Tip of the Month – September

Coach Monika Says…

What’s up with Teen Hygiene Nowadays? And What the High-Tech Industry is Doing About It

Over the past 2 years, I have noticed an increase among girls, ages 13-16 with hairy armpits, unshaved legs and the refusal to use deodorants. Given the tween age, boys of the same age are not far behind with their personal hygiene – common phenomenon – lack of taking showers, and the stench of BO… displayed by a generation that stands for ‘green ideology and climate change!’ How about BO escaping into the atmosphere? So, what is happening? 

This generation, worried about the world going down in 12 years, is moving about in their natural state – the same generation with the mess in the locker or change rooms, dropping plastic cups, food particles, napkins, etc. on the floor although garbage cans are nearby? 

The topic of hygiene is a somewhat uncomfortable topic for many although it needs to be addressed because it can cause disruption in social surroundings and the training environment. Who wants to partner up with a ‘stinky’ teammate? That first ‘whiff’ means bigger things are on the horizon. Adolescence arrives earlier than one might think. The average age of menstruation for girls is 12, according to Mayo Clinic research, while boys show signs of puberty as early as 10, according to a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The first conversation about body hygiene can be a struggle. “Convincing tweens that they ‘smell bad’ is a big challenge for most parents and coaches”, according to Deborah Gilboa, doctor and mother of four boys (cited by Sarah Szczypinski, Seattle Journalist): “that’s because the child’s brain makes that kiddo ignore their own smell in order to pay attention to what’s happening nearby. So when a tween says, ‘I don’t smell anything!’ they are telling the absolute truth.”

Dr. Gilba suggests bringing up the topic early and with ‘good humour’ to avoid temper resistance and personal embarrassment. Make it general, she recommends. By trying to ‘mask’ your comments, even good-natured teasing can feel like an attack to tweens, already dealing with the embarrassment of recent body changes. They will certainly hear about it during social time and with a much stronger language pattern! When having BO conversation, athletes likely laugh, want to walk away or feel uncomfortable, but coaches need to validate those feelings. Coaches can address this issue by discussing the importance of workouts, proper nutrition, sweating, showering routines, and control of BO as part of daily hygiene to stay healthy to train and compete successfully.

Encourage Self-care and Personal Choice

Adolescence is the beginning of athletes’ autonomy, and encouraging those first steps also means encouraging personal choice. Tweens are likely to feel more empowered if they’re allowed to choose their own hygiene products. You may present some good sample products but warn athletes about Internet advertisement, and YouTube videos, usually promoted by professional paid actors and athletes. 

One suggestion is to bring in a healthcare provider or nurse to address these issues, general and then separately for boys and girls. The irony is that society is exposed to all sorts of sexual escapades on TV but is still quite hesitant and also ignorant about the body and its care.

If you’re feeling unsure about your message-delivery skills, incorporate some age-appropriate reading like “Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys” and “The Care and Keeping of You” for girls, published by the American Girl company.

Funktionskleidung: Dufte Idee [Functional clothing: A Fragrant idea]

So, if you think that this post is repulsive, here is the newest information from Germany (August 5, 2019). It is not only athletes’ BO that is offensive but also their sweaty/stinky athletic clothing and duffel or sport bags.

…“Trainingsklamotten sollen in Zukunft nicht mehr nach Katzenpipi muffeln, sondern ein dezentes Zitronenaroma verströmen” [workout/training clothing in the future, will no longer smell like ‘cat pee’, rather exude a subtle aroma of lemon]

There you have it! The author (Simon, 2019) cites BO, ‘stinky’ sweats, shorts, soccer and hockey shoes/boots, and sport bags. The question rises: what should a human really smell like? According to Simon, the human being is capable of recognizing about 10,000 different odours but to smell any odour is subjective as to discriminate between aroma, fragrance, and stinky odour. Odour can be measured using the so-called Olf scale (used to measure the strength of a pollution source. … it is defined to quantify the strength of pollution sources, which can be perceived by humans. The perceived air quality is measured in decipol). 

Olf is derived from the estimates of an adult person in sitting position, and measured by testing 1,8 square meters of skin surface, according to the hygiene standard of 0.7, number of showers taken per day, and daily change of underwear. Researchers aim to establish the so-called ‘Riecherkollectiv’ [collective smell] comparing smell intensity of a hiking sock with that of normal smell. Results show that a 12-year old child has 2 Olf, an athlete 30 Olf, five more than a smoker! Interestingly, Koreans, like most Asian people, lack the specific protein molecule, which inhibits BO (due to gene mutation)…they exhibit less BO.

People describing BO use various terms, ranging from ‘rancid’, smelling like goats, chloroform or ammonia.’ On the other hand, some find BO sexy in their partner. While Napoleon was attracted to the BO of his lover Josephine, most people consider it an annoyance nowadays. On the other hand, Sun King Louis XIV took a bath only 2 times throughout his entire life, ‘dabbing’ himself instead with body powder and perfume! Water and bathing was considered unhealthy!

