Maplewood Pride!

I hope everyone had a great weekend spending time outdoors and with family.
We enjoyed a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Memorial Park at Maplewood’s first annual Pride Picnic celebrating
NY’s momentous decision to legalize gay marriage.

I’ve received a lot of “out of office” and “on vacation” emails from campers plus some requests to sign up at the 35% off
discount that expired on Friday. So I’ve decided to extend the discount through midnight tonight, Monday, June 27th.

Our next camp starts this Saturday July 2nd and runs through the 29th. Enter code SAVE35 at checkout to sign up now.

Camps are held 7 days a week, and you can attend those sessions that work best with your schedule.

Sign up to take camp 2 times a week, 3 times a week or for an unlimited time throughout the 4 week session.

Going on vacation in July and don’t want to lose a week of camp?
No problem, just let us know and you can carry your missed sessions over to the next camp.
(Plus we’ll send you on vacation with some routines you can do to stay fit while you’re away).

See you at camp!


Getting Teens to Like Their Bodies

It may seem impossible, but it can be done.

It seems teenagers – both boys and girls – across the world have issues accepting their bodies. And it’s no wonder. Their bodies are changing at rapid rates, and they often don’t understand what’s going on inside their own skins. On top of that, the media says the perfect body is sleek and slender, has curves at the right places and nowhere else. And as today’s teens consume more media than any generation in the past, they’re getting this message told to them over and over again.

So how can you help your teens break through the self-conscious feelings that come from poor body image and help them take pride in their bodies? With these tips.

Tip 1: Know Who’s in Control

A teen often feels inadequate because his or her body doesn’t measure up to someone else’s standards. To help your teen forget about these standards or at least put them in perspective, encourage your teen to realize that he or she is the only person who can determine what his or her body should look like.

Once your teen gets this figured out, it should be easier to put other people’s opinions aside and accept his or her body. With this mindset, your teen should be prepared to make some goals that are more personalized instead of the bone-thin recommendations that come courtesy of the magazine rack.

Tip 2: Stay in Control

As freeing as it may be for your teen to know he or she determines the standards to which his or her body will be held, these standards can still be rather difficult to meet. In order for your teen to not beat him or herself down over body issues, you’ll need to train your child to stay focused on the positive. Teach your teen to focus on the positive any time he or she begins to think negative thoughts about his or her body. The positive thoughts don’t have to be centered on your teen’s body. Quite the contrary. Have your child think of puppies, lollipops, basketball, or whatever else causes your teen to be happy.

Tip 3: Don’t Hold It In

Any time someone feels inadequate, the natural response isn’t to go and tell everyone. But doing this may make the difference in your teen’s life. Do all you can to maintain open lines of communication with your teenager. This way, if he or she is dealing with body image issues, you’ll be the first to know. Armed with this knowledge, you can talk with your teen and encourage him or her to love his or her body as it is. If your teen is consistently concerned about his or her body, set up a plan to make changes. And then go through the changes together.

Most important, if your teen’s body images ever seem to concern you, you’ll be in a good position to encourage your child to receive professional help. While most teens have minor body image issues, some problems that are so intense that they lead to depression and suicidal thoughts. Being there for your teen can help you catch these symptoms early and protect your teen from doing something dangerous.

Turn It Off?

Parents whose teens are dealing with media-induced body image problems are apt to unplug the television and throw away every magazine in the house. However, this may not be the best solution. After all, the moment your teen leaves the house, he or she is likely to come across the media you’re trying to shield him or her from.

So instead of shielding your child from the media’s messages, talk with your child about the messages. Is it unreal that people look perfect at all times? Yes. Is it worthwhile to try to look like a movie star or starlet at all times? No. For a little extra encouragement, hop online and search videos that highlight the power of Photoshop. Then your teen can see how hard the media works to portray a false image of what they deem perfection!

Your Diet, Minus the Gluten

Getting stuck with a gluten-free diet doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

A seemingly harmless protein, gluten is found in wheat, oats, barley, and rye. Harmless a protein as it may seem, gluten wreaks havoc on the digestive systems of people who are living with celiac disease. If you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease, avoiding gluten will prevent the intestinal inflammation and other complications that accompany the disease.

What can you do to pull the gluten out of your diet without going hungry?

