Apr 14

Post #19: Summer Toning

We are nearing the end of the semester and that means one thing: summer. I don’t know about you guys, but I am beyond excited to soak in the summer sun and not have to worry about projects, homework, reading, or exams. With summer comes the heat, and with heat brings on tanks and shorts. Need to start toning up fast? I’m going to give some quick exercises that target your arms, legs, and abs to make sure you have the best beach body around.




Yes, we all know that planks are hard. They require a lot of shoulder, arm, back, butt, and core strength; but, using all of those different muscles just to do one exercise is extremely beneficial to our bodies. There have been a lot of studies that have shown that ordinary crunches don’t exactly help build that six pack you are looking for. I suggest doing both front and side planks to target all parts of your abs, including your obliques. Also, start doing thirty seconds and increase the length of your plank by a couple seconds each day. Try to reach three minutes on each side by the end of the summer!






Once again, we all recognize how challenging push-ups are, especially for girls. However, similar to the plank, this exercise targets not only all parts of your arms, but your abs and shoulders as well. One very important part of doing pushups is making sure you have good form. This ensures that you are getting the most out of the exercise. Similar to the planks, I encourage you do slowly work your way up to becoming a push-up pro. I personally think push-ups are very hard, so if you have to start out in a “girl” push-up position that’s okay. Don’t give up and tone up those arms.





Squats have been said to burn more calories than any other leg exercise. Squats develop all parts of your leg and also tone you butt as well as improve your balance. Squats have many different variations, such as side squats, wide-leg squats, walking squats, squat jumps, ect. Switching up your squat routine will ensure your legs are toned and tightened. Just from going to the Butts and Guts class at the White Building I have already noticed my quads in particular have been gaining a significant amount of muscle definition, and I attribute that to the countless squats we do in class!


I hope you all enjoyed my short exercise advice and use it to tone up for the summer! Have a great break everyday. Stay fit and healthy.


Apr 14

Post #18: Fitness Class Critique Part 2

Workout review!

I did this in a previous post, but today I’m going to talk about some workout classes and rate them based on their difficulty, effectiveness, and fun factor!


I am going to critique the following classes: Power Remix, Butts and Guts, Boot Camp, and Calorie Killer.


Power Remix- If you have not yet been to Power Remix, then you need to make room in your schedule ASAP! Power Remix is a blast. You perform basic dance steps to popular songs and the level of difficulty is at a minimum. You do a fair bit of jumping so you are getting a pretty good workout in, but if you are planning on shedding loads of calories this is not the right class. Power Remix is for those of you who like to dance and it is a lot more fun if you go with friends.


Butts and Guts- This, my friends, is quite a challenge. Although this class is titeled Butts and Guts, out of all the classes I have been to the main focus is generally on the “Butts” part. I would rate this as one of the more challenging workout classes in terms of strength. While you don’t move around to much in this class you do tons of squats and a variety of exercises to make your butt and legs very sore the next morning. This class is not as fun as Power Remix but it is very effective in toning your abs and butt.


Balls and Bands- This work out is a very unique one that a lot of people don’t know about. It uses, obviously, medicine balls and excerise bands and is a fun and different way of working out. Unlike most of the classes, which do not target your arms, this class can help strengthen and tone your upper body as well as your mid section. Although this class isn’t as challenging as Butts and Guts, it is still a great workout and I think it is fun to work out with different materials.


Calorie Killer- The title of this class is a pretty good representation of what the class accomplishes. Calorie Killer is a very challenging class and involves a lot of burst of energy and tons of jumping and moving around. Although this class is very difficult, it helps to bring friends along so you can suffer together. I don’t know how “fun” I would consider this class to be, but this class sure does make you tired and test your body to its limits.


So, some of you may have just read this blog and do not even have a gym membership. I apologize for that so instead of commenting about my critiques, I want comments to be about what your ideal workout class would look like. What would it be called? What kind of exercises would you do? What kind of music would be played? Fill me in on your perfect workout class.

Mar 14

Post #17: Women Athletes

Girl Athletes

Last week I talked about the incredible fitness of two famous male athletes. However, there are plenty of women who practice clean eating and great physical fitness as well.


