Category: UCO

No Time? HIIT IT!

By: Drake Johnson

Have you ever felt like working out but just did not have the time? Or maybe you think working out takes up to much time out of your day? Well fear not, because there has been documented research that shows significant positive changes in peoples health based off of a training tactic called HIIT!

This also happens to be one of the top fitness trends of 2017! HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT is a workout based off of a high expenditure of energy for a short-term duration of exercise. Studies have shown that this type of work out can benefit someone more than an hour-long workout.
Here are four reasons to consider changing to this type of program.

1.) When going through these workouts, not only will weight began to shed, but it also raises your metabolism to continue burning calories throughout the day.

2.) This workout is made to be Quick and Convenient. No more having to go to the gym, or spend money on a membership every month.

3.) No Equipment is needed. HIIT can be used with or without weights. Body weight movements are just as affective as resistance training with weights.

4.) You can do this anywhere! As stated before, you can do this at anytime, and any place.

One thing to remember while doing this workout is to make sure you are giving maximum effort at anytime your are doing an exercise. This is a vigorous training session. (If you are not medically cleared to do vigorous training please consult with a physician before doing so.)

[1] Schlinger, A. (2017, August 29). The Do-It-Anywhere HIIT Workout You Need to Try. Retrieved April 05, 2018, from


Blog Written by: Dylan Butler, Kyle Birdwell, Ashley Carlson, Drake Johnson, James Vaughn, Paton Bond



by James Vaughn

Exercising alone can be hard enough. Half the battle is getting to the gym. Then once you are there you have to navigate all of the machines and equipment that seem foreign to you. On top of that you have to worry about your own workout and not focus on anyone else. But unfortunately exercise alone isn’t the key to total health and wellness. Combined with a proper diet, the health benefits of any exercise will increase exponentially! Dr. Shawn Talbott, a nutritional biochemist, states that “as a rule of thumb, weight loss is 75% diet and 25% exercise.”[1] This is a pretty significant portion of anyone’s weight loss journey. That number goes to show that we need to focus our time equally on how well we are eating and fueling our bodies to efficiently burn calories and reduce fat. The biggest part of eating right is learning to count calories of food intake and balancing macronutrients such as protein, carbs, and fats. But how exactly do we do that? To start there are several apps out that can calculate your daily caloric goal and count how many macros you are consuming. My Fitness Pal is one that can calculate these macros and calories and also adjust your goal depending on the amount of exercise you are doing. The National Institute of Exercise and Medicine gives a general guideline of 5 to 12g per kg of body weight for carbs, 1.2 to 1.8g per kg of body weight for proteins, and about 20g per day for fat.[2] Once again this is just a general recommendation and not specific for every individual. Depending on what your fitness goal is, your calorie count and macro count will be higher or lower. But how does anyone that lives a normal life and doesn’t worship the gym hit these macro goals? A strategy that many people use is meal prepping. This involves planning out your meals based on your calorie and macro goals. Once you know these numbers then you cook the meals entirely and portion them out in containers. This takes the guesswork out of your meals and allows you to control how much you are eating. Meal prepping takes time but is very well worth it if you are serious about your fitness goals. There are also meal delivery services and businesses that will meal prep for you. This is a costly option but if you are constantly on the go and do not have time to do it yourself then this may be a good option to consider. As you can see throughout this article diet is just as important part of your health and wellness journey. This deserves a lot more consideration and should be a priority in your life. Just remember that you can’t out exercise a bad diet!

[1] O. (2017, December 07). Is Exercise Or Diet More Important For Weight Loss? Here’s The Truth. Retrieved March 29, 2018, from

[2] Manore, M. M. (2005). Exercise and the Institute of Medicine Recommendations for Nutrition. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 4(4), 193-198. doi:10.1097/01.csmr.0000306206.72186.00

Train Your Body to Be in The Circuit!