Understand the Dangers

Eating even a small amount of gluten can cause substantial side effects if you’re living with celiac disease. To avoid all traces of gluten, you’ll need to study food and drink labels carefully. Ingredients to be wary of include graham flour, spelt, triticale, farina, durham, barley, kamut, matzo meal, semolina, rye, bulgur, and wheat.

Additionally, you’ll want to keep away from many products that aren’t labeled as being gluten-free. These include a variety of pastas, salad dressings, soups, beers, crackers, croutons, cakes, cookies, candies, pies, sauces, breads, and processed lunchmeats. If these or any other foods were produced in a factory that processes other foods that contain gluten, beware!

Stock the Cupboard

Now that you know what you can’t eat, you may be wondering what is safe to consume when you’re on a gluten-free diet. Thankfully, the list is just as impressive. Safe foods that you can enjoy despite problems with gluten include just about anything made with corn (this includes pure corn tortillas, cornmeal, and corn flour), polenta, rice, buckwheat, amaranth, and hominy grits.

If that doesn’t get your mouth watering, maybe this will. While you may be allergic to gluten, your body can properly handle some of your favorite foods, including fresh meats, fish, and poultry; the majority of dairy products; wine, ciders, and distilled liquors; potatoes; fruits; and vegetables.

Be Patient

Learning how to follow a gluten-free diet is no easy task. When you first begin your new diet, you may feel that every food under the sun contains some amount of gluten. As a result, you may feel depressed and start to think that avoiding gluten altogether is impossible. But don’t give in! With some time and research, you can learn how to live a gluten-free lifestyle and feel full after eating.

Need a little help making it happen? Find others in your area that are dealing with the same issue and put your heads and recipes together! Many communities have celiac support groups, so find one in your area to join. If there is not one nearby, join one online or start one on your own. Once word gets out that you’ve started a celiac support group, you’ll be amazed at how many people in your immediate community are dealing with the same condition.

Beware False Advertisements

In recent years, a number of food companies have decided to jump on the gluten-free bandwagon. Unfortunately, there is no regulatory body that has currently stood up and defined what is required for a food to be labeled as gluten-free. In other words, there is no clear definition of what gluten-free is, which allows manufacturers to say their products are gluten-free when they really aren’t.

So what’s this mean for you if you’re living with celiac disease and can’t consume gluten? You have a choice. You can call food manufacturers to find out if their products truly are gluten-free or if they have trace amounts or even unknown amounts of gluten in them. Or you can avoid any type of food that could possibly contain gluten. The latter may seem a stretch, but your body will benefit from the additional fruits and vegetables you’ll eat with this diet. And you get to enjoy life, knowing you’re not coming in contact with gluten in your foods.

More Tomatoes, Please

Why you should include more tomatoes in your diet and how to make it happen.

The correct pronunciation has been a matter of debate for years. But no matter how you pronounce tomato, one thing is for sure. You could use a few more of them in your diet. Not buying it? Keep reading to find out what this little red delight has to offer your body and how you can ensure there is plenty of it in your diet to result in optimal health.

Red and Full Of…

Tomatoes aren’t just pretty to look at. They’re also jam packed with more vitamins and minerals than you may think. What can you expect to get out of the next tomato you chomp down on? First, you’ll get an amazing amount of antioxidants. These antioxidants – which come in the form of beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin A, lycopene, and lutein – help prevent renegade cells from causing damage that can eventually lead to cancers of all sorts.

As if fighting cancer weren’t reason enough to toss a few tomatoes in your lunch box, tomatoes also have plenty of potassium, which helps your body get rid of unwanted waste. Then there’s calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and a little bit of some other vitamins and minerals. Couple your tomatoes with olive oil or avocadoes, and you multiply their effectiveness, as these groupings enable your body to absorb more of the good stuff in tomatoes.

Get Your Fill By…

Sold on your need for more tomatoes? Slipping them into your diet is a fairly easy task. All you have to do is think ahead of time and eat. Or you can just eat!

Straight: Want the quickest way to enjoy a tomato and its health benefits? Grab one off the vine, wash it off, and enjoy. No matter if you go with a handful of small tomatoes or an apple-sized tomato, eating tomatoes as presented by nature is a great way to pick up some vitamins and minerals in no time. If you have a bit more time and prefer to mix tomatoes with other flavors, you have quite a few options there as well. Slice it up and put it on your ham or turkey sandwich or chop it into small pieces to be included in a salad. Just don’t add so much fattening dressing or mayonnaise that you negate some of the tomato’s benefits.

