New to the Gym or a Regular- A FREE Fitness Orientation is for ALL


Having a goal is one thing, staying motivated is another. When you don’t know where to start or how far you’ve come, that goal can seem farfetched to achieve.

Our fitness interns are here to help!!
Part of your ARC membership includes a chance to schedule a FREE Fitness Assessment with any of our 5 interns.

      A fitness orientation is a scheduled 60 min. appointment with a fitness intern that gives you the opportunity to tour the facility, and learn about exercise machines, free weights and other resistance training equipment. When signing up, you will fill out information about your individual fitness needs, so that your session will be designed specifically for you. Fitness Orientations are FREE to students and members of the ARC.

      If you are unfamiliar with the some of the equipment or feel uncomfortable with the ARC or ARC Express, the fitness interns are available. This in return will make you feel more comfortable on the floor and be able to use the machines safely while getting an effective workout.

     Along with getting familiar with fitness equipment, during your fitness orientation will get you familiar with your body. Our trained interns can take your blood pressure, give you body composition metrics, measure your cardiovascular fitness, and your muscular fitness. Although the interns are NOT personal trainers and can NOT give workout plans, if requested or interested, they can refer you to a personal trainer and set an appointment with a FREE nutrition counseling session.


Take advantage of this opportunity and schedule your appointment today!

To schedule your free orientation email

OR call 619-594-0204

Article by: Reyanne Mustafa

Healthy Eating Campus Tours

Healthy eating campus tour image

Do you ever feel like there just are not enough hours in the day? Is that an excuse you often find yourself using when you are in a hurry and resort to grabbing some fast food on the go and then not being able to squeeze in a workout? These excuses end here!

New from your Health Promotion Department on campus; get a walking tour around the school to learn about the best food options provided here at SDSU. This FREE weekly workshop will teach skills needed for meal planning, full-filling snacks, intuitive snacking, and much more, while walking around campus. Change begins with just a few simple actions. Get started today.

We are meeting Wednesdays 2-3:30 PM

Where? Health Promotion. 3rd floor Calpulli

Questions? (619) 594- 4133

Anyone is welcome!

Article by: Reyanne Mustafa

Don’t Take This With a Grain of Salt

Let’s be honest, how many of us check the sodium content on a food label before we eat? Usually, we are more concerned with the amount of calories, fat, carbohydrates or protein in our food. However, it is essential that we start paying attention to how much sodium we consume. Research has shown that diets high in sodium are associated with high blood pressure which increases your risk for heart attack and stroke. Other side effects of high sodium consumption include increased risk for osteoporosis, bloating and kidney stones.

Your body does need sodium to maintain basic functioning, but only a small amount. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that you consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day. That’s only about 1 teaspoon of salt! Unfortunately, the majority of Americans consume nearly twice this amount daily. In fact, in a recent SDSU class, students reported they consumed 4-5 times the recommended intake of sodium per day.

salt image

Where is all the sodium coming from?

Most Americans get the majority of their daily sodium, about 75%, from processed and prepared foods. This includes anything from the salad dressing on the side of your healthy salad to a Big Mac with fries.

The following foods are the top sources of sodium in the diet: breads and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soups, sandwiches, cheese, pasta dishes, meat dishes and snack foods like chips and crackers.

While it is nearly impossible to control the amount of sodium in prepared foods, you can make the better choices to help reduce your sodium intake.

Sodium on Campus- Simple Switches
Sodium is a common ingredient found in many prepared food on SDSU’s campus. While it is convenient to grab a quick lunch on campus, it can also negatively impact your health. However, simple switches can help decrease the amount of sodium in your meal.

