All Posts By

Kyndall Herman

Your Guide to Make the Most of This Season’s Fruit

Summer is right around the corner.

And with the abundance of sunshine comes the juiciest of fruits filling your local grocery stores and farmer’s markets.

Ever notice that big juicy watermelon seems to be an iconic symbol of summer? Because watermelon is a summer fruit! Buying fruit that is in season means buying fruit during the times of year that offer optimal conditions for the fruit to grow.

When fruit is in season also happens to be when it is the cheapest and the freshest on the market. So not only will you be saving a few bucks, but you’ll be enjoying the freshest produce nature has to offer. Here’s a list of some fruits that are in season during the summer, and a few ideas on how to incorporate them into your summer days.

1. Mangoes

Packed with vitamin A, C and fiber, mangoes are peaking during these summer months. You can:

Not sure how to cut up a tricky mango? You can learn the best way to do it here

2. Strawberries

Rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, strawberries make the perfect addition to lots of summer scenarios, including:

3. Watermelon 

At 92% water (according to watermelon.org), this is the perfect treat to help keep you hydrated during the summer months.

4. Figs

I’ve recently become a fan of these little guys. Figs soften if left at room temperature, but they will not sweeten, so seek out ripe ones; they’ll feel plump, tender, and heavy for their size, and smell like honey at the stem, and stickiness will indicate overripeness.

  • I’ve been putting dry figs in my smoothies, if you’re a fan of fig newtons, this one’s for you
  • I’ve also seen figs put on top of pizza! Really push your cooking skills and check that one out here.

5. Blackberries 

Check out these articles too:

  1. 5 Fruits You Have to Try in 2016
  2. 5 Easy Ways to Stay Hydrated This Summer
  3. Easy Ways to Add a Little More Green into Your life
  4. Skin Saving Snacks To Try This Summer

Is Alcohol Hindering Your Fitness Goals?

I consider myself pretty active. I enjoy the outdoors and I typically workout 4-5 times a week. When I entered college, even though I remained active and fit, I struggled with weight gain. My weight fluctuated throughout college, and it wasn’t until this past year that I finally dropped all of the weight that I had been hanging on to since my freshman summer semester.

But since my eating patterns hadn’t shifted much, and my fitness routine was actually suffering due to a really intense work and school schedule, I was baffled that the weight kept falling off.

What had changed since freshman year? Not my eating. Not my exercise.

The biggest change in my lifestyle was my decrease in alcohol intake. I went from drinking at least one night during the week and both weekend nights to going out for a drink with friends maybe twice a month.

And don’t get me wrong: I’m not leading into a “stop drinking alcohol” bit. But I did want to emphasize the negative impacts I experienced from drinking alcohol so often, both on my eating habits and on reaching my goals.

So let me break down some of my habits from previous semesters for you.

In college, the weekend usually started on Thursday.

A typical night goes something like:

It’s some girl’s 21st birthday celebration (Waltz/sign night) in which you drink 2-3 drinks at the pre-game, plus 1 or 2 shots.

1-2 drinks at the bar. Maybe another shot. A slice of pizza (or 2) when you get home

The next morning… AKA, Friday:

You stumble to your class, exhausted from poor sleep. You manage to grab a cup of coffee on your way out the door.

After class, you head straight to “Fried Fridays” at your sorority house and make a “salad” topped with fried chicken fingers and add a side of curly fries. You skip dinner (yikes) to get to happy hour early before the crowds.

2 tall boys or split a pitcher of a mixed drink with you and your friends. A shot of tequila for your other friend’s 21st (someone is always turning 21 in college, aren’t they?!). Free hotdog from the church on your way home. Delivery from Jimmy John’s because now you’re starving.

Let’s be real. You might even head out to another bar for more drinks if your roommate is up for it.

And it’s only…Saturday?

If it’s football season. You know this means tailgating.

A mimosa while you get ready, 3 beers at the tailgate, another grilled hotdog because it’s free, maybe a few shots if you’re feeling frisky.