Recently, researchers have attempted to develop odourless shoes, textiles, and athletic bags. Especially popular are ‘magic’ soccer socks, which are said to remain odourless for several days. And…a research team from Spain successfully modified cotton material so training clothes no longer produce a smelly and sweaty odour rather releases a lemony aroma! Sarcasm here: the more sweat the more aromas! So, run through your living room… no air spray needed! Some researchers are even suggesting that smartphone-controlled shoes might provide cooling and ventilation for stinky feet in the near future! So, keep the tech gadgets going!


Simon, V. (2019, August 5). Süddeutsche Zeitung [Süddeutsche News Paper. Dufte Idee Fragrant idea]. High-tech Faser gegen Schweiss [Hightech fiber against sweat]Szczypinski, S. (2019, July 25), Contributing thoughts. Seattle. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2019/07/25/how-talk-tweens-about-body-odor-without-making-it-awkward/

Managing Conflicts in Your Program & Developing Younger Staff Members

Ready to Develop Your Leadership Skills?

The new season has started or is starting up for many sports teams. It is now a crucial time to examine your leadership skills to prevent, avoid, and/or manage potential conflicts in your program. Furthermore, it is also important to develop younger staff members to create a unified and cohesive coaching scenario. 

People tend to hold certain beliefs or perpetuated myths about conflicts: for example, they are always negative or it has to be a contest (win or lose the argument). This is incorrect as only results are either positive or negative! Conflict is a seemingly slow ‘simmering’ development. A given situation usually starts as an issue, evolves into a problem, and then can easily shift to conflict if matters cannot be resolved. Conflict can be defined as a ‘disagreement’ but it is really more than that. It usually arises from several sources, namely organizational, emotional and/or psychological factors.

Conflict can originate from- or over:

  • Lack of a cohesive program philosophy 
  • Perceived overall program aim 
  • Differences in short-term or long-term goals or expectations
  • Lack of communication among the coaching staff
  • Selecting a qualified coach and competent staff
  • Differences in training and conditioning methods for athletes  
  • The perceived or expected role of parents
  • Differences in leadership and/or management style
  • Lack of interaction between coaches, athletes, parents, and board of directors

A sports scenario can easily become complex because any situation on hand may be perceived as a challenge to the existing club philosophy, opinions, beliefs, needs, interests, or concerns of one or several parties. The difficulty lies in managing conflict whereby one has to deal with various personality types and behaviours. It is absolutely critical that coaches possess or acquire essential ‘people’ skills to manage conflict successfully. 

Experts suggest the assessment of personal capabilities and competency in order is essential to identify your personal management style to be better prepared for discussions and to maintain personal balance as well throughout. Such assessment can be achieved by selecting from a variety of tools and strategies because coaches have to be aware and cognizant of potential interfering or inhibiting factors. Foremost, they have to a) acquire or possess excellent communication skills; b) have the ability to understand and interpret body language correctly, and c) be or become a superb and attentive listener. Thus, a series of operational steps or guidelines are recommended to reach creative solutions, which are attained through facilitation – negotiation – arbitration – mediation – and conciliation. The more solutions the better in order to arrive at that agreement, which is beneficial and a positive one for all parties involved. In addition, creating preventive strategies to build more positive relationships within the club is critical to avoid future conflicts. Head coaches, therefore, need to provide valuable mentoring for younger staff members or volunteers because the group as a unit has to be seen as cohesive not divided! 

Developing Younger Staff Members 

I have always believed that it is critical to develop staff members within the club program to provide a unified coaching philosophy, quality of coaching, and demonstrate mutual respect for a positive teaching/coaching and learning environment. This includes accepting opinions, suggestions, and ideas of others without offering criticism or intimidation techniques.  

According to the Harvard Business Review, solid leaders can support the future success of young people through four important conversations: how to build resilience, how to influence others; how to job craft, and how to break the mental rut.

  • How to build resilience: the ability to bounce back from setbacks, or a project gone wrong or a bombed presentation/speech
  • How to influence others: the ability to win others’ trust and respect in order to more effectively execute a role
  • How to job craft: the ability to determine what constitutes a meaningful job and engineer a career for greater fulfillment
  • How to break the mental rut: the ability to challenge personal patterns of thinking in order to identify and solve problems through a different lens

Though all of these skills are vital, each requires a slightly different conversation. When fully and distinctly addressed, the skills can produce outcomes that refine short-term success, as well as long-term career satisfaction. The head-support staff relationship accounts for 70% of the variance in employee engagement. This means that head coaches, who invest time in addressing these issues, not only increase staff retention but also build connections that keep the teams inspired, innovative, and doing the best work (BTS, 2019, modified by Schloder).

#1: How to build resilience

When young staff members have a negative experience, they tend to beat themselves up. Their self-criticism is often loud, tanking their confidence and maybe their job performance too. This conversation, then, is about allowing them to voice this negative self-talk — but not dwell on it. It’s about helping them figure out how to balance their thinking, drop their judgments, and focus on one or two positive choices they can make to learn and move on.

In this conversation, ask questions that will help you figure out what your coaching member is experiencing:

  • How did you feel when your colleague said that?
  • What were you telling yourself at that moment?
  • What do you think this means about you?

Listen and repeat back what you hear. Once you gain an understanding of where the issue is arising from, follow up with questions that help them clear their head and reflect on what really happened. If an assistant or volunteer feels that they cannot make mistakes without losing credibility, for example, you might invite them to reconnect with a moment when they felt good, and ask questions like, “Is it true that a single mistake will cause people to write you off?” Stating aloud the person’s internal story often helps them see that it is, most likely, fiction.

