Author: lboyd6 – Page 2

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Americans sleep on average five to six hours per night. The average American today works long hours; lack of sleep can be harmful to the body resulting in high levels of stress. Lack of sleep can lead to, or continue to, produce side effects common with sleeping disorders. Under most circumstances, inadequate sleep can lead to headaches, dizziness, reduced mental alertness, and lack of motivation (American Sleep Association, 2017). A deep restful sleep can promote physical health, longevity, and emotional well-being (Harvard, 2007). In results of a good night’s sleep you feel better, your decisions are more accurate, and it gives you the ability to learn and retain more information (Harvard, n.d.)

There are two phases of sleep: Rapid-eye-movement (REM) and non-rapid-eye-movement (NREM). The first phase of sleep is NREM, in this phase brain activity is slow, and the five senses shut down. The NREM phase transitions through four stages and sleep gets progressively deeper making it nearly impossible to wake an individual from sleep. After moving through all four stages of sleep the brain switches into REM. During REM sleep muscles are temporarily paralyzed, and physiological functions may be more active. REM sleep is also the stage of sleep most associated with dreaming. Changes may occur in brain wave activity, heart rate, body temperature, and other physiological functions depending on the phase of sleep (Harvard, 2007).

Adequate sleep is important for good mental and physical health. Studies have shown that inadequate sleep has been linked to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and mood disorder (NIH, n.d.). It is believed that most people need at least eight hours of sleep, but quality of sleep is just as important as quantity. Poor quality sleep reduces efficiency and productivity which can be felt in many ways during our daily lives (American Sleep Association, 2017).


Good quality sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle. Getting adequate sleep is essential for learning, and improving memory function. Exercising in the morning or in the middle of the day can help improve sleep patterns. Effective time management can also help achieve restful sleep. If you can’t seem to “turn your mind off,” reading, writing, and listening to music may be helpful in relaxing your mind. Avoiding caffeine in the afternoon can also help you relax before bedtime. Beginning a consistent sleep schedule may take some time, but it could be helpful to try creating a schedule with your daily task and activities to help assist you with getting everything done in time for a restful sleep.


Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School (2017). The Characteristics of Sleep Web. 16 Feb. 2017. <>.


American Sleep Association (n.d.) Inadequate Sleep Hygiene. Web. 16 Feb. 2017. <>.


National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (n.d.) How does inadequate sleep affect health? Web. 16 Feb. 2017. <>.


Harvard Medical School (n.d.) Healthy Sleep: Consequences of Insufficient Sleep Web. 16 Feb. 2017. <>.


Outdoor Rock Climbing: Getting Fit Can Be Fun

by: Evan Small

When you think of exercise it’s easy to imagine racks of weights, tight spaces and treadmills galore. The grunting sounds of those around you and the always-occupied equipment are encouragement to take the workout elsewhere…to the couch. Your only hope of staying at the gym is the non-existent chance that the next song on your iPod will psych body into completing another set of bench press!

Enter rock climbing as exercise. Outdoor Rock Climbing in its initial form was thought to be reckless and a form of rebellion against authority. In climbing gyms across America today, rock climbing is being sought after for a total body workout that also challenges psychological aspects of its participants. Climbers are being trained at younger and younger ages in climbing gyms with the hopes of competing in climbing competitions and becoming a respected professional in the sport.

These gyms provide a unique experience for all skill levels and can be tailored to your desired experience. It’s like doing yoga on a climbing wall! Climbing gyms have a certain culture that is extremely supportive and inclusive, something that is hard to come by in a fitness facility unless you attend a body pump or Zumba class. If you are looking to put the dumbbells down and pickup something adventurous to challenge all muscles of the body, rock climbing is your answer!


An initial inspection of rock climbing leads you to believe it is 100% an upper body exercise. Upon one visit to the climbing gym, most climbers realize they have to use their legs equally as much as there arms. Large muscles in the calves and hamstrings are under constant contraction during a climb. Because foot and handholds are placed in a certain pattern, climbing offers a balanced exercise and forces you to engage potentially weak muscles that could be avoided in a typical fitness facility. Depending on the climbing routes length and the break taken between climbs, you can obtain a cardio workout as well. Studies have shown that experience climbers have similar body fat content to individuals who participate in regular aerobic exercise such as running or cycling (Macdonald & Callender, 2011)

Participation in rock climbing, especially in gym settings, has grown exponentially in recent years. In 2020, the Olympics will host climbing for the first time. Competitions such as USA Climbing Nationals, Climbing World Cups and climbing’s future in the Olympics are a display of what climbing can do for the body given extreme dedication to the sport.


