As the semester comes to a close

With finals rapidly approaching, I think back to how my health has been all semester.  My goal at the beginning of the year was to go to the gym at least 4 times a week and to stay fairly healthy in my eating habits.  Overall, I think I have been fairly successful in my goal.  I have maintained my weight throughout the semester which is a first for me in college.  I think my biggest struggle in college is eating healthy.  I am the first person to give in to a tasty treat when offered it.  That will be my main goal for next semester.  I did well on staying active and working out even though I did not eat as well as I should have.

However, I was able to consistently maintain going to the gym multiple times a week.  This was mainly because of my cycling and my friends.  Over the summer I told my friends about my love for cycling but they didn’t seem to interested.  I loved the class setting with the music blaring and the lights turned off while everybody in the class has synchronized movements.  Cycling is a fully body workout where I never failed to be drenched in sweat by the end of it.  While my college doesn’t have a cycling class, they do have a room with bikes in it.  My friends all promised me that they would at least try it out just once for me.  I brought my speak to blare music and created my own routine for my friends and I to cycle along to.  They loved it as well.  Soon they were asking me if or when  I was going to cycle almost everyday of the week because they wanted to join in.  For this reason I made time to go to the gym as many days as I possibly could.  It was easy for me to find times to workout because I was always looking forward to cycling.  It’s not a workout I ever dread.

While the semester did not come without its challenges, I was always able to keep my health on my mind even if it wasn’t the main priority.  While I made a lot of progress this semester with my health, there is still a ways for me to go to reach my goal.  There is a lot of other things happening in college that sometimes your health isn’t always the most important, but don’t forget about it!

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Just find something you love

With Thanksgiving already behind us and the holiday season in full swing, while it’s important to enjoy time with friends and family it’s also important to stay healthy.  This is preferred as opposed to going to the gym in the beginning of January as your New Years Revolution with what seems like the rest of world.  But how can one possibly find that motivation to workout?! Find a class or a specific workout that you enjoy and it seems infinitely easier in my opinion.  If you hate running, then don’t do it as your workout because then you will find any excuse possible not to workout.  You don’t want to hate yourself for an hour or however long your workout is when you could be enjoying it.  I believe that there is some form of physical activity that everybody loves to do.  If you’ve been reading my blog then you probably already know that I’m obsessed with cycling classes.  I just found my love for cycling very recently, but I enjoy cycling and for me it’s a great stress reliever as well as being a great workout.  It’s not exceedingly painful for me to wake up and convince myself to workout because I genuinely enjoy going to cycling classes.  Just so everybody know cycling also known as spinning is a high intensity workout on a stationary bike.  Offered in most gyms as a class which is usually 45-60 minutes long, there is an instructor creates a workout.  In cycling classes, the instructor chooses music to be played and depending on the tempo of the song changes the speed and/or resistance of the bike.  In cycling there is also a combination of sitting and standing on the bike.  Before I took a cycling class, I was unaware of all the different moves that could be done on a bike.  Since my explanation is probably fairly lacking for somebody who has no clue what spinning is. I have attached a youtube video which shows a short clip of cycling class.

I would love to convince everybody to go to a cycling class, I understand that it probably isn’t everybody’s cup of tea.  But I urge everybody to find a workout they love because it makes workout more fun.  It doesn’t have to cycling, but running, weightlifting, zumba, yoga, kettle bell, swimming, and many many more.  And if you’re taking a class or just working out in general don’t get discouraged after the first time or class because it will get easier plus seeing your improvement is just a part of the whole process.  So instead of waiting until January to begin your healthy lifestyle why not start now! I promise it will be worth it! Go find something you love to do!

With the cold weather comes my dwindling motivation

As the weather gets colder I always seem to lose my motivation to workout.  I don’t know whether it’s the fact that my only option to workout is inside or that fact that I’ll be wearing big bulky clothing to stay warm as opposed to tight fitting clothing creates my drop in motivation.  Whatever it is, it’s obviously a problem.  All I want to do is get cozy on my sofa with a blanket drinking a warm drink while watching a movie during the winter time.  Yes I know that it’s still fall but I’m the type of person who enjoys warm wether and I get cold fairly easily.

