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Spring Break Body

It’s about that time of the year that everyone starts scrambling to get a “spring break body.” This is an approximately month long rush that consists of people who do not regularly work out scrambling to the gym in a last ditch effort to look good for their spring break vacations. To people who are constantly dedicated to the gym, these crowds of people are quite the nuisance. Constant gym goers dread the popular gym rushes throughout the year, such as the fall “new school year new me” rush, the “New Year’s resolutioners” rush, and the “spring break body” rush. But alas, we are all at the gym to get in shape, so those who are jumping in the game late deserve just as much respect as anyone who is constantly at the gym. I’ll help you out to get the most out of this month. I’ll just be looking forward to the week that the gym is empty after spring break when few of the “spring break body rushes” return.

First and foremost, it is important that you set a specific goal of what you want to accomplish. The problem with many people is that they constantly work towards something, but they don’t know what it is. It is immensely helpful to set clearly defined goals so that you have something to keep striving for and so that you get the feeling of satisfaction when you finally accomplish your goals. It is important to make sure that your goals are realistic. For example, these goals are not realistic expectations for one month of working out.

(Note: the image on the left is fake and photoshopped.)

Setting realistic goals is essential to the process, as setting your goals too high will leave you in constant disappointment.

It is important to note that just as important as going to the gym is making sure that you’re putting only exactly what food your body needs to recover into your diet. This means no cheat days, no cheat meals, and no cheat snacks. Any of these things are likely to lead into a downward spiral. Personally, my diet consists almost exclusively of fruits and vegetables, lean meat (chicken,) beans, and protein shakes. Realistically, these are the only things that you need in your diet to survive and they are the healthiest thing for you. My personal recommendation for a good breakfast would be to skip the bagel or muffin and instead opt for fresh fruit, or a Naked juice drink. Personally, I start every morning with a Naked: Protein. The fruit replenishes the vitamins in your body and the natural sugar wakes you up. When you’re looking at what to eat, don’t look at the label, simply ask yourself “is this healthy or not.” Some people make mistakes such as forsaking something because it contains fat, although that fat may be healthy fat.

Most importantly, eating healthy is likely to help you burn fast faster than fasting will, as fasting causes your metabolism to slow and causes your body to digest your muscle and not the fat, leading to a very frail appearance. It’s important to realize that in these days, fit is sexy- not just thin. Whether your mission is to bulk up or to slim down, make sure that you are including a great deal of protein in your diet. The ideal protein intake for both weight loss and for muscle gain is equivalent to your body weight in grams of protein. For example, someone who weighs 150lbs should ingest 150 grams of protein a day.

One of the things that I find to be most vital to my process is staying hydrated at all times. Carry a water bottle with you everywhere, and constantly drink it. It is suggested to have 8 12oz glasses of water a day. The reason why it is important to hydrate is that the water will flush the toxins out of your body, hydrate your cells, and allow you a quicker recovery. Recovery is essential to the process, as it is not ideal to always feel sore. This is a sign that your body is not regenerating what it has used up and this is unhealthy. In order to optimize your recovery, make sure you get at least 9 hours of sleep. Sleep is when the majority of the recovery process takes place, so if you skip on sleep, recovery will skip on you. Make sure you’re ingesting sufficient protein and stretch your muscles to open up the tears in your muscle tissue and allow for better growth and results!

TED Talk Evaluation

Overall, I thought my TED talk went amazingly well. It appeared well rehearsed. Personally, I love public speaking, so I was excited to have this opportunity. I truly enjoyed my topic, so it was easy for me to talk about it. I thought that my hand motions throughout the talk lined up very well with what I was saying and I thought that they overall made the talk appear to be more engaging. My posture was good, which is a very important part of public speaking. Proper posture instantly makes a person appear to be more confident. I think that I took a very appropriate approach to sentiment where it was necessary in my talk. I talked in a low, but confident voice which made me appear to be confident in what I was saying, though in my head I wasn’t exactly confident at every line.  I made great eye contact throughout the talk, though the video makes it appear as if I am looking down.

