Sunday, August 26, 2012

What are those boys doing with that shopping cart?

In a tight economy, with fewer jobs, many people end up working harder and sacrificing more to stay employed. A new study finds that one of those sacrifices is sometimes our own nutrition and the nutrition of our family as well.

While prior studies have implicated working mothers in providing less healthy family food environments, this is one of the first studies of family nutrition to look at fathers — in particular a population of urban fathers, who face higher rates of unemployment and under-employment. According to lead author Katherine Bauer, an assistant professor of public health and researcher at Temple’s Center for Obesity Research and Education, the study is also one of the first to look at work/family conflict for both parents and to focus on families of adolescents.

Mothers employed full-time “reported fewer family meals, more frequent fast food for family meals, less frequent encouragement of their adolescents’ healthful eating, lower fruit and vegetable intake and less time spent on food preparation, compared to part-time and not-employed mothers,” said Bauer. Meanwhile, the only difference among fathers by employment status was that full-time employed fathers reported significantly fewer hours of food preparation than part-time or not working fathers. However, regardless of employment status, mothers were spending more hours on food preparation than fathers.

When looking at the role of work-life stress, for both moms and dads greater stress levels appeared to interfere with healthful eating opportunities. For example, parents experiencing high levels of work-life stress reported having one and a half fewer family meals per week and eating half a serving less of fruits and vegetables per day, as compared to parents with low levels of work-life stress.

Bauer suggests that spouses, partners and teenagers chip in to help with grocery shopping and preparing and serving healthy family meals.

“We need to teach kids how to cook,” said Bauer. “We know if kids have cooking skills and good eating habits, not only will they be healthier, but as adults they’ll put those skills to use to feed their own children more healthfully.” [1]

While this theory by Ms. Bauer is great idea she fails to consider that most children these days are just as “busy” as their parents.  Society seems to dictate that we always have to be doing something “productive,” and this includes children as well.  Why do kids need schedules, particularly in the summer?  Summer used to be reserved for kids to ride their bikes, swim at the lake, and just play with their friends in general.  I believe this “down time” is incredibly important for the overall development of a child and allows for a window of creative spark and personal growth.  Cooking and/or preparing meals would provide an ideal opportunity for children to become more invested in their nutrition knowledge.

When I was in high school my dad used to give me a “food allowance” and I was tasked with going to the grocery store to “stock” up for the week.  I would drag my younger brother along with me.  We were both reluctant and resisted at first but after a while we actually started to like it especially all the curious looks we had from the employees and other shoppers, “what are those boys doing without their mother?”  You may have expected us to load our cart with cookies, soda, and chips but I can legitimately say that we rarely if ever bought snack food.

I knew the meals we were going to prepare for the week and would make a list of what was needed and that’s what we bought.  So I developed the ability to plan a meal and prepare it with raw materials from scratch.  It also taught us how to maximize our dollars because my dad would give us a set amount and we didn’t want to come up short or else we wouldn’t have anything to eat at weeks end.

I didn’t buy prepared foods; we bought the ingredients separately and created our own meals.  We had a few recipes provided by our mother but for the most part we just “figured” things out and built ourselves a fine reputation as amateur chefs.  That was an extremely important time in my life because it required me to be self-sufficient and it’s a lesson that stuck.  And while my brother did more eating than cooking, he was exposed to it at such a young age that he’s a natural in the kitchen.

I am guessing that most teenagers can’t put together a complete meal and why should they if they’ve never been expected to.  But it can be a valuable lesson that serves them well into adulthood.  I have been making my own meals since I was 12 years old and even after being married for nearly two years; I still do most of the cooking, not because I have to rather because I enjoy it.  My brother is married with two kids, ages 9 and 5, works a full-time job and he is the house cook.

I don’t know if it was my dad’s intention for us to acquire this skill, though upon reflection years later he was an extremely savvy man, but he worked hard on the farm all day and quite frankly he needed us to do the job.  Imagine the stress levels in a home when you sit down with your dad and brother for a home cooked meal…  Needless to say stress was greatly reduced and the time we spent together developed our relationships and my dad always knew what was going on in our lives.  So as you can see it wasn’t just about the specific skill we acquired through grocery shopping. There were many other benefits that branched out for us as young men due to this early exposure.