By: Kyle Dale, Dayne Sommer, Breion Young, Melinda Murillo, Casey Wissinger

Keywords: Circuit, physical fitness, cardiorespiratory, training

What is Circuit Training?

Circuit training is a form of training that requires the body to engage in endurance and high intensity resistance training. It is performed by having a set of stations, made up of different exercises, which could be with weight or body weight. It is performed at each station with short intervals of performing the exercise (usually 30 seconds) and short rest periods in between as well.

Why Do Circuit Training?

Circuit training is a very popular and very successful form of exercise. It improves muscular endurance, strength, and cardiorespiratory fitness. It can improve someone’s overall health, help with weight loss, and increase mobility, and it does not take very long to do so! Don’t like to or have problem using weights? Not a problem because circuit training can be done with just your own body weight! With that being said, you can modify any exercise you are doing to make it more suitable. You can choose whatever part of the body you would like to focus on and incorporate a circuit workout to fit that focus! A circuit workout can last anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes or even less, so it is easy to sneak a circuit in during your lunch hour!


Shmidt, D., Anderson, K., Graff, M., & Strutz, V. (2016). The effect of high intensity circuit training on physical fitness. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 56(5), 534-540.



Yes, Its Leg Day!


By: Kyle Dale, Dayne Sommer, Breion Young, Melinda Murillo, Casey Wissinger

Keywords: Lower body, Upper body, Strength, Resistance training, Muscle

In this field we all know that guy that starts and ends the week doing nothing but upper body exercises. Neglecting the legs because they’re not the “show muscle” as we like to call them. Growing up, my favorite cartoon character had the arms and chest of a Greek God so that is what we all wanted to look like. Now that I am older I realize that the most important movements are movements involving the lower body. For fitness and performance, developing your lower body can have positive affects overall.

Lower body exercises can enhance overall muscle growth.

Squatting can help with your abdominal muscles and back if performed correctly.

Lower body strength has a correlation with overall strength. As your lower body strength increases so, will your abdominal strength. The strength of your abdominal core will aid in overall strength development.

You will burn more fat!

The muscles in your legs are some of the largest muscles in your body. When worked out body temperature is increased and depending on intensity, it will continue to be high after the workout for that current amount of time.

The Hormones

The one hormone our muscles need is testosterone. Your body can naturally produce testosterone and performing high intensity lower body exercises can increase the count. As by how much depends on the individual.


Effect of Lower-Body Resistance Training on Upper-Body Strength Adaptation in Trained Men. Bartolomei, Sandro 1,2; Hoffman, Jay R. 1; Stout, Jeffrey R. 1; Merni, Franco 2

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 32(1):13-18, January 2018.



Ready To HIIT Up The Gym?


By: Kyle Dale, Dayne Sommer, Breion Young, Melinda Murillo, Casey Wissinger

Keywords: HIIT, Exercise, Fitness, Training, Workout

 What is High Intensity Interval Training?

High intensity interval training (or HIIT Training) is a very popular way to get a good workout in fast! HIIT Training involves combining many movements and very little rest into your workout program. HIIT movements can be anything you like ranging from body weight movements like push-ups and sit ups to weight bearing exercises such as squats and dumbbell curls. HIIT can even be incorporated into cardio sessions with sprint intervals between periods of “active rest” like walking or jogging slowly. HIIT training in the most basic form is working really hard for short bouts with short amounts of rest in between. In the image below, there is an example of a very quick, and very beneficial HIIT workout that does not require any equipment other that you!

Why HIIT Training?

HIIT training is a great way to exercise, especially if you’re on a time crunch. An average HIIT session will last about 30 minutes, and you’ll get a great workout in during that time.  It also has great health benefits for all ages! The main benefit you’ll see from this type of training is an increase in your cardiovascular functioning; however, you can also see increases in your muscular strength and endurance as well! It is also proven to lower high blood pressure, reduce body fat, help raise your HDL (the good cholesterol), and lower the risk of conditions like diabetes.