Though I did think that my talk went well, I can’t help but to be self-critical. That’s the hard part. It is often easier to see failure in one’s self than to see success. To start off, I would like to start off at the beginning. The very first line in fact. When I first started my talk, I had a ridiculous voice crack. My voice had been very sore from a long weekend of screaming my lungs out, so I will admit that I was nervous to have to talk in front of a group. Next, I was disappointed in the fact that I had slight stutters at times where I would repeat a word until I connected the right thought to it. It wasn’t that noticeable, but it was noticeable to me. Sadly, I had poor parallelism in a few of my sentences, and at times my diction just completely didn’t match what I was trying to say. The hardest trial of my experience was that at times I would start talking about the next slide without realizing that I actually wasn’t quite on it yet. I think it would have been helpful for me to have better rehearsed my talk to line up with my slideshow.

If you are interested in viewing my talk, you can watch it here.

RCL TED Talk Analyzation

Cracking Stuxnet is a TED talk that was delivered by Ralph Langner back in March 2011.  Ralph Langner is a German computer scientist who, along with his team, was responsible for reverse engineering the most sophisticated computer virus attack in history:  the 2011 Stuxnet virus. Here is the summary given by for his TED talk: “When first discovered in 2010, the Stuxnet computer worm posed a baffling puzzle. Beyond its sophistication loomed a more troubling mystery: its purpose. Ralph Langner and team helped crack the code that revealed this digital warhead’s final target. In a fascinating look inside cyber-forensics, he explains how — and makes a bold (and, it turns out, correct) guess at its shocking origins.”

Ralph Langner

I think that the most important aspect that Ralph displays is his intense amount of confidence. This is important, because people need to be reassured that the information that they are listening to is coming from a respectable, credible source. One important thing that I found that Mr. Langer did in his talk was that he constantly walked across the stage, making eye contact with the entire audience, which made people feel more open to receiving the information, as if they were a part of the conversation. This makes him a very credible and convincing speaker.

Mr. Langner’s use of humor was vital in order to keep a more light, comfortable feel to a very serious topic. Langner’s humor throughout the speech was also able to keep the audience very involved. An example of Langner’s use of humor would be when he mentioned that the Stuxnet virus “acted like a lab rat that didn’t like cheese.” He then preceded to make a face imitating a rat rejecting cheese. Mr. Langner also was effective in communicating to a less informed audience when he made metaphors to every day things that people understood, such as how people pirate movies in a movie theater. His use of his slideshow was also effective in communicating complex ideas to an audience that otherwise would not understand them.

Why Should You Exercise? Because it Makes You Happier

According to researchers at the University of Vermont, just 20 minutes of exercise can give you benefits to your mood for up to 12 hours afterwards. Interestingly enough, people are most likely to exercise when they’re in a neutral mood, not when they are feeling happy or sad. This does not necessarily mean that the best time to exercise is when you are in a neutral mood. Exercise actually has the most significant effect on our mental status when we are in a bad mood.



It’s not hard to tell the physically active people are generally happier with their lives, but that’s not all that they have going for them. Exercise increases endorphins and all sorts of feel good chemicals in your brain, but it also does other things. Exercise has been shown to reduce the levels of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol in your body. Not only that, but exercise has been proven to be able to be a remedy for both anxiety and depression.

The optimal minimum amount of exercise that needs to be done in order to receive the benefits of exercise is about 30 to 60 minutes of exercise about three to five days a week, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, but even less exercise may still be able to deliver you close to the same benefits. Research has shown that even a short stroll can improve your mood. The most important thing to keep in mind, though, is that longer continuous exercise is much more effective in improving your mood than short exercise split up into multiple parts. In a recent study of Canadian walkers, it was shown that subjects who had one thirty minute stroll had a much more significant mood boost than people who split their strolls up into three ten minute strolls.

Strength training is actually one of the most effective ways to improve your mood, so don’t just focus on cardio! Strength training has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety as well as being able to improve self-esteem. Not just any strength training will give these great benefits though. A study by Rutgers University has shown that moderate  intensity strength training was much more effective in improving moods than both low and high intensity strength training. 

Being inside, though, is not always the most effective way to improve your mood. Actually, exercising outside has been shown to be more revitalizing and able to make people feel more energetic and engaged. It makes people feel less tense, angry, and depressed. The best place to take a stroll is actually in a more natural environment compared to in an urban environment. So, sign up for outdoor yoga, ride your bike to work instead of driving, and swim laps outside as opposed to inside in the summer. Find a fun way to exercise. Listen to music when you exercise. Exercise with friends. To quote Henry David Thoreau, “An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”

How to Get Your Workout Habits to Stick

Many people who get into fitness have on common problem: it is extremely difficult to stay in your routine. Every few weeks, you might have a moment where you decide that you want to start taking things much more seriously, but the revelations of that moment hardly seem to stick around long enough to keep you going.

Motivation is what makes good people great, but it is so hard to keep that type of motivation going. We have all been there. It is important to constantly think about WHY you started working out. Whether it be to look good in clothes, get the beach body you’re looking for, or to just feel better about yourself, you need to constantly remind yourself with that goal. When you know you should go to the gym, but you really don’t want to, just take time to think about why you started. Personally, a great motivation for me is to follow a bunch of fitness motivation accounts on instagram. They make me feel jealous of other people for how much they have achieved, but then I remind myself that with the right dedication, I can get there too.

In college, it is often hard to find time to work out. We all have busy schedules. A vital part to keeping your workout routine is to mark it on your calendar when you’ll go to the gym. Work around your schedule and find free time when you know you could be going to the gym. When you’re sitting around your dorm during this time wondering what to do, your first move should be to look at your calendar. Have it be a physical calendar. Have it be something that you can track. Mark down the days that you make it to the gym and the days that you don’t. Just seeing this can often be enough to make you want to better yourself.

Work out at the time of day that works best for you. Some days the time that you planned out just doesn’t work out. Even if it doesn’t, that doesn’t mean that you should entirely give up. Find more time to work out and actually do it. Even if it isn’t as much time as you usually like to spend working out, even half of your usual workout is better than doing nothing.

Thinking about possibly working out later? Put your work out clothes on right now. I’m talking RIGHT NOW. As soon as you’re already in your clothes, you’re already half way to the gym. Even if you still have a bunch of errands to run, you’ll be doing them ready to do the hardest part of your day: taking the first step out of the door to go to the gym. Dress ready and you will start to feel ready. Take away your excuses one step at a time and eventually there will be none left.

Sex and Health

There are numerous reason why people have sex. Sex is not only fun, but it is incredibly good for you. Of course it is natural human instinct to want to have sex, but there are other benefits to it other than reproduction (although most times that’s preferred not to happen.) In this post, we will explore some of the benefits that sex has that you wouldn’t think of.

Firstly, sex is amazing for your immune system. “Researchers at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania found that college students who had sex once or twice a week had higher levels of  antibodies compared to students who had sex less often.” ( source.) So if you don’t want to get sick, make sure you spend a healthy amount of time in the sack.

Additionally, sex will lower your blood pressure, so instead of using the usual solutions, use the most fun solution. “One landmark study found that sexual intercourse specifically (not masturbation) lowered systolic blood pressure.”-Joseph J. Pinzone, MD. Systolic blood pressure is the first number on your blood pressure test.

A great reason to be having sex is that sex counts as exercise. Sex is a great cardiovascular exercise, and it also utilizes many muscles that you aren’t used to using. Sex actually burns 5 calories a minute, which comes out to 300 calories an hour (depending on the intensity.) So, a great way to stay in shape, as an addition to your normal work out regimen, make sure that you’re spending enough time doing the deed. We all know it’s more fun than the treadmill.

Furthermore, sex is actually amazing for your heart. It is beneficial in multiple different ways. To start off, we all know that a better blood pressure level and exercise are good for you heart, but there are other, more hidden, benefits to having sex. Sex is a great way to keep your estrogen and testosterone levels in balance. Either of the two levels getting too low is how one may end up with osteoporosis or even heart disease. “During one study, men who had sex at least twice a week were half as likely to die of heart disease as men who had sex rarely.” ( source.)

One great thing about sex is that it is an amazing pain killer that works much better than most over the counter medicines. A headache should never be an excuse to not have sex, as sex is often likely to be a cure to a headache. Orgasms tend to block out pain as they release a hormone that significantly raises your pain threshold.

In addition to all of these things, sex is a great way to both relieve stress. After an orgasm, the hormone prolactin is released. Prolactin is a hormone which is responsible for feelings of relaxation and sleepiness. In the case of stress reduction, any physical contact with someone else has been proven to relieve stress, whether it be an embrace or sex. Sex and intimacy can improve your self-esteem as well as happiness. So don’t feel like sex is a naughty and bad thing, because sex is good for you.