After the game you’re feeling a bit drained from the last 2 nights but you push on because #yolo. 3 vodka waters, 2 tequila shots, and throw in a slice of pizza on your way home too.

Sunday:

You wake up at noon, miss breakfast, and are super dehydrated from the night before. You go for a big greasy brunch full of eggs, bacon, maybe pancakes, and add a mimosa. There’s no chance you’re hitting the gym today, so better to start planning to hit the gym tomorrow. 

So why does all that matter? 

Here’s the thing: college is supposed to be a time for fun, but it’s also learning about responsibility and self control.

Drinking not only adds calories, but also dehydrates you, causes any number of hangover symptoms, and crushes any hope of hitting the gym (or class!) the next day.

I was waking up with not only the migraines that come with a hangover, but also with a horrible sour stomach. Sometimes it would even lead to nausea and dry heaving. I would be taken out completely the next day, and sometimes couldn’t even hold water down to re-hydrate. Every time was the same “Why did I drink so much?” speech to myself. But it was the only social life that I knew how to live among my college friends.

I was losing motivation to be in the gym and felt myself resigned to going through the motions instead of enjoying my workouts— something I thought I truly loved.

But once I started to get serious in my school and work schedule, I knew I simply didn’t have the time to waste being hungover. Getting to bed at a decent hour, avoiding late night snacking, and waking up early to seize the day were leading to higher energy levels and an increase in my productivity. I had more energy to go all day in school, and waking up early (even on the weekends!) allowed me to have more time to dedicate to the gym.

Overall, I have felt so much happier, healthier, and fit because of it. 

If you’re trying to balance your social life with your fitness goals, know that it is going to be a challenge. But that’s the key: balance. I was letting alcohol and drinking completely overshadow my health.

How can you work towards changing your habits? 

That doesn’t mean you have to let your health overshadow going out with friends. Just be mindful. How can you do that? Simple; it’s not all or nothing.

  • If you are going to drink, make sure to eat a full and balanced meal beforehand.
  • Pick clear spirits mixed with soda water and lime over sugary mixed drinks.
  • Hydrate with glasses of water between drinks.
  • Avoid late night snacking!

But if you really want to reach your goals, know that skipping the drinks every once in awhile and volunteering to be the DD for the night, could finally help you get there. 

Check out these articles too:

4 Ways to Keep Your Senioritis In Check

Post-spring break is usually the time when our gym routines start to tapper off, the weather starts to tempt us into laying by the pool instead of going to class, and that little taste of summer vacay has us thinking about anything BUT school or getting back into a routine.

For some of us this probably started way before spring break, but either way we can’t just throw all that hard work out the window!

As a 5th year (because of my double major) and all of my applications turned in for grad school, I was struggling hard to stay on track even before spring break. I injured my lower back and had zero exams until after spring break. I started to really lack motivation to do anything but to binge watch 4 seasons of Vanderpump Rules.

                        

But, I know this cycle can’t last forever. The more I slacked off, the worse I actually started to feel. So I started to wake up early, stretch and ice my back, make lots of coffee, and get back to work. Here’s some inspiration to make that final push through the rest of the semester:

1. Don’t skip your workouts

Remember those goals you made at the beginning of January? Yes, I like to keep bringing them up because I, too, fall off the wagon.

Ace Fitness explains getting your sweat on early in the morning is shown to help you burn more calories throughout the day through the EPOC effect, and improve your mood and concentration for the rest of your day (you can read more about that via the American Psychological Association here). Even if you’re injured! (Or out of shape from slacking.) Set aside 20 minutes in the morning to get moving. Your mind and body will thank you.

                           

2. Actually use your planner.

Or calendar. Or old school sticky notes. Doesn’t matter, as long as it’s working.

Make a list in the morning of all of the things you want to accomplish in the day. Be proud if you only get half of them done. Half is better than none!

