Category: UCO


by: Breion Young & Kayla Rogers

Overtraining is something that everybody has questions about. Is it good for the body? Will my performance increase or decrease? What is considered overtraining? “Overtraining is a common problem in weight training, but it can also be experienced by runners and other athletes. It occurs when the volume and intensity of the exercise exceeds an individual’s recovery capacity. They cease making progress, and can even begin to lose strength and fitness”, says the dictionary. Some of the signs of over training are weight loss, loss of motivation, increase of injuries, persistent muscle soreness, and more. One reason this happens in a lot of athletes is because, when they fall short or don’t meet their goal for the day they push harder. Personally I’ve experienced this first hand myself. I used to work out in the gym like crazy for my sport, even though I grew and became stronger and faster, as time went on my performance and gains started to decrease. I used to work out five or six days a week and now I only work out maybe four days a week.

How to get over overtraining? It’s simple and its crazy to say, but take a break from the gym! With three to five days of rest your body should have a positive response. You can do some light cardio to just maintain a little, but no muscle taxing lifts. Also, you can take that to get in more rest or the proper seven to eight hours of sleep.


Relax and Breathe

Relax and Breath

Have you ever just felt that the weight of the world is on your shoulders, stress is eating you up, and there just doesn’t seem to be a way to relax? “Take a deep breath and relax.” We have all heard this before but it is very true and important to remember in the midst of our everyday lives. Studies have shown that breathing exercises not only reduce stress but relieve tension, burnout, headache, chronic fatigue, sleeping problems, concentration problems, anxiety and phobia, panic disorder, and depression. Elizabeth Scott (2016) says that the benefits of using breathing exercises to treat these conditions is:

  1. They work quickly.
  2. You can do them anywhere.
  3. They take very little practice to master.
  4. They’re FREE!!
  5. You can use them in a stressful situation to stay calm.
  6. They can effectively reverse your stress response, helping you avoid the negative effects of chronic stress.

Breathing Exercises

Yoga is known as the top stress reliever exercise that incorporates deep breathing exercises. The best part about breathing exercises is that it can be done anywhere. They can be done at your desk, on the floor, in your bedroom, outside in the grass, or in your car before going into work or school. Deep breathing requires you to inhale slowly bringing the air through the nose and pushing down the diaphragm as much as you can to fill the lungs, and releasing through the mouth. Mindy Caplan (2014) suggests to:

  • Find a comfortable place to sit
  • Close your eyes and take slow deep breaths
  • When inhaling, expand the diaphragm, and then exhale completely
  • “Talk” to the muscles in your body and tell them to relax and melt
  • Softening the jaw releases tension in the neck, shoulders and hips, and leads to total body relaxation


Caplan, M. (2014, May 14). Learn how to relax with exercise. Retrieved from:   

Scott, E. (2016, July 6). Breathing exercises for stress relief breathing exercises are popular for a   reason. Retrieved from:     3145183

Using pedometers as a motivational tool to increase physical activity.

By: Kayla Rogers & Brieon Young

What tools/ incentives help motivate you get to the gym? Is it your fit bit telling you to, “Get active”? Apple watch telling you to, “Get moving/standing to long”? Or is it a simple app encouraging you to reach your 10,000 step margin? Either way all these motivational tools have one thing in common, a pedometer.

Walking/exercising with a pedometer as a motivational tool, is becoming widely used in many health related settings to help increase overall physical activity and health status (Suliman Mansi, 2013). Pedometers help relay valuable information such as the number of steps taken, distance traveled, time spent physically active, and possible energy expenditure estimate (DR Lubans, 2009).

By wearing such device, this helps you have a physical recording of your physical activity throughout the day. For some, having that information helps them meet their physical activity/fitness goals, therefore becoming a tool of motivation. So if you are in an inactive phase in life, wearing a pedometer might be one of the least expensive ways to get motivated (Harvard Health Letter, 2009). So let’s STEP out of that SEDENTARY Lifestyle today!!


DR Lubans, P. M.-L. (2009). A systematic review of studies using pedometers to promote physical activity among youth. Prev Med, 307-315.

Harvard Health Letter. (2009, September). Retrieved from Harvard Health Publishing:

Suliman Mansi, S. M. (2013). Use of pedometer-driven walking to promote physcial activity and improve health-related quality of life among meat processing workers: a feasibility trial. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 1-11.



