Monday, October 4, 2010

Should Kids Train for Fat Loss?

In my previous post, I wrote about women as a special fat loss population. Today, I am writing about another special population, youth. The following is an excerpt from the appendix of The Theory of Fat Loss:

This book applies to adult populations only. While youth obesity is a prevalent societal problem, it is wrong to train kids like they are adults. It is wrong to send kids to “fat camps.” It is wrong to train kids for the sole purpose of absolute muscular strength so that they can train at a greater absolute intensity. It is wrong to push kids so hard that they learn to hate physical activity. 

Kids simply need to enjoy living an active lifestyle. Play, fun, and socialization are important pieces of youth fitness. So are coordination and skill acquisition. While fat loss may be and often is the result of any youth fitness activity, it should NEVER be the main focus.

Have you ever heard of the Pygmalion (aka the Rosenthal) effect? In a nutshell (and without citing the hundreds of articles written about the subject), the Pygmalion effect is this: people internalize the expectations placed upon them. When kids are labeled as stupid, they tend to view themselves as stupid and get poor grades. When kids are labeled as smart, they tend to view themselves as smart and get good grades. The same goes for labeling “fat” kids. When kids are sent to “fat camps” or ridiculed, chastised, and told they need to exercise, all that does is make them internalize their “fatness.” They become forever fat because that is the expectation placed upon them. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. That, or they develop eating disorders. Either way, kids should not be trained because their parents think they are fat.

Every parent, teacher, and coach needs to know that kids need a variety of physical stimuli for optimal development. The more physical activity kids participate in, the better off they are, provided that the environment is positive and uplifting. This is not to say that children should not be challenged or that they should not never get tired and sweaty. Activity simply needs to be fun and engaging, and children should be encouraged to participate and thanked for giving forth their best effort when they do. It is the only way to go to combat youth obesity.

I want to stress the point again that this book is for ADULTS ONLY. It is very important, and that is why I have no problem sharing this passage from my book even though it has not been released yet. 

If you would like more information on working with youth, check out the International Youth Conditioning Association.


  1. Why can't adults internalize weight loss as fun? I want to play games and lose body fat too!

  2. You actually can... but first you need to get to that point.


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