Official Blog

Accounting is usually seen as having two distinct strands, Management and Financial accounting. Management accounting, which seeks to meet the needs of managers and Financial accounting, which seeks to meet the accounting needs of all of the other users. The differences between the two types of accounting reflect the different user groups that they address. Briefly, the major differences are as follows:

    • Nature of the reports produced. Financial accounting reports tend to be general purpose. That is, they contain financial information that will be useful for a broad range of users and decisions rather than being specifically designed for the needs of a particular group or set of decisions. Management accounting reports, on the other hand, are often for a specific purpose. They are designed either with a particular decision in mind or for a particular manager.

 

    • Level of detail. Financial reports provide users with a broad overview of the performance and position of the business for a period. As a result, information is aggregated and detail is often lost. Management accounting reports, however, often provide managers with considerable detail to help them with a particular operational decision.

 

    • Regulations. Financial reports, for many businesses, are subject to accounting regulations that try to ensure they are produced with standard content and in a standard format. Law and accounting rule setters impose these regulations. Since management accounting reports are for internal use only, there are no regulations from external sources concerning the form and content of the reports. They can be designed to meet the needs of particular managers.

 

    • Reporting interval. For most businesses, financial accounting reports are produced on an annual basis, though many large businesses produce half-yearly reports and a few produce quarterly ones. Management accounting reports may be produced as frequently as required by managers. In many businesses, managers are provided with certain reports on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis, which allows them to check progress frequently. In addition, special-purpose reports will be prepared when required (for example, to evaluate a proposal to purchase a piece of machinery).

 

    • Time horizon. Financial reports reflect the performance and position of the business for the past period. In essence, they are backward looking. Management accounting reports, on the other hand, often provide information concerning future performance as well as past performance. It is an oversimplification, however, to suggest that financial accounting reports never incorporate expectations concerning the future. Occasionally, businesses will release projected information to other users in an attempt to raise capital or to fight off unwanted takeover bids.

 

  • Range and quality of information. Financial accounting reports concentrate on information that can be quantified in monetary terms. Management accounting also produces such reports, but is also more likely to produce reports that contain information of a non-financial nature such as measures of physical quantities of inventories (stocks) and output. Financial accounting places greater emphasis on the use of objective, verifiable evidence when preparing reports. Management accounting reports may use information that is less objective and verifiable, but they provide managers with the information they need.

We can see from this that management accounting is less constrained than financial accounting. It may draw on a variety of sources and use information that has varying degrees of reliability. The only real test to be applied when assessing the value of the information produced for managers is whether or not it improves the quality of the decisions made.

The distinction between the two areas reflects, to some extent, the differences in access to financial information. Managers have much more control over the form and content of information they receive. Other users have to rely on what managers are prepared to provide or what the financial reporting regulations state must be provided. Though the scope of financial accounting reports has increased over time, fears concerning loss of competitive advantage and user ignorance concerning the reliability of forecast data have led businesses to resist providing other users with the detailed and wide-ranging information that is available to managers.

You don’t have to be a real estate expert to have heard of release agreements. A release is one of the most common types of contracts in the world of law. They are used to allow a company to use someone’s image for commercial use. However, a real estate release agreement isn’t quite the same thing. In most cases, releases are used by prospective buyers to release the seller from the mortgage or liens they have on a property so that the property is debt free. The form is extremely short and is often only one page when presented. Let’s take a look at a typical contract requiring a seller to obtain release of mortgage on a property.

The first part of the contract clearly outlines the date that this agreement is being signed, the names of both parties involved in the transfer of the property as well as any spouses of the members involved in the agreement. The second part of the agreement outlines the terms and conditions that the property in question is under. It goes over how much debt the property has attached to it and whether the property has a mortgage debt or a lien debt associated with it. It also outlines the purchase price of the property and how that purchase price can now be used to pay off any and all debt associated with the property. This type of form is used mostly to ensure that the seller will eliminate all debt from a piece of property when the sale is complete as agreed upon in the original sale agreement. Some people consider this form to be a bit redundant, but you can never be too careful when it comes to legal wrangling and property.

The final part of the agreement only requires the signer to include their names, the amount of the total debt still present on the property and finally, the amount that is being paid off. Much of the contract will simply be pre-typed text, often a template, that outlines the seller’s responsibilities once the sale is finalized.