What is plyometrics?

by: Shana Bunce

Plyometrics is nothing new to the strength and conditioning world, but is becoming more popular in individuals’ workouts. With an increase of interest in health and fitness, personal trainers and fitness instructors are looking for more powerful, interesting moves to keep people interested in exercise. Plyometrics is an exercise technique that combines strength with speed to achieve maximum power in functional movements. This regimen combines eccentric training of muscles with concentric contraction (Farlex, 2009). Every time you land from a jump, your muscles get a stretch. That gives your next jump even more power. The combination of stretching and contracting your muscles is what gives the fibers more strength. They can be practiced just about anywhere. Just make sure to have a landing surface, like grass or a padded floor.

When performing plyometrics, be conscious of body position. If the exercises are not done properly or done without the presence of a knowledgeable instructor injuries can happen. Landing wrong can create irritation in the ankles, knees, and low back. But when done properly maximal strength testing can be a safe, effective, and reliable method of evaluating muscular fitness in athletes and nonathletes (Masamoto, Larson, Gates, And Faigenbaum 2003).

Some easy exercises to remember are jumping rope, jumping squats and box jumps.



Healthy nutrition vs unhealthy nutrient while exercising: Is exercise really just enough?

by: Breion Young and Kayla Rogers

These days everybody is getting into the fitness. Gym memberships across the nation are increasing and the average member age is becoming lower by the year. For some the, “Big Step” is actually getting into the gym, finding what fits you and staying committed to it. For others that step is simply nutrition.

Some believe that weight loss is 75% diet and 25% exercise (Exercise vs. Diet: The Truth About Weight Loss, Apr 30, 2014) and some others believe it’s 80% diet and 20% exercise, which is honestly true. What you put into your body will correspond with your performance and health. So, yes you could be going to the gym 4 days a week and exercising for 30 to 60 minutes a day but you won’t actually get what you want out of it.

Trust me I know it’s easier said than done for anybody, even athletes and for the average person just trying to stay fit. If you focus on eliminating nutrient deficiencies or bad foods, and making sure your portion sizes are right and eat right for the body type that you have, you’ll be moving towards the right direction (Workout nutrition explained: What to eat before, during, and after exercise) . Remember, “You can’t out-exercise a bad diet!” (Exercise vs. Diet: The Truth About Weight Loss, Apr 30, 2014).


Stretch it Out

by: Shana Bunce

There are many different workout trends that offer great benefits. You may experience physical benefits such as more energy or greater muscle mass. But is there something missing from your work out? Maybe in the cool down? Taking a lap around the track or decreasing the resistance on your recumbent bike are just the beginning. An article in American Fitness (Schroder, 2010) states that it is essential that everyday function should not be compromised by insufficient flexibility (Schroder 2010). So, don’t leave the gym without stretching! After your cool down and before you pack your bag, take a few minutes to stretch those hamstrings and quads, they worked hard today! Stretching and rolling out after workouts is a good routine to get into for the last ten minutes before you head out those doors.  Here are some good easy stretches to squeeze into your cool down.

Anterior-Thigh (Quads) Stretch

  • Balancing yourself with your left hand on the wall, take hold of your right foot or ankle and bring it behind you.
  • Keep your left knee pointing down and your rear end tucked and not sticking out.
  • Bring your heel as close to your buttock as possible without pain.
  • Hold for 10 to 15 seconds, then repeat on the other side.


Piriformis Stretch

  • Lie on your back and gently pull your right knee towards your chest.
  • Keep your left leg straight.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.


Hamstring Stretch

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend at the hips (not the waist), letting your upper body hang.
  • Reach your hands towards the floor until you feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings.
  • If needed, bend your knees slightly.
  • If this stretch causes discomfort in your low back, keep your back straight and place your hands on your thighs.
  • For a deeper stretch, place your palms flat on the ground.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.


Schroder, J. (2010). Stretching. American Fitness, 28(3), 23.

Are you in the Zone?

by: Alicia Sandlin

Have you ever wanted to change up your workout to make it more interesting? If you have an activity tracker or heart rate monitor lying around then you might want to try heart rate based interval training. With this use of either one of those tools, you can change up your workout for added health benefits. Krahn (2016) states that “heart rate based interval training allows you to burn significant amounts of calories in a short amount of time, increases your metabolism, allows you to burn calories even after the workout, decreases body fat, reduce blood pressure, and many other health benefits”. You may be able to see these benefits from other workouts as well but what is different about heart rate based training is that you can see exactly how much effort you are exerting. Knowing your heart rate zones can give you the power to train in a controlled manner to get the benefits you are seeking.