So Many Variations

Another great thing about HIIT training is that you can change it up in so many ways. You can mix up the exercises you do, the reps you do of each exercise, and you can change the weights for each exercise. If you decide you want to do it for time instead of reps, you can alter the time at each exercise and the rest period between each exercise as well! HIIT training is a great way to get your workout done, without ever having to worry about being bored with the same old routine!


Larkin, M. (2017). HIIT: High-intensity interval training can boost health, well-being: Experts

affirm this training protocol can be adapted for all ages and fitness levels. Journal On

 Active Aging, 16(3), 34-41.


A Review of 3 FREE Apps: Couch to 5K / Jillian Michaels / Nike Training Club

There are thousands of fitness apps out there! Which one do you use? We decided to pick three of the top apps that are out there and use them ourselves. We specifically looked at free apps because let’s face it, free is always good! If you can work out for free and when it is convenient for you; you are more likely to be motivated! There are no membership fees and you can bring as many friends along as you would like. Our phones usually go where we go. These apps allow you to work out whenever and wherever. If you are stuck at the office, or even in the front room while kids are napping.

We did the work outs, we tracked our exercises, and we personally analyzed what these apps were all about. Look and see what we thought of these apps and decide if any of these are right for you!

Couch to 5K (C25K)

Couch to 5k is every beginner’s best friend and it is a free app on all smart devices! This app is very popular with individuals who are just getting started in the running world and preparing to run their first race. This app has many options such as giving individuals other apps to look at while training, lists of different 5ks going on, and even articles that individuals can read about different aspects of running. The app is set up so that the individuals are given twenty-seven workouts, three days a week for nine weeks, as well as unlimited time for runs that can be tracked by GPS. Each of these workouts has an option for a trainer that can speak to you throughout your workout, but your notifications must be on to hear these coaching cues.

This app is laid out so that there is a five-minute warm up and a five-minute cool down for every run and the remaining time is a combination of walking and running. The app strategically coordinates run and walk time each session so that you can increase your overall run time. This way by race day, you are prepared to run the entire 5K! So, whether or not you are just wanting help with your training or just in need of motivation to get going this app can help you start running as soon as you download it.

Jillian Michaels

This app has a free option and a paid option. This app is ideal for getting started on a fitness regimen or if you need a quick and heavy workout. When getting started, you create profile with your gender, age, weight, and height. You choose your current fitness level and your available equipment. The app will offer longer training plans and meal plans that cost. To stay on the free track, pick random training/food plans and exit out of the screen that pops up with prices. With the free edition, you can track your weight. The weight tracker records your beginning weight, your current weight, and your goal weight. There are five categories of workouts available. They include abs, upper body, lower body, legs, cardio and full body. Each workout adapts to your fitness level and equipment availability. For instance, if you only have dumbbells available, you may perform ab exercises on the floor with a dumbbell. If you have a stability ball and dumbbells available, the ab workout will modify to exercises with those pieces of equipment. If you are a beginner, it will modify exercises and rev it up for those more advanced. You can also add music that you have on your phone during the workout for extra motivation.

One problem, I did run into is the speed of the app. If I made any changes to the availability of equipment or fitness levels, it took a long time for it to load the new workouts. I always made sure I was in a good service area and it didn’t seem to make a difference. Most of the time, I would have to exit out and restart the work out then it would operate just fine.

Jillian coaches you through each movement with videos so you can see exactly what to do. She gives cues throughout to help with form and slightly motivates you. If you are familiar with Jillian, she is usually very motivating and enthusiastic. In the videos on this app, she is milder. She gives a little information about certain movements and explains why they are great for you. You can even modify the amount of rest or transition time between exercises. Within a workout, you can pause and go back to a particular movement if you want to repeat. You can also skip certain movements if you have an injury or do not want to participate in that exercise. At the end you are asked to rate your session and it will adjust the next workout’s intensity accordingly.

