“Active member” is an understatement when describing Aztec Recreation’s Shea McNanie! Shea has been an Aztec Recreation member for over four years and has participated in many of the programs that Aztec Recreation offers including cycling, mountain biking, Intramural Sports, Aztec Adventures, rock climbing, and has even participated in the Cycling/Triathlon Club! Shea started her

Member Spotlight - Shea McNanie Aztec Recreation journey her freshman year at SDSU, originally just looking for a place to work out and lift some weights. It was her sophomore year when she discovered Intramural Sports leagues, and since then she has been incredibly active and involved with Aztec Recreation. Her favorite IM’s were volleyball and softball, and through her search for information, she found out about the Cycling/Triathlon Club and ended up participating in both mountain biking and triathlon events as part of the team.

Shea says that her favorite Aztec Recreation memories that stem from her membership experience come from all of the active opportunities that have been presented to her through Intramural Sports, the Cycling/Triathlon Club, Aztec Adventures, and ENS classes, in which she’s currently enjoying a windsurfing course at MBAC. Outside of Aztec Recreation, Shea Lives Well by maintaining a healthy diet, remaining as active as possible (obviously!), and has even started practicing yoga with the goal of improving her flexibility.

There are no secrets to success; it is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

Shea explains that this particular quote resonates with her “because it’s 100% true; in any area of life, no matter how easy or hard it may be; there is always room for improvement.” Shea believes that in life, nothing comes easy and you have to put in the work and effort in order to see improvements, and most importantly to succeed. Shea plans to attend SDSU Alumni programs after she graduates, and believes that because of the close relationships she’s made with her teammates from both Intramural Sports and Sport Clubs, she will be an Aztec for life.

by Asha Bailey



V06A9963Yoga has become increasingly popular throughout the years as a way to decompress, destress, and become an overall healthier version of oneself. Aztec Recreation offers a wide variety of yoga classes that are available for our members to participate in. Each yoga class differs slightly in variety, intensity, and main focus. This chart will hopefully give you a better understanding about which yoga class is best suited for your desired practice.

yoga chartpic

Yoga has many beneficial effects on the mind and body, including pain relief, an improved immune system, and even posing as a natural sleep aid. This chart breaks each yoga class down into three categories, describing the major focus, special elements, and differing intensities of each. Those who are looking for a low intensity practice focused around relaxation of the mind and body would most likely lean towards Gentle, Iyengar, or Kripalu yoga. Those who are searching for a more intense, full body workout focused around movement and pose variation would want to look into Vinyasa, Hatha Vinyasa, and Power yoga. Remember, each class has intensity modifications for every level!

by Asha Bailey


Over-the-counter supplements are commonly thought of as a fundamental part of meeting your weight or athletic performance goals and are considered by some to be equally as important as eating enough protein or including a warm-up in your workout routine. These supplements are referred to as athletic supplements, performance enhancing supplements, and sometimes even dietary supplements.
supplements-pillsSupplement can be tricky territory. What may seem like a safe, legal way to increase the results you are looking for may be an illegal way
to hurt yourself or even get kicked off the team. Supplement regulation is not as simple as it seems and there is a good chance the ones you are using may be doing more harm then good.

People frequently include supplements in their diet as an integral part of their athletic or workout regimen.
They are easy and convenient. But it’s about time you consider what you are putting in your body. Is it really reliable to trust a product because your teammate told you it was amazing or your friend has been using for years? Or do you think it’s safe because it’s endorsed by athletes or sold at popular fitness stores?Choosing-Protein-Supplements

When it comes to performance enhancing or sports supplements, you are ultimately responsible for your choices. Take the time to learn more about supplements and be able to make smart choices for your body and your future.

Supplement Myths

How many have you fallen for?

Supplements are different from steroids because they aren’t harmful.

Supplements affect your body in a different way than anabolic steroids or human growth hormone. People generally think of them as harmless because they are oftentimes man-made versions of vitamins and nutrients that your body already creates. There are actually many ingredients in athletic supplements that can be extremely harmful to your body. Using supplements can come with small risks like fatigue and worsened athletic performance (yes, you read that correctly!) or bigger risks like severe dehydration or heart attack.

But the government regulates supplements so they can’t be that bad for you.

Not exactly… the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are the people in charge of checking to make sure the things we put into our body are safe. However, the FDA does not test supplements (dietary and performance enhancing) with the same standards they use for food. In fact, since 1994 it is up to the manufacturer of the product to make sure the ingredients in the product are safe. That’s right, the manufacturer. The same people who profit off the product determine if you should buy it and risk the side-effects it could potentially have. In order for the FDA to look into the risks associated with the supplement, an official complaint has to be filed by someone who has experienced negative side-effects or their doctor.  Don’t let yourself be that person.

You can’t get in trouble for taking supplements—they’re legal!