Heart rate monitor devices

HR monitors measure the rate at which your heart is beating through sensors built into a strap worn around the chest or wrist. Heart rate monitors are a cheap and easy way to monitor your rate of exertion. The feedback from the device is displayed either on a device linked to the monitor or on the screen of the wrist monitor for immediate feedback. Knowing your heart rate and zones at which you are training in, helps you take your workout to new levels and achieve different results than your normal workout.


The zones for heart rate based training is determined by a calculation of your maximum heart rate. There are different formulas used to calculate maximum heart rate but the most standard formula is:

220 – age = Maximum Heart Rate (HRmax)

Ex. 220 – 21 year old = 199 bpm HRmax

This number is then calculated to determine which zone you should be in to reach the benefits of being in that particular zone. For zone 1, you would calculate your zone of being in 50 – 60% of your heart rate max. For a person 21 years old working in zone 1, their calculation would be:

220 – 21 = 199 bpm HR max

199 * .65 = 130 bpm

199 * .71 = 141 bpm

To be in zone 1 for the 21 year old person, they need to keep their heart rate between 99 – 119 beats per minutes while they are working out.

According to Brookreson (2015), these are the zones of exercise:

  • 65 – 71%% of your maximum heart rate (Zone 1)
    • This zone should be used for warm-up, cool down, and recovery because this zone is for the lowest amount of effort.
  • 72 – 78% of your maximum heart rate (Zone 2)
    • This zone should be your average effort that you could maintain for a long period of time and still be able to talk with someone next to you. This is used for improving aerobic endurance.
  • 79 – 85% of your maximum heart rate (Zone 3)
    • This zone should be above average effort and should not be able to speak in this zone. This is used for improving aerobic capacity.
  • 86 – 95% of your maximum heart rate (Zone 4)
    • This zone is considered to be an uncomfortable and very difficult effort but yet you can sustain this zone without excruciating discomfort. This is used for training and maintaining anaerobic capacity.
  • 96 – 100% of your maximum heart rate (Zone 5)
    • This zone is considered to be an all-out, completely empty your tank effort as hard as you can go. This zone is great for athletes and individuals wanting to increase their anaerobic capacity.

Ways to incorporate it in your workout

There are many ways to incorporate heart rate based intensity zones to your workouts. With the use of a heart rate monitor, you can monitor any activity you like to do and determine your zone based off your formula of your heart rate max. Activities such as the treadmill, elliptical, bicycle, and interval bodyweight workouts are all great ways to monitor your heart rate zones to achieve the greatest benefits from your workout in a short amount of time.


Brookreson, N. (2015, July 16). Using heart rate monitoring for personal training. Retrieved          from:           personal-training

Krahn, B. (2016, July 14). How to get a better workout with heart rate training. Retrieved from:   

Exercise vs. Anxiety/Depression: Is exercise a beneficial remedy?

By: Kayla Rogers

Edited By: Breion Young

In today’s time, anxiety/depression effects merely 121 million people worldwide, and yet only about 25% of individuals seek help/ treatment  (Donaghy, 2007). In many cases, a lack of education on mental health, plays a role in the decision to not seek help. Also, the overall lack of treatment remedies and the availability of prescription medication may lessen the amount of people pursuing help from other resources

Does exercise really make a difference in your mental health? Several studies have shown that those who partake in exercise regularly, are 25% less likely to experience anxiety and depression over the next five years (Exercise for Stress and Anxiety, July 2014). They have also shown, that exercise can decrees or eliminate some depressive symptoms to a greater extent than some medications, due to certain chemicals released during exercise that act as painkillers. Even though exercise/physical activity has been shown to be beneficial, it may not have the same positive effect on everyone. Although, more research needs to be done, there is still a good amount of evidence that suggests exercises helps increase psychological well-being and coping skills, leading to a possible overall decrease in depressive symptoms.

So, there you have it, don’t just workout for your physical health, but do so for your mental health as well!


Donaghy, M. E. (2007). Exercise can Seriously improve your mental health: Fact or Fiction? Advances in Physiotherapy, 76-88.

Received from: Michael W. Otto, PhD, and Jasper A.J. Smits, PhD.  Oxford University Press, 2011 Exercise for Stress and Anxiety,   Updated: July 2014