Learning to love that A.M. workout

am workout photoBy: Kenzi Weidman

I am not a morning person, nor have I ever been one. I cherish every second of sleep I can get, so I could never imagine waking up early to go work my butt off when I could be sleeping! All summer I worked until 5PM every weekday and it hit me that I needed to change my normal workout schedule in order to have a social life and still fit my work out in.

So then I made a huge decision. One morning I set my alarm for 6:00A.M. I thought it was going to be one of the worst decisions I have ever made, but wow, was I wrong! Rolling out of your cozy, warm, soft bed is definitely hard to do, but the results and feelings afterwards are beyond worth it. Here are some reasons why it’s TOTALLY worth dragging yourself out of bed early to sweat your butt off!

#1. It boosts your metabolism! Waking up early and getting your blood pumping and heart beating fast jump starts your body for the day. It also helps you burn more calories throughout the day, all because you woke up early and already worked out!

#2. It has been proven that working out early can lead to increased mental acuity. Whether it is a big test or just a long-day of work coming up, try working out before and your brain will be ready to tackle anything you hand it.

#3. If exercise is already part of your daily routine, then after a few early morning runs, your body will get use to it. Some days you might wake up before your alarm. It’s not about getting less sleep, its just about changing your routine. Even if you start small and slow and work your way to an earlier time, your body will start to get use to it and it wont be so hard to crawl out of your cozy cotton tundra.

#4. Working out in the morning gives you time to think more about what you’re going to do that day. It allows time for you to plan and think about what is ahead, rather than working out later at night and wishing you would have done something different that day. You are more prepared and ready to make healthy choices because you had time to get excited about them and program those choices into your day.

#5. You’ve heard the famous saying “workout in the early morning, before your mind realizes what you are doing.” This is true! You might be tired running on that treadmill or riding the bike, but time will go by faster and before you know it you will be done!

Trust me; this was my new summer resolution. I wanted to turn myself into a morning person and I did whatever it took to accomplish that. In order for me to have a social life and still maintain my healthy lifestyle, a few changes were needed and I bet some of you can relate to my situation as well. 

I can relate to all of those reasons as to why you should wake up early to workout. I feel more focused for my day, I make healthier choices, and I also am more energized and I love myself more. Give it a try and I bet you will realize that it is SO worth it!

“Always remember that it doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you keep on going”
~Kenzi Weidman

Sources: Spark People Built Lean

Pour some STEVIA on me!

Pour some stevia on me photoBy: Kenzi Weidman

Def Leppard sang it—“Pour some sugar on me”, and that is what we do. In today’s world, or North American culture at least, it seems like nothing is ever sweet enough for people. We add sugar to coffee, rice crispy cereal, fruit, toast, and if your family is anything like mine—baked goods are better when you add extra sugar! The real question is, if you want something to be sweeter, why do we choose sugar or “natural sweeteners” as the go-to additive? Is that really the best option?

There are lots of different so-called “natural sweeteners” out there, like Splenda, Equate, Nectresse, and the list goes on. The one that I have come to learn about and truly trust is stevia. I have grown up with extra-sugar being added to everything I ate, and recently my mom switched out sugar for stevia, and I didn’t even notice a difference until she told me!

Stevia is a plant that is part of the sunflower family. It is known for its sweet tasting leaves. It is a plant that contains natural sweeteners that are used in foods (WebMD) This natural sweetener comes right from the plant with no added chemicals making it truly NATURAL!

These proven facts about stevia that will prove why it’s the best natural sweetener out there are:

  1. It does not contain elements that cause imbalance in the insulin levels of people with diabetes or issues with blood pressure. (The Sweet Facts on Stevia)
  2. Stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar and about 35-40 times sweeter than sucrose.
  3. If you want to lose weight, Stevia contains no calories and can be a great start toward losing those first few pounds to get you motivated. (The Sweet Facts on Stevia)
  4. Stevia is available in many different forms. There is the dried leaf, a white powder, or even a liquid. These many forms allow it to be added to any food or drink.

Stay away from the chemicals or the high calorie sweeteners and broaden your horizons. Real cane sugar may also be natural, but it is high in calories. Why not use stevia when it is also natural, but LOW in calories. It might not please you as much as it did me, but it is worth a shot. What do you have to lose?