If the buyer and seller of the property agree beforehand, a real estate release agreement isn’t necessary. It could be part of the original sale agreement that the buyer is responsible for paying off any existing debt on the property and not the responsibility of the seller. Since every legal agreement is different and many of them have their own unique provisions, some real estate release agreements can vary considerably from the one outlined here.

In conclusion, the real estate release agreement is a safeguard instituted by the buyer to ensure that a piece of property that has debt associated with it is paid off in full with the money gained during the sale by the seller so that when the final transfer of the property is finalized, it is debt free. It is vital that this agreement be included if you are buying property that has debt attached to it.

 

Who doesn’t like to splurge when they are on vacation? Why would anybody prefer to fit their enjoyment within a budget? Everybody wants to make the most of their vacations, and watching your budget while vacationing does not make for much fun. Just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have a little luxury in your life. For many vacationers, the uncertainty of how much a vacation will end up costing leaves them apprehensive about traveling. There are over four hundred all inclusive hotels and resorts spread around the Caribbean which are expressly designed for people who want to be pampered and to enjoy world-class food, drinks, and activities without having to worry about busting their budgets. All inclusive vacations give vacationers the option of making the most of the money they have available – and their popularity, with guests returning year after year, attest to the fact that all inclusive is an ideal choice for most vacationers. You pay one upfront price at the beginning of your vacation; and after that you can forget about money and just enjoy yourself.

There are different types of all inclusive vacation resorts which cater to different types of vacationers. Some are designed for families; others for couples, singles, and even gay people; and each resort has special activities, programs, entertainment, and events which cater to its particular clientele. There are even hedonistic all inclusive beach resorts which offer nude beaches, swimming pools and hot tubs; and even nude marriage ceremonies! Just as there are many different types of all inclusive resorts, the services and activities offered differ from one resort to another. Some all inclusive packages include only the airfare and lodging, whereas others include meals, drinks, entertainment, tours, and transfers. There are other packages which include all meals, drinks, and activities, but not airfare. It is usually cheaper to pick an all inclusive vacation package which includes the airfare instead of spending for airfare separately (unless you have frequent flier miles to use up).

The chief criticism of all inclusive vacations is that most guests never leave the resort since everything is provided right there, for free; so people don’t really interact much with the local people and culture. Of course, all inclusive vacations are not for everyone. If you are the type who likes to get away and poke around on your own – and you are not overly worried about how much money you are spending – then all inclusive isn’t for you. However, most all inclusive resorts offer tours to cultural and scenic attractions in the area, and many devotees of all inclusive take advantage of these opportunities to use their hotels as a base from which to explore the surrounding area, and then return at night to relax in the lap of luxury once more. Since so many people’s travel budgets have been slashed in the past few years, all inclusive vacations are more popular than ever before; all inclusive vacations are the perfect solution for people who want to enjoy themselves to the max within a strict budget.

 

The 21st century has been the age of so many technological breakthroughs and advances, technologies aimed for one purpose and that is to make the lives of people better by helping them become more efficient in their work. One such technological breakthrough is computer technology.

Computer technology has grown in great proportions starting from a computer with a size that of a room to a small well-designed palm top computer. Computers nowadays have become an indispensable part of the lives of people, especially at work, at companies, businesses, schools, offices and even in homes.

It has made the world smaller, but has it made our world better? It would then lead us to ask whether computer technology is good or bad. Now let us try to look at first some of the bad effects. With the advent of computers and with the internet it has become easy to access pornographic sites, children are more exposed to explicit content; some students would lose focus on their studies as they play computer games. The number of obesity cases has increased and it has been attributed to too much computer activity that led to less physical activity among a number of people.

On the other side of the coin, computers have opened a whole new world of possibilities. It is now easier to gain information on world events; you can even find a job in the internet; you can spread advocacies to a vast number of people all over the world; and most importantly it is now easier to be connected with one another even if you are on the other side of the globe.

Computer technology, just like any other material on earth has been created with a common good in mind. Just like a knife, it has been made to cut and slice food to speed up cooking time for people but it can also be used to kill people, and you cannot ban the use of knives in order to stop killing. And so you can’t blame computers for the problems it may have caused for it is the people who use them who caused the problem. It has disadvantages and advantages that must be taken into consideration.