The last step is to help your staff member to figure out what choices they can make to navigate future situations differently. Be sure your tone is considerate but free of both emotion (positive or negative) and judgment throughout. Your job isn’t to solve their problem or sympathize or to build them up with encouraging feedback. Rather, your goal is to ask questions that help them learn and become more resilient.

#2: How to influence others

When a staff member struggles with a relationship, a great career coach helps them see the situation from the other person’s perspective and find new ways to engage or build the relationship. An analysis of our data with Singapore Management University uncovered that 39% of coaching conversations with junior employees focused on helping them influence people, build networks, and create desired impacts (BTS, 2019).

In the conversation, ask staff members: What would it take to ensure the other person feels heard before you speak? Ask how they can communicate better in order to build trust. Try to avoid sympathizing (“Oh yes, that so and so is always like that”) or offering your own solutions. The key is to help the junior staff member discover how to relate differently to this individual.

#3: How to job craft

The point of this conversation is to help your employees reflect on what’s most important to them so that they can shape a compelling vision for their future. Doing meaningful work matters to most people. Those who do not feel a sense of purpose tend to burn out more easily (BTS, 2019).

To inspire your team members, ask what’s important to them and hone in on what they want:

  • What is going on right now?
  • How would you like it to be different?
  • What is one thing you could do to move toward this vision?

Avoid questions about what others think or expect, and try not to share your personal experiences. Instead, focus on helping the staff member to identify the situation they are currently facing, the situation they want to be in, and what steps they need to take to achieve that goal. If they don’t know what they want yet, try to help them find ways to explore avenues they are curious about.

#4: How to break the mental rut

Sometimes people just get stuck when trying to solve a problem. They try once and when it doesn’t work, they either give up or try again using the same method. So, you can help team members spot those ‘rivers of thinking’ and help them to ‘paddle their way out.’

Use the conversation to help identify their stuck thinking and seek out new avenues of inquiry. Start by asking:

  • What problem are you trying to solve?
  • What feelings do you notice about it?
  • What are you most concerned about?
  • What do you observe other people feeling frustrated about?

Your goal is to get the staff member to identify what problem they are actually trying to solve and why their efforts may not be working. Repeat their answers back to them. Once they seem to understand that their current plan of action is flawed, encourage them to think about alternative solutions by considering all of the information they have gathered.

Remember, your role is not to provide solutions. It is to help staff to clarify questions they are trying to answer, lead them to gather perspectives from diverse sources, and reflect on what they’ve learned in order to come up with a new and better strategy.

Building up younger staff into future leaders requires you to help them adopt mindsets that will shift their attitudes. If they can master those, they can find satisfaction, stay engaged, and fulfill their long-term potential. The first step is figuring out what they need from you so that you can have the right conversations.


Boyatzis, R.E., Smith, M., &Van Oosten, E. (2019). Coaching for change. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved September 26, 2019, from https://hbr.org/2019/09/coaching-for-change

BTS (2019) The world’s most innovative approach to leadership coaching. Retrieved September 26, 2019, from https://www.bts.com/leadership-coaching

Connor, J. (2019, September 9). To coach junior employees, start with 4 conversations. Harvard Business Review. Copyright © 2019 Harvard Business School Publishing. All rights reserved. Harvard Business Publishing is an affiliate of Harvard Business School. Retrieved September 26, 2019, from https://hbr.org/2019/09/to-coach-junior-employees-start-with-4-conversations

Schloder, M.E. (2019). Personal lecture notes. Module: Coaching and leading effectively. NCCP (Canadian National Coaching Certification Program). Ottawa, ON, Canada.

*Jerry Connor is head of “Coaching Practice” at BTS, an organization that works with leaders at all levels to help them make better decisions, convert those decisions to actions, and deliver results. With more than 26 years of experience in change management and leadership development, he has extensive experience working with a variety of top global organizations as well as in the public sector.  

*BTS is a global professional services firm headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden with some 600 professionals in 32 offices located on six continents. The company focuses on the people side of strategy working with leaders at all levels to help them make better decisions, convert those decisions to actions and deliver results.

Tip of the Month – August 2019

Coach Monika Says…

Bad Posture – Computers and Neck Pain

Nowadays, people including our athletes, carry out daily activities, exercises or training drills with a ‘slouched or bad’ posture. Incorrect posture affects body position when doing chores, moving about, exercising, walking, running, jumping, or performing athletic skills. Medical experts are dealing with rising problems, such as a stiff neck or neck soreness. The cause is said to be linked to extensive computer work or remaining in the same or prolonged body position.

  • Sit (chair) or stand upright 
  • Legs slightly apart – feet facing forward
  • Face forward – head centered
  • Left arm extended alongside the body
  • Bend Right arm – place bent arm and hand above head across to Left side 
  • Cover top of Left ear with Right hand
  • Pull head carefully to Right side with steady pressure until feeling the stretch in your neck
  • Hold position 10 seconds
  • Release and repeat
  • 8-16 or 15-30 repetitions
  • Repeat with opposite side arm and side
Schlots:Users:monikaschloder:Desktop:Sept:Jpg:Neck Ex copy.jpg

Hot Weather – Humidity and Athletic Performance

We all enjoy it – sun and lovely summer weather after miserable winter months! However, it is no longer just warm but temperatures are at sweltering levels. This plays havoc, especially in high humidity, and creates not only strain on the body, but also on circulation, skin, and the heart, no matter the age. 