                              

3. Be a Weekend Warrior.

Don’t let yourself slack off during the week! Get all your work done, get enough sleep, and stay on track as best you can before your weekend starts. By getting work done for the next week early (write those Sunday night blog posts, prep for a Tuesday exam), you can fully enjoy the weekend.

Then cut loose: let yourself enjoy and soak up these last few weekends of college. You deserve it! It’s all about balance baby.

                             

4. Remember why you started.

These last four (or five) years have been some of the best of your life. But you’ve also spent countless hours studying, cramming, and in the library for a reason– to get that degree! Jot down all of the goals you have for after graduation and reflect back on how far you’ve come. Don’t bomb your last finals just because you can. Finish strong and be proud of this huge accomplishment.

                                     

Check out these articles too:

I Tried the Tone It Up 6-Week Challenge and Here’s What Happened

tone it up

I’ve followed Karena and Katrina from Tone It Up for almost a year now. I regularly accessed their free workouts from their website and YouTube channel, but it wasn’t until this January that I decided to fully commit to their 6 week “Look For Love Challenge”. While I admit the title felt a little bit corny, I decided to accept the corniness in all its ways and fully commit to “Look For Love” for the first 6 weeks of 2017.

In no way is this article meant to convince you all to join this particular plan or even the Tone It Up community as a whole; but instead I wanted to tell you the honest truth behind what it’s like from a college girl’s perspective.

I didn’t set out to lose any amount of weight but instead I was striving to get back into a good fitness routine. I also wanted to make it my new year’s resolution to meal prep more often to help save time (and money) during the week.

So here’s a sneak peek into the ups and downs of the 6-week challenge.

6 week challenge

Week 1

Starting the program on January 1st would have been too hard as a college student. I was still on winter break and out of my normal routine. So January 2nd, which was also a Monday, would mark the beginning of embarking on this 6 week challenge. I vowed I wanted to follow their vegetarian meal plan. I had dabbled with being vegetarian before and loved how my body felt (I have digestive issues, so I feel best when I eat meatless).

It was a rocky start. I prepped a big batch of roasted veggies and quinoa to make my meals throughout the week. I even cooked up a batch of protein muffins and prepped some overnight oats to eat for breakfast. It was still a little tough to follow through with the challenge at my mom’s house, so I figured I would get into a good routine back in my own apartment at school.

Week 2

Back in Tallahassee. I went grocery shopping on Sunday to prep for the week. I quickly realized I hadn’t prepped enough food to last the week, and would need to do more next weekend. The weather was super cold, so it was getting harder to wake up in the morning to workout. I’d been setting my alarm clock earlier so by the 2nd snooze I’d get up and have enough time to make coffee, hit the gym, shower and eat breakfast before my classes started.

By Wednesday, I felt like I was in a better routine. Friday I took “happy hour” at a yin yoga class and it was awesome! Lots of great stretching to get the kinks out from all my hard work this week. First week back in Tally also meant enjoying myself a little more than anticipated on Saturday night, so I spent Sunday recovering and meal prepping. Couldn’t let the hangover affect my whole week!

                  IMG_1784                 6 week challenge

Meal prepping from Sunday included egg muffins to heat up for a quick breakfast, and a big batch of roasted veggies to toss in salads or use as a side for the week.

Week 3

Meal prep Sunday: check!

I felt so accomplished at the beginning of this week. Took my favorite yoga class. Started to feel like I was in a good routine.

I was almost at the 21 day mark; that’s how many days it apparently takes to form a habit, so hopefully my daily moves will become an instinct. Kinda like checking my insta feed.

School started to pick up mid week and I was getting very tired. Decided I needed to work on not snoozing my alarm every morning.

6 week challenge

As the challenge went on, it got harder to sit down and collect my thoughts about the week. My journaling turned into more of a quick jotting down of bullet points of the highlights.

I also started to incorporate more meat into my meals because I was getting a bit bored with my food.

Week 4

It was getting easier to wake up at 6:30/7am. I’d been meal prepping like a boss on Sunday and it made it WAY easier to get going in the morning. I didn’t waste any time making food and I always got a great breakfast

I woke up every morning to workout this week, I was on a new high!