But the problem is not computer technology itself; the problem resides on the people who use it. Computer technology is generally good for it can bring in a lot of good if it is used properly, but can do great harm if used unwisely.

People have choices on how they make use of earth’s resources, and that choice will determine how certain materials will affect people, be it good or bad.

Located between Panama and Nicaragua in Central America, Costa Rica boasts a proud culinary heritage. Many scorn Costa Rica food selections for being high in saturated fats, but in actuality Costa Ricans are far more active than other cultures.

Costa Rican’s, locally called Ticos, never eat excessively. Limiting their portions is one way they stay so healthy. Also, lunch is the most important meal of their day. In fact, like many Latin nations, businesses and schools close down for a couple of hours at lunch so that employees and students can go home and have a leisurely meal with their family. This allows both a strong focus on family life, but also on slowing down a meal. In America, a typical school lunch lasts a mere twenty minutes at most and work breaks are usually an hour tops, so many must eat at their desk or machine. A Costa Rican’s lifestyle is completely different.

Costa Rica food often revolves around rice and beans, such as Gallo Pinto, a dish that translates to “Spotted Rooster”. Gallo Pinto is a dish that includes black beans at a three to two ratio to rice. Also added are onions, garlic, and salt. Meats are eaten sparingly, while beans provide a high content of fiber. Fiber can help counteract the saturated fats. Costa Rica food choices rarely include dairy or cheese.

As Costa Rica has water on both sides with the Pacific to the west and the Caribbean to the east, fresh seafood is always available. Unfortunately, the seafood is also extremely expensive as the country exports the bulk of its seafood. Chicken, pork, and beef are the more popular meats. Costa Rica food supplies use organ meat as well; so expect to find dishes involving stomach, brains, and other organs on the menu. Other staples of Costa Rica food choices include fresh vegetables such as tomatoes and a variety of beans, fruits, including plantains, and rice.

Costa Rica’s capital city, San Jose, is packed with outstanding restaurants and cafes. In San Jose, one can experience bold foods and beverages. Staple beverages such as sugarcane soaked in hot water are second only to the nation’s delicious Costa Rican coffee. Drinks mixing corn meal and milk are also common. Plantains are similar to bananas in appearance, but they cannot be eaten raw. Plantains are pounded flat, battered, and fried tender.

As one travels to other regions, the choices for Costa Rica food also decrease and become more traditional with the beans and rice dishes. Beans and rice dishes are usually served alongside a carrot and cabbage or lettuce and tomato salad. Sometimes Arroz, (fried shrimp or chicken), are found on the table instead of beans and rice. The salads are typically larger than the portion of beans and rice and that helps the Ticos to stay fit.

It is possibly to choose healthy selections of Costa Rica food. Stick to plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and enjoy the delightful blend of culinary flavors.

 

If you are one of the legions of people who have acquired, or are about to obtain a new pet snake, then you are also about to have a rewarding experience. Snakes have a lot to teach us. A properly maintained terrarium can be a work of art – many are prominently displayed in homes – so long as the snake keeper keeps some essential information in mind:

· Be sure you give your snake enough heat – that means enough for the snake, not you. A snake is best kept at warmer, summer temperatures of 85 – 100 degrees F, unless being cooled for hibernation. Temperate zone species may tolerate a 30 degree drop in temperature at night, but tropical species rarely do well with such fluctuations.

· Never, ever use your snake to scare somebody! Many people are afraid of snakes, some pathologically so. Using a snake to scare a person is irresponsible of you, may cause injury to another person, and is traumatic for the snake.

· Be sure to feed your snake an adequate diet at appropriate intervals. Snakes under 3 feet in length should generally be fed prey about the size of an adult mouse once or twice a week. Larger snakes take more or larger prey at less frequent intervals. Truly large snakes may eat only once per year, but these are not snakes for novices.

· Do not handle snakes after feeding, or until they have digested their meals. If a snake is handled too soon after eating, it is often likely to regurgitate the meal, and may refuse to feed for many days afterward.