Athletes have to take special precautions when exercising, training, and/or competing outdoors… and for that matter indoors due to potential increased humidity, dampness (pools), and other factors. Often, high school varsity, club soccer, and football teams hold regular pre-season workouts in the middle of the day (August), which has led to several deaths over the past years. Insane! 

Hydrating enough and properly is critical. The body is made up of 2/3 water inside and outside the cells and in the blood circulation. If the body dispenses more water than is taken in proper cell function is affected. Blood thickens and circulation deteriorates, blood pressure falls, and the brain does not receive enough oxygen. The most common result is fatigue/tiredness. 

According to several sources, consume 1.5-2 liter fluid (2.11 US cups). Some experts state that 2 liters are optimal although one has to consider the heat (degrees) and the amount of sweating.

1. Avoiding Heat Stroke

  • Signs of heatstroke: Red and hot head, body cool, head or neck pain, potential nausea
  • Move into the shade
  • Large hat or cap with a broad brim 
  • Airy clothes
  • Sunglasses – sunlight can impede vision

2. Balancing Sweating


Water with Herbs

(Apple Spritzer)
  • The higher the temperature – the more we sweat – the more fluid is lost – the more we have to drink (hydrate) – otherwise, headaches and issues with circulation occur
  • Suggestions: adding some herbs to water like rosemary and sage – they are said to slow down sweat production
  • Add several fresh mint leaves to a water bottle – mint treats dizziness, nausea, and headaches
  • Intake more citrus fruits to strengthen circulation
  • ‘Apfelschorle’ [Apple Spritzer] is a popular soft drink in Switzerland, Germany, and Austria – carbonated mineral water and apple juice
  • A broader category ‘Fruitschorle’ [Fruit Spritzer] – fruit juice mixed with carbonated water – contains fewer calories, and is less sweet than pure apple juice – also nearly isotonic, and popular in the summer among athletes in Europe – commercially available, generally contains between 55% and 60% juice

3. Sunscreen Protection and Plenty of Fruit and Veggies


Maracuja Fruit  

Variety of Fruits & Vegetables


  • Self-protection of light-skin coloured people only lasts about 10 minutes – therefore apply sun protection cream early – an adult needs about 4 fully filled tablespoons of cream for the entire body
  • The natural protection of the skin can also be aided from within with beta-carotene by eating carrots, maracuja fruit, mango, and apricots (some examples)  

4. Eating Vitamin-rich Food

  • Select vitamin-rich food to balance vitamin loss through sweating while working out, training and/or competing 
  • Magnesium is frequently lost through sweating, resulting in leg or calf cramping – loss of minerals like copper and zinc may occur

Exercising-Training-Competing in Hot Weather

Adapted from “Don’t sweat the weather – Adapt to it” by Jill Barker (2019, July 29) – with modification by M. Schloder

Athletes exercising, training, and/or competing in hot weather have to be extremely aware and conscious about ‘sweating it out’ during high-noon temperatures, which means being careful about- and not ignoring warnings between high outside temperature and humidity, and the body’s internal temperature (normal 37-degrees). The closer these two are to each other, the more difficult it is for the body to cool itself. When body core temperature rises, athletic performance declines, and the first signs of heat exhaustion appear. ‘Toughen it out’ during a heatwave has led to many hospital visits because of under-estimation the effects in 30 ̊C + weather. 

The struggle to keep cool is most acutely felt by endurance athletes because body heat accumulates over time. However, the most affected may not necessarily be elite athletes because they have most likely learned to manage hot conditions. It is the average exerciser or athlete such as runners, cyclists, or team sport athletes (football, soccer, etc.) who are most likely at risk of heat exhaustion. The body’s internal temperature starts to rise in as little as 15 minutes during hot weather workout or training, and especially if the intensity is high. While the challenge to exercise and train in temperatures near 30 ̊C has been the focus, researchers have also found that performance impairment can start as low as 21 ̊C (69.8 ̊F).

In cooler temperatures, the body functions well at dissipating the heat generated by exercise or training through the evaporation of sweat. However, in high humidity, evaporation does not occur, and heat loss is hindered. Sweat is induced when the body sends internal heat (blood) toward the surface of the skin to cool. As core temperatures rise, more and more blood used to supply working muscles is now diverted toward the outermost skin layers. Due to reduced oxygenated blood, muscles start to fatigue. In addition, the effect of less internal blood flow affects the heart, which has to pump harder to keep circulation flowing. These physiological changes obviously affect performance.

When sweat increases, fluid loss increases as well. This causes sweat production to taper off resulting in the rise of body temperature. Drinking enough water to replace lost fluids is highly recommended but it is not easy to do so, especially if athletes are ‘heavy’ sweaters. Moreover, athletes trying to increase their water intake frequently complain of an upset stomach, or water ‘bouncing’ around in their stomach, especially runners, who seem to experience that feeling with every foot contact on the ground. 

