Ah, March Madness. My fondest memories from college are from this time of year. As a member of the University of Florida Dazzler’s Dance Team, I was given the opportunity to travel each year to tournament sites all over the country. Seattle, Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, Indiana, Chicago, New Orleans. All incredible experiences! But it wasn’t all fun and games. Being on the sidelines requires hard work, practice, and dedication. You make think it’s just about being cute, but behind the sequins, lycra, and pom pons (yes, pom poNs) there’s a lot of sweat…and maybe even some blood and tears.
Since Atlanta was fortunate enough to be the host city for the 2013 Men’s Final Four, I invited the spirit programs from Louisville, Michigan (should’ve been Florida, but I’m not bitter…maybe a little), Syracuse, and Wichita State to participate in a friendly, early-morning competition consisting of exercises that a generally healthy person can perform at home. The exercises I chose mimic some of the movements that are executed by cheerleaders and dancers (and some limber mascots) during basketball games.
Watch as Miguel Martinez and I referee what turned out to be an intense competition!
The first exercise is a squat with a front kick. We all know that squats are excellent for strengthening the glutes, quads, and hamstrings, but by adding a front kick between each squat we are involving more of our core and relying on balance to switch our weight from 2 feet to 1 foot. When performing a squat it is important to keep your weight in your heels, pressing through your heels to stand and making sure you only kick to a height that is comfortable for you. Performing this movement while holding dumbbells can add some resistance and involve your arms. Only squat to a level that is comfortable for you. Hip flexibility varies so while you may not be able to squat deeply, you can still perform an efficient squat by holding your chest up, sticking your booty out, keeping your knees tracking over your toes, and keeping your weight in your heels.
The second exercise is simply a get up. It’s nothing complicated, literally just standing up from a seated position on the floor and sitting back down on the ground. This happens a lot during games if you’re on the sidelines, especially if your team is hitting a lot of baskets. It’s more difficult than you may thing so if you’re trying this at home, it’s okay to use your hands. As it becomes easier, try doing it without your hands for a bit of challenge. This is an excellent exercise to practice because you never know when you might fall and need to get up on your own. (Side note: you don’t have to perform the get up as fast as my friends in the video, keep in mind, they were competing for the title win!)
The last and most advanced exercise is the X jump. This is a milder form of a toe touch and a more extreme version of a jumping jack. It is important to land with bent knees and to press through your heels when taking off from the ground so you can involve more of your glutes. The X part happens in the air when your legs and arms are splayed into an X position. If this exercise is too difficult, please stick to jumping jacks until you have built up stamina and strength. (Same side note as before: no need to perform these as fast as my friends in the video, they were competing to be champions of the CNN Fitness Bracket! Congrats to the Cards!)
Good luck building your sideline stamina! I hope you have a greater appreciation of cheerleaders, dancers, and mascots the next time you watch a sporting event!
Well I finally decided to give eggs in a cupcake tin a try, and am I glad I did! I am NOT good at waking up in the morning. If I have to wake up before 10, I hit snooze over and over and over again and when I do finally get up, I’m rushing around to get ready. Because of my horrible wakeup habits, I rarely have time to cram some food down my gullet. This time constraint has made me resort to Rise protein bars, which I love, but some days I need to save my bar for later in the day to eat as a quick snack between classes or driving around. This is what led me to experiment with the following recipe.
I have been looking at different egg snack recipes over the years and found this recipe today which finally kicked my cooking butt into gear. The veggies that I used in my recipe were ones I already had in my house, so feel free to experiment!
- 2 1/4 cups egg whites or egg product (Of course, I used the Costco brand egg product)
- 1/2 bell pepper, diced (I used a yellow one)
- 1/2 tomato, diced
- 1-2 cups broccoli, chopped into small pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray small frying pan with nonstick cooking spray. Saute peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli in a small pan for 5 minutes. While vegetables are cooking, spray cupcake tray with nonstick cooking spray (I used a tin with a standard cupcake size and 12 cups). Once vegetables are done cooking, divide them evenly between the cups. Pour 3 Tbsp of egg white or egg product into each cup. Put tray in oven and cook for 20 minutes. Let them cool. Store in the fridge and microwave for 30 seconds when you’re ready to eat them! (Depending on your microwave, you might need to use more or less time.)