· Snakes must shed their skins, but they do much better if you do not help them. If the snake has been fed and watered well, it will grow, and the old skin is carefully broken by the snake and shed in one piece. If a snake sheds in patches, it may be dehydrated or have a nutritional disorder.

· Do your homework! Buying a snake is not the same as knowing how to care for it properly. It is your responsibility to learn about your snake and any special needs it will have in captivity. For example, unless you carefully teach your snake otherwise, many have specialized diets: garter snakes eat fish and frogs, hognose snakes eat toads, and corn snakes eat small rodents and eggs.

· Get a snake veterinarian lined up now. Snakes have a slower metabolism than us mammals, so they may manifest symptoms long after contracting an illness. Waiting to find a qualified vet until the snake is ill may be too late.

· Clean the snake’s cage as it becomes dirty – don’t merely wait for Saturday morning. Only use appropriate disinfectants for a snake cage. You may use rubbing alcohol, soap, and specialty products available at your pet shop. Do not use chlorine bleaches or industrial cleansers such as Ajax or Comet, because their residues are often toxic to snakes. Lysol is particularly dangerous.

· Always wash your hands well with soap and water after handling your snake or the cage accessories. Snakes, like most animals, may harbor dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella.

· Okay, now go watch your snake and have some fun!

 

As you go about your quest to live a healthier lifestyle, it is not only essential you consider the foods you are putting into your body, but also the beverages you are taking in as well. The fact of the matter is even slight dehydration can have a profound influence on how you feel and function on a daily basis.

Learning to recognize these signs before they get too serious may just help you prevent unwanted issues before they start. Most people know thirst as the main sign, but there is more to be on the lookout for.

Below are four key signs of dehydration not so recognizable that you will want to keep your eyes open to…

1. Headaches. You know the pounding throbbing headache you sometimes have? Perhaps the problem could be attributed to dehydration. Most people are fast to write their headache off as just a normal occurrence, but it may not be. If you are chronically dehydrated, you may be experiencing headaches far more frequently than someone who isn’t.

Take in a glass or two of water and see if that doesn’t give you relief.

2. Sleepiness. Chalking your mid-day sleepiness off to only getting seven hours of sleep the previous night instead of your usual eight? Sleepiness can also be a sign of dehydration. Ideally, you will want to start your day off with a large glass of cold water and then keep the water coming in beyond that point.

By doing so, you can ensure you are putting your best foot forward regarding combating drowsiness during the day.

3. Muscle Cramps. Feeling those muscle cramp more often? Or perhaps you are getting those annoying muscle twitches as of late. Both can be attributed to lack of sleep. When you are not well hydrated, your muscle cells are not functioning normally, and you may be more prone to experiencing irregularities with contractions.

Muscle contractions are especially common during exercise, so if you have to take a stop during your run because of a bad leg cramp, it may be time to drink up.

4. Lightheadedness. The last sign you could be suffering from dehydration is feeling lightheaded. Lightheadedness comes on because your blood pressure is low, which is also a sign of not enough fluids entering into your body.

When dehydration occurs, less total blood volume will be circulating throughout your system, which then causes overall blood pressure levels to lower.

Take in a glass of water, and that should fix things almost immediately.

There you have a few of the not-so-obvious signs you may be suffering from dehydration. Are any of these impacting you?

 

Do you love chocolate? Do you also love fine foods, baking and cooking? If you are only looking to improve your chocolate skills by making dishes at home, you can start with the many cookbooks on the subject. To be a simple chocolate maker, you can start at home, go to a continuing education class, or attend some classes at a local junior college. But if you are looking to really cash in on your love of chocolate, you may want to become a Chocolatier.

If you are more serious about the art of making chocolate, you can attend a culinary school to learn the trade. Learning how to transform the raw cocoa bean into chocolate is usually the first step of a chocolatier. Chocolate makers take chocolate in its original form, the bean, and then transform it into delicious candies and baked goods. Chocolates will range in sweetness, butter fat content and extra ingredients.

Becoming a Master Chocolatier

You can pursue your chocolate obsession as a chocolate maker, a culinary pastry chef, a confectioner or Master Chocolatier. A chocolate maker might be self-taught, but a culinary chef or Master Chocolatier will require specialized training.