Heat Management Strategies

  • Keep workouts short or shorter 
  • Keep intensity moderate to reduce the accumulation of body heat
  • If possible – schedule early morning- or end of the day workouts when the heat is less intense
  • Maintain workout pattern for 5-10 days to get more efficient at managing the heat
  • As acclimatization improves the body’s cooling system; the body’s cooling mechanisms start working earlier in the workout (sweating sooner and in greater quantities), extending the time it takes for internal temperatures to build and heat-related fatigue to set in
  • When heading for workout or training, top off fluid to reduce the overall volume of water needed while exercising or training
  • Bring enough water/fluids or plan a route to access public water fountains, local corner stores, sprinklers, or hoses (if running or cycling) for a quick top-up on fluids
  • Overheated skin adds to discomfort – pouring water over the head creates a more comfortable feeling 
  • Maybe consider transferring exercise components to a pool (aqua exercise, kickboard swimming)

 Exercising/Training in Heat – Potential Mineral and Vitamin Loss

Adapted from “The Effect of Exercise and Heat on Mineral Metabolism and Requirements” by Carl L. Keen, 1993 – with modification by M. Schloder

Heat-exposed workout or training can lead to a large amount of sweat and thereby a loss of water-soluble vitamins and minerals, affects the level of micronutrients required and an increase of vitamins and minerals. In addition to water loss, the body also casts off electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, and minerals in the blood, urine, and bodily fluids that contain an electric charge.

There has been increasing interest in the idea that individuals engaged in strenuous exercise may have an increased need for several essential minerals. The idea resulted in a widespread perception that mineral supplements may be advantageous. This concept is based on two basic views: (a) individuals engaged in strenuous exercise have a higher requirement for some minerals compared to sedentary ones due to increased rates of urinary and sweat losses of select minerals, and (b) the perceived inadequate intake of some minerals results in a lowering of endurance capacity and ultimately leading to the development of some disease states. Although a significant number of athletes, coaches, and professionals in sports medicine believe in the beneficial effects of mineral supplements, few data support a positive effect of dietary mineral supplementation on athletic performance. Nevertheless, strenuous exercise does influence the metabolism of several minerals, and the number of minerals lost via sweat (due to either intense heat or exercise) can be significant.


Prolonged strenuous exertion can result in the reduction of plasma magnesium concentration, attributed in part to an increased rate of magnesium loss via sweat. Given that marginal magnesium deficiency can present a significant health risk to an athlete, more studies are needed to define the functional consequences of exercise-and heat-induced reductions in plasma magnesium concentrations.

Iodine – Chromium – Selenium

Effects of exercise and heat on Iodine, Chromium, and Selenium metabolism have been studied since 1966 through the 1980s, mostly in 38.5 temperatures during the day and 33.1 at night. According to research findings, sweat-associated iodine loss can be significant. Like iodine, limited literature on the influence of exercise and heat on selenium metabolism exists, although it has been suggested that athletes may benefit from selenium supplements due to its role in glutathione peroxidase synthesis. There is, however, no compelling evidence that selenium supplementation is necessary for individuals engaged in endurance activities (Lane, 1989; Lang, Gohil, Packer & Burk, 1987).

Chromium deficiency per se has not been accepted as a health problem in endurance athletes. However, it seems, given the above findings, chromium status of athletes engaged in strenuous activity for prolonged periods of time should be monitored, particularly if the activity is performed in a hot environment where chromium losses in sweat are predicted to be high. 


It is well recognized that iron-deficiency anemia can be associated with diminished performance in maximal and submaximal physical exercise (Andersen & Barkve, 1970; McDonald & Keen, 1988). However, there is considerable controversy about the extent to which exercise contributes to the development of iron deficiency. There is a common perception that athletes as a group tend to have a high incidence of anemia compared to the sedentary populations, but surveys of elite athletes have typically not supported this idea (Brotherhood, Brozovic, & Pugh, 1975; de Wijn, de Jongste, Mosterd, & Willebrand, 1971; Stewart, Steel, Toyme, & Stewart, 1972). Thus, overt iron-deficiency anemia does not appear to be a common complication of chronic intense exercise. 


Findings show that there are short-term effects of exercise on zinc metabolism. However, immediate physiological consequences are not known. Given frequent observation of exercise-induced hypozincemia, and the potentially high amounts of the element that can be lost via sweat, there may be a need for zinc supplementation in situations where prolonged exposure to exercise and heat is anticipated. Nevertheless, caution has to be used when advocating zinc supplements because this element at high levels can interfere with copper absorption due to the similar physiochemical properties of zinc and copper (Keen & Hackman, 1986). Chronic (more than 6 weeks) consumption of zinc supplements in excess of 50 mg per day has been linked to the induction of copper deficiency in humans (Fischer, Giroux, & L’Abbe, 1984; Fosmire, 1990; Prasad, Brewer, Shoomaker, & Rabbani, 1978; Samman & Roberts, 1988). 