Experiment with spices and different veggies to please your taste buds. Please post any modifications you make so we can try them out!
Views on protein can be somewhat confusing and controversial, depending on from whom you request information. Usually the same crowd which tells you to eat a carbohydrate-free diet will also tell you to load, or in many cases, overload, on protein. Protein is important for growth, maintenance and repair of body tissue and should be balanced in your everyday diet. I won’t bore you with an in-depth biochemistry lesson, but an overload of protein can be detrimental to your kidneys over time; can cause you sluggishness; and it can cause you to smell weird. Trust me, I experienced that smell when I first started competing, and it is not pleasant.
Basically, you should be getting around 1 gram of protein per KILOGRAM of body weight (dividing your weight by 2.2 will give you both your body weight in kilograms, as well as an approximation of your daily amount of protein.) Yes, I said KILOGRAMS not pounds. Keep in mind, this is just a general recommendation; your protein needs may vary depending on your weight and physical activity level. Once you have that number you will want to divide that amount of protein up among your meals and snacks throughout the day. Keep in mind that this is a general recommendation. Athletes and extremely physically active individuals will, of course, need more protein for repair and maintenance of muscles.
This does not mean that you need to consume an excessive amount of protein to get a toned, fit body. In fact, consumming more protein than you need can have detrimental effects on your body:
- Extra protein intake means extra caloric intake which means stored fat in the body.
- Excessive protein intake can cause dehydration.
- Consuming too much protein can have a detrimental affect on the kidneys.
Bottom line, there is a strange obsession with overconsumption of protein. Science dictates that a generally healthy body can only process so much protein, so, as hard as it may be, ignore diets that tell you to consume 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight and stick with kilograms.
P.S. Try to get your protein from natural sources such as meats, legumes (beans), nuts, tofu, and dairy products. If you are looking for a protein shake, stick with whey protein. Costco has a ginormous (yes, that’s a word) bag of Cytosport whey protein for $34.99, no need to purchase tiny tubs of protein powder for $60. And, don’t forget, protein can also be found in whole grains and some vegetables!
Check out my website! www.fitdesiree.com
Ah, January…every gym or fitness studio’s favorite month. Memberships increase, attendance increases, and people excited and rejuvenated by the new year bombard the closest exercise destination ready to tackle their new fitness goals. Enter irritated gym regulars. Why the irritation? Because, understandably, gym newbies aren’t hip to general gym etiquette. Why should they be? Gym etiquette is usually something you learn from experience…or from someone who is compassionate enough to school you before you walk into the sweat shop. So, if you’re one of those gym newbies, here are some compassionate tips to help you avoid embarrassment as you embark on your new gym experience!
- Pay attention to time limits. Cardio machines (e.g. treadmills, ellipticals, stair climbers, stairmasters, rowing machines, etc) are a popular choice among gym goers, especially first-timers and especially in January. Most gyms have a 20-30 minute time limit on these machines, so check for a sign up sheet before hopping on. This can save you the awkward moment when someone taps you on the shoulder, mid stride, and tells you to hop off the machine because ‘it’s not your turn;’ and it can also prevent someone else from walking up and hopping on the machine when you’ve been waiting for 15 minutes. Many gyms have that one member who polices the machines making sure that people don’t go over their time limit, and you certainly don’t want a run in with them. Be mindful of these time limits, they are set for a reason.
- Don’t be a squatter. It’s fine if you need to do three sets on one piece of equipment, but if you’re resting for a long time between sets, allow someone else waiting for the equipment to work in. Otherwise, lift or get off the pot.
- Wipe down your machines. This cannot be stressed enough. NO ONE wants to touch your nasty sweat. I don’t care how clean you are, your sweat is just plain nasty to everyone else. Few things can provoke gym anger more quickly than someone hopping off a machine and leaving it dripping wet. Most gyms have spray and paper towels or sanitizing wipes that you can use to wipe down your machine. This goes for both cardio machines and nautilus machines. Another solution is to bring a towel and lay down it down on the machine you’re using (not a cardio machine, of course). This will help the machine stay dry to begin with.
- Stay off your phone. It’s fine if you use your phone as a music listening device, but there is no need for you to be yapping away or texting while working out. If you are doing these things, you’re wasting your time. Not to mention, no one wants to hear your plans for the weekend or the awesome vacation you just returned from, or how bad your date was last night.
