Category Archives: Athletics

How to Trick Yourself into Getting Fit Without Leaving Campus

Jan 9, 2014 | Author: Colleen Bierstine
Frisbee

Photo by Kevin Waldron

With the recently relentless cold, we’re all about ready to go into hibernation mode. But it’s important to keep yourself moving so that, come summertime, you’re in great shape to enjoy the sunshine and freedom. And of course, your health doesn’t become any less essential in the winter.

For me, an hour or two at the gym each day is my way of staying active and fit. But some folks just aren’t gym people, and that’s okay. You can work little spurts of fitness into your already existing daily routine, and you don’t even have to step foot off campus to do it.

  1.  Get walking. You already don’t have much of a choice when it comes to walking to class if you live on campus. However, you can leave your dorm 5, 10, or even 30 minutes early to walk around campus & maybe the local streets before you head to class.  Just a few minutes of walking means extra calorie burn, plus it will wake you up for your class. Even if you commute to school, you can leave early and take a walk before class too.
  2. Pack heavy. Wait…aren’t you supposed to pack light? Not in this case. Take as much junk to class with you as you want: water bottles, all the books you need for the day, laptop, a sweatshirt, food, etc. That extra weight means more work toting it around, so you’ll burn calories and build strength without even trying. It might seem like a pain, but it’ll  be convenient having everything you could need with you so you don’t have to return to your dorm.
  3. Be a stair master. Got a few minutes between classes? Why not take a hike up and down the stairs a few times? There are plenty of staircases to choose from, and you can take different ones if you don’t want to look weird walking up and down the same flight. Climbing stairs will get your blood pumping fast, and it will wake you up after you’ve been sitting most of your day.
  4. Plank like it’s your job. I love planks because you can do them anytime, anywhere – no equipment required. Plus, they are one of the most effective exercises you can do. If you’re in the middle of studying (or more likely, browsing the internet), take a break to do a quick plank. It’s not an hour-long workout commitment; it can be as short as a minute. Make sure your elbows are aligned with your shoulders, and keep your butt down and back flat. Your abs should be doing the work here, not your back. However, this will work your shoulders too. If you don’t do planks often, start with 30 second intervals then work your way up to longer and longer planks.6-exercises-you-are-doing-wrong-plank
  5. Take a seat. Wall sits are another great anytime, anywhere workout as long as you’ve got a wall. You can take study breaks to do these with the planks, or alternate doing them. Wall sits will work the back and front of your legs, and you’ll feel it fast. Again, start with 30-second intervals, then work your way up. Press your back flat against the wall then slide down until your knees are aligned with your toes and bent at a 90-degree angle. It’s like you’re sitting in an invisible chair. Now hold that position. You can make it harder by placing a book in your lap.

    wall-sits

    Photo from Fit Chicks Central

  6. Get creative. You probably don’t have a set of weights in your dorm room, but you don’t need one to get stronger. Anything remotely heavy can serve as a weight, whether it be a water bottle or a book. You can do bicep curls, weighted lunges, dead rows and more with all kinds of objects you already have lying around.
  7. Blow dry your hair. I know this one sounds like a long shot, but you get a serious shoulder workout blow-drying your hair! Try to switch arms halfway through to fatigue each side equally (although this may be difficult if you’re only used to one side).
  8. Get up. If you’re studying or doing something that doesn’t absolutely require sitting, get off your butt! You can pace around your room while doing flashcards or browsing Pinterest on your iPad. I wouldn’t suggest taking this outside your dorm though because then it gets a little dangerous and you run the risk of bumping into something (or someone). You can even take your downtime outside on nice days. Play frisbee with your friends instead of opting for Netflix on the couch.
  9. Jam out. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love to rock out to their favorite music in the privacy of their own room. And if anyone tells you otherwise, they’re probably lying. Turn up the tunes, put on comfy pjs or sweats and dance your heart out. It’s so silly and fun, you don’t even realize you’re torching calories. Get your roommate in on the fun too, if you like. Just make sure you keep your music at a respectable level.
  10. Take the long way. There is usually more than one way to get to whatever class or part of campus you’re heading to, so take the longest one. This little change can make a big difference over time without being a huge inconvenience to you.

Moral of the story: a lot of little changes make for a big pay-off. You don’t have to over-exert yourself to get in better shape. In fact, you just have to trick your brain into thinking you’re not doing anything different than normal. These small tweaks to your day won’t cost you a lot of time or pain, but they’ll trick you into working harder and whipping your body into better shape, all from the comfort of the UC campus.

What are YOUR favorite fitness tricks?

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On the Run: New blog feature!

Oct 30, 2013 | Author: Colleen Bierstine

Hi everyone! I’ve been hard at work collecting some things for a new feature I’m starting on my blog called On the Run! I think a little background is necessary, so let’s take it back a couple years….

I grew up seriously overweight. Things escalated quickly and I found myself as a 180-pound high school freshman. Something needed to change. I found that change in something I never thought I would:

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I decided to start running!

Now, while I’m sure you’d be more than happy to giggle at the absolutely ridiculous running pictures I’ve taken (I’m the worst picture-taker when standing still, let alone moving around), there is a UC connection. I dropped most of my weight thanks to running while at UC!

My sophomore year I started dabbling in running a bit more. I’d always been curious, but I had a vision in my head that only super skinny kids could run–I know, I don’t know. I ran my first race in April 2012: The Save Our Switchbacks 7.5k. The race was k i l l e r; the hills of the switchbacks are pretty much vertical and I was wholly unprepared for what I got myself into. I finished and hobbled into the post-race party… to find out I took first place in my age group! This created a monster and I spent the summer determined to get better. I ran my first half marathon that September.

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Not only did I finish in one piece, I ran the race with a pace over a minute-per-mile faster than the 7.5k (and held it for almost ten miles longer!)

Then came UC. I was a woman possessed. I didn’t know how to improve, but I knew I wanted to. That’s when I decided to take the plunge…

I joined the track team!

I ran indoor and outdoor track and saw leaps of improvement in my running. By the end of the 2013 track season, I had decreased my mile time from 6:50 to 6:10! I knew what the real test would be though: a re-try at the Save Our Switchbacks race.

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I tried again… and came in 40th out of nearly 200 runners! Second place in my age group, an average 7:48 pace compared to last year’s 9:45 pace… I was a happy, proud camper.

Two weeks later I did something else I never thought I’d do: I won a 5k. Won. This will never happen again, but I’m glad it happened once.
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Running has given me so much. It helped me feel like I was really good at something. It made me feel stronger. It made me lots of great friends!
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But most importantly, it helped me finally do this:
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Running, especially at UC, helped me become a better version of myself and I want to share that with all of you! Before you panic, I’m not making you run laps (although, that might be fun…) This segment is all about showing everyone what cool things I’ve found running in the Utica area! I’m really excited about it and hope you are too!

Some questions for you:
Do you run? If not, do you like another sport?
Local folks: what places should I run to?!?

And a sneak peek at the next installment of On the Run:
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Oh yeah, I went there.