In warmer weather there are more options to exercise in my opinion because if I didn’t feel like going to the gym, then I had the option of going on a bike ride or running outside.  Plus many summer activities such as hiking and swimming are active as opposed to winter activities while usually are only inside.  At the beginning of the semester, I brought my bike to my college campus; however, my parents just brought my bike home since I was no longer biking outside because of the cold weather.  When it’s warmer outside, I don’t mind walking around to some of the restaurants that are close to campus.  However, now I am sad to say that I drive there.  I even have difficulty motivating myself to go to the gym because I have to wear all those extra layers in just to walk to the gym.  Plus sometime I get bored with my gym routine and I want to mix it up.  I know many of these excuses are lame, but I think most people would agree with some of them.

However, my goal at the beginning of the semester was to keep my motivation going through the entire semester.  While I no longer run or bike outside as often, I can still go to the gym.  I have tried to mix up my gym routine.  I change it up between the cycling bikes, treadmills, ellipticals, swimming, and weight training.  I try to vary my routine in order to keep myself from getting bored of the gym.  I feel as though getting tired of my gym routine is one of the biggest problems I have as the weather begins to get chilly.  Therefore, I urge everybody to mix it up so they don’t get bored at the gym. Beat that cold weather slump of not working out and being unhealthy!

‘Tis the season to stay healthy

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, I think that most people find it difficult to stay healthy no matter if you’re in college or not.  I know during this season my friends and I always make a list of things we want to do which usually involves making cookies, gingerbread houses, and other such food related activities.  Plus as the weather get colder, I start to lose my interest in doing outdoor activities such as running, biking, and hiking.  All these holidays involve stuffing your face at a huge meal surrounded by friends and family.  Since I’m at college and don’t get home very often, I want to spend as much time as possible with my family and friends and therefore easily can talk myself out of going to the gym or working out.  Plus with everybody gorging on food, it sometimes seems impossible to say no a second helping.  Therefore, I going to create a list of goals for myself over the holiday season in order to stay healthy.

First, I’m going to require myself to workout at least 4 times a week which gives me plenty of time to relax and hang out with family and friends.  I have found some simple at home or the in the college dorm workouts that won’t take up much time.  Most of those workouts are a combination of squats, planks, push-ups, crunches, lunges, and wall sits since they don’t require any equipment.  Secondly, I am going to try to avoid having seconds at meals because I usually get a large enough helping the first time around.  I also plan to serve my own food because I feel as though other sometimes overfill my plate more with more food than I need.  After every large meal during the holidays, I will go for a short walk rather than just taking a nap directly after the meal.  This is made easier for me since I can take my dog for a walk.  Those are my goals with the holiday season rapidly approaching and these are goals that I’m trying to do all the time.  Over the holiday season it’s just always easier forget about your health because everybody is so busy.

Everything is always more fun with friends

I lack a great deal of motivation to go to the gym by myself some days and all I need is my friend to tell me to get up and go to the gym! In my head, I can always rationalize not going to the gym because I have too much work and other things to do especially while being in college. I just say oh I’ve had a stressful week with a lot of tests so I deserve a break and a little time to relax. Sometimes my friends will say that I’m the annoying one for trying to convince them to go to the gym or be healthy.
This week I was able to go to the gym on a fairly regular basis and I usually tried to drag a friend a long with me. Going to the gym is always more fun and enjoyable in a group in my opinion. I would consider myself to be a competitive person so when working out with a friend we are able to challenge and motivate each other to keep going for one more set or just one more minute of sprinting on the bike. In our college fitness center, there is a racquetball room which contains rowing machines and cycling bikes, so a few times a week I convince my friend to cycle with me. I blare my music out loud and attempt to do a modified spin workout with my friend. By the end we are usually drenched in sweat and she looks like she’s about ready to hurt me if we aren’t listening to the last song. I would probably never do this workout by myself, but with a friend it’s my go to workout. She’s even beginning to love spinning as much as I do and going to try some real classes when she goes to her gym at home.
Unfortunately, my friend isn’t able to go to the gym with me at the same exact time that I am able to go at, but we’ve made it into a routine to workout together at least 3 days a week. So if you want my advice it would be to find a gym buddy or somebody who is going to motivate you to stay healthy and active. Surrounding yourself with people who also care about their health is only gong to help you either stay healthy or reach your fitness goal.