If going to the gym to lift weights is a burden, try going to the local climbing gym such as Threshold Climbing + Fitness set to open April 1st of this year. Challenge your mind and get a total body workout in, all while having fun and being adventurous!


Macdonald, J. H., PhD., & Callender, N., B.Sc. (2011). Athletic profile of highly accomplished boulderers. Wilderness & Environmental Medicine, 22(2), 140-143. Retrieved from


High Intensity Interval Training

by: Kyna Lewis

It can be hard to find time to meet the 30-60 minute per day requirement for aerobic exercise. What if I told you there could be a more effective and time efficient route to burn fat? High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a form of cardiovascular exercise that involves high intensity bouts of exercise such as sprints, with rest or active recovery cycles. These cycles could include time allotted just for rest or a lower intensity recovery, such as walking. Just like continuous training, HIIT has several benefits. HIIT has been shown to have significant improvements in aerobic fitness, metabolic health, and cardiovascular health.  (Kilpatrick, M., 2014).


When completing an aerobic HIIT training workout, you want to consider the duration, intensity, and frequency of the work intervals and the length of the rest and recovery periods. A HIIT session should consist of a warm up period of exercise between 5-7 minutes, followed by shorter bouts of high intensity effort which typically require you to become breathless during the work interval, and a relief interval such as rest, walking, or moderate exercise such as jogging. The short bursts of high intensity exercise periods may range from 5 seconds to 8 minutes long, and are performed at 80% to 95% of estimated maximal heart rate. The rest and recovery periods should be equal in time of the work intervals or even a bit longer, or double the work interval time usually performed at 40%-50% of estimated maximal heart rate. The sessions continue with three to ten repetitions alternating work and relief intervals, and ending with a period of cool down exercises totaling just about 15-20 minute. (Kravitz, L., 2014).

HIIT training can be modified into exercise sessions below the minimum training threshold for beginner exercisers as well as conditioned athletes who wish to improve aerobic power. HIIT training can be performed in a variety of exercise modes, including bodyweight exercises, cycling, walking, swimming, jump rope, elliptical cross-training, and in group exercise classes. It is also really important to establish a base fitness level before engaging in HIIT training or any exercise training program. Although HIIT training is more common in athletic training programs, there are beneficial results established through published research studies indicating that high-intensity training is more effective and time efficient in improving performance, and it can be modified and used for all individuals who have a base fitness level (exercising 3-5 times a week for 20-60 minutes at a moderate intensity).  If you have not been exercising habitually, one alternative might be to try moderate intensity interval training (MITT), which involves working at a moderate intensity with cycles of rest or low-intensity recovery periods.

Here’s an example of a sample HIIT Program:

  • Warm up for 2 to 5 minutes at a low to moderate intensity.
  • 1-minute high-intensity work interval at about 80%-95% of max effort.
  • 1-minute low-intensity relief interval at about 10% max effort.
  • Repeat the work and relief intervals 10 times for 20 minutes total.
  • Cooldown for 5-10 minutes.

American College of Sports Medicine. High Intensity Interval Training. (2014)

Griffin, J.C. Client-Centered Exercise Prescription. 2015. Human Kinetics. P. 222-223

International Journal of Applied Sports Sciences. Evaluating and Comparing the Effect of High Intensity Interval Training vs. Low Intense, Longer-lasting training on Endurance Performance in Recreational Runners.

(Kilpatrick, Marcus W., Ph.D. “High-Intensity Interval Training.” A Review of Physiological and Psychological Responses 18.5 (2014): 0-5. Web.)




Time and Place for Everything, Rest is Key!


by: Samuel Jenkins

Resistance training or working out with weights may conjure up images of nonstop effort and sweat. This can be true, but a proper training session and program should also look to rest your body and help optimize the actual work done. This will help ensure proper technique, safety, and continued progress overtime. Rest comes in many forms and can be anything from pausing to catch your breath to taking a few days off so your body can recover.