The weekend was hard because of traveling. It was hard to feel off schedule while I was out of town, but I tried to enjoy my time meeting my friend for the weekend. I vowed I would get back on my new schedule when I returned home.

However, I stocked up on travel snacks in the airport; the cashier called me a “hungry girl”. I responded, “Hell yeah, I got goals!” to which he said “I can respect that”. The whole interaction made me chuckle.

Week 5

School is picking up and its harder to wake up to workout. I don’t know how people live in the cold and get to the gym at 6 am in the snow. Anyways, I worked hard this week to try and accept that it is ok not to make it to my workout every single day

Meal prep didn’t happen because of traveling and getting home late Sunday night. I woke up early to get to the grocery store on Monday, but man I wish I meal prepped.

Overall, I had pretty good energy this week. I wasn’t super hungry. The following week would be exam week, so I planned to do my best to use the weekend to set myself up for success. 

I’d been following Tone It Up on social media, and loved seeing inspirational posts from Katrina and Karena on Instagram. I also really appreciated the flood of inspirational emails they send out – it definitely helped me feel motivated to keep pushing myself through to the end.

Here’s a glimpse at my inbox from them over the past week:

challenge

They really do a great job of making me feel like were gal pals and they’re just giving me a nudge of encouragement in the morning; I’ve really been looking forward to them!  

Week 6

Week 6. Last week of the challenge! Got my meal prep done. My energy levels were super high. 

Good thing, too, because I had two exams on Thursday. But they were NBD. I also was going out of town that weekend but with all the healthy habits and confidence I built up through the challenge, that didn’t feel like a big deal either!

It was early Valentines weekend, and I felt confident rocking my bikini on the sunny beach of California (even after eating all the sushi in the land)! I felt confident and proud that I stuck it out for the 6 weeks.

So What Did I Learn?

That I need to be flexible!

With my workout schedule, my meals, and my daily routines. It really is so much easier said than done. I usually get into such a negative head space when I can’t get myself to wakeup in time to workout or can’t find anything in my fridge for dinner. But by pushing myself to really commit to making the time for these things most days of the week, I didn’t feel poorly for taking a day off to rest or get homework done.

Here’s how Tone It Up helped. They:

  • Put together daily workouts
  • Sent out daily reminders
  • Sent weekly motivation
  • Sent emails halfway through the challenge to remind me that it’s ok if life gets in the way and it’s ok if I haven’t been sticking to the plan 100%. They reminded me not to focus on the setback but instead to jump back in and remember why I started.

I really love that they keep in constant contact with their community. I now appreciate my body even more for doing all that it does, especially in the weeks that I push it super hard. Now, I forgive myself for not eating a perfect diet or missing my workout some days; I know I’m simply trying my best.

The Tone It Up community is full of inspirational women of all body types trying to lead a more active lifestyle. I have honestly been inspired by the love and encouragement found in their community.

So if there’s a new workout class you’ve been dying to try, a fitness guide or challenge from a real live gym or online community, go for it! If you’re laying down some heavy dough for it, do your research as much as you can and really plan out the time in your schedule to commit to workouts and meal planning so you know you’re really getting your money’s worth.

Header image taken from toneitup.com.

Check out these articles too:

A Nutrition Student’s 7 Tips for Healthier Eating

As a college student, eating healthy is hard.

Even as a student studying nutrition, I’ll be the first one to admit that.

It’s easy to get caught up in a busy schedule. I mean, between classes, working out, having a social life, volunteering, and getting enough sleep, sometimes takeout seems like the best (or only) option.

But since March brings National Nutrition Month® created and celebrated by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, I wanted to personally take the time to appreciate having food security and acknowledge that it’s perfectly okay to not always meal plan, prep, eat all your fruits and veggies 100% of the time.