A good mix between Halloween candy and the gym

Halloween is basically a holiday made for eating entirely too much candy which I did by the way.  Some professors were handing out candy in their classes and well I just couldn’t escape all the sweets.  I also have a really bad addition to anything chocolaty along with an inability to say no when offered it.  Beware of the candy that is labeled fun size as well because while one is a good amount to have, eating 10 pieces of the candy isn’t really eating the chocolate in moderation. I love all holidays, but I think it is difficult to remain healthy during them.  I feel as though people use them as an excuse for a reason not to be healthy and eat lots of junk.  So while I did eat more candy than normal this weekend, I also was able to workout everyday this week.   I think it’s important to maintain a healthy balance between working out and eating healthy.  This week I was able to convince my friend to go to the gym with me and try out the spinning bikes a few times as well as lift some weights.  For me, it is impossible to completely take out chocolate and sweets from my life.  I am not a dieter because I’ll try to give up a food group and then after a short period of time I’ll binge eat whatever I gave up.  But this point has been made countless times through health research.  I hate to see people give up something and then hear them complain about how much they want it.  I’m sure my friends would say I’m guilty of this too, but I’m trying to be better.  I prefer to limit the amount of food I ate then to give up complete food groups.  In my opinion it’s okay to occasionally indulge in those food groups you enjoy so much.  Since I went to the gym everyday this week, I allowed myself to eat some Halloween candy.  Some helpful tips are to only grab one piece of candy at a time obviously, but also keep the wrappers so that you know how many pieces of candy you had in a sitting.  Secondly, if you don’t want to over indulge try eating dark chocolate instead.  Hopefully you are prepared for all the holidays to come and have a game plan for how to be healthy!

Fall Break — homemade food and sleeping in

Every fall break I go home with the same attitude about trying to relax while still staying healthy and active.  I just don’t want to be a couch potato all fall break is basically what I’m trying to say.  However, when I enter my house and greet my parents, they tell me about all my favorite food items that they have made or bought while I am home.  While I do always ask for fresh fruit such as strawberries and raspberries over break, my dad always has my favorite bag of potato chips in the pantry when I get home.  When packing for home, I always bring my workout clothing with the intentions of going to the gym or at least a run.  HA! This did not happen yet again.  I pretend like I’m going to get up early and go for a run in the morning when in reality I know full well that all I’m going to sleep in.

While this may seem like a failed attempt at a healthy fall break I was still able to stay healthy in some aspects.  My mom’s home cooked food is usually fairly healthy.  For example, the first night I was home she made grilled chicken, zucchini, and a salad.  I always make sure to tell her not to buy too much junk food while I am going to be at home and to stock the fridge with fresh fruits and vegetables while I’m going to be home.  This fall break I brought 2 friends from college home with me to show them where I live.  So instead of working out, we walked all around my town so that I could show them around.  Plus it’s okay to take a few days to relax and catch up on some sleep, as long as the break doesn’t exceed as few days.  While I had a great and fairly relaxing fall break, I can’t wait to hit the gym and get back on my normal workout routine back at school.

Who needs sleep?

One of my greatest problems in college is getting a good nights sleep.  Of course, it doesn’t help that I am one of those people who needs at least 8 hours of sleep in order to properly function the next day.  There is so much irony in this post because of course it is past midnight as I am write this blog post.  My sleep schedule is severely affected by college.  Like most college students, I procrastinate on all of work until the last possible second when I finally sit down at around 10:00 to do my school work.

I’ve read countless article on the affects of sleep deprivation and still I have not learned to get my work done and get a good nights sleep.  I think most all of us have heard that not enough sleep is one of the major factors that causes weight gain.  I have also read that if you do not get enough sleep at night that you shouldn’t go to the gym because it would be more effective to rest.  I use the later as an excuse not to go to the gym because I need to rest.