- RERACK YOUR WEIGHTS! This is in all caps because it is my BIGGEST gym pet peeve. If you use a set of dumb bells or a bar bell or weight plates for your exercise, PUT THEM BACK! Not only is it rude to not put your equipment away, it is dangerous. If you used a weight that is too heavy and you can’t put it back, you have two options: 1) Use lighter weight next time or 2) Ask for help. If you don’t want to ask another gym member, there are plenty of employees who can help you. It is not embarrassing to ask for help, you’re working out, you get fatigued, it happens. It’s embarrassing if you’re the jerk that leaves 5, 45 pound plates on either side of the bench press bar for the next person to deal with, or dumbbells sitting in the middle of the floor for everyone to trip over.
- Keep talking to a minimum in group X classes. Group exercise classes are an incredibly fun way to get your workout in, but all it takes is one person to ruin the entire classes’ experience. Be respectful of the teacher and other students by keeping your mouth shut and paying attention. An occasional “Woo!” is acceptable and it’s okay to respond if the teacher asks a question, but a group X class is NOT the place to hold a gossip fest.
- Speaking of group X, be mindful of your classmates’ personal space. If you’re in a class of 5 and you’re in a giant studio, then you better work that grapevine!! But, if you’re in a class that’s packed to the gills, where space is limited, you need to be aware of your personal bubble. A few examples: do not stand directly in front of someone who has already picked their spot; do not go to the bathroom and return to a different spot; if you are late, do not walk to the front of the class, unless it is obvious that there is room up there for you.
- Speaking of being late, try to be on time! Most teachers prefer you to get to class a few minutes early so you can claim your spot, get settled, etc. I, myself, do not mind a late comer as I know life gets in the way, but many teachers expect you to be on time. If you have a teacher who prefers this, be respectful of their policy.
- Choose your clothing wisely. Some gyms have dress codes (e.g. no tank tops, no half tops, no jeans, etc) so you’ll want to abide by those rules, but you also want to be aware of clothing that might be distracting to others. You might have a fabulous tush, but not everyone wants to see your cheeks or your crack when working out. A couple of other clothing items to be aware of plus solutions to the problem: see through leggings (solution: tie a shirt around your waist); loose shorts that bare your undies, or lack of undies (solution: wear bike shorts underneath). If you absolutely insist on wearing any of the aforementioned items, don’t be offended if you get a few stares.
- Keep it clean. This is a tough one to discuss, but let’s talk about hygiene. Gyms are full of sweaty, nasty, smelly people. It’s just how it is, working out –> sweating –> body odor. If you are a naturally pungent person, perhaps a quick shower or sink bath would make the gym experience more comfortable for you and those surrounding you. Side note: if you ate a giant bean-filled burrito for lunch, you might want to skip the heavy lifting that night.
Good luck! And if you haven’t been active in recent years, check with a doctor before beginning your new, healthier lifestyle.
Check out my website! www.fitdesiree.com
It’s that time of year again! The time for a fresh start, a new beginning, a resolve to change. Well, how did last year’s fresh start go for you? If you’re like most people, you were hard core in January, and then as February rolled around, somehow life got in the way, and continued to get in the way throughout the rest of the year. So, let’s try to avoid that this year. Here are some tips on how to stick with your 2013 resolutions…or shall we say, your 2013 lifestyle changes!
- Don’t be superficial. Yes, we all want to look great, but there are so many other reasons for exercising and eating well. Instead of saying, “I want to lose 20 pounds” or “I want to look good in a bikini/speedo by summer” focus on another reason to get yourself healthier. Example: “I want to increase my endurance” or “I want to lower my blood pressure” or “I want to walk up a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing” or “I want to get up off the couch without using my hands.” Looking good is merely a lovely side effect of being healthy.
- Express yourself. Tell someone about your 2013 lifestyle changes. It can be a friend, family member, coworker, classmate, or anyone that you talk to often. This way they can check in with you and hold you accountable. You’re more likely to stick with change if you express it out loud.
- Take pen to paper. Write down your 2013 lifestyle changes and put them where you can see them everyday. Stick them on the fridge or write them on the bathroom mirror. Remind yourself daily about what you decided to change in the new year.
- Make many small changes leading up to a big change. Why not make monthly changes this year? January 1st isn’t the only 1st of the year. You are more likely to stick with your big goal if you meet many smaller goals along the way.
