Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I'm no expert, but...

Lately, I've been on a big fitness kick. I joined a gym in Athens and got a personal trainer, and ever since then, I've been really conscience of my health and fitness level. When school was still going on, I got the gym about 3x a week. With all the free time I have now that it's summer break, I've been going pretty much every day. I'm starting to think I'm addicting to the gym! I can totally tell a difference in my mood and energy levels on the days I don't exercise. Hopefully this trend will continue once the school year gets started again!

I've learned some health and fitness tips since joining this gym, and I wanted to share some of the things I've found most interesting/helpful. I am by no means an expert on this topic (I mean, it's been 2 months that I've really been exercising regularly!), but maybe these might help you out!

-Train your body to expect some sort of food every three hours: As part of joining the gym, I met with the gym's nutritionist. She was asking me about my eating habits, and I told her I usually ate breakfast around 7am and didn't eat lunch until 1pm with nothing in between. She told me that if you wait that long between meals, your body will store the food as fat since it knows there won't be anything else coming in for a while. If you train your body to eat something every 3 hours, it will use the food as energy instead of storing it. She suggested a 100-200 calorie snack between meals (depending on the size of the meal). Some snacks I've discovered recently that I love: a handful of almonds, grapes, Nature Valley Peanut Butter Granola Squares, and Nature Valley Nut Clusters.

-Switch up your exercise routine: My trainer told me that if you do the same exercise routine over and over and over again, your muscles learn the moves and don't work as hard. She suggested changing it up every 2-3 months.

-Weight-lifting burns more calories than cardio: (sometimes) I didn't know this before, but you burn just ask many calories, if not more, using the weight machines for 20-30 mins as you do on a cardio machine. Don't just get on an elliptical or treadmill when you go to the gym!

-When you find a workout routine you enjoy, it's not much work at all!: This is just something I've noticed throughout my two months at the gym. The cardio machines all have individual TVs on them, so I'll get on one of those when a show I like is coming on. I don't even notice the time until the show goes off! I've also been going to a lot of group exercise classes (some of my favorites are Step, Fight Club, boxing training, and Groove, a dance fitness class) which make an hour of exercising feel like no time (and are a great workout, too!).

Just wanted to share some of my health and fitness tips I've gotten recently. I really hope to continue this healthy lifestyle because I feel better about myself than I have in a long time!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

are things really different?

I've decided to start a blog. Who knows what all I'll write in here, but hopefully someone will find some of it interesting...

Since the school year ended and I have lots of free time, I've picked up reading again. This may come as a surprise to my high school teachers since I only read two of the novels we were assigned all the way through (Night by Elie Wiesel and Count of Monte Cristo), but I really enjoy it now. I'm in the middle of reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett, telling the story of life in 1964 Jackson, Mississippi from the perspective of two black maids ("the help") and one white woman. The white woman is trying to publish a collection of interviews of the maids in the town and their experiences in this pre-segregation town.

This book has gotten to me to the story, some of the white people recognize the injustices going on in their world (i.e. a black boy being blinded for accidently using the white bathroom) but don't speak out for fear of losing their social standing, money, etc. While some of the racial injustices have been dealt with, how often is it that we witness injustice today and just ignore it? Are things really different from the 1960s?

I also thought about this subject when packing for my mission trip to Chicago next week. The organization we are working with sent out materials telling us what to do in order to prepare, and they made sure to tell us not to bring any solid red or solid light blue shirts, hats, bandanas, etc. because of the gang activity in Chicago. Is gang activity different from the violence and discrimination during the 1960s? People associating with, excluding, shooting at, killing people over the color they wear? Have things really changed?

I guess this is a pretty heavy first blog post, but I've been thinking about this a lot today. If we cannot get past what's on the outside, we are never going to move forward.