Mike Dube has made it his professional and personal mission to help keep America’s children healthy — and happy.
As childhood obesity is reaching near epidemic levels nationwide, the New Jersey-based personal trainer and youth coach’s work becomes even more challenging and important these days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nearly 14 million children and adolescents in the United States, including about 20 percent of 12- to 19-year-olds, are suffering from obesity.
Dube, a former college basketball player at Yeshiva University, along with his wife Rachel, built The Elite Method, a youth coaching program created for helping area kids stay active through sports and fitness. The Dubes, along with their team of coaches, engage kids in a host of calorie-burning and confidence-boosting activities, from warmup exercises to sports fundamental drills and interactive games to even a cooldown relaxation session that challenges both the minds and bodies of each child.
“Esteem, Leadership, Intuition, Transformation and Empowerment are the guiding principles behind our sessions,” says Dube, who is also a founder of also a founding partner of nonprofit Sharing Seats, which provides unused event tickets—from sports to shows to music events, to sick and underprivileged children. “I personally like to call it ‘the Magic.’”
What is your fitness background?
I grew up playing sports with my brothers when I was a child. But I never really appreciated the benefits of fitness until I played college basketball about 25 years ago. I learned that conditioning and strength training could make me a more well-rounded athlete. Ever since my years on the Yeshiva University D-3 basketball team, I’ve incorporated fitness into my daily routine. Now it’s a lifestyle for me.
Why did you become a trainer?
It was by happy accident. My path was set to go in a different direction, but friends and co-workers saw how passionate I was about helping and teaching others, and my fitness career began. Now, I couldn't be happier.
What is your training philosophy?
Training is about helping and teaching others. Helping people make a change, teaching them how to evolve with that change. It's the greatest feeling to see my clients thrive and really be proud of themselves. I always tell my clients: "Sweat the feeling before and you will enjoy the feeling afterward.”
As a youth trainer/coach, do you see kids in poorer shape these days?
Yes, that’s 100% true. I’ve seen many children who are addicted to video games and the sedentary behavior that it creates. Video games and apps are creating a generation of unmotivated kids with a host of emotional issues from an inability to socialize due to do the time they spend staring at a screen and not interacting with live people, not to mention the physical issues it creates.
Besides obesity, are you seeing kids suffering muscle/joint pain from lack of movement due to extended video-game playing?
Yes, I have noticed that the kids that spend more time playing on a device or even watching TV have poor posture and often have a lack of endurance when we get outside for a session.
Is there a solid piece of advice for parents to help keep their kids interested in exercise?
Be an example for your kids. They’ll often do what they see and not what you say. Show them that value in fitness and believe that health and fitness are important part of your lifestyle.
Any tips for family workouts at home? I encourage parents to workout with their kids, but they need to make it enjoyable. Kids normally march to their own beat. But don't push them—it will backfire! I have two teenagers who play sports and are very active but they never wanted to exercise with me until recently. Now, we have the best time together.
What’s a great 20-minute outdoor, minimal-equipment workout that families can do together?
I always tell parents to get a jump rope, a light medicine ball, music and a good attitude. These fairly inexpensive pieces of equipment give a full body workout for the whole family. There are so many different exercises that can be done.
GET FAMILY FIT
TIME: 20 minutes
EQUIPMENT NEEDED: yoga mat, medicine ball, jump rope
WARMUP: Some light toe touches and arm circles for two minutes
THE WORKOUT: 2 rounds of:
20 Jumping Jacks
20 Jump Rope Rotations
10 Front Lunges
10 Back Lunges
10 Medicine Ball Curl to Press Lift a light-weight medicine ball off the ground. Curl it to work your biceps then lift over your head then down to the ground. That’s one rep.
Plank: 1 minute
To stay updated with Mike and The Elite Method, follow him here.
by Jeff Tomko