To become a pastry chef, one will need extensive training at one of the many Culinary Institutes around the world. Any university that offers culinary programs or a specialty school will normally have a pastry program. As a pastry chef you will gain knowledge of the entire industry including baking, chocolate making and confections. Some schools offer specialties in chocolate but most are broad based.

Many of the institutions offer programs that run from bachelors degrees in Applied Science to first level certificates of knowledge. Different opportunities will open for those who hold a degree as a Pastry chef. A pastry chef can learn to specialize in chocolate or choose to branch out into other culinary avenues, such as baked goods.

The last phase of learning the skill of chocolate making is to become a Chocolatier. Chocolatiers specialize in chocolate, as well as dishes that have chocolate as one of the main ingredients. Once you achieve this level you will be able to deal with chocolate in all forms!

There are only a handful of schools in the world that focus only on the art of making chocolate. Once you attend such a school you will graduate as a master chocolatier. These schools area scattered all over the world, including Belgium and South Africa. These programs teach every aspect of chocolate making and the chocolate business. In the US, the Arts Institutes of America and American Culinary Institute have pastry chef programs where chocolate making is part of the curriculum.

 

Not unlike other businesses, hotels have been forced to step up their game as people travel less and, when they travel, their budget is smaller in a still lagging economy. While the goal is always full occupancy and high occupancy rates, all hotels have unoccupied rooms that need to be filled. Hoteliers realize that their hotel are each one among many and that consumers have a variety of hotel options to choose from. Hotels realize that part and parcel of maintaining their occupancy rates is offering the right amenities at a competitive rate in order to attract new guests and retain returning ones. In the lodging industry, hotels must be ahead of current trends in order to better their occupancy rates which means being mindful of hotel supplies guests prefer as the mind their budgets.

Hoteliers start with the premise that most hotels offer the same basic hotel supplies and amenities such as complimentary toiletries, durable ice buckets and functional hangers. They offer the basics in an effort to make a guest’s stay comfortable by offering the conveniences of home. While the definition of “basic” hotel supplies will vary depending on the hotel class, most hotels provide drinking glasses, either plastic, an ice bucket of either shatter proof plastic or faux leather and an iron with ironing board. Hotels compete with one another for business. The amenities they offer are part of that competition which is why guests find many hotels in the same general area and price range with the similar amenities and hotel supplies.

Depending upon the sophistication of the hotel itself, guests may define ‘basic’ differently. Absorbent towels, bed linens with higher thread counts, bowed shower rods, and heavy duty wooden luggage racks become basic, expected hotel supplies in mid-grade hotels. Because they’re constantly competing for guests in order to maintain their occupancy rates, hotels are constantly striving to best their competition. This is truer the more sophisticated the hotel as they know consumers have a wide variety of options and the standards such as drinking glasses and coffee service are no longer enough. Instead, hotels must study what the new basic is and add it to their repertoire of hotel supplies and amenities in order to impact their occupancy rates.

5 Star hotels and resorts are on a unique plane in every way from the level of guest services they offer to the list of available conveniences and amenities offered to attract guests and increase occupancy rates. Microfiber bathrobes and slippers, monogrammed glass tumblers, video game systems and fog free shaving mirrors are among the high quality hotel supplies offered to guests at resorts and luxury hotels. They hope, and the numbers tell them, that by offering amenities that are above and beyond the basic hotel supplies provided by their competition they’ll not only attract and retain wealthier guests but increase their occupancy rates as well.

It’s a given that hotels, regardless of their rating and price point, want to please their guests by offering the best possible hotel supplies and amenities. However, when hotels are reviewing the amenities they may offer guests, deciding which specific hotel supplies they’ll offer will depend in part on their budget and what prior hotel guests have indicated they’d like to see or be likely to use. Hotel supplies are an intrinsic part of the hotel experience and their impact cannot, and should not, be under estimated as they can affect occupancy rates. All else being equal, the right hotel supplies can make or break a guest’s experience.

 

There have been many changes in fitness over the past 30 years. It’s human nature to reminisce about times past. That’s great but lets not forget that things change as well. This is certainly true in the area of health and fitness. “If you do what you have always done, you will get the results you have always gotten” is true, but what if the situation changes? Then what used to work is no longer a viable and effect way to get the results that we want. In this article I will outline seven items that have changed over the past 30 or so years that affect the way we view health, fitness, exercise and what is considered “best”. Let’s look at some of these changes in Fitness.

