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Diet & Exercise Programs for Softball Players

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As a competitive athlete, having a diet and exercise program that is fine-tuned to the sport being played can greatly increase performance, recovery and long-term health. Both the diet and exercise program chosen for a softball player must look at the energy and muscle requirements of players in a softball game. Softball is not a high-intensity, endurance sport, but does require quick bouts of running, hitting, catching and throwing. For this reason, softball players should eat and train to be responsive, light on their feet, and ready to perform accurate motions with great speed.

Nutrition

  • Athletes must eat “to ensure that their metabolic needs are managed in such a way that performance is optimized,” as written in Dan Bernadot’s “Advanced Sports Nutrition.” To understand what her metabolic needs are, a softball player must examine her position on the team and the actions required of her on the field. In general, a varied diet is recommended with 55-60 percent of calories coming from carbohydrates, 30 percent from fat and 10-15 percent from protein. Because softball is not a high-intensity, endurance sport, players will need no more carbohydrates than this basic recommendation. Carbohydrates should also be consumed from the best sources, including vegetables, fruits and whole grains. The fat found in nuts, seeds, healthy oils such as olive oil, and fruits such as avocados should account for the majority of an athlete’s fat consumption. Lean meats, dairy products, or protein supplements may be taken to account for protein needs. These foods will provide the muscular fuel for physical activity, as stated by Bernadot. For a softball player, there is no need to carbohydrate-load or consume excessive calories. This type of eating schedule is suited for more intense activity, such as sprinting or long distance running. In general, a softball player should ensure that she is at an optimal weight for her height and body composition. If she feels sluggish, heavy or weak on a diet of the recommended proportions above, she should check for mineral deficiency, namely in iron or calcium. Bernadot says that a multivitamin mineral should take care slight deficiencies in a diet.

Strength

  • According to Strength Training Woman.com, “…softball strength training works primarily the same as strength training for the average person, [but] there are some key differences.” As with most successful strength training programs, it is essential for softball players to work the entire body, including the arms, back chest, core and legs. Softball requires “explosive anaerobic reactions,” as stated on Strength Training Woman.com, versus long distance or endurance actions. Therefore, the workout outline written on Strength Training Woman.com suggests training two to three times a week on the off season and one to two times a week during the season. It suggests using full body workouts, with one to two sets of eight to 12 repetitions per muscle group. The weight lifted should be heavy enough to cause stress to the muscle, but light enough to lift explosively, as actions would be performed in softball. The Strength Training Woman site also recommends using free weights versus weight machines, as this allows the player to train using her natural range of motion. In addition, Robert G. Price, author of “The Ultimate Guide to Weight Training for Softball,” notes that strength training for softball enhances the player’s overall strength, makes her less susceptible to injury and increases her rate of recovery.

Conditioning

  • If softball requires explosive anaerobic reactions, sprinting will be the most effective conditioning for a softball player. Fielding a ball and running from base to base are about as far as a softball player will ever run, and she will always attempt to do these things at her maximum speed. Sprinting drills should last for no more than 10 to 15 minutes, and should consist of short sprints performed in interval fashion. For example, players may condition by sprinting around the bases as fast as possible, rest for 60 seconds, and then repeat. This cycle can be performed several times, and the amount of cycles can be increased as the fitness levels of the players increases.

Safety

  • Price notes that common softball injuries occur at the elbows, knees and hamstrings. For this reason, proper warm up, stretching and cool down must be a part of any softball training program. Strength training antagonistic muscles together, such as the biceps and triceps or quadriceps and hamstrings, will strengthen the muscle around these joints and help protect them. Although stretching may seem boring and time-consuming, players should choose at least one stretch per body part, holding each for a minimum of twenty seconds after a dynamic warm up and following cool down.
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How to Start a Gym

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For those who enjoy keeping fit and have an entrepreneurial mindset, starting a gym can be a dream come true. Owning your own gym won’t always be a picnic, however. Long hours and hard work are part of the job description, but like a good workout, the more you invest of yourself in the new business, the more rewarding it can be.