Saucy: Prefer your tomato to be a little more disguised? Get your tomato in the sauce form. You can then add it to your spaghetti noodles or toss it on top of a pizza. Of course, if you’d like to take the night off, you can get plenty of tomato sauce at a local restaurant. And while you may think this is a cheap and lesser way to enjoy the benefits of tomatoes, take heart! Cooking tomatoes into a paste actually increases the amount of some nutrients in the tomato. So eating them cooked is actually healthier than raw!

Stuff: So you like the texture and flavor of tomatoes, but you would rather them be hidden from site? No problem. Cook up a delicious calzone and stuff it full of ripe tomatoes. This will give your body a burst of benefits that only tomatoes provides, while giving your taste buds a burst of flavor you won’t forget any time soon.

It’s a Fact!

Despite what your instincts may tell you, tomatoes are actually a fruit. What makes them a fruit instead of a vegetable? The definition of a fruit is a food made of the ripened ovaries of flowering plants. Since tomatoes are just that, they fall neatly and definitively in the fruit family!

Time for a Fun Family Dinner

Wish dinner with the kids was a time of good food and great conversation? It will be soon!

It’s 6:30 p.m., and the entire family is worn out. You and your spouse were at work all day, and the kids just finished up soccer practice after a grueling day at school. It seems the only thing on anyone’s agenda is eating as fast as possible and getting in front of the television or computer screen.

But this doesn’t have to happen to your family. With a little work, you can turn dinnertime into a regular event that everyone looks forward to. You may even get your moody teen to smile and talk. How can you pull off these magic tricks? With the following ideas.

Go Color Crazy: If your dinner foods are always full of different colors, you can catch your family off guard by making them all the same color. Pick a color and go for it! You can either choose foods of the same color or use a little food coloring to make foods all sorts of unexpected colors. Just be careful. Turn the wrong food a really strange color, and your family may have a hard time eating it.

Involve the Little People. No matter how young or old your kids are, they’ll benefit from getting their hands dirty in the kitchen. Make dinner a family affair by letting your kids plan the menu for the night. Then give them age-appropriate tasks in the kitchen to get dinner ready for the whole family to enjoy.

Get Backwards. Never let your kids eat dessert first? Make their nights by starting your meal with dessert. Only when dessert is over will you let them start in on the main course. Once this is gone, finish off with some sort of appetizer. You’ll have everyone so confused they won’t stop talking all night!

Pack a Picnic Basket. While picnics are usually reserved for the great outdoors, you can toss a blanket on your living room floor and have one inside. This is particularly fun when the weather prevents you from actually being able to eat outside. Have paper plates and napkins on hand, and there will be very little cleanup afterward.

Turn It into a Party. Some of the best conversations take place while standing around eating finger foods at parties. Why not turn your kitchen into a party scene by cooking up a few finger foods and encouraging your family to stand up while they eat? As you lean against the kitchen counter, you can learn all about your children’s days at school. Want to pull even more info out of your kids? Let them invite a friend or two over. Just be sure to relish these moments, because they won’t last forever!

Make the Event Topical. There are a million things you could talk about around the dining room table. But if you’re not careful, none of them will be discussed. To keep communication lines open at your house, write down a dozen or more topics of discussion and toss them in a basket in the middle of the table. When things get quiet, have one of your kids pick a topic randomly and let the conversation begin!

Focus on the Family

Mealtime is a sacred time that allows families to gather together and talk over family business and simply enjoy one another’s company. Unfortunately, there are many distractions that can keep dinner from being a family affair.

To keep your kids and guests tuned in to what’s going on at the table, issue the following rules:

  • talking, texting, or other use of phones is prohibited
  • no watching television during dinner (unless the whole family is watching together and talking at the same time)
  • before leaving the table, you must be excused by the cook
  • there is no excuse for missing dinner – even if you’re not hungry
  • if it has been prepared, you have to try it

You’re Late, Again

A crash course on overcoming your late ways.

Believe it or not, being late does not define you. However, if you keep going at the late rate you’re traveling, you could become known for little else. What can you do to get there and get there on time? It depends on when your lateness shows its face.

