Blog Archives

Specialty Group Exercise Classes

Have you ever wondered “Why should I pay for group exercise classes when there are free ones on the schedule?”

Believe me, I’ve wondered the same thing. – but then I realized one of the MAJOR benefits that come from these classes.  I’m the type of person who doesn’t like being surrounded by a TON of people when I exercise.  I usually workout at the Wellness during times when there are NOT a lot of people in the building – but I’ve always wanted a little extra guidance and motivation with my workouts without the many faces all trying to do the same things as me at the same time – like in group exercise classes.  Let’s face it – I can get stuck in a rut sometimes, even as a personal trainer.  So my choices for the extra guidance & motivation as well as the major change up to my routine was either hire a personal trainer for an hourly rate OR look into the Specialty Group Exercise program.  Since I was a college student at this point – I was like any other college student and strapped for cash I had to decide what was more budget friendly, but still getting the same results.  The answer?  Specialty Group Exercise.

So when I discovered Boxing which was offered as a Specialty Class (a few years ago) – I fell in love with the SMALL class size.  There were only 8 people in my class and I got some very valuable attention and training at about 1/12th the cost of a personal training package!  Strapped for cash

I had never pushed myself so hard in a workout in a long time.  Sure in the past I’ve always had my good workouts that left me sore the next day, but in this case someone was there holding me accountable making sure I wasn’t letting myself become complacent and take the “easy” route.  They encouraged me when I didn’t feel that great about myself,helped me meet my fitness goals and kept me moving!!

Now while Boxing isn’t here this semester (bummer I know!) – I know there are some great options to choose from – there is ViPR which is brand new and puts a fantastic Outdoor 4spin on strength training – taking you back to some very functional work in a new light.  Reformer Pilates (which I’ve taught in the past) that is a great CORE workout that helps with balance too – after teaching that class I always felt stronger than when I wasn’t teaching!  Rise & Climb is a completely NEW concept – this class will teach you how to become a better climber, become a stronger climber and will get you into the wall during the off hours (now ladies – who couldn’t use a little upper body strengthening?  Am I right??)  And lastly Beginner’s Mediation Yoga – which will help you center yourself spiritually & emotionally to be able to help find yourself & help keep you calm in the waning moments of the fall semester.  Registration is going on NOW for all of these so I encourage you to sign up too before all the spots are gone!  Head to the Wellness Center website NOW!!!

2012 Welcome Weekend 062

I hope to see ALL of you trying something new!

High Five?!

Let’s face it;

sometimes you just.don’

You know- to the gym.

The thought of changing your clothes, tying your shoes, putting your hair in a ponytail, driving/walking to the building… it’s all too much. And sitting on your couch watching the latest episode of Real Housewives seems way easier and probably more fun.

I recently suffered a “don’t-want-to-go” day. The weather is changing, and it’s borderline perfect for outdoor activity/must go back indoors to work out. What’s a person to do?

When I get into a rut, I try a few different things to get unstuck:

  1. Change into gym clothes as soon as I get home. No in-between sweats. Straight for the real stuff.
  2. Pick a time you’re going to leave. And then STICK to it. No excuses, even if it means setting an alarm. Sometimes I’ll plan for a time that will get me there just in time to tune into a favorite show.
  3. Switch up your routine. Do you always run on the treadmill for 1/2 hour regardless? Maybe you need to add a little biking, weight lifting, or even some intervals to the mix. You can really go on a ledge and take a class (Zumba is one of my favorites) or join intramural team or even try your hand at the rock wall.
  4. Call a friend and make a gym date. If you cannot go at the same time, just let them know when you’re going to keep each other accountable.
  5. Get some new music and save it for the gym.
  6. Psych yourself up! Dance around the house as you are leaving for the gym. It’s time to CELEBRATE GOOD HEALTH!
  7. … and finally, remember how good you feel after you finish a workout. If you go with a friend, end with a high five. ESPECIALLY on the toughest days. Every bit of effort is something! (Full disclosure: on more than one instance I’ve been tempted to run around and high five people at the gym who look like they would like to be anywhere else but at the gym. So if I ever run up to you with my hand in the air, you know why.)

As the weather gets colder, it’ll get easier and easier to talk yourself out of a workout. Start your mental training TODAY by developing an exciting routine; and keep it fun, fresh, and full of HIGH FIVES!


Wednesday March 20th is Kick Butts Day!