According to the Health and Human Services National Survey of Children’s Health-and a review of 17 studies published in the June 2011 issue of Pediatrics found that children who share family meals three or more times a week are more likely to be in a normal weight range and have healthier eating and dietary patterns than those who share fewer meals.  “Research suggests kids who regularly eat dinner with their families are also more emotionally stable and less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol,” say Christine Carter, Ph.D.

Phil Loomis
Youth Fitness/Nutrition Specialist

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Bruised but not beaten

I have written in the past about the tremendous opportunity I am afforded when attending the sporting events of the young athletes that I coach.  It allows me to see them in action and observe how their body moves when they are forced to react quickly and frequently to random unrehearsed situations.  However, it also provides valuable information beyond their physical abilities. 

Watching children perform in sports also provides a glimpse into their character and how they handle the demands (both internal and external) of competition.  External demands would be things like opponents, playing surface, weather conditions and even crowd noise.  Internal demands are related in large part to how they handle these external demands.  As an example if an athlete thinks it’s too cold and wet they may talk themselves into an excuse for a poor performance, or the belief that an opponent “plays dirty’” may force them to play more cautiously or more aggressively (depending on the personality of the child) than they normally would.  So in essence the external demands of competition can and often do create an internal demand that must be addressed in order to compete effectively.

There are many qualities that all athletic development programs likely share such as; speed and quickness, core stability, balance, strength and power.  And these are the qualities that parents and coaches are seeking when their child takes part in a training program.  It is my strong opinion that the mental side of sport/competition is just as relevant to their overall athletic development of children.

The importance of the mental game was highlighted during a recent tennis match I attended for one of the young men that I coach.  The match was part of a team tournament at a local athletic club.  I sat with his family courtside on one end of the net.  On the other end of the net about 15 girls and boys that were members of the host club had gathered.  The age range for this group of kids was probably 10-15 years.  I admit to being a newbie when it comes to the tennis-viewing scene but apparently when the player you aren’t supporting hits a bad shot into the net it’s frowned upon to cheer at that time.  Only cheer your guy when he makes a good shot.  And to add further potential fuel to the fire the boys make their own calls on balls in and out of play.

Well guess what happened early and often throughout the match?  When the young man I coach hit a bad shot the kids would jump up and down, yell, clap and cheer wildly.  There were frequent disputed calls between the two boys that resulted in a stalemate and a resolution process that I still don’t quite understand.  I won’t go in to the details but the mother of my athlete resorted in the end to calling over tournament officials who had to basically watch the rest of the match to keep everyone in line.

There are a couple of issues that I would like to touch on from this experience.   First, the boy that I coach was clearly the more skilled player but he lost his composure and provided the crowd and his opponent and opportunity to exploit his emotions.  It clearly changed the way he played and not for the better.  Once tournament officials arrived he was able to settle down and win the match but there is no doubt that I came away from that match with a rather significant issue to address.  The “fix” for his response to less than ideal external circumstances will take practice but most coaches should and do have tools to address these issues.  As an athlete you have only two things that are within your control and if you relinquish them you give away your competitive edge.  An athlete can control their approach to competition; in short they need a mental game plan going into the competition that is reliable and consistent.  If it’s cold outside tell yourself before the game “it’s going to be cold but I have practiced and played in these conditions before and have succeeded in spite of the conditions.”  That is a positive approach to a game that may be played in inclement weather.

Young athletes can also control how they respond to external demands.  If a hockey player takes a shot at the net but the goalie makes an amazing save he can respond in two ways he can slam his stick to the ice and grow frustrated or he can prepare for the face off and return to his reliable approach.  “The goalie made a great save, but it won’t discourage me from taking that same shot again when I get another opportunity because it was a high percentage shot on goal.”   This would be a positive response to a poor result. 

As coaches we need to develop the mindset in young athletes that results (statistics, wins and losses) are not within their control.  The things they can control are their mental approach to the game and how they respond to external demands.  The best athletes in the world are not raging infernos nor are they flickering lights.  Rather the most consistent and reliable competitors give off a steady supply of light and heat.

We have all watched the Olympics this past month and marveled at the ability of the athletes to perform and maintain their exposure in high-pressure situations.   It’s almost as though when the heat gets turned up on these athletes their blood pressure goes down and their nerves get calm.  This is because they have learned to embrace the pressure and have acknowledged that the lights, cameras and stage are beyond their control.

