Category Archives: Fitness
One of the questions I get asked most often as a Personal Trainer is whether stretching is good before or after a workout. I recently came across an article in the May 2013 IDEA Fitness Journal entitled “Stretching’s Impact on Strength.” You can interpret the conclusion as you wish, but I thought I’d share the research so you can make an educated decision about your workout and get the most out of your strength gains with a stretching session PRE-workout (it does not examine the post workout stretch at all).
To stretch or not to stretch for improved strength is a question that endures. Some support the practice; others don’t. A new study may have put the debate to rest.
Published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (2012; doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31828054b7), the study aimed to determine what impact – if any – stretching would have on stren gth production. The researchers employed three procedures: a warm-up plus static stretching before each session; a stretch prior to each training set; and no stretch at all throughout the session. Thirty participants were divided among the three groups for 10 weeks. The strength component featured eight exercise performed at an 8-repetition maximum. The researchers measured strength levels and basal serum insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1 – which is an anabolic agent that is released mostly from the liver, and occasionally from the bone, fat cells, testes and heart to stimulate tissue growth) before and after the intervention. Final data revealed strength improvements across all exercise for the no-stretch group, but only in some exercises for both stretching groups. The no-stretch group also showed increases in IGF-1 post exercise, whereas the others did not.
The authors concluded that strength can improve with a pre-stretch, an in-workout stretch or no stretch at all – but in this study, the most significant impact on both strength and IGF-1 occurred in the no stretch group.
It is hard to believe that spring is here (literally). With the start of a new season means different fruits and vegetables are in season as well. As far as fruits and vegetables go, spring is considered to be March, April and May. When a fruit or vegetable is in season it means is at its peak of flavor or harvest. Not only will the flavor be optimal the price will be the cheapest. Next time you head out to the grocery store be sure to try some of the following items that are in season right now!
Remember, you can enjoy the taste of any fruit or vegetable year-round by using fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice – it all counts!
Red Leaf Lettuce
Spring Baby Lettuce
Coming to the end of February means that National Nutrition Month is just around the corner. Every March is National Nutrition Month and every year UND celebrates March with many nutrition related activities. This year UND is offering a recipe contest, Student Iron Chef, Lunch and Learn, food drive, grocery bingo, and a wellness screening.
The Delicious and Nutritious Recipe Contest will be going on the majority of the month. The recipe submission deadline is March 21; to find out details about this event click on the following link.
Student Iron Chef Contest Semi-final dates of the competition are March 3rd and March 4th. The final competition will take place on March 11th. Groups of students will be creating a dish consisting of Alaskan Salmon, YUM.
A food drive will take place for the whole month of March. Non-perishable food items and personal care products are appreciated. Donation boxes will be placed throughout the campus.
Grocery Bingo will take place on March 28th at 9pm in the loading dock. It is free to all students and it’s a great way to win free groceries and meet students.
A lunch ‘N learn will be held on March 26th in Gamble Hall from 12:30pm to 1:30pm in room 225. This event is part of the Deans for wellness initiative; it is open to all staff, faculty, spouses and partners of the College of Business and Public Administration. You can RSVP to this email:
The wellness screening will be held at the EERC on March 5th. It is open to faculty, staff, partners and spouses. This is an appointment only event to make an appointment click the following link.
Student-athletes may be under more pressure than just the average college student. Student-athletes are expected to perform well in the classroom, and to perform for their coaches and teammates when it’s game time. Unfortunately, for some student-athletes, this stress is not always handled in the right way. Research shows that athletes tend to overestimate the amount of alcohol that their teammates and friends consume (Martens, Page, Mowry, Dmann, Taylor, & Cimini, 2006). It is proven that athletes often have larger groups of friends than non-athletes which may account for part of the misconception, but it also puts athletes at greater risk for binge drinking behavior (Nelson & Wechsler, 2000). College athletes report a higher rate of binge drinking (57%) than their non-athlete counterparts (48%) (Nelson & Wechsler, 2000).