- Don’t be ridiculous. Make a realistic resolve to change. The reason so many people fail in meeting goals, is that they set unrealistic expectations for themselves. Use common sense to dictate your goal-setting. Don’t aim to look like someone else, or vow to lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks, that’s just ridiculous and you’re setting yourself up for failure.
- It’s not a competition. The only person you should be concerned with is yourself. It’s fine to have a workout buddy or smoking cessation partner, but you need to remain supportive of each other. Don’t let human nature rear it’s ugly head. Every body is different. Comparing yourself to others or competing with others is a sure way to sabotage your progress.
- It’s not a resolution, it’s a lifestyle change. Change takes time. You must be patient with yourself. You are basically breaking old habits, and as we all know, old habits are hard to break. If you’ve resolved to lose weight, keep in mind that safe, effective, and sustainable weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. If you do the math, you’re looking at 24 pounds lost in a year. It is, of course, possible to have faster weight loss, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have a flat stomach in one month.
Happy New Year and good luck with your 2013 lifestyle changes!! Feel free to share your changes below.
Check out my website! www.fitdesiree.com
I experience this at least a couple times a week: someone tells me they have a part of their body they want to change, or a certain amount of weight they want to lose. I enjoy when people tell me this as it means that they have taken the first step to making a change: contemplation, thinking about making a change. Here’s the problem, an actual change requires a few more steps: preparation, action, and maintenance.
Are you one of those people? Someone who says they want to change something about their body, but then doesn’t make the change? If you are, then you can do one of two things. You can either keep talking about making changes, or you can start making changes. If you want to just keep talking about making changes, then you probably don’t want to bore yourself reading the rest of this post. But if you want to start making changes, keep reading and we’ll discuss how you can do so.
I like to think of getting fit/healthy as a climb up a mountain, a fitness mountain if you will. Your ultimate fitness goal(s) being the top of that fitness mountain. Common sense says, to get to the top of the fitness mountain you must climb the fitness mountain. Of course, if you want to stay where you are, you can just walk around the fitness mountain. Even if you do begin to climb the mountain, there is always the chance some sort of avalanche will cause you to slide down the fitness mountain delaying your goals or temporarily throwing you off track. Despite this set back, you must get up, dust yourself off, and get back to climbing.
To put things in perspective: my ultimate fitness goals continue to evolve because I continue to evolve; just when I think I’ve reached my peak, I realize I can do even more. This means that my mountain peak is hidden in the clouds and I have to keep scaling the mountain to see what’s up there. That said, I do still have goals that I will try to reach along the way. My next big goal is to get ready for Fitness Universe in 2013. I won’t start dieting, choreographing/practicing, or any other hard core preparation until after the New Year, but I have already begun to make changes. I already teach 13 classes a week (9 of which I actually participate in) so that is a lot of my exercise, but I had postponed my individual workouts due to my vacation and Thanksgiving, so I began adding those in last week. I have also incorporated a stretch class and a yoga class into my routine, to improve flexibility. My next change, coming in January, will be adding an intermediate jazz class to my schedule…2 jazz classes, if I’m feeling frisky.
I’m giving you these details to show you that even though I am in good shape, I still need to make changes to get myself Fitness Universe stage ready. So, I hope you have come to the realization that talking about your changes and making changes are two very different activities. I’m sure you’ve heard the following quote before, but it just makes sense so it bears repeating, “Do what you’ve always done, and you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” So go ahead, listen to Tony Robbins, make a change and start now!
Check out my website! www.fitdesiree.com
When the words ‘best music video of all time’ are uttered, what comes to mind? For many, at least those above the age of 25, as well as music historians, it’s Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” To simply say it is an iconic video, does little to signify its’ true historical value. Thriller, along with it’s album mate ‘Beat it,’ ushered in the age of true, full-scale-dance videos. But Thriller was more than just a music video, it was a top-of-the-line Hollywood production filmed by legendary director John Landis, and complete with dancing zombies, a ferocious werewolf, a script, awesome acting, the incomparable King of Pop, and, of course, the incredible choreography of Michael Peters.