Eat this
• 2 street tacos with steak= 380 mg sodium; 17% Daily Value of Sodium
• 2 Grilled Atlantic Salmon Tacos= 400 mg sodium; 17% Daily Value of Sodium
• Medium Balsamic & Roasted Vegetable Salad with chicken (ask for dressing on the side) = 475 mg sodium; 20% Daily Value of Sodium

Not that
• Grilled Chicken Quesadilla= 2340 mg sodium; 102% Daily Value of Sodium
• Chicken Nachos= 2260 mg sodium; 98% Daily Value of Sodium
• Steak Burrito Especial= 1920 mg sodium; 83% Daily Value of Sodium


Eat This
• Steamed Rice= 0 mg sodium; 0% Daily Value of Sodium
• Sweet & Sour Chicken= 320 mg sodium; 14% daily Value of Sodium
• Side of Mixed Vegetables= 260 mg sodium; 11% Daily Value of Sodium

Not That
• Chow Mein = 1060 mg sodium; 46% Daily Value of Sodium
• Orange Chicken= 620 mg sodium; 27% Daily Value of Sodium
• Hot and Sour Soup= 930 mg sodium; 40% Daily Value of Sodium


Eat This
• Original Hummus with Pita= 520 mg sodium; 23% Daily Value of Sodium
• Side of Tabouli= 230 mg sodium; 10% Daily Value of Sodium

Not That
• Lemon Chicken Soup with Pita= 1160 mg sodium; 50% Daily Value of Sodium
• Classic Pita Sandwich= 1025 mg sodium; 45% Daily Value of Sodium


How to Reduce Your Sodium Intake

Our taste buds have been trained to eat salty foods, due to the prevalence of prepared foods. However, you are in control of how much sodium you eat when you cook at home. Each day try to cut back on the amount of salt you add to your foods. Soon you will get used to eating less salt. Instead of flavoring foods with salt, try to use spices and herbs like garlic powder, paprika, basil, thyme and cilantro. If you use canned foods like beans, always rinse them first. Also, if a recipe calls for salt, cut the amount it says to use in half and taste your food before adding more. Always check the sodium content in any sauces or marinades you use.

Eating Out
Since portion sizes have increased tremendously, it’s possible to consume more than the daily amount of sodium in one meal when eating out. However, you can make requests and ask questions to help control the amount of sodium you eat. For example, ask that your dish is prepared without salt and request sauces and dressings on the side. Many restaurants have their nutritional information listed somewhere, so you can request to look at it before deciding what to eat. Keep in mind– there is usually already a significant amount of sodium in restaurant dishes, so try not to use the salt shaker on the table to add any additional sodium.

Grocery Shopping
A few small changes in your grocery shopping habits can make big changes in how much sodium you eat. If there is ever an option for “low sodium” or “no salt added” versions of items you like to buy, choose those first. Canned foods and condiments typically offer these low sodium varieties. If there isn’t a label on the front, simply compare food labels and choose the option with the lower sodium content. Try to buy food with less than 20% of your Daily Value (DV) of sodium. You’ll probably find that different brands vary greatly in their sodium content. Instead of buying chips and crackers for snacks, try buying fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables have very minimal sodium and are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Your body will thank you! Finally, limit the amount of packaged foods you buy, as they are usually full of sodium to increase their shelf life.

For more information visit:

By: Shantille Thompson, MPHc, Graduate Intern, Student Health Services, Health Education & Promotion

Nutrition Workshops

Are you overwhelmed by all the messages the media portrays about nutrition? Do you just want to know the essentials of healthy eating? Come attend the new and free Nutrition Basics Workshops sponsored by Health Promotion. At these fun and interactive workshops led by Peer Health Educators you will learn the basics of calories, how to read a food label, what an actual serving size is, how to make your own healthy plate, skills and tips to incorporate healthy eating into your busy life and how to set an achievable goal. Don’t be misled by the constantly changing fad diets any longer. Let us teach you how to make small changes to help you maintain healthy eating habits for the long run.

Come by on Thursdays from 2:00 – 3:00 pm on the third floor of Student Health Services. This free workshop in room 3225 will inspire you to take control of your health!