Prolonged strenuous exercise can result in marked changes in chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc metabolism. Evidence of these changes can persist for several days after the exercise. Some of the observed changes in plasma mineral concentration may be attributed in part to an acute-phase response, which occurs as a result of tissue trauma or stress. Reductions in plasma mineral concentrations may also reflect in part an increased loss of these minerals from the body via urine and sweat. The increased rate of mineral loss that occurs in sweat with exercise is amplified by the simultaneous exposure to hot temperatures.

Hydration, Sodium, Potassium, and Exercise: What You Need to Know

The following is additional information on the topic. 

Adapted from “Hydration, Sodium, Potassium, and Exercise” by Perrin Braun (2018, January 4) – with modification by M. Schloder

Our bodies are mostly comprised of fluid, which means every cell, tissue, and organ needs enough water to function. While plain H20 is the most important part of hydration, athletes also need electrolytes like potassium and sodium to perform at their best. In addition to water, the body loses electrolytes through sweat. Chloride, potassium, and sodium are major electrolytes, minerals in the blood, urine, and bodily fluids that contain an electric charge. The body’s cells use electrolytes to carry electrical impulses that help the cells communicate with each other and provide the ability to taste, see, smell, touch, and hear.

Do Athletes Have Special Hydration Requirements?

How much water should athletes drink? This varies depending on the volume and intensity of the workout/exercise, and how much sweat is lost. However, there are ways to gauge whether the athlete has hydrated enough. One way is to monitor urine. Light-colored urine means probably adequately hydrated whereas dark, concentrated urine can indicate not consuming enough water. Athletes should weigh in before and after workouts – weight loss that occurs directly after a workout is likely to be caused by a fluid reduction.

During the first hour of exercise, athletes should rehydrate with water. Basic guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine as a reference point are helpful, and then adjust water intake to fit hydration needs: 

  • At least 4 hours before exercise drink about 2-3 milliliters (mL) of water or a sports beverage per pound (lb.) of body weight. 
  • For instance, a 150-lb athlete needs to drink 300-450 mL, which equals about 10-15 ounces of liquid 
  • Consume approximately 8 oz. of fluid every 15 minutes after exercise; consume about 16-24 flu oz. of fluid for every pound of body weight lost during exercise.

Importance of Sodium

Many people associate sodium with high blood pressure, heart disease, and canned foods, but it serves important functions in keeping the body healthy:

  • Maintains fluid balance in the cells 
  • Helps to transmit nerve impulses throughout the body 
  • Helps muscles contract and relax

Since sodium is found in so many foods, it’s fairly uncommon to develop a deficiency unless one is having a bout of excessive vomiting or diarrhea. If a lot of water is lost, a lot of sodium is lost as well. Symptoms of a deficiency include muscle cramps, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and the inability to concentrate. ‘Hyponatremia’ is a dangerous condition in which there is not enough sodium in the body fluids. Symptoms can be absent, mild or severe. Mild symptoms include a decreased ability to think, headaches, nausea, and poor balance. If the deficiency becomes very serious, the body can go into shock and the circulatory system can collapse. 

Conversely, if athletes’ diets contain too much sodium (Hamburger, French fries, etc.), the body tissues tend to retain water. The 2012 American Heart Association recommends that people consume no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day – just a bit more than 1/2 teaspoon of salt. For comparison, a medium order of fast-food French fries contains about 260 milligrams of sodium. A recent study reported that Americans are consuming even more sodium – 8% more in 2010 than in 2001. Consuming too much salt can cause the kidneys to retain water, which may result in increased blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. 

Importance of Potassium

In addition to helping to maintain a proper fluid balance in the body, potassium also performs the following functions:

  • Keeps the blood from clotting
  • Maintains the body’s pH balance
  • Carries nutrients to the cells
  • Protects the stomach lining from the damage that could be caused by stomach acids
  • Maintains healthy blood pressure
  • Promotes heart health
  • Preserves bone health

Athletes should be especially concerned with potassium intake as it plays a role in the storage of carbohydrates to fuel the muscles. In addition, the frequency and degree to which the muscles contract depends heavily on having the right amount of potassium in the body. If there is not enough potassium in the diet, or when the movement of potassium through the body is blocked, nervous and muscular systems can become compromised. The Adequate Intake (AI) for potassium is 4.7 grams per day, but most Americans don’t consume enough potassium in their diets.

One reason for our low potassium levels is that Americans generally don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. Bananas are a great source of potassium which helps to promote muscle recovery. Fresh fruits, especially citrus and melons, and vegetables, especially leafy greens, and broccoli, are also rich in potassium. One can also find the mineral in fish, most meats, and milk. Sweet potatoes and legumes like Lima and Kidney beans are also high in potassium.

Since potassium is lost through sweat and urination, athletes need to consume daily potassium-rich foods because low potassium levels can reduce energy and endurance levels. A recent Australian study with highly trained athletes showed that drinking a caffeinated beverage immediately before exercise could help to maintain adequate potassium levels in the blood and delay fatigue during workout. The body definitely will indicate if one is not hydrated. If experiencing muscle cramping or high levels of thirst, get your potassium and sodium levels checked. 

Suggested Drink Plan: 2 Liters is Optimal 

Here are some suggestions from German Health and Fitness experts, cited from “Gesund und Fit” [Healthy and Fit], Freizeit Revue, No 29, 2019.

