Debunking Stretching Myths with Matt Dawson.

Fact or Fiction?

If you already include stretching in your regular fitness routine, congratulations—you’re ahead of the curve. But for the 90% of us, who seem to overlook this crucial aspect of fitness, it is time to rethink how important stretching truly is.screen-shot-2014-07-28-at-10-34-44-am1

Recently celebrating his 12 year anniversary here in Aztec Recreation, personal trainer Matt Dawson has endless knowledge when it comes to the value of flexibility training to avoid and recover from injury.

 “I feel so blessed to do something for 12 years and love it just as much.”

Along with training, Matt’s passion for organic gardening, yoga, and wellbeing truly illustrates his belief that without your health, you don’t have wealth. Matt’s philosophy is that health comes from the inside out. Unfortunately, Matt is not accepting new clients at this time so we decided to sit down and pick his brain to set straight stretching truths and myths.

 1. Stretching before your workout is crucial.

Matt: “In my experience, my clients have performed much better stretching after a 25-minute or longer cardio session. Think of your muscles as silly putty. When it’s cold, it will just tear apart verses when it’s had contact with heat it is the most elastic. Same goes for your muscles.”

Be sure to warm up!!

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Member Spotlight: Jenna McGuigan

Jenna McGuigan can squat 255 lbs! This fit, buff, young woman is a sophomore at SDSU who works outJenna Squat at the ARC most days of the week. “I didn’t get it [255 lbs.] the first time I tried,” Says McGuigan, “But I got it the next time.” McGuigan is smart, systematic and focused. Reaching 255 took less than two years of training.

Jenna is a fascinating Aztec who believes that strong women are beautiful.  “With lifting weights and getting stronger I realized how empowering and enlightening it can be to feel like you can do anything.”

The structure of McGuigan’s workout involves five one-two hour sequences that she does daily: Chest day, Back day/ Deadlifts, Shoulder-Calves, Leg Day/Squats, and Arm Day. She will take off some days if she is feeling run down.  In the case of skipping days, Jenna starts back where she left off.  Jenna’s dedicated efforts include getting up at 5:30am daily, running two miles, preparing food and everything she needs for the day, and then heading campus and starting with her ARC workout.

Reaching goals in the gym is natural for McGuigan who has a vision for her future in the field of prosthetics because she loves helping people. She studies physics at SDSU, volunteers for Coaching Corps, and is working on a biomechanical research project studying the elderly with Dr. Levy in Kinesiology. She is only a sophomore but says, “I want to get the most I can from being here at SDSU.” McGuigan says that she is motivated by her professors and she feels respected by them because they recognize her drive.

11188425_10204401205933541_8171323466297958984_nMcGuigan’s greatest inspiration has come through hardship. After being infected with Lyme’s disease, McGuigan’s mom became physically handicapped in 2009, creating a sense for Jenna to never take anything for granted. It also was during this time when Jenna learned how to cook, which is a skill that helps her stay on track with her wellness regimen now. McGuigan sees working as a volunteer in coaching corps as inspirational for both herself and the kids she coaches; “Many of the kids are from families going through financial hardship and don’t have opportunities. For them, the time we spend doing sports and fitness is an important memory.” McGuigan was elected next year’s Coaching Corp president and is it any wonder that the SDSU chapter of Coaching Corps is one of the fastest growing chapters in the country?

Jenna says some of her greatest inspirations have come from realizing how good she has it and making sure she takes advantage of that good fortune. From this sense of gratitude, her personal motto is: “The rest is up to you.”

Read Jenna’s Blog:

Aztec Adventures USED Equipment Sale



Backpacks, Tents, Wet Suits and more-Aztec Adventures used Equipment Sale. Get geared up for all of your summer adventures! Aztec Adventures is having a USED equipment sale located in the classrooms in front of the ARC.


 -Air mattresses
Wet suits
-Rain gear
-Dry bags
-Waterproof duffel bags
-Yoga mats
-Climbing shoes
-Camping cots
-Camping chairs

Tuesday April 28th– April 29th

**All equipment has been used on past adventures and is still in good condition.Come get your gear at tremendously discounted prices.

Hope to see you all there.

5 [hidden] Benefits of Rowing

Unless you are among the lucky few, the majority of us dread cardio days.  The thought of going on the treadmill, elliptical, bike, or even stair master becomes such a drag no matter how dedicated you are to fitness. But what about those tucked away rowing machines? Think you won’t get as much of a workout? Think again.

  1. Weight Loss

Rowing burns calories rapidly, making it a suitable addition to your workout regimen if weight loss is your chief priority.  The full body nature of13 rowing makes it a huge calorie burner: in a few minutes a day, you’ll burn more calories on the indoor rower than you would on a machine that doesn’t engage as many muscle groups.  According to a Harvard study done in 2012, rowing vigorously on a stationary rowing machine can burn up to 632 calories per hour if you’re 155 pounds.

2.  Muscle Toning

Rowing uses virtually every major muscle group in your body. Unlike a bike, that only gives resistance in one direction, the activity of rowing works both the front and back major muscles therefore increasing the rate at which you burn calories.





