#ActiveTerp spotlight: Nathan Lawless

The intramural sports program at University Recreation & Wellness (RecWell) offers a unique opportunity for Terps to play and compete together in sports leagues and tournaments. You don’t have to be an athlete to play; these recreational activities are for everyone and are a great way to have fun, de-stress, and meet new people.

Did you know that all of RecWell’s intramural sport activities are officiated by trained student officials? Nathan Lawless is one of those officials, and we caught up with him to ask him a few questions about his experience. Here’s what he had to say in his own words…

My IM softball team after we won our championship!

My IM softball team after we won our championship!

Why did you get involved intramural sports? What made you want to become an official?

I was introduced to intramurals by my summer boss/baseball coach in high school. He was an IM supervisor at Maryland and he put me in contact with the intramural staff here before the start of my freshman year. I had already been officiating soccer for several years as a way to make a little money in high school, and I figured that officiating for IM’s would be an easy way to make a little money in college.

What is your favorite memory with intramural sports?

My favorite memory would have to be when I was named an All-American Flag Football official this past January. It was a moment where all of the hard work I have put into officiating thus far paid off. I was also proud to be able to represent the University of Maryland and to carry on the long tradition of having a University of Maryland student named as an All-American official.

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I was recognized as an All-American flag football official this past January.

What would you say to students who are thinking about getting involved with intramural sports?layers

To any students who are thinking of becoming an official or who want to play an intramural sport, I would suggest that they do it. Being an official can be challenging at times, but if you enjoy sports and want to have the opportunity to be around them more, then you should come to training and give it a shot. Playing intramurals is also a lot of fun. Being out on the field (or court) with a bunch of your friends is always a great time.

What is 1 thing you learned from intramural sports that you’ll take with you beyond your time here at Maryland?

One thing that I have learned from intramurals is that communication is vital. On the field, you need to be able to talk to a player and explain why you did or did not call something. It is also crucial when you supervise because you need to be able to tell the refs how to improve or inform a player of a policy. Whatever it is that you are doing, communication is key, and I think that this skill will help me after I leave the University of Maryland.

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So you think you want to run a marathon?

By: Tamara Walsky, Campus Recreation Services


It’s rare to encounter something with the potential for so many feels as running a marathon: one of the most painfully awesome— and awesomely painful — experiences out there. You’ll reach the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. With each breath, each heartbeat, each stride, you’ll feel simultaneously happy and miserable, both powerful and exhausted.

But it’s worth it. It’s worth the time, exhaustion, soreness and the $100 it costs to run the race. It won’t be cake—it’s a marathon after all. It’s not meant to be comfortable—  but you CAN do it with work, dedication and most importantly, a consistent positive mental attitude. Whatever your reason may be for running a marathon, you gotta really want it.

Training differs depending on how regular and intense of a runner or athlete you are. Inevitably, it’s a much bigger leap for someone who has never run a 5K before compared to someone who say, played a sport back in high school or runs for recreation.