Athletes often complain that water is ‘just too bland’, and their intake may not be enough. For that reason, some flavour combinations like lemon or herbs or Apfelschorle (Apple Spritzer) is added. 

Breakfast1 glass water  1 cup of tea200 ml 200 ml
Morning2 glasses of water400 ml
Lunch1 large glass Apfelschorle300 ml
Afternoon2 glasses of water400 ml
Dinner2 cups of herbal tea300 ml
Before Bedtime1 glass water200 ml

Summer Olympics 2020 in Tokyo, Japan –Athlete Preparation and Humidity

The following was received from SIRC (Canadian Sports Information Centre), Ottawa, Canada. It looks like a vitamin, but it’s really a computer. This computerized pill is helping Canada’s high-performance athletes prepare for the heat at the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The “BodyCap” is an ingestible computer used to monitor athletes’ core temperatures

After tracking the temperature during warm-up. pre-race cool-down, and competition, data can be downloaded via BlueTooth for analysis

The technology is being used to help athletes prepare for the Tokyo Olympics where extreme heat conditions are expected

Check out the video featuring Evan Dunfee and the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific’s Trent Stellingwerff: https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1310010435505/


Andersen, H.T., & Barkve, H. (1970). Iron deficiency and muscular work performance: An evaluation of cardio-respiratory function of iron deficient subjects with and without anemia. Scand. J. Lab. Invest. 25(suppl. 144), 1-39. [PubMed: 4283878]

Barker, J. (2019, July 29). Don’t sweat the weather – adapt to it. The Calgary Herald. C2.

Braun, P. (2018, January 4). Hydration, sodium, potassium, and exercise: What you need to know. Blog. ‘Cutting-edge information for curious people.’ Retrieved August 3, 2019, from http://blog.insidetracker.com/hydration-sodium-potassium-and-exercise-what-you

Brotherhood, J., Brozovic, B., & and Pugh, L.G. (1975). Haematological status of middle-and long-distance runners. Clin. Sci. Mol. Med. 48, 139-145. [PubMed: 1116332]

de Wijn, J.F., de Jongste, J.L., Mosterd, W., & Willebrand, D. (1971). Haemoglobin, packed cell volume, serum iron and iron binding capacity of selected athletes during training. J. Sports Med. Phys. Fitness 11, 42-51. [PubMed: 5578266]

Echo der Frau (2019, July). Die besten Wohlfühl-Tips für heisse Tage. Meine Gesundheit [The best wellness tips for hot days. My health], Echo der Frau, No. 29, p. 54.

Fischer, P.W., Giroux, A., & L’Abbe, M.R. (1984). Effect of zinc supplementation on copper status in adult man. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 40, 743-746. [PubMed: 6486080]

Fosmire, G.J. (1990). Zinc toxicity. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 51, 225–227. [PubMed: 2407097]

Freizeit Revue (2019, July). Gesund and Fit [Healthy and Fit]. Freizeit Revue, No. 29, p. 72.

Keen, C.L. (1993). The effect of exercise and heat on mineral metabolism and requirements. Nutritional needs in hot environments. Washington, DV: National Academies Press. Applications for military personnel in field operations. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Military Nutrition Research. Editor: Bernadette M. Marriott. Retrieved August 3, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK236242/

Lane, H.W. (1989). Some trace elements related to physical activity: Zinc, copper, selenium, chromium, and iodine, pp. 301-307 in Nutrition in Exercise and Sports. J.E. Hickson, & I. Wolinsky (Eds.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Lang, J.K., Gohil, K., Packer, L., & Burk, R.F. (1987). Selenium deficiency, endurance exercise capacity, and antioxidant status in rats. J. Appl. Physiol. 63, 2532-2535. [PubMed: 3436884]

Mayo Clinic (n.d.). Heat and Exercise: Keeping cool in hot weather. Healthy Lifestyles. Fitness. Retrieved August 2, 2019, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/%20exercise/art-20048167

Neue Post (2019, July). Zu wenig Flüssigkeit (Too little fluid), Neue Post, No. 29, p. 49.

Prasad, A.S., Brewer, G.J., Shoomaker, E.B., & Rabbani, P. (1978). Hypocupremia induced by zinc therapy in adults. J. Am. Med. Assoc. 240, 2166–2168. [PubMed: 359844]

Pritikin Center (n.d.). Fitness tips from the Pritikin Exercise Physiologists. Blog. ‘Getting Fit’. Retrieved August 2, 2019, from https://www.pritikin.com/your-health/healthy-living/getting-fit/1373-the-heat-is-on-6-tips-for-exercising-safely-in-hot-weather.html

Samman, S., & Roberts, D.C. (1988). The effect of zinc supplements on lipoproteins and copper status. Atherosclerosis 70, 247-252. [PubMed: 3365292]

SIRC (2019, August 1). ‘Sci-fi’ pill helps Canadian athletes prepare for extreme temperatures. SIRC News (Canadian Sport Resource Information Centre. Email. Retrieved August 4, 2019, from email and https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1310010435505/

Stewart, G.A., Steel, J.E., Toyne, A.H., & Stewart, M.J. (1972). Observations on the haematology and the iron and protein intake of Australian Olympic athletes. Med. J. Austr. 2,1339-1343. [PubMed: 4649993]

Tip of the Month – July 2019

Coach Monika Says…

Sitting with Faulty Hand/Finger Position Creates ‘Bad Habits’

I have observed the sitting postures of athletes during instruction and training sessions (coach talking/athletes sitting) and conditioning or exercise practices. I also see adult spectators at various sporting events with faulty/incorrect hand placement when sitting on the ground, floor, grass, or on bleachers. 