This year’s theme encourages everyone to start with small changes. One forkful at a time. “Put Your Best Fork Forward”. I feel the theme perfectly describes how the nutrition field is emphasizing:

  • More mindful eating habits,
  • Paying attention to what we are putting into our bodies, and
  • Finding a good balance between eating right and enjoying yourself in moderation.

So I’m making a list, some inspired by the Academy and some by my peers, on how we all can “Put our Best Fork Forward” during the month of March. I challenge you to pick at least one small change to stick with for at least this month, and hopefully it will snowball into making more nutrition focused #goals for the rest of 2017!

1. Make a list before you go to the grocery store.

groceries-1343141_960_720

The hardest part about grocery shopping for me is spending extra money on items I really don’t need. Making a list beforehand and planning your meals for the week will help you save money at the store by only allowing yourself to get what’s on said list.

Invest in a cute cheap notepad to make your lists on so you can have a physical copy to check stuff off of when you get there!

2. Pack your lunch.

1280px-NCI_Visuals_Food_Meal_Lunch

Yup, brown bag it, invest in an insulated lunch box and a few pieces of tupperware! Prepping your lunch the night before will set you up for success the next day during your busy school day schedule.

3. Cut back on added sugars.

coke-698545_960_720

Food and drinks with added sugars can contribute to empty calories, spike your blood sugar levels, leaving you to crash soon after that sugar rush. Visit  www.choosemyplate.gove to learn more about reading the nutrition label to help identify those hidden sugars and proper serving sizes.

4. Try Meatless-Monday.

pizza-2000599_960_720

Save money and help cut down on your dietary intake of cholesterol by substituting a variety of different veggies into your favorite recipes! Try a cauliflower crust pizza, substitute beans and lentils for protein, or if you’re missing the meaty texture try using tofu!

5. Turn off the TV.

remote-control-932273_960_720

One of my toughest challenges is really paying attention to my meals when I sit down in my apartment. We don’t even have a kitchen table! It’s so easy to flick on the tv, flop on the couch, and mindlessly devour an entire meal without even really tasting or appreciating it.

Try to limit distraction while eating (maybe even waiting until after to post your food up on Instagram) and savor every little bit of food from the delicious meal you just prepared. This also helps to avoid overeating and can help you to better understand your cravings.

6. Understand portion sizes.

bowl-1836498_960_720

Haven’t learned how to read a nutrition label yet? Most prepackaged foods contain 2 servings instead of 1, so it can be misleading on what you’re actually intaking in terms of calories/nutrients. You can learn more about that from the Academy here.

7. Eat more whole foods.

boxes-1834416_960_720

With all of the new “low calorie” “low sugar” “high protein” products on the shelves these days, it’s easy to get lost in pre-packaged-food-land.

Try grabbing for more fruits and vegetables to snack on during the day paired with hummus or peanut butter instead of reaching for that protein bar. Making the shift to eating more whole foods will help you get in extra vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants leading to more natural energy.

Stumped on what whole foods to snack on? Head here for some inspiration! 

apple-1074598_960_720

Check out these articles too:

6 Workout Equipment Must-Haves for When You Can’t Make it to a Gym

Sometimes we don’t have a lot of time. Or space. Or don’t want to deal with the time driving to the gym to find a parking space.

At home workouts to the rescue!

I sometimes feel, however, that with just bodyweight exercises my workout isn’t as efficient. So I’ve invested in a few staple pieces of workout equipment that are both affordable and effective. Trust me, they make you feel the burn.

1. Resistance Bands

resistance bands

If you haven’t heard about these yet, it’s time: resistance bands are a great way to up your workout.

They come in various levels of difficulty (ultra light, light, medium, hard) and styles (from mini bands to regular bands).

The mini bands (pictured above) can be used to work your glutes by placing them around the top of your knees during squats and donkey kick moves, or around your ankles for lunges and kick backs.

The longer resistance bands are good for working upper body. Resistance bands are wonderful for working tiny muscles you don’t normally target – don’t let that “ultra light” band fool you. It’ll still leave you sore the next day.

