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Back to School


“Back to school, back to school

To prove to my dad that I’m not a fool

I’ve got my lunch packed up,

My boots tied tight,

I hope I don’t get in a fight

Back to school

Back to school”



We have all heard this infamous “Back to School” song that Adam Sandler sang in the movie Billy Madison. As we listen to Billy sing off his check list, we would think he is ready to go back to school. But, is he truly ready?

Billy doesn’t know it yet, but he is going to be very busy running from class to class. He will need to focus on his studies to make good grades. Billy will need a lot of energy and rest! What smart and healthy choices can he do to help him maintain his stamina during school? The answer is simple; by being mindful of what is in his lunch box.

Ok, so now some of you may be asking who in the world carries a lunch box when they could use a vending machine or grab food from the cafeteria. I know as a college student myself, I can understand how easy it is to just grab something and go. I’ve been guilty of overindulging on coffee, energy drinks, and all the delights of the vending machines. While these products gave me a quick pick me up, they left me crashing after. I always felt exhausted and unable to concentrate after consuming such products. I knew I needed to make a change in my diet in order for me to stay on top of my studies.

So right now you may be ready to hit the ground running. But you will be tempted over the semester, and it could get vicious. So here are a few suggestions to help you stay nutritious. Here is a list of healthier options that I enjoy when I’m feeling hungry during a busy day:

Plantain chips vs. Potato chips

Hummus & Veggies vs. Ranch dip

Peanut Butter and Jelly vs. Fast food sandwich

Water vs. Soda/Energy drink

Banana with Peanut Butter vs. Cakes/Pies

When choosing snacks or lunches, try eating fresh produce, a lean protein and a whole grain. It is always best to avoid empty caloric items such as soda, chips, candy, cakes, etc. These items have no nutritional value and can send you crashing. A well-balanced nutritional meal or snack will fuel your brain and your body to help you maintain your stamina until the next meal.

So as you make your back to school check list, ask yourself one question, “What’s in my lunch box?”


What is your favorite snack?

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A big welcome and a coffee bike

First off, we here at the Rec are super excited that the Marshall students are back on campus! It’s a long summer without you, and it’s wonderful to see things buzzing at the Rec Center once again! RecFest and the First Night Block Party were huge successes, so thank you for coming out for all the festivities!

So I know this post has a weird title, but we have a new piece of equipment at the Rec this fall and its called the Expresso Bike. I know, I know, the coffee is ESpresso, but I can’t help calling it the coffee bike, as my love for coffee (almost) trumps my love of working out.

This bike is the coolest. Here is a pic of it:

photo (5)

It is located on the 3rd floor over by the track, and I hope all of you head up there and give it a whirl. It is set up like a video game where Marshall University competes again other schools on mileage. You set up an account on it, then visit the Expresso website to complete your registration. (Do this, or you won’t get the full experience!) Every time you use it, log on, and it knows who you are: you can see starts from your old rides, compete against your self or others who are riding it, and even send your results to social media. Each month the company comes up with challenges that, if completed, allows you to get a cool T-shirt sent to you and total bragging rights.

photo 1photo 2

(Sorry about the 2nd picture, I was riding it!)

What I like the best is that it’s set up as a video game and you actually steer the bike past other riders on the course. It helps all those miles fly by in a flash! It isn’t until I’m done that I realize I’m sweating like crazy. You are able to gear up and down like on a real bike, so I feel like I’m getting a more “real” experience on an indoor bike.

photo 3

If you are here, head up to the 3rd floor and give this bike a try. Let us know what you think about it. If we get positive feedback, we’ll probably get a couple more of them. Good Luck beating my times!!!

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Food Porn!






Almost everyone has been exposed to food porn. Don’t believe me? Have you ever opened a magazine to a picture of a piece of cobbler that made your mouth water instantly? Have you ever been up late at night watching a fast food commercial and suddenly out of nowhere you want to make a Taco Bell run? The images of these delicious foods get your salivary glands pumping and immediately you want this food.  If this has happened to you, my friends you have witnessed food porn. 

What is food porn? According to Wikipedia (okay, ok, so wiki is NOT the best source to use), food porn is a glamourized, spectacular, visual presentation of cooking or eating of high fat and high calorie content food in advertisements, infomercials, cooking shows or other visual media.   This exotic display of food arouses a desire to eat while also glorifying food as a substitute for sex.  However, food porn isn’t always a deceptive picture it can also be deceptive information.