Find the Right Location

  • Having the right location is important for many businesses, but it’s essential for a gym. Not only do you need to select a place that has enough room for the equipment and activities you plan to offer, it also needs access to parking or transit and should be visible to passers-by. If you plan to offer cardio or yoga classes, make sure the building has separate rooms. Before signing a lease, take a good look at the market in your gym’s neighborhood, including the average age and income of residents and what other businesses are nearby. For example, if you are considering a high-scale gym for young urban professionals, then locating close to where these people work or live would be important.

Stock the Right Equipment

  • Equipment costs for a fully stocked gym can be staggering. Getting just a couple of treadmills, cross trainers, upright bikes, incline benches, weights and dumbbells can cost $30,000 or more. The price is much more if you are looking for the hottest brand names. The right equipment for a new gym isn’t necessarily the most expensive, however. Unless you have a massive budget and know your clientele will expect the best or trendiest brand names, consider investing in off-brand or even used equipment that is in good working condition.

Start With a Niche

  • One way to keep start-up costs to a minimum, and to find room in a market crowded with national chains, is to find a niche that is of interest to your target market. Focusing on yoga, boxing, running or rock climbing will reduce the need to have every piece of equipment imaginable. Some niche gyms also offer courses that promote overall well-being, like stress management courses in a community with a lot of businesses nearby or job interview and test-taking seminars in market with a lot of younger people. As you build your clientele, you can expand your offerings or focus even more on a successful niche.

Surround Yourself With Experts

  • Running a gym requires a diverse set of skills and people. In addition to workout-specific skills such as those provided by yoga instructors or personal trainers, there are business skills required as well. Understand where your own strengths are and then hire experts who can fill in the other areas, whether it is hiring a strength and conditioning coach to work with customers or a marketing manager to help build your business. To find staff for your gym, consider advertising in local fitness blogs or social media pages. Also, consult with a lawyer and an accountant before signing a lease or investing money in new equipment. Before deciding on how much to charge members, research the local market to find the going rates for memberships in your area and price your own membership plans accordingly.
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Pros and Cons of Middle School Sports

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Middle school sports can provide numerous benefits to participants. They promote fitness to those who might not otherwise consider participation in a sport, and help teach new skills that translate into the classroom as well. But if school sports programs aren’t run with the needs of the middle school age group in mind, negatives may be associated with them as well.

Healthier Students

  • A prime benefit of middle school sports is that they promote exercise and physical activity. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the percentage of children aged 12 to 19 considered obese increased from 5 percent in 1980 to 21 percent in 2012. With the main focus of the school day centered around academics and limited physical education course time in most schools, middle school sports provide an outlet that encourages students to make fitness a priority.

Increased Opportunity

  • Middle school sports provide opportunities for those who can’t participate in outside activities because of logistical or financial reasons. If the teams are inclusive — meaning anyone who tries out and is willing to come to practices is on the team — middle school sports may be the only practical chance a student has to learn how to play a new sport. Middle school sports such as track and field or cross-country, which can have large squads, provide an excellent opportunity for students to get in shape.

New Skills

  • Sports allow participants to develop skills that go beyond the physical activity that the individual sport requires. An emphasis on teamwork and working in groups can complement similar activities that occur in the classroom. Students may form connections through sports teams that wouldn’t otherwise occur. Sportsmanship lessons likewise can translate into the classroom experience by emphasizing the importance of appropriate behavior.

Too Restrictive

  • When middle school sports serve only as pre-teams for making high school and college squads, it can introduce high-pressure competition to students who may not be ready for it. Too much of an emphasis on winning, as opposed to building skills, may defeat the positives that middle school sports can bring. In addition, this emphasis may lead to the introduction of developmental activities not appropriate for children in this age group.

Cost and Focus

  • Middle school sports often become a casualty of budget cuts as schools choose to focus on academic resources rather than extracurricular activities. Should that happen and the parents elect to make up shortfalls via alternative means, such as requiring families to contribute more money in order to buy equipment, that can lead to a situation where low-income students are shut out from participation because of the costs. Alternatively, sports can take on enough importance for some students that they neglect their schoolwork, which can have negative consequences for their academic future.

What Is the Definition of a Personal Trainer?

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A personal trainer is an exercise professional with the knowledge and experience to offer advice and guidance in the areas of exercise and fitness. These professionals can assist you by designing a safe and effective exercise program to help you reach personal goals. A personal trainer can assist with weight loss, exercise performance and improved wellness.

