Sunday, May 25, 2014

Athlete of the week - Mike Gilman

Mike Gilman is The Windham Eagle athlete of the week. This eighth grader plays both basketball and baseball at Windham Middle School. 

“Mike is a kid who pitches and plays shortstop for WMS 8th grade baseball.  He bats 3rd and recently pitched against Moore and had 16 strike outs.  He is a kid that puts in the time in his sports in the off-season and it shows.  He has a great attitude, which is his best attribute,” said coach Brett Turenne.
Gilman is the son of Peter and Tammy Gilman.    

Best way to unwind after competition:  Ice and Relax

Future aspirations:  Play a college sport.           

SMAA Citizenship Award

The Southern Maine Activities Association recently presented Vanessa Ludka and Alex Loftis with the annual SMAA Citizenship Award to recognize their outstanding leadership and citizenship qualities as seniors at Windham High School. Two student athletes at each school in the league are awarded this top honor and are invited to attend the Citizenship Awards Banquet at the Italian Heritage Center in Portland. They were accompanied by their parents, Bruce and Denise Ludka and Doug and Beth Loftis, and were presented the crystal award by Rich Drummond, WHS Athletic Director and Chris Howell, WHS Principal.

Photo by Bruce Ludka

Which of the year's hottest workouts will get you back on track - By Erin Gentry

We happen to think the beginning of the year is a great time to get in shape. Not only do you have the biggest eating holidays of the year behind you, but being six months away from bathing suit season means you can make—and meet—healthy weight loss goals. If you have been down this road before, you know there’s a lot more to getting the body you want than watching what you eat. If you want the whole package, you’ll have to hit the gym. And for some serious inspiration, the American College of Sports Medicine released their list of the top 20 fitness trends for 2014, as chosen by over 3,800 fitness pros. Here, we break down the top 10:

1. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Since 2008, the top spot on the ACSM survey was held by “educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals.” But HIIT, which involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery, takes the cake this year. HIIT programs aim to achieve maximum calorie burn in the shortest amount of time—most workouts top out at 30 minutes. The best part? Most of these programs work your full body, so no need to waste time with “arm days” and “leg days” at the gym. 

2. Body Weight Training

Body weight debuts at number two on the list—and we’re a bit surprised it took us this long to catch on! Body weight exercises are exactly what you think they are: Moves that use only your body weight to trim down and sculpt muscles. And we’re not just talking about push-ups and pull-ups, either. It’s back to basics and affordable: Two great qualities for fitness-phobes.

3. Educated and experienced fitness professionals

Your Zumba teachers are no longer former-ballerinas—fitness instructors are now becoming more qualified than ever. With more and more organizations offering certifications, it’s more important than ever to choose a fitness instructor that’s the real deal. The ACSM suggests choosing someone certified through programs that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). Even though it dropped to number three after a six-year reign at the top, it’s pretty clear that individualized training is still very much “in.”

4. Strength Training

For the body you really want, you can’t just hop on the elliptical three days a week. A hearty balance of cardio and strength training is necessary for toning up and feeling stronger than ever, and we’re happy to see this fitness component at number four. Start by dedicating an hour a day, three days a week to a different body part—one day for legs and butt, one for back and abs, and one for chest and arms.
5. Exercise and Weight Loss

They call it diet and exercise for a reason! And as it appears on this list, more and more health and fitness professionals who provide weight loss programs are incorporating regular fitness along with safely restricting calories to help them see results on the scale. Take this trend to the streets and see if your gym offers a consultation with a nutritionist. She can help you build a healthy, affordable meal plan that fits into your life and your workout.

6. Personal Training

More and more students are majoring in kinesiology these days, which means they’re preparing themselves for careers in allied health fields such as personal training. Education, training and proper credentialing for personal trainers have become increasingly important to their employers, and so they should to you. If you’ve never had a personal trainer before and crave individualized attention, this would be the year to do it!

7. Fitness programs for older adults

Further proof that it’s never too late to be as healthy and fit as you’ve always wanted to be. And now, more gyms, trainers, and fitness brands are taking the time and care to create age-appropriate fitness programs tailored to your wants and needs. Hey, you might find you have more time than you did when your kids were young. Whatever your reason, your health is certainly on trend.

8. Functional Fitness

It’s okay if you’re not training for a 5K, competing in a bodybuilding competition, or gearing up for a certification. If you’re working out to make daily life a little easier, the trends are bending in your favor. Workouts that involve light strength training and focus on flexibility translated to improved balance and greater ease in daily life.

9. Group Personal Training

Think you can’t afford a personal trainer? Well guess what; they know you can’t, too. That’s why more and more trainers are offering their services in a group setting—anywhere from two or three people to a full class size. The benefits are easy to get behind: You get a more personal experience for a cheaper rate, plus workout buddies to push you and keep you accountable.