3. Cardio Benefits

Rowing is an endurance exercise that increases heart function. Keeping the rowing machine tension at a low level allows you to maintain a high rate of speed with minimal resistance. For cardio workouts this enables you to reach and maintain an aerobic state.

  4. Easy on the Joints

Its not rocket science to detect that running, and heavy weight training over time puts tremendous stress on your joints. Rowing on the other hand puts little pressure on the joints, due to seated position.  This low-impact exercise allows your joints to receive some much needed loving. With your joints not having to work as hard you are allowing your muscles to do most of the work which is the goal right?

5.  Great total body warm-up

Rowing machines are located in both the ARC and ARC Express cardio zones. Because of the total body activation of rowing, it’s a great way to warm up prior to your resistance training workout.

Why So Unpopular?

So with all these benefits, why isn’t there a line of people waiting to use rowing machines? The main reason is that most people just don’t know how to use them. Others may shy away from rowers because they provide a challenging workout, and some people just want to slump over a treadmill. Personal trainer Kyle Leong, shows us the proper use of how to use these calorie burning machines.

The 20-minute fat-burner: Try this routine designed to max out your muscles during each interval, while the recovery periods help increase the efficiency of this fat burning exercise routine. Set the rowing machine at a resistance of four. Then perform sets of 10, 15, and 20 power strokes—pulling the handle to your torso as fast and as hard as you can. Separate the power strokes with 60 seconds of easy rowing at about 50 percent of your full effort. Repeat the cycle until you’ve rowed for 20 minutes.

row row row your boat
MBACCLooking to get even more out of your workout? Rowing on water vigorously burns 844 calories per hour if you DCIM101GOPROweigh 155 pounds, according to a study by the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services. For an even better workout along with more of an enjoyable experience, ARC members have the opportunity to take rowing classes all semester long (for class credit) at Mission Bay Aquatic Center! GET OUTTA HERE… (Literally!) Access to these classes is major benefit to our members. Take the fitness outdoors while enjoying beautiful sunny San Diego!

Article by: Reyanne Mustafa

7 Reasons to Fall in Love with Plyometrics (box jumps) [Plus Plyometric Video]

Cardio AND squats? Why not kill two birds with one stone?


  1. They’ll make your legs insanely strong.

Jumping increases your strength and muscle tone, and builds both upper body and lower body strength like crazy. Box jumps force you to jump high enough that you’re forced to use every single muscle in your legs (as well as your arms) to propel you up.

You’ll be sore after the first few times doing them—but don’t worry, your legs will quickly gain massive strength from there.


  1. They’ll prepare you for other sports.

basketball-jumpingPlay basketball or volleyball in your spare time, or just like to be able to jump spontaneously into the air? Box jumps will improve your vertical jump, speed, and endurance, as well as increase your coordination to help you excel in any new sport you try.

If you’ve ever tried them, you’ll know what I mean—you learn to boost your coordination quickly since it’s all too easy when you’re tired to almost miss the box entirely and hit your shins on the front edge.Yeah..Ouch.


  1. They blast calories and melt fat.

When you jump, your body burns 800 to 1,000 calories an hour (compare that to 200 to 300 calories burned per hour while walking).

Since high intensity jumping such as box jumps stimulates changes in mitochondria (where fuel is converted into energy), your body will burn fat before carbohydrates— good news for anyone trying to lose weight.

  1. They’ll keep you strong and balanced.

No desire to falBanner for Plyol and break your hip later on in life? Then start doing box jumps today.

Since box jumps aid in balance, they’ll protect you from injury now and into old age. Plus, they’ll keep your bones strong and healthy for life. Caution: If you have weak knees or shin splits box jumps may not be the best exercise for you.

  1. They make you look like a hardcore!

While you may never be able to jump as high as this guy, being able to jump high and repeatedly is pretty darn cool.Female athlete is performing box jumps at gym

I’d put it right up there with pull ups and the beloved burpees as one of the most hardcore exercises ever.

  1. They can be done equipment-free.

Simply find a h2011-07-17-stepups_pooja_mottligh enough bench, or some stairs, or a table if you’re that good—and get jumping.

Depending on your level, most women should start with a 14″ or 18″ box, and guys should start with a 20″ or 24″ box.

  1. They’re fun (really)!

Once you get over the fear of actually attempting them, box jumps are one of the more fun exercises to actually do.

Why? Because jumping reminds us of being kids, and playful activities keep you young.

And finally, how to actually do box jumps:

Article by: Reyanne Mustafa

Video by: Jared Kleber, Kyle Leong, Liana Tsirklin

Out is the New In!

Think back for a moment to your childhood. What were a few of your favorite memories?  Where was your favorite place to go to?  Does playing hide-n-seek with the neighbors, chasing after the ice cream truck, climbing trees, playing catch with the family pup at all sound a bit familiar? For the majority of today’s adults, their favorite memory was doing an activity outside engaged with others.

