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Sunday, January 06, 2008 Newsletter Nov/Dec 2007

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COLUMBIA — A list of records displaying the best times in the history of the Stephens College swimming program is posted on the wall of the Stars’ natatorium. All but four of the 20 records come after 2004 — the first year Stephens began swimming as a NAIA program. In the water below the sign, the Stars battle in-state foe Lindenwood University. Many of the races are tight, but Stephens can’t manage to pull out the win, losing 111-75. According to coach Laura Wacker, that score would have been much worse four years ago. READ ARTICLE

The Island Packet has run a series of good articles on athletic recruiting researched over a 4-month period. READ ARTICLE

Looking to make a continued splash in the world of college athletics, Converse announced Monday that it is adding a swim team. Swimming will be the school's sixth sport, joining basketball, cross country, soccer, tennis and volleyball. READ ARTICLE

This is a multi-part series on what college recruiters are looking for in prospective football players. I'm basically going to discuss this from the perspective of what NCAA Division I-A coaches are looking for, and the requirements for size and speed may be a bit less each step down -- I-AA, Division II and NAIA and then Division III. READ ARTICLE

Article on technology and its global effect on recruiting. READ ARTICLE

Article on Division II Athletics. READ ARTICLE

A new building for athletes broke ground today on the University of Tennessee of Chattanooga Campus. The Brenda Lawson Student Athletes Success Center will provide resources for athletes to achieve success in every area, on the field or in the classroom. Lawson has donated time and money to UTC. The center is comprised of two facilities: the Wolford Strength and Conditioning Facility and the Chattem Basketball Practice Facility.

Alumni are rallying to save Northeastern University’s (Boston, MA) 1AA football program.

The University of New Orleans will reinstate its men’s and women’s tennis and men’s swimming and diving teams in fall 2008. All three programs were suspended after Hurricane Katrina and have not played since the 2004-05 academic year.

La Salle University announced November 19 it will eliminate its football program, which had been reinstated in 1997 after a 56-year hiatus.

The University of New Haven announced it will reinstate football as a varsity sport effective in 2009 and compete as a member of the Northeast-10 Conference. The Chargers will compete as a member of the Northeast-10 in all sports, except men’s volleyball, beginning in fall 2008. New Haven currently fields 17 varsity athletics teams and football will become the 18th when it begins play in 2009.

Colorado State University at Pueblo’s reinstated football program will be playing its first games in 2008 in a newly constructed stadium.Wilkes University is reinstating men’s and women’s cross country, 13 years after the programs were discontinued due to lack of participants.

Aimees Soapbox November 2007 - Perspective

Aimee's Soapbox! November 2007: Perspective - brought to you by

When I am in charge of the world, all citizens will have a required one-year period of “Customer Service” service to the nation. It could be in retail, restaurants, whatever. Every person just has to spend one year working in some kind of service industry that includes working with the public.

Why such a requirement? Well, in my little utopian society, every person will have to learn the lesson about walking a mile in the other guy’s shoes, and that sometimes the other guy is wearing really tight stilettos with four-inch heels and pointy toes. Now, I am not saying that each person will have to start wearing their own stilettos, or even like them. But I am saying that everyone will have to learn Perspective.

What’s so big about perspective? Well, if perspective is reality, as they say, then perspective is pretty much everything. I mean, if your perspective is that life is crap and everything sucks, then you will only see the glass half empty, you will only pay attention to the things that reinforce your perspective, and you will go home and kick the dog, yell at the kids, and push away your spouse. And that becomes your reality. (You just better hope your dog, kids, and spouse are “half full” folks so that they have some compassion for you.)

Anyway, here are my three reasons why Perspective is the Key to it All:

1. Perspective Teaches Personal Responsibility. It is my opinion that too many people play the victim (because it is easier) and are under-responsible for their lives. For example, it is much easier to blame supersized fast food for our obesity problem than it is to take responsibility for the fact that we are a sedentary nation that would rather play video games and download internet porn than go out for a walk.

When I was in college, one of my religion professors had arranged for our class to visit the home of an Amish family. We toured the farm and had dinner with them. If you’ve ever eaten German or Pennsylvania Dutch food, you know that “low calorie” and “light and airy” are not in the cookbook. Think meat and potatoes. But have you ever seen an obese Amish person? No. So don’t just blame the carbs or the fats.

I think if we are willing to look at the big picture, we can become more personally responsible for our actions, and therefore more empowered. I know that there will always be some people who take the easy way out by being the victim, but they truly are giving up their personal power to others when they do that. And that’s just silly.

2. Perspective Teaches you to Think Outside of Yourself. So in my aforementioned utopia with the mandatory service, every person will have to learn how to wait on others, help others, and provide service to others. Now, if you have already worked in these industries, you know that “others” can sometimes be a bit prickly. If you have not already worked in these industries, you should know that sometimes you can be a bit prickly. I always cringe when I see someone in a restaurant giving the wait staff a hard time. Or when I see someone treating a sales clerk in a patronizing or condescending manner. (And yes, I know this goes both ways.) Maybe that waiter just broke up with his girlfriend. Or maybe the sales clerk just learned his dad has cancer. Or maybe, they have just worked a double shift and they still have to go home to a sick kid. If that were you, wouldn’t you want someone to see things from your perspective?

3. Perspective Teaches Compassion and Humility.

The other day, I was watching a decorating show on one of the cable channels. It highlighted the Top 25 Biggest Decorating Mistakes. (I was anxious to learn if my throw pillows were trendy or tacky.) Anyway, about 15 minutes into the show, my husband says, “Gee, I bet this show’s a big hit in Darfur.”

OK, so that made me laugh, but kind of in a rueful sort of way. I mean, here I sit, on my comfy couch and in a position to even HAVE throw pillows to judge, and on the other side of the world, someone else is wondering how long he has till he starves to death and maybe even wishing it would hurry up. Yep, that gave me a sense of humility real fast.

I guess what I am saying here is that we could all use a little reality check now and then, or at least a reminder to think about the big picture and the fact that our own version of things is not the only version. It’s a tough and humbling path to take.

So, maybe it’s good I am not in charge of the world, enforcing my mandatory service on all the unsuspecting citizens. Or maybe it’s not. Depends on your perspective. Want to be notified when Aimee's Soapbox comes out each month? Click here!

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Strategies to Eat Better - The Athlete's Kitchen

The Athlete’s Kitchen - brought to you by
Copyright: Nancy Clark, MS RD CSSD January 2008

Strategies to Eat Better

More often than not, athletes ask me “What is a well balanced diet? What should I be eating to help me perform at my best?” They feel overwhelmed by the seemingly endless list of nutrition don'ts. Don't eat white sugar, white bread, processed foods, fast foods, french fries, soda, salt, trans fats, butter, eggs, red meat... You’ve heard it all, I’m sure.
If you want to eat better but don’t know where to start, here’s a nutrition strategy that can help you fuel your body with a well balanced sports diet. The suggestions guide you towards an eating style that's simple and practical, yet can effectively help you eat well to perform well, despite today’s bewildering food environment.

• Eat at least three kinds of nutrient-dense food at each meal. Don't eat just one food per meal, such as a bagel for breakfast. Add two more foods: peanut butter and lowfat milk. Don't choose just a salad for lunch. Add grilled chicken and a crusty whole grain roll. For dinner, enjoy pasta with tomato sauce and ground turkey. Two-thirds of the meal should be whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, and one-third lowfat meats, dairy, beans or other protein-rich foods.
Too many athletes eat a repetitive menu with the same 10 to 15 foods each week. Repetitive eating keeps life simple, minimizes decisions, and simplifies shopping, but it can result in an inadequate diet and chronic fatigue. The more different foods you eat, the more different types of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you consume. A good target is 35 different foods per week. Start counting!

