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  • aurecfit 6:47 PM on April 24, 2017 Permalink
    Tags: , exercise, , , recfit, sleep, stress,   

    5 How-To’s to Reduce Stress During Finals Week 

    During the last two weeks of the semester, procrastination among college students reaches an all-time high. This is the time of year you will find students studying late in Club Lib, consuming large amounts of caffeinated drinks, and shuffling through loads of papers.

    Stress is not inherently bad when it is maintained at a healthy level. Being at the ideal level of stress keeps you on your toes and motivates you to study for your exams and finish your final papers. When you can function at this level, you are able to push yourself to do your best without exceeding your stress level. Unfortunately, external factors outside of studying for exams can increase your level of stress! Here are five tips along with some fun events to reduce and maintain a healthy stress level during finals week…IMG_1310

    1. Exercise

    Short exercise breaks can help relieve stress, socialize, and burn off the extra sugary calories you may consume. Take a jog downtown, ride your bike, do yoga or attend a RecFit happy hour class! Exercise helps you focus, it gives you additional energy, and it releases endorphins to make you feel better.

    Consider attending group exercise May 1 – May 7th, all classes are free!


    1. Eat Nutritious Meals and Snacks

    We often eat even more unhealthily during finals week than they do the rest of the semester. In a time crunch, we go for quick, tasty, on-the-go foods and mindlessly munch away until we are left with an empty package. This is a big mistake! Junk food gives you instant energy or a sugar high, but it affects your concentration and memory and will end in a food coma or sugar crash.brianFFF

    Eating nutritious foods will energize you and increase your concentration and retention. Check out the healthy vending machines around campus for more nutritious choices. If you’re choosing snacks from your kitchen or TDR, fruits and vegetables are best; they have the required vitamins and nutrients to prevent sickness and give you energy!


    1. Catch some Zzz’s

    Everyone has different sleep habits, but it is never healthy to pull an all-nighter. If you do, make sure you have time to take a nap so you get the sleep your body needs. Sleep will improve the quality and retention of studying, even though you may have less study time. Less is more.

    1. Prioritize & Plan

    “Failing to plan, is planning to fail.” If you start studying without a plan, you are likely to focus on the wrong material or get distracted. Plan how to allocate your time and what to study.

    Stop by the Stress Fair, April 27th from 10-1pm on the Quad! AU RecFit and other campus partners will be tabling about stress management, playing lawn games, and loving dogs on the quad!


    1. Ask for Help

    Don’t afraid to ask for help! If you do not understand what to do or study, ask someone. You could speak to your professor during office hours or talk to your friends and classmates. Not to quote High School Musical, but we’re all in this together. Your professor wants to see you succeed and so do your friends!

    Incorporating these steps into your routine during finals week will help you manage stress in healthy ways. Remember to stay calm and take everything one step at a time. Finals week is marathon, not a sprint!

    We hope to see you at our final’s week program “Release the Beast” on May 2nd from 2-5pm. Drop-in anytime to Cassell Fitness Center studios for meditation/relaxation, aromatherapy, and DIY trail mix to make as some nutritious study snacks!

    Best of luck,

    Bobby McCabe, Wellness Ambassador

  • aurecfit 3:01 PM on April 10, 2017 Permalink
    Tags: , change, , goal setting, goals, journey, personal training,   

    Exercise in the Era of Immediacy 

    Enjoying the process of the journey as much as the results in the destination.

    Humans are a species that crave immediate results. Especially in today’s world. We want to know when our text messages get read (read receipts), we want to have goods and products we buy in two days (Amazon Prime), we want to lose unrealistic amounts of weight in a short period of time (fad diets). Among many other examples, everything we desire, we desire it immediately.

    We have this notion that having immediate results will somehow satisfy us differently than if we took the time, energy and mindfulness to get to the end goal. But does it really? Or would living in the “work” and enjoying the process, not just the end, also give us that satisfaction?

