Fitness For Every Body Part 4

Matt Green, Reporter

Editor’s Note: Matt Green is a senior sport management major and a personal trainer at Leverage Fitness in Forty-Fort, Pa. This is part four of a four-part health and fitness series special for The Highlander.

You’ve been eating right and working out for quite a while now. In the beginning you started seeing and feeling results. The waistline got slimmer and you felt more energized, but now those results aren’t as frequent anymore. So what happened? Well, it could be the buzzword, “plateau,” which I’m strongly against. If you want to simply maintain, rather than continuously improve, hit- ting a plateau is fine, I suppose. You won’t get worse, you won’t improve, you’ll just stay stagnant. But what if stagnation is out of your control? The number one reason people gain weight or stop seeing improvements can stress.

Stress, believe it or not, can be beneficial. When I feel stressed, I lose motivation in every way, not only motivation to work out, but motivation to eat right (gasp).
I’ve learned that some people can handle stress better than others. Some people are very cool and collected, while others become so tightly strung that they’re almost bursting into tears. The main reason stress can be so detrimental to our bodies both mentally and physically is the chemical called cortisol. When we feel a threat (stress), our body produces a higher amount of cortisol, which raises blood glucose and adrenaline levels in our body and also causes our body to hold onto fat. Once the threat has been eliminated, our levels go back to normal, but what if that stress never really goes away? We just keep thinking about it over and over again, thus making our body feel threatened and never really going back to normal.

I’m talking about stress here because of two reasons: One, it’s always around us and we have no control of it. However we can control how we handle that stress, and two, finals. No doubt that you will be stressed like you’ve never been before. Stress is inevitable and we are surrounded by it. During finals you’re probably not sleeping that well and consuming energy drinks or coffee to help power your multiple-hour study sessions and late night cramming. You won’t have time to work enough to have the energy – plus you need to devote your time to studying. Convenience and comfort foods are at your disposal and you would do anything just to feel a little sense of relief, and so you eat that cookie, that slice of pizza, those cheese fries, and once finals are over, you realize you went overboard. The lethal combination of stress, bad foods and lack of sleep is a recipe for disaster.

So how do we prevent this from happening?

Be Prepared: I’m shedding light on this because it’s going to happen. We all know it. Understand and tell yourself that finals will be a living hell for you. These aren’t your first finals. You’ve done this before and you’ve made it out alive.

Time Management: Time management in college is vital. Without proper time management, you will be bombarded with homework assignments and papers that made you procrastinate until the night before it’s due. Instead of two marathon study sessions, try breaking up the time into smaller, manageable study segments. I’ve told you in previous articles that you don’t need to be in the gym for an hour to get an effective workout. If you go in there ready to rock and roll, you can be in and out of the gym within thirty minutes. As much as I hate strictly elliptical/treadmill workouts, you can kill two birds with one stone by studying while on the treadmill, although I personally would fall flat on my face.

Stay Positive: Negativity will get you nowhere. This applies to not only the gym and to fitness, but also life in general. Try your best studying and eating healthy/ working out. You’re probably not going to get a 100% on the test and you’re probably not going to have a six-pack after the first week of working out. It’s all about progress and positivity. Do the best of your capabilities, acknowledge that you tried and be happy!

In conclusion, I want to thank both The Highlander and you, the reader, for showing an interest in this four-part series. I hope that you not only found these articles interesting but informative as well. I absolutely love sharing my passion and knowledge for health and fitness. Stay healthy and have a great summer, Cougars!

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