Here are 5 tips for Terps thinking about running their first marathon …

  1. Start small. Regardless of your background, it’s best to start small and build up. Run a 5K, then a 10K, then a half marathon. There are many blogs, books, and running websites that supply sample training plans and tips.
  2. Go for completion. With your first marathon, shoot for completion and don’t worry too much about time. It’s a looonngg race with very different pacing than you may be used to. On your training runs, focus on reaching the mileage versus hitting goal times. Training plans generally work up to a peak 20 mile long run and then back down with very light mileage (called a taper) in the couple weeks leading up to the marathon itself. The average training plans varies from two to five months; a more regular runner can hit the higher mileage sooner, but a beginner needs more time to build up.
  3. Find a buddy. If you can, find someone to train and race with. “Pain is inevitable, [but] suffering is optional.” (Haruki Murakami). Running with a buddy will make any run – long or short, fast or slow – that much easier and way more fun.  Many running shops and races offer training groups to run with. And when you finish the race, misery loves company.
  4. Fuel up. Nutrition for and during the race really depends on your personal preferences – a water belt or a hand bottle holder, solid food or gels (and what flavors, brands, caffeinated or not?!).  Whatever you do, you’ll want to test out and train with the same gear and nutrition you’ll race with. I recommend a bottle with a sip top for the race; its much easier than stopping to drink out of a cup. While training, keep a healthy, varied diet for all the necessary nutrients. Eat until satisfied; no need to overeat just because. Carbohydrate loading for the race should happen over a period of a few days before the race to ensure all the nutrients digest and are ready for use by the body. And hunger always hits eventually after a long run, so make sure you’ve got healthy snacks on hand. (More information: 5 Special Nutrition Considerations for Runners >>)
  5. Go exploring. You’re not stuck running on the treadmill or around campus. College Park has some great trails systems nearby, including the Anacostia Tributary Trail which runs through Lake Artemesia. Greenbelt Park and Buddy Attick Lake Park in Greenbelt make excellent routes as well.

If you’re not sure this kind of adventure is for you, try running a half marathon, read some blogs and online resources, talk to the folks at your local running shop, and ask anyone you know who has run a half or full marathon about their experience, even if it’s a friend of a friend of a friend.

But don’t ever doubt that you can; from the girl who couldn’t even finish three miles the beginning of her first cross country season freshman year of high school, let me remind you—“As we run, we become.”  (Amby Burfoot)


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Pack a Sense of Adventure: How to Be Active While Traveling

By: Samantha Bingaman ’17, Campus Recreation Services Group Fitness Instructor


Summer often brings with it the opportunity to rest and relax — and you should certainly indulge in some R&R to recharge your batteries. Even if you’re headed on a vacation or perhaps preparing to study abroad, you’ll have more energy to enjoy all that those experiences have to offer if you can find a way to be physically active. This may be more challenging than usual as you’re away from the resources campus has to offer, but it’s not impossible.

So even if you can’t exactly pack a set of dumbbells in your carry-on, packing some creativity and a sense of adventure should do the trick. Follow the tips below and watch your experience transform!

  1. Hit the gym…online! If you have access to Wi-Fi, then you have access to a gym. Log on to YouTube and type in any form of workout imaginable – boxing exercises, abdominal sets, cardio circuits, yoga sessions, even how-to dance classes. You will find an endless assortment of exercise videos that suit your fancy. And the best part — you can work out on your own time and at your own pace. There are also websites like yogaglo that specialize in a specific type of online exercise videos.
  2. Get back to basics. Don’t underestimate the power of good old-fashioned push-ups and sit-ups. You really can get a great workout using nothing but your own bodyweight. Create a circuit for yourself using traditional exercises that we grew up learning in gym class: incorporate lunges, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, squats – and remember the crab walk? A few sets of those can get your blood pumping substantially. Greatist offers a great resource center for bodyweight exercises and workouts.
  3. Take a hike (or bike, or run!). Pack a pair of sneakers, and your options are limitless. Lace up and go explore. Increase the intensity of the workout by varying speeds and terrains, adding agilities, and wearing a backpack for resistance training. Interested in knowing the distance you covered? Try mapmyrun.com for distance calculations and more. You’ll be getting a workout while also experiencing your surroundings in a whole new way — not through a lens, screen, or car window.

Traveling and being active don’t have to be at odds with one another. Combine exercise with your R&R to make the most of your summer!

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Clever Ways to Use Your Farmers Market Find

By: Sarah Frazier ’16, University Health Center, Dietetic Student Volunteer


Summertime is here and you know what that means…peak farmers market season! The Farmers Market at Maryland is held outside of Cole Field House every Wednesday from 11am-3pm and hosts a variety of vendors, activities, and freebies! The Farmers Market is a great place to get local, in season foods even if you live in the resident halls and are on a dining plan. Even when I lived in a resident hall, I made sure to visit the market weekly, and I was able to find creative ways to use my finds!