    Enjoying the means to the end is a line of thinking that is often applied to exercise and body composition goals, but not often practiced. Expecting immediate results during exercise is not only unrealistic, but may reflect inauthentic motives. Expecting to gain muscle or drop weight immediately can set us up for failure, rejection and disappointment. When we seek transformation, we are not just transformed by what we look like or what we can do at the end, but by learning from and conquering the steps it took to get there. HAPPINESS is not a desitination, it's a byproduct of enjoying the journey.

    First, it is important to recognize change is going to take time. Second, it is vital to make that time for yourself. Being aware of the time it requires to reach a goal is vital to comprehend before even stepping into the gym. However, what can be immediate is the decision to dedicate more time to self-care, the decision to go to the gym, to try a new exercise or new exercise class. Those are the things that can be accomplished and decided immediately.

    There are many models used to describe how humans change and adopt new behaviors. For example, the Stages of Change Model, consisting of 8 stages for change. The first stage is pre-contemplation, when an individual has not even thought about making a change. Second is contemplation, when an individual has started thinking about making a change. The third stage is preparation, when an individual may start gathering resources and information for how to make the change. The fourth step is action, and actually changing the desired behavior. Fifth, maintenance, meaning an individual sustains the behavior change over time. Sixth is relapse, when an individual reverts back to an old behavior pattern. Reconnecting and reevaluating your goal is vital during this step. The last step is adoption, when the new behavior is officially changed and accepted.[1] What’s important to remember is that each step will take time and there is a lot to learn about each step and the transition to the next.

    When embarking on a new exercise goal or change, we often learn more about our strengths and willpower from the incremental changes over time made in those last sets, miles and minutes, than the big reveal at the end.

    Personal training can be a great way to create a reasonable and SMART (specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and time-bound) goal. Similarly, personal training can give you the tools to reach those goals. This often begins with a fitness assessment that anyone can take at Cassell Fitness Center.


    Bob Beahm, Personal Training Coordinator at American University

    The Personal Training Coordinator at American University, Bob Beahm, gave his insights on personal training and enjoying the small steps it takes to get to the end goal.

    Q: What is the biggest misconception about training goals many of your clients have?

    A: “There are misconceptions about people’s expectations of what they can accomplish. Many clients come in with the goal of weight loss and they want to lose 50 pounds in a month. Realistically, the human body is only capable of losing 1-2 pounds a week. So it is important to change their perception of what is realistic and when people make realistic goals, they are more susceptible to continuously working hard and making progress. Motivation stems from people believing they are capable of accomplishing the goals they’ve set.”

    Q: What is your trick to keep your clients motivated and excited about training? What about when they are not seeing results?

    A:Communication. It’s about understanding what clients enjoy doing and what they don’t like. If they like something, I try to incorporate it more. As a trainer, I need to be able to adapt to the client’s needs. For example, every goal has 100 different exercises you could do, but it’s about finding the right fit for the client.

    A: When a client is not seeing the results they anticipated it’s time to revisit goals. I ask them what they are doing outside of the sessions to reach those goals. We may need to add something else to the plan or just focus on one thing at a time. Similarly, I try to keep them from losing site of the long term goal and the progress they have already made.”

    Q: What is the best piece of advice you could give someone who is contemplating making a fitness goal or embarking on a change?

    A: “No sustainable change is going to happen overnight. There has to be a lifestyle approach. Behavior change is like changing a habit. It’s about the big picture, but also about the small steps and incremental changes.”

    Q: What is the encouragement you could give someone who is on the fence about getting a personal trainer?

    A: “If someone is new, I would encourage them to take a fitness assessment. That means just talking to a personal trainer about where you currently are and where you want to go. The fitness assessment really is the first step and is about getting to know them. This is a chance to identify what improvements you would like to make.

    PTThe main hesitation someone has to starting a fitness goal is they just lack knowledge about what to do. It can be very intimidating. A fitness assessment and working with a trainer gives you that information and is a judgement-free zone.”

    Abby Lore, Wellness Ambassador

    [1] Garber, C. E., Allsworth, J. E., Marcus, B. H., Hesser, J., & Lapane, K. L. (2008). Correlates of the Stages of Change for Physical Activity in a Population Survey. American Journal of Public Health, 98(5), 897–904. http://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2007.123075

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