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

5 Steps to Love Your Body

What’s more amazing than how a body can look, is what it can do.

Society today has portrayed “prefect body” images all over social media. It becomes evident in the number of “likes” that these photos receive, that society admires and fantasizes about one day possibly attaining the same perfect bod. We often find ourselves comparing our bodies to others and saying to ourselves “wish I had her curves” or “wish I was buff like that guy.” These thoughts drown our perception of our own bodies because we are always going to try and measure up to “ideal image.” Here are 5 Steps on how to fully accept and love your body.

Step 1: Mind Over Matter

If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter! It’s evident that everyone is not built the same, from physical structure to hair color or even an individual’s attire. Focusing your energy and thoughts to perceiving your body as something positive and practice replacing negative thoughts or comments about your body with empowering beliefs. Accept what you cannot change and let the negative thoughts go. It can be as simple as smiling at yourself in the mirror and saying something positive about your body. This is enough to alter your mentality and you will be on your way to truly loving your body, if you don’t already!

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Don’t let them define you, always remember: You Define Yourself.

Step 2: Taking Care of Your Body

A car will not run without gas, oil, tire changes and many other essential parts. Neither will your body if you do not take the time to take care of it. Living an active lifestyle and engaging in social and physical activities will fuel the body mentally and physically. It is also important to pay attention to what you feed your body in thought and in nutrition. Your body is your temple, so exercising and participating in a workout regime is important to loving yourself. People of all sizes can be active. Exercise can help you feel better about your body and give you more energy.

Step 3: Support Team

People who have your best interest at heart and constantly provide positive vibes are a great asset! Family, friends, and relationships all play a role in the confidence we find within ourselves. Surround yourself with people who have a healthy perspective about food, weight, and their own bodies.

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You are beautiful. To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to change you is the greatest accomplishment.

Step 4: Be A Team Player – Love others

Once you have learned to love and appreciate yourself, spread the positivity to those around you. Love and treat others the way you would like to be treated. Become an advocate who believes in promoting self-worth over self-judgement of body image. Love is contagious. If others around you are able to see your self confidence and acceptance of your own body, they too will find peace within themselves. This time your role is to be the supportive team member and help others love their bodies.

Step 5: Enjoy your body and Life

This final stage serves more for reinforcement purposes to continue to love your body and those around you. Keep in mind that loving your body is not necessarily easy, it may not come over night. But being persistent and implementing the previous 4 steps in your life will improve self-esteem, self-worth, and you will begin to love your body. Loving and changing your body is not a race, it’s a marathon. Enjoy your process because you only have one life and one body!

by Liki K. Porotesano, MPH Candidate, Health Promotion Graduate Assistant


Getting into the “Spirits” of Halloween

Stay safe and have a happy Halloween!

With Halloween right around the corner, many of us are looking forward to an amazing weekend filled with creative and crazy costumes! Halloween can be celebrated in many ways, such as, a passing Halloween candy to trick or treaters, watching scary movies, or going to a party. No matter what party you choose to attend, whether it’s a small get-together at someone’s house or a big Halloween bash, if you, or your friends, decide to drink, making a plan before and while you drink can help keep an awesome night from turning into a ghastly one! To make sure that you and your friends have fun and stay safe this Halloween, try following these simple safety tips…

Before Your Night Out

  1. Plan a way to arrive and get home safely: Your plan can include getting a ride home by a Taxi, Lyft, or Uber driver, spending the night at a nearby friend’s house, or choosing a member of your group to be the designated driver for the night. The RADD rewards program can provide free rewards to the Designated Driver if you visit participating establishments! You can check out website for more information of the RADD rewards program. (Just remember, the Designated Driver is a non-drinking person and not the least intoxicated person!)
  2. Eat food before and during drinking: Eating a meal before drinking can help slow down the absorption of alcohol and help you avoid a spike in your blood alcohol content (BAC).

