4 Steps to Fitting Wellness into Your Schedule

The semester has started and your calendar is probably filling up quickly! This is an exciting who metime, full of new experiences and opportunities, but don’t forget to make time for a very important person…YOU! It’s very easy to overbook your schedule without leaving time to actually take care of yourself.  By treating your personal well-being like any other activity or commitment, you can make fitting wellness into your schedule part of your daily routine. Follow our step-by-step guide and start making your wellness a priority today!

Using a calendar or planner is extremely helpful in keeping yourself schuduleorganized. You schedule your classes, work, meetings, etc., but we also want you to understand that wellness should be scheduled into your daily routine. Don’t start a new calendar for your wellness activities, rather we want you to identify what works for you and get in the routine of also fitting in wellness. If you don’t currently use anything, check out digital calendars like Google Calendar or smart phone applications. You can set-up alerts and share your schedule with other people.

Step 1: Stick to a Sleep Schedule

The first wellness component you need to add to your calendar is your sleep. Yes, you read that right! We want you to schedule your sleep and commit to it! Scheduling your sleep makes it a priority and reminds you to complete your other tasks before the deadline, your bed time. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that young adults aged 18-24 years old get 7-9 hours per night. Want extra credit? Avoid looking at electronic devices at least an hour before bed to ensure that you are getting better quality sleep.

Step 2: Prioritize Time for Exercise & Follow Through

First, ask yourself what type of exercise do I enjoy? Do you like hiking? Great, explore San Diego! Do you like lifting weights? The Aztec Recreation Center is calling your name! Just make sure you are doing some form of exercise you enjoy, because it’s more likely that you remain active down the road.

You’re probably asking yourself, how much time should I schedule for exercise? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (brisk walking) every week and perform two or more days of muscle-strengthening activities per week (CDC, 2015). As the intensity of the aerobic exercise increases, the recommended weekly time decreases.  You can check out the website to see how exercise intensity is determined. If it doesn’t seem like you have room in your schedule for 30+ minutes at a time, research shows that doing 10 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise 3 times per day is just as effective (CDC, 2015)! Also, remember to fit in activity whenever you can. Try parking across campus from your class, so you can walk farther to give yourself an energy boost before class. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Carry a grocery basket instead of pushing a cart. Get coffee with friends and walk instead of sitting at a table. Every little bit counts!

Once you decide on the type and length of exercise, schedule it into your open time slots and pledge to keep that appointment. You reserved this time to improve your health, don’t let yourself down!

Step 3.  Embrace Meal Planning & Prepping

Sometimes eating a balanced diet is easier said than done, but can be more achievable with meal planning and prepping. By setting aside some time each week to plan your meals, go meal prepgrocery shopping and prep your food, you’re setting yourself up for success. We want this to be enjoyable for you, so Health Promotion has some tips to make eating healthy even easier:

  1. Keep it simple. When mapping out your meals for the week, find recipes with very few ingredients. This will save you money and cut down the cooking time.
  2. Shop your kitchen first. Get creative and use what you already have in your fridge and pantry. There’s no point in buying more of what you already have!
  3. Look for deals. Use the local grocery store ads to find discounts on foods and shop the sales! Check out the Sprouts, Windmill Farms, Vons, and Ralphs weekly deals!
  4. Buy frozen, ready to cook ingredients. Fresh produce is great, but we don’t always have time to prep and cook it. Frozen fruits and vegetables are a great option for quick and nutritious meal additions!
  5. Cook more than you need. You are already spending time cooking, so make extra to take for lunch the next day or freeze for another day when you are short on time.

Now look at your calendar and find some time that you would like to devote to meal planning, prepping and grocery shopping. Remember, you don’t have to do it all at once. Find a routine that works for you and makes eating nutritious meals easier and part of your schedule!

Step 4. Schedule Some Me-Time

I 3 me timeYes, prioritizing yourself is just as important as getting an A on that exam. Don’t forget to take care of your emotional, spiritual and social wellness. This will look different for everyone. If you need some “me time” on campus, the Center for Well-Being is a great place to relax, meditate, read and even sit in a massage chair! Based on your schedule, you may have more time some weeks than others, but always try to squeeze in some time to unwind.

Remember to be patient with yourself as you begin integrating wellness into your schedule. Make small goals that help you develop healthy habits and make them part of your normal routine. Before you know it, making wellness part of your schedule will become second nature and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is and how much better you’ll feel!

By: Shantille Thompson, MPH, CHES

Sources:

http://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need/page/0/1

http://www.brighamandwomens.org/about_bwh/publicaffairs/news/pressreleases/PressRelease.aspx?sub=0&PageID=1962

http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm

 

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: http://believeinthebeast.com/

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

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

Women-Muscular-Legs

  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

Reach Your Goals With Group Fitness

Group fitness classes are included in the Aztec Recreation membership and are a great way to help you with your 2015 fitness goals! We offer cardio, strength, mind/body, and dance formats so you can enjoy a huge variety of classes that make exercise fun. Beginners are welcome; previous experience is not required! If it’s your first class, feel free to introduce yourself to the instructor prior to class. That way he/she will be better able to cater to your experience and fitness level. Check out the current schedule.

Looking to achieve internal balance and reduce tension and stress? This class uses breath-synchronized movement to create internal heat that purifies muscles and organs by expelling unwanted toxins from the body in the form of sweat. Dynamic, flowing posture sequences will build strength and flexibility. You will learn to set an intention for your personal yoga practice and take the necessary steps toward reaching that goal.