Kara Goucher


For those of you who do not know who this is, Kara Goucher is a world-famous distance runner. She is also a mom of a four year old as well as a wife to professional runner Adam Goucher. In 2012, GOucher won the USA Half Marathon Championships in a speedy time of 1:09:46. Goucher eats “whatever she wants” but looks at food as fuel for her body to recover and revamp her for workouts. When you loook at food and look at how it is really going to affect your body, it is easy to tell why Goucher is so fit because she knows everything she puts into her body has a consequence on her new workout. When training for the half marathon, Goucher was putting in about 130-135 miles per week. To put that into perspective, that is about 19 miles per day! Goucher not only focuses on running, which she does a whole lot of, but she does a lot of core training and flexibility exercises. In order to be able to successfully compete and be the best athlete you can be, stretching is crucial. Goucher incorporates a lot of stretching before and after every workout.


Serena Williams

serena-williams-1024x798Most of you proabnly recognize this athlete. Serena is an incredible tennis player and has won 17 Grand Slams throughtout her carreer. In the 2012 Olympics, Serena won the gold in both singles and doubles. Williams, unlike Goucher has an incredible amount of muscle mass. While Goucher represents a typical runner’s body, Serena is a powerhouse. Her workout routine consists of three to four hours of tennis daily, followed by strength training and cardio. Her powerful serves and hits show highlight how strong Serena truly is. She also practices yoga and pilates multiple times per week to gain flexibility and balance. As for her diet, Serena recently became vegan, eliminating all meat from her diet. This is a very bold move considering most professional althetes  not only eat meat, but require it for them to stay on top of their game. However, Serena remains a powerful athlete embodied physical fitness at its finest.


Although these athletes take excersining and healthy eating very important, as their athletic performance is their job, we can learn a lot of applicable lessons from them. Do you idolize any female athletes? Are you a fan of the two ladies I just discussed? Share your thoughts about female athletes!








Mar 14

Post #16: The Ultimate Fitness People

For my blog today, I am going to focus on those who have embodied the true meaning of physical fitness in their work. Meaning, I am going to be talking about two very famous yet different athletes and their strict diet regimens as well as their insane workout routines.


Michael Phelps


Swimming is known to burn more calories than any other endurance-based exercise activity. So, that means that a lot of eating must be done in order to replenish the body. Michael Phelps eats three fried-egg sandwiches with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonnaise, as well as: Two cups of coffee, one five-egg omelet, one bowl of grits, three slices of French toast, and, yes, three chocolate-chip pancakes. This is not what Phelps eats over a span of one day or even two days. The foods I just listed are what Michael Phelps eats for breakfast! Yes, soak that in. But how can he possibly be able to consume so much food and still not have an ounce of fat on his body? Well this is because Michael Phelps spends about six hours under water six days a week. He also spends a lot of time weight training as well. If you ever want to maintain a trim physique while being able to eat an absurd amount, pick up swimming…Michael Phelps style.


Albert Pujols


A less physically demanding sport then swimming is baseball. Albert Pujols, first basemen and one of ESPN’s top ten baseball players has been playing in the MLB since 2001 and is an incredible player. Although he needs less fried egg sandwiches than Michael Phelps, Pujols still requires a lot of time in the gym. While most people who lift weights do about 2-3 sets of a particular exercise, especially very demanding ones, Pujols does up to eight reps. That is about four times as many reps as the average person does. And he is probably using much more weights. Pujols spends most of his time in the gym, whether it is on the treadmill or lifting weights. Unlike Phelps who spends a majority of his workout performing his actual sport, Pujols only spends about 60-80 minutes in the batting cages.


Looking at these fitness plans for these athletes, how do their plans compare to yours? How do they differ? Would you ever want to be able to lift as much as Pujols? Or eat as much as Phelps?



I’m not making this up I swear!






Mar 14

Post #15: Weird Weight Loss Fads: Do They Work?


Does the seven day fruit and veggie cleanse actually work? Does the smoothie cleanse actually work? Does fasting really help you lose weight?


Today I am going to examine all of these “get thin quick” diets and see if they have an effect on weight loss.