Are you training for walking/running/swimming or to lift weights? Depending on your goals, the amount of rest you give yourself will vary dramatically. If training in a continuous manner, walking/swimming, it is okay to go nonstop at 50-80% of your maximum heart rate as long as your body feels okay. Just remember pacing and comfort are key. It is possible to train every day using a continuous method, but don’t ever push yourself too hard on any given day, this way, you allow your body to recover properly. Short rest durations (30-90 seconds between sets) may be used if you are short on time, this will typically takes the form of lighter weights, or even body weight.  In this instance, a higher repetition count such as 8-12 is a good rule to go by. If you are trying to train for strength/power/muscle size, the more weight will mean less repetitions, think 3-5 repetitions. So the more weight lifted or the quicker the movement the more rest you will need (2-5 minutes of rest between sets). These are good rules of thumb for just one session, but rest on a longer scale should be considered as well. If you have trained extremely hard for a day or had a stressful day at work, it also may be best to build in a couple of days to let your body recover properly.

stress You may feel like the world around you has lead you to believe we must absolutely destroy our body for it to be considered exercise. The fact of the matter is, if you are already stressed out or living off of just a couple of hours of sleep, it may be best for you to just rest for a couple of days. The world we live in today can be very stressful, and stress in its many forms robs us of our energy. This means that if you train on an abnormally stressful day, you are working with half of the fuel you would normally have in your tank. This is not to mention chronic, long-term, stress which can slowly decrease your well-being over time and lead to overtraining.

Training with little rest may also seem like a recipe for quicker fat loss because of the increase in heart rate and immediate calorie expenditure. However, this can be self-defeating, especially if you have had previous experience with weight training. Bigger muscles force your body to burn through more calories at rest, because the relative amount of energy burned within a single workout session is small in comparison to the amount of calories needed to burn 1 pound of fat. One 30 minute workout of nonstop action using circuit training will only amount to 500 calories burned (Walking at a brisk pace for 1 hour, 3.5 mph, or running for 25-30 minutes at 5 mph will burn about 500 calories too), while to lose a pound of fat you need to burn 3500 calories. So for you to lose just 1 pound of fat, you would need to do the same circuit session 7 times or walk/run the equivalent of that.


Now this may leave you feeling daunted and overwhelmed, but there is a way around it. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? The turtle went slow and steady and the rabbit shot out of the gates, but the turtle ultimately won the race. The same concept is true of your body! If you slowly but surely build a strong foundation of muscle within your body, you will ultimately burn more calories throughout the day than any single bout of exercise could possibly give you. According to a study done looking into metabolic rates of major organs and tissue, 1 pound of muscle burns approximately 6 calories per hour, while 1 pound of fat burns about 2-4 calories. By itself this isn’t a huge expenditure of calories, but over the course of one day, one month, or one year, this extra pound of muscle can make a difference. You can combine this with light physical activity on your rest days. Or you can incorporate an active recovery into your training sessions, which should be in the form of less intense exercise such as a standing instead of sitting, a slow walk, or lifting with light to no weight. With rest and recovery as a key ingredient, we can create a recipe for a more enjoyable workout experience that will make you feel better and will lead to a progressively healthier lifestyle. Let’s build off small positive successes which can ultimately need to profound positive change.

Lifting Weights Teaches Life Skills

by: Lauren Clonts

There are so many productive things that you can do during your breaks that you have throughout the day other than play Candy Crush, scroll on your Facebook for 30-45 minutes or take a nap on your lunch break. There is one thing that you can do that can totally improve your quality of life in multiple different aspects without you really even realizing it! It can make you tougher, self- reliant, self- confident, increase your willpower, and even more and the best part is that it only takes up an hour of your time! If you break it down, an hour really isn’t that long and if it will improve your quality of life, why not give it a try?

Lift weights.

Lifting weights teaches you so many skills to help you be successful in a lot of different aspects of your life. For example, a lot of people have to overcome fear to even go to a gym or go into a gym alone and you are already one step ahead of the rest for being in this program! Then there is the confidence that you know what you are doing and can be productive for an hour. It will also teach you to keep pushing until you are able to achieve your goals. Lifting weights is also a fantastic stress reliever when you aren’t having a great day. You will come back from your lunch break in a lot better mood and you will most like get a lot more things done the rest of the day.

Now that we are nearing the end of our time together, we want you to be able to continue on your journey to a healthier lifestyle without us and still be successful. We gave you a lot of the tools that you needed to be able to get started and learn how to do different exercises. Now it will be on you to hold yourself accountable and get into the gym. We want to still see you improve, even if we aren’t there to help you. Keep up all of your hard work and stay determined and motivated!


