At Big Brothers Big Sisters, we believe every child should have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential – both as individuals and citizens. We believe that by changing the course of young lives we can in turn be changing the course of a community’s future.
Start Talking is a place where we want to raise awareness of key issues that face today’s youth. We will sometimes advocate, sometimes educate, sometimes inform, sometimes ask questions and always invite discussion about the pressing concerns that involve the younger generations of today.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Rest + Recovery = A Winning Performance

We all do our best to eat healthy foods and feel the best we can while incorporating workouts into our daily routines. Here are some tips from a high level athlete.

By Tania Archer
Health&Fitness Enthusiast . Speaker . Idea Catalyst

An essential component of any workout is ensuring your body gains the benefit of a proper Rest & Recovery routine.

Your after exercise recovery plan has a huge impact on your athletic performance and your training endurance. A proper exercise recovery plan is critical to muscle and tissue repair as well as strength building. Muscles need at least 1 to 2 days to repair and rebuild, which is why weight lifting or resistance training right after an intense workout session or intense sports practice is not ideal, as it will simply breakdown tissue instead of building muscle.

It is strongly recommended to alternate workout days with a staggered weight or resistance training routine, always making sure not to work the same muscle groups 2 days in a row.

So what do you do after your workout to speed exercise recovery?

The TOP 10 commonly recommended methods to get your recovery routine on track are-

1.) Replace Fluids: You should be replacing fluids during exercise in addition to filling up after exercise as water supports every metabolic function of the body including transferring nutrients to where we need it the most.

2.) Eat Healthy: You need to refuel if you expect your body to recover, repair tissue, get stronger and be in tip top shape for your next challenge. It is encouraged to eat within 60 minutes of a workout including proteins and complex carbohydrates in to your meal to aid tissue restore and strengthening. A great after workout beverage is CHOCOLATE MILK because it tastes great and it is high in protein in addition to containing 16 essential nutrients.

3.) Cool Down: After any exercise session, continue to move around at a very low speed and intensity for 5 to 10 minutes to help with the purging of lactic acid from your muscles; this can aid with reducing muscle stiffness. A good warm up and cool down is helpful for multiple workouts or competitions in one day.

4.) Active Recovery: To help muscle repair and refuel faster, easy and gentle movements helps nutrient transportation in the body, in addition to waste purging.

5.) Over-training: Excessive exercise, lack of rest and maximized daily training will drastically harm your workout gains and limit your natural recovery efforts. Having a well balanced practice schedule that incorporates a consistent nutrition plan are two simple ways to ensure faster recovery.

6.) Rest: Your body speaks in volumes. There will be periods that your body just won't respond to the simplest of workouts. Pushing a body in this state usually results in injury. In this case, injured or not, take 2-3 days of low to no activity to allow your body to repair itself at a natural pace.

7.) Quality Sleep: When we sleep our body produces Growth Hormone GH, which is responsible for our tissue growth and repair. GH is fuelled by nutrients produced by our balanced daily meals and snacks, which is why a balanced daily diet consisting of the 5 basic food groups is necessary for consistent athletic performance, improvement and fitness results.

8.) Massages: Massages are great for improving circulation and can aid with recovery by encouraging lactic acid removal from tissue and blood movement through injury points.

9.) Ice Bath: The warming and rapid cooling of muscles repeatedly is said to constrict and dilate blood vessels helping to flush waste products of athletic performance, like lactic acid, from the tissue.

10.) Stretching: After your warm-up, during your workout and after exercise gentle stretch your muscles to improve flexibility and aid your body's recovery.

By building a proper Rest & Recovery Routine in to your regular workout or exercise plan you are giving your body the advantage of performance improvement.

In order to ensure your consistent growth as an athlete or fitness enthusiast it is essential you listen to your body when it is tired (plateau) and just do nothing. Always proceed with caution when starting a new workout regime by seeking the advice of a certified coach or physician before strenuous activity.