Consuming 5 or more drinks in one night can affect the brain and body for up to 3 days after consumption, interfering with the athlete’s ability to learn new plays and strategies. Athletes’ use of alcohol has no direct benefit to their body or training because the high calories in alcohol cannot be converted into energy for the body (Firth & Manzo, 2004). So when athletes of any kind are feeling stressed with school, practice, traveling, and competition, they shouldn’t turn to alcohol as a way to relax. It only will put you more behind.
If you’re already struggling with your New Year plans to get fit, it may be because you’re listening to the wrong kind of music during your workout.
Sports psychologists from London have discovered that specific genres of music are best suited to specific types of exercise, and listening to the wrong kind of track could hinder your performance.
They found that rap music provides the best beats per minute for stretching and running, while dance music is more suited to strength training.
Pop music is best used during warm up and cool down, but rock music should be avoided during exercise due to frequent changes in tempo that can affect your rhythm.
The research was carried out by sports psychologist Dr Costas Karageorghis, the Music in Exercise and Sport Group at Brunel University in London and Spotify.
The team analysed 6.7 million Spotify playlists containing the word ‘workout’ in the title and compared the different beats per minute (bpm) to those used in certain workouts.
For example, a person’s typical stride rate while jogging or running is 150 to 190 strides per minute.
If these figures are halved it gives a range of 75 to 95 bpm – the beat range found most commonly in urban music, particularly rap.
Many of the lyrics in rap music also ‘imbue the physical energy’ best suited to running, explained the researchers.
Whereas pop is perfect for slower, more repetitive-type tasks, including aerobic warm up and cool down because many pop songs ‘have regular rhythmic patterns and beats.’
Dance music is best suited to strength and weight training because its ‘fast, rhythmical, bass psyches people up before weight training sessions.
Elsewhere, Dr Karageorghis said that for maximum effect, people should use songs that remind them of their adolescence and early adulthood to make them feel youthful and fit.
He said: ‘A suitably motivational playlist can help to ‘colour’ the symptoms of exercise-related fatigue, like breathlessness and a beating heart, in such a way that they are interpreted in a more positive manner.
‘This means that at the point when your body is shouting stop, the music has the power to lift your mood and beckon you on.’
Celebrity trainer Joey Gonzalez added: ‘During workouts, an hour-long mix of strength training and treadmill-based cardio intervals, we try to match our runs and exercises to the beat of our music.
‘For example, timing the treadmill sprints to the chorus of a track with a great hook, or playing a slower song with bass for incline jogs, and even matching steady consistent beats for long endurance runs are all part of our strategy.’
Whereas rock music should be avoid during cardio and high-intensity workouts because the different changes in tempo can affect a person’s rhythm.
Today in the Culinary Corner we made peanut butter and jelly protein packed smoothies! This was for our first Cheap, Fast and Healthy class of the semester and also kicked off the Pursuit of Wellness. We had a great turnout! There was 12 participants. This smoothie is something that is easy to make (if you have access to a blender) and is made with ingredients that are easy to find and are often found in many kitchens! You basically just dump all the ingredients into the blender and mix it up! It is great for breakfast or for a snack. We had a little mishap during the class, the blender cover might have not been secured tightly and the smoothie flew EVERYWHERE! Oops, everyone had a good laugh though! This smoothie has great sources of natural protein, coming from the yogurt, milk and peanut butter. We took the smoothie to a whole new level and added SPINACH! The participants said that they could not tell the difference between the initial recipe and the smoothie with the spinach. This is a great way to add some extra nutrients and get a servings of vegetables. It is also easy to add spinach to other things such as chopped in casseroles. Because spinach doesn’t have much taste it is easy to disguise!
Peanut Butter & Jelly Protein Smoothie
A thick, creamy, healthy smoothie reminiscent of your favorite childhood sandwich & with 23 grams of pure protein.
Yield: 4 very large smoothie
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
• 4 medium banana, peeled, sliced, and frozen
• 24 oz Vanilla Greek Yogurt
• 4 cup frozen berries*
• 3 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your favorite kind of milk)
• 1/2 Cup peanut butter (any kind you like)
Put all of the ingredients into the blender, in the order listed, and blend on high until thick and smooth. You may need to stop and stir/scrape down the sides of the blender a few times.