This diet consists of eating only fruits for an extended period of time, usually a week. After looking up some research, I found multiple sources telling me this diet does not promote weight loss and an increased metabolism. Shocker. If you wish to live a normal functioning life with adequate energy levels and the ability to exercise or go out to eat with friends or family, this diet wouldclearly hinder you from doing such a thing. It is also costly. Fruit is not cheap.Especially for this diet when you are only eating it and nothing else you probably want to buy different fruits besides cheap bananas or apples for at least some type of variety in your diet.  The benefits of this diet are a loss in water weight temporarily. However, this diet has not been shown to increase metabolism levels, nor has it been proven to burn large amounts of body fat.



Similar to the all fruit diet, any type of smoothie cleansing diet consists of strict regulation of anything you eat. This diet allows for vegetables, however. Adding vegetables into a diet is very important because they contain much less sugar than fruits. Simply eating fruits is consuming a lot of sugar andif an objective of going on such a diet is to kick a sugar habit than the smoothie diet is much more ideal. While I am not supporting this diet, or any type of restricting diet in anyway, I think that this diet allows for a little more flexibility and adding vegetables reduces sugar intake as well as increases the variety of nutrients being consumed. A draw back of this diet is a lack of protein and fats which are essential to live. Another negative repercussion of this diet would be extreme digestion problems. Eating foods extremely high in fiber, like the fruit diet as well, one can assumethat they will be spending large amounts of time in the bathroom.



The research I found out about fasting is completely different than what I initially thought. While fasting for a day or two will not fatally harm most people, fasting for long periods of time is bad for one’s health. When fasting, you first lose water weight, like any other type of low calorie diet. Then, your body understands that you are fasting and tries to conserve all body fat, dramatically slowing down your metabolism. In addition to the body going into “conservation mode,” muscle loss is also experienced when fasting. The part that I did not know is that when someone goes back into normal eating habits after fasting for a long period of time (more than 3 days) not only is their metabolism still slow and is not burning much fat, but the weight they gain does not replace that lost muscle tissue. The calories then consumed turns into fat. The muscle lost from fasting is not recovered. So, as you can fasting is not a good long term decision at all. It can also be very dangerous to one’s health, degrading their immune system, thus making them more likely to attract sickness.


As you can see, these weight loss ideas are fads and do not promote permanent weight loss. Nor are these ideas applicable to normal living or healthy for you overall well being in any way.


Have you ever tried one of these fad diets? Have you ever heard of anyone who has? What were his or her or your experiences? Do you think they work?





Mar 14

Post #14: The good, the bad, and the ugly

This blog is going to focus on what foods to eat and not to eat.  I am warning you now that many of these foods that you absolutely love are going to be on the “do not eat” list, so, while I am not asking you to part ways forever with your favorites, I am telling you that you may want to limit indulging in these sweet treats.


Let’s begin by discussing the GOOD foods.

-Avocados: a personal favorite of mine, this fruit has nearly double the potassium as a banana, and has very healthy fats including mono-saturated fats. Don’t be scared of eating fat, this is the good kind!


-Almonds: an extremely protein packed nut, almonds are extremely healthy, loaded with fiber and have been proven to help reduce extra fat build up in the stomach area.


-Whole Grains: Rather than eating refined processed white breads and rice, whole grains are filled with fiber with keep your digestion system working properly.


-Greek Yogurt: This popular snack has been getting a lot of attention lately. But, why? Well, non-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt not only fulfills dairy requirements for the day, but is also low calorie, packed with protein, and helps to aid in digestion.


-Sweet Potatoes: Another favorite of mine, sweet potatoes are the perfect combination of delicious and nutritious. This vegetable is packed with many beneficial nutrients and is a healthy alternative to the traditional white potato.


BAD foods: Try to stay away!


Condiments (non-refrigerated): Although this doesn’t seem like a type of food that would be harmful to your health, the ketchup at McDonald’s or room temperature salad dressing is actually bad for you. Because these condiments are kept at room temperature, they are stripped of any nutritional value and are loaded with preservatives.


Processed Meats: The turkey on your sandwich, the hot dog meat, and bacon are all examples of highly processed meats. Here’s the problem: they are not only packed with ridiculous amounts of sodium, nitrate preservatives, and fat, but they also can greatly increase the risks of being diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.


