Try a Tri! 3 Sports. Countless Reasons to TRI it.

By: Jennifer Macko ’16, Campus Recreation Services, Group Fitness Instructor

Triathlon. Break it down: tri – three, athlon – athletic competition.

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If you’ve never heard of the sport or you’re not quite sure what it’s all about, I want you to picture this:

You’re splashing into a lake, surrounded by fellow competitors in swim caps and goggles, dragging your legs through the turbulent water until it’s deep enough to swim. You get a rhythm going in your stroke, gliding through the waves and sliding over athletes suited in slick black wetsuits. Occasionally you sight in the distance and see your destination dock growing closer.

Before you know it, you’re pulling your seaweed-covered body out of the water and dashing to “T1”, (transition 1) simultaneously pulling off your wetsuit and finding your bike. Under your suit, you are already wearing your kit, red, gold, and black repping the Terrapins, obviously. On goes your helmet, bike shoes, and shades and you’re off to cruise through a 25-mile bike ride.

You soar down the hill, getting “aero” then zoom up the next climb, standing out of the saddle to power to the top. You fuel up on Gu shots and electrolytes, and by the time you’ve dried off from the swim, you roll into “T2”.

Off go the bike shoes and helmet and on go your running shoes. Every attempt to find a clip is an immense effort; your legs feel like bricks. But soon, you find your stride, sweat beading on your forehead as you smile at the cheering onlookers who ring cowbells and wave signs to “Keep going!” and telling you “You’ve got this!” The inspiration and adrenaline coursing through your veins push you to the last stretch of your 10-mile run, the final leg of the triathlon.

You see the finish line, crowded with friends and family, and you forget about the tiredness in your body. You could go forever. You fly through the finish, glancing at your time as you throw your hands up in celebration.

This is Triathlon. It is full day of fitness, fun, friends and family.

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If you are an athlete looking to branch out, someone looking to get in shape by working towards a goal, or just a student looking to find friends in a SUPER healthy outlet, I highly encourage you to check out this spectacular sport.

10 Reasons to Try a Tri

  1. Bragging rights!
  2. To meet new people
  3. To find your comfort zone… and break right out of it!
  4. To add variety to your workout – triathlon makes for very well-rounded athletes
  5. To surprise and amaze yourself!
  6. To have something to train for
  7. To eat copious amounts of food after racing/training
  8. For awesome medals and t-shirts
  9. To enhance your sense of physical wellness
  10. To have fun!!!

Getting Started

  • Start out with a “sprint” distance.
    • This is 750 meter swim, 20 kilometer bike, and 5K run
    • People of all shapes, sizes, and experience can complete this race and have a great time
    • It takes about 90 to 120 minutes to complete
  • Get a bike.Road-style is recommended, but you can get by with anything in a sprint
  • Learn to swim. Be able to swim for at least 30 minutes with confidence.
  • Run a 5K! Chances are, if you can run a 5K at all, you will be able to run one, a little slower, to end your race.

Interested?

Check out the Maryland Triathlon Club. We train together 1-6 times a week and we get HUGE discounts on races and “tri swag” including Maryland kits!

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Train on your own with a friend or family member. You can do your first triathlon together and share this awesome experience!

But, don’t just take my word for it. Some fellow tri club members shared with me their experiences in the sport:

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Kate McGinnis

“I joined triathlon club because I had always been running but started to get bored only running. When I went to the first Saturday morning bike ride, I was nervous because I didn’t know anyone and didn’t know if I could keep up with everyone. I quickly realized everyone was just as hungover as me and had an awesome time meeting everyone.

My favorite memory with the team was at Ironman MD cheering on Meredith (Wilson). It’s easy to get caught up on shaving off seconds in transition or setting a PR, but it’s volunteering at races and cheering your friends on when you realize what an amazing, supportive community is behind every triathlon. It’s also nice because I had a group of friends who liked to/needed to eat as much as I do.” – Kate McGinnis ’15

 

“I’m not quite sure I had a single specific reason for trying triathlon, but I wanted a new challenge. I had a competitive running background and years of cycling recreationally, so swimming was the only new sport (though with more than enough difficulty!)