10. Yoga

Yoga is making a comeback—it hasn’t been seen on this list since 2009! Based on ancient tradition, yoga involves series of postures and poses to relax and center your mind while building strength and flexibility. Yoga can help heal all sorts of ailments from back pain to hot flashes. And with the increasing availability of at-home DVD programs and affordable classes, this could be your year to hit the mat and see what all the fuss is about.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Fitness and nutrition in the fire service - My transformation journey - By Brad Chicoine

Brad Chicoine is a paramedic/firefighter with the City of Saco Fire Department. He is a resident of Windham. He is promoting healthy diets and exercise among first responders by sharing his story and transformation.
His goal is to help motivate and make people realize that anyone can make a positive change to their health but it does not happen overnight. 

My story. My job. My transformation. 

In the fall of 2009, after being in the Saco Fire Department for a little over three years, I realized that I had become a product of the typical firehouse atmosphere. I found it very easy, when not training or on 911 emergency calls, to just relax with my crew and eat. Not only did I have the best job in the world, but the public always brought in delicious desserts for us. I was married and had a 2-year-old daughter at home with a baby boy on the way. Life was good right?


I was physically in the worst condition of my life and I was only 26 years old. I knew that I had to do something soon. I decided that the first step was to incorporate a physical fitness program into my daily routine, but didn’t really know how I was going to find the time. 

“For a firefighter to give more than the average citizen, he must be physically strong enough to perform such tasks as rescuing victims, moving equipment, and advancing hoseline much more easily.” - 

So I researched and read anything/everything that had to do with physical fitness. At this point I weighed just over 190 pounds and my uniforms were now not fitting me properly. I was also too embarrassed to tell my fire chief that my structural firefighting gear did not fit me either. I convinced myself that by simply using the elliptical, lifting weights, and jogging, I would solve all my problems. 


After two years of sporadic training, in 2011, I had lost 20 pounds but I still weighed over 170 pounds. My best friend Mark Boutin, who had recently competed in a bodybuilding contest, asked me if I would be interested in training with him. I figured I had nothing to lose because what I was currently doing was not getting me the results I wanted. I trained with Mark for the next two years and learned the proper way to lift weights and the importance of nutrition (how to properly count macros -fat/carb/protein). I was shocked when he said that I had the discipline and motivation to compete in a bodybuilding contest someday.

I laughed at him. 

“Each firefighter needs to take an active role in managing his health. Incorporating a healthy eating plan along with a regular exercise regimen into his schedule enables a member to focus more on the tasks at hand when performing the job.”
In January of 2013, I was talking about physical fitness with a fellow paramedic who mentioned that he worked with an EMT in Old Orchard Beach who was a female bodybuilder. In March of 2013, I finally met Morgan Swinburne of MOTIVATION by MORGAN – Personal Training and Nutritional Services. She was in fact an EMT, personal trainer and nutritionist! How awesome is that? I asked her if she would be willing to train me so I could compete in a bodybuilding contest in 2014 and she confidently replied, “Of course, let’s get to work.” 

It was the best decision I ever made! 

Over 180 pounds.
Together we decided that I would train for an all-natural bodybuilding competition, called The Spirit of America, in Carver, Massachusetts in April 2014. I contacted my friend Mark to see if he would be willing to compete with me and he agreed! I now had a professional trainer, a buddy to help keep me focused, and a goal to strive for. No turning back.

T-Minus 13 months. 

Over the next year Morgan improved my diet while further educating me about nutrition and post-competition diet sustainability. She tracked my progress through weekly weigh-ins, Saturday morning progress photos, and monthly body fat percentage totals. She designed workouts that would allow me to put on lean muscle mass while losing weight. 

Month after month, day after day, my physique morphed before my very eyes. My progress was starting to be noticed by my friends, family, and co-workers. I felt great. I looked better than I ever had in my life. I met the physical demands of my job with ease by excelling at all tasks on the fire ground and I had to order new uniforms because of my dramatic physique change! 

The morning of April 19, 2014, arrived and I was very anxious. I could not believe that I was going to actually step on stage and have eight total strangers judge me solely on my physique. 

Game time.

Right before I was about to step on stage in front of a crowd of over 500 people, my trainer Morgan asked me, “do you remember over a year ago I told you that I would not put you on stage unless you were ready?” I nodded my head. She smiled and said, “Congratulations, you are stage ready. Enjoy the moment, you earned it!” 

I came in fourth place and Mark came in second place in the Men’s Physique Division. 

Being EMTs and firefighters, it is our job to help people. We can’t do this day in and day out if we don’t take care of ourselves first. Even though my physical and mental transformation was achieved through the discipline of bodybuilding, there are many other ways to get healthy. We just need to find a way to include a healthy diet and exercise into our busy shifts when on duty as well as our personal lives when we are off duty. Our job depends on it. We owe to our families, our fellow brothers and sisters in the fire service, and the citizens in the communities that we serve.

Special Olympics teaqms gather to show sportsmanship and athleticism - By Anne Blake

Thirty-eight athletes from RSU14 participated and performed wonderfully at the Special Olympics Cumberland County area games held at Bonny Eagle High School on May 2. All participants trained hard and performed well with many ribbons received. All six schools in the area had students participate. The athletes participated in a wide range of both track and field events.

Photos by Jody Colangelo