Have you ever heard of someone being kicked off of a sports team because they tested positive for an illegal substance that the athlete claimed they didn’t know they were using? This is where supplements come in. There are many supplements that contain ingredients that are illegal in the U.S. or in competitive sports. Because of the loose standards the FDA has in place for supplements, they can sneak under the radar or be purchased online from a different country. That is why it is so critical to read the ingredients labels of the supplements you are using—and to understand what those ingredients are.

You can’t have too much of a good thing!

Okay, this should have been a no brainer. Of course you can have too much of a good thing! Supplement manufacturers often make the claim that their product will add to/replenish chemicals or vitamins found in your body or speed up chemical reactions that would naturally take place. They then go on to promote the idea that the addition of these supplements will increase your endurance, speed, performance, etc. Sometimes the supplement may follow through with some of these promises at the beginning. However, when these chemicals are so easily accessible, your body will stop making them naturally. So instead of adding to a good thing, you are making your body dependent on an outside source of nutrients. Why mess with a system that is already working correctly?

If I only use supplements for a short-term boost I’m not doing any damage.

As stated before, your body will stop producing a chemical or nutrient that you are providing for it. This could happen in a very short period of time. What does this mean for your body? You may experience a large drop in your performance level if you stop using a supplement and virtually un-do all of your hard work.

It’s illegal for advertisers to make false claims about their products.

This is true — it is definitely illegal. However, after 1994 the FDA doesn’t look into new supplements on the market until there is a problem down the road. So the manufacturer can claim whatever they want to about their product and often won’t be questioned until someone else decides to prove them wrong.

There are a lot of hidden facts about supplements. It is important to investigate any new product you purchase, especially when you are it may have adverse effects on your health. If you are taking or considering taking supplements you should consult with your doctor and make sure they are safe and won’t interfere with any medication you are currently using. Most importantly, remember that if you want to have the best results with the lowest risk, there is no substitute for a healthy and balanced diet.


For More Information:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

Stephanie Waits, MPH, CHES
Health Educator, Health Promotion Department, SDSU

It’s NOT All About the Numbers

BodyFat_ImpedenceThe world of fitness is overloaded with numbers. It seems like everywhere you look, there are people on message boards discussing new workout plans, or supplement companies trying to sell you the secret recipe for success: how many sets to be completed, calories to be burned, reps to be done, exercises necessary, grams of protein required, carbohydrates consumed, workouts planned, pounds lifted, kilos converted, miles ran, and the list goes on and on. Crunching the numbers is a workout on its own!

In reality, there’s only one number you should be concerned with at the gym: Zero. That’s the number of cares you should give about all the different advice you are being bombarded with as you walk through those gym doors. Don’t get me wrong, numbers have their place. You can keep track of personal records and progress. But, it has its pitfalls as well.

Research shows that stationary bikes, treadmills, stair climbers, and ellipticals overestimate calories burned by 7%, 13%, 12%, and 42% respectively (UCSF).  42%! This discrepancy, caused by rudimentary formulas and the machines’ incapability to consider each unique individual, represents a far larger concern in the gym: the over-reliance on numbers to motivate your fitness endeavors.

A classic example is the weight scale. If your fitness goals are defined solely by your weight, you may be approaching your workouts the wrong way. The number on the scale is literally just the numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity. A scale can’t measure muscle, body fat, strength, or your enjoyment, which is ultimately going to play a large part in you consistently returning to the gym.

The workout is your opportunity to do what YOU enjoy. You are in charge of your workout; your workout is not in charge of you! The great thing about fitness is there is an infinite number of ways to get in shape, and Aztec Recreation provides just about all of them: Bowling, Tennis, Surfing, Paddle boarding, Kayaking, Aztec Adventures challenges, dance, martial arts, and so much more. You name it, they have it.

So squat because you want to, run because you want to, or take that windsurfing class at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center because YOU want to. Finally, at the end of the day, smile—because you’ll want to.

Good Luck!

By: Jimmy Shiba, Graduate Health Promotion Intern, MPH CandidateJimmy_Shiba

How are you making your workout more enjoyable? Let us know! #LiveWellAztecs


Resources: (All the different programs associated with Aztec Recreation)  (Article outlining study done by University of California, San Francisco Human Performance Center on cardio equipment accuracy) (Why cardio machines miscalculate calories burned) (Research study showing the impact of workout enjoyment) (13 simple tips on how to make your workout more enjoyable)

Tis’ the Season to be Healthy

Be mindful of your portions and to actively listen to your body about how full you are becoming
Be mindful of your portions and actively listen to your body about how full you are becoming

The holidays are back in full force! For most of us that means packed schedules, full plates, and our healthy lifestyle gets put on the back-burner. Here are 4 tips to help you keep up your health habits this season!

