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Active Teens: The Forgotten Population

October 19, 2012


By: Julie Stubblefield
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As a personal trainer and lifestyle coach, Julie Stubblefield of SparkFit is sharing information about why and how active teens need different types of support for nutrition, exercise and stress management.  She will be sharing some articles with us in the coming weeks to help you help your kids perform better in their activities as well as in school.


After spending a few months researching and documenting active teens, the information they are provided in terms of nutrition, exercise, and stress management, and off-season protocols, I was shocked and disappointed.  Let me share with you my concerns for active teens and let me know if you can relate.

Why are active teens the forgotten population? Let's take a look at where focus is given in the media, in health care, and the mindset of the general American population. In the media, there is so much focus on kid/teens who are overweight, unhealthy, and on a course for a shorter lifespan. I agree that this is disheartening and there is great reason for concern as well as action. In health care, again, written material, speakers, and the like all direct attention to the population already struggling with their kids to get them to move their bodies and care for themselves. And, as a whole, the American public sees, comments on, and tries to make an effort to correct this issue. Necessary? Yes. Successful? It's to be determined. But the bottom line is that an entire population is basically eliminated from this focus. That population is the active teens!

Who is considered an active teen?

It's someone between the ages of 11 and 18 who loves to move.  He or she most likely plays a sport, either competitively for a school or at the recreational level.  An active teen may also spend a lot of time with non-team activities, such as running, skateboarding, cycling, mountain biking, lifting weights, ballet, dance, martial arts, etc.

Active teens are already moving their bodies.  They are currently aware of how their body performs at a practice, at a game, and how quickly they recover.  They understand they need to eat to be able to be able to make it through whatever activity they are involved in.  Active teens know what it feels like to be injured and how hard it is to wait to recover.  They often feel the pressure of trying to juggle their physical activities with their mental ones, like school.  All in all, active teens have a lot to balance.

What focus do these kids need?

They need to be taught how to eat to grow first and perform second.  Active teens need to know how to choose the foods that will not only fuel their bodies but also their brains.  They need to learn how to manage stress and get appropriate rest.  They need to know how to train and feed their bodies to avoid illness and injury, or at least reduce the incidences of such.  And they need to know how to put it all together in a way that they can understand and manage it.


What is so disappointing and shocking?

None of the tools exist in a comprehensive way, in one location, in a voice and format that will interest the active teens, or compel them to make a change.  It is rare for coaches to share this type of information with the active teens and/or their families, let alone provide them with resources.  Parents are often so overwhelmed with managing schedules that they just don't have the time to research and pull it all together.

Starting next week, I will be sharing valuable information with you about all of this.  From nutrition ideas, to recipes, and even simple workouts, we will get the information you need as a parent and as they deserve as active teens.  I'm looking forward to helping your active teens eat, train, and perform better!

If you would like more information about SparkFit, you can visit the site here.  If you would like to sign up for more tips, recipes and exercises for active teens, you can subscribe to exclusive content here.


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