Friday, February 29, 2008

Meal Planning

By Courtney Westlake


While it may not be necessary to specifically count calories, it is important to watch what you eat and be aware of your daily intake because it helps maintain your current lifestyle.

"If you don't exercise and you eat more than your body can burn in a day, you start to put on excess weight; that's how we put on five pounds or 10 pounds over the years," said Amanda Jillson, assistant director of fitness and instructional programs at the TRAC. "Watch the amount of calories you're taking in, but also make sure they're the healthy calories, not just simple sugars, candy, sodas."

People have to burn 3,500 calories to burn one pound of fat. While it sounds like a lot, everyone's body is different depending on how much lean muscle you have, Jillson said.

"For instance, just living and standing here, my body is burning 1,400 to 1,500 calories a day without exercising. So if I'm not getting that amount of calories, I'm not doing my body any good," Jillson said. "So I aim for 1,600 or 1,800 calories a day, so when I work out, I can lose weight. It's definitely true that you have to eat to lose weight."

To help members of the campus community with nutrition education and personal wellness, the TRAC offers a great meal planning system through the American Dietetic Association. Using the meal planning system is $10 and to get your body composition, the cost is $5.

During the body composition test, one's body fat is compared to their lean muscle tissue, so it tests how many fat pounds are on the body. A computer is then able to create a proper diet plan, "although I don't want to call it a diet plan," Jillson noted, "because it's more of a lifestyle plan."

Participants can select a certain plan based off of any conditions like diabetes, and put in their food preferences. The computer then prints out a week's worth of meal options.

Meal planning can be very beneficial, not just for certain people, but for everyone, Jillson said.

"It's really hard to make that decision every day about what to eat," she said. "Meal planning gives you several choices of what to eat every single day. And it breaks everything down through percentages, so you don't have to calculate anything; it does it for you if you stay within the meal plan."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Nutrition And Exercise

By Courtney Westlake


It's no secret that nutrition plays a role in the health and wellness of our bodies. Good nutrition is essential for wellbeing when it comes to exercise, disease prevention and for growth of our bodies, said Amanda Jillson, assistant director of fitness and instructional programs at the TRAC.

"Getting the right amount of nutrition is very vital with exercise; it involves how muscles recover, and the input and output of energy you have before, during and after workouts," she said. "It's important to get the right amount of carbohydrates, fats and proteins."

For those that like to get their workouts in first thing in the morning, don't forget to get some food in your system to prevent nausea, dizziness or side aches. Between 200 and 300 calories is adequate to get your body going in the morning before working out, Jillson said.

"You want to avoid fat or protein directly in the morning because your body needs something it can quickly digest,” she said. "Some examples of good morning foods are raisins, bagels, granola, bananas or other fruit."

For those who exercise around the lunch hour, be sure to eat before that workout as well, perhaps a mid-morning snack around 300 to 400 calories. Jillson recommended following a 60-20-20 rule; you should eat a light snack or meal consisting of 60 percent carbohydrates, 20 percent proteins and 20 percent fats.

"That would be a good mix to help energize you during your workout," Jillson said. "And then you want to make sure you eat your lunch after you exercise of course."

For those who prefer to work out in the evenings, after work or later in the night, Jillson said that similar standards should apply to the lunch hour workout. You should eat an hour or two beforehand – a mid-afternoon snack of about 300 to 400 calories.

"And you definitely want to eat after you work out because your body is burning calories post-workout," Jillson recommended. "Sometimes it actually burns more calories than you did during your workout, just because your metabolism is increased during that time."

Friday, February 15, 2008

Cardiovascular Exercise

By Courtney Westlake


There might be more to running or riding your bike than you might think.

Exercises like this are classified as cardiovascular exercise, which is an aerobic exercise that involves the large muscle groups, said Amanda Jillson, assistant director of fitness and instructional programs at the TRAC. When performing cardio exercise, you want to work out at a certain intensity for your heart, Jillson said.

Your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. Your target heart rate is a range that is considered to be the best rate to give your heart a good workout; this range is between 50 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate, Jillson said.

To find your maximum heart rate when working out, you can ask your doctor or use a rough estimate through a calculation. For women, take 226 minus your age, and for men, take 220 minus your age. Then take that number and multiply it by .5 to get the lower end of your target heart rate. Multiply that number by .85 to get the upper end.

If you don't have a heart monitor to use when performing cardio exercise, many exercise machines have grips that allow you to monitor your heart when using them, Jillson said.

Cardiovascular exercise can be done indoors or outdoors. Some indoor exercises use machines such as ellipticals, stair-climbers, stationary bikes, treadmills and more. Several group fitnesses classes could also be considered cardio exercise because your heart rate is elevated and kept at a constant rate for the majority of the class, Jillson said.

Outdoor exercises are running, jogging, walking or jumping rope.

"With any cardio exercises, you want to make sure to have the proper attire," Jillson recommended. "Make sure you have shoes that fit and don't rub on your toes or your heels, and wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing."

There are five major benefits to cardiovascular exercise. The first and most obvious is that it can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and help your heart. Cardio exercise can also lower blood pressure, burn calories (how many depends on the duration and type of exercise), improve your psychological state and lastly, it can raise your metabolic rate, Jillson said.

"There have been been research studies showing that if you do enough cardio exercise, your metabolism will increase, which means you'll be burning more calories, just by living," she said. "Your body will reap many benefits from cardiovascular exercise."

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Boot Camp Class Challenges Participants

By Courtney Westlake


Actually attending boot camp doesn't sound like much fun, but performing some of the drills definitely serves as a great workout.

The TRAC is offering a group fitness class called Boot Camp this semester that takes place on Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30 to 9:15 p.m. and Friday from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m.

The boot camp class consists of short drills like plyometrics, short runs, pushups and pullups and other exercises you might see at an actual boot camp.

"It's a really good class, it burns a lot of calories, the students really seem to like it, and we have good instructors that teach it," said Amanda Jillson, assistant director of fitness and instructional programs at the TRAC.

Jillson said she also teaches a kickboxing class and has begun to "throw in a little bit of boot camp to that class, too," calling the class KickMix now.

The group fitness classes were offered some last semester, but this semester is the first time the classes are free to TRAC members, Jillson said. She encouraged all students and even staff and faculty to come check out the classes.

"It's never intimidating, and it's 'go at your own pace,' so it's only competing against yourself," she said. "So we do encourage all students to participate."

During Boot Camp, participants exercise to upbeat music and rotate between various stations during short intervals so that each muscle group gets a workout.

"With the running we do, you use a lot of lower body, but we also do pushups, which uses the arms, shoulders, back and abs. We do drills from punching on the bag to squats with a weighted ball," Jillson said. "It's a real mixture of a class, and the participation's been really good so far. Every class is never the same; we're always going to be doing something different."

To see a schedule of group fitness classes, click here.