The best part about shopping at the farmers market is that your food travels no more than 250 miles to get here! This is very different than a regular grocery store because the average food item travels over 1,500 miles, according to the farmers market website.

Local food tastes great because it is often fresher and picked closer to its peak ripeness. By buying local, you are also reducing your carbon footprint on our planet (something we love here at the University of Maryland!).

Some foods that are in season that you may find at the market in summer include blueberries, blackberries, cantaloupe, celery, cucumbers, sweet corn, peaches, and summer squash. Apples are always available from McCleaf’s Orchards. Country Vittles from Critter Hill Farm also has a variety of naturally raised meats. Bonaparte Breads sells a variety of freshly baked breads, pastries, and desserts. You can even find pickles and cheeses at the farmers market! Here are some of my favorite (and most clever) ways to use my farmers market finds:

  • Steamed Vegetables: When I lived in a residence hall, I bought a microwave steamer that I could use in the microwave on my floor. I used it to steam carrots, green beans, potatoes, and basically anything else I could find!
  • Quick Snacks: Many of the foods at the market make great snacks, including apples, pears, peaches, and even melon! You can also buy peanut butter at the market for dipping.
  • Smoothies: Fresh berries and the seasonal greens are great in smoothies. If you have a small blender, you can use your fruits and vegetables that you get at the farmers market to mix up a tasty smoothie!
  • Hard-boiled Eggs: You can buy fresh eggs from Critter Hill Farm and if there is a kitchen in your residence hall, you can hard-boil the whole dozen and keep them in your fridge for the week. Eat them as part of your breakfast, as snacks, or even slice them up as an addition to your dinner.
  • Sandwiches: With bread from Bonaparte Breads, pickles, vegetables, and even the craft goat cheeses, you can make a mouth-watering sandwich for lunch right in your room!

Want more ideas on how to use your Farmer’s Market finds? Make an appointment for a FREE Diet Analysis Appointment at the University Health Center to speak with a Nutrition Peer Educator about creating a balanced diet and eating locally.

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Midnight Snacks for Better Sleep

By: Margo Roth  ’15, University of Maryland Health Center, HEALTH Works Peer Educator

Midnight Snacks for Better Sleep

Let’s face it, college doesn’t always make it easy for early bedtimes. You’re up until 3 am finishing a paper, sleep for a few hours, and then drag yourself to your 9 am class while gulping down some coffee on the way.

However, sleep is one of the most important things we need to do well in school. Getting enough sleep can improve your mental health, physical health, brain function and daily performance.

You may not realize it, but what and when you eat has a huge impact on your sleep.

You may have heard dieters say that eating at night is a huge no-no. But, is that really realistic? Not in the college world.

We need to refuel every 4 to 5 hours, so it’s natural to feel hungry if you’re up super late.

The best thing to do is to go ahead and grab a small snack, which will actually help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Which foods should I eat before bed?

Going to bed hungry might actually wake you up during the night and make it harder to fall asleep. So, when hunger strikes, go ahead and eat something!

Here are some examples of great midnight munchies:

  • Whole grain cereal and low-fat milk. Even though this may sound like your typical breakfast, it’s a smart snack to pick before bedtime. Cereal is a good source of carbohydrates and milk is packed with protein. Pairing a protein with a carbohydrate will keep you satisfied and won’t ruin your sleep. Other great protein and carb pairs are cheese and crackers, hummus and pretzels or peanut butter and banana.
  • Greek yogurt, honey and banana. All of these foods are high in tryptophan, a sleep-inducing hormone, and also have other added bonuses. Bananas are a great source of carbs. Yogurt is packed with calcium, which helps your body turn tryptophan into melatonin to help you relax. Other good sources of calcium are cottage cheese, kale, milk and cheese.
  • A warm beverage. That warm glass of milk mom always offered you before bed is actually a smart choice! Drinking something hot raises your body temperature and helps you fall asleep naturally. If warm milk sounds gross to you, try decaffeinated tea as another choice.

Which foods should I stay away from late at night?