During the Celebration

  1. Use the one drink per hour rule: Pacing your drinking is an excellent way to maintain your buzz without over-consuming. It takes your body approximately an hour to absorb and eliminate each standard drink of alcohol. Also, remember that many craft beers, a large glass of wine, or a strong mixed drink are likely more than one standard drink!
  2. Do not mix alcohol and drugs: The mixing of alcohol and drugs can have adverse and unpredictable effects. There is an increased chance of liver problems, difficulty breathing, confusion, and dizziness. There is even an increase chance of overdose and death in some cases. Your best bet is not to mix and to avoid illegal drugs altogether.
  3. Safely intervene to prevent sexual assault: There may be an emergency or problematic situation that can be a precursor to sexual violence where you will want to intervene and stop things from happening. There are a variety of ways to intervene. Here are some examples:
  • Make up an excuse to get someone out of a potentially dangerous situation, such as asking them to dance or go with you to another party
  • If your friend is with someone who is aggressive, pushy, or if your friend is drunk, stay with them!
  • Take steps to reduce someone’s use of alcohol before problems occur, such as giving them food or water instead of alcohol
  • If a situation arises that is concerning, but you do not feel comfortable dealing with it or do not know what to do, do not hesitate to call the police!
  • It is important to remember that men and women can be victims of sexual assault, so it is best to look out for all your friends and intervene or get involved when necessary.
  1. Know the signs of Alcohol Poisoning: Knowing the signs will help you determine if someone needs the help that could potentially save their life.
  • Unconscious or semi-conscious
  • Slow respiration (breaths) of eight or less per minute
  • Low body temperature
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Cold, clammy, pale or bluish skin

If you notice any of the signs, it is important to call 911 right away, lay the person on their side, and stay with them until medical services arrive!

by Kashmoné Hamilton, MPH
Health Educator
Health Promotion Department


10 Easy Ways to Save Water

christmas-cactusDid you know California is suffering from a drought? According to the City of San Diego, the City enacted Drought Alert mandatory water use restrictions on November 1, 2014, in response to serious drought conditions statewide. Below are some simple tips that Aztecs are finding are easy to adopt into the busy student lifestyle.

  1. Water houseplants with ice cubes.
    Ice cubes will absorb slowly, preventing excess water running out. Cubes that were dropped on the floor work well for this tip.
  2. Take shorter showers.
    Baths and long showers use at least 4x the amount of water as a 3-5 minute shower.
  3. Color your toilet tank water.
    This clever trick will tell you if you have a leaky toilet. Put the food coloring into your tank and if the color in the bowl changes color (and you haven’t flushed), you have a leak.
  4. Throw, don’t flush.
    Put the squished bug, tissue or small garbage in the trash, instead of flushing it down the toilet.
  5. Turn the faucet off.
    Do not let your faucet run while brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your face or hands at the sink.
  6. Capture warm-up water.
    While you’re waiting for the hot water to reach the tap, place a bowl or bucket under the faucet to capture “warm-up water”. Warm-up water can be used to rinse dishes, wash veggies or water the garden.
  7. Use one cup a day.
    Designate one glass a day for your beverages and do fewer dishes every night.
  8. Support local farmers.
    Knowing who your food comes from means knowing whether they use sustainable farming practices, which include water conservation efforts.
  9. Store drinking water in the fridge.
    You’ll use less water waiting for the tap to cool down and less ice is needed to keep it cool.
  10. Wash fruits and veggies in a bowl.
    Running water uses up to four times as much and is lost down the drain. Use a bowl instead and the water can be used in your garden when you’re done.

These tips are compliments of the A.S. Sustainability Commission.  Please share.



You have heard it over and over again- quality not quantity. Let’s examine how and why. You’re investing time and effort in your workout, you might as well get the results you deserve!

Moving halfway through an exercise, you’ll see half the results. If you are sacrificing the proper form for higher sets you are doing yourself a true disadvantage. Getting the most of each exercise, fully engaging targeted specific muscles will maximize results (sooner!) Very often, all it takes is one small tweak to get you seeing results.

Here are some tiny tweaks that just may lead to BIGGER and BETTER muscle gains for you in five of the best exercises known to mankind.



    Of all the moves you do in your workout program, perhaps the full squat is the most important. Squats work multiple muscle groups at once, boost your heart rate, and will enhance your balance and agility. The biggest error made with this movement is not going low enough.. When you squat to a parallel position or lower, you’ll get greater glute activation, meaning better butt building results. If you want that round, curved backside, squatting as low down to the ground as possible is a necessity. Okay, I realize that may not be easily done. Very often restrictions in ankle and hip flexibly are restricting to get there. Check out our squat flexibility video for details. trainer Brian Tabor adds, “When you are squatting, challenge yourself to get the tops of your thighs parallel with the floor or lower. This increases the overall range of motion, glute activation, and can actually reduce strain on the knees.”


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    If you’re a pro on the treadmill and run often, your body is becoming familiar with your routine.  Trick your body and switch it up by adding an incline.  If you typically walk on the treadmill, turn the incline up and feel the burn in your calves.  If you typically run, add in some hill sprints. You may be impressed with the results, even if you don’t do this challenge every time.