Here are some delicious recipes that include stevia as the natural sweetener instead of sugar. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

“Always remember that it doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you keep on going”
~Kenzi Weidman

Sources: The Sweet Facts on Stevia, WebMD, Pinterest, Yummly

Tough Mudder.

camp.0312By: Mary Marren

Ever wanted to challenge yourself to the extreme? As much fun as running the same path day in and out is, lately I’ve been feeling like I need more. I want to challenge my body and push it to its physical limits! So naturally, I hopped on Google to see what I could find, and that is when I stumbled upon Tough Mudder. WOAH. This is the ultimate challenge that would push anyone to his or her limits.

What is Tough Mudder? Well according to the official website, “Tough Mudder events are hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. Only 78% of entrants successfully complete each challenge.”

Participants face various elements including mud, fire, ice water, and electricity.  Depending on the course, you could face 12-foot walls, mud tunnels, and other challenges along the way. So after reading through the website 3 or 4 times, I’ve decided to give it a go.

Tough Mudder has become so popular that the website actually puts together a training plan for you, no matter what fitness level you are at.  There are three different levels to train at, each one getting harder and longer.  

I’ve talked about it with a friend who recently completed his first Tough Mudder and he recommends it for anyone looking for a tough challenge.  With the proper training, the obstacle course is designed to be challenging, but also a fun experience that you do with a team of friends.

Another great thing about Tough Mudder is that the proceeds go towards the Wounded Warrior Project, which is a charity to aid injured soldiers.

Facing challenges and overcoming obstacles seems like an amazing sense of accomplishment, and I cannot wait to start training. Tough Mudders are held all over the country and should be registered in advance to give yourself time to prepare mentally and physically.

If Tough Mudder seems a little bit too intense for you at the moment, consider doing one of the many alternatives. You could check out a mini mud run ranging from 5k to 10k, or simply a 5k run. No matter what level of fitness you choose, getting up and going is already your greatest accomplishment.

Check it out for yourself at: http://toughmudder.com/about/

Stay Healthy, Stay Strong
-Mary Marren

Make time, not excuses

Excuses photoBy: Eric Hess

The number one excuse for not exercising is time. I find myself trying to find as many excuses as possible to not work out. We as students do have very busy days between going to class, doing homework and maintaining a social life on top of many other responsibilities we are held accountable for. Despite our exceptionally busy days, working out should be one thing that we make time for.

Working out has huge benefits to your health along with your physical appearance. Working out can help you sleep better, reduce stress, increase your energy, slow aging and has much more to offer to your health. You owe it to yourself to commit, at the very least, a 30 minutes a day to exercising.

Exercise doesn’t have to take place in the gym or last hours either. There are many alternatives and tips that help me fit exercise into my busy daily agenda.

Wake up earlier. Going to bed earlier and waking up earlier in order to get a workout in can make your day much better and healthier. Working out in the morning increases your energy for your busy day, improves your learning capabilities, reduces stress, enhances your food consumption choices and above all, it gets your workout out of the way, leaving the rest of your day up to you.

Make a workout schedule. Give yourself a reason to be at the gym or a time to be exercising. You are more likely to exercise if you have an obligation to do so. If you have a class time, chances are you will be there or will feel guilty if you miss it. Make yourself feel the same way about exercising. How about making a date with a fitness class or a friend who would also like to get a workout in?!

Cut back on video games, television and social media. Go ahead and record how much time you spend on Facebook, watching TV or playing video games every day. Chances are most of us could cut that time down in order to get our quick workout in. Better yet, do both! The Williams Center weight room and University Fitness Center in Wells have TVs in front of the cardio equipment!

Be active while on media. If you can’t cut down on the time you spend on facebook or have a TV show you must watch, multitask. During a commercial, do pushups, jumping jacks or whatever exercises you like doing. Make a small workout plan for every time your show cuts to a commercial. Those 5 minute commercial breaks can add up.

Exercise the way you like. You shouldn’t hate to workout. If you enjoy swimming find a place where you can swim. Listen to music while running or find a running partner. Whatever you enjoy, you should incorporate it into exercising somehow. Not only will you be more likely to go through with working out but you will have fun while doing so and add some fun to your life.

Become involved. There are plenty of options you have to be actively involved with the community. Join a club, an intramural team or simply get a group of friends together and throw a ball around. There are many opportunities to become actively involved around campus. There are 18 different intramurals you can join and even more clubs along with many group fitness class offered for free from the university with your fitness membership. Why not play a sport you enjoy playing while getting the exercise you need?

Exercise shouldn’t be treated as just another chore that gets put off and forgotten about. Not only is it important for your health to make sure to exercise regularly but it should be fun and something to help you through your long, busy day.

-Yesterday you said tomorrow

Until next time,
Eric Hess