Staying Fit on Vacation

by: Shelby Winrow

With summer just around the corner, many people are going to start traveling soon. It can be hard to stay fit while you’re enjoying a vacation. There can be a many temptations, but there are ways to fight them off.  If you work out on a regular basis, don’t let travel get you off track. There are many innovative and easy ways to stay on your plan.

Try planning your workouts before you leave. If you know you will be staying in a hotel for a week try planning three to five different bodyweight circuit plans that can be done in the room. These can consist of timed circuits of pushups, bodyweight squats, and lunges. Many hotels also have fitness centers in the building. These fitness centers can have a limited amount of equipment so it is important to have a flexible plan. By planning your workouts into your vacation schedule it may be easier to stay on track. It can also be helpful to pack portable equipment such as, lightweight dumbbells, resistance bands, or an exercise mat.

Another way to stay on track with your workouts is to stay active on vacation. Try doing activities like a walking or cycling tour around a city, take a surfing lesson, or take a dance lesson. By staying active and moving it won’t feel like you missed a workout while on vacation. If you get stuck at an airport for a layover instead of just sitting try walking around the airport, doing squats, or walking up and down stairs. Include your friends or family that are vacationing with you in your exercise plans to help you stay on track.

Benefits of Walking

by: Taylor Mogg

For most people it’s hard to get started on being fit. Being fit doesn’t just mean being in the gym for hours at a time. Unfortunately, that’s not for a lot of people. Luckily, physical activity doesn’t have to be complicated. There are so many health benefits for just walking. The temperature is finally starting to get bearable (not so much the wind), so being outside more often is now and option again. It doesn’t have to be an extremely long walk just go for a brisk walk at a good steady pace. Here’s a list of a few of the benefits of just walking:

Helps maintain a healthy weight.

Prevents/maintains various diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

Strengthens bones and muscles.

Improves mood.

Improves balance and coordination.

Improves sleep.

Can lower Alzheimer’s risk.


Jump Around

By: Ashton Smith

When I think about jump roping, I think about how much I loved it as a child. Now as an adult, my outlook towards it couldn’t be any different. I remember always playing at recess jumping to double dutch or in P.E. class participating in Jump Rope for Heart. I keep asking myself, where did my passion for jump roping go? I am a very competitive individual, always have been and probably always will. I think where we go wrong as adults is taking away the FUN of something we used to enjoy by making it as just a workout. I challenge you and myself, to find the fun in a exercise that can be one of the most effective exercises that can improve your health.

Jumping rope can have many benefits for one’s health. The big reason everyone loves to hear is the amount of major calories it burns. As opposed to jogging for 30 minutes, jumping rope actually burns more calories, up to 1300 calories per hour of vigorous activity.  Ten minutes of jumping rope is about equivalent to running an 8- minute mile. Jumping rope also increases quickness and agility. When jumping rope properly, on the balls of your feet, your body connects with the mind to make neural muscular adjustments to keep you balanced. Even if you jump rope for a few minutes every day you can subconsciously make your mind focus on your feet, which will improve balance as well. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, jumping rope is a highly recommended aerobic exercise. One must participate in this exercise 3-5 times a week for 12 to 20 minutes at a time, in order to increase heart and lung health. That’s it?


With all types of exercises we hear about today, not many are as cheap as $3! Even the top-of-the-line fitness jump ropes are only $15. My favorite part about it is you can do it in your garage, at the gym, or even at school or work. Many of you might be worried that jumping rope will be hard, but just like any other skill you have, it needs practice. Don’t give up!


Steps to Beginning the Jumping Rope Journey:

  1. Choose the right jump rope.
    For beginners, you may want to consider a beaded jump rope or a licorice jump rope that is inexpensive, durable, and slower paced. Once you gain more experience, one may consider a speed rope which is meant to be fast.
  2. Size your rope.

If you are a beginner, a longer jump rope may be ideal. In order to size your rope perfectly, stand on the jump rope in the middle of the cord. The BOTTOM of the jump rope handles should come to your armpit.

  1. Pick the right surface.

Jumping rope should be a low impact activity. Hardwood floors are the best option as they give you a little extra bounce and are easier on your knees. Try to stay off of concrete unless on a mat or even carpet as it will cause your rope to bounce and you will have to jump higher to clear it.