Now, think back to the last time you did anything similar? With our busy lives having midterms around every corner, the thought of setting aside some time to take for ourselves can seem overwhelming. But when did doing something for ourselves become such a burden?  Instead of adding a little adventure into our routine we tend to spend every waking moment of free time secluding ourselves in our bedroom, interfacing with technology rather than the natural world. Time to pause Netflix, quit scrolling down Instagram’s newsfeed, and checking out peoples snapchat stories. Time to do something for YOU.

5 Reasons to Take More Adventure Days

We grow and become our best selves when we take advantage of new adventures. If that isn’t motivation enough, check out five things you should know about embracing a new experience:

  1. We rarely try something new…try something new

As human beings we default to the familiar. Why would we want to seek new adventures when what we’re doing is so comfortable? In fact, even when we get that little inkling that we should try something new, our minds quickly shut it down. Approximately 42 percent of Americans can’t remember the last time they attempted adventure.

  1. New experiences are at the top of our bucket lists.bucket list

If you were to name the top 10 things on your bucket list how many of them have to do with doing the same ole’ same ole. No, your bucket list has new adventures! Maybe it includes: backpacking through the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, camping in the deserts of Anza Borrego, climbing magnificent boulders at Joshua Tree’s, canoeing through the Colorado River, or white water rafting Class III and Class IV rapids?!

  1. Sharing our adventures with others makes them more enjoyable.share with others

Not only is it important to seize new adventures, you should also share those experiences with others. Studies show that those who engage in a positive activity with a pal experience a more amplified enjoyment from the event. Skydiving, anyone?

  1. New experiences make us happier.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Shall I say more?

  1. New experiences can change how we view time.see time

Think about it: How many times have we just “rolled through the motions” only to realize that Wow! Christmas is in a few weeks! When we embrace new adventures, we’re interrupting our everyday flow — in the best possible way.  Time will be of more value and opportunity to make the most of it.

Since 1977, AZTEC ADVENTURES has been providing the SDSU community with leadership, education, adventure and culture. We are managed by the Associated StudentsAztec Recreation division and our offices are located within the Aztec Recreation Center.


AZTEC ADVENTURES provides the SDSU community with opportunities to experience outdoor challenges that aim to promote personal growth, health and wellness, leadership, relationship building and environmental responsibility.

This month’s featured adventure: Cave exploring, hot spring and hiking exploration Anza Borrego.


Anza Borrego Desert State Park is one of the best kept secrets in Southern California. Awaiting our group of explorers is a series of underground passageways and caves located in the center of the Carrizo california_20130101__MG_8690-Edit-Edit_lgBadlands that snake their way through hillsides and desolate washes. In addition our campground maintains some soothing hot springs and nearby trails lead to kumeyaay pictographs and morteros.  The unique desert landscape and vegetation make for a mysterious and magical environment in which to camp.  This trip offers a 3 day, 2 night camping experience that is perfect for those with little experience.

This is our recommended trip for those who are just getting their feet wet into the adventure world. Because we are camping relatively close to the cars, we are not required to carry all belongs with us when we do the activities. Not much gear is needed for hikes, which is one of the main differences between our more active backpacking trips.


Now let’s talk about all the incredible excursions that you will experiencoll anzace. Because there are so many places to see and things to do, our trip leaders leave it up to the explorers in what they what to do most. Romping around the desert, exploring mud caves, hiking to historical landmarks, eating awesome food and relaxing in a hot spring to top off the day!

Some of the other activities include:

  • Exploring Indian cave paintings
  • Hikes to the mud caves
  • Off-roading to get to and back camp site
  • Night hikes to overlooking spectacular views of the desert and night sky
  • Waterfall exploring
  • Camp fire bonding

GET TO KNOW Aztec Adventures STAFF:

Aztec Adventures provides achad solorea knowledge and points of interest. The staff is Wilderness and First Aid Certified and full of nature loving, positive, outgoing people full of enthusiasm.

When asked one of our primary trip leaders Chad Larrieu what his favorite part is he responded, “Going through the mud caves FERSURE! Entrance is no wider than your shoulders, and then the landscape transforms into arch waves and skylights. In other words, it’s basically really awesome holes in the ceiling. But they best part?! It is all made of water!!”

Chad also encourages 1920501_10202429637196112_1009099293_nthe explorers to get up early before the sun rises to take a little hike to the overlook spot to see the dawn break just over the desert.

“My most embarrassing moment on this trip: I was so engaged in a story I was telling and didn’t see where I was stepping; I literally slipped and fell by the Morteo Palms in front of all the trip members. Good thing there is a thick layer of palm fronds that LITERALLY had my back.”


Some of our past explorers have stated:

“Trip was great. I really enjoyed the freedom to continue on into difficult parts of the caves.”

“Loved everything! Glad we got the opportunity to go up to the caves. Never done anything like this. Definitely would love to go back!”

“Very fun, I loved the opportunity of gauging my endurance and coordination.  I liked the trip to the waterfall.”983805_10205212281689495_7149705361598928764_n

“Getting to leave your dusty footprints in 10,000 year old mud caves, eating healthy organic meals that come included, and having all the planning and preparation done for you, desert camping just doesn’t get any better than this!” – Chad Larrieu.

So what are you waiting for? Experience it.

Article by: Reyanne Mustafa