Overall, I would recommend this app. Especially if you need a quick work out and/or have a hectic schedule that does not allow you to have a regular workout regimen. Or if you are just getting started and wanted to ease into a workout routine.


Nike Training Club (NTC)

The Nike Training Club is a great free option for both beginners and advanced.  When the app is first downloaded you take a simple questionnaire about your fitness level, goals, and type of equipment you use and have available.  From there they give you different plans that fit your needs.  For instance, a 4-week endurance plan or an 8-week strength and conditioning plan. Once your plan is selected it puts it into a calendar including your rest days.  Each workout has a video of the exercise so you know it is being done properly.  Once you start the workout it gives you coaching cues, keeps a timer, and tells you when to and how long to rest.  This can be a great option to help you stay on track while crushing your goals.

The app also offers workouts outside of your plan.  You can select what type of workout you are looking for.  For example, endurance, strength, yoga, upper body, and lower body. Not only can you search workouts by type, but also by muscle group. Once this is done, a variety of workouts are listed, their fitness levels and what type of equipment you will or will not need. It still gives you the coaching cues, timer, proper videos, and rest times.  Also, you can sync the app to your apple music so it will play music during your workout.  I highly recommend this app to people of all levels of fitness.

So, which one is right for you? Are you striving to run a 5K this summer? Is your schedule unpredictable and packed? Or do you want a plan and variety? We hope we made it a little easier to choose a fitness app. Happy training!


Perfect Shoe for You

by: Megg Taylor, Stephanie Smith, Jasmine Wood, Skylar Dowdy, Shaje Moore, Rylee Bellmon, and Traviah Matthews

Like there is a variety of activities that you can partake in, there is a variety of equipment needed and believe it or not, your shoe choice is a part of that preparation! Picking the right shoe for the activity you want to do is very important. The activities you choose can have different types of demands on your knees, ankles, and feet. Shoes are made to provide to right amount of support, traction/skid, shock abortion, etc. to help you perform the activity to the best of your ability. Whether the activity is a weightlifting, running, walking, or CrossFit, there is a shoe to recommended for you.

Walking Shoes

Walking shoes are important for most everyone because walking is a necessity to get from place to place. Many people stand on their feet for hours at a time each day with no breaks in between. There are many well-known stores and brands that sell walking shoes such as Nike, Adidas, New Balance, and ASICS.

When choosing the perfect walking shoe, a few things need to be considered. First, the walking shoe should be flexible in the forefoot area, if it is stiff, it can lead to shin splints. Next, the heel of the shoe should be examined, if it is higher than one inch, the shoe should not be considered a walking shoe. Lastly, the shoe should be placed on the floor to be examined. The toe should be slightly off the ground above the rest of the shoe and if you poke the shoe, it should have some rocking motion to it. Finally, finding the perfect fit for a walking shoe is really key. Find a store associate to help size your foot.

                                                                 Running Shoes                         

If you are a runner you know that your shoes have a huge impact on your lifestyle. Being in the wrong shoe can create more problems than most realize. To find the shoe best for you it is best to know what your foot is like as you run; are you pronating or supinating, do you have a high arch or no arch? To find out how your foot rotates or doesn’t rotate you need to look at the sole of an old pair of running shoes to see the wear pattern on them. If you do not feel sure in yourself looking at this to make the right decision there are running stores that will analyze your foot in person. Once you have determined the rotation of your foot while running/walking you must now figure out what shoe best fits you. This involves going into the store and trying on every pair that will help your foot type. Once you find that pair that is comfortable and supportive it is time to go try them out! Remember if you are a heavy runner you need to get new shoes about every 600 miles. A great way to look online for shoes is to use Runner’s World shoe finder test; you can find the test at, .


