Category Archives: Health & Fitness

Quick & Easy Dorm Room Exercises

Filed under: College Life, Health & Fitness, Living, Tips - Angelina
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Serena Piper BookRenter Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to exercise more and get in shape? If it is, you’re probably 1 out of every 10 people on the planet to say so. But what if you don’t want to fork over the $30-$40 it costs each month to maintain a gym membership? Or what if you just don’t have the motivation to make yourself leave the house to do a 30 minute walk or jog?

Luckily, there are several quick and easy exercises that you can do right in your dorm, apartment, or living space that will still give you great health benefits without having to go to a gym:

1. Desk Push-Ups

Sometimes when we workout, we can neglect to exercise our arms. If you have a desk in your room, then there is an easy way you can remember to focus on your arms. With your desk up against a wall, stand up and place your hands on the edge of your desk a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your feet flat on the ground, your back flat and your chest lined up with the edge of the desk. Slowly lower your chest down, bending at the elbows until you’re about 6 inches from the desk. Push back up to starting position. Try 3 sets of 15.

2. Bed Dips

Doing dips on the side of your bed is another great way to sculpt your arms and build upper body strength. Sit on the edge of your bed with your hands on the edge of the bed on each side of you. Lower yourself a few inches off the bed while keeping your back close to the bed and your hands still on the edge. Try not to sink into the shoulders or go lower than 90 degrees. Push back up and repeat.

3. Textbook Crunches

Lay face up on a mat or towel with knees bent and feet on the floor. Pick your most hated, I mean heaviest, textbook and hold it directly over your head with both hands. Keeping your abs tight, slowly lift your head and shoulders off the ground, lifting the book in the air. Hold for 1 second then slowly release. Repeat.

4. Stair-Steppers

Using a stool, a stack of textbooks, or whatever else you have laying around, make a platform just several inches high. Stand behind it with knees and arms slightly bent, then alternate tapping the top of the platform with either foot. See how many taps you can get in 30 seconds, then work up to a minute.

5. Jumping Squats

Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Start off doing a regular squat, then engage your core and jump up into the air with everything you have. Land back into your squat position and repeat the motion, swinging your arms to help.

To make your workout a little more enticing, have a playlist of motivational and high-energy music playing in the background. Don’t forget to drink water to keep hydranted!

Share your quick and easy dorm room exercises in a comment below!

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Fit-Feasting On Thanksgiving

Filed under: Food, Health & Fitness, Seasonal Celebrations, Tips - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham BookRenter Blogger Biography

This time of the year is known as the time that ruins your diet. With the holidays, great meals, and colder weather – everyone seems to gain weight. Usually we don’t worry about gaining the weight until bikini body season. For the past couple of years, I’ve learned some tricks to staying as healthy as I can during Thanksgiving and this time of year so that afterwards I don’t feel sluggish and gross.

Here are some suggestions to how to stay healthy during Thanksgiving:

1. Family Fitness Activity

If you’re spending the holiday with family, like most of us do, the easiest way to get a “workout” in is to involve the whole family. For two years, my family and I have participated in the Turkey Trot 5K races the morning of Thanksgiving. If your town doesn’t offer something like that, then do a flag football or volleyball competition. Incorporate some sort of competition or game that gets the family going so you can burn some extra calories and make some holiday memories while doing it!

2. Cook Some Of The Meal

Talk to whoever is “in charge” of Thanksgiving and see what you can make yourself for the meal. I’ve already talked to my grandma about making a pie, and some side dishes this year. This puts you in control of the recipe, so you can use healthier options when cooking!

3. Smaller Plate Trick

So you don’t offend the cook, talk to them beforehand, but instead of using a big plate like everyone else, use a smaller plate. That way you will have a full plate, and smaller portions, so you trick yourself into thinking you’ve eaten a lot. This will help you to prevent all of that gluttonous overeating.

4. Commercial Break

My family watches football on Thanksgiving as a tradition. When there is a commercial break, I use it as an opportunity to get away from the TV and walk around. If you’re in a comfortable family setting, do jumping jacks or push-ups between commercials to get your blood flowing!