One of my favorite memories was in the Monticelloman Triathlon, when there was a huge down hill adjacent to a beautiful farm field with bales of rolled hay, just cruising down the hill and looking at the scenery.” – Tammy Walsky ’15

 

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Meredith Wilson

“I would say I started out doing tri because I got super bored of just running and wanted to add some variety to my workout routine. I found out about it after seeing someone with an Maryland Tri shirt on my freshman year and I bought my road bike the following summer. My favorite experience was definitely the ironman. The crazy amounts of people that came out from it and the people that you see along the course (80 year olds with cancer, people with physical handicaps, whether they were blind or amputees, etc) was super inspiring. To me, it’s obvious that the Ironman and Triathlon itself is about more than just yourself. Obviously a sense of accomplishment feels great, but that’s not what keeps you going when your feet are dragging and you don’t want to move another inch. That’s why I love it so much.” -Meredith Wilson ’15

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5 Breakfasts That Will Take You Less Than 2 Minutes

By: Taylor Chan, ’16, University Health Center, Nutrition Peer Educator

5 BREAKFASTS

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”

This is a phrase that has been ingrained into our brains since day one. However as our schedules fill up, eating breakfast has become easy to overlook as we jump out of bed and run straight to class.

There are so many benefits that we miss out on when we forget to eat breakfast:

  • “Breakfast” indicates that we are quite literally “breaking the fast” that our body endures while we sleep. Eating breakfast allows us to re-energize our body and kick start our metabolism for the day.
  • Breakfast refuels your brain! Breakfast can improve concentration and memory, thus helping you focus  better in class and while studying.
  • Nutritionally, breakfast is a great way to consume extra nutrients, vitamins, and minerals in order to achieve a more overall balanced diet.

Breakfast doesn’t have to be a hassle. Here are some great, nutritious breakfast ideas that take less than two minutes to prepare!

  • Apples, bananas, and oranges are quick portable fruits that you can eat on your way to class. Make it a habit to pick one up from the Diner after eating dinner the night before, and then packing it in your backpack! This way, it will be ready to go with you when you leave the next morning.
  • Yogurt is cheap to buy in bulk, and it doesn’t expire quickly, making it a great breakfast option to keep in your fridge at all times. It’s also easy to eat on the go, or subtly while in class. Pair it with some granola, chocolate chips, and/or fresh fruit for some added texture and flavor. A variety of flavors can be found at convenience shops around campus.
  • Instant oatmeal will be there to warm you up before you head out into the cool, brisk morning air. Oatmeal is a versatile food that can be tailored to anyone’s taste preferences. There are so many different flavor options available, or you can experiment with your own concoctions by adding fresh or dried fruit, cinnamon, honey, nuts…the possibilities are endless.
  • Whole wheat bread and peanut butter is a dynamite combo that will leave you feeling satisfied all the way through lunch. Make it into a sandwich with a sliced banana or apple, and sprinkle on some cinnamon for a delicious alternative. The Diner has a great PB&J sandwich station where you can quickly make a sandwich the night before. Bonus: no refrigeration required.
  • Scrambled eggs in the microwave is a technique that every college student should know. Yes, this is a real thing! Scramble two eggs in a mug or microwavable bowl, add two tablespoons of milk, some salt and pepper, and then microwave the eggs for two minutes, stirring the mixture every 15 seconds. If you’re you want to take it a step further, add cheese, diced veggies, or bacon to add great flavor and extra nutrients to your breakfast.

These breakfasts are simple, yet effective, and will ensure that every day is a great day!

If you would like more information about how to incorporate quick, healthy breakfasts into your busy schedule, consider making an appointment for a free diet analysis at the Health Center! Call  301-314-5664 for more information.

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5 Benefits of Fitness Tracking: GymQ and You

By: Laura Gonzalez ’15, Campus Recreation Services, Communication Assistant

We all know working out is good for us. It offers many long and short term wellness benefits – including simply feeling better and having more energy for daily life. Yet, despite all the benefits, only 20 percent of American adults meet minimum the CDC’s physical activity guidelines.

The truth is, it’s easy to lose your motivation to sustain a consistent workout routine in college and can be especially hard to maintain momentum when you don’t track your progress.

The good news is that this university is one of the fittest colleges in America and offers a wealth of resources you can use to get fit!

Earlier this month, we introduced one of these resources — GymQ, a fitness tracking app created by Terp innovators Kevin Chang ’15 and Connie Li ’15. GymQ eliminates the need to bring extra materials to the gym and streamlines the fitness tracking process.

Learn how to get started with Gym Q>>

Using this app will get you invested in your physical fitness and encourage you to push yourself further. As you log your workouts within the app, you’ll see the progress you have made through data visualizations such as charts and graphs.

How a smartphone can benefit your health >>

Screen shots from the GymQ app.

Screen shots from the GymQ app.

