LAKERS TOGETHER: Grand Valley is preparing for successful learning experiences when classes resume on Aug. 31. Learn more about the plan for fall in this handbook.
Deciding what to eat before a workout can be tricky. Eating too close to workouts or choosing the wrong foods may throw a wrench in your fitness routine. Add in a full day of classes, plus time for a healthy snack before being active, and it can sometimes seem almost impossible. Fortunately, we have some great tips on how to help you worry less about fueling up and focus more on your workout ahead:
Experiment with eating times.
Build a good snack.
Have one of these tried and tested pre-workout combos.
Still a little hesitant on where to begin? Try a snack listed below that’s a good carb and protein combination to get your workout off to a great start:
1-4 hours before exercise:
30-60 minutes before exercise:
Connect with our dietitian!
By: Alex Sixt
It’s officially a new year - can you believe it?! With a new semester comes adjusting to a new schedule. It can be difficult to plan exercise and healthy habits while simultaneously mapping out classes, but it’s important to start creating healthy habits early on. Get a head start on improving your wellness by getting involved with Recreation & Wellness and attending some of these upcoming events:
Outdoor Adventures Trips
8 Dimensions of Wellness
Get a fresh start in 2020 by establishing healthy habits that can carry you into the next one! For more ideas on how to get involved with Recreation and Wellness, visit our website.
By: Alex Sixt
With busy schedules and a few too many trips to late night, you might find your diet slipping when it comes to getting the nutrition that you need. Eating healthy on a budget, in a small kitchen in your apartment, and with a full day of classes isn’t always the most convenient. Some our our our favorite tips for making nutrition a habit and a lot more accessible are:
For more information about nutrition:
By: Alexis Smith
How does the word “fitness” make you feel? Does it excite you or leave you feeling dread? Your outlook on your healthy routine is influential on your success for maintaining it. Of course, if you truly love to workout and love to incorporate good nutrition in your diet, it will make it much easier to be successful. But, what if you don’t love it? How do you change your attitude toward living a healthy lifestyle?
Your definition of fitness is going to be completely different than anyone else’s, and that’s encouraged! We’re all different, and that’s what makes it so great. Go to dinner with friends, be lazy when you feel like it, and don’t feel like living healthy is a chore. Start each day with the mindset that you’re doing this to better yourself and your pace is the perfect pace.
By: Alexis Smith
Being a student can be challenging to navigate and a little confusing. Life can get busy, and it might feel like you have no time to focus on yourself. That’s understandable, and you’re not alone. Knowing that and caring about your individual well-being and your experience as a student, it’s important to take time to prioritize yourself and your well-being.
What exactly is wellness?
Wellness is a life-long journey; "a conscious, self-directed, and evolving process of achieving full potential" (National Wellness Institute). According to the World Health Organization, wellness is “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or illness.” This doesn’t mean just going to the doctor when you’re feeling sick, it’s about evaluating all aspects of how you feel. As a college student, it is especially important to take care of yourself. Many of the habits you form in college may stick with you, so it’s important to build healthy habits now. Understanding the 8 dimensions of wellness can help guide your personal well-being during your college experience.
Emotional wellness involves enjoying your life and adjusting to changes adequately. It is important to evaluate your emotional wellness to ensure you are aware of your feelings and are delegating them as needed. This includes: expressing your feelings to others, seeking support in times of need and consciously evaluating yourself to improve. A good way to assess your emotional wellness is by evaluating how you treat others, feeling as if your life has meaning, and just simply liking who you are. For more tips for improving your emotional wellness, visit the University Counseling Center.
Social wellness is important in creating a sense of belonging and upholding a strong support system. Coming into college can sometimes feel lonely, and it’s important to get involved and work to develop that sense of belonging. Relationships with your family, friends, and peers is important when assessing your support system. Are you balancing your social and personal time? Is your social circle a positive influence to you? These are examples of good questions to ask yourself when evaluating your social wellness. Find more ways to get involved and expand your social group by visiting Recreation & Wellness or the Office of Student Life.