            When one type of shoe is not ideal for your lifestyle, inserts allow you to have support with more flexibility. After testing, an insert is biomechanically made to fit your needs and body style. For instance, how much volume or impact you use will determine the thickness of your insert. Also, width and arch is measured. Inserts can be used to help correct posture and rebuild your arch.  These variables are important for your exercise routines. These will allow you to ensure you have proper posture to better improve safety precautions.

Convenience is important when it comes to inserts. They allow you to simply pull the inserts out and place them in a different shoe.  This will allow you to keep a variety of shoes.  Though testing is more accurate at stores that specialize in shoe inserts, it is now conveniently in stores like Walmart. Being on your feet constantly can cause extreme pain, inserts allow you to get back to comfort with ease.   

Weightlifting Shoes

            Weightlifting shoes are very unique and evolved since the 1920’s. They have lower tops, a little bit of heel, and a strap across the upper part of the shoe. Weightlifting shoes are specifically designed to provide mobility and stability during lifts. The raise heel and harder sole gives stability while the tops give mobility to the ankles. The straps are located along the top of the metatarsals. Some shoes may have an additional strap across the lower portion of the metatarsals. This allows your foot to stay locked down when pulling the weight and provides comfort.

Feet are the foundation of the body. It is important to have stability mobility in the feet so that the rest of the body can follow. Lifting in the right shoes can provide suitable foot function, great ankle mobility, appropriate hip stability, and proper spine alignment.

When shopping, go to store that has actual weightlifting shoes, if you are new to these shoes, look online or call your favorite shoe store and ask. Personally, I prefer VS Athletics, Adidas, and Rouge. When you go into the store before anything else, get fitted. Even if you have been wearing size 8 shoes all your adult life, get fitted. If you have a shoe that is too big or small; the shoe won’t provide for you. Then try on the shoes and perform some body weight lifting in the store. Ask yourself how they feel, are they snug in all the right places, is the toe box wide or narrow enough, is the metatarsal strap in the right place on your foot? Don’t be afraid to try on as many shoes as you need before you find the right one.

CrossFit Shoes

Picking the right shoe for CrossFit can help you perform exercises better. There is a couple of recommendations when trying to pick the right shoe. When picking a CrossFit shoe, the “drop” of shoe makes a difference. The drop measures the difference between the height of the forefoot and the height of the heel. A walking shoe typically has an 8mm drop to encourage heel-to-toe walking. For CrossFit you typically want to have a 4mm drop to help evenly distribute your weight across your foot. The next recommendation is a hard sole. This makes it easier for you to have stability when doing Olympic lifts. It allows you the ability to feel the floor beneath your feet and stay stable. The third recommendation is to have a durable outer shoe. This allows you the opportunity to perform any of the workouts that are given. For example, it can make it easier for you to do a trail run or a max lift and even a rope climb. A cage around the mid-foot and toes will help reinforce proper alignment during squats. The right CrossFit shoe can help improve your workouts and encourage proper form.

Which shoe is for you?

Hopefully this has given you some incite regarding ways to make your fitness life more comfortable. The goal is to help individuals figure out what best fits them so that their workout patterns are taken into consideration when picking a shoe. With that we hope that you can use this information to help keep your body in better shape starting from the ground up!



  • Valle, C., (2017, January 19). The Science Behind Weightlifting Shoes – SimpliFaster. Retrieved February 20, 2018, from
  • Bumgardner, W. (n.d.). What to Look for When You Buying a Pair of Walking Shoes. Retrieved February 22, 2018, from
  • Koch, R. (n.d.). Your Perfect CrossFit Shoe: A quick guide. Retrieved February 22, 2018, from


Where is the Swole Factory?

By: Rylee Bellmon, Skylar Dowdy, Traviah Matthews, Shaje Moore, Stephanie Smith, Megg Taylor and Jasmine Wood

The more comfortable you feel at a gym the more likely you will be motivated to go. When using your free pass that most gyms offer, go during your ideal time when you will be working out i.e. at 6AM before school or work. This way, you get to experience the environment you will be working out in. Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself:

What are my fitness goals?