World-class competitors on the field of play and in the game of life have learned the essential element of success and it runs much deeper than mere physical mastery.  True champions learn the art of self-control and mastery of the mental game.


I nearly forgot to mention the second issue I gleaned from the tennis match and that is another element of athletic development that must be addressed and that is sportsmanship.  To compete and give your best effort is noble indeed but to resort to jeering, trash talking, even cheating abandons the very essence of competition.  If sports aren’t used as a tool to bring out the best in our kids why bother?  Sports are a tremendous opportunity to instill leadership at a stage in life when kids are in need of positive guidance.  I do not fault the kids at this tennis match for their behavior.  Their coach saw it and told them to stop but they persisted even in his presence.  This tells me the kids don’t respect the words of that coach and that leadership and the mental game of athletic development are not key attributes of that program.  The best coaches will simply not tolerate that behavior, they are developing athletes in need of guidance and winning just isn’t that important in comparison.

A bonus tidbit here, the boy that I coach was waiting for someone to bail him out, someone that would make the noise and jeering go away.  This really hit me when I was watching him because he looked so frustrated and helpless.  He was waiting for someone or something to arrive and save the day.   If tournament officials hadn’t arrived to calm things down would he have responded as positively as he did?  I can’t answer that for sure.  I do know however that this young mean will face the same situation several more times in the future if he aspires to higher more intense levels of competition, and he does.

This lesson arrived early enough where it can now be addressed.  But as parents and coaches it can hurt to watch our children suffer through awkward moments such as this but I feel we provide them with a false sense of security if we always try to break their fall or save the day.  One day they will be on their own and we won’t be there to bail them out.  If that ‘s the case will they be prepared to handle the situation on their own?  Remember when you or your child rode a bike for the first time?  I feel and cried a little bit, ok a lot, but I picked myself back up on got back on that bike because I didn’t want to be left behind.  Eventually I learned how to stay up right and avoid the pain.  The process may have left me bruised and bloodied in the short-term but I survived and it made me stronger in the long run with a deeper sense of self-efficacy.

Complimentary Reading:

Though this article highlights the talent evaluation process for professional baseball, it provides excellent insight into what many pro scouts and college recruiters look for when evaluating young athletes (pay close attention to the Beyond the Baseball Field paragraph):

Phil Loomis
Youth Fitness/Nutrition Specialist

Friday, August 10, 2012

Lessons From London

The Olympics draw to a close this weekend and I just wanted to share a few observations I had over the past few weeks.

The Olympics draw in nearly everyone to watch whether it’s because of the spectacle, the relatively infrequent occurrence (every four years) makes it feel like a special event and I believe most of us watch with a strong sense of patriotism as we pull for Team USA.  The conversations I have had the past couple of weeks with people that were genuinely interested in the Olympics extended from teenagers to grandparents.

What always captures my attention is not only the diverse viewership but the diversity of the athletes as well.  Look at the gold medal winning women’s beach volleyball team of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings.  Misty looks compact and strong while Kerri is long and lanky.  Yet together they make a world-class team.  The “fastest” man in the world; Usain Bolt is a long limbed, explosive athlete who is seemingly chiseled from granite.  While American marathon runner Ryan Hall is a very slight 5’10 weighing in at 134 pounds but he can run all day long.  Michael Phelps has the wingspan of a pterodactyl, while his team USA rival Ryan Lochte is a compact 6’1 194 pounds.

What this points to is that even within the same sport body types can vary even at the elite levels of competition.  While it makes sense for tall long limbed athletes like Phelps or Bolt to play basketball I doubt they would have attained the level of success that they achieved if that had gone that route.  Which brings me to my main point with all of this; diversity and exposure are key variables for developing young athletes.

Size and shape can be an advantage in certain sports but they are not the limiting factors we have been lead to believe and the Olympics are a perfect example of this.  When kids are young rather than early specializations in one-sport kids should be exposed to a variety of sports and activities.  This will allow them to build a strong foundation of athleticism and eventually to develop into sport masters like we see in the Olympics.   But if the athletic foundation is to narrow that mastery will very likely never be attained.  Not to mention with this diverse exposure at a young age kids will naturally gravitate toward the sports they are the best at.  If a kid enjoys something they are very likely good at it and this enthusiasm for the sport will keep them motivated to consistently improve.  And consistent improvement over the long-term is the best way to attain sport specific success when the athlete is fully mature and the stakes are the highest.