Tania Archer
Twitter @taniaarcher

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Mysteries of Male Bonding

By Elizabeth Brekelmans

When my husband died suddenly, I was left with the sole task of raising our daughter and four sons. It took some time for me to realize I wasn’t as well prepared for the task as I thought. Boys’ needs are so different from girls’, and I just wasn’t equipped to handle all the issues I faced. I had heard about Big Brothers Big Sisters and decided to give them a call. In retrospect, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

When the boys were first matched with their Big Brother, Brad, I wasn’t certain what to expect or what my role would be in this unique relationship. I came to realize that, if I ever had a problem with any of my sons, I could count on their Big Brother to back my decision.

The boys now have someone who thinks like . . . well, like guys do — the kind of things that women will probably never be able to understand. When they talk of the exaggerated expulsion of body gasses, for example, they make it sound like an Olympic competition. (I’m not really sure why it is an indoor event. Maybe to get the full effect?) After going ice fishing, one of their treasured outings, they come back with stories of how they had to escape the confines of their fishing hut to keep from being gassed to death. I have yet to figure out how this constitutes male bonding. Maybe it is the fact that they have shared something so intimate, however repulsive.

I simply can’t imagine doing this with my boys, but it is important to them. They need someone they can relate to, someone who understands the male species, and it has made a difference in their attitude towards life. The boys have a closer relationship with each other because they realize they haven’t been abandoned to the complexities of growing up.

They have found someone they can confide in, and they know that, as long as it isn’t a life-threatening issue, whatever they discuss with their Big Brother will remain between them. Brad sees potential in them that I, being so close to them, might overlook. He emphasizes that they have a responsibility both to themselves and to society, and encourages each of them to be everything he can be.

Being an only parent gives new meaning to the word “challenge.” Trying to meet everyone’s needs can really wear you down. So when the boys are off on an adventure with Brad, I get a chance to regroup, prioritize, and gain a fresh perspective on things. And I know they need to escape from me as much as I need a break from them.

So far I have spoken only of the needs of my sons, but I also have an incredible eighteen-year-old daughter. You know how most people have an idol, a role model, someone they have the highest regard for? My daughter is such a person for me. She has her life all mapped out. She knows what she wants, and has the drive and determination to go for it. She lives life to the fullest. She is everything I want to be when I grow up. And the boys’ having a Big Brother gives us a chance to run away and do things we both enjoy.

Our involvement in Big Brothers Big Sisters has been a positive force in our family. The boys have grown in maturity and strength of character. They have confidence in who they are and what they are all about.

This is an excerpt from a speech written fifteen years ago. My children have since grown up and moved out. They are happy, healthy individuals in loving relationships and are the best of friends. Each is working in a field he or she enjoys and, best of all, they have blessed me with gorgeous little ones to love and spoil. The boys’ Big Brother is still a part of their lives. My middle child actually works with Brad in the insurance industry. I believe life might have been very different had it not been for the influence of this wonderful man on all our lives.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Beyond the Classroom

“We make a living by what we get,
but we make a life by what we give”
- Winston Churchill

It’s a proven fact that mentoring helps kids stay in school, avoid risky behavior such as bullying, and that they grow up having more respect for family, peers and their community.

While children spend countless hours learning in the classroom, it’s important to recognize that having a role model and a friend, beyond the classroom, that they can talk to and share their experiences of growing up with, all within school grounds, can be a positive and life changing experience.

All over the country, for one hour a week during the school year, mentors from the Big Brothers Big Sisters’ In-School Mentoring Program, meet with their mentee and engage in activities such as board games, crafts or simply just hang out in the playground.

Being an In-School Mentor is about giving an hour of your time, once a week, to a child who is need of a little guidance and someone they can talk to about what’s going on in their day to day life. It’s about making that child feel special and that they truly matter while making a difference and most importantly -while having fun!

We know that In-School Mentoring makes a BIG difference because-

• 90% of mentors saw a positive change in the child they were mentoring
• 88% of students showed improved literacy skills
• 64% had developed higher levels of self-esteem

The proof is in the pudding! Check out our In- School Mentoring Program video to see how one simple hour can make a BIG change in a child’s life:

Looking to become an In-School Mentor or want more information on the program? Visit our website page...