For almost 30 years now, people have learned and relearned the iconic “Thriller” choreography. When performed by MJ and his professional dancers, it is an electrifying dance to watch. The choreography is zombie-like and precise, a difficult task for anyone save Michael Peters. Yet, it took a genius such as Peters to choreograph such an incredible dance that is dazzling when performed by professional dancers, but is also fairly simple to learn by a novice dancer. And THAT is exactly why so many people, 30 years later, know the “Thriller” choreography…or at least bits and pieces of it.
I clearly remember trying to learn it when I was younger. That is, once I stopped crying every time I saw the album cover because I was so scared of the freaking video. My babysitter probably shouldn’t have let me watch it when I was 4 years old. I wore out my VHS tape of “Thriller” trying to learn the choreography so I could teach it to my fellow pom squad teammates at Sarasota High. I taught it to my fellow Dazzler teammates at the University of Florida for Midnight Madness in 2000. Side note: We made Sportscenter that night, although I think Billy Donovan popping out of a coffin at the end was a major draw. I taught it to the Hawks Cheerleaders 2 years after I had retired from the team and performed it with them for opening night of the 2011 season. And, finally, I have taught it at numerous parties and classes in between all of these performances. It makes for the perfect class. Everybody knows the song and has seen the choreography, and for an hour you’re having so much fun that you don’t even realize you’re exercising.
I’m in the red dress to the left of Harry…
This year, in the spirit of Halloween and Michael Jackson, I am teaming up with Volunteer Emory to bring you Dance for a Cause: Thriller Edition this Sunday, October 28 at 7pm in the WoodPEC on the Emory University campus. Tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for Emory students. All proceeds benefit IMAGE Children’s Shelter. Come break a sweat while learning the iconic choreography that continues to stand the test of time. And wear your best zombie gear!
Location: The event will take place on Emory University’s campus in the Woodruff Physical Education Center (WoodPEC).
Parking: Everyone should plan to park in the Peavine Parking Deck (it’s free on the weekends and right behind the WoodPEC. (Address of parking deck: 29 Eagle Row, Atlanta GA 30322)
1.) When you walk into the WoodPEC, tell them that you’re there for a Volunteer Emory public event taking place in the 4th floor gym.
2.) Take stairs or elevator to the 4th floor
3.) Stop by the table at the edge of the gym to pay for your ticket: cash and check ONLY.
- a. Tickets are $15 for general public, $10 for Emory University students
- b. Checks should be made directly to Volunteer Emory University
- c. All proceeds benefit the IMAGE Children’s Shelter
It’s not that I’m opposed to cooking and baking, I enjoy it when I do, but sometimes I just want something quick and easy that I can have on hand as a snack. I have taken bits and pieces from protein bar recipes I have seen over the years and added some of my own touches for a yummy, easy-to-make, power-packed, satisfying protein bar. Try experimenting to personalize your protein bar recipe! Add nuts, dried fruit, even chocolate chips if you get bored with this combination.
1 cup dried oats
5 scoops vanilla whey protein powder (Vegans can use vanilla soy protein isolate powder, thanks for the tip, Cathy!)
5 Tbsp natural peanut butter
3 Tbsp hemp seed
1/2 cup skim milk (Substitute with almond, soy milk, water, etc)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Water as needed
Spray a baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Add peanut butter, milk, and vanilla extract. Mix well. If the mixture is too dry, add 1 Tbsp of water at a time until it is a thick and sticky dough. Spread the dough onto the baking pan using a spatula that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. If you have a larger pan, shape the dough into a rectangle, standing about 1/2 inch thick. Freeze for 1 hour and cut into 6-9 squares*. (Less squares = more calories, fat, carbohydrates, and protein.) Wrap individual squares in wax paper and store in refrigerator.
*As my friend Megan suggested, you can use fun cookie cutters too…I will not be providing the nutritional information for fun shapes.
Nutritional information for 6 bars:
286 calories, 11g fat, 15g carbohydrates, 30g protein
Nutritional information for 9 bars:
191 calories, 8g fat, 10g carbohydrates, 20g protein
Check out my website! www.fitdesiree.com
It’s that time of year again when millions of young adults are settling into their first semester away from home. I vividly remember the day my parents took me up to the University of Florida to drop me off at Hall 95. I cried as we drove up I-75, leaving behind Sarasota, my home for the previous 15 years. I had the full range of typical freshman emotions — scared, excited, and nervous, but I was ready to be a Gator!