I found these bad boys online for $12 and they work great, so shop around a little before buying your own!

2. A Set of 5/10 lb. Dumbbells

Dumbbells

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or go heavier, if that’s your thing!

Investing in a set of dumbells was a great move for me. I really feel like I can get some muscle building in during a quick workout. When using a lower weight, try upping your reps to really feel the burn during your at home workouts.

3. Yoga Mat

Yoga mat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My carpet is always covered in dog hair (no matter how often I vacuum) and the floors are too hard to lay down/do moves on, so I always roll out my yoga mat.

It doesn’t have to necessarily be a yoga mat, any general fitness mat will do. They’re cheap, easy to clean and store, and makes you feel like you’re really getting into the workout mode even though you’re still at home.

4. Kettlebell

kettle-bell

Get your heart rate up at home with the kettlebell. Kettlebell swings work it all. There are SO many exercises you can do with a kettlebell, and they’re crazy effective.

If there’s one thing you buy, I think this should be it. They’re available online for as low as $10! 

5. Foam Roller 

Sometimes you just need a good stretch after a hard lifting day. Take the time to take care of your muscles and use a foam roller to reduce muscle soreness. Make sure you’re doing it right here.  

6. Youtube

If you’re really lacking inspiration in the at home workout department, head over to Youtube. There are hundreds of different fitness accounts geared towards at home workouts.

Some of my favorites are from Functional Muscle FitnessPopsugar Fitness, Jillian Michaels , Yoga with Adriene. There’s literally hundreds, just type in whatever mood you’re feeling in the search bar and the workout you’re looking for is there. Whether its a quick 5 minute ab shred or 30 minute lower body tone, there’s a free gym right at home and a workout class right at your fingertips.

Check out these articles too:

New Years Resolutions: Expectation vs. Reality

The start of the new year brings motivation and encouragement to make resolutions. Whether they’re in the gym, in the classroom, or in your personal life, sometimes they just don’t go according to plan.

But never fear! It takes a while to get into a new routine. So here’s some funny memes to remind you not to feel discouraged; we all go through the same thoughts during our “resolutions”.

Working Out Everyday

Expectation:

Reality: 

Meal Prepping Every Sunday 

Expectation:

                         expectations vs reality         expectations vs reality          expectations vs reality

Reality:

           
                                 

Getting straight A’s

               Expectation:

                               

                Reality:

                              

Get More Sleep / Wake up earlier 

                   Expectation:

                                      

                 Reality:

                                       

Drink more water 

             Expectation:

 
                             

 

           Reality:

                                 

Whatever your New Years Resolutions may be, just remember you’re not alone here at Fit University! And if you fall off the healthy lifestyle wagon that’s okay, just remember to jump back on when you’re ready. 

Check out these other articles too:

These Fitness Apps are All You Need to Keep Your Resolutions This Year

New year, new fitness goals? Theres an app for that.

The start of the new year brings excitement as we set new resolutions and goals for the coming months.

With motivation to hop back in the gym and start eating a more healthful diet, the best way to stay on track is accountability! Check out these cool apps that will help you track your workouts, meals, and give some awesome fitness tips as well:

Couch to 5k

Don’t know where to start on your new fitness endeavors? Or simply looking to get in more cardio? Then this app is for you. The best way to stick to a new fitness routine is to ease into it, and couch to 5k outlines programs for beginners in step by step schedule to get you to that 5k in just two months.

Select your very own motivating coach, share your journey with friends and family on social media, and track your weekly progress on interactive in-app graphs generated for you. 

couch to 5k

Image via Cool Running

Mind Body

Maybe you’re like me, a group-fitness junkie and really like to explore new classes around town, or maybe you’re a total newbie to the fitness world and just want to try new classes until you find what you like.

Whatever your case, this app will help you find fitness classes and wellness services customized based on your location. Simply type in your zip code and find offers and deals to the best places around town! 