Function

  • Personal trainers can most often be found at health clubs and fitness centers. In addition, many trainers have branched out on their own to provide services through private studios. For a fee you can hire a qualified personal trainer to design an exercise program for you and guide you through your workouts during private sessions. Their purpose is to help clients achieve fitness goals through safe and effective exercise. Many clients hire trainers for exercise guidance and motivation.

Benefits

  • A personal trainer has the necessary knowledge of physiology and movement to design safe and effective exercises for their clients. Their expertise allows them to determine what type of exercise routine is best for you based on your goals whether they involve losing weight, gaining strength or improving your time for a 5K race. It is likely you will see great improvements in your fitness and performance by consulting with a personal trainer for exercise guidance.

Types

  • Many personal trainers work with a variety of clients and are experienced in offering advice and guidance for achieving a broad range of goals. These trainers can be helpful for those hoping to improve overall health or lose weight. In addition, some trainers have chosen to become more specialized. They may work specifically with runners or athletes to aid them in improving times, endurance and strength. These trainers are helpful if you have sport specific goals you are trying to achieve.

Features

  • A good personal trainer is knowledgeable in the field. She should have a personal training certification from a reputable organization. It is even more beneficial to choose a trainer who has a degree in an exercise- or physiology-related field. In addition, trainers have motivating personalities and provide you with a positive attitude that can help you to improve your self-esteem and your outlook on fitness and exercise.

Expert Insight

  • Safe exercise is essential for reducing the risk of injury and providing desired results. The ideal personal trainer is one with a degree in an exercise field. In addition, a personal training certification from a well-known organization is a necessity. This ensures that the individual is keeping up with current trends and changes in exercise-related research. For someone without a degree in the field, the certification shows he has a basic understanding of exercise physiology.

How to Start a Unique Kids’ Fitness Center

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Between smartphones, computers and video game systems, modern children are inundated with ways to entertain themselves through technology. Because of these changes in pastimes, physical activity is in decline and childhood obesity is on the rise. According to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention study, the obesity rate in children has more than doubled in the past three decades.

Research

  • To find a gym that connects with children in a unique and innovative way, you need to understand what kids are interested in and what they find fun. Spend time with kids to see what activities they enjoy, but don’t limit yourself to physical activities. Even non-active hobbies can lead to inspiration for the fitness center. Research other child-orientated fitness centers to see what the competition is doing so you don’t repeat their efforts.

Location Scouting

  • When searching for an appropriate venue for a kid friendly fitness center, choose a location where the lease — and landlord — allow you to paint the interior and exterior. Paint the outside of the gym in vibrant colors, such as primary colors, to make it stand out from the surrounding buildings and appeal to kids.

Licenses

  • Permit and licensing requirements vary from state to state, but your local chamber of commerce is a helpful resource for guiding you to the necessary paperwork and registrations. Generally, you need to obtain a business license, business insurance and apply for an Employer Identification Number.

    Since there are children in your facility you’ll also need to check the requirements for keeping children for over a certain amount of time, typically three hours. You may need to obtain some day care licenses and permits as a result.

Find a Theme

  • Finding a fresh angle for your child-orientated fitness center is the most important and most challenging aspect of launching the business. Use your research to determine what has been done and what appeals to the kids you are targeting.

    For example, if you find most children prefer to spend time playing video games, integrate this into your fitness center concept. Model your gym equipment and color scheme after a popular video game, such as Nintendo’s “Mario Brothers” series. You could use the classic mushrooms and blocks as obstacles within the gym for the kids to tackle. You could also create life-size game controllers for the kids to bounce and jump on.

Establish Classes

  • Classes are a popular and effective way to foster memberships in adult gyms, and can be equally effective in a kid orientated fitness center as well. Create classes that play off your gym’s theme.

    For example, with a video game theme, you could have a kick boxing and martial arts class that correlates with the “Mortal Kombat” game franchise. Interview martial arts trainers and ask if they would dress in costume as characters from the game for the classes. You could also have dance classes using popular game music, such as the “Mario Brothers” theme music, or classes that become large scale versions of the arcade game “Dance, Dance Revolution”.

