Fittest Colleges


Mizzou is currently ranked ninth out of the top twenty fittest colleges in America on fitbie. The colleges were ranked for their efforts towards helping students eat right, lose weight, squash stress, and achieve their fitness goals. Mizzou received an A+ for our ‘decked out’ campus gym. It was said that if students aren’t hitting the books you will probably find them hitting the gym or at the campus Tiger Grotto. This is so true. If you are unfamiliar with our campus, our rec center is home to an aquatic center that has everything… and I mean everything. It has a hot tub, steam room, sauna, waterfall, and a lazy river! I can’t forget to mention our lovely palm tree decor. We also have a 50m lap pool, which I love using. Swimming is a great low-impact exercise, and is a nice change up from running time to time. If you aren’t de-stressing here, you’re probably at the Jungle Gym. Yes, I said Jungle Gym. The Jungle Gym houses more than 100 cardio machines and 24 flat screen TVs, a strength training room known as the Pump Room, and a rock wall. There are also several basketball, volleyball, and racket ball courts. An indoor track is also available for use. One of my favorite de-stressing services available is the Tiger Spa, located downstairs in the rec. Here you can receive massages, facial therapy, waxing, nail therapy, and personal training.  The rec offers several ways to stay fit, whether it is through Tiger X, Zumba, Cycling, or Yoga. You can even join a rec sports team. I played flag football! The rec is also open until 11 – so there is no excuse why you can’t work in your daily exercise! We also have access to an outdoor track, which surrounds three full size football fields called Stankowski Field. Stankowski field is located next to four sand volleyball courts. The courts are always packed with people, so good luck finding an open court! Our rec center was even talked about on ESPN for being one of the best. Check it out for yourself:

Here is the link if you would like to see what other colleges beat us out of our number one spot on fitbie:


Smart Snacking Tips

What do you do when your stomach starts growling hours before your next meal? You grab a snack of course! Snacking definitely has a bad reputation thanks to our tendency to choose empty calorie and fattening snacks, but snacking isn’t a bad thing! Eating a healthy snack will hold off hunger and keep your energy levels high. So here are some tips to snack smart!

-Steer clear of foods with added sugar like candy bars or soda

A glass of skim milk or soy with calcium will sustain you longer than a soda will.

-Look for foods with fiber and combine them with protein filled snacks.

You can pair peanut butter, cottage cheese, or low fat yogurt with whole grain breads, cereals, fruits, and vegetables for a quick healthy snack!

-Prepare healthy snacks in advance!

When you prepare your own snacks, for example trail mix, you can control the ingredients and put in what’s good for you!

-Keep healthy snacks with you to eat when those hunger pains strike.

Keep whole grain crackers, fruit, or baby carrots in your backpack or work out bag. This is healthier than stopping at that vending machine!

-Keep it interesting!

Give yourself a variety of choices so you don’t get bored eating the same things.

-Satisfy cravings with healthier options.

For example, if you’re craving chocolate, go for a chocolate drink instead of a candy bar. If you’re craving something salty, go for pretzels instead of chips.

-Read labels and serving sizes.

What looks like a small package of cookies can contain multiple servings meaning multiple calories, sugar, and everything else!

Need Healthy snack ideas?! Check out The Snack App available on the IPhone! Whether you are craving something sweet, crunchy, sinful, or just a late night snack this app has every snack you could possibly think of! AND it’s all less than 200 calories. If you happen to slip up, it even suggest simple ways to burn those extra calories!  It also sends out daily tips!! I love this app and I hope you learn to love it too!


Benefits of Exercise

Why Exercise? Well, we all have our different reasons. It could simply be to tone up our legs or arms, flatten our stomach, reach a goal, to stay healthy and fit, or even to reduce the chance of becoming diagnosed with a deadly diseases. These are only a few of the benefits of exercise. Here are some benefits you may or may not know of, but I feel are worth mentioning.

It reverses the detrimental effects of stress.

Exercise causes your body to naturally produce dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine which, ultimately “sooths” your brain. The less stressed you are the fewer signs of aging. 😉

It lifts depression.

One study found that working out three times a week, burning 350 calories, reduced symptoms of depression almost just as effectively as antidepressants.

It improves learning.

Exercise increases brain chemicals known as growth factors, which in turn help us learn. Challenging yourself physically not only enhances your attention, but your concentration as well, both which improve your capacity to learn.