Axis TV- Fall 2013 Nutrition Workshops (1)

Steroids: The Hard, Chiseled Truth

Steroid Use Image

In a society that is overly consumed with looks and obtaining the ‘perfect body’ it is not surprising that steroid use is a common occurrence. In the context of a college setting, where illegal substances are prevalent and people consistently make risky health choices, the issue of steroids often tends to be overshadowed. Although there may be more prevalent health concerns to focus on, that doesn’t mean that steroid use isn’t a topic that should be discussed. Many people believe the biggest risk of using steroids is having an episode of “roid rage” or breaking out; unfortunately that’s just not true. There are serious side effects that accompany steroid use—side effects that can be very dangerous, and potentially permanent. Steroids are illegal because they pose a serious threat to your health and well-being, NOT because the government and the Federal Drug Administration are worried that your huge arms might be a dangerous weapon. Learn the facts about what you are putting into your body! Utilize this article and the resources listed below to increase your knowledge about the reality and risks that come along with steroids and learn healthy tips to help you build those incredible muscles without relying on “the juice.”

What Are Steroids?

Steroids are man-made substances that mimic the male hormones. Steroids have a medical purpose and are used in the treatment of some illness. People abuse steroids in order to improve athletic performance and increase their muscle mass. Steroids that are abused most commonly in body-building are called anabolic steroids. These can be taken in pill form, injected into the body, or applied as creams. Steroids are generally abused in cycles of 6-12 weeks and steroid users employ a technique referred to as “stacking”, which involves using multiple steroids at one time. These techniques are generally used together in an attempt to boost steroids’ muscle building effects.

Think you’re not taking illegal steroids? Think again.

Many over the counter products have been found to contain hidden steroids, or substances that are very similar, or the same as illegal steroids. This means that you might be at risk for numerous side-effects listed in this article, AND if you are an athlete, you could be suspended from activity for testing positive to illegal substances even though you purchased them at your local nutritional supplement dealer. These products are often considered “dietary supplements” which can communicate to some that they are safe. These products, however, are NOT regulated by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Check out next month’s article where we will explore these “legal steroids.”

What Makes Steroids Bad for Me?

Your body has a natural level of hormones that is thrown off when you use steroids. Your body wants to stay at this balanced level, so when you throw in large amounts of supplemental hormones, your body is not functioning properly and you can have serious, negative reactions.

Potential Physical Side Effects:
• Severe Acne
• Liver and Kidney Tumors
• Baldness
• Breast Development
• Increase Risk of Cancer
• High Blood Pressure
• Water Retention
• Infertility
• Abnormal Heart Rhythms
• Shrinking of the Testicles (Male)
• Reduced Sperm Count (Male)
• Growth of Facial Hair (Female)
• Changes or Lack of Menstrual Cycles (Female)
• Deepening of Voice (Female)
• Stunted Growth (Adolescents)

Potential Emotional Side Effects:
• Dramatic Mood Swings
• Violent Outbursts and Irritability (Roid Rage)
• Depression
• Paranoid Jealousy
• Delusions
• Impaired Judgment

Alternatives to Steroids:

Reach goals the natural way. You can build muscle and improve your performance without turning to supplements. If you eat well and get on a structured exercise plan that is specifically designed to target your personal goals–whether that be adding an inch to your arm size or making you faster on the court–you can get great results that last. What is the down-side to this approach? Your results might take slightly longer to show-up. What are the up-sides to this approach? You’ll feel great. You will get the results you’re looking for without worrying about the HUGE list of potentially permanent and sometimes life-threatening side effects. Natural results give you a great opportunity to maintain long-term body and lifestyle changes that help you live well in the long run (plus you’ll save money on acne cream and not alienate yourself from the people you care about!)

If you are abusing steroids, thinking about using steroids without a prescription, know someone who is, or you or a friend are consuming over the counter supplements without having knowledge about the ingredients, make it a priority to learn about the facts and risks involved. Choose healthy and safe options that will give you great results without all of the nasty side effects. If you take care of your body, your body will take care of you.


