Kids in the Weight Room

July 15th, 2011 by rebeccac

His name is Giuliano Stroe, and next week he’ll be seven years old.

He has a seven-year-old face, too – soft, big-eyed, young. The rest of his body, though, doesn’t quite match. In fact, it doesn’t look like a child’s physique at all – it belongs, instead, to a 30-year-old bodybuilder competing in the Arnold Classic. He’s been training since he was around four years old and has already reportedly broken records for number of air pushups, longest time as a “human flag,” fastest 10-meter hand-walk with a weight ball between his legs – y’know … kids’ stuff. His father, who trains him, has posted YouTube videos of Romanian-born Guiliano working out, and they are spreading quickly. He’s beyond ripped, beyond strong, and he’s creating a lot of new debate on an old topic.

Isn’t it bad for children to lift weights?
First off, let’s real quick define what we mean here when we say “lifting weights.” It’s actually kind of a broad term that can mean anything from competitive Olympic bodybuilding to bicep curls with that set of economical 10-pound dumbbells you keep in the closet for those days you can’t get to the gym. For the purposes of this piece, let’s assume that when I say “weightlifting,” I’m talking more about the latter than the former – simply anaerobic forms of strength training for health purposes without any significant goal toward bodybuilding in any of its varied forms, either for competition or recreation.

The idea that children and weightlifting were the fitness version of oil and water has been around so long that I didn’t even know where it came from or why I believed it to be true. It was just a fact, reinforced everywhere by anecdotes and the doctor recommendations and the age requirements at gyms – usually 12-14 years old before you could be there and even then only with a parent.

The truth is the idea first appeared in the 1970s after a research study in Japan found that child laborers were abnormally shorter than their non-laboring counterparts. They concluded that the hours of heavy lifting stunted their growth, and this morphed into kids + weightlifting = bad, a concept which entrenched itself into popular culture. It became common knowledge: Until they hit puberty, children were still growing and throwing weights around compacts their bodies, inhibits bone development and damages their growth plates. Period. End of discussion.

Except that it’s not. Not by a long shot. In fact, a 2010 study published in the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics claims just the opposite. Researchers in Germany analyzed 60 years’ worth of studies regarding children and the effects of weightlifting and found that almost every subject benefited. They didn’t gain a lot of muscle mass or buff up, but the weight training generated neurological changes that caused children’s muscles to function more efficiently.

They’re not the only ones taking a new stance on this controversial topic. In 2009, the National Strength and Conditioning Association – a highly recognized educational association on strength and conditioning and one of the most respected providers of personal training certifications – released a position paper on youth resistance training, claiming that a properly designed and supervised program is not only safe for children, but can also prevent injuries, enhance sports performance, and improve psychological and social well-being.

So what does this mean?
So let’s say you’re studying fitness training or taking personal training courses. (It’s pretty hot right now.) Or let’s say you have kids – maybe they’re in sports or maybe they don’t like sports but still need a way to be active. What happens now? Do personal training schools start adding child specializations to their certification programs? Do gyms drop their age restrictions and purchase Crayon-colored dumbbells for the weight room? Will commercials for a child-sized Bowflex (complete with an animated Chuck Norris!) run between sugary cereal spots during Saturday morning cartoons?

Probably nothing as extreme as that, but odds are that mindsets on the topic will be evolving and you might see more parents getting their kids involved in a form of exercise that’s long been reserved for “grownups.” The key is – whether you’re a parent looking to improve your child’s health or someone in the industry, like a personal trainer, who’s suddenly faced with a substantially younger client base – staying informed and staying involved. Both the NSCA’s release and an article on the Mayo Clinic’s website listed recommendations, and it sounds like they can be distilled down to a few key things to keep in mind:

  • Always supervise. Weightlifting is like any sport or recreational activity; there’s a danger of injury if not properly supervised, so make sure you’re there to spot and support.
  • Form is first and foremost. Even in adults, the most common cause of injury in strength training is bad form. Make sure they have the motions down first before you even throw any kind of weight into the equation.
  • Don’t push it. Small bodies, small weights. No one needs to clean-and-jerk here – or get strapped into hefty machines. A lot of the time their own body weight or resistance bands will be enough for the youngsters to start on.