Typically, when talking about food porn it is easy to imagine the common staple of food items.  We are used to seeing cakes, and pies, sodas, pizza, or burgers glorified on billboards and commercials.  We have all seen the commercial of ribs so tender they just fall off the bone.  We have given in and indulged from images of hotdogs that have more toppings than a Christmas tree. But what about the items we believe to be more nutritious alternatives? Take for example some of the nut butters and spreads that claim they are good for us.

Imagine yourself at home watching television and a commercial comes on.  In it, we see a picture of a happy family eating breakfast.  We are given a close up of a piece of toast and the breakfast spread.  The voice over proudly lets you know that, “a balanced breakfast is the key to a great start each morning for the entire family, especially for children because they are growing and changing every day.” The mother gives the children the toast that is now topped with a creamy dark spread.  The children’s eyes light up and you then hear, “Nutella, breakfast never tasted this good!”


Remember what we said about deceptive information?  The makers of Nutella are extremely concerned for a good balance of vitamins and minerals.  They tell us that “eating a good breakfast helps with the intake of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, especially iron and vitamin C, all essential in a balanced diet.”  They assure us that we are getting nothing but wholesome, nutritious greatness with their product.  However, what would this commercial look like if we told the whole truth?  The commentary might go something like this …


Nutella is the breakfast spread of the century! With the combination of roasted hazel nuts, and a hint of cocoa, nutrition doesn’t get much better than this! Even better, there are no artificial colors, or preservatives! So, go ahead my friends, please dig in to the first and most important ingredient: sugar!  We promise that your mouth will water with just 21 grams of sugar in two tablespoons of this delicious spread! Nutella contains only 4 percent of calcium, 1 gram of fiber, 4 percent of iron, and 0 percent of vitamins A and C. 


When consuming Nutella you should couple it with a glass of milk, an orange and whole wheat bread topped with a tablespoon of peanut butter. You will need to add all these to get any nutritional value out of this breakfast! But don’t worry, Nutella does ensure you are getting your nutritional needs met with its high fat content! This product offers 11 grams of total fat!  If you want little nutritional value and a ton of sugar, Nutella is the way to go!


Food porn is advertised and displayed in many ways.  Sometimes we see it and don’t even recognize it.  So if you are watching television and suddenly have a craving that wasn’t there before, you may have just seen food porn. Food porn may be wrapped up in a bow, but open the package and almost everything within is bad for you. There is nothing like deception that tempts this girl to get vicious.  But in the end, it is best to simply be nutritious. I have found that in my personal experience it is always best to read the nutrition labels on products that claim to be healthy.  Educate yourself.  Take some time to learn what is really good for you and what is not.  As always, don’t be vicious, be nutritious!


What food item have you seen that was glamorized?

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One Fish, Two Fish…….

It’s Friday!!

Don’t be vicious, be nutritious with Christina!



Some fish can be caught with bait and some fish swim really late

Some fish are fresh water and some fish are saltwater

Some fish can be caught and steamed in a pot

Oh me! Oh my! I love my fish in stir-fry

One fish, two fish…how do you fish?

Some fish can be broiled, baked, roasted or grilled and some fish can taste really good when they are filled

Some fish such as, canned white tuna is higher in omega-3s but some fish like canned light tuna is lower in mercury

Some fish are shelled and some are finned

Oh me! Oh my! How I like my fish skinned

One fish, two fish… do you like your fish?


(Possibly the smallest fish I’ve ever caught! hahaha)


As the summer rays of summer start to fade, that doesn’t mean the flames from the grill have to! Tis the season for grilling, fishing, camping and all the wonderful outdoor activities our great state has to offer. The next time you are thinking about a quiet dinner, or what scrumptious culinary creation you wish to light upon your grill, consider the following alternative to your mainstays of burgers, steak, or chicken. Try substituting that protein source with fish.

Fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Omega-3 fatty acids are EPA and DHA. Consuming these may aid in reducing the risk for heart disease. You should always aim for substituting your main protein source for a seafood source at least two times per week.

Some people may not be fans of fish and may want to get these health benefits by using a supplement instead. However, eating fish offers greater overall benefits. So if you do like fish, you should choose the fish meat over a supplement. Doing so ensures you get all the proteins, vitamins and minerals that a fish supplement does not provide. For example, consider eating an oily fish such as sardines. Sardines have enormous health benefits because they contain fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K, and essential fatty acids.