1. Activity level

This change in fitness is pretty obvious. We just don’t move around as much as we used to 30 years ago.

Currently, the average sedentary person living in an urban setting takes 900-3000 steps a day. Uh… that’s a puny number! In the journal of sports medicine existing literature was pulled together to set a general guideline of what a good number of steps per day would be

The author Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke translated different physical activity into steps-per-day equivalents. A rate of fewer than 5,000 is classified as sedentary, 5,000 to 7,499 is low active, 7,500 to 9,999 is somewhat active 10,000 or more is active and 12,500 or more is very active. So what does 900 make us? Close to dead! But its not hard to imagine. Get up from, take elevator to car park, drive car, take elevator to office, sit down, order fast food, reverse the process to go home and go back to bed. Just to note, 1km is about 1300 steps.

Its gotten to the point where we have to purposely inconvenience ourselves to get our activity level up. Here are some suggestions (that actually show us how pathetic our average activity levels have become).

Park at the far end of the car park and walk to your building Instead of dropping the kids off in front of the school, park a couple of streets before it and walk them the rest of the way… 10,000 is actually considered a LOW estimate for children.

Go round the shopping centre or supermarket in a random. With today’s super malls, this is a big thing!

Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator (well if you work on the 50th floor, maybe climb halfway to start)

Give the dog an extra 5 minutes on his walk (we need it even more than him)

Stop emailing colleagues in the same office, instead go over and talk to them (shockingly effective considering how much email we send each day!… great for team building as well)

Go for a walk during your lunch break, walk to get your lunch or to find somewhere to eat your lunch

Get up and do something, run up and down the stairs for example during TV ads (no excuses here!)

Walk to the corner shop instead of driving or popping in on your way home

Walk to friends houses instead of driving

Take public transport and walk from the train station

Dr. David Bassett studied an Amish community to see what things were like in the past. These guys have no cars, no electricity and do hard manual labor to put food on the table. Its like time travel to the past. They eat 3 large meals a day with lots of meat, vegetables and natural starches like potatoes.

The 98 Amish adults Bassett surveyed wore pedometers for a week. The men averaged 18,000 steps a day. The women took an average of 14,000 steps.

The men spent about 10 hours a week doing heavy work like plowing, shoeing horses, tossing hay bales, and digging. The women spent about 3.5 hours a week at heavy chores. Men spent 55 hours a week in moderate activity; women reported 45 hours a week of moderate chores like gardening and doing laundry. Wow that’s a lot of manual labor. Get a pedometer (its only like 20 bucks) and see how you fare.

2. Fat Percentages and Obesity

Activity level leads us right on to this point about obesity. The scary obesity rate is one of the most obvious changes in fitness.

The obesity rate among the participants in the study of the Amish population was 4 percent, as determined by body mass index, or BMI. The current obesity rate among the urban populations is 30% or more. OK the obesity percentages are a scary thing because obesity is already in the “VERY high risk of a lot of bad ways to die” category. There is still the overweight category (obviously fat but not hitting the medically obese range) to consider. These people are at a high risk already!

The total percentages of overweight + obese are really wild… hitting close to 70% in some cities. Compare this to the average in the 1980s. 10-15% obesity in most cities. It rose to the mid 20% in 1995 and its now at an all time high.

3. Diet

OK linked to point no.2 is of course diet. This is another obvious change in fitness. Its very simple actually. We now eat more refined foods (white bread, sugar, rice, flour, noodles). In the body these give pretty much the same response – FAT storage. The only time we should eat these items is immediately after hard training. As we can tell from point no.1, not much of any training is going on. But lots of eating is!

We also eat less fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. We eat more snacks like chips and cookies (which are also refined despite what advertisers claim).

These changes in fitness are made more troubling because even natural foods today are not as good for us as they used to be. Current farming methods make vitamin and mineral content in fruits and vegetables drop about 10-40% depending on the mineral. Corn fed meats don’t give us as good an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio as we used to get from grass fed and free range animals. (that means not so many healthy fatty acids for us)

And of course, we are also simply consuming more calories. The Amish people in the study in point no.1 ate about 3600 calories/day for men and 2100 calories/day for women. Many sedentary people consume this much and more! How? Well a fully “featured” gourmet coffee from coffee bean or Starbucks can add up to 500 calories in an instant of caffeine folly.