GymQ, and fitness tracking in general, will help you to:

  • Make informed decisions about what to do next. You see through progress tracking that you squatted 125 pounds easily all week; it might be time to step it up to 135 pounds. Feel the burn.
  • Form healthy habits. You’ll have hard proof that you’ve been to the gym three times this week. We’re impressed, and you should be too! Now, keep it up.
  • Sustain motivation. It’s easy to say you’ll go to the gym the morning after a trip to the newest Rt. One pizza place, but with GymQ you’ll have a reason to keep coming back.
  • Measure effectiveness of your exercise regime over time. If you’ve been consistently working out and haven’t noticed improvement or progress towards your goals, you might benefit from a little extra motivation. Don’t give up; we offer personal trainers and fitness orientations to encourage and teach you.

Download the GymQ app for free download from the iTunes store.

How will you incorporate GymQ into your wellness routine? Let us know in the comments below. Happy tracking!

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What is yoga?

By: Cynthia Gao, Campus Recreation Services, Group Fitness Instructor

This is usually the place where you read about how yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj” which translates into “union” or about how it is an ancient Indian practice that dates back hundreds of years.

While these things are true, I want to communicate to you what yoga is beyond surface level definitions — what yoga means to me, how I practice, and why yoga is so wonderful and rewarding to all who practice it.

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Here I am in tree pose on the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan, Mexico City!

While I was abroad in Italy this summer I took a yoga class in Rome. It was amazing for me to see how love for this practice and way of life has spread to all parts of the world.

Even though we may all be from different places, yoga allows us to come together and become one. “Places” here refers to many different things, whether that be global location, physique, or even spiritual mindset.

Some do yoga for fitness, some do it to release stress, and some do it because they are in search of something beyond themselves.

In the world today it is so easy for us to become disconnected to our inner selves. We get so caught up in our daily routines and never ending to-do lists that we sometimes forget why we are doing what we are doing in the first place.

This is where, I believe, the true value of yoga lies.

Yoga allows us to connect back to who we truly are, recover values that we may have forgotten, and attempt to continuously improve all aspects of our lives from the physical to the spiritual.

Those who don’t know what yoga is, may see yoga as a random series of physical poses that require some degree of flexibility, but those who practice yoga often know that yoga reaches somewhere beyond the physical body.

As an instructor, my hope for every one of my students is that they not only get a workout and know they did something good for their body, but that they walk away more at peace and gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.

There are six main branches of yoga articulated in the Yoga Sutras. I personally practice a combination of Hatha and Raja yoga. Hatha yoga is the branch of yoga that is most commonly practiced and views the body as a caisson that cradles the soul.

While Hatha yoga deals with perfection of the physical body, Raja yoga deals with the mind. It centers on meditation and reflection.

Raja is probably my favorite branch of yoga as it teaches intimate self-respect through self-comprehension. Focusing infinite attention on the self and truly accepting all that we observe, we teach ourselves appreciation, love, and gratitude. This ethereal awareness nourishes respect for the self and then transcends into respect for all creatures.

In my classes, I utilize the pranayama (breath), as a metronome, to guide the gentle flow of asanas (poses) I create. When I practice, I may be able to hold a plank for a long time but that’s only because I have set free my mind.

I have allowed my mind to wander to the far reaches of my imagination, while keeping complete control over the balance and composure of my body. These are the subtleties that emerge as we improve ourselves through our practice.

Yoga has so much to offer us and such delicacies can only be discovered by oneself through the physical and mental experience of yoga.  While the definition of yoga may vary between every yoga practitioner out there, these are the reasons I practice yoga and the meanings it brings for me in my life.

As I have seen in all of my travels from places like Italy to places like Dubai, I know for a fact that ANYONE can do yoga — you just have to have the willingness to try. So don’t be shy – check out a yoga group fitness class to release some stress, have some fun, and begin to build a little inner peace for the soul.

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How to Enjoy Halloween Like a Kid Again

By: Emily Tolino, ’16, University Health Center, Nutrition Peer Educator

Trick or Treat! It’s that time of year again: the weather is getting colder, the trees are turning colors, and pumpkins are everywhere you turn. Most importantly, it’s almost Halloween!

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As a kid, Halloween was always one of my favorite times of the year. My friends and I would begin picking out our costumes months in advance and spent hours carving the perfect jack-o-lanterns. Rumors about which house had the best treats to give away on Halloween night traveled quickly around the neighborhood. At the end of the night, I would spread my assortment of candy across the floor and feast, satisfied by the adventure I had just had.

While we may not be out going door-to-door anymore, as we grow older, Halloween can become a time full of anxiety and guilt surrounding those sought-after treats.

During a time full of baked goods at office parties and the onset of the holiday season, many people become more and more anxious about the food they eat. In a world filled with negative attitudes about food, it can be hard to enjoy a holiday full of treats.

This Halloween, let’s do something new. Let’s enjoy Halloween like kids again!

Here are 3 tips to putting the fun back in this holiday:

  1. Leave guilt at the door. Give yourself permission to enjoy all your favorite parts of Halloween: yes, even the candy! Instead of branding treats as “bad,” acknowledge foods as sources of fuel and enjoyment for your body and mind. This Halloween season, allow yourself to have your treats and eat them too!
  2. Practice intuitive eating. “Intuitive eating” is the method of approaching food that involves listening to your body’s hunger and full signals. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re comfortably full and don’t assign “good or bad” labels to food. It’s as easy as that! Don’t feel as though you need to deny yourself the pleasure of your Halloween favorites – in a healthy diet, nothing is off limits when it’s enjoyed intuitively.
  3. Savor every bite. Halloween candy tastes a lot better when it’s savored and enjoyed rather than scarfed down in a rush. This Halloween, take the time to fully enjoy your treats. Eat slowly and without too much distraction. Eating mindfully also allows your brain to catch up with your eyes allowing you to recognize when your body is satisfied.

This year, don’t let anxiety and uneasiness about sweets stop you from enjoying the holiday. It is important to remember that all foods can fit into a healthy lifestyle.

It’s safe to say that deprivation doesn’t work.

I know that when I actively deprive myself of a certain food, I only want to eat more and more of it. This reaction can cause unhappiness and overeating later on.

When it comes to a healthy diet, here are some important principles to remember:

  1. Variety. Variety is the spice of life! Eat foods of all different colors and from all different food groups. Varying your intake will lead to an increase in different types of nutrients.
  2. Balance. Think of your body as a scale. Without balance, the scale tips over to one side. Your body works the same way. Eating a balanced diet will keep you feeling in tip-top shape.
  3. Moderation. Some foods give your body the necessary fuel and nutrients it needs to thrive. Other foods are eaten purely for fun. While balance tells us that every food has a place in our diet, moderation tells us to keep anything from being in excess in our bodies.

Keeping these principles in mind will help you to relax and enjoy everything about October 31st from costumes to candy!

Whether your Halloween night will consist of a scary movie marathon with your friends or dressing up for a night out, remember to take these nutrition principles along with you.

Keep the fun in Halloween and rid yourself of guilt and anxiety.

This year, when the choice is Trick or Treat, pick the treat!

You can learn more about intuitive eating, the principles of variety, balance, and moderation, or general nutrition this holiday season by reserving your free Diet Analysis session at the University Health Center. To learn more about this service, you e-mail nutrition@health.umd.edu or call 301-314-5664.

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Is Your Smartphone Making You Stressed?

By: Sydney Callahan ’15, University of Maryland Health Center, HEALTHWorks Peer Educator

Technology has lots of advantages. Being able to check your e-mail while walking to class, FaceTime your sibling who lives 10 hours away, and get real-time updates on the football game you are missing are all amazing things you’re able to do on your phone.

However, this instantaneous culture that we now live in can add a huge amount of stress to our lives, leading to poor mental and physical health.

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As college students, w are constantly connected with some form of technology and it can really stress us out.

Constantly checking your social media accounts and responding to e-mails and text messages the second they enter your inbox can leave you in a frantic and stressed state.

A recent study on the cell phone use of young adults found that  being accessible 24/7 and receiving at least 11 phone calls or text messages per day is associated with stress, sleep disturbances and symptoms of depression.

If you feel like your smartphone, computer, and other mobile technologies may be taking over your life in a negative way, here are 5 tips to help relieve the stress you’re feeling.

5 Tips to Help Relieve Stress Associated with Technology

  1. Everything in moderation.

Too much of anything can be detrimental to your health. You do not have to respond to 20 emails a day or scroll through your Twitter feed every hour. The world will not end if you wait a day to RSVP to an event on Facebook or reply to your friend’s text message about your plans for the weekend. You will have more time to relax and your stress will decrease if you recognize that it is impossible to keep track of everything occurring in the world every day.

  1. Schedule a time to turn it off.

Pick a time every night to turn off your phone and computer (preferably 30-60 minutes before you go to sleep). This simple act of unplugging will help you get a better night’s sleep. Research has shown that using electronics near bedtime can alter your sleep-wake cycle to make you stay up later and decrease the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin.

