Teenage Journey Continues with Health and Fitness Talk
Tuesday, 11 October 2016
The Boys’ Division Parents’ Association has once again this year organised a series of ‘Teenage Journey’ talks, each designed to discuss an aspect of boys’ growth and development through the teenage years. The topic for the third in this year’s sequence of events was ‘Health and Fitness’.
After a welcome from the Headmaster, Mr Prentki took the floor to dispel some of the dining hall myths and familiarise parents with the variety and choice on offer to pupils each lunchtime. This prompted a lively discussion, with parents voicing their thoughts and opinions while also listening to the logistical challenges and hearing about the lunches served in School.
Mr Britton then introduced the evening’s main speaker, Matt, a personal trainer who has worked with clients aged from 8 to 77 years old. He gave some background into what inspired him to become a personal trainer: he enjoyed lots of sport as a child and teenager but didn’t have the fitness and dietary knowledge to back it up, and so never achieved a higher level in any particular sport. He explained that, for young people interested in taking sport to the next level, fitness and diet is key. However, he also stressed that these things are important for growth and development generally, and that brain function and muscular performance are both heavily influenced by diet and exercise.
Matt began with the subject of diet and talked about the three main food groups and what percentage of the diet should be made up of protein, carbohydrates and fat.
He began with fat, saying that it is the most misunderstood food group and therefore his favourite, before moving on to carbohydrates and then to protein. He went into detail about why each of the groups is needed by the body and what misconceptions people have about them. He was also able to give advice about monitoring how much protein, carbohydrates and fat is in the diet, either specifically using an app or generally using ‘fist’ sized amounts on the plate.
Matt gave lots of information about the types of food that are good and bad to eat at different times, and in particular advised against sugary cereals and white toast in the morning, which would cause insulin levels to spike and then dramatically dip mid-morning, causing a lack of concentration and hunger. Instead he suggested that eggs and wholemeal toast or porridge would be great alternatives. He also talked about speeding up the metabolism and burning more calories by eating a small meal every three or four hours instead of large meals three times a day.
Moving on to exercise, he advised that different age groups will need different exercises, appropriate to the age. He split teenagers down into 11-14, 14-16 and 16-18 age brackets and suggested a set of exercises for each group, building on the previous age range’s activities each time. He also mentioned that at the boundary ages of 11, 14, 16 and 18 it would be best to get a structured programme of exercises from a personal trainer, as they will be able to give the best advice on what is safe and helpful exercise for the individual.
Finally, to close his talk, Matt brought up the subject of sleep. He explained that the stress hormone cortisol increases with a lack of sleep, and his causes the body to store fat and burns away muscle mass. He therefore advised that six to eight hours of sleep is absolutely essential to stay healthy.
This was a really useful and informative talk for all of the parents who attended and gave lots of information about health and fitness for young people. The PA’s ‘Teenage Journey’ series of talks continues with further talks throughout the year.