It is also important to try seafood that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury content. Some examples of this are trout, sardines, anchovies, herring and salmon. You can also liven up your salads by using fish. Try topping your salads with with grilled scallops, shrimp or crab instead of steak or chicken. You can also use fish as a tasty alternative for that deli meat on your sandwich or combine taco night with seafood night by using grilled fish in your tacos. Whatever you do, always challenge yourself and be creative when replacing protein sources in meals with seafood choices! Also, remember Long John Slivers and Captain D’s do NOT count. : ) And as always, remember don’t be vicious, be nutritious.


What is your favorite seafood dish?

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A Day Away

Sometimes you just need to get out of town, breathe fresh air, drive with the windows down, singing at the top of your lungs, and take a minute to explore the world around you.

And so went my Sunday at Hocking Hills State Park.

Located in southeastern Ohio in Hocking County, Hocking Hills is about a 2 hour drive from Huntington. Is it worth it? Yes.

First of all, the ride is some of the fun because it’s such a pretty drive, and also when music is involved, it’s always a good time. I went with three of my best friends and we left pretty early in the morning, and we still had fun, so you can do it.


“If you want to discover Ohio, you’ve got to get to the hills. Hocking Hills.”


Hocking Hills covers a huge area; there are actually 6 main park areas open to the public. So no matter what you’re looking for, you can probably find it. My friends and I were in the mood for hiking, which I think is the best way to experience Hocking Hills. There are six major hiking areas and over 25 miles of hiking trails in Hocking Hills State Park – Ash Cave, Old Man’s Cave, Rock House, Conkle’s Hollow, Cedar Falls and Cantwell Cliffs. And they all offer something a little different.


Ash Cave: Ohio’s largest recess cave, waterfalls (seasonal)

Old Man’s Cave: unique rock formations, cliff faces

Rock House: caverns, rock step trails

Conkle’s Hollow: scenic overlooks of the gorge, high, rugged cliffs

Cedar Falls: hemlock-lined hiking trails, huge waterfall

Cantwell Cliffs: deep valleys, rock shelters


One thing that I recommend before visiting, if you want to see the falls in action, is to call the park. Depending on the season and rainfall, the falls can either be really good or not so good. When we went, most of the falls were down, which didn’t matter that much, but the next time I go back, I want it to be when the falls are in full swing.


I don’t pretend to be an expert on all things hiking or nature-related. All I know is that I got to see some amazing sites with my friends, while hiking and getting exercise. Here are some pictures I snapped, even though I recommend being as phone-less as possible, which is pretty easy since you don’t have cell service in most areas of the park. It’s a nice escape from the real world.




Old Man’s Cave





“It’s an Ohio State Park. It is undisturbed forests and rugged cliffs and deep, mysterious gorges. It is hiking, bird watching, star programs and wildlife. It’s Adventure. It is the Hocking Hills. “


Have you been to Hocking Hills? Do you like to hike?

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A Workout Music Battle



I listen to music constantly, and if I’m not listening to it, I’m humming it or singing it in my head just the same. Music is an ESSENTIAL part of my workout. I run faster, squat longer, and double my plank time all because my favorite song came on (right now, it’s “Love Never Felt So Good” by Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake).

But I’ve always had trouble finding new music to workout to, and let’s be honest, I, on a college student budget, can’t afford to buy new songs every time I get tired of the old ones.

Enter Pandora and Spotify to save the day…and my workout.


Pandora Internet Radio is an online music service that plays different songs based on your artist or genre selections. You can provide positive or negative feedback for the songs, and your selections are taken into account when Pandora selects future songs. You can skip songs too, but you will run out of skips eventually, which happens to me a lot.

But my favorite part of Pandora…it’s FREE! Of course, there is a “but.” The free subscription means you will get ads, which can be really annoying, but all in all I think it’s worth it. And if you really can’t handle the ads, you can upgrade to Pandora One for $4.99/month.

So I decided to scan through all of the “Workout” genre stations I have on Pandora and rate them. Feel free to let me know which ones you guys like, or if you use ones I haven’t mentioned.