  1. Remember: “The best things in life are not things.”

Practice mindfulness. Try walking to class without listening to music, texting someone, or checking your e-mail and just notice everything that is happening around you. Our campus is beautiful, but few people notice how wonderful it is! Extensive evidence has shown that practicing mindfulness, or being present in the moment, can lead to increased happiness, but can also improve your immune response, reduce stress and increase the quality of your sleep.

  1. Play the “phone stack” game.

When you go out to dinner with friends or family, have everyone stack their phones in the middle of the table. The first person to take their phone out of the pile has to pay for the entire bill and if the check arrives before anyone takes their phone, then you all just pay for what you individually ordered. Even if it is only for a few hours, your stress will decrease if you are present in the moment and you will have more fun catching up with your friends by playing the “phone stack” game.

  1. Reach out when you need to.

Ask your friends and family for help if you think your stress level from technology is negatively impacting your life and you are having trouble controlling it using just the tips above. If you want to talk to someone more privately, stop by the Counseling Center, make an appointment with Mental Health Services or sign up for Relaxation Training at the University Health Center.

You don’t have to get rid of all of your technology in order to decrease your stress. Simply altering your habits when it comes to technology use and knowing when it is time to unplug will have a positive impact on your well-being!

Share your ideas! What should be tip #6?

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Let’s Put an End to Body Shaming

By: Ivey Smith ’15, University Health Center, Dietetic Student Volunteer

How often have you heard someone you care about, perhaps a friend, say something negative about his or her body? How often have you said something negative about your own body or someone else’s?

I believe everyBODY is beautiful. Let’s put an end to body shaming.

Body shaming isn’t limited to the cruel comments we toss around behind people’s backs about their weight; body shaming occurs any time we say something negative about anybody’s body – including your own.

Some common examples of body shaming are:

  • Saying, “I am so fat; I hate my thighs!”
  • Commenting on Facebook, “Wow, this is not fashion skin and bones too much”
  • Pointing out that the clothes someone chose to wear didn’t flatter their body type

Even doing something as small as acknowledging a change in another person’s body that you perceive to be negative, is body shaming.

I work in an industry where my body is constantly under scrutiny; everyone including photographers, booking agents, makeup artists, stylists, family and friends alike-seem to have an opinion about my body.

Being a fashion model opens up a whole new door for criticism. I have been called “scary skinny”, “skin and bones”; I have been told to “eat a hamburger” on more occasions than I care to count and too often I feel I am defined solely by my physical appearance.

I struggle sometimes to remember that the most important opinion is my own, that I am the only true expert on my body.

If you take the time to get to know me, you may be surprised to find out that I have a very healthy relationship with food. I eat chocolate when I crave it (without any remorse!) and maintain a balanced diet so that I have energy for the activities I love.

We are all guilty of saying insensitive things about the physical appearance of others and ourselves, and we have probably all had someone say something hurtful about our own bodies.

By becoming aware of how our words and opinions affect others, we can help put an end to body shaming. Here’s how:

1. Take ownership of your body. It sounds silly to imagine not owning your body, but any time we criticize and say unkind or hateful things about our bodies, we are distancing ourselves from them. We are who we are, because of our strengths, not our weaknesses. 5 ways to love the skin you’re in >>

2. Train your brain with positivity. Any time you feel the urge to say something negative about your body or someone else’s, pause and take a step back. Think of one positive attribute about yourself or someone else and say that instead. For example, before turning to your friend and pointing out something negative about the way a person’s clothes fit their body, you could instead remark on his or her confidence or simply say nothing at all.

3. Be responsible for your “internet-self”. If you wouldn’t say something out loud to someone’s face, then you should definitely think twice about publishing it on social media. Typed words are just as, if not more hurtful, than those that are spoken; they are out there for all to see.

4. Check yourself. Recognize that you are not the authority on anyone’s body but your own. Realize that saying anything about another person’s size or shape will probably do more harm than good. And finally, understand that you do not know all the facts about a person’s life. Everyone is fighting a battle; some may be just beginning to wage war while others are struggling in the thick of it. It is up to us, society, to extend hands in support and help each other succeed.

The world is hard enough to navigate with out body shaming thrown into the mix.

Remember, everyBODY is beautiful; when in doubt, open your eyes and close your mouth!

To receive personalized nutrition tips and advice, reserve your free diet analysis session with the University Health Center.

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