In America we tend to focus on sports such as baseball, hockey, football and soccer for the development of our young athletes but if you expose kids to variety of activities early on they just may discover a love and passion for a sport that isn’t on our radar.  Water polo anyone…

I have written in the past about the lack of role models for female athletes.  However, every four years the Olympics provide a terrific opportunity to showcase female athletes.

So as a coach if I can highlight something an elite level female is doing to improve her health and performance I want to point that out.

Natalie Coughlin is tied for the most career medals won by an American woman with 12.  She won a bronze in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay at the Olympics in London last Saturday night.

This is not a topic that I have delved into in the past but one of the reasons men and women work out is to feel good about the way they look.  The physical benefits achieved from training go far beyond muscle tone and improved sport skill.

Many of the same things that aid Coughlin in her training also help her beauty routine.

"Eating well and taking care of your body is the No. 1 most important thing for good hair, good skin and good nails," she says. "Your nutritional needs show up on your hair, skin and nails."

Her diet is a lot of fruits and vegetables, and she calls green smoothies, filled with kale, spinach, parsley, bananas and coconut water, her "secret weapon."

"It's a way to eat a gigantic salad in a condensed way," she explains. [1]

Many teen-age girls may have a negative perception about being physically active.   They may fear that it might “bulk” them up with gross looking muscles or they may perceive that it isn’t very “cool” or lady-like for them to sweat.  While the bulking up thing is very unlikely due to low levels of hormones like testosterone in females the idea that a woman is less than a lady if she sweats is just as preposterous.

That said, sometimes we have to meet the children where they are at instead of telling them they are wrong a better approach would be to appeal to their sense of self and let them know the other benefits associated with practicing a healthier lifestyle.

If I have to convince a young girl to train because I want her to reduce her risk of on field injury and ensure that she will develop into a fit and healthy young woman by telling her that it will make her hair, skin and nails look awesome I am going to do that.   I will give her what she wants while also providing her with what I know she will need in the long run.  With this approach everybody wins!


Another key lesson that can be gleaned from London for developing young athletes is dealing with failure.

A big part of reality is that most of the athletes that go to the Olympic games to compete, will not head home with a medal. A majority of the athletes at the Olympic games will end their Olympic career in defeat. Does that mean that they are a failure? No, not at all but it does mean that dealing with failure or defeat is part of choosing to be an athlete.   And how they respond to failure will ultimately determine whether or not they will be successful not only on the field of play but in the game of life as well.

Learning to deal with defeat, or setbacks in competition or training is part of being an athlete. Young athletes who learn this lesson and are coached up on it can benefit greatly by embracing the idea that each defeat is just another opportunity to get better.

We all cringe when the young gymnast falls to the mat and we lament that she just lost her opportunity to win a medal.  But the only really loss occurs if she runs and hides and allows that one mistake to define who and what she is as a person.  We can use failure as an opportunity to strengthen our character or we can allow it to use us and it will eventually eat at our self-esteem.

Standing tall after mistakes is the mark of true champion! 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Want to Build Muscle and Lose Fat? You'll Need Plenty of This...

Last week I touched one the importance of “picking the lowest lying fruit first,” if you want to rapidly improve your performance on the field of play and in the game of life.  In my experience nutrition is number one but sleeping is a close second.  Why is sleep so vital to athletic development?

Sleep stages

Five stages occur during sleep.  Light sleep occurs during stages one and two, while stages three and four are deep sleep.  It’s in stages three and four that Growth Hormone (GH) secretion occurs.  Rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, generally when dreaming occurs, takes place during stage five. A full cycle through these five stages occurs about every 90 minutes.  If numerous full cycles of sleep aren’t attained most nights, GH secretion can diminish and influence physical and mental restoration.  When someone sleeps less than his or her body needs, not only is GH secretion lowered, but also overall exercise performance can taper off.  It may feel as though the exerciser is working very hard when they really aren’t. [1]

Sleep is associated with the release of hormones such as GH. This may be why sleep helps us repair and recover. Sleep associated GH secretion has also been linked to the nocturnal rise in fatty acid release.  As one ages, there is a decrease in sleep duration and GH secretion. Sleep deprivation in young individuals reduces GH secretion and may contribute to premature development of the metabolic syndrome (a combination of medical disorders that, when occurring together, increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes).  GH secretion peaks late at night.

Why is growth hormone so important?

GH helps bone, muscle, and other tissues grow.

In the muscle, GH stimulates protein synthesis as well as fat metabolism. GH recruits fatty acids from storage and tells the body to use fatty acids for energy.  The effects of GH on fat mobilization can begin at 20 minutes after release and last up to 3 hours.

Interestingly, as GH limits the storage of fats and mobilizes them for energy, blood sugar levels concurrently increase. In this way, GH “spares” carbohydrates from breakdown, and the level of sugar in the blood increases. This is why long-term GH replacement must be carefully monitored and is not something to be taken lightly as it could lead to insulin resistance (type-2 diabetes).

Intense exercise like all out sprinting and heavy weight lifting is also associated with the release of GH. 

GH also

Increases fat breakdown and utilization
Increases collagen synthesis and cartilage growth
Increases retention of nitrogen, sodium, potassium, and phosphorus
Increases kidney flow and filtration
Enhances immune function [2]

I think it’s pretty apparent why sleep is so important to athletic development and specifically it’s contribution to body composition and tissue repair.  If you constantly beat your body up in sport and training and don’t allow the rest time for your muscles, tendons, and ligaments to recover you are setting yourself up for poor performance and eventually nagging injuries that can lead to more severe injuries down the road.

That said, working out in the morning is essential for many adults and some schools are holding before school practices and workout sessions.  If morning workouts are your best option or even a requirement there are a few things you should consider:

We are creatures of habit – not only psychologically and socially, but physiologically as well.  If you need proof, all you have to do is read up on shift work disorder, which shows that simply changing one’s sleep and work schedule can have some profound consequences for our health. [3]

With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that changing the time of day when one’s workout routine takes place is a huge deal for everything from mood to performance.  Perhaps the most common adjustment that takes place is when someone decides to exercise in the morning.  It may be because a long day at work or class is too exhausting to be 100% when you hit the gym after it’s over, or you may just not want to wait for equipment access in a crowded gym at 6PM.  Or, it could be because a parent is super busy with kids’ after-school activities, so first thing in the morning before they wake up is the best bet for getting in a strength and conditioning program.

Whatever the reason, the adjustment to exercise in the morning is without a doubt the toughest “time change” one could make.  With that in mind, here are five keys to making it a smooth transition:

1. Get to bed earlier.

If you’re someone who is accustomed to sleeping 12AM-8AM, then racing to be to work at 9AM, it’s going to be an adjustment if you want to start training at 6AM before you head to work.  You’re only making it tougher if you decide that you’re simply going to sleep 12AM-5AM. It’s also going to crush your productivity for the rest of the day, as you’ll be sleepwalking rather than enjoying the post-exercise energy boost most people experience.  If you want to be up at 5AM or 6AM to train, you’ve got to be in bed by 10PM.  In fact, I always advise my clients that an hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours after midnight.

2. Stand up for a bit.

First thing in the morning most of us likely feel a little stiff and slow.  Move around the house and maybe if take a quick one-minute warm shower to “lube” your body up before you hit the gym or track.

3. Extend the warm-up.

It’s a good idea to add a few more dynamic warm-up drills like jumping rope or walking lunges to your pre-exercise routine.  Typically, I have kids do between eight and ten drills (adults 5-6), but those who exercise in the morning are better off with as many as 15.  It might add five minutes to your dynamic warm-up, but that’s far better than spending far more than five minutes in physical therapy for an injury you got from insufficiently warming up!

4. Tinker with various nutrition approaches.

To eat or not to eat that is the question?  And the answer as it usually is in these matters is it depends on the person and their goals.  There is strong scientific support for the notion of exercising first thing in the morning ion an empty stomach to more efficiently burn body fat.  But for every 10 people that can exercise well while fasted there are 4 people that will become dizzy and nearly faint if their tank is on empty.

Generally if these exercise session is going to be intense like a sport practice/competition or heavy/explosive resistance training it’s a good idea to consume something about an hour before the workout.  If the session is more moderate like jogging or yoga there won’t be as great a requirement for fueling up prior to working out.  It’s best to stick with foods that settle well with you and are easy to digest if you do choose to eat before training.  Fruit with yogurt and/or kefir are but a few foods that are usually good options before training.

If you cannot exercise in a fasted state due to fatigue, or simply opt not to for some other reason, you can also consume whey protein before exercise. It's an excellent breakfast choice. A 2010 study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise demonstrated that consuming whey protein (20g protein / serving) 30 minutes before resistance training can boost your body's metabolism for as much as 24 hours after your workout. [4]

Whether you choose to exercise on an empty stomach or not, your post exercise meal is crucial to stop the breakdown of muscle and shift the process toward repair and growth.

If you fail to feed your muscle at the right time after exercise, the breakdown process will go too far and can potentially damage your muscle. The correct time to eat is within 30 minutes after your workout. Your meal should include fast-assimilating proteins, such as high-quality whey protein with no sugar added and for kids grass-fed milk even chocolate is a good post-workout refueling option.

5. Recruit a training partner.

A training partner is almost always a good idea, but this is especially true when you’re up at the crack of dawn and not necessarily in the mindset to really push yourself.  Plus, when you’re awake for exercise before the sun rises, you’re far more likely to hit the snooze button if someone isn’t waiting for you at the gym.

While training first thing in the morning isn’t exactly ideal, it may be your only option for staying consistent with your workout routine – and consistency is the name of the game.  Implement these strategies to get the most out of your early morning training sessions.


While I am on the topic of sleep I thought I would also address a related symptom when you don’t get enough.  A recent study revealed how detrimental fatigue can be on sport performance.

It is one of many studies that show that muscular fatigue impairs coordination.
I suppose it is not surprising that fatigue impairs coordination, but I can see at least three practical implications from this study that are often ignored.

1. To optimize motor learning, minimize fatigue

Movement skills are best learned and refined in a context that is free from stress, pain and fatigue. For example, at a recent speed and agility camp a few brave campers asked if we were going to run “gassers?”  For the uninitiated this is where the coach has kids run back and forth and repetitively touch lines on the field or court to “improve’ their speed/endurance.  All I observe are a bunch of kids who look liked wounded animals as they drag themselves to the finish line.  I respond as I always do in these occasions; “No gassers! My goal isn’t to make you tired it’s to make you better.”

 So next time you are doing yoga, Olympic lifts, sprinting technique, or any other movement with the primary intention of improving your coordination and skill, realize that performing the movements without adequate rest might work counter to your goals.  If young athletes want to maximize their skill they must practice with speed and intensity; two qualities that are greatly diminished when they are to tired to stand up straight.

2. Skill under fatigue may be a skill in itself

What a second… Doesn’t this idea contradict concept #1?  Almost all sports require that you show your skill while tired. This would imply that, for example, basketball players should practice free throws after running some sprints.  This all comes down to timing.  With younger athletes (6-14 years of age) skill acquisition and refinement are of primary importance under the scope of long-term development.  In the high school years (15-18) practicing skills while fatigued is an essential progression for the maturing athlete.  For the younger kids its counter productive their bodies are not mature enough to handle the competing demands.

3. To avoid skill deterioration from fatigue, work on your fitness

I have frequently experienced the pain of watching my skills and the skills of others completely deteriorate after getting gassed from too much running. It’s not just a matter of being too tired to execute the moves, it’s more like the feeling after you just wake up– you feel unbalanced, unfocussed, and just sloppy in your movement. I am not certain if anyone watches boxing anymore but in the later rounds the fighters are holding on to each other and can hardly move let alone execute any effective skill.

Sometimes after a poor performance you will pick apart your game and wonder what happened, why your skill didn’t hold up?   Don’t overlook the obvious prescription – you may need to do more sprints and conditioning to get fit. This is a high payoff way to get better for mature athletes, not just because it gives you more energy to chase opponents, hit balls or stop pucks, but also because it prevents the deterioration of your skill that occurs with fatigue. On the field of play and in the game of life, fitness and skill can be hard to separate.  Just remember timing is everything!