Sugar by Any Other Name: How To Tell Whether Your Drink Is Sweetened

June 14th, 2019 by Athletic Mentors Staff

Sweeteners that add calories to a beverage go by many different names and are not always obvious to anyone looking at the ingredients list. Cutting out sugary beverages is a big step in making healthy diet choices. Some common caloric sweeteners are listed below. If these appear in the ingredients list of your favorite beverage, you are drinking a sugar-sweetened beverage.


  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Syrup
  • Corn syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Dextrose

    High-Calorie Culprits in Unexpected Places

    Coffee drinks and blended fruit smoothies sound innocent enough, but the calories in some of your favorite coffee-shop or smoothie-stand items may surprise you. Check the Web site or in-store nutrition information of your favorite coffee or smoothie shop to find out how many calories are in different menu items. And when a smoothie or coffee craving kicks in, here are some tips to help minimize the caloric damage:

    At the coffee shop:

    Order the smallest size available unless you are ordering plain black coffee.
    Forgo the extra flavoring – the flavor syrups used in coffee shops, like vanilla or hazelnut, are sugar-sweetened and will add calories to your drink.
    Skip the Whip. The whipped cream on top of coffee drinks adds sugar.
    Get back to basics. Order a plain cup of coffee with milk and or drink it black.
    At the smoothie stand:
    Order a child’s size if available.
    Ask to see the nutrition information for each type of smoothie and pick the smoothie with natural ingredients and no added sugars and syrups.
    Hold the sugar. Many smoothies contain added sugar in addition to the sugar naturally in fruit, juice, or yogurt. Ask that your smoothie be prepared without added sugar: the fruit is naturally sweet.

    Better Beverage Choices Made Easy

    Now that you know how much difference a drink can make, here are some ways to make smart beverage choices:
    Choose water or plain iced tea instead of sugar-sweetened beverages.
    For a quick, easy, and inexpensive thirst-quencher, carry a water bottle and refill it throughout the day.
    Don’t “stock the fridge” with sugar-sweetened beverages. Instead, keep a jug or bottles of cold water in the fridge.
    Serve water with meals.

    Make water more exciting by adding slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, or watermelon, or drink sparkling water.
    Add a splash of 100% juice to plain sparkling water for a refreshing, low-calorie drink.
    Be a role model for your friends and family by making water your preferred beverage choice.

What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Sugar?

May 30th, 2019 by Athletic Mentors Staff

By Erin Young

We all know to go easy on the sweet stuff, but what actually happens to your system when you indulge? Here, eight ways sugar affects your body.

Your brain suffers

Fructose—the sugar that naturally occurs in fruit and is a component, with glucose, of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)

 and table sugar—lights up the brain’s reward center. But over time, a diet packed with fructose (especially from HFCS) can make it tougher to learn and remember, animal research suggests. To stay in peak mental shape, try sticking with whole foods like fresh produce and snack of foods that are packed with nutrition.

You want to eat more

By revving the brain’s reward and appetite center, fructose can interfere with feelings of satiety,or feeling full. Translation: That 3pm cookie may not curb your craving after all. You’ll just want two.

Skin ages faster

Too much sugar can hinder the repair of collagen, the protein that keeps skin looking young. A steady diet of sugary treats can result in reduced elasticity and premature wrinkles. Indulge your sweet tooth with a serving of fruit instead.

Excess sugar is stored as fat

Pause before you slip that additional packet into your a.m. coffee. The liver has an innate capacity to metabolize sugar and use it for energy—but only to an extent. The fructose that’s left over is converted into fat in the liver, raising your risk of obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease.

Your cells pay a steep price

Sugar accelerates the oxidation process in our cells. Healthy cells are attacked by free radicals that destroy or mutate the healthy cell. For athletes, this means poor recovery. The result? Proteins, tissues, muscles and organs can become damaged, and our risk of health conditions, including liver disease, kidney failure, and cataracts, rises.

You get hooked

Eating sugar leads to the release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that makes us like something and want more of it. As dopamine receptor neurons get overstimulated, the number of receptors to bind to decreases, so you’ll need a bigger hit of dopamine to get the same rush. Three Hershey kisses after lunch today, five tomorrow…

Stress eating begets stress

Sweets can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the near term, research shows. But continue OD’ing on sugary refined carbs and your risk of insulin resistance, which stresses the body from the inside, goes up. To find your calm, sweat instead: Exercise is the best treatment for stress. It makes you feel good and reduces cortisol.

Energy surges, then bottoms out

Refined carbs, like those in white bread and pasta, quickly cause a rise in glucose in the bloodstream, so you might feel extra energized… for a while. But this short-term fix can actually leave you more sluggish later on (when you eventually crash). Instead, opt for protein and nutrient snacks between meals, such as Greek yogurt with fresh berries or fresh veggies and hummus. They help stabilize blood sugar and keep you going longer.