Decide what your goals are and make a list of what equipment you need to accomplish them. Do you want to tone and where do you want to tone? Look for machines or weights with lower weights. Do you want to lose weight? Look for great cardio machines. Do you want to make some gains? Check out the squat rack and the lifting equipment available.

Are you a social butterfly?

If yes, maybe check out some fitness classes. Do they have classes you like? When are the classes? Do they work with your schedule? Look for a boot camp class or yoga class that works and will help you reach your goal.

Do you want a personal trainer?

If you do, look for a good trainer. Google trainers with great ratings, ask around. Ask around your potential gym and see who seems to match your fitness needs and who has the best reputation. Then talk to that trainer. What educational background do they have? Do you like them? Do they seem like your style? Check them out on social media and see what other people are saying about them. Check if they have a portfolio online as well. Personal trainers usually cost extra so make sure you budget and find someone you are willing to pay to work with you.  Most of all, don’t be afraid to ask them questions!

What gym vibes are you looking for?

Gym atmosphere plays a big part in choosing your home gym.  You need to ask yourself what vibes are you wanting. For instance, if you want a judgment free zone you might ponder gyms who do not tend to have many “swole” members.  However, maybe competitiveness drives your success then look for a gym that has a competitive environment.  Members can feed off each other’s energy and use the competitive drive to push themselves. If you are looking for more of a family oriented vibe, you should consider a smaller and locally owned gym.

Picking the perfect gym is a difficult process; every gym offers different amenities to meet different needs. Amenities are one of the main reasons people choose to become members of a particular gym. You need to look at your goals and what you are looking for in a gym. Find the gym that offers what you want. A few major amenities that need to be taken into consideration are steam rooms, pools, Jacuzzis, daycare facilities, smoothie bars, tanning beds, massage chairs, and indoor tracks. Some gyms offer free childcare and group fitness classes while others only offer cardio equipment and a weight room. Weighing out the pros and cons of each gym and deciding which amenities are priority to you are important when selecting a gym.

When choosing a gym pick a place that has a price and a contract that fits your lifestyle and monthly budget. Remember to check important dates and deadlines, if any. There are some gyms that have contracts to join and there are others that do not require any commitment. Some gyms allow you to bring one guest, and some gyms will allow you to try out their facility with a free seven-day trial. Make sure when picking a gym that you set a monthly or annual budget and decide if you want to sign a contract or not. The best option is with more benefits at a lower cost.

When thinking about where you want to work out most people note that they do not want to travel far and they want it to be as convenient as possible. Location is key when you are trying to use your lunch break as your workout time or if you are trying to go from home but don’t want to fight traffic to get there. Research states that most individuals do not want to participate in a gym that is more 15 minutes from their house or office (Shilton).

When looking for a gym, knowing the available hours can really affect the times that you can go. Here are a few questions to ask regarding the hours of a gym.

Are they a 24-hr. gym?

When the gym is open 24 hours a day, you have the entire day open for you to choose when you want to work out. This will allow you to find the time best for you and your schedule. This is probably best if you don’t have a regular work schedule.

What are the peak hours?

Most gyms have peak hours, or times of the day that they are packed. Is this something you would want to avoid? Some people enjoy the peak hours because of the busy and lively atmosphere but this may cause conflict with certain equipment that you enjoy using being occupied.

Is it near a busy area, like an office building or college?

This can influence the times the gym is busy. This can also influence the type of clientele that is most likely to use this gym. Selecting the right gym is so important because it often becomes an escape. This is a place where you release stress, become stronger, and better yourself. Find a gym that you love, that works for you, and that makes you want to come in and burn some calories and build muscle.

Work Cited

Shilton, A. (2015, Jan. 11). How to find the right gym for you. Retrieved Feb. 19, 2018.