In honor of Kick Butts Day on Wednesday, March 20th, UND’s Health and Wellness Hub is taking the opportunity to remind the campus community of UND’s tobacco-free campus policy and the quit tobacco resources.  Kick Butts Day, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, is an annual event to raise awareness about tobacco use, the leading cause of preventable death and disease in America.

Compliance with UND’s tobacco-free campus policy is the responsibility and right of all UND students, staff, and faculty members. Tobacco use is not allowed on UND property. Tobacco use is allowed on city sidewalks adjacent to city streets. An updated map highlighting campus and city property is available at Questions about policy applicability may be directed to the UND Environmental Health and Safety Office by telephone (701.777.3341) or e-mail (

A comprehensive array of quit tobacco options are available to help those who are ready to quit. We invite those who use tobacco to take advantage of the available support:

Free telephone or on-line support and free nicotine replacement resources

Up to $700.00 in coverage for provider visits, medications, and counseling for benefitted UND employees and their dependents

  • Health and Wellness Hub, Memorial Union: or 701.777.2097

Free quit kits and resources

  • Student Health Services, McCannel Hall: or 701.777.4500,

Provider visits and free quit kits for students, medications available for purchase at pharmacy

Please join us in celebrating Kick Butts Day and in supporting a Tobacco-free UND throughout the year!

Dear 16-year-old Me

Have you seen this video?

I was out for a walk the other day and started to think about what I would tell my 16-year-old self.

At that point, I was tipping the scales at over 300 pounds. I was almost to the point of accepting that my only direction was to get heavier,

and heavier,

and heavier.

My wardrobe would multiply in size only because I would grow out of things. Like a growing child… except, my kind of growth was unhealthy. I was making choices that led to weight gain. Every extra pound would lead to a greater risk and a step closer to things like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, etc… along with the effects that you don’t always want to think about: ridicule, broken furniture, decreased ability to enjoy “fun” things like amusement parks and seats in a theatre.

Luckily, I was able to gather up every ounce of strength I had, and even some I didn’t know about, and make a major lifestyle change. 2 years and 133 pound lighter, I had a new lease on life. One that I never could’ve even imagined.

So here it goes…

Dear 16-year-old Me:
First of all, you are a beautiful person. Despite what the world tries to tell you, your character will get you further than a stylish outfit. Keep working on being the best person you can to those around you… even the ones that you don’t think deserve it. You have the power to touch the hearts and minds of many, just by being who you are.

Please know that food is not your best friend. You have people in your life that love you very much and can’t wait to spend more time with you and get to know you. Let them in. Hiding in the fridge or pantry will not help you to make memories. Quality time with loved ones and taking in new experiences do that. Seize opportunities and seek out that support that you so desperately need. People are there for a reason.

You are about to embark on a HUGE new journey, but don’t worry; you are stronger than you’ll ever know. It’s scary and hard to think about making changes in your life- like choosing to refrain from eating an entire cake or going for a walk with that extra hour in your day… but you can do this.

And don’t be in such a hurry to cross the “finish line,” because it doesn’t exist. You will be working on this the rest of your life. Take your time. Soak up all of the lessons you are about to learn. Nobody is expecting perfection, and you shouldn’t either.

Be kind to you- loving yourself is the first step. And you’ve decided to treat yourself better, to make your life longer and healthier. So you’re on your way.

Ready… set… HERE WE GO!

Love and mega cheers from Your biggest fan,

Before I Die: Emotional

Dimension: Emotional

Activity: Before I Die

Date: January 25th 2012

I went to the Student Involvement center yesterday to write on the “Before I Die” chalkboard. This was the first wristband I was going to earn so I was a little unsure about the process but the girl at the help desk was very friendly and made sure to point me in the right direction.

There were a lot of goals and dreams written up on the board, a lot more then I thought there would be. It was a little overwhelming reading all the things that my peers hope to do sometime in their life time. I have a few things that I would love to achieve in my life but I had to think of the top one. I chose “To travel through Europe.” I feel like its something that a lot of people have as a goal but even if its not original its something that I would love to do in my life. My ancestors are from England and Ireland so it would be fun to see those countries, and also to see Italy, Greece and Spain. I would want to make sure that I could go to each country for an extended amount of time so I could really soak everything up.