It builds self-esteem and improves body image.

Working hard in the gym is something everyone should be proud of.

It leaves you feeling euphoric.

Also known as the “runners high.” You’ll be full of energy and gleaming happiness.

Not only does it keep your body fit, but it keeps your brain fit too.

It is known to keep your cognitive skills sharp. You know what that means? It will help you score better on those dreaded exams.

Finally, it may help keep Alzheimer’s at bay.

Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. 5.4 Million Americans are living with this disease and there is no known cure. So take steps now that might reduce your chance of becoming a part of this statistic.



Tips To Boost Your Metabolism

Are you in a rut? Do you feel like your metabolism has hit its plateau? Well, you’re in luck! Here are several ways you can boost your metabolism and keep on track toward that goal of yours!

1) I know I have said it before, but I can’t stress it enough. EAT BREAKFAST. Going too long without food sends your body into starvation mode, which in turn only slows your metabolism. So jumpstart it by eating breakfast!

2) Consume most of your calories before noon. Dinner should actually be your lightest meal of the day. Also, pick and time, for example say 8pm, and don’t allow yourself to eat after this time.

3) That being said, eat regularly. Providing your body with a steady source of energy keeps your metabolism working all day long.

4) Don’t eat less than the 1200 calories a day. This also sends your body into starvation, which again only slows your metabolism.

5) Add in weight training and resistance exercises.  Muscle burns more calories than fat, so the more muscle you have to more calories you burn! This is a simple way to increase your daily average metabolic rate.

6) Don’t forget about that cardio. Starting your day off with cardio is another simple way to jumpstart that metabolism. Exercise also keeps your metabolism revved up during the hours following your workout.

7) Drink a cold glass of water as soon as you wake up and continue to drink water throughout the day. The burning process of metabolism needs water to be effective. Try snacking on fruits and vegetable, instead of pretzels and chips to add more fluid to your diet.

8) Add spice to your meals.  Spices contain chemical compounds that will kick your metabolism into a higher gear.

9) Eat protein. Your body uses more energy to burn foods high in protein compared to those loaded with carbohydrates or fat.

10) Start your day off with a cup of coffee. Just remember to stick to one cup a day. Although coffee only provides a short-term increase in your metabolic rate, all the little changes you make can add up!

11) Finally, drink green tea. Like coffee, tea has caffeine, which naturally boosts your metabolism. It also has its own health benefits! What, you ask? Well, it is known to help with everything from fighting cancer to helping your heart!

This site has a list of the top 15 metabolism boosting foods. Check it out!


How Alcohol Contributes to Weight Gain

I’m sure you have all heard it …“If you want to lose weight, you need to stop drinking alcohol” …but do you really understand why alcohol is of concern?

Let me explain. Alcohol is broken down into acetate after it is consumed, which is basically vinegar. The body burns acetate before any other calorie consumed or stored, including fats and sugars. Like I have said before, calories are all the same, but by adding alcohol to your diet you are likely to consume more calories than you burn in a given day.  When you drink alcohol your body is getting all of its energy from the acetate; therefore, the calories you don’t burn are likely to come from the Nutella you ate earlier or that Pepsi you had at lunch. Alcohol temporarily inhibits “lipid oxidation.” This simply means that your body can’t burn the fat already on your body as easily.

To sum things up, following a high-fat, high-alcohol diet will cause weight gain. That doesn’t mean that you can’t drink and lose weight. Remember: MODERATION IS KEY.

Here are some simple tips to follow to avoid weight gain caused by alcohol:

  1. Be aware of what and how much you are drinking. A margarita can have up to 700 calories, where a single glass of wine only has 70 calories.
  2. Drink water between drinks. Not only does this keep you from drinking too much, it keeps you hydrated helping you avoid a hangover the next day.
  3. Don’t skip out on exercise. A night of drinking can leave you too tired or hungover to exercise. Don’t give in!
  4. Practice self-control. If you tend to drink too much or overeat at parties, try eating a healthy snack beforehand. This keeps you from drinking on an empty stomach, which only speeds up intoxication.