Your college years can be some of the best years, especially if you get to experience them on a huge college campus like the University of Florida. With a student population of 40,000, it’s like living in a special little city within a city. However, in a sea of 40,000 students, you soon realize you are left to your own devices. And when you’re suddenly faced with a random class schedule, extracurricular activities (for me it was the Dazzlers Dance Team), dorm life, a social life, and meal planning…something is going to suffer. In my case, it was the meal planning that suffered.
I had been a vegetarian since middle school and I didn’t have my own car, so trips to the grocery store were dependent on car-owning friends. My diet consisted of non-perishables, Diet Coke, and whatever food was available on campus. Not what you would call a balanced diet. I lacked basic nutrition knowledge, and as a result, I made plenty of mistakes; but with a few bits of key knowledge, you don’t have to.
Basic nutrition information can be simple enough to get you through college with a healthy and fit body! You just need to remember the following 3 elements of nutrient intake, and you should be able to maintain a slightly balanced and manageable diet. If I had been aware of these elements of nutrient intake back in 1998, I would have been golden from day one of college. Hopefully, these three keys will help you shine.
You must eat every 3 hours. This schedule is imperative. Eating every 3 hours will help to keep your blood sugar level which in turn will keep you energized. Keeping this regular schedule may also prevent binge eating, which is a sure fire way to pack on the pounds. Eating every 3 hours will also let your body know that you do not plan to starve it, which is an important component of weight loss/management. If your body is convinced it won’t get fed, it will do everything it can to hold on to excess fat to use as an energy source (this is bad). To fully explain it, I would have to go into a somewhat complex biochemistry lesson, so let’s just say it’s a survival mechanism. If your body is in a state of starvation, it will hold on to excess fat and break down muscle. But when your body is in a state of energy balance, it allows you to preserve your muscle and get rid of that excess, unwanted fat. There is no need to hold on to it anymore, resulting in a healthier body composition.
I would love it if your diet consisted of fruits and veggies, whole grains, low fat dairy products, and proteins like lean meats, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Unfortunately, with our crazy, nonstop schedules, fatty, crappy food is bound to sneak into our diets here and there. Because of this, portion sizes are incredibly important! I would love for you to weigh and measure all of your meals, but this is not always possible. For most people, it is a slightly unrealistic expectation. So, just use common sense. Having pizza? Eat 1 slice instead of 4 and load it up with veggies. Going out for a burger and fries? Eat half the burger and have veggies instead of fries. If food comes in a package, read the label and pay attention to serving sizes. You would be surprised at how many packages of food contain more than one serving.
The topic of portion control opens up a whole other world of questions, but I really want you to focus on keeping it simple. If you’re a generally healthy person trying to lose weight, keeping your portion sizes small so that you’ll eat less is a good bet for obtaining or maintaining a healthy body composition. Food is not a reward, it is fuel. Which brings me to my third nutrition key.
Food = Fuel
Food = Fuel. What does that mean? It means exactly what it says. Food is your body’s source of fuel. The following analogy, given by one of my grad-school professors, Dan Benardot, Ph.D., R.D., L.D., FACSM, sums up this point perfectly. I’m not giving it to you verbatim, but you will get the idea. ‘Say you have a Ferrari (I did say this is an analogy, didn’t I?) and one day you were planning to drive from Atlanta to Nashville, but your gas tank is close to E. You go to the gas station for a fill up, but they are out of premium, high-octane gas, which is highly recommended for Ferrari’s and other high-performance automobiles. Now, keep in mind, it is imperative that you get to Nashville that day. So, do you try to drive to Nashville on E, or do you fill up with the lower-octane gas which is staring you in the face? Take a second to ponder that. Okay, what did you decide? Do you risk getting out on the freeway with an empty tank, hoping you make it to Nashville, or do you add a few gallons of the low-octane fuel knowing that your arrival in Nashville is vital? Exactly, you add the low-octane gas–at least enough to get you to Nashville where you might be able to find the premium stuff. Now think of yourself as that high-performance Ferrari. Sure, you would rather add premium food to your body whenever you can, but if you can’t, you eat the best available option because you never want to get out on the road while you’re on E.’ Your body needs fuel to function, just as your car needs fuel to function. Get it? Food = Fuel. So, If you’re on campus, heading to class, and your last snack was 3 hours ago, but the only thing that’s left in the vending machine is a candy bar, and you’re about to sit through an hour and a half lecture, what do you do? Yes, you eat the candy bar, plain and simple. The energy from that candy bar will keep your blood sugar up, and probably help you avoid being either the poor schlub who falls asleep in class and then gets called out by the teacher, or the student who nearly jumps out of their chair while having one of those weird ‘falling’ dreams. What’s the moral to this story? Always keep gas in your Ferrari.