The “Before I Die” board was really inspiring to see all the goals everyone has and wishes to achieve. I think that being a student and having the pressure to graduate as soon as possible can get to us and make us forget what life is really all about. Having an education and a job are very important things but if we aren’t emotionally happy with our lives we cant expect to be our full potential.

have some class!

It’s been awhile since I’ve written, and I can only offer up the excuse that work has been CRAZY lately. (a good crazy, though)

School is back in session at UND, and that means that Wellness Center classes are also back in session. Can I get an AMEN?! I forgot how much easier it is to work out when you have a committed time, place, and group of people to show up to.

The Zumba classes I attended were PACKED with people that had dancing skills of all levels. I think it makes the classes so much more fun, because we’re all just bustin the moves together- nothing else. Judgment-free.

Make this a semester that you try something new. I’m looking forward to overcoming new challenges; heck, I might even try a spin class (again)… may be.




Do yourself a favor; learn just how FUN working out can be!

but WHYYY?!

I like to ask a LOT of questions. Evidence of this: in 5th grade my teacher made me write 250 times “I will not be inquisitive” after one particularly lengthy question-answer session during a history class. (At the time I did not know what that word meant; I do now.)

I find myself continuously asking questions about pretty much everything I do: Why am I doing this? Is there a better way?

We’re just a few days into the New Year. How are those “resolutions” or “goals” treating you? Are you still going?

It’s hard to do something without understanding/knowing/having a purpose. Even the little seemingly insignificant things have a reason. You drink a glass of water because thirst is a basic human need. You wear clothes in the winter so you don’t freeze outside. You go to class to learn and pass in hopes to obtain a degree. You get a job to pay for expenses.

In my last post I talked about taking a new approach to achieving your goals this year, and part of it included listing your reasons for wanting to change things. This is so important. 

If you have decided to lose weight this year, why? To help your clothes fit better? To be able to shop in a clothing section reflective of people your age instead of grandma’s? To feel better about yourself?
If you’ve decided to exercise more this year, why? To have more energy throughout the day? To sculpt and tone? To complete some sort of physical feat?

Do you run races without a finish line? No. That would be simply running and running and running… and totally ridiculous. You need to have a reason for doing things. You want to cross a finish line and prove to yourself that you CAN.

If you find yourself already struggling to “stick to task” with those resolutions (which over 90% of people do at some level), take a few minutes to close your eyes and think about your motives. You might find that little extra “umph” that you need to REALLY achieve whatever your goals might be this time around.

What are your greatest motivators?


To weigh or not to weigh… that is the question.

Studies show that weighing yourself will likely produce better results in not only losing weight, but keeping it off; in my opinion experience, it’s a fine line.

The more I write these blogs, the more I want to divulge every in and out of my weight loss journey. There are so many layers. And I want to share each one. Sometimes for the simple fact that I feel it may help you. Sometimes because I sincerely hope you never make the same mistakes that I have.

This is one of those “honest-to-goodness” blogs that make me own up to one of my many stumbles.

As my weight loss progressed, people said things like: “I can’t even imagine you being that big.” or “You are such an inspiration.” or “I want to be just like you.”

Zoiks. That’s A LOT of pressure, people!

I guess it’s also  good accountability, though.

Anyway, I’ve written a bit about how we measure “success.” It’s important that you don’t get SO wrapped up and reliant on the scale and the numbers pop up after those few seconds that take forever. Yes, it is important that you aim for a certain weight (aka your BMI), but it’s also important that you are building/maintaining muscle, drinking enough fluids, and not becoming so driven by the numbers that you become irrational (aka  stop taking care of yourself).

In college, I bought a scale to “keep me in check.” It kept me a lot more than just “in check;” because of that dang scale, I was a slave to time, clothing, eating, and working out.

Please, dear friend:

Do your best to be at peace with the scale.

First things first. Remember that it took you some time to get to your current weight. And getting angry and depressed will not make change the number. Use it as motivation- healthy motivation- to keep trying rather than a torture device.

At one point in college… (gulp, here comes the raw honesty)… I was weighing myself 3 times a day at least, wearing the exact same outfit (I had to change a lot), having eaten the same thing, after exercising nearly the same amount.

I was a robot. I was trapped. It was awful.

Sometimes I would beat myself up for fluctuating- even 0.2 pounds. Let’s put this into perspective using a fewinteresting points: If you drank one liter of pop it would add about 0.10 pound if you didn’t burn it off. It would add over 2 pounds  with just the “liquid weight.” After using a bathroom, you might to down 1-1.5 pounds.