Color Psychology


Notice something in common? That’s right, the color scheme. Most fast food chains contain the colors red, yellow, and sometimes orange in the color of their logo. Why you ask? These colors, according to color theory, subconsciously trigger hunger and/or induce excitement. They often cause consumers to spend more money and leave quickly, which is just what these types of restaurants want you to do.  Study shows that you also eat more in a room surrounded by warm colors opposed to cooler colors.  Notice how weight loss ads and programs use cooler colors like blues, greens, and browns? Restaurants on the more healthy side, like Subway, also incorporate these cooler colors.  Cooler colors are actually known to suppress appetite. Some weight loss programs even encourage users to eat from blue plates or putting a blue light inside the fridge. Beiges and Browns are known to be more luxurious. Think about it nice sit down dinners usually have wooden floors. Many of the foods we eat are also in this color group. Those include: breads, pastas, meat, beans, etc.

So next time you’re out I encourage you to take a look around at all the different colors. Some of the fast food chains and weight loss advertisements pictured have obviously figured out what colors work best in their line of business.  Colors really do play a role in our everyday lives. Pretty cool, huh? I thought so!

The Ultimate Dining Out Guide

Do you love to eat out? I know I do. Well, here is some good news. You can still eat out and lose weight. Sounds impossible, huh? It’s not as difficult as you think. Just follow these tips.

(1)  Research – If you don’t want to break the bank, eating out healthy requires a little forethought, planning, and self-discipline. Most restaurants have their menus online with nutrition facts. I use a free app on my phone called ‘Restaurants.’ This iPhone app has a list of numerous restaurants and the calorie count of different items on the menu at that restaurant. If you know the restaurant you are going to has a dessert you absolutely can’t go without, you can cut back during other parts of your meal. I would always pick out my meal ahead of time and log it in ‘myfitnesspal’ journal, which is another iPhone app. This allowed me to keep track of how much I could eat without consuming too many calories.

(2)  Bread – Ask your waiter/waitress to bring out the bread with your meal. Often many consumers fill up on unnecessary calories from bread and butter before their meal and then turn around and eat what they ordered. If it comes with you meal it makes it easier to stick to only one piece.

(3) Alcohol – For those of you that are of age, be careful about ordering that glass of wine or bottle of beer with your dinner. Like I have said before, the empty calories in alcohol can add up. So if you decide to drink with your meal, skip dessert. You can have one or the other, but I suggest not having both.

(4) Salads – Order smart salads. Ask for your dressing on the side, it could save you 100 extra calories. Salads piled with cheese, croutons, and dried fruit can take away from the healthy aspect of having a salad before a meal, so don’t be afraid to customize your salad to make it healthier.

(5)  Main Food Choices – Go for fish or lean meats and pick healthy sides! Order vegetables instead of French fries and you’ll save big time. Often restaurants have a section of the menu dedicated to those health nuts, so use this to your advantage.

(6) Portions –  Decide how much you are going to eat before you start eating. When eating out, one plate of pasta could be enough food to feed you for three different meals. Maybe box up half of your meal ahead of time; if it’s not in front of you, you won’t feel the need to eat it.

(7) Desserts – Share your dessert. You can still satisfy that sweet tooth, but I wouldn’t suggest keeping that massive slice of cheesecake to yourself, well unless it’s your birthday then go right ahead. 😉 If you eat out every night, keep desserts to once or twice a week. Here is another helpful tip. When ordering coffee ask for nonfat milk instead of using whole milk or cream.

(8)  Order Errors – Don’t be afraid to send a dish back if it didn’t come as you ordered. If your salad didn’t come with the dressing on the side, speak up. Don’t sabotage a week’s worth of hard work at the gym. The goal is to leave any restaurant feeling satisfied.

Train yourself to crave healthy foods! Image

Add Color To Your Life

Why, you ask? Because it could add years to your life! Scientists across the country have discovered several health benefits associated with the natural pigments that make fruits and vegetables so colorful. Who knew eating bright colored foods would help protect your body from common diseases and illnesses as you age.  Below are a few of those discoveries.


The color red reduces the risk of several diseases including heart disease, prostate cancer, and other types of cancer.


The color yellow will protect you against macular degeneration, the number-one cause of blindness in the elderly.


Eating orange foods will lower your cholesterol aiding in the prevention of heart disease. The color orange also helps reduce the risk of stroke.


Adding a simple green salad at dinner will help prevent cancer.


The color blue will help protect your memory and motor functions as you age.


Finally, protect your heart by adding purple to your diet! The color purple also helps prevent heart disease.


Need ideas? This link has got you covered. It has a list of food suggestions for every color group!