May 2nd, 2019 by Athletic Mentors Staff

So you know you need to read labels to watch your sugar intake. What CAN you eat? Think of food as fuel. You wouldn’t put cake batter into your vehicle because it wouldn’t run very well. Think of what you put into your body in the same manner so that your body can perform at it’s best physically, mentally and especially emotionally. You need to get the most out of what you eat and these foods pack a major punch in peak performance for all areas of your life. Fresh produce is always a winning choice. It’s like premium in the Porsche! Try adding a few of these to your diet while kicking out the sugar. Most of them fit great on a big lunch salad.

1) Leafy greensDark, leafy greens are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium, as well as several phytochemicals They also add fiber into the diet.

2) AvocadosAvocados contain nearly 20 vitamins and minerals including potassium, vitamin E, vitamin C, B vitamins, and folic acid.

3) Fish  Fish is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease. All salmon is a healthy source of omega-3s—one 3-ounce serving delivers 700 to 1,800 milligrams.

4) Cruciferous vegetables – Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes, and turnips. They are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables may significantly lower the risk of several cancers.

5) Fermented Foods – As in Yogurt or Kumbacha. This “good bacteria” is imperative to gut health. Minus the sugar of course. Buy plain yogurt and add a few nuts and blueberries.

6) Blueberries – These contain high levels of antioxidants that help the body fight inflammation. Blueberries also cut risk of heart disease and cancer, as well as memory loss.

7) Beets – Beets have been shown to help offset the risk of many chronic diseases due to their high levels of vitamin B, iron, copper, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.

8) Nuts – Whether you choose almonds, pine nuts, pecans, or macadamias, nuts are one of the healthiest on-the-go snack options because of their healthy levels of unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids.

9. Olive oil and Lemon Juice – Unlock the secrets of nature’s finest ingredients with our premium-quality Superfood Olive Oil and Lemon Juice. This potent combination, rich in essential nutrients and antioxidants, is the ultimate solution to elevate your health and wellness.

21 Health and Nutrition Tips That Are Actually Evidence-Based

April 25th, 2019 by Athletic Mentors Staff
  1. Don’t Drink Sugar Calories
    Sugary drinks are the most fattening things you can put into your body. Sugary drinks are strongly associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and all sorts of health problems. Keep in mind that fruit juices are almost as bad as soda in this regard. They contain just as much sugar, and the small amounts of antioxidants do NOT negate the harmful effects of the sugar.
  2. Eat Nuts
    Despite being calorie dense, nuts are incredibly nutritious and healthy. They are loaded with magnesium, vitamin E, fiber and various other nutrients.
  3. Avoid Processed Junk Food (Eat Real Food Instead)
    All the processed junk foods in the diet are the biggest reason the world is fatter and sicker than ever before. These foods have been engineered to be “hyper-rewarding,” so they trick our brains into eating more than we need.
  4. Don’t Fear Coffee
    Coffee has been unfairly demonized. The truth is that it’s actually very healthy and high in antioxidants.
  5. Eat Fatty Fish
    Especially fatty fish, like salmon, which is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and various other nutrients.
  6. Get Enough Sleep
    The importance of getting enough quality sleep can not be overstated. It may be just as important as diet and exercise, if not more. Poor sleep can drive insulin resistance, throw your appetite hormones out of whack and reduce your physical and mental performance.
  7. Drink Plenty of Water, Especially Before Meals
    Drinking enough water can have numerous benefits. One important factor is that it can help boost the number of calories you burn. According to 2 studies, it can boost metabolism by 24-30% over a period of 1-1.5 hours.
  8. Don’t Overcook or Burn Your Meat
    Meat can be a nutritious and healthy part of the diet. It is very high in protein and contains various important nutrients. The problems occur when meat is overcooked and burnt. This can lead to the formation of harmful compounds that raise the risk of cancer.
  9. Avoid Bright Lights Before Sleep
    When we’re exposed to bright lights in the evening, this disrupts the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. An interesting “hack” is to use a pair of amber-tinted glasses that block blue light from entering your eyes in the evening.
  10. Eat Vegetables and Fruits
    Vegetables and fruits are the “default” health foods and for good reason.They are loaded with prebiotic fiber, vitamins, minerals and all sorts of antioxidants, some of which have potent biological effects. Studies show that people who eat the most vegetables and fruits live longer, and have a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and all sorts of diseases.
  11. Do Some Cardio, or Just Walk More
    Doing aerobic exercise (or cardio) is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health. It is particularly effective at reducing belly fat, the harmful type of fat that builds up around your organs. Reduced belly fat should lead to major improvements in metabolic health.
  12. Don’t Smoke or do Drugs, and Only Drink in Moderation
    If you’re a smoker or abuse drugs, then diet and exercise are the least of your worries. Tackle those problems first. If you choose to include alcohol in your life, then do so in moderation only, and consider avoiding it completely if you have alcoholic tendencies.
  13. Minimize Your Intake of Added Sugars
    Added sugar is the single worst ingredient in the modern diet. It can wreak havoc on metabolic health. A high intake of added sugar is linked to numerous diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and many forms of cancer.
  14. Don’t Eat a Lot of Refined Carbohydrates
    Not all carbs are created equal. Refined carbs have been highly processed, and have had all the fiber removed from them. They are low in nutrients (empty calories), and can be extremely harmful.
  15. Don’t Fear Saturated Fat
    The “war” on saturated fat was a mistake. It is true that saturated fat raises cholesterol, but it also raises HDL (the “good”) cholesterol and changes the LDL from small to large, which is linked to a lower risk of heart disease.New studies that included hundreds of thousands of people have shown that there is no link between saturated fat consumption and heart disease.
  16. Lift Heavy Things
    Lifting weights is one of the best things you can do to strengthen your body and improve your body composition. It also leads to massive improvements in metabolic health, including improved insulin sensitivity. The best approach is to go to a gym and lift weights, but doing bodyweight exercises can be just as effective.
  17. Avoid Artificial Trans Fats
    Artificial trans fats are harmful, man-made fats that are strongly linked to inflammation and heart disease. It is best to avoid them like the plague.
  18. Use Plenty of Herbs and Spices
    There are many incredibly healthy herbs and spices out there. For example, ginger and turmeric both have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, leading to various health benefits. You should make an effort to include as many different herbs and spices as you can. Many of them can have powerful beneficial effects on your health.
  19. Take Care of Your Relationships
    Social relationships are incredibly important. Not only for your mental wellbeing but your physical health as well. Studies show that people who are close to friends and family are healthier and live much longer than those who are not.
  20. Don’t go on a “Diet”
    Instead of going on a diet, try adopting a healthier lifestyle. Focus on nourishing your body, instead of depriving it. Weight loss should follow as a natural side effect of better food choices and improved metabolic health.
  21. Eat Eggs, and Don’t Throw Away The Yolk
    Whole eggs are so nutritious that they’re often referred to as “nature’s multivitamin.” It is a myth that eggs are bad for you because of the cholesterol.