- Food = Fuel
It’s that simple. Don’t confuse yourself by overanalyzing nutrition and experimenting with fad diets that promise “amazing results in just days!” For a generally healthy person, especially one who is in college, living on a fixed income, and trying to enjoy a social life in between classes and studying, simple nutrition is key.
Bonus Alcohol Section (21 and Up)
Now I know that no underage drinking occurs on college campuses, so I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this section and you are not 21, you are just prepping yourself for the future.
Keep in mind that all alcohol has 7 kcal per gram. The low calorie alcoholic beverages are usually watered down which is how they can claim a lower calorie content. All alcohol is turned into fat in the body, there is no escaping that, but I know drinking is going to happen in college so I shall offer some tips to keep your calorie intake a little lower when tailgating on game day or heading out to a bar.
- Alternate alcoholic beverages with a glass of water. This will slow down your alcohol intake and keep you hydrated.
- Avoid sugary mixed drinks. Pick mixers like water, soda water, or tomato juice (actual tomato juice, not Bloody Mary mix) and top with a lime or lemon wedge.
- AVOID SHOTS! Shooters are the easiest way to consume a boat load of calories and sugars. Although it’s not scientifically proven, people do dumber things when shots are involved (and with Facebook and Twitter, you’ll probably want to avoid dumb drunken actions).
- Eat before a night of drinking. Do not substitute your dinner with a pitcher of beer.
- Eat after drinking. Rather than hitting up a drive thru or 24 hour diner, have a PB&J. This might help you feel better the day after a night out so you won’t crave greasy, hangover food.
- Final bonus tip: Always have a designated driver!:) If none of your friends want to drive, take a cab. It will be money well spent, I promise!
Check out my website! www.fitdesiree.com
I am not a morning person. Never have been, never will be. I vividly remember my wake up routine in elementary, middle, and high schools:
- Step 1: My alarm would go off. I would hit snooze.
- Step 2: A few minutes later, my mom would come in and tell me to get up.
- Step 3: A few minutes later, my dad would come in and rip the covers off of me and make an annoying and loud trumpet-sounding noise.
- Step 4: My mom would scream, from the kitchen, “Get the BEEP out of bed!!!!”
And that would do it, I would throw myself from my bed and get ready Tasmanian Devil style.
College was even worse. We had 6am workouts, off campus, my first year on the University of Florida dance team. Let me set the stage for you. I lived on campus, did not have a car, and cell phones were only common for lawyers and doctors. In other words, few college students had cell phones. I would set my alarm for 5:30am, hit snooze once, fling myself from my bed, run down the 4 flights of stairs in Broward Hall, and sprint a block to where my ride would pick me up. My ride would leave at exactly 5:50, so if I wasn’t downstairs by 5:50, that meant no ride, no workout, and a not so happy coach. I think we got a demerit of some sort if we missed.
Move to present day. The earliest class that I teach is at 9:30am on Saturday. I set my alarm for 8:15 and snooze until 8:45 (that’s a total of 4 snoozes), at which time I drag myself from my bed, slap together a quick breakfast, and manage to get to the studio by 9:20ish.
I use these real life examples to demonstrate how much of a morning person I am not. That said, I don’t workout in the morning. There have been some studies saying that working out in the morning gets your calorie-burning furnace revved up, but the amount of extra calories being burned as a result of early workouts, is negligible.
I did title this blog post “What is the best time of day to work out?” so I will deliver. The best time of day to workout…drumroll, please…is whenever you CAN workout!
As I mentioned, my earliest class is at 9:30am and my latest class is at 8:30pm. Both classes are popular, both classes are filled with hard working beasts, and both classes burn calories, increase strength, improve aerobic capacity, and get you moving! I hope you’re getting my point. The best time of day to workout is when you can fit it into your schedule. Whether it’s morning, noon, night, or the middle of the night, just move!