1. Pop and Hip Hop Power Workout – Usher, The Wanted, Beyonce, Black Eyed Peas.

2. Classic Rock Power Workout – AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Survivor, Journey.

3. Alternative Endurance Training – The Black Keys, Young the Giant, Mumford & Sons, The White Stripes.

4. 80s Cardio – Bonnie Tyler, Phil Collins, Journey, Pat Benatar, Genesis

5. Pop Fitness – Maroon 5, Flo Rida, Carly Rae Jepsen, Kelly Clarkson.

6. Rap Strength Training – Eminem, Fort Minor, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Wiz Khalifa.

7. Dance Cardio – David Guetta, Havana Brown, Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna, Pitbull, Kesha.

8. Country Fitness – Jason Aldean, Luke Brian, Jake Ownen, Keith Urban, Rodney Atkins.


What about Spotify? It works similar to Pandora but there are some serious differences.

First, Spotify is a music streaming service so it is designed to allow you to search for, and play, any song at any time. But there’s a catch…that’s only on tablet and computer. On your phone, you can only listen to artists, albums and playlists in shuffle mode, or you can choose a ready-made playlist to suit your mood.

Just like Pandora, paid “Premium” subscriptions remove advertisements and allow users to download music to listen offline.

To be honest, the shuffle play isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, it doesn’t quite read my mind like Pandora does, but it still gives me good music.

The best part of mobile Spotify, for me, is the variety of workout stations…

Power Workout

Running High Tempo > 140 BPM

Indie Workout

Will To Win

Dance Workout

Run Wild

Bollywood Workout

The Yoga Lounge: Hot Yoga Beats

Cycling Music

Ultimate Pump Up

…just to name a few.


So which music service do I recommend? Well, I’m going to give you the “gray area” answer, I like both for different reasons.

Pandora gives me more specific choices and it seems to recognize the music I like better. I also feel like it’s more mobile friendly.

But Spotify has a lot more variety with workout stations, so there is no way you would get bored, and it allows you to search more directly, even if you can only listen in shuffle mode.

I recommend trying both and seeing what works for you and your workout. Besides, they’re both free, so if you hate them both, no harm no foul.

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Things they are a’ changin’

Things are changing here at the Marshall Rec Center Blog and we hope all of our dear readers will stay along for the ride! Since Christine left for Charlotte (we miss you!) we have been working on a change in the format, so there are exciting things to come! Today we would like to introduce you to our nutritionist, Christina Gayheart. Christina is going to be responsible for writing a new series on the blog called “Don’t be vicious, be nutritious!”. Look forward to hearing from her every Friday!  





Some of my friends would describe me as being a little quirky and unusual. I have a big personality and a massive love of nature and the arts. So many people ask me why I didn’t pursue a career in performance and while I love the arts, the answer is simple… I enjoy helping people!

I grew up as an underprivileged child. My mom was a single mother who did her best to provide for the family, but at times that was difficult. We moved a lot and I attended numerous schools. Because of this I learned very quickly to never judge anyone and how to adapt to my surroundings. I also learned that a strong work ethic and dedication will forge the path to a rewarding life. At the age of 15, I got my first job with a work permit. Since then, I have held a job (been known to work 2 jobs), while attending school, to pay for my education. Looking back now, I have so much appreciation and gratitude for the people that influenced my life and helped my family during times of adversity.

After graduating with my associate’s, I landed a job working for an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. I worked there for about three years before coming back to college. When deciding to go back to college, I was terrified I would never pass my classes. It wasn’t until my charge nurse uttered the words I will NEVER forget, “if college was made for people to fail, no one would have degrees.” That very night, I got online and started to pursue dietetics.

Moving forward a couple years, now senior at Marshall University studying Dietetics, I have had the honor of being the vice president and the current president of the Marshall University Student Association of Nutrition and Dietetics (SAND). SAND has given me numerous opportunities and experiences in educating people of various backgrounds on the importance of a healthier lifestyle. As a student liaison for the West Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, I have worked with and learned from professionals in our state who play a vital role on how nutrition affects those in our communities.
Before becoming the nutrition educator at the Rec Center, I was given the opportunity to be an intern for Kids in Motion through the YMCA. During the 10 weeks of interning I was able to help create and execute a nutrition program for the Kids Fit and Family Fit classes. Seeing first-hand how important physical activity coupled with proper nutrition affected the participant’s outcomes sparked a strong desire in me to want to work with a team to help those reach their goals. The Rec Center offers just that, a team!
Join our team today by calling 304-696-4732 to schedule your appointment today!


Are there certain nutrition related topics you would like to read about? Leave a comment for me!


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