  • Avoid spicy, fried, or heavy foods. Studies have shown that eating spicy, fried, or heavy foods during nighttime hours may disturb your sleep. Eating a big snack or meal before bed may also be a mistake. Your body will work hard to digest the food, so it might prevent you from falling asleep and staying asleep.
  • Step away from the caffeine. Skip that evening cup of coffee or caffeinated soda with dinner; even a little bit of caffeine can disrupt your sleep. Watch out for hidden sources of caffeine such as chocolate and some teas.

It’s important to recognize when your body needs more fuel during those late night studying hours.

Don’t feel guilty grabbing a midnight snack; just make sure to pick the one that works for you.

Try to plan ahead and prepare some snacks for those nights when you know you’ll need a pick me up!

To get additional healthy snack ideas, take advantage of the free diet analysis service offered at the Health Center.

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Dance Fitness: Converting Art to Sport

By: Tori Fyock ’15, Campus Recreation Services Group Fitness Instructor
Terps dancing for fitness in Cole Fieldhouse at "Dance Through the Decades"

Terps dancing for fitness in Cole Fieldhouse at “Dance Through the Decades”

Dance is a physically taxing activity that puts performers at high risk for injury by its very nature – traditional dance training is unnatural to the human body. According to a 1975 study in the Journal of Sports Medicine, ballet was ranked as the number one most physically and mentally demanding activity, followed by football and bullfighting. The premise of traditional dance is perfecting the lines on the human body with controlled body positioning and limb extensions. In everyday life, no human being should ever turn out his or her hips nor walk on their toes as ballet dancers do, but that strain is the essence of basic training.  It is beauty over everything because dance is not a sport; it is an art. And in order to maintain the artistry, the subject must make sacrifices.

This is not to say that dancers are not athletes. The ability to play a sport and the ability to be an athlete are mutually exclusive. As a matter of fact, the career lifespan of a dancer closely resembles that of the stereotypical athlete today. Most dancers retire in their late 30’s due to aging or bodily damage.

This is why dance fitness classes like our Zumba® and Hip Hop Shake options through Campus Recreation pose such a dilemma for group gitness instructors.

The objective of a dance fitness class is to provide a means of exercise that walks the line between dance and sport.

Not only do dance fitness classes disguise a holistic cardiovascular workout, but they also improve coordination, boost memory, enhance flexibility and provide a social outlet for participants.

Here are some principles that we bring from classical dance training to class, and the caveats that we steer away from:

  1. Bend your knees. Unless you want my soul to cry, please heed the warning to bend your knees when you jump in your classes. This is the first thing every dancer learns because by bending at those joints, you can not only propel yourself higher in the air, but also cushion your knee caps from the shock of landing back on the floor.
  2. Engage your core. If you have taken any of my abs series classes, you have heard the phrase “Belly button back to spine”. My Russian ballet instructor made sure this was always the posture in class, and it’s a principle that you can apply anywhere. By engaging your lower abdominal muscles, you automatically straighten your spinal cord, lifting your chest higher and correcting your overall stance.
  3. You don’t need to look pretty doing it. Modern dance, pioneered by Martha Graham, was the beginning of contemporary movement that focused on body alignment and contracting. To this day, despite drastically increased popularity, modern dance is not considered beautiful by a majority of audiences, but it is the most natural on the human body. Don’t pretend to be a contestant on Dancing with the Stars in Zumba®; it’s not natural!
  4. Learn the combos, but feel free to make it your own. As we always say, there are no mistakes, only solos. Professional dancers are confined by the limits of choreography, while dance fitness classes use choreography as a guide. Instructors simplify movements and repeat combinations to engage less seasoned participants, but if you want to challenge yourself, go ahead and try a different arm with that salsa. After all, the class is for you.
  5. Control your pops. Whether it’s shimmies or twerking, we yell to encourage you to have fun with it, but use your muscles to control your body. Flailing is never promoted in dance nor fitness and strains your body.
  6. Pay attention to form when squatting. The most common mistake that we see in class is a squat that takes everything low, including the chest. By letting go of your upper body as well, you are handicapping your leg muscles from getting any kind of workout.
  7. Stay for cool down! Take advantage of the elasticity of your warm muscles and stay until the end of the class to stretch and properly reduce your heart rate. It’s no longer than 5 minutes, and I promise it makes such a huge difference in your flexibility and  how sore you feel the next day.
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The Real Deal About Post-Workout Protein

By: Ivey Smith ’15, University Health Center, Dietetic Student Volunteer
Chocolate milk is an ideal source of post-workout protein.