Morning Lateness

Having troubles getting where you need to go first thing in the morning? No matter if it’s getting your children to school, yourself to work, or the whole family to a softball game, being late comes with a price. Thankfully, if you do a few things different, you can go from being the last one to arrive to being there early enough to brew coffee for the whole office! Try these tips out when you’re ready to get there on time.

Punctuality is the stern virtue of men of business, and the graceful courtesy of princes.
Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton

1. Hit the Hay. This one may seem a little obvious, but it’s not. You can’t just go to bed and expect to get somewhere the next day on time. You’ve got to take it a little further by going to bed earlier than you are right now. And make your kids do the same thing. Both of you complaining that you can’t go to sleep so early? Get in a routine and give it time. If the sun is trying desperately to peer through your bedroom windows, put up heavier curtains. It may take a week or two, but you’ll gradually train your body to go to sleep at an earlier hour, as will your children.

2. Up and Adam. Now that you’re going to bed earlier, you’re going to have to do something else different. You’re going to have to wake up earlier. Because no matter how early you go to bed, if you get up at the same time as usual, you’re not going to get to work and school in a more timely manner. So how early should you wake up? To answer this, you’ll have to figure out how late you normally are in the morning. If you’re always walking the kids into the front office at school minutes after the bell rang, get up 15 minutes earlier than usual. Get to work 25 minutes late? Better get up that much earlier, plus add on an extra 15 minutes for good measure. It can be hard to get moving in the morning, so you may want some extra padding.

3. Prep at Night. Always sprinting around to gather all you need before heading out the door? Change your nighttime routine to make the mornings easier. Set out clothes and pack lunches, briefcases, and backpacks before going to bed. You’ll rest easy knowing everything is where it should be, and the morning routine will no longer involve a frantic rush.

The Rest of the Day

If your lateness isn’t confined to the mornings, you’ll need some other tools in your no-more-late toolbox. Thankfully, these tricks of the early and on-time trade will do more than get you there on time. They’ll help you use your time more wisely, making your family, your boss, and yourself happier on a daily basis.

Ready to learn how to get there on time throughout the day?

1. Prioritize. Ever walked into a meeting late, blaming your tardiness on a client call? Did you have to schedule the call minutes before your meeting? If you can reschedule the call, do it earlier in the day to make time for the call and the meeting.

2. Focus. The Internet and cell phones can cause you to lose lots of valuable time. Instead of showing up 30 minutes late to your child’s school play, turn off the distractions and put your nose to the grindstone until the job is done!

3. Just Do It. Sometimes, you cannot avoid being late. In most cases, this isn’t true. When faced with finishing up a project or getting somewhere on time, put the project off for another time. Doing this shows respect for the people who are depending on you being somewhere at a certain time.

Operation: Breakfast

How you can make breakfast one of the day’s top priorities.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

You’ve heard it a million times, and you’ve said it even more times. But sometimes, getting the most important meal of the day into your routine seems virtually impossible. What can you do to change breakfast from a chore to a priority? Try these tips out and see if it gets a little easier to make breakfast a way of life for you and your family.

Make It Easy

Think you’ve got to cook up a gourmet feast for breakfast to be beneficial? Think again. One of the biggest deterrents to eating breakfast is fear that it needs to be a big ordeal. Unless you’re planning on waking up an hour earlier than usual, breakfast cannot be a big ordeal. Rather, it needs to be a meal that you can get ready with ease. In fact, when push comes to shove, some breakfast – any breakfast – is better than no breakfast.

So instead of worrying all day about whether the breakfast you ate and fed your kids was healthy enough, take heart knowing you at least gave them something to get their day started. Of course, you don’t want to chow down on doughnuts and candy bars every morning, but even a doughnut every once in a while will help kick your system into gear after a night of sleep.

Get It on the Go

While it’s not always a good idea to eat and run, you may have to make an exception for breakfast. The next time you don’t have time to sit down for a bowl of cereal or oatmeal, don’t sweat it. Grab something and get moving! Good choices for breakfast on the go include a bagel, cup of yogurt, piece of fruit, or granola bar.

Make it even easier to get breakfast in the morning by setting your food out the night before. Put it right by your front door or beside your keys, and you’ll never have to worry about forgetting to eat breakfast again.

Eat It at Your Destination

Ideally, you’ll eat breakfast at home or on the way to work and your kids will eat before leaving for school. But as you know, life isn’t always ideal. Instead of completely missing out on breakfast on a regular basis, keep breakfast foods at work so you can get a little something to eat when you arrive at work.