Gym Genius

Looking to start lifting weights, or reach your new PR? Gym genius makes tracking gym reps simple and fast. Their motto: lift, track, and improve!

Interactive and detailed tracking along with logs for completed and individual exercises allows you to see real time progress. Know when you reach a plateau in your workout so you can change it up. Also choose from a 170+ core exercises and 6 core workout plans. 

gym genius

Image via Gym Genius

Pocket Yoga

Alright if you’ve read any of my posts before, you know I’m a bit of a yogi!

Pocket yoga gives access to over 200 poses designed by experienced yoga instructors, including detailed voice and visual instruction– all in the comfort of your own home. Track your progress, unlock new “environments” and even play music while your app is open. What’s not to like?! 

pocket yoga

Image via Pocket Yoga

Fitness Builder

This app really brings it all together. With over 1,000 workouts including images and videos, you can follow featured plans or drag and drop to create your own routine.

Use the trainer finder option to get professional help and motivation towards reaching your goal, print PDF versions to bring to the gym, even sync with your Apple watch! Record body stats, store progress photos, track strength and cardio progress, and add notes to specific reps and sets. 

fitness builder

Image via PumpOne

Charity Miles

Stop what you’re doing and download this one ASAP.

This walking, running, and biking tracker earns money for charity on your behalf for every mile you move! Choose from over 40 different charities to donate your $ to. Donations come courtesy of corporate sponsors such as Timex sports, Humana, Lifeway Foods, and participants have raised over $2 million for charities so far. What better way to stay motivated than to be helping raise money for charity (for free)?! 

charity miles

Image via CharityMiles

Check out these articles too:

Namast’ay in the Library: How Yoga Helps Me Survive Finals Week

Finals week.

Even the phrases gives me a little PTSD: flashbacks of late nights in the library and spending way too much on Starbucks late night coffee. So trust me when I say I get it. We all go through it, so I wanted to share a little tip that’s helped me calm my nerves through all of the assignments, projects, presentations, and exams on the horizon.

yoga for finals

When you’re stressed, your body is working in over-drive. This can lead to poor performance on exams and even having to deal with sickness. This all makes exam time way worse. Being a double major with two science degrees, I learned this pretty quickly.

So how do I cope? Yoga. My roommate was in the nursing program and was always up late studying with me. When exam time came around, we started to get overwhelmed with the amount of work we had to do, so we would start the week off with some yoga. (As a side note, it definitely helps to have a friend to drag along with you!)

Fit University @ Glow Yoga

Settling my mind for an hour and focusing on my breath and my movements, instead of chemistry or how many chapters I still needed to outline before the exam, helped me to relax instead of hit panic mode. Yoga is not only great exercise for strengthening your body, but it’s also good for your mental health. These aspects of your overall health go hand in hand– especially during finals week, and they can help you make it through the long nights and difficult exams.

There are many different types of yoga. You can start at the beginning level, move to intermediate, take a class that is half flow and half meditation, try some aerial yoga, or maybe even glow yoga. The possibilities are endless! And most yoga studios offer free or discounts on your first class.

So when if you’re already slammed with studying, work, extracurriculars, make sure you’re finding the  time to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally.

No need to look like those girls on instagram in perfect yoga pretzels — just start with a few simple poses. You can even find great Youtube videos you can do in your room on your study breaks (my favorite is Yoga by Adrianne).

yoga-finals

Casual….

Not into yoga? No problem. Everyone is different, just make sure to find something that works for you: distract yourself and relax, break up your studying. It will help keep you sane.

Check out these articles too:

I Was Body Image Obsessed Since Grade School: Here’s How I Finally Found Peace

From Image Obsessed to Body Peace

I’ve always loved being outdoors. As a kid, I grew up in a cul-de-sac and I was always outside. I would follow my older brother and his friends around, attempting to play any sport they were: I tried basketball, skating, biking, and even snowboarding when we went on family vacations.