The case of Guiliano Stroe is an extreme – an extreme that might further skew the opinions of many people who, like myself, have long believed kids and weightlifting are a bad combination. After all, most probably don’t find that kind of bodybuilder physique topped with a child’s face entirely natural.

But the facts of the matter are changing, studies are proving the old ideaswrong, and strength training is being shown to improve kids’ health, growth and well-being. It remains to be seen how quickly the idea will spread or how much future studies will support it, but it’s certainly in flux.

So keep an eye out next time you’re at the gym – the eight-year-old who was in the childcare room last week might be snaking your bench press tomorrow.

What are your thoughts? Should weightlifting start becoming more common amongst the prepubescent crowd?

Or do you think you would you like to know more about healthcare by being a medical assistant? Start you college search here!

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Facts that will make your skin crawl… Bedbugs!

March 4th, 2011 by admin

They’re back—the dreaded nighttime invaders, bedbugs, have returned with a vengeance!

Nine cities have been hit particularly hard by bedbug infestation: Chicago, Illinois; Cincinnati, Columbus, and Dayton, Ohio, Denver, Colorado; Detroit, Michigan; New York, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Washington, D.C. With an average lifespan of 10 months and a willingness to crawl up to 100 feet to feed, bedbugs are difficult to eradicate and persistent. Though at .0055 ml they consume less blood with their bites than other pests like mosquitos and horseflies, bedbug bites can be painfully itchy and students in medical assistant programs may encounter patients suffering from their bites. Even a certified medical assistant can find it challenging to identify bedbug bites, as their appearance and itchiness varies for individuals.

A female bedbug lays 200-500 eggs in their lifetime, making their eradication a challenging task. Bedbugs begin their lives colorless until they turn a reddish-brown after their first feedings. In the two to three months it lives as a nymph, a bedbug will go through five juvenile stages during which it will shed its exoskeleton. Though nymph bedbugs can survive for months without feeding, they require a blood meal in order to molt. By secreting alarm pheromones, nymph bedbugs protect themselves from adult male bedbugs looking to mate by traumatic insemination (piercing and inseminating the abdominal cavity.

Adult bedbugs are only 5.5 m, but the discomfort their bites causes can send one to a medical assistant. Though bed bug bites affect people differently, everyone can agree that they want to see the pest eradicated. Speaking of pest control, if you poll 100 exterminators on where they treat bed bug infestations, 89 report treating infestations in apartments/condos, 88 in single-family homes, 67 in hotels/motels, 35 in college dormitories, 9 on various modes of transportation, 5 in laundry facilities, and 4 in movie theatres. Bedbugs are apparently thriving in many environments, much to the dismay of their prey, us!

Make your skin crawl bedbugs

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Students highlight underage drinking, marijuana use in school yearbook

May 30th, 2007 by admin

A Colorado high school has come under fire in recent news for including pictures of students drinking and smoking marijuana in the 2006-2007 yearbook.

While teachers, counselors and parents must admit that underage drinking and drug use has been an issue for years, is it ethical to print pictures of students engaging in these activities in a school-sponsered publication? Do you think that pictures of students engaging in illegal activities in a high school yearbook can come back to haunt them later in life?

So what do you think? Check out the full story here, then leave us a comment!

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Do social networking sites support pro-anorexia groups?

April 11th, 2007 by JenniZ

Counselors have known for a long time that eating disorders are a real threat facing high schoolers (especially females) and that victims of eating disorders sometimes look to their peers in ‘support’ or ‘motivation’ for their unhealthy habits. In the early 2000s, pro-anorexia (or pro-ana) sites cropped up all over the Internet, providing an outlet of motivation, tips and tricks to fuel their disorders. These sites were soon banned, but some people are concerned that the rise in social networking sites like and may provide a new outlet for pro-ana groups. Kristi Eaton explores this issue in Current magazine for Newsweek.

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Choking Game, Passing Out Game, Space Cowboy, Cloud Nine – Whatever the Name, Teenagers are Learning of the Deadly Consequences

March 30th, 2007 by admin

Asphyxiation games have been around for decades – and for some reason the brief euphoric high from lack of oxygen continues to intrigue teenagers. However, several publicized deaths over the past few years, as well as Internet sites like YouTube displaying the game in more threatening variations, are spurring a discussion in schools and among parents’ groups, guidance counselors and physicians. Many psychologists believe that this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed openly and aggressively.

