit challenge” that combines high-intensity cardio on Indo-Row® machines, functional exercises using the ViPR™ and strength training with The Body Bar®, BOSU® Balance Trainers and kettlebells. Participants compete with each other in the rowing portion of this 30-minute class.

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Scripted Starts and Flawless Finales

Most group fitness instructors introduce and close their classes with some remarks to participants. Style will vary depending on personality, but openings and closings are always important opportunities. Petra Kolber, 2001 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year, says, “People may not always remember the actual choreography, but they will recall the first and last 5 minutes. Since we only have one chance to make a great first impression, being prepared for the beginning and ending is key for success.”

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“What device is more effective at helping to smooth out fascia—a soft ball, a hard foam roller or a soft foam roller with bumps on it?”

This is a great question and one I get all the time. Different parts of the body respond to different degrees of pressure and firmness. Similarly, individuals respond in different ways to the firmness of the self-myofascial-release (SMR) tool they use. No matter whom you are working with, though, it is always a good idea to start them out with a soft ball (e.g., a tennis ball) so they can relax and ease into the new sensations of performing self-massage.

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Restoring the Injured Athlete

client: Dana | personal trainer: Michael Piercy, owner, The Lab | location: West Caldwell, New Jersey
Injury. When Michael Piercy, owner of The Lab (Performance & Sports Science), first met Dana in the summer of 2008, she presented with a rare condition described by doctors as “functional movement disorder.” According to The Lancet Neurology (2012; 11 [3], 250–60), functional movement disorders are included in a wide spectrum of neurological disorders and are difficult to both diagnose and treat.

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IDEA world fitness convention™

Who could have foreseen in 1984 that a modest gathering of 600 fitness instructors at a fitness conference in downtown San Diego would turn into an event bringing the entire fitness industry together? Certainly not co-founders Kathie and Peter Davis, who shared a glimpse of IDEA’s humble beginnings (in a spare bedroom in their home)…

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Energy Expenditure and Zumba®

According to the official Zumba website (www.zumba.com), 12 million people from 110,000 locations in 125 countries participate in the Latin-inspired dance fitness classes. Despite this popularity, does Zumba really offer a solid workout?

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