The Federal Drug Administration’s Recommendations about Steroids:
How to Spot a Steroid Abuser:
Steroid Fact Sheet from the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
Urban Dictionary

*The information used in this article was obtained from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

By: Stephanie Waits, MPH, CHES

Cleansing – Get the Facts.

Does fasting work? What does detoxifying really mean? What are best practices if you want to cleanse and where do you start?
Does fasting work? What does detoxifying really mean? What are best practices if you want to cleanse and where do you start?

Cleanse diets seem to be all the rage these days. After a weekend of splurging on your favorite high-calorie foods or preparing for the upcoming weekend where you know you’ll have to wear a bikini, it seems like detoxifying your body is how many people justify periods of unhealthy behavior. Unfortunately, there is a lot of controversy around these diets and whether or not they do what they say they’re going to do. Before you begin any diet, it’s important to understand the pros and cons in order to determine if it is a good choice for you. Also, it’s vital to understand that there are both healthy and unhealthy ways to participate in cleanse diets, and this article will clarify what the differences are.

The premise of cleanse diets claim to “cleanse the body of harmful toxins and to aid in weight loss”. What people fail to realize is that our bodies already have very efficient detoxification systems in place. Organs, including our kidneys, liver, and gastrointestinal system, work to eliminate waste and contaminants in our bodies and keep us healthy every second of our life. Fifty percent of our immune system is in our GI tract, and by eating well-balanced diets, including dietary fiber (nature’s natural cleanse), we help ourselves to keep our bodies working and eliminating unwanted substances. What cleanse diets aim to do is remove the chemicals and pollutants in our processed foods and our environment from our bodies. Once these toxins are removed, these diets claim that the body will be able to work better and metabolize food faster, which leads to increased weight loss. The problem with these claims is that there is no scientific evidence to back them up. Another issue is that the so-called “toxins” are never identified as specific chemicals, and thus there is no way we can measure if these diets actually remove them or not. Because of the lack of research on these diets, it allows their creators to make whatever claims they want about the benefits of their diet cleanse.

Generally, detox diets can be beneficial if they are used as a way to help your body change from current unhealthy patterns to healthier options. When used over short periods of time (3 to 5 days), these diets can help give motivation to make healthy food options and improve energy levels. Things to keep in mind with these diets are to make sure you have or are doing the following:
• Drink plenty of water
• Make sure you are consuming fiber (I like to recommend 3-5g of fiber per serving; this ensures you are getting a good amount of soluble and insoluble fiber)
• Get your probiotics (found in yogurt) to keep the digestive system working and keep you full
• Be sure to steer clear of laxatives, enemas, syrup and salt-water based cleanses.
• *A special note for those who have diabetes, low blood sugar, are pregnant, or are a child or teenager: stay away from these diets, as they can be harmful to your overall health.

Harmful diets, such as the Beyoncé endorsed Master Cleanse or the popular juice diets, encourage people to drink specific mixtures of ingredients for an extended period of time that will result in drastic drops in their weight. While they may show results in helping people to lose weight initially (which is often just water weight), it is almost always regained after. Yo-yo dieting or frequently losing then regaining weight, takes a very big toll on the body, and can be dangerous and lead to other complications. These diets also are nutritionally insufficient and end up slowing your metabolism, which is the opposite of the goal of these diets.

Overall, if the goals of these cleanses are to remove harmful substances from the diet and to lose weight, the best option is to eat a healthy, well balanced diet, including dietary fiber. Weight loss should be gradual (1-2 pounds a week) and you should make sure you’re eating foods from every food group. Natural, less-processed foods are the best options, if you’re trying to stay away from pollutants, and organic foods might be a good option for you. For more personalized meal plans or advice about your current food intake, make a free appointment with a Nutrition Counselor in the ARC.

For healthy detox ideas, check out the Women’s Health Magazine 2-Day Cleanse for ideas and recipes:

By Susan Berkman, Wellness Nutrition Intern