Levi Draher has received national attention after sharing his near death experience. Click here to view a video of Draher’s talk about the deadly game.

In a New York Times article, 16-year-old Draher Casts Light on a Shadowy Game.

GERONIMO, Tex. – Levi Draher, 16, walked to the front of the Navarro High School gym in early March and picked up the microphone before a hushed audience of fellow teenagers.

“I died and came back,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Emotional Appeal – Battling fear, stress, nervousness and other emotions

February 3rd, 2007 by Rachel Platt Contributing Writer

Lots of people will tell you what to expect from college life. From large classes to all-night study groups, you’ve probably heard dozens of stories about the good times you’ll have and the things you’ll learn.

What few people mention is how you’ll feel as you adjust to college life.

Going away to college is a major change, probably one of the biggest you’ve experienced so far. With big changes come rough times. You are transitioning from a teenager to an adult, and there are a lot of new responsibilities that come along with this.

These new responsibilities can cause stress and anxiety for students. The good thing is that stress is normal. Completely normal. Though many college freshmen won’t admit to going through tough times, all of them do.

Expect to be stressed
College life can be very stressful. In fact, according to a study conducted at Kansas State University, it’s more stressful today than ever before.

“People just don’t seem to have the resources to draw upon emotionally to the degree that they used to,” said Robert Portnoy, the director of counseling and psychological services at the University of Nebraska in a New York Times interview.

“What would once have been a difficult patch for someone in the past is now a full-blown crisis,” Portnoy said.

John C. Wade, outreach coordinator and licensed counseling psychologist for Kansas University’s counseling and psychological services, says stress in college can be often linked to change.

“Any adjustment itself is stressful,” he said. “Even if it’s a good change, there is always stress involved in making that change.”

So what can you do to combat college stress? Wade suggests four things to help you stay relaxed and in control:

Have realistic expectations. College is going to be hard. It will require more work than high school, and you’ll be on your own to make sure that work gets done. Understanding this will prepare you for what’s ahead.

Stay in contact with your established support system. Call home to talk to family and friends. They’ll give you the support you need to handle the recent changes in your life.

Develop new social connections. You’ll be away from the friends you used to depend on.

Making new friends It’s tough to leave your friends behind when you go to college. What’s even tougher is making new friends. It’s not very often that you have to start your social circle from scratch. You might even fi nd that suddenly you’re struggling with newfound shyness and don’t know what to do.

The California Institute of Technology Counseling Center offers three tips on how to make friends:

Put yourself in social situations. You can’t meet people if you stay in your dorm room. Get out, attend sporting events, go to parties, and introduce yourself to people in your dorm and classes.

Talk. You won’t make friends through osmosis. Conversation is the best way to find out if the person you sit next to in Biology has similar interests. Open up the lines of communication. Start with something as simple as, “What’s your major?”

Hang out. There’s a difference between friends and acquaintances. So how do you turn an acquaintance into a friend? Take the initiative! Get their phone number and call them up to go get pizza or study at the local coffee shop.

The great thing about college is the number of people around you. You’re sure to find other people with similar interests and outlooks.

Missing home
At some point, every college student gets homesick. It’s tough to leave a home where you feel comfortable and accepted, and this often causes separation anxiety and homesickness. While the severity of homesickness can vary, the symptoms are the same.

“A College Guide to Overcoming Homesickness,” from Penn State Erie, sites seven major symptoms of homesickness:

  • Feelings of anxiety or stress about leaving family and friends
  • Worrying about your academic performance
  • Feeling alone and separated from those around you
  • Thinking you don’t fit in with others who are having fun
  • Depression and little or no motivation
  • Wanting to connect with someone like you did with friends back home
  • Thinking about home – all the time

If you find that you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s important that you realize their cause and start taking steps to make things better.

You can use your homesickness as a reason to get out, explore the campus and the city and take others with you. By exploring in a group, you’ll make friends while familiarizing yourself with your surroundings.

Don’t ignore it
If you find that these symptoms are keeping you from going to class or making it hard to leave your dorm room, fi nd out about the counseling services at your school. Sometimes talking to someone who is trained in overcoming homesickness is just what you need to get past these feelings.

College is a major change in your life, and it’s important to be as ready as possible for what lies ahead. Realize that being stressed, shy and homesick is normal – and you will probably experience each of these feelings during your freshman year.