So let’s be real here. Big picture.

Concentrate on eating right and exercising, and staying within your healthy caloric range. If weighing yourself is a “must” to keep you on track, do it only one time a day, in the morning after using the bathroom and without clothes on. Remember that slight fluctuations are no need for panic. Just so the numbers keep generally and gradually heading a downward direction. I guarantee that freaking out isn’t going to change the scale.

And we all know that it’s important to include weight resistance in your workout routine, right? So important that you implement it, yes? True, building muscle may slow/halt the scale temporarily, but in the long run you are better off, as your body will burn more calories and operate more efficiently. (And your new found strength will make you feel more like a rockstar/superhero.)

No matter where you are in your weight loss/healthy living journey, consider each day a gift. You have the chance to start over or begin again today. You have the chance to overcome the negativity in your life that brings you down. Not only chances, but strength.

Believe in yourself and make it happen one healthy step at a time.

And know that I’m with you… every step of the way!

It’s your TURN! Get ready to play Pursuit of Wellness!

Pursuit of Wellness is coming to the UND Campus for the Spring 2012 Semester. Students that play Pursuit of Wellness will have an opportunity to win a variety of prizes including a Grand Prize (TBA).

What is Pursuit of Wellness?

Pursuit of Wellness is a 7-week game designed for all UND students to learn firsthand the correlation between wellness and academic success. Students will be encouraged to participate in a variety of existing campus activities, all of which connect to at least one of the 7 Dimensions. The official game play starts on January 16th. The first task that students will need to do is complete a game entry survey.  Students can continue to play the game at their own pace by picking what days and what activities they want to participate in.

Incentives will be placed throughout the game for encouraged participation among UND students. At each activity, students will receive a Wristband of Wellness, referred to as a WOW, indicating that they fulfilled one of their 7 Dimensions (e.g. Red WOW = Physical; Yellow WOW= Intellectual; Green WOW = Environmental; Indigo WOW = Social; Purple WOW = Spiritual; Blue WOW = Occupational; Orange WOW = Emotional). There will be several chances to earn a WOW from each of the 7 Dimensions, featuring an activity from a different dimension every day, of each week. Students that complete the game entry and game completion surveys will be entered into drawings for a variety of prizes.

Students that Collect all 7 WOW’s during the 7 week game can play the Ultimate Pursuit of Wellness and be entered into the Grand Prize drawing. Winners will be announced at the Wellness Expo at the UND Student Wellness Center on March 7-8.

If you would like to add an activity to the Game Board, visit the Pursuit of Wellness webpage ( and fill out the submit your activity form.

UND Students – are you ready to play Pursuit of Wellness???

Kicking Things Off!

I want to start with a story, my favorite thing to share (next to a good laugh and a hug). This story begins over 26 years ago, but for the sake of today we’ll fast forward to just over 10 years ago. A change was made that would require great discipline, better choices, a lot of willpower, courage, hard work, and commitment. This story is about me, and the change was a decision to lose weight.

At 16 years old, I weighed over 300 pounds. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see a person who was unhealthy. I saw someone who was misunderstood. My sophomore year of high school I was emcee for the junior/senior prom. I was finally at “dating age” in the our house, and something inside of me decided that if I was going to ever with the heart of Leonardo DiCaprio (or some other suitable hunk), I was going to have to be able to go shopping for clothes in stores meant for my age, rather than my mom or grandma’s.

That summer kickstarted it all. I lost 20 pounds in about 3 months following the simple principals of eating better and moving more. I felt like a new person when school started. A few people noticed, and that meant the world to me. I successfully maintained the weight loss for several months throughout the school year, but a series of not-the-best choices to “reward” my efforts with food led to a backslide in my weight loss. From there I joined Weight Watchers and decided that it was time to follow through with some healthy lifestyle goals.

I recently moved back to Grand Forks and look forward to continue making connections with the community, including UND. While  in college I loved the Wellness Center. It was a vital part of my well-being, so I’m excited to have the opportunity to really experience all that it has to offer.

This blog is meant to be real. It’s meant to be honest. I plan to avoid the “sugar coat” mentality, as that is not typically my style. My hope is that whomever is reading this will take away from it what they need and leave the rest. I thank you for joining me on this journey. So as I get restarted, I’m wondering what YOU’RE favorite part of the Wellness Center is? 


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 427 other followers

%d bloggers like this: