Smarten Up- Drink Water

How many university students can honestly say they drink enough water every day? Further, how many university students can say that they know what “enough water” really is?

It can be difficult to be committed to drinking water throughout the day as a busy university student, but here are some tips to clear up some confusion and make water consumption easy.

Why drink water?

Water plays a significant role in cognitive functions, and by not hydrating during the day you can significantly reduce the efficiency of your studying. When you are hydrated, you’re in a better mood, you can think much clearer, you are more attentive, and your memory is better.

How much should you drink in a day?

There is no magic number of cups or glasses of water that a person should drink in a day. According to the Dietary Reference Intakes from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Health and Medicine Division, on average, males ages 19-30 require 3.7 L (13 -15 cups) of water per day and females ages 19-30 need 2.7 L (9-11 cups) of water per day in total, but these numbers include water intake from food, which should cover about 20% of your fluid intake. Keep in mind that how much water you need is different for everybody and will vary with individual activity levels. Thirst will always be the best guide!

Does coffee, tea, or juice count?

Yes! Recent studies show that coffee and tea do contribute to hydration despite their caffeine content. Juice also counts but keep in mind that juice contains a lot of sugar. However, whole fruits, such as melon and oranges, are a good source of water.

Tricks to Increase Water Consumption:

  1. Always have a water bottle with you. You can’t drink water if you don’t have water. Invest in a cool reusable water bottle and bring it everywhere you go.
  2. Set consumption goals. Mark times of day on your water bottle (at every 100 ml for example) and make sure you drink your water for that hour.
  3. Add flavour to your water. If plain water is too boring, add lemon or lime slices for flavour.

Where to hydrate on campus?

The University is full of water fountains where you can fill up your reusable bottles, and these fountains are present in all the buildings on campus. If you don’t have your bottle with you, the many vending machines on campus sell plastic bottles.

By Liv Helland

Liv is a first-year student in the Bachelor of Physical Education program at MacEwan who competes at the AA level in ringette and instructs power skating to young ringette and hockey players in Edmonton.

References:

Brody, Jane E.. “Drink Up! Most of Us Could Benefit From More Water.” The New York Times, 9 Jul. 2018,

Krieger, Ellie. “Is Coffee Hydrating? (and the truth behind other hydration myths).” The Denver Post, 29 Aug. 2016,

 

 

I Want to Get in Shape but I Can’t Afford a Membership

Are you out of shape and out of money? If so, don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to stay in shape that involve little to no cost!

Head Outside

No matter the weather, why not take your workout outside? There are plenty of ways to stay active outside in all seasons. Start by dressing for the weather and then find something you enjoy and can stick with- skating, skiing, building snowmen or take to the trails. There’s plenty of trails in the Edmonton area for walking, jogging, hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, cycling, and getting active.  Some of my favourites are Elk Island National Park, Rundle Park, Gold Bar Park, Hawrelak Park and Lions Park.

Check out 8 Ways to Stay Motivated this Winter

Step up your Game

You either love them or hate them, but stairs are an effective way to improve lower body strength and cardiovascular fitness.  Did you know that the City of Edmonton has over 50 sets of stairs in the river valley? The top three sets of stairs that most people talk about are the Glenora Stairs, Hotel MacDonald Stairs and the Grandview Stairs. If you need some ideas, you could try walking or jogging up every stair or every second stair, side-step up the stairs or use the platforms to do additional exercises like squats, lunges, push ups off the railings or make use out of any nearby benches for triceps dips- just bring your gloves.

Bodyweight Train for Gains

If you are looking to add some strength training to your regime, bodyweight exercises cost no money and can be done nearly anywhere. Things like squats, lunges, pushups and planks can be challenging and very effective. If you find that you need additional resistance, weights aren’t terribly expensive and can be purchased at many local stores. If weights are not in your budget, you can make use out of things like soup cans for weights or old cloths for gliders. If you commit to doing a weight training workout for as little as 15 minutes a day, 3 – 4 days per week, you should start to notice a difference.

Some other inexpensive ideas you could try:

  • find a workout partner to go out for a walk or run
  • try a community class. Lots of fitness facilities including yoga studios offer group fitness classes for a significantly reduced fee or by donation
  • buy a yoga mat to do some push ups, abdominal exercises or stretch at home. If you have a tiny place, maybe see if the mat will fit in the hallway
  • YouTube home workout videos

If you need some guidance to start you on your fitness path, an affordable option is a program design where our exercise specialists can build a plan for you utilizing what equipment you have and whether you plan on working out indoors or outside.

by Cindy Hunt

Cindy Hunt is certified with the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiologists as a Certified Personal Trainer.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree and graduated with Honours from the NAIT Personal Fitness Training Program.  She holds numerous group fitness certifications.  Her passion lies in motivating others to get active and pursue a healthy lifestyle.  She has worked with athletes, dancers, aquafit participants, pre and post-natal woman, older populations and anyone who is looking to reach their fitness goals.

8 Reasons Yoga is for Every Body

Yoga holds two very different misconceptions that deter individuals from participating:

  • It’s too hard – a serious practice with strong powerful flows and holding intense poses.
  • It’s too easy – a seated hour of OM-ing and chanting with little movement.

If you sift through the stereotypes and extreme generalizations, and dig a little deeper, you’ll discover that yoga IS for everyone. Whether you’re a regular yogi, just started your yoga journey, or are sitting on the fence, these facts will help you see that yoga is an excellent alternative or additive movement style to your regular workout routine.

  1. It’s called a “practice” for a reason. Yoga is a constant work in progress. Some days will be harder, and some days will be easier. It’s important that you try to maintain an open mind and positive attitude. If you don’t stick the pose today, don’t sweat it. Try again another day.
  2. You don’t have to be flexible. Increasing flexibility is certainly one of the benefits of yoga, but it isn’t a requirement. Don’t scare yourself into thinking you have to look like the cover of a magazine. Simply show up to your mat and do the best you can.
  3. Using props is completely okay. Never feel ashamed to use props, such as a block or a strap. It’s not considered cheating and it’s certainly not an indication of your experience level. Egos aside, props help you easily achieve proper alignment, stretching, and strengthening, rather than struggling to force your body into a position and potentially causing injuries.
  4. Take water breaks when you need. Don’t wait for the teacher to tell you to drink water. Take a sip when your body asks for it and join back in when you feel hydrated. Similar to other physical activity styles, hydrate before class to prepare and after class to rehydrate.
  5. Men do yoga too! Did you know that yoga was originally created by men in ancient India and practiced exclusively by men for thousands of years? Yoga’s female following only began with its arrival to Western culture in the mid-19th century. Regardless, yoga is not a gender-specific activity. Men and women alike can practice and benefit from a regular yoga practice.
  6. It’s a great all-encompassing workout. The mind-body coordination required during yoga is unlike many other forms of exercise. Yoga engages all aspects of your being, thus making it more challenging than it may appear on the surface. It is important to remember that there are always alternatives to any given pose. Yoga encourages you to listen to your body’s signals of what does and doesn’t feel right, to help you choose those poses that feels best for you.
  7. The benefits extend beyond the mat. Yoga accepts everyone and all their imperfections. The mantra of being kind to yourself and patient with others, can help you let go of stress and appreciate the world as it is. Don’t try to change things out of your control and never compare yourself or your practice to yesterday; for each day is different and presents different challenges. Instead, focus on today and what you can do to make it your best day.
  8. You just might fall in love with it. Yoga is an amazing workout that will help boost your performance, mood, energy levels, and health. It’s great as cross training and is amazing at clearing your mind.

The best motto to live by is that “Yoga is for every body”; no matter what body you bring to the practice. Tall or short, thick or thin, young or old, yoga is meant to adapt to you, not the other way around.

Now that you’re onboard with the idea that yoga isn’t so bad, we’ve got just the thing to kickstart your journey. How about checking out our annual Yoga Rave! Where the rhythm of the DJ meets the movement of the practice, the Yoga Rave invites all to join. Whether you are a regular yogi or are looking to try yoga for the first time, this non-judgmental, high-energy, incredibly-uplifting event is sure to make you smile.

Be sure to follow our Instagram stories (@macewanwellness) this week as we countdown the days until this epic event. Alternatively, you can follow our Facebook event page for event updates. We can’t wait to see you at the Yoga Rave on Tuesday, February 12! Purchase your ticket online or at the Building 8 Welcome Desk by Monday, February 11 (while they last).

by Jess Walker

Jess is certified a Group Fitness instructor, teaching Barre and Older Adult Cardio here at MacEwan University Sport and Wellness. She is also our Recreation Special Event Coordinator.

Reverse Lunge

Incorporating exercises that work one limb side at a time is considered as a unilateral exercise, whereas using both limbs is bilateral. The main benefit of unilateral exercises is the ability to work on and decrease any deficiencies from one side to the other. Adding in unilateral exercises into your program is a great way to not only balance out your left and right, but to work on your stability and coordination. The first exercise in this four-part progression is the Reverse Lunge. One of the great aspects about the reverse lunge is that it can be adapted to any ability level, whether you require that extra support for your balance or want to load and strengthen your legs, it is a versatile exercise that any age and ability group can perform.

Objective

  • Develop single leg coordination and stability

Equipment Needed:

  • Any variation of weight implements: barbell, dumbbell, Vipr, Medicine ball
  • TRX or a bench can be used for assistance.

Muscle Groups Targeted

  • Hip Extensors, Hip Flexors, Knee Extensors, Ankle Stabilizers, Trunk Stabilizers

Starting Position

  • Standing upright with feet hip width apart
  • Weight loading variations included, but not limited to: holding dumbbells at the sides, dumbbell in goblet position, barbell in front or back position
  • Shoulders back and down with core braced

Movement

  • Stepping backwards keeping the weight on your front stationary leg
  • Feet should remain hip width apart throughout the lunge position with your knee remaining vertical to your ankle and in line with your hip
  • Drop down until your hip is at the same height as your knee, back knee should have a moderate bend.
  • Maintaining an upright position with your shoulders over top of your hips, return to starting position

Recommended sets and repetitions

  • 4 sets of 5-12 reps per leg depending on focus

Regression/Progression Tips

  • Break the movements down if you find your balance is a limiting factor
  • To make it harder, add a single leg balance at the top of the movement and decrease the weight distribution to your rear foot

Visit our website for our personal trainer bios and information on fitness program designs and individual and group personal training, plus Registered Fitness Courses like Women & Weights.

by Rachel Korpany

Rachel is a graduate from the University of Edinburgh with her Masters of Science in Strength and conditioning, she obtained her Bachelors of Physical Education graduate from the University of Alberta. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA with a strong background in Olympic Weightlifting.

Mental Health: The key to a healthy lifestyle

What exactly defines mental health? Mental health includes social, emotional, and psychological well-being. It’s important in all stages of life and effects how people think, feel, and act, as well as how we handle stress and make decisions. Conversation about mental health should never be silenced, and it is very important to seek help when needed in order to keep your mental health in top shape!

January 30 is Bell Let’s Talk Day, a day dedicated to increasing awareness and conversation about mental health. Bell will donate 5¢ for every applicable text, call, tweet, social media video view, and use of the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. Make sure you use #BellLetsTalk.

Several MacEwan University departments are supporting this cause and hosting events throughout campus leading up to and on Bell Let’s Talk Day. Here are some of the ways you can get involved:

  1. Table Displays (Jan 23-30) – Located throughout campus, these tables will engage students, staff, and the general public regarding mental health awareness and the Bell Let’s Talk campaign. There will be FREE Griffins tickets, mental health resources, wellness activities, Bell Let’s Talk Toques, and other prizing. Stop by and say hi.
  2. Bell Let’s Talk Word Bubbles (Jan 23-29) – Fill out a word bubble with your own personalized positive message about mental health. Word bubble are available throughout campus and will be posted on the pedway glass walls in Building 8. Let’s try to completely cover the pedway with positivity!
  3. Make Some Noise for Mental Health (Jan 25) – The Women’s hockey team will face off against the SAIT Trojans in their annual Make Some Noise Game. This game will focus on raising awareness around mental health. Puck drop at the Downtown Arena is at 7 p.m. Pick up your FREE ticket at Sport and Wellness, Residence, or any table display.
  4. Metro Cinema Evening; “Silver Linings Playbook” & Panel Discussion (Jan 29) – An evening of film and conversation. Following the screening, MacEwan experts will discuss mental health, ways to reduce the stigma, and promoting recovery. Tickets are $5 for post-secondary students (student ID required) and are available either at the door or online through Metro Cinema.  6:45 p.m. start.
  5. Write, Text, Tweet, Hashtag! (Jan 30) – on Bell Let’s Talk Day, join the conversation. Let’s raise awareness about mental health by writing messages on our Bell Let’s Talk banner (Building 8), texting, tweeting, calling, and using the social media filters. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #BellLetsTalk for all your social media posts!
  6. Starting the Conversation: A Mental Health Speaker Series (Jan 30) – MacEwan Health Promotion and the Jack.org student club present this free series on mental health for students and public. The first session takes place on January 30, in the Kule Theatre (9-323) from 5:30- 7 p.m.
  7. Bell Let’s Talk Griffins Game (Feb 1) – Join the Griffins Volleyball teams as they play in their annual Bell Let’s Talk Game. The game is part of a USport initiative to help raise awareness for mental health. Griffins will play the U of C Dino’s in the David Atkinson gymnasium starting at 6 p.m., with the men’s game to follow. Pick up your FREE ticket at any table display, Sport and Wellness, or in Residence.

Join the conversation, and remember to be kind, listen, ask, and talk about it. Together, we can end the stigma around Mental Health.

By Eve Olson and Jess Walker

Eve is a first-year student in the Bachelor of Physical Education program at MacEwan University. She enjoys working out at the health and wellness centre numerous times a week. Jess is certified a Group Fitness instructor, teaching Barre and Older Adult Cardio here at MacEwan University Sport and Wellness. She is also our Recreation Special Event Coordinator.

It’s been two weeks, and no progress. Where is my six-pack?

We all want to see results ASAP. Unfortunately, results are usually a result of more incremental changes rather than drastic ones. So why is two weeks not enough time to have a six pack?

Generally speaking, obtaining a well-defined core is usually due to a combination of working out, being very diligent with your diet, and having great genetics. Here’s some things for you to concentrate on for the exercise portion of the equation.

Working Out

  • Let’s say that the global definition of a six-pack is having muscle in your mid-section and having it be visible to the naked eye. If we get rid of fat on our mid-section but don’t have any muscle to show off, we still won’t have a six pack, so what we need first is to build muscle.
  • To develop lean muscle mass, we need to perform movements that are challenging enough to recruit and fatigue the muscles that we are trying to “grow”. The rep range that research suggests is the best for muscle cell growth (hypertrophy) is anywhere from 8-15 reps. What determines the amount of reps you can do of a given exercise is load – the heavier the weight, the less repetitions you will complete before you cannot perform another. Therefore, if we are able to perform 100+ reps of an “ab” exercise before we can’t perform another repetition, we are not lifting in a range that will lead to muscle growth – we need more resistance!

Time and the Long-Term delayed training effect

  • Exercise is an adaptive process and therefore anytime we stress our body, we need to allow time to recover and adapt to a given stressor. Said differently, whenever we do a workout, we won’t see the benefits or adaptations of that workout until a later date.
  • Most training plans are built over weeks and months where specific changes are focused on. For muscle growth, the duration of those workouts may be 3-5 weeks. Taking the delayed training effect into account, when we’ve done two weeks of working out, we won’t see the benefit until perhaps two more weeks after (4 weeks after starting date).

In real-world application all this means is be patient. Change takes time even when you’re doing everything right. Consistency is key, so stick to your program and trust the process! Visit our website for our personal trainer bios and information on fitness program designs and individual and group personal training.

by Devin Clayton

Devin is a Bachelors of Physical Education graduate from the University of Alberta. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA and is a NCCP certified Weightlifting coach.

Snatch Grip Deadlift to Hip

Olympic Weightlifting movements have become a popular method of training for people of all ages. The two lifts (Snatch and Clean & Jerk) comprise similar phases, which makes it easier to break down the movement into distinct parts. The first pull in Olympic Weightlifting movements is the portion of the lift where the barbell leaves the floor and is guided to an area between the mid-thigh and the hip. This portion is critical because the speed and direction with which this movement occurs can affect the phases after it, which have less room for error.  For these reasons we are putting out a four-part series on exercise progressions for improving the technique of the First Pull phase of your technique. The final exercise in our four-part progression is the Snatch Grip Deadlift to Hip.

Objective

  • Developing proper bar path and body position to ensure optimal positioning of the barbell in the power position at the hip.

Muscle Groups Targeted

  • Spinal Erectors, Hip extensors, Knee Flexors, Shoulder Extensors

Starting Position

  • Bar in contact with the shins over the ball of the foot, hips above knees, shoulders above Hips, Back Flat, shoulders in front of bar.

Movement

  • Extend legs so that bar raises off ground Shoulders and Hips should rise at the same rate.
  • Once barbell passes the knee, knees should re-bend and trunk should extend to finish in the “power position” with the bar in the hip crease.
  • Pause in this position and return to start position in reverse order.

Recommended sets and repetitions

  • 3 sets of 2-4 reps with Moderate-Heavy load.
  • Progress movement with greater load while maintaining proper position off the floor and at the knee.

Check out Exercise #3

Visit our website for our personal trainer bios and information on fitness program designs and individual and group personal training. Plus Registered Fitness Classes like Olympic Weightlifting.

by Devin Clayton

Devin is a Bachelors of Physical Education graduate from the University of Alberta. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA and is a NCCP certified Weightlifting coach.

6 Ways to a New You

New year, new beginnings, and new opportunities. It can be overwhelming to establish a healthy routine that has a positive impact on your fitness and wellness. We believe it’s important to make your goals attainable and realistic to stay motivated. Here are a few tips to start your year off on the right path:

  1. Track-It: Organizing a plan to stay focused, this involves having an agenda that allows you create a training log and meal plan. Through doing so, it influences you to establish a routine and stay motivated, all while tracking your progress.
  2. Schedule: Establish a successful workout routine that works for you. It takes time, patience and dedication to see results, so don’t give up! Aim to be active daily, even for 10 minutes, because it establishes an active lifestyle. If it’s difficult to find the motivation, find a workout buddy to encourage each other.
  3. “Me” Time: Ensure you implement self-care into your wellness lifestyle. Physical wellness is important, but it’s equally important to focus on your mental health as well. You can achieve this by taking time for yourself in various ways such as meditation and maintaining a positive outlook.
  4. Nutrition: Clean eating takes time to implement. Start slow, by beginning to substitute unhealthy foods with a healthier option. Keep healthy snacks like apples and high protein bars handy for when you get hungry between meals. It’s important to flush out toxins through drinking half your body weight in water.
  5. ZZZ’s: Establish a good sleep routine. Sleep ensures a healthy mind and body and helps to optimize your day.
  6. Be Kind: Recognize all your achievements; no feat is too small. Reward yourself for sticking to good habits, because let’s face it, maintaining a proper routine can often be draining. Rewarding yourself boosts your self-confidence and self-regard.

Start your 2019 year off right, stay motivated and remember to enjoy yourself through your journey to better health and wellness.

by Meagan & Isabella
1st year students at MacEwan University in the Bachelor of Physical Education Transfer Program.

I don’t know what diet is best so I’m not going to bother

Carbs versus Fat

Food choices are often driven by what the health and fitness world tell us is the best choice. You don’t have to go far to find snake oil on the internet, but if you look hard enough, you can find some very reputable people offering research-backed advice. Do your best to vet even those people with multiple letters beside their name. Do your own research to see if what that person is saying is coming from a legitimate study or source.

A lot of diet truthers try to vilify other diets particularly the dominant macronutrient of the opposing diet. Low carb/Keto diet users will preach cutting out carbs is the best approach to your nutrition, whereas carb enthusiasts try to demonize fat.

So what macronutrient is better? Fats or Carbs? Well the answer is both are good for you. Carbohydrates are quickly absorbed and converted to readily available energy. On the other hand, fats require more energy to store and are predominantly used during aerobic activity because they have a greater amount of energy per gram. There are acceptable ranges put forth by governing bodies that recommend:

Acceptable Macronutrient distribution ranges and calories/g:

Continue reading

Top-Down Deadlift to Knee

Olympic Weightlifting movements have become a popular method of training for people of all ages recently. The two lifts (Snatch and Clean & Jerk) comprise similar phases which Top-Down Deadlift to Kneemake it easier for those doing the movements to break down the movement into distinct parts. This, like any skill, makes it easier for those involved to focus on specific part of the movements in order to improve the full lifts themselves. The First Pull in Olympic Weightlifting movements is the portion of the lift where the barbell leaves the floor and is guided to an area between the mid-thigh and the hip. This portion is critical because the speed and direction with which this movement occurs can affect the phases after it which have less room for error.  For these reasons we are putting out a four-part series on exercise progressions for improving the technique of the First Pull phase of your snatch technique. The second exercise in our four-part progression is the Top-Down Deadlift to Knee.

Objective

  • Utilizing strength, flexibility, and coordination of previous exercises into the initial moments of the first-pull while reinforcing proper positioning at the knee.

Muscle Groups Targeted

  • Spinal Erectors, Hip extensors, Knee Flexors, Shoulder Extensors

Starting Position

  • Start with bar in bottom of Romanian Deadlift position (in contact with patella, just below knee cap), hips slightly higher than the level of the knee, back flat, shoulders in front of bar.

Movement

  • Bend legs so that bar lowers to mid-shin position. Shoulders and Hips should rise at the same rate.
  • Pause in this position and return to start position in reverse order.

Recommended sets and repetitions

  • 3 sets of 3-6 reps with moderate load
  • Progress movement with greater load, while maintaining proper position off the floor and at the knee.

Equipment Needed: Stairs, optional weights

Check out Exercise #2

Visit our website for our personal trainer bios and information on fitness program designs and individual and group personal training. Plus Registered Fitness Classes like Olympic Weightlifting.

by Devin Clayton

Devin is a Bachelors of Physical Education graduate from the University of Alberta. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA and is a NCCP certified Weightlifting coach.