Keep in mind that you’re not alone. The other freshmen around you are going through the same thing you are. Use those negative emotions to reach out and make new friends. You won’t just feel better, but you’ll have helped someone else out and made a new friend.

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Healthy Eating On The Go…?

February 3rd, 2007 by Jake Stadler Staff Writer

1-3.jpg About 66.3 percent of American adults are overweight or obese according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If that trend continues, out of 100 of your friends and classmates, 66 will weigh more than doctors recommend. For many of them, this extra weight will cause serious health problems.

You don’t have to be one of those 66.

Contrary to what many think, eating healthily isn’t hard. Even as a busy student juggling class, studying, friends and a part-time job, you can still make healthy food decisions.

Take small steps
Healthy eating habits won’t happen overnight. Start slowly, eating smaller portions and swapping water for coke. Try eating healthily for one meal a day. Once you’re comfortable, increase that to two meals a day.

On the go
There are ways to eat healthily at fast food restaurants. Try a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a double cheeseburger. Ask if you can substitute fruit for the side order of french fries. Many chain restaurants offer several salads on their menus. You can even trade the soda for a bottle of water. Speaking of water …

Don’t skip the H2O
There are plenty of reasons to drink eight glasses of water every day. Water energizes and cleans out your body. It also lubricates joints and organs and helps maintain muscle tone. Water keeps skin soft. Water regulates body temperature, filters out impurities, and keeps the brain working properly.

Looks can fool
Not all the foods that look unhealthy actually are bad for you. While cheese fries may never be part of your recommended diet, potatoes alone are nothing to fear. In fact, they are full of antioxidants that are great for fighting diseases. The important thing is to know the pros and cons of what’s on your plate before you take the first bite.

Smart snacking
Keep an emergency stash of healthy snacks for those moments when you’re tempted to hit the vending machine. Breakfast bars and granola bars are easy to store in your dorm room. Low calorie pudding, apples and trail mix are also easy to eat on the way to class. And when you’re heading to class …

Stay active
Even small things, like walking to class instead of driving, or taking the stairs in place of the elevator, can help you stay healthy. Look for activities you enjoy, like biking, running or dancing, to get your heart rate up. After a few workout sessions, you’ll find you have a lot more energy.

The combination of a little bit of planning and some smart choices can help you stay healthy, no matter how busy you are.


If not treated in high school, cutting remains a problem in college

June 6th, 2006 by Key Magazine

For the last few years, high school guidance counselors have been asked to address the self-abusing practice of cutting. Mostly believed to be a behavior displayed in disturbed or troubled teens, many colleges and universities are now reporting a culture of cutting on their campuses. reports that, “nearly 1 in 5 students at two Ivy League schools say they have purposely injured themselves by cutting, burning or other methods, a disturbing phenomenon that psychologists say they are hearing about more often.”

Guidance counselors have been reporting increased numbers of cutting in colleges, high schools and middle schools across the nation.
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Safety a concern for online social networks

April 17th, 2006 by Key Magazine

After months of high profile cases involving sexual predators searching for young victims on popular social networks, is fighting back.

Popular online social networking hub said Monday it will begin displaying public service ads aimed at educating its users, many of them teens, about the dangers posed by sexual predators on the Internet.

MySpace, a division of News Corp., enables computer users to meet any of more than 60 million members. Users put up profiles that are searchable and can include photos of themselves and such details as where they live and what music they like.

But MySpace’s features and popularity with teens has raised concerns with authorities across the nation. There have been scattered accounts of sexual predators targeting minors they met through the site.

Learn more about how to keep teens safe in wake of the online social networking explosion.

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Schools told to prepare for bird flu

March 22nd, 2006 by Key Magazine

Public health officials have been warning us of a possible bird flu outbreak following the upcoming bird migration season. A strong push to prepare schools has taken center stage.

The nation’s schools, recognized incubators of respiratory diseases among children, are being told to plan for the possibility of an outbreak of bird flu.

Federal health leaders say it is not alarmist or premature for schools to make preparations, such as finding ways to teach kids even if they’ve all been sent home.

School boards and superintendents have gotten used to emergency planning for student violence, terrorism or severe weather. Pandemic preparation, though, is a new one.

They have a lot to think over, top government officials said Tuesday. Read the complete story on

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