Anything fried: Yes, we know that frying foods diminishes any nutritional value that food once had as well as increases the caloric amount in the food, but eating fried foods can lead of many different cancers. Think about that before you order a side of fries.






Feb 14

Post #13: Healthy…What Does That Even Mean?

We all want to be healthy, right? The healthier we are the less complications we have with our body, and we can be much happier if we are healthy.

What does it mean to be healthy? Does it mean you’re skinny? Does it mean you never get the common cold and have an exceptional immune system? Or does it mean you stay away from fried foods and only eat organic?


I’m not going to give a generic definition for the word “healthy” because, it is too  broad to simply define this very complex word. Today, I’m going to examine the different facets of what I think it means to truly be healthy.


Being healthy is being happy. This includes being content with life, being at peace with yourself, having a good self esteem, being surrounded by those who love you, doing something in life whether it be school or work that fulfills your mind and soul, and believeing that you have a purpose in life.


Being healthy is maintaining good physical fitness. Whether you’re an Olympic athlete or a casual gym goer, most of us have the ability to use exersice as a way to release worries. However, you must enjoy exercising for this to truly contribute to your health. You must welcome the temporary pain for a feeling of accomplishment and success. Exercise has a plethora of benefits other than keeping you in shape and free from sickness, weight gain and disease. I urge you to search for those rewards.


Being healthy is eating right. You cannot be healthy if you choose to ignore nurishment. You can also not be healthy if you over indulge in food. One must balance good foods with bad foods in order to maintain a perfect equllibrium, so you avoid falling into one of the previously mentioned situations. It is good to develop happiness from eating a delicious brownie but with a combination of restraint from choosing the side salad over the fries.


Being healthy is also being free of illness. While this is something we have the least control of, we know that maintaining good hygienic habits along with proper eating, sleeping, exercise, and mental health practices can assist our health woes. Obstaining from drugs and (excessive) alcohol eliminates health problems as well as family, work, and school problems. Trying to reduce stress levels can also contribute to better health.


Although this post was based on my own version of being healthy, it is clear that many people have different perspectives of what “being healthy” truly means. I invite comments about your own version of what components of healthy you think are important.

Feb 14

Post #12: Let’s Hear it for the Boys

Let’s hear it for the boys.

HI GUYS. I am sure that the young ladies of Penn State aren’t the only ones who are concerned with their appearance. Here are three tips to take note of in order to maintain a healthier you.

Fat Guy Out Of Breath Excersing

Watch the beer intake. Whether you have noticed it or not, the “beer belly” often found in grown men may be making an appearance on you as well. When I saw my friends over Christmas break, it was obvious to me which guys were knocking down the Natty Light a little too much and which guys were not. With that said, you may be developing a little extra flab in your stomach if you tend to favor beer. My advice is to cut the beer. Unfortunately, there is no easy way around that one. But, if you are wondering where your unwanted fat is coming from, it may just be from drinking one too many room temperature cheap beers at parties.


Looking to bulk up? Two words: protein and immediately. While many of you seasoned gym goers know this already, eating protein after a workout is crucial to developing the muscle you are looking for. Do not wait a half hour or an hour after hitting the weights. My advice is to bring a CLIF Bar or any type of protein bar to the gym so you can snack on it on your way back to your dorm to ensure you are filling your body with protein immediately. Also, heavy weight lifting with few reps is the key to gaining a lot of noticeable muscle mass, while low intensity weight training with many reps and sets is the key to obtaining leaner muscle.


Stay away from the fried food. While girls are known to order the traditional salad, non-fat yogurt parfait, or fruit for a meal, boys often feast on fried chicken sandwiches, fries, greasy pizza, and burgers. I am not saying girls don’t eat unhealthy foods but, it is often seen as “weird” or “uncool” for a guy to order a salad instead of a cheese burger, or a fruit cup instead of fries. However, who is going to be laughing when fifteen years from now you’re struggling to keep the weight off because of your poor eating habits. We all can’t eat junk food forever because it will catch up to us. I suggest making little adjustments to your meals. Go for grilled instead of fried options, lose the cheese on your burger, don’t pay the extra two bucks for the fries, and maybe man up and order that salad in front of your guy friends.