How do I change this problem?! I have had this problem since high school. Of course, there are the obvious solutions such as to actually use my time wisely and get my work done in advance, but I have tried this since freshman year and as a junior I am still failing at it.  Unfortunately, I really have yet to find a solution to this problem.  I usually catch up on my sleep during the weekends.  And yes I have read that it is physically impossible to catch up on sleep, but it doesn’t mean I don’t sleep for at least 12 hours on weekends.  I wish I had a solution to this problem as does every college student.  I know my sleep deprivation is one of the major reasons my healthy habits are difficult to maintain in college.  I’ll let you know when or if I have a solution.  Throughout this semester I will continue to go to bed at a decent hours and let you know how it goes and how I managed it.  Best of lucks to others out there attempting to get a good night sleep in order to stay healthy!

I was doing great until midterm week hit…

Oh midterm week! it’s probably the second worst week of the semester following finals weeks but at least during finals week you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  If you’re like me then you’re probably freaking out about your test the next day at midnight and could kill for something fried and delicious.  My go to fatty snack at Sheetz is mozzarella sticks.  My mouth is watering just thinking about them! I will be honest with you that I did not have the best week.  I’m a stress eater so whenever I’m freaking out and there is food in front of my face I will eat it.  So what the heck do I do about this?!

Well although I haven’t been to the gym in a few days I have still attempted to stay active.  Last Saturday, I went on a 15 mile bike ride and then on Monday I went on short hike with my friend.  So I wasn’t quite a complete bum all week cooped up studying the whole time. My best advice during stressful weeks is to utilize you’re weekend to workout because going to the gym 2 out of 7 days in a week is a lot better than 0 out of 7 days in a week.  Because let’s be honest you aren’t going to be productive the entire Saturday so what does it hurt to take 30 minutes out of you day to workout.  Plus I am much more productive during the day if I’ve worked out because it just puts me a good mood.  Another way to avoid the unhealthy habits of midterm week is to just find 20 minutes to go for a walk even if you take your flashcards with you! Multiply times I have taken studying material with me to the gym to use on the cardio machines.  Finally, instead of driving to Sheetz I walked and although I still ate more calories then I walked it’s still better than driving.

As midterm week comes to end don’t let your unhealthy habits continue on to the rest of the semester.  So after you turn in your paper or take you test why go to the gym to clear your mind from school for a little bit! Midterm week is just that a week so don’t let it bring down the healthy habits that you’ve already started.

The Price of Health

Why is it so expensive to be healthy? Between the gym membership, the athletic clothing, the food, and the fitness gadgets, I have probably spent more money on these things than I would like to admit.  I have a dangerous addiction to athletic apparel, my favorite being Athleta.  I rationalize my purchases by saying that this is for my health and therefore I will get my money’s worth out of it. When trying to get into shape people can become overwhelmed by membership fees, workout plans, buying health foods, and fear of being judged. These anxieties can cause people to lose sight of their fitness goals. However, there is no reason to fret!

These are simple cost effective ways to get and stay in shape.  You don’t need a gym to stay in shape! Many workouts do not require any equipment at all and can be done using body weight such as push-ups, sit-ups, wall-sits, planks, and many more which can all be easily found on the Internet.  Plus you can always go for a run or walk outside.  If you are lucky enough to have a gym membership, many gyms offer complimentary workouts with personal trainers to get you started on the right path.  Most gyms also offer a variety of classes which do not cost anything to attend so try a class to see if one suits you.  This is how I found my love for spinning because my mother convinced me to try a variety of classes since they were already included in the monthly gym membership fee.  Also, if you want to start a new healthy eating regimen, start using apps such as MyFitnessPal to track you food as opposed to other apps which cost a monthly fee.  While I was using MyFitnessPal to track my food intake per day, my friend was spending $20 a month on another online site and we were both getting similar results.

While the price of staying healthy may be high, don’t be afraid to spend a little extra money because in the long run it will be worth it.  Set certain goals for yourself and once you reach your goal splurge on a new workout outfit, new equipment, or a fitness gadget.