    Now we come to the bent over row. The biggest mistake here is letting momentum take over the exercise.As you bend over, you want to really think of squeezing the shoulder blades back and together as you lift the bar up towards the chest. Never swing the weight upward or you’ll have very little muscle activation and put yourself at risk for lower back pain. Keep the back as stationary as possible and that too will help ensure it’s only muscular power driving this movement. Check out our rowing machine video for expert instruction:



    This move is all about the mind-muscle connection. You need to really focus on squeezing those abs as you let the upper body rise up into the crunch position and then lower it back down again. Never pull on the back of your head with your hands or swing the body upward using momentum in this movement as well. Do your crunches as slow as you can stand it! Slow, controlled, and steady – that needs to be how this exercise is performed.



    Finally, when doing push-ups, make sure that you don’t short yourself here.Go all the way down to the ground so that your chest is just millimeters from the ground. Half push-ups will do very little to build muscular strength. If anything, they’ll just put excess stress on your shoulder and elbow joints as you bounce up and down through the movement. As you lower yourself, keep your heels moving away – this helps you engage your lower abdomen and keep a great plank form. As in the row, you’ll want to keep your shoulder blades pressing into your back. Lower down on a three count, pause at the bottom for a one count, and then press up over a two count. This will really have you feeling the muscles you’re targeting. Slow is the theme here, too.

It’s amazing how the smallest changes can bust a plateau. Adjust your stance or grip, set the bench to an incline instead of flat, or change implements from a barbell to a dumbbell, and you’ve suddenly expanded your exercise options with only strategic slight changes.

Article by: Reyanne Mustafa

Stepping Outside Your Comfort-zone, Try an ENS Class

We’ve got a brain scratcher for you:
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When was the last time you did something different? When was the last time you did something that excited you? And I mean REALLY got you pumped.  Something that filled your whole body with adrenaline, fear, and pleasure?  How about the last time you did something for YOU just because? Can you recall the last time that you tried to inquire a new skill or shall we dare say.. stepped outside your comfort zone?
As children, we’re natural risk-takers. But as we get older and learn to fear failure, we start holding ourselves back and attempting fewer new things.

The best personal growth comes from the moment we are focused out of ourcomfort-zone comfort zone. That is why we encourage all our Aztec Recreation members take a risk and try some of the ENS/ Credit Classes. From salsa dancing, rock climbing, to that surfing class you’ve been dying to try since your freshman year, we highly encourage you to wait no longer.  A great way to break you out of your mundane routine is to do something you’ve never done before, or try something you’ve never tried. Wake your brain up and tell it that you’re not just here to go through the motions. You’re here for a purpose! Break out of routine and fall in love with a new hobby.

DRUM-ROLL please! The list of our ENS/ Credit classes is finally here.

We are especially excited to announce some of our newest class additions this fall semester highlighted in red. Did we forget to mention.. You get CLASS CREDIT for the ENS classes?!

credit classsws


  • Half Marathon Trainingcredit classsws sport
  • Beginning & Intermediate Basketball
  • Beginning & Intermediate Soccer
  • Beginning & Intermediate Bowling
  • Beginning & Intermediate Volleyball
  • Beginning & Intermediate Tennis


  • Beginning & Intermediate Weight Trainingcredit classsws fitness
  • Intermediate & Advanced Swim Fitness
  • Functional Fitness Training
  • Fitness Training for Women
  • Progressive Pilates
  • Pilates Yoga Fusion
  • Group Fitness Fundamentals
  • Yoga Inversions
  • Restorative Yoga and Breathwork

Martial Artscredit classsws mar art

  • Self Defense for Women
  • Beginning, Intermediate & Advanced Judo
  • Tae Kwon Do
  • Jiu Jitsu

Dancecredit classsws dance

  • Ballroom Dance
  • Salsa Dance
  • Beginning & Intermediate Hip Hop
  • Lindy Hop

Outdoor Skills and Leadershipaaaa

  • Rock Climbing
  • River Canoeing
  • Backpacking

Water Sportsmbac sports classes

  • Sailing
  • Sea Kayaking
  • Wakeboarding
  • Wakesurfing
  • Rowing
  • Windsurfing
  • Surfing
  • Stand Up Paddling
  • Stand Up Paddling Yoga

Steps to register:
1. Login onto webportal.
2. Search for classes under Exercise and Nutrition Science (ENS) lists.
3. Register for class and time slot that works best.
4. A syllabus will be sent to your email regarding further details. 

Article by: Reyanne Mustafa