In the event your children don’t have time to eat breakfast before doing to school, send some breakfast foods with them to eat on the bus. Or if your child’s school offers breakfast, send money with your child to eat breakfast at school. Typically, school breakfasts must meet certain health regulations, so they should provide a balanced meal to get your child’s day started the right way.

Feeding the Picky Ones

If you’re a parent, getting your kids to eat breakfast may not be about having enough time to do so. Rather, you may be dealing with a picky eater who simply isn’t interested in whatever foods you provide at breakfast time. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to get your child to eat breakfast every day – even if he or she is picky.

Try the following to get your pickiest to eat in the early morning:

  • give your children small portions of food that can be eaten even if they claim to not be hungry
  • set a good example by eating breakfast every day with your children
  • keep your kitchen full of kid-friendly breakfast foods that don’t take much effort to prepare
  • encourage your children to make their own breakfasts (this is easy with cereal, toast, yogurt, and/or fruit)

In the event you don’t have enough time to feed your little ones in the morning, the best solution is to wake up a little earlier. It may pain you to think of such a thing, but the benefits of a healthy breakfast far outweigh any dread you feel over hearing your alarm clock earlier than usual.

Back To Basics: Best Leg Exercise

Squats, Squats and Squats.

Ready to get those legs into better shape than they’ve ever been in? Then you’re going to have to give up some of your treadmill time and trade it in for some squat-tastic exercises.


At the core of squats is strengthening your leg muscles. Specifically, squats strengthen your quadriceps and your hamstrings. By giving these muscles an extra helping of strength, you strengthen the muscles that support your knees, ultimately helping your knees avoid injury. Strong knees help you avoid injury during your daily routine, as well as on the athletic field. As squats also require you to maintain good balance, you’ll also give your core a bit of a workout, while increasing your flexibility at the same time. Because of all these benefits, many consider squats to be one of the most useful and necessary pieces of any weight-lifting puzzle.


For maximum effectiveness, you’ll need to practice proper posture with each and every repetition. When beginning your squats, stand upright with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart. With your toes facing directly forward, slowly and carefully bend at the knees, hips, and ankles, as your back remains in a neutral position that hovers over your thighs. If you’re not using weights, allow your arms to extend out in front of you for balance. Once your thighs are approximately parallel to the ground, push up with your hips and knees until you return to the starting position. Repeat and prepare for incredible results.

Going to use weights as you squat? You’ll want to start with proper technique when removing the weight from the rack. To take the weight off the rack, set the barbell on the rack at a height that is approximately as high as the middle of your chest. Place your feet under the bar and squat under the bar as you place the bar on your back. Tighten your entire body and push up to remove the bar from the rack. From this position, take one step backwards with your right foot and then one with your left. You’re now ready to squat.

How Much Weight?

Just getting started with squatting? You’ll probably be squatting more than you weigh soon. But until you get good technique and become comfortable with the movements, keep it light and safe. Do it right for a while and you may wind up squatting more than two times your weight. Do it wrong right away and you’ll be in a world of pain.


Since many people who do squats do them with weights, it’s good to know some different ways to approach squats in the weight room.

Bar Position: For a differing squat routine, hold the barbell at different places on your body. Whereas most squats are performed with the weight resting on the back of your shoulders, holding the barbell in front of your body and directly above your collarbone gives your body a different workout that will help further strengthen your legs.

Body Position: Though most squats begin the same way, where you go from there can make a difference in your body’s response. For something new, try an Olympic squat by lowering your buttocks closer to the ground than normal, while keeping your body more upright than usual. Or go with a power squat by leaning forward farther than usual, as you shift your weight backward.

Leg Position: Instead of having your legs approximately shoulder-width apart, spread them out a bit more and turn your feet outward. This hits the inside of your thighs more than your quads, helping you work even more muscles with the same movement. You’ll need a pretty wide grip on the bar for this one, and you probably won’t be able to get down as far as you can with other squats. Also, if you find it too hard to balance as you squat in this position, don’t turn your feet out as far. The last thing you want is to fall over during a squat.

Split Position: With the barbell resting on the back of your shoulders, place your left leg on a weight bench behind your body, allowing all your weight to balance on your right leg. Slowly bend your right knee until it is approximately parallel to the ground and return to the starting position.