College itself is a tool toward your journey to occupational wellness. Although, it’s important to stay in touch with yourself to explore different opportunities for careers that are right for you. Are you pursuing a career that supports the life you are trying to create? Are you excited about learning in the classroom? Don’t be afraid to look into things you’re passionate about, and don’t be afraid to ask for support. Visit the Career Center or Academic Advising Center for career advice and academic support.
Intellectual wellness involves your formal education in the classroom but also includes all learning outside including your hobbies and other interests. Are you challenging your brain on a regular basis? Make an effort to pursue new things and keep yourself on your toes. Examples of ways to maintain your intellectual wellness journey include: reading, student organizations, attending new events, and many more.
Financial wellness is important to students being that they understand their financial situation and resources. Topics in this dimension include: income, savings, budgeting, etc. Do you feel like you have a good understanding on how to budget and handle your finances? Learn more about money management and even your journey from college to a career, visit MoneySmart Lakers.
Environmental wellness encompasses both feeling safe in your environment and also spending time at places that support your well-being. Be conscious of the experiences that you enjoy and surround yourself with those who make you happy. If you are concerned about your safety, visit the Department of Public Safety or learn more about how you can impact the environment through the Office of Sustainability Practices.
Spiritual wellness involves the time spent focusing on your sense of meaning in life. It is important to feel purpose in life and to uphold a strong connection to yourself. Do you feel like you’re living on autopilot? Focus on the values and beliefs that are important to you and surround yourself with a community that shares those same principles. It is important to feel as if your life has meaning. Get connected through Campus Interfaith Resources.
Physical wellness focuses on having a healthy body by practicing good habits. It’s important that we take care of our bodies and make sure we’re hydrated, eat nutritious foods, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. Also, make sure you’re getting regular check-ups with your physician. If you are concerned with your physical health, the Campus Health Center provides care for GVSU students, and Recreation & Wellness offers something for everyone and a multitude of ways to get involved, be active, and live healthy!
Recreation & Wellness has recently changed its name from Campus Recreation, and is dedicated to supporting student well-being and toward connecting students with the resources they need. Visit the Student Wellness website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
By: Alexis Smith
So, you have fitness and wellness goals, but how do you know you’re on track to achieve them? Or, maybe you don’t even know where to start. Sometimes the pathway to your fitness goals isn’t very straightforward. We get it; we know you have a lot going on and you may not be an expert. Luckily, our UFit Plan provides you with a one-on-one consultation with a fitness specialist to discuss your wellness goals, current health, fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle status. And the best part? It’s FREE for students! Basically, it’s free personal training!
If you’re having a hard time maintaining an active lifestyle, consulting with our fitness specialists can make your goals more achievable. In your first appointment, you will discuss your goals, fitness preferences, and schedule. A plan is being created for you, and only you, so everything will be considered to make this plan manageable for creating life-long habits. Additionally, a break down will be provided outlining the importance of how nutrition, stress management, and activity levels play in your overall wellness. We’ll also give you helpful suggestions in managing them.
You will complete a fitness assessment in that first appointment to evaluate your current status of endurance, strength, body composition, flexibility, and other benchmarks around achieving your established goals. These benchmarks will be recorded so that you can track your progress as you move through your fitness journey.
“I chose to participate in the UFit plan because I liked the idea of meeting with someone to talk about my goals and help make a plan for my personal fitness goals,” said Sofia Draper, GVSU Student. “It was amazing to sit and talk about my health with someone who knew how to answer the questions I had and debunk some of the myths I had heard.”
After your first meeting, you will receive a personalized plan to follow until your second appointment. After working through your routine, you have the option to complete a prescription appointment. This appointment will involve establishing a reasoning behind the exercises and mobility techniques that have been personalized to you. The plan is designed for you specifically, and our fitness specialists are committed to ensuring that you understand the purpose of the plan and are comfortable with what it entails. Additionally, an equipment orientation will be provided in this appointment to evaluate all of the equipment in the Rec Center and learn how to get set up on each machine.
From there, an additional appointment will be scheduled weeks following the prescription appointment to evaluate how the plan worked with your fitness specialist. From there, the plan can be evaluated by both the fitness specialist and the client with room to reevaluate the current plan and make any changes if needed. You may also complete another round of fitness testing to track your progress from your initial appointment.
“Getting started with the UFit plan during my freshman year at GV helped me to take control of my personal health and fitness,” said Emma Merlington, GVSU Student. “It gave me personalized options for working out and helped motivate me to schedule in time for the gym.”
By: Alexis Smith
It comes as no surprise that getting a good night’s sleep can lead to a better quality of life. Although, more often than not, college students admit to be lacking in their quality of sleep… let’s not even talk about finals week. If you find yourself relying on all-nighters, we have some news for you. College students who pull the occasional “all-nighter” are actually more likely to have a lower GPA. Sleep is essential to achieving higher grades.
If your energy levels are lacking or you feel like you aren’t at your peak performance, lack of sleep could the reason. Feeling less alert is often caused by your weekly sleeping habits. Specifically, this could be how you “make up” for your lack of sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine even advises those who stay up late during the week and “make up” for their lack of sleep by sleeping in over the weekend that they are actually doing more damage. Sleeping in late on the weekends, which a lot of people do, sets off your internal body clock. This begins to damage your sleep habits when trying to wake up for morning classes again the next week.
Even so, putting off sleep throughout the week can cause adverse effects the longer that you do so. In a recent study, “every additional day per week that students experience sleep problems, their cumulative GPA lowered by 0.02.” In addition, the likelihood of the student dropping a course increased an average of 10% every day.
On top of lack of energy and affecting your GPA, not getting enough sleep can weaken your immune system. As a student, attendance is essential to academic success. Becoming more susceptible to a cold, or even the flu, can take a toll on your body (and your attendance). By getting enough sleep, your immune system will keep performing as it should and leave you less exposed to sickness.
So, what does this all mean?
Sleep is extremely important, and it isn’t something you can just “make up” for, either.. In fact, college students (18-25 year olds) are recommended to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
Now, what can you do to promote better sleep and productivity?
Make a habit of going to bed early. This means turning your mind off about 30 minutes before bed by stopping homework, turning off the TV, and putting down your phone for the night.
Set an alarm for when it’s time to go to bed. That’s right; you should remind yourself when it’s time to unwind. Set a daily alarm so you don’t get stuck studying and realize it’s already 2am.
Stay consistent on the weekends. It’s okay to sleep in an extra hour if you’re looking to catch up on sleep, but don’t allow yourself to sleep through your entire day and completely set off your internal clock.
Eat a light snack before bed. Don’t overeat or allow yourself to go to bed hungry, as both can cause you to toss and turn at night. Balance it with a light snack if needed.
By: Alexis Smith
If you hear “rest day” and visualize a day spent watching Netflix with a carton of ice cream, there may be some confusion about what a rest day really is. Rest days are built on misunderstanding whether it is perceived as being lazy, or that they consist of completely sedentary activity. Whether you don’t currently incorporate rest days in your routine, or if you might have the wrong idea about what they are, rest days should be considered a regular addition to your workout week.
There is a lot of value in balancing workouts with designated rest. Although, rest days are not to be confused with “cheat days.” Cheat days allow you to give yourself a break when it comes to your diet. Rest days allow your body to recover by taking time off from training, which is strictly related to your physical activity. Either way, both can provide similar benefits, such as an increase in motivation and well deserved mental breaks.
While it may feel like a waste of time to give your muscles a break, rest days are key to forward progress. Your body is actually doing a lot of work on those days, and it leads to an extreme pay off. While you take a mental relaxation from training, your body is working hard to regain your energy and generate new muscle tissue. If your goal is to become stronger, you need rest days.
What are other benefits, you ask? Rest days reduce the risk of injury, improve your sleep, and can even increase your motivation level. If you’ve recently started an exercise routine, it’s easy to get excited and cram too many workouts into one week. While high motivation is good, it may cause you to overwork and can eventually cause you to lose focus. Incorporating rest days into your routine gives you a chance to change it up and get excited about returning to your normal exercise schedule. Your routine should never feel like a chore. If you’re exerting too many hours into your week, you might push yourself to a plateau of motivation.
Although, don’t get too excited. This doesn’t go to say that your rest days have to be, or should be, filled with sedentary activity. While a day spent in bed might sound enticing, active rest days are the perfect balance. Active rest days can provide enough rest and relaxation for your mind and muscles, but also won’t set you back enough to a lack of motivation or leave you feeling stiff when you hop back into your routine. Need suggestions? Take a light walk, go swimming in the lake, play frisbee with a friend, or do anything that keeps you moving just a little.Your rest days shouldn’t feel forced; fill them with activities you look forward to.
If your goal is to transform fitness into a lifelong habit, there will most likely be days where you just can’t find the time, or you just need a day to mentally unwind. Don’t feel guilty about scheduling your rest days. It is important to slow down and allow your body to recover so you can move further toward your goals in the long run. Be kind to yourself and recognize your perfect balance.
By: Alexis Smith
Looking to shake up your fitness routine? Consider Group Exercise classes as a way to provide variety in your everyday workout. Not to mention, a little bit of fun too! Whether your goal is to simply start exercising, increase your accountability, or just find a fun way to stay active, Group Exercise may be the answer for you!
Participants of all fitness levels are welcome to participate in Group Exercise classes, since classes are formatted to accommodate beginner, intermediate, and advanced participants. Plus, all participants can find a range of different course options suited to their interests. Various class options provide variety and room for growth for each individual’s fitness journey.
For beginners, Group Exercise may be a great first step. For those who don’t feel experienced or comfortable enough to workout alone, Group Exercise is a perfect option. Classes are led by an instructor to provide a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere, while also providing guidance to those who may need it.
"I have never been an athletic person,” said Morgan, GVSU student. “Taking group exercise classes makes me feel good and gives me a way to simply exercise without the sports aspect and judgement of others!”
Even our advanced participants find that following an instructor is a great way to create structure, especially for those who are accustomed to following workouts provided by a coach or trainer. Group Exercise is also great for those who aren’t experienced in developing their own exercises, yet it still allows them to achieve their fitness goals.
"I participate in Campus Recreation services because I like to have structure and someone else to challenge me during workouts, due to the fact that I am a former athlete,” said Terrell Dorsey, GVSU student. “Also, why worry about what my workout should be when I can attend any GroupEx class with the GroupEx pass?”
As discussed in Rec&Well’s last blog, creating accountability is a monumental tool when turning fitness activities into habits. Purchasing a Group Exercise pass is an alternative form of that external accountability we mentioned. Attending Group Exercise classes consistently helps get you into a routine and make exercising a weekly habit.
“I enjoy participating in Group Exercise classes to help me to maintain accountability and stay motivated,” said Karmen Johnson, GVSU student. “Campus Rec has allowed me to grow, get involved, and step out of my comfort zone."
Group Exercise is also the perfect activity to get together with friends, and even make new ones! Most class formats are 45 minutes, making it easy to coordinate with friends and fit into your weekly schedule.
“I met close friends, and it was something I looked forward to,” said Meg Duffey, GVSU student. “The classes jump started me into going to the gym multiple days a week. Now, going to the Rec Center is a part of my routine. Campus Rec has such a positive energy around it, and I really enjoy being a part of its community.”
Ready to get started?
To participate, you must purchase an all-class pass each semester Passes are available for students, faculty, staff, and GVSU alumni who have a current fieldhouse membership. Passes are good for the entire semester and for as many classes as you desire. Plus, the first week of classes is Try-It-Before-You-Buy It, meaning you can come try any of those ~50 classes at no cost and with no pass that week!
Check back in August or follow @GVSURecreation on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to be notified when the Fall schedule is available and how to purchase your pass at that time. For more information and to see class descriptions, visit the Recreation and Wellness website.
Whether you never had much interest in living a healthier lifestyle, or you’ve found yourself straying away from those good habits for a little too long, it’s not always easy to jump into an exercise routine. Recreation and Wellness would like to give you a few of our best tips to starting to make healthier lifestyle choices then transforming those into lifelong habits.
Don’t ignore your foundation
You’ve probably heard this a few times, but it is essential to be sleeping 7-8 hours per night. Think about it this way, your body needs time to recover and regain energy to be able to rebuild the muscles that you worked in your last exercise. By skipping this step, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage for the potential that your workout could have. Don’t sabotage your fitness journey by not getting enough sleep. Instead, make sleep a priority. You’ll feel better not only during your workouts, but throughout the entire day too!
Your energy level doesn’t stop at just getting good sleep, it also has to do with the fuel that you’re giving your body. Yes, we’re talking about food! Both the calories that you are taking in, as well as the nutrition in those calories, matter toward your overall wellbeing. While you may be receiving enough calories from eating a donut each morning, it will not give you the nutrients and the foundation that your body needs. Getting a balanced breakfast and prioritizing your nutrition will help you better reach your goals and leave you feeling better.
While this is a lot easier said than done, controlling your stress is crucial to obtaining a consistent fitness journey. Stress interferes with the interest in engagement for physical activity and will leave you feeling unmotivated to continue. But guess what? Physical activity produces endorphins that will assist with your stress levels (if a moderate level of stress). While stress is inevitable and we all experience it (yes, everyone!), it is important to take action in monitoring stress levels the best you can, limiting interference achieving your fitness goals.
Outline your goals
Outlining your goals will keep you on track. It is important to establish those goals before you start, as this will allow you to witness your progress toward your goals. Checking out the UFit program through Recreation & Wellness is a great place to start if you aren’t sure how to establish those goals.
Need ways to remind yourself of your goals? Create a vision board, or scatter motivational notes in places you will see them everyday. Motivational quotes, pictures of exercises, or even just writing out your goals will remind you of why you started (and why you want to keep going on) this journey.
Do something everyday
Fitting in some form of physical activity everyday is essential to staying on track. If some days are busier than others, don’t feel like you need to engage in strenuous activity; something is always better than nothing. Whether it be walking your dog, playing a quick game of volleyball, or even shoveling snow, you’ll (more times than not) be glad you did it!
You don’t always have to make it to the Rec Center. Taking the stairs or riding a bike to class are great ways to get in your daily workout when you might not have time for an organized exercise session. Incorporating various activities will keep you on track without even thinking about it.
Create internal and external accountability
Instead of punishing yourself for not getting an exercise in, create proactive forms of accountability to avoid negative emotions. Internal accountability can be created just by establishing S.M.A.R.T.* goals and engaging in a routine. Do things ahead of time to make it easier for you in moments you feel less motivated. Pack for the Rec the night before, meal prep for the week, or make a commitment to yourself that you will exercise for so many days per week.
Engaging in activities outside of individual exercise, you can create external accountability. Sign up for group exercise classes or schedule time with a personal trainer to create more motivation Often times, when you make a commitment to others, you’re more likely to make it happen. Plus, it’s a good way to stay connected to others and increase both your consistency and yours!
Keep it fun and fresh
Your fitness journey should be fun! It shouldn’t feel like a chore to be healthy, and it doesn’t have to be. Finding things to stay active that spark your interest is important when creating fitness habits. Play a new sport, try rock climbing, or plan your own hiking trip. The possibilities are endless, and staying active should never be boring.
If you’re looking for fresh ways to get involved and stay active, check out the Recreation & Wellness website for even more opportunities change up your fitness routine.
*S.M.A.R.T. goals are: Specific (simple, sensible, significant), Measurable (meaningful, motivating), Achievable (agreed, attainable), Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based), and Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
By: Alexis Smith
Second image courtesy of My Fit Station