The arms are usually straight or ‘locked’ with hand placement backward or sideways as demonstrated in the pictures. The argument is usually the same… “It feels so much better sitting that way.” True – but our arms do not flex or bend in that direction, and the incorrect hand/finger placement actually forms ‘bad habits!’ If you ever slip and fall the automatic reaction is to reach backward with straight arms and hands facing away from the body … resulting in one or two broken elbows or arms! Hospital reports indicate the frequency of such events. I learned from coaching gymnastics where we teach the correct and safe way to fall and how to absorb the shock in forward, backward, or sideways falls… these become lifelong skills! 

This past January, I slipped on ‘black ice’ outside my garage and fell. I broke the right ankle but arms and elbows were fine due to my trained reaction in falling! Therefore, always place hands and fingers facing forward toward your feet when sitting down or exercising!

Why Us ?

Shape Young Athletes
By Having FUN!


Physical Literacy For Children And Youth
Through Fun, Fitness And Fundamentals

Available NOW! – Instant Download or 2-Disk Set

Watch the preview video below!

You will be astonished over the athletic accomplishments of these young athletes’ strength, flexibility, balance, etc.

Click here to purchase your copy today!

 Dr. Monika Schloder Welcomes You To The Home of CoachingBest

Your one-stop for Coaching Tips, Training, and Information for the Athletic Coach

Years of teaching and coaching experience in several sports have provided me with the ability to understand the physical, mental, and emotional requirements for developing beginner to elite level athlete in several sports. The ‘knack’ to analyze sport movement, in essence, detect errors and then develop creative corrections and drills to improve, maximize, and optimize performance – no matter the sport – is one of my greatest assets.

Dr. Monika Scloder, Summer Swim Camp- Turku, Finland

Professional Activities:

  • DVD Production: Swimming; Developing Physical Literacy; Athletic Training
  • Learning Facilitator, Canadian National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP), having educated nationally and internationally over 26,000 coaches to date
  • Certified Alberta NCCP Coach Developer (2016)
  • Speaker at International Congresses, Coaching Symposiums, and World Clinics
  • Master Coach in Residence, 1991-2004, for the Los Angeles based 84 Legacy of the Games (former Amateur Athletic Foundation or AAF), program developer for Inner City Minority Youth Education and Leadership
  • Author: Coaching Manuals in Swimming and Soccer
  • Co-author “Coaching Athletes: A Foundation for Success”


  • Alberta 2008 Coach of the Year
  • Recipient of 14 International Teaching and Coaching Awards
  • 3M Teaching Fellowship Award for Outstanding Teaching at Canadian Universities
  • Recipient of numerous Teaching Excellence Awards, University of Calgary

At CoachingBest.com we offer sport consulting and coaching education to organizations worldwide with an emphasis on current issues, physical literacy, athlete development, performance analysis, and improvement

Visit our Website CoachingBest.com for ‘Tips of the Week’ and sign up for the free Monthly Newsletter

Dr. Schloder has developed a series of Training DVD’s to help Coaches and Athletes
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ASCA Workshop Conference and Presentation

Happenings from November

With Coach Rebecca Atchley – Dr. Schloder was an External Committee Member for Rebeca’s Masters Project Dr. Schloder’s Workshop Presentation

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Conference Photos

Happenings from September

Latest Happenings!!

 Dr. Monika Schloder at the ASCA World Clinic for Swimming, Jacksonville, Florida, Sept 8, 2014 Presenting at the 4-hour Work shop “Dry-land School for Age Group Swimmers” Coaches participate in her workshops… they don’t just sit!

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Back Arch Demo

Coach Schloder in Istanbul, Turkey Swim Camp , June 9-15

Underneath the swimmer to demonstrate the back arch position after the Back Crawl start. Not too many coaches can do this perfectly!

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Developing Physical Literacy

This highly acclaimed presentation was given by Dr. Schloder at the Canadian Sport for Life Summit (CS4L), which will be available as a movie version. Watch for the up-coming DVD: ‘Physical Activities for Children and Youth. Fundamental Movement Skills in the Pursuit of Excellence and Well-being.’

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Skip to comment form

  1. Christian Milbradt

    Hello Dr.Schloder
    Here is Christian your private waiter from Augustiner Munich‍♂️
    It was a pleasure meeting you
    Warm-hearted and kind
    Christian Milbradt

    Would be nice to meet again

  2. Michèle Boutin

    Dear Dr. Schloder,

    We are a small competitive swimming club in Beaconsfield, Quebec, Canada.
    We are interested in purchasing your DVD+Booklet called Fly Away but it is not available on your online shop.
    Could you please let me know how we could purchase it?

    Best regards,

    Michèle Boutin
    Beaconsfield Bluefins Swim Club

  3. Augusto Acosta

    I love your work!

  4. Kim Cox

    Super new front page on your website, very informative.

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