• Eat “closer to the earth” by choosing more foods in their natural state. For instance, choose oranges rather than orange juice; orange juice rather than sports drink; whole-wheat bread rather than white bread; baked potatoes rather than french fries. Foods in their natural (or lightly processed) state offer more nutritional value and less sodium, trans fat, and other health-eroding ingredients. You’ll find these foods along the perimeter of the grocery store: fresh produce, lean meats, lowfat dairy, whole grain breads. If possible, choose locally grown foods that support your local farmer and require less fuel for transportation to the market.

• Fuel your body on a regular schedule, eating even-sized meals every four hours. For example, a reducing diet (non-dieters need another 100-200 calories per meal) might be:
Breakfast (7-8:00 am): 500 calories (cereal + milk + banana)
Lunch (11-noon): 500 calories (sandwich + milk)
Lunch #2 (3-4:00): 400-500 calories (yogurt +granola+nuts)
Dinner (7-8:00 pm): 500-600 cals (chicken +potato + greens)
This differs from the standard pattern of skimpy 200 to 300 calorie breakfasts and lunches that get followed by too many calories of sugary snacks and super-sized dinners.
Depending on your body size, each meal should be the equivalent of two to three pieces of pizza; that's about 500 to 750 calories (or 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day). Think about having four “food buckets” that you fill with 500 to 750 calories from at least kinds of foods every four hours. Even if you want to lose weight, you can (and should) target 500 calories at breakfast, lunch #1 and lunch #2. Those meals will ruin your evening appetite, so you’ll be able to “diet” at dinner by eating smaller portions. (Note: Most active people can lose weight on 2,000 cals, believe it or not!)
Whatever you do, try to stop eating in a “crescendo” (with meals getting progressively bigger as the day evolves). Your better bet is to eat on a time-line and consume 3/4 of your calories in the active part of your day; eat less at the end of the day. One runner took this advice and started eating his dinner foods for lunch, a sandwich for lunch #2 (instead of snacking on cookies) and then had soup and a bagel for dinner. He enjoyed far more energy during the day, was able to train harder in the afternoon, and significantly improved his race times.

• Honor hunger. Eat when you are hungry, and then stop eating when you feel content. Hunger is simply a request for fuel; your body is telling you it burned off what you gave it and needs a refill. To disregard hunger is abusive. Just as you would not withhold food from a hungry infant, you should not withhold food from your hungry body. If you do, you will start to crave sweets (a physiological response to calorie deprivation) and end up eating “junk”.
While counting calories is one way to educate yourself how to fill each 500-calorie “bucket” (for calorie information, use food labels,, and, you can more simply pay attention to your body's signals. Keep checking in with yourself, “Is my body content? Or, does my body need this fuel?” If confronted with large portions that would leave you feeling stuffed, consider letting the excess food go to waste, not to “waist.”

• Think moderation. Rather than categorize a food as being good or bad for your health, think about moderation, and aim for a diet that offers 85 to 90 percent quality foods and 10 to 15 percent foods with fewer nutritional merits. Enjoy a foundation of healthful foods, but don't deprive yourself of enjoyable foods. This way, even soda pop and chips, if desired, can fit into a nourishing food plan. You just need to balance the “junk” with healthier choices throughout the rest of the day. That is, you can compensate for an occasional greasy sausage and biscuit breakfast by selecting a low-fat turkey sandwich lunch and a grilled fish dinner.

• Take mealtimes seriously. If you can find the time to train hard, you can also find the time to fuel right. In fact, competitive athletes who don’t show up for meals might as well not show up for training. You’ll lose your edge with hit or miss fueling, but you’ll always win with good nutrition!

Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD (Board Certified Specialist in Sports
Dietetics) counsels both casual and competitive athletes in her practice at Healthworks, the premier fitness center in Chestnut Hill MA (617-383-6100). Her Sports Nutrition Guidebook, Food Guide for Marathoners, and Cyclist’s Food Guide are available via . See also