Diet Mistakes

Not seeing the results you want? Here are a few ways you may be sabotaging your diet.

–       Yes, it is possible to eat too few calories. Don’t do it !! Trying to maintain a diet that is very low in calories will most likely lead to binging on unhealthy foods later down the road because you feel deprived. It might even cause you to give up dieting all together. Also, not eating enough can slow your metabolism.

–       Don’t forbid certain groups of food from your diet. You can still have that pizza or dessert without putting on those extra pounds. Simply, watch your portion sizes. Letting yourself eat small amounts of ‘forbidden’ food will prevent high-calorie binging and keep you happy with your diet plan.

–       Skipping breakfast is a HUGE mistake. Not only does it slow your metabolism, it may cause you to over eat at lunchtime!

–       Getting lax about portion sizes because you’re down a few pounds? BAD IDEA. A few large meals can easily push you back off track.

–       Think that just because you worked out today, you can eat more? That defeats the whole purpose of working out, especially when you’re trying to lose weight! Also, avoid those sugary sport drinks!

–       Proper sleeping habits are essential to maintaining a healthy weight. Make sure you are getting seven to nine quality hours of sleep each night. Lack of sleep can have a direct effect on the amount of food you consume through out the day leading to weight gain.

–       Have late night cravings? Eating late at night just adds extra calories to your diet. Remember, calories count no matter what time of they day they are consumed.

–       Liquid calories count too and they can add up quickly! Think twice about ordering that soda pop with your sandwich everyday.

These are only a few ways that may be causing you to eat more food than your body actually needs. Just remember successful long-term weight loss is rooted in commitment to a healthy diet and exercise plan you can stick to! I know from experience how challenging weight loss can be, but it can be done! Avoiding these diet mistakes is essential to seeing progress. Also, it helps if your friends and family are supportive of your goals; they were for me! Check out my before and after photo!


11 Misleading Food Labels

Are you making smart decisions at the supermarket? What I am about to bring to your attention may surprise you. Products that include fat free or all natural may not be as healthy as you think. Following are some of the most common and misleading phrases used on food products:

  • All natural – The FDA doesn’t define this term. As long as a food doesn’t contain added colors, artificial flavors, or “synthetic substances,” manufactures can label their food product all natural. That means a food labeled natural may contain preservatives or be injected with sodium. Get this “Some natural products will have high fructose corn syrup and companies will argue that since it comes from corn, it’s healthy.” Stephan Gardner, director of litigation at the Center of Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) WRONG
  • Multigrain – Next time look for the words whole grain or 100% whole wheat. Multigrain just means the product is made with several different grains, that DOES NOT mean they are always the healthy ones. Whole grains have more fiber and other nutrients than processed foods. Often processed foods have been stripped of the healthiest portion of the grain.
  • No sugar added – Watching calories and carbs? Beware. No sugar added products might contain added ingredients like maltodextrin, a carbohydrate. These simple sugars are sure to raise your blood sugar. Also, no sugar added doesn’t guarantee that the product is calorie free either. Remember some food contain natural sugars such as: fruit, milk, cereal, and vegetables.
  • Sugar free – Often times a sugar free version is no better than the regular version. Sometimes it might even have more calories. Sugar free products have less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving, BUT they still contain a bountiful of calories and carbohydrates from other sources!
  • Zero trans fat – If a product contains less than 0.5 grams per serving, manufactures are allowed to claim that their product contains no trans fat. So watch out you still might get a good amount of trans fat added to your diet if you don’t stick to a single serving!
  • Fat free – We’ve all heard of the dangers of saturated and trans fat. Fat-free may be free of those fats, but may contain just as many calories as full-fat versions.
  • Light – To be considered light, the fat content has to be 50% less than the amount found in comparable products. That doesn’t mean it’s nutritional. Manufacturers have been known to use the term to refer to flavor rather than the ingredients.
  • Made with real fruit – A product may be made with real fruit, but it may not contain very much actual real fruit. Companies don’t have to disclose the amount they actually use.
  • Organic – Organic may just be placed on foods to make you think it’s healthy. Organic foods can still be packed in fat, calories, and sugar. Organic just means 95% of the food was grown or processed with out fertilizers or pesticides.
  • 2% milk – Whole milk only contains 3.25% fat……
  • Serving size – Products may base their nutritional information on unrealistic serving sizes to make it seem healthier.