Chocolate milk is an ideal source of post-workout protein.

“Muscle” sells. We see it in the media and on the shelves of grocery stores, Walmarts, GNCs, and in our local gyms, day in and day out. Images of Arnold Schwarzenegger flexing his giant biceps on the tub of Arnold Iron Whey appeals to our desire for gains, and titles like Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard and Muscle Pharm Combat Powder practically send us running for the cash register with our shopping carts piled high with promising powders!

When it comes to choosing a post-workout meal, snack, or beverage, we are bombarded with options, so it is important to be informed.

Despite the alluring brand names and labels, there is an important fact to consider if you choose a supplement or powder as a protein source over food; the FDA does not regulate protein powders and supplements, or vitamins, for that matter, the same way it does pharmaceuticals.

When you purchase a powder or supplement, you are taking the word of the company that it is safe and that it actually contains the ingredients listed on the label, but there is no guarantee!

The FDA “is responsible for taking action against any adulterated or misbranded dietary supplement product after it reaches the market”; key word being “after”, that is, after an unsuspecting consumer is harmed by it.

But let’s take a step back for a moment, what about real food?

What happened to drinking actual milk in order to get the proteins casein and whey, for example? Jane Jacubczak, the registered dietician here at the University of Maryland, used to keep a refrigerator stocked with chocolate milk post practice for the Washington professional football team during her time as their dietician. Each day that refrigerator was completely emptied of chocolate milk – it was the football players’ preferred post workout drink! Why, you ask?

Chocolate milk can be made to have the ideal 1:4 or 1:3 ratio of protein to carbohydrates your muscles need to recover post workout. While protein is key in the muscle reparation process, carbs are also necessary to replenish energy spent during the workout. Carbs are the body’s preferred fuel source. They are protein sparing, meaning by consuming enough carbs, your body will not have to break protein down for energy and all of it can go towards building stronger muscles.

So what if you don’t like dairy or are lactose intolerant? Do not be discouraged; chocolate milk is just one of many post work out meals that can refuel your body and rebuild your muscles. Some other examples include:

  • 2 oz grilled chicken (18g protein), one 10” whole grain tortilla wrap (35g carbs), add shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers (vegetables of your choice) and a dressing (Italian, low-fat ranch etc.) to be paired with a cup of 100% fruit juice to reach a ratio of about 18:70 grams of protein to carbs.
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter (8g protein, 6g carbs), one banana (1g protein, 27g carbs), 1/3c oatmeal (4g protein, 19g carbs), throw all of this into a blender with a splash of almond mild to get a ratio of 13:52 grams of protein to carbs.

In addition, you could choose a dried fruit and nut mixture (a calorie dense option), hummus and peppers or pita, tuna salad on whole grain crackers, or an omelet chocked full of veggies and topped with cheese.

By choosing food over a supplement post-workout, not only is your dietary safety guaranteed to a higher degree, but you are also taking advantage of the plethora of other nutrients the food provides.

More nutrients than just protein go into building muscle, such as calcium, iron, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and many trace minerals. We need to maintain a balanced diet and attain good health status in order for our bodies to preform properly both during and after a workout.

It may seem like a lot of work, but don’t let the hours you spend at the gym on a regular basis go to waste!

Fuel your body with the real-deal FOOD, and get the real-deal RESULTS!

For more information on how to build a balanced diet or to achieve your goals in gains, schedule a free diet analysis appointment today.

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