5. Don’t Discourage Yourself

Don’t be upset because you ate mash potatoes, or if you ate one too many cookies. IT HAPPENS! If you eat too many cookies, walk around the house and burn some extra calories. Don’t let this celebration with your family turn into you freaking out about calories all day.

Remember to enjoy yourself, and your family’s company. Don’t stress about calories all day, but be try to do some fit-feasting this Thanksgiving to help!

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Healthy Dorm Room Snacks

Filed under: College Life, Food, Health & Fitness, Tips - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham BookRenter Blogger Biography
Nobody wants to fall victim to the freshman fifteen, or whatever they call it when you still gain weight as a senior… Ugh. Unfortunately, if you haven’t already learned, the older you get, the harder it is to keep a fit figure. Luckily, there are a few snacks that are not only tasty, but have a much better nutritional value than the chips in the vending machine down the hall.

Here are a few healthy dorm room snack ideas to satisfy the cravings and keep fit:

1. Meat & Cheeses

I’ve been keeping turkey jerky and light cheeses around to eat for a snack. The turkey gives me protein and keeps me full, and the cheese gives me a dose of calcium. Try beef sticks or regular jerky if you aren’t a turkey fan.

2. Popcorn

This is probably my favorite snack, which is evident when you open my pantry. I buy almost all of the flavors of Smart Pop, and I always have a box of microwave popcorn on hand. Popcorn has a great amount of fiber for you, and it’s very low in calories and fat. As long as you don’t eat movie theater butter popcorn, it is a very healthy and tasty alternative to chips.

3. Yogurt

I used to say I didn’t like yogurt, but that’s before I even tried it. Seriously, how can you know if you don’t like something if you haven’t tried it before? Now, I treat yogurt like it is dessert. I always get the pie flavors because it satisfies my sweet tooth without taking a big hit to my daily caloric intake. There are several types of yogurt, and many flavors.Test them all out until you find something that will alleviate your sweet tooth!

4. Fruit

This is one of the more obvious options, but it’s so important to learn early on how vital fruit is in our diet. A lot of weight loss systems, such as weight watchers, don’t even require you to log when you eat fruit because of all of the benefits you receive. When you shop right, fruit can be a lot cheaper than buying bags of chips, or candy. I make small to-go containers everyday that have just a small portion of my favorite fruits to take with me because it’s easy to pull out and snack on in class.

There are so many foods andsnacks out there that are delicious, but you have to find the balance between tasty and good for you. It’s so easy to snack when you’re in the dorm and just hanging out, but try to think of healthier options. This will prepare you for when you need to start being completely in control of your own meals (if you’re not already). Start creating these good habits!

Share your favorite healthy dorm room snacks with us in a comment below!

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6 Foods To Avoid At The Dining Hall

Filed under: College Life, Food, Health & Fitness, Tips - Angelina
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Cameron Tranchemontagne BookRenter Blogger Biography

If you have a college student meal plan, then you know the struggle of dining hall food. Sure, not having to cook the food or clean dishes is great, but you have to choose what to eat from what is offered. At first it may seem like there are endless options, but after a while you will realize that they often provide the same kinds of food over and over again, easily allowing you to get into a habitual eating pattern that may not be the healthiest option. The Freshman 15 is not a myth.

Try to become more aware of what you are eating at your next dining hall visit. Here are six foods that I recommend you avoid for the following reasons:

1. Fried Food

Although fried food can taste good, and it may be in abundance at the dining hall, it doesn’t have any nutritional value so try avoiding it if you can. Did you know a grilled chicken sandwich has about 420 calories and 10 grams of fat compared to a fried chicken sandwich that has about 530 calories and 20 grams of fat? That extra breaded layer really does add up. Typically anything breaded or crispy is fried and should be eaten in moderation.

2. Sauces

Some sauces can have up to 40% of your daily recommended sodium intake in just one serving (and by the way, one serving is often the size of one scoop from a spoon). And how many of us can honestly say we measure out the serving size before dumping BBQ sauce on a steak and cheese or the teriyaki sauce before drizzling it over some rice? Sauces may make something taste better, but they are a source of hidden calories and often can take away the health benefits of food without it.

3. Salad Toppings

Salad is great. It has lots of vegetables and a minimal amount of fat, but the taste can be so bland for most people. If you’re just starting to eat salads or want to trim down the fat in yours, consider avoiding toppings like bacon bits, excessive cheese, croutons, and creamy dressing. Using an oil-based dressing will spread more easily and cover up more leafy greens, tricking you into using less.

4. Processed Foods

Most processed foods like chips, pre-made desserts, and even some breads/wraps can have high fat content and may even contain trans fats, which are much worse than saturated fats and is something you never want to consume. Essentially, trans fats can slow down brain function by disrupting communication between brain cells. They also contribute to cardiovascular disease. If you have access to nutritional labels (which is not always the case in a dining hall where the food is prepared for you), look for words like “partially hydrogenated oils” and stay away from them. It is the one “food” that experts say is not okay at all even in moderation with one source saying it’s more like plastic than food.

5. Soft Drinks

If you haven’t seen the graphic of how your body reacts to a can of coke within one hour, I highly suggest you check it out. Soft drinks contain extremely high amounts of sugar, which your liver will be straining to keep up with and turning it all into fat. Any nutritional value that could possibly come from a soda is flushed out of your system by the caffeine’s diuretic properties.

6. The Same Thing All The Time

Once you have been in school for a couple months, you may notice that dining halls operate on a set schedule. They often offer up some types of food on one day and others on different days, but the schedule does not vary wildly. Though this makes it easier to serve a large student body consistently, it also makes it easy for the student to fall into a habit of eating the same foods every time. For example, there were many meals in any given week when they were serving food I didn’t like or didn’t think I’d like. My initial response was always to just go get a couple slices of pizza. It’s important to balance your meals, and just eating pizza all the time is not that; despite whatever toppings are on there.  Don’t be afraid to branch out and try new things at the dining hall. You may find that you actually really enjoy healthier options that you wouldn’t normally consider.

This is not meant to be a strict nutritional guide, but to make you aware of your eating habits. Don’t be afraid to ask one of the employees at the dining hall for nutrition information on any and all food being served in order to better plan out your meals. You have to remember that you’re in control of what you put into your body.

It may be hard to avoid the “yummier” foods, but it will benefit in the long run if you substitute that cookie for a side of broccoli.

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Get Motivated To Staying Fit

Filed under: College Life, Health & Fitness, Tips - Angelina
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Darlene Megino BookRenter Blogger Biography

Unfortunately, this will be my last blog for BookRenter. It has been a great three years sharing my insights about DIYs, fashion, college life, and more with everyone. For my last blog, I wanted to share some ideas on how to stay motivated while getting fit. Staying motivated to keep in shape is always a struggle. Changing your exercise routine or diet is not easy. However, there are many ways to keep motivated towards reaching your goal, even on days where you just want to quit.

Here are a three ways to stay motivated to stay in shape:

1. Join A Weight Loss Pool

Weight loss pools are a great way to stay motivated when you are losing weight. The goal of the weight loss pool is that everyone pools in their money and has to achieve one goal. Those who achieve the goal win a portion of the sum of money that was collected. There are many websites, like Diet Bet, that have weight loss pools with participants from different cities, states, and even countries! So work out and get rewarded for it at the same time!

2. Reward Jar

Grab a Mason jar and add in $50 to $100. Create a list of rewards to do for every time you reach a goal. For instance, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds, you can reward yourself with something small using the money from the jar for every 5 pounds you lose. You can treat yourself to some frozen yogurt, buying a new pair of jeans, or a day trip to the city. You can decide how big or small to make the reward jar. I personally have a reward jar filled with money saved towards reaching my goal of losing weight for a trip to Hawaii. Do whatever works for you!

3. Track Your Workouts

Get yourself a nice Fitbit or similar fitness tracker. You can utilize this by tracking your steps, movements, and calories. If you can’t afford to purchase a Fitbit, then download an app like MyFitnessPal (you can even use it straight on the web). By tracking your steps, workouts, and calories, you’ll become more aware of your fitness habits. You can even link up with friends and compare your results to get fit together!

The most important thing is to learn what is motivating you to reach your goal, and to keep that as your fuel for your fire. You can always change up your incentives as you go if you feel like it is not enough to motivate you.

Tell us what motivates you in a comment below!

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