Don’t deny the fact that you may be gaining weight or are out of shape boys! I’m sure a lot of you are in the same boat. Let’s get healthy in 2014.

Feb 14

Post #11: Just for Girls!



Fit young woman doing stretching exercise and smiling on white

Girls, we all know we obsess over our weight and health way more than boys, so this post is just for us! Here are a couple of safe ways to make us feel great about ourselves while shedding a couple of pounds of fat and toning up our possibly neglected muscles.


Do not starve yourself!

Yes, girls are extremely skinny because they don’t eat or they exercise in ridiculous quantities; but, are they happy? Probably not. You can still be healthy and eat, I promise. Starving yourself can result in spurts of binging, which completely reverse your original intentions of losing weight in the first place. Eating disorders are a serious problem. Being a runner I have seen many friends fall victim to obsessing over their weight, and it physically and mentally damages them. Enjoy life and food, just all in moderation.

Don’t just hit the cardio areas of the gym, use the weights too.

Weight training isn’t just for the frat boys in cut-offs, us girls can flex our biceps and triceps just as well! Being healthy is about being strong, too. Try starting with simple arm curls or use machines such as the overhead press. Don’t want to try these intimidating machines by yourself? Ask a friend and go in the morning when the gyms aren’t as crowded.

Prepare yourself for the drunk food.

For those of you who do not drink, good for you. However, for those of you who do participate in such activities, watch out for Insomnia cookies or late night pizza. While it is good to get some food in your stomach to absorb the alcohol, watch what you are eating the quantity of it. Going to get pizza? Take off the cheese or only order one slice. Craving some sweet treats? Only get one cookie and stay away from peanut butter cookies that usually contain a lot more calories than other cookies.


Girls, we know we all have “our time of the month.”

During this time, I encourage you to stay positive. We feel bloated, lazy, tired, and outright miserable when Mother Nature plagues us for the few dreadful days every month. We often retain water when we are on our period, so it’s important to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and avoid eating foods high in salt and sodium. As crazy as this sounds, try some light exercise. I’m not advocating an intense workout or run, rather maybe just to get your body moving can alleviate the moodiness or pain associated with your period.


Try to utilize these tips to stay happy and healthy 🙂 

Boys post to follow!

Jan 14

Passion Post #10: Back at It!

Back to school!


We are all back to the daily grind of college. After a hopefully relaxing break, we have seen our friends and ex-classmates and have possibly surveyed their appearances. There may have been chatter about who has unfortunately gained weight after falling victim to the drunk food, little time for exercise, and the overall stress of college. However, refrain from judging those people who have put on weight and focus on your own health this semester! Start off your second semester of college right and let’s get ready to take off the weight gained from one too many Christmas cookies.


Did you know?


*Your metabolism works fastest in the early hours of the day. Therefore, eating a 600 calorie meal at ten in the morning will be burned off more quickly than eating that same exact meal at ten at night.

Solution: Don’t skimp on breakfast. Go for that extra piece of fruit. When it comes to dinner time, avoid eating that extra roll or scoop of pasta.


*A cup of hot green tea in the morning will rev up your metabolism and is a good substitute for a cup of coffee with sugary creamers.

Solution: Buy disposable coffee cups so you can just pop them in your microwave to warm up the water, drop the tea bag in your cup, and then sip on the way to class!


*Eating excess amounts of salt and sodium retains water buildup in your body and can be concentrated in your stomach area.

Solution: Lose them ramen! Ramen noodles, easy mac, and soups contain absurd quantities of sodium. Opt for fresh fruit or a lower-sodium soup option.


*Fresh herbs contain large quantities of both vitamin’s A and C, which can improve your immune health.

Solution: Add basil, thyme, or parsley to your food. Lot for food options that have these delicious herbs in them. Herbs are guilt-free and natural ways to boost the flavor of your meals.




Although the tid bits of health information I just informed you of won’t cause you to drop pounds immediately, these long term tips are great ways to adjust your diet and think about your diet from a broader perspective. Little changes are the best way to improve your health without depriving yourself of the foods you love. For the new year, aim to become a healthier you by choosing green tea instead of a high calorie latte from Starbucks, or avoiding heating up those high-sodium ramen noodles sitting under your bed!

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