Child Friendly Amenities

  • Most fitness centers offer amenities for the guests to enjoy. Recreate this with kid friendly options. A smoothie bar or fruit and frozen yogurt station is both appealing to kids and helps foster healthy eating habits. Use colorful, plastic cups and festive straws. Create study centers for kids to do homework before or after their workout by filling a room with desks and school supplies, such as computers, paper, pens and reference books. Establish a dance zone with speakers and a dance floor where kids can have dance parties with their friends.

How to Create a Membership Form for a Fitness Center

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When a prospective member walks into a fitness center to check out the equipment, she just might sign up on the spot. Be sure to have a supply of membership forms ready for her to sign on the dotted line. Having each client fill out a membership form is essential for everything from collecting payment to gaining a waiver of liability.

Instructions

  1. Use your letterhead as the basis for your membership form. Ascertain the following information from the client, giving each its own line on the form:

    Date
    Name
    Address
    City, State, ZIP
    Home phone and cell phone
    Email address
    Date of birth
    Do you have any medical conditions or recurring injuries?

  2. Create a section on the form that asks your clients about their goals. The section should be headed: “What are your fitness goals?” Include options such as: weight loss, strength, flexibility, toning and muscle building. Instruct your clients to circle as many options as apply.
  3. Gather the customer’s credit card information and state on what date each month you will charge the card. Have the new member sign or initial his approval, If you intend to charge an additional fee or seek payment via another method should the card be declined, state that here. Make sure that you ask for the following:

    Name on credit card
    Billing address
    Credit card type
    Credit card number
    CVV or validation code

  4. Ask your clients to select their membership type, noting the price next to each option. For example, you can offer a monthly, six-month or one-year membership, charging $12.95, $65.95, and $106.95 for each, respectively. What you charge will depend upon your location and what competitors charge their customers.
  5. Use this chance to seek other business. For example, if you offer personal training at your fitness center, ask the following question on the form: “Are you interested in personal training services?” This will give you an indication of which clients are interested in personal training.
  6. Have the client sign a statement attesting that he is in good health and can participate in fitness activities. Add an injury liability statement.
  7. Add a statement declaring your policy about refunds and cancellations.
  8. Conclude the membership form with signature lines for both your client and a fitness center administrator.
  9. Add an administrative section labeled “For Office Use Only” at the bottom of the form. Write the client’s membership number and other administrative details in this space.

Job Description of a Fitness Sales Manager

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A sales fitness sales manager oversees the sales activities of a fitness organization. This includes membership sales, promotional activities and general administration with the aim of driving the business forward. The fitness sales manager reports to the fitness general manager or management board.

Education

  • A fitness sales manager requires a bachelor’s degree. This can be a Bachelor of Science degree in sports science, physical education or exercise. A bachelor’s degree in business management or sales and marketing, Bachelor of Arts or Master of Business Administration are also acceptable. A fitness sales manager should also have some level of management experience. Courses like aerobics, weight training and physiology are an added advantage.

Responsibilities and Duties

  • The responsibilities of a fitness sales manager includes meeting with prospective clients, providing them with the necessary information about the organization while maintaining high standards of professionalism. He works to maintain the existing clients. He manages the organization’s budget. He works together with other organization employees. He supervises the sales team and oversees its work. He prepares various packages to meet the needs of a diverse clientele.

Desirable Qualities

  • A fitness sales manager has good knowledge of the gym and fitness industry. She has excellent interpersonal skills and presentation skills and is dynamic. She must be self-confident and able to comfortably interact with high-end clients as well as clients from dynamic backgrounds, according to NJobster. She has a strong business background and has good communicating skills.

Job Outlook

  • The most popular industries for fitness sales managers include fitness clubs, the hotel and hospitality industry, and health care, according to PayScale.com. Growth is expected in the fitness industry because of increased emphasis on health and fitness. This means increased job opportunities for fitness sales managers.

Compensation

  • The salary for a fitness sales manager ranged from $32,810 to $55,836 per year as of June 2010, according to PayScale.com. Bonuses ranged from $1,311 to $10,344 per year. Profit-sharing ranged from $1,024 to $10,084 annually. Commission earned ranged from $3,402 to $ 12,922 per year. With the added benefits, the total average salary of a fitness manager was $34,414 to $ 61,423 annually, according to PayScale.com. Pay varies according to specialization in education, with those who have a sports science degree and and a Master’s of Business Administration earning the most.