That’s 2 hours of walking for an average sized lady.

Just remember, calorie quality counts as well. 2000 calories of vegetables, meat and healthy fats is infinitely better than 2000 calories from french fries. Its close to impossible to get fat on the first, and nearly impossible not to get fat with the second.

I like this car analogy. If you had a 2million dollar dream car, would you put low grade or high grade petrol into it? High grade of course! Then why do some people put low grade filth into their bodies which are so much more important than the car we drive?

4. Games children play

The average child who grows up in an urban environment is a motor-skill weakling. As a hobby, I coach youth basketball. In our talent scouting, I have kids do a very simple drill of dribbling in and out and around cones. There are so many kids who can’t do it and some who I think might fall down if asked to RUN around the cones without the ball! This is in contrast to the past where kids ran around, chased each other, played physical games and sports of all kinds, where the playground was the center of fun for young kids. This lack of activity not only causes a change in fitness for the child in his/her youth, but has a profound long term effect as well.

Of course this change in fitness is a result of a combination of possible factors.

Parents who only consider academic success to be worth striving for, who only give a child recognition and praise when they do well in academic subjects.

An education system who also values book knowledge above other things and takes away physical education classes to put more academic lessons in.

Poorly taught PE lessons that don’t help a child develop motor skills in the key early years Busy double-income families where fathers are not free to play with their children (or don’t care enough to… money isn’t everything dads)

The maddening computer game addiction situation where virtual life is more important than real life. I believe this is the reason for all the empty basketball courts in my neighbourhood. It used to be that teams lined up to play there. Now only people my age (late 20s to 30s) play. No young kids are there any more.

But actually, so what? The issue is that if kids stink at sport and physical activity, the well known psychological factor of “competence” comes is. Simply put, in general, we do what we are good at. If our next generation is poor at sport and physical activity, they are even less likely to do any of it! Which combined with items 1 to 3, make for a deadly health crisis for many countries. Obesity costs the UK 7.4 billion in national health care per year! If we don’t help our kids, that’s only going to grow to be a bigger and bigger burden for everybody.

5. Social Support

This is a more subtle change in fitness. People are communal animals. We stick with things because there is a supportive community behind us. Even drug and alcoholism rehab centers recognise this. We all need social support. But social links are getting weaker. And no, Friendster and MySpace links don’t make up for it.

In a more connected but less close world (I know so many people who are only comfortable behind a computer screen and not in front of a real person) there is less social support than in the past (extended families, communal living, strong friendships within a neighbourhood etc) and its hard to stick with something which requires dedication and sacrifice like an exercise program. I’m not a sociologist but I do believe there is a reason that exercise classes do better in terms of membership than individualized training. Most of them certainly are not as effective as great individual coaching. But the social factor does come in when sustaining a lifestyle change is involved.

6. Free Time

This subtle change in fitness is pretty clear. We just have less time that we “own”. Bosses, social, family and other commitments make free time a very precious commodity and it adds difficulty to the fact that time is our only non renewable resource. When we choose to exercise or spend time cooking to keep a healthy lifestyle, we are competing with movies, games, TV and other things for free time. We know that exercise is good for us, but it not only has to be good for us, it has to be BETTER in our minds than the latest episode of desperate housewives, or the latest computer game. That’s the issue. We need to prioritize long term health over temporary fun.

7. Training methods

OK here is where we are doing well. 30 years ago the aerobics craze took the western world by storm. Its not a very good training method both in terms of results, and in terms of results per unit of time. Add that to the fact that we have such minimal time to train, we can’t afford to train in a sub-optimal way. We know a lot more now. Fortunately for us, there are good methods that smart coaches use to improve training efficiency and get RESULTS even with less training time. Some of these include smartly designed resistance training programs, interval training and good assessment techniques to determine individual needs. If you have a coach like that in your corner, you can turn back the clock and avoid becoming one of the ever growing statistic of people who’s health is headed in the wrong direction. Stay fit and strong and good luck!