Heard of the at-home Insanity® program? Now it’s in your group fitness studio! This class utilizes the concept of max interval training, where longer high intensity cardio intervals are interspersed with short rest periods so that you can get the most out of your workout. All levels are welcome in this body weight workout that can increase your cardiovascular endurance, as well as muscular strength. Just one question: are you ready to dig deep?

Article by: Liana Tsirklin

Controlling Over Consumption for the Holidays

Hey Aztecs! Did you know that most people gain 1-2 pounds just from the time between Thanksgiving and New Years? Here are 5 easy tips you can put into action to heHoliday Dietlp you control over consumption while maintaining full satisfaction from all that crazy-good holiday food.

  1. Protein and Fiber – Put those on your plate first
    1. Foods high in protein and fiber are the most satiable. Making them a priority in your food choices can help you eat less overall and prevent overeating.  Foods high in protein and fiber are more micronutrient dense, have fewer calories, and add volume to your meal, while still tasting great!  They will also keep you full longer, helping you cut down on post-meal snacks.
  2. Smaller Portions at a time – Eat less while keeping food volume the same
    1. You will eat less if you have less on your plate, while feeling just as satisfied. Tricking your mind into thinking you have just as much food on your plate by keeping the volume of food the same, but adding in foods that are less calorically dense (fruits, vegetables, etc.) on each plate will allow you to actually eat less without losing fullness.
  3. Out of Sight, Out of Mind – Reduce temptations to snack unnecessarily
    1. If food is easy to eat, it is easy to overeat. Avoid having food within arms reach or in your vision on a regular basis, and cover up your food to avoid temptations to snack unnecessarily.  The more effort involved in eating, the less likely you are to overeat.
  4. Continue Staying Active – Keep your exercise regimen consistent throughout the holiday season
    1. Exercising releases hormones that will help you stay in control, calm, and confident. Not to mention, it burns calories, increases metabolism, and strengthens your mind and body.  Whether you are at the gym, at the park, or in the privacy of your own room, there are plenty of exercise options you have regardless of equipment, time, and fitness level.  During the holidays, try incorporating your friends and family into fun group exercises like a pre-meal flag football game, a post-meal walk, or a YouTube workout session.
  5. Set Realistic expectations – Don’t give up
    1. Let’s face it, it may be impossible to completely avoid overeating throughout the holidays.  Setting too high of an expectation for any goal is a recipe for disaster, and in this case will result in succumbing to cravings.  Enjoy the food and company while always keeping a positive mindset.  If you find yourself overindulging, don’t give up and let it define your eating habits.  Remember, life is understood in the past but must be lived in the present, so learn from your mistakes and move on.

Good Luck!

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How are you working on keeping your holiday meals in check for the holidays? Let us know! #LiveWellAztecs

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

Resources:

http://evidencemag.com/holiday-feast

Importance of Mobility for Strength Training

Mobility is both beneficial to all aspects of fitness and is easy to improve and maintain.  It is your ability to control your limbs throughout their full range of motion, and can sometimes be confused for stretching.  Although stretching and flexibility are both aspects of mobility, mobility has a direct functional effect on movement.  By working on mobility, not only will you be able to avoid injury but you will be able to execute exercises with more power and efficiency. Watch the video below to see how different mobility exercises can help you get into a more optimal squat position.

 

 

As the school year begins, the gym gets packed with students from a wide range of fitness levels.  From beginners to thoroughbred fitness gurus, students are eager to put the amazing facility at the ARC to good use.  But, before you go charging in to grab a bench or claim a pair of dumbbells, let’s take the time out to prepare the most important piece of equipment in the gym: you. Your body is the most complex machine found in any gym facility.  With over 200 bones and over 650 different muscles, it is important to recognize the endless possibilities of movement patterns and leverages it can accomplish.

Making sure your body has the sufficient mobility for weightlifting should be an essential part of your workout routine.  It allows you to get into optimal positions and execute movements in ways where you are testing the strength of your muscles and not the integrity of your joints.  It also prevents injury by giving you the awareness of any weaknesses you may have in your muscle groups so you will not compensate by overworking and straining other dominant muscle groups during exercises.

Lack of mobility often manifests itself in large compound movements.  The squat is a great example.  Lifters will often times lack mobility at the bottom of the squat in their ankles and hips, which forces their toes and knees forward and outward to create space for their hips to drop down, while at the same time, shifting weight onto the toes.  This starts an avalanche of problems as your body attempts to compensate for the lack of strength created by the poorly leveraged squat position. As the knees come forward, all the weight shifts onto the quads, eliminating the entire posterior chain from the movement (the posterior chain consists of all the muscles on the backside of your body including the glutes, hamstrings, calves, and back).  The body will compensate for the lack of strength with the knees, hips, and lower back, putting them under tremendous strain and often leading to injuries in the future.

You can improve your mobility in countless ways.  Essentially every muscle in your body can be worked on and improved for better performance.  Several high quality foam rollers and bands are available for checkout at the front desk and the PVC pipe is available for use in the Fitness Room.  The ARC also offers various Yoga and Pilates classes throughout the day to all members which can help you strengthen your mind muscle connection and your core while improving flexibility and mobility.   So before you go crazy with the weights, take a moment to make sure your body is primed, supple, and ready for action

Article by: Jimmy Shiba, Graduate Health Promotion Intern,  MPH Candidate

Are you working on your mobility? Let us know how #LiveWellAztecs

More mobility resources:

(A more in depth description of joint mobility and joint stability as the foundation of any workout program)

(Joint mobility as it relates directly to the squat. Video and article by multiple powerlifting world record holder Bryce Lewis)

(The difference between mobility and flexibility.)