Athletic Mentors Athlete Nathan Williard Wins Gold

February 28th, 2019 by Athletic Mentors Staff
On Saturday February 23rd, Nathan Willard competed in his very first power lifting meet, and ended up winning it all! Nathan finished with some very impressive numbers. He had a 305 pound bench press, which was the heaviest at the meet! He also squatted 305 pounds, and pulled a whopping 440 pound dead lift!
Nathan started training with the Athletic Mentors team back in April of 2018 originally for football and re-hab after ACL surgery. He wanted to get an edge on his competition by getting some extra strength training, along with some speed and agility. Right away we noticed Nathan’s mind blowing strength. The more he worked with us, the more his numbers continued to increase in all of his lifts. After his football season ended, Nathan reached out to us about an interest in power lifting.  Mark Olson started a program for him, and as a team,  we all got a chance to work with him as he prepared for his competition.
Congratulations Nathan…hope this meet is just one of many to come.  AM will continue to raise the bar!  Best of luck to Nathan on March 9th at the high school state championships!!! 

What Is Processed Food and Why Is It Bad For Me?

February 27th, 2019 by Athletic Mentors Staff

Get into the habit of reading every food label to look for added sugars and corn syrup. If you cannot pronounce the name of the ingredient, chances are you shouldn’t put it in your body. Processed foods are to blame for obesity rates, high blood pressure and the rise of Type 2 diabetes. If you have to unwrap it or take it out of a box, it is a processed food. Processed foods fall on a spectrum from minimally to heavily processed:

  • Minimally processed foods — such as bagged spinach, cut vegetables and nuts — often are simply pre-prepped for convenience. They are good for you and often make it easier to eat healthy.
  • Foods processed at their peak to lock in nutritional quality and freshness include canned tomatoes, frozen fruit and vegetables, and canned tuna. Just read labels and buy items without added sugars. Doing your own canning is far more tastier, healthier and rewarding!
  • Foods with ingredients added for flavor and texture (sweeteners, spices, oils, colors and preservatives) include jarred pasta sauce, salad dressing, and yogurt. These foods aren’t the worst offenders, but be aware that most of these pack as much sugar as a candy bar.
  • Ready-to-eat foods — such as crackers, breads, granola, chips and deli meat — are heavily processed and lack nutrition.
  • The most heavily processed foods often are pre-made meals including frozen pizza, boxed macaroni, drive-thru meals and microwaveable dinners. You are getting zero nutrition from these meals, they are calorie dense and there are a number of adverse side effects to your health.

A good, general rule of thumb is to “keep it fresh”. If you are sticking to foods that would go bad within a week or so in your refrigerator, you are making good food choices. Salads, fresh vegetables, fresh meats, eggs and cheese won’t stay fresh too much longer than that. If it does, be skeptical of its’ nutritional value and effect on your health. The “real foods” are the foods that are going to keep you healthy and thriving for many years!

2018 GKSA Spring Training Camps

January 18th, 2018 by Athletic Mentors Staff


Session 1:

Wednesday, March 7th – Monday,April 19th
There will be NO sessions during spring break week

Session 2:

Monday, April 23rd – Monday, June 4th


$400.00 per session for GKSA Members
$445.00 per session for NON GKSA Members

If BOTH sessions are purchased before March 1st the cost is $750.00


Training Schedule





Juvenile 4:00 – 5:15 4:15 – 5:15 4:00 – 5:15
Intermediate 6:15 – 7:15 6:30 – 7:30 6:15 – 7:15