1)    Limit your liquid calories!
Holiday cocktails, beer, and non-alcoholic seasonal drinks are usually loaded with tons of sugar, fat, and calories! These drinks have little to no nutritional content to add to your diet, but they will add hundreds of extra calories!

Here’s what you can do: Make drinking water your first priority, and let yourself indulge in your favorite holiday drink occasionally. There is no guilt in indulging in moderation, but don’t over-do it! Try ordering a smaller size, or choosing a smaller cup. Remember to drink a cup of water before and after each drink!

2)    Choose appropriate portions!
Two simple ways to avoid overeating during the holidays are to be mindful of your portions and to actively listen to your body about how full you are becoming. Mindless eating leads to unnecessary calories, sleepiness, and feeling sick.

Here’s what you can do: Use a salad-sized plate instead of a dinner plate during meals. This can give the illusion of a fuller plate and help you manage serving sizes. Wait 10-15 minutes before going back for seconds! During this time, enjoy socializing with friends and allow your body some time to tell your brain that you’re full. Remember: if you decide you’re still hungry, you can always go back for more!

3)    Bring a tasty, healthy dish to potlucks!
During the holidays our nights and weekends are usually packed with friends, family, festivities, and of course food! At your next holiday potluck, opt out of bringing the same old bag of chips and dip. Instead, bring a dish that’s healthy, fresh, and delicious!

Here’s what you can do: Make the focus of your dish fruits and veggies! Find a quick recipe online or on Pinterest that is both within your budget and thematic. Your dish will be a conversation piece and the added nutrition will give everyone extra energy to enjoy the rest of the night!
a.    Dish full of fruit:
b.    Dish with veggies:

4)    Treat yourself to exercise!
If the chaos of the holiday season is interfering with your regular workout routine, that doesn’t mean you have to give it up completely! Exercise is not only great for physical health, but also improves your mental health and puts you in a better mood! Around the holiday season, it is especially important to keep exercising!

Here’s what you can do:
•    Sign up for a holiday themed race such as a local Turkey Trot or Jingle Jog and bring family and friends! Try the San Diego South Bay Turkey Trot & Food Drive this Thanksgiving! Visit for more information.
•    Try a high intensity, short duration workout before a family gathering, and invite a relative to join!
•    Even if you don’t have time to make it to the gym, take a walk around the neighborhood after a holiday meal and include the whole family.

by Sharon Hughes, MPH Candidate, Health Promotion Graduate Assistant and
Katie Nelli, BS Candidate, Health Promotion Undergraduate Assistant


Member Spotlight: Dontae Burnett

“My journey at Aztec Rec is parallel to my life story. I had to try more than once before I won it.”
“My journey at Aztec Rec is parallel to my life story. I had to try more than once before I won it.”

It’s no coincidence that Dontae Burnett won the 3rd Annual Cal Coast Credit Union slam dunk contest. Although it was his first win at the competition, it was his 3rd attempt for the honors. Burnett says, “My journey at Aztec Rec is parallel to my life story. I had to try more than once before I won it.”

For Burnett embracing failure is what sets him apart. Growing up with his four brothers in the Midwest he participated from an early age in football, basketball and baseball. The brothers were fearless and competitive, doing gymnastics from playground structures and pushing their athletic skills to the limit. Burnett was a top athlete his whole youth, but as a high school senior, the basketball coach cut him from the team. Burnett responded by proceeded to get a full college scholarship at Kalamazoo. After one year there, an opportunity in California moved him to San Diego where he now studies marketing at SDSU. But marketing is Burnett’s plan “B” for right now. Plan “A” is to see where basketball can take him.

Dontae not only carries a full course load, he also has an NASM personal training certificate, weight trains four times per week, personal trains others several mornings each week, plays six hours of basketball every week at the ARC, and does several hours of intense basketball cardio drills regularly. That regimen keeps him fit and leaping so he is ready for try-outs for the semi-professional league teams when there is an opportunity. To date, Burnett has played briefly as a point guard for one American Basketball Association (ABA) team, and tried out for two other ABA teams as well as one USBL team.

Burnett didn’t land on marketing from the start of his higher education. He switched over from accounting but says he began dreading the accounting school work and now he finds he loves the marketing coursework. “It’s a perfect fit for my entrepreneurial mind,” he says. Burnett is currently learning more about our SDSU Zahn Entrepreneur Center – a program that helps students bring technology innovations to market. He says he has an idea related to fitness and technology that might be a match for the program.

“Dunking is something that everyone who ever played basketball wants to be able to do,” he says. And Burnett can fly. In the context of a slam dunk competition, it’s more than getting to the rim, it’s about tricks, flexibility and ball handling skills. Burnett says that despite his early youth focus on the traditional sports, tennis was a huge attraction, “Because it’s a finesse game.” Watch this video to see his winning dunk.

Dontae lives by this theme: “Focus on a plan ‘B’ but don’t give up on your dreams.”

by Amy Bekken Schiller