I soon developed my own passion for horse-back riding. It’s an expensive sport, so I didn’t compete often. But I loved taking lessons anyway. I think I cried myself to sleep a few times because my mom wouldn’t buy me a horse– and let’s be real, I’ll probably always shed a tear every Christmas when there’s no pony waiting by the tree with a bow on it.

 

                      310592_10150297624727827_900570416_n    1959562_10151866092907827_916180498_n

When I was in 3rd grade, I started to get a little chubby. I didn’t realize at the time, but the reason for my weight gain was probably a steroid medicine my doctor had put me on for a really bad case of bronchitis. But I was only in 3rd grade, and still a kid– it wasn’t until a boy at school called me fat that I had even noticed.

And my struggle with body image began. I started to notice that I was always just a little bigger than my friends; and I began the treacherous “yo-yo diet” struggle.

Seriously: in the 5th grade I went with my mom to a weight loss center. The people working there must’ve thought my mother was crazy or just being mean. But it was me who was so aware of and worried about my weight. At the tender age of 11, I knew that my body wasn’t how I wanted it to be and that I wanted to “be on a diet” to make myself slimmer.

Flash forward to my growth spurt. I started to even out, as naturally kids’  bodies do, but the yo-yo dieting continued. In high school, I was still at it and trying to lose weight. I got a gym membership when I turned 16, and I would still try to diet when the scale wasn’t where I thought it should be.

The 6 months leading up to college were when it was probably at its worst: I was trying to lose as much weight as possible before I thought I would inevitably gain the freshman 15. To me, this made sense. Throughout freshman year, I tried to prevent those few extra pounds persistently. It became an unhealthy obsession of counting calories and working out that distracted from school and enjoying my everyday life.

It wasn’t until my sophomore year in college that I decided to make peace with my body.

The scale would jump up and down but it always seemed to stick around a certain number. So that’s it, I said to myself, I have to accept that my body is happiest when I am at that weight. I finally stopped restricting myself with my diet and instead decided to live “80/20”: make healthy choices 80% of the time and 20% of the time indulge (in moderation).

Instead of dieting and exercising, I decided I wanted to live a healthy lifestyle. And it worked– I loved it, and I felt happier and more balanced than ever. This experience eventually lead me to deciding to double major in Exercise Science and Dietetics, and hopefully one day soon, I will become a Registered Dietitian helping others chose to live an active, healthy lifestyle. 

                  10301293_10152054296892827_7517027927430768586_n       12063579_10153046559692827_6895199933653253957_n

When I started my journey with the fitness part of this lifestyle change, the biggest thing for me was trying a bunch of different workouts so I wasn’t ever bored with my routine. I’ve tried everything from kickboxing to Zumba to lifting to yoga.

Overall, though, I would say my favorite workouts are ones I do with a friend. The gym can get pretty monotonous, so grabbing my roommate or calling one of my best friends up to go to a yoga class makes it extra fun. Plus, they help keep you accountable!

I used to really like going to group fitness classes on campus or at a local fitness studio- I tend to go through phases. A big group of my sorority sisters used to go to a bootcamp on campus, and it was so much fun! We all saw such fast results because we would push each other to go every week.

I even tried a 7.1-mile obstacle course race with my friend Megan last year! (Peep the post mud-race photo.)

Right now I’ve been into the different “guides” trend. One of my best friends from middle school @gertnergrind came out with a glutes guide which has been literally kicking my butt.

I believe its good to switch up my routine to make sure I’m challenging my body in different ways and to keep from getting burnt out. I also couldn’t finish an about me without mentioning my favorite workout partner – Doobie. My rescue pup who also rescued me a little bit.

                           12141733_10153046559332827_4980721311225666283_n             img_6694

So that’s a little bit about my journey. As of now, I’m really excited to start contributing to Fit University– I feel like this is a place where like minded college students came come and not feel left out of the party scene. Why? Because it’s a big health/fitness party! Be on the lookout for some recipes, tips & tricks, and probably more dog pics from me. And if you want to see more, follow my foodie Instagram @college_bitez!

Check out these articles too: