How do you stay healthy?

This week I asked current Cal Poly students how they try to stay healthy. Here is a video with what they had to say.

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes…because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”- Steve Jobs


6 Reasons SLO Skinner’s should use MyFitness Pal!

In a previous article, I introduced readers to a phenomenal app called MyFitness Pal. I decided to expand on what I had already stated to further your knowledge and hopefully show how MyFitness Pal can have a tremendous impact on your life.

After racking my brain, there are six reasons MyFitness Pal is valuable for you SLO Skinny readers.

1)    Access. It is vital when trying to lose weight that you are able to track what you are eating, therefore you need a medium which will allow you to do that anywhere. MyFitness Pal is available for the android, iPhone, iPad and all are synced and moreover available to change online.

2)    Easy. MyFitness Pal is unlike other apps in the sense that it does not require much technical familiarity to utilize it properly. A basic knowledge would suffice when using this app and should take no longer than five minutes to full grasp how to use it.

3)    Incorporating. This app does not only allow a user to track food, but moreover exercise as well. It allows you to track everything which means that it is essentially “one stop shopping.” There is no need for a supplementary app to track your exercise goals, which means you don’t have to do any tricky cross referencing to see if you met your daily goals.

4)    Free. Since the app is completely free, you will be able to cut your costs overall. The information this gives allows you to personally keep track of everything rather than hiring a dietitian and trainer to do it for you, hence cutting any costs that could have occurred.

5)    Customization. The app has users type in their gender, current weight, goal weight, height, and current exercise level. This information is the basis for which the app will subsequently tell the user the recommended calorie goal for each day to allow the user to reach their goal weight. By using specific measurements, users are more likely to get more accurate results.

6)    Extensive. The food log allows a user to type in almost any brand and gets the specific nutritional information for it. Thus leaving the guess work out of most meals. For home cook meals, a user can input information if it is not in the database.

This app takes most of the guess work out of getting healthy. A user can track specific intakes such as sugar and sodium which is advantageous for users with health concerns such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Working out and keeping track of everyday’s food intake can be tedious and tiring. This app will allow users to seemingly flawlessly input specific food and exercise to help aid in weight loss. Therefore, this app is a ten out of ten for anyone wanting to get in shape or stay in shape!

“You live longer once you realize that any time spent being unhappy is wasted.”- Ruth E. Renkl





Revamp your IPod and get motivated!

Hey there SLO Skinniers! Do you ever get tired of the same workout music? Try mixing it up with some uptempo songs perfect for your cardio workout!

Steady130 is a website specifically tailored to workout music to help get you pumped for your workout. The websites features the newest hits as well as some older classics at different tempos. Another great website for uptempo versions of popular songs is FratFM. Many of the sounds on these websites are also downloadable via SoundCloud so go check it out!

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” – Raymond Chandler

Surf your way into shape!

California’s immaculate coast line, lends itself to many things, one of those being surfing. Regardless if it’s northern or southern California, Californians enjoy indulging in the sport.

A local surfer paddle’s out by the Pismo Beach Pier.

Surfing is a hobby for many people; however there are also health benefits associated with it as well. It can be used as a rehabilitation source for those wounded, as well as a daily cardiovascular exercise. Surfing’s unique because that it utilizes the entire body.

Avid surfer and Cal Poly student Rachelle Beaudoin describes the benefits of surfing for both health and pleasure.

“It’s a great way to work out every muscle. Not to mention it’s about being connected and experiencing the water and your body on a new level. There’s nothing that feels or compares to surfing,” Beaudoin.

Two local boys attempt to surf in Pismo Beach.

Vicki Richardson who works at Ampsurf highlighted the benefits surfing has for disabled veterans. “People feel stronger, more empowered and overall feel like they can do anything,” Richardson.

Surfing is an outlet for disabled veterans because it not only allows them to conquer something they might not have thought was possible, but it also allows them to get out of the house.

Surfing can be therapeutic; hence surf companies such as Ampsurf specialize in amputees, and disabilities through their adaptive surfing. Ampsurf has specialized instructors who understand the specialized needs that someone with a disability might face when attempting to surf. The specialized instruction allows for better success in surfing, further empowering the person.

There are many surf spots that line the central coast. Each spot has varying conditions which allow almost anyone to find the right fit for them. Rachelle mirrored that thought stating, “Surfing is great because anyone can do it regardless of age or body type and it’s still a great workout,” Beaudoin.

Ampsurf uses primarily Pismo Beach for lessons. “We use the south side of the Pismo Beach pier for Ampsurf because the waves are more calm and easier,” Richardson.

Other local surfing spots include but are not limited to, Morro Bay, Shell Beach and Vandenberg.

Hayden Costell, a Cal Poly alumnus is also an avid Morro Bay surfer. “Morro Bay is unique because there are some great tubes when the weather is right, not many places are like that,” Costell.

Vandenberg is an Air Force Base located on the central coast near Santa Maria. Ampsurf utilizes the area for sometimes for surfing; however it is not preferred because it lacks the same calm that Pismo Beach has.

For anyone who is debating learning how to surf, there are numerous surf shops which offer lessons along the central coast.

Surfing’s benefits for the disabled as well as veterans are seemingly extensive as discussed previously. There are also however numerous benefits health-wise for anyone debating to start surfing.

Surfing requires many muscles, the most obvious being numerous arm muscles. Paddling requires bicep and triceps muscles. Battling the incoming surf when paddling out will help to build these muscles more extensively.

Another key component in surfing is waiting. Any surfer will tell you that waiting for the “right wave” is essential. Surfing requires a strong core when waiting for the “perfect wave.” Straddling a board for long periods of time can be strenuous and therefore the more core muscle attained to assist in balance will be highly beneficial.

Several surfers patiently awaiting the “perfect wave.”

Lastly, overall physical health is improved via surfing due to the sheer amount of energy exerted throughout the entire process of paddling out, waiting for a wave and lastly catching a wave.

Surfing is a overall body workout, however it strongly is centered on cardiovascular exercise because a surfer’s stamina and energy level is built upon being physically fit.

Finding outlets in which exercise is seen less as exercise and more as a hobby are key.

Hunter Maul, a Cal Poly alumnus describes what surfing means to him. “I love surfing because it’s the definition of living in the present! It’s healthy, relaxing, exciting, and natural all at once,” Maul.

A person is more willing to spend time doing what they love rather than doing something obligatory. Therefore, surfing is a seemingly great alternative to hours of cardiovascular exercise and strength training in the gym when living in California.

Below is a map of local surf shops in the greater San Luis Obispo area. Most of the stores sell surfboards, and other surfing essentials such as wet-suits.

“Life is alot like surfing…When you get caught in the impact zone, you’ve got to just get back up. Because you never know what may be over the next wave.” – Bethany Hamilton, Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board

Eat THIS…NOT that

For all of you television fanatics the quote, “A moment on the lips, forever on the hips,” was said on  the very popular F.r.i.e.n.d.s series. This quote should be plastered in your mind while grappling with the holiday season’s tantalizing temptations.

The Halloween season is a particularly difficult time for any candy lover such as myself. Copious amounts of Tootsie Rolls, Snickers and Kit-Kat bars in every store can break down even the strongest person.

Instead of depriving yourself from all candy this Halloween season, there are “healthier” alternatives that will leave you feeling less guilty.

First off it’s important to see what makes the typical Halloween candy so bad.  Many people have the misconception that calories are the only thing to look at when determining whether or not to eat something. It is important to rather look at the breakdown, hence total fat, saturated fat, sugar, poly saturated and monounsaturated fats.

In the picture above, the Tootsie Roll Mega Mix is a prime example of how much sugar is packed into  Halloween candy. Based on a 2000 calorie diet, there are 140 calories in a single Tootsie Roll. Moreover, the breakdown of the 140 calories includes 20 grams of sugar.

The serving size for this bag of Laffy Taffy is 5 bars. For each serving size there are 150 calories and 21 grams of sugar.

According to the American Heart Association, “The statement says that most women should consume no more than 100 calories (about 25 grams) of added sugars per day.”

Being that a single Tootsie Roll had 20 grams of sugar, a woman would have almost eaten their daily intake for sugars.

For men, the American Heart Association states, “Most men should consume no more than 150 calories (about 37.5 grams) each day.”

Sugar is empty, meaning there is no nutritional value in it. Therefore, it is critical to not only look at the calories, but moreover the serving size and sugar per gram for the stated serving size.

In single piece of Dove Silky Smooth Pleasures Dark Chocolate, there are 170 calories. Our of the 170 calories there are 15 grams of sugar.

Don’t get discouraged, it isn’t all hopeless. Dark chocolate is a healthy alternative that tastes good as well. The benefits of dark chocolate far exceed other candy.

According to Readers Digest, “…dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are compounds that act as antioxidants. Flavonoids protect cells from harmful molecules—called free radicals..”

It goes without saying, that moderation is key even when consuming such as dark chocolate.

However, the health benefits dark chocolate offers, such as reducing the risk of heart disease is enormous. Consuming dark chocolate is auspicious rather than consuming a  candy such as a Tootsie Roll with no advantageous health benefits.

The Skinny Cow brand is a fantastic alternative to traditional candy. The Dark Chocolate Dreamy Clusters contain 120 calories for 1 pouch and only have 9 grams of sugar per serving. The Milk Chocolate Heavenly Crisp have 110 calories per serving size, which is 1 bar. In each serving size there are a mere 9 grams of sugar.

There are tools available to those who want to help keep track of their sugar intake. Apps are indispensable when attempting to analyze what you are consuming each day.

MyFitnessPal is a free app that is also accessible online. You can track your exercise and food consumption simultaneously, therefore allowing you to see the totality of each day’s food intake.

According to WebMD, a recent study conducted by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine concluded that tracking your food intake is propitious. Victor Stevens, PhD, senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland reviewed over the study’s findings.

“I think the most powerful part is accountability and the next most powerful part is increasing awareness of where those extra calories are coming from,” Stevens.

Many people see tracking food as tedious and pointless, however there is credible research to back it. As Victor Stevens, it makes you more aware of your intake and moreover holds you accountable for what you are consuming.

By becoming more conscientious of what you are consuming, you will be able to indulge in sweets without feeling as guilty. Additionally by beginning to track your food intake now, you will have better tools to aid in staying on track with the difficult holiday times rapidly approaching.

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity…”-Amelia Earhart