The Spring Breakaway Challenge

Last year, I blogged about the new Expresso bikes that the Rec had purchased for the 3rd floor. (See that post here) Since this bike is hooked up to Internet (what isn’t these days, right?) it has all these amazing features that you just can’t get from a recumbent bike. The company behind these bikes is always setting up monthly challenges to the riders and gyms so that they can motivate patrons to not only ride the bike, but work a little harder when doing it.

When they announced the Spring breakaway Challenge, we knew we had to do our best to try and win. After all.. we’re Marshall, right? We are known for perseverance!

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The challenge worked like this: create an account on the Expresso bike and log into the website at www.expresso.net to complete the registration. Then go log miles on the bike. Simple, right? Expresso tallies up all the miles from your school, and you can see which other schools across the country are riding as well and how many miles they have. The list looked like this at the end of the week:

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We knew Marshall could do it! A big shout out to Francisco Garcia who rocked out 158 miles that week and was on the top leaderboard for the whole country!

They gave the challenge a rest for a week, and then last Monday we were back in the saddle again!

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This time we didn’t do quite as well, but look at the winning team from Houghton! 2,418.3 miles in 5 days is insane. They must have had someone riding every bike from open to close every day. Not a total bummer though since Marshall was able to walk away in 6th place, and this was our first collegiate challenge.

Again, I have to give props to our top riders Todd Bledsoe, Brian Groves and Taylor Sprye. They all logged over 100 miles in 5 days and will walk away with a custom T-shirt. Great job, guys!

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Expresso will be doing a bracket type Challenge called the Fall Frenzy toward the end of the year, and we are already looking to see what we can do when we put our minds to it. If you haven’t tried out the Expresso bikes, make sure you get up to the 3rd floor to check them out. There are a ton of challenging rides that you can take. Some of them will make you good and sweaty! It’s set up much like a video game, so you steer clear of other riders and go up and down his. Bottom line, this bike rocks.

Southeast Regional Champs

Thanks again to all the riders that came out and rode the bikes. For many of you it was your first, but it won’t be your last! GO MARSHALL!

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On the go? Drink H2O!

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As we enter warmer weather, outdoor activities will be more and more popular. While it is important to stay properly hydrated during any type of physical activity, it is especially important to keep hydrated during outdoor activities. Why is it so important? Well our body is 60% water! That is a lot! Plus becoming dehydrated is no fun and it is dangerous.

How much water do you need? On average females need 9 cups and males need 13 cups a day. This amount will vary depending on the type and amount of physical activity you are doing, if you are pregnant, or if you are sick. We have daily needs because we lose water just by breathing! We also lose our water by sweating and waste excretion.

How do we know if we are dehydrated? Here are a few signs of dehydration: dry mouth, tiredness, thirst, decreased urine output, dry skin, headache, constipation and dizziness. Your urine can also tell you if you are dehydrated or not. Typically, you want your urine to be a pale yellow. If your urine is dark yellow, you might be dehydrated.

How do we hydrate? Here are some tips on ways to stay hydrated: instead of drinking energy drinks or sodas, drink water! Fruits and veggies contain water, so you can eat more of those to help with hydration. If you worked out or are in the heat for a long time REPLENISH your body with water. If you do not like plain water, infuse your water with fresh cut fruit. Check out this previous post about infusing your water!

Don’t be vicious to your bodies, stay nutritious and hydrated! Come see us at the Rec Center. For more information on nutrition education and fitness plans, call us at 304-696-4REC(4732).

How do you hydrate?

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Who Lives in a Pineapple Under the Sea?

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While we might not live in pineapples we most definitely are not living under our blankets now that warmer weather has decided to grace us. I feel like pineapples do not get enough attention… unless we are singing about them in the SpongeBob song or placing them on our hams during the holidays.

Pineapples are very nutritious for us. They contain high amounts of vitamin C, thiamin, and manganese. They are also a good way to get fiber and bromelain. What in the world is bromelain? It is an enzyme that can be used to tenderize the meats you eat and it can serve as a potential anti-inflammatory agent!

This delicious fruit helps support our immune system, aids in bone and eye health, and helps with digestion. As you fire up your grills this spring, throw on some pineapple. Here is a recipe for grilled pineapple with yogurt sauce. If you do not have a grill (no worries) you can achieve the same texture/flavor by cooking them on the stove top in an iron pan.

Grilled Pineapple & Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients:

1 pineapple

1 cup plain yogurt

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint

1 bag walnuts

Instructions: Rinse pineapple; with sharp knife, trim the pineapple. Starting from the top, slice the pineapple into quarters avoiding the core. Discard the core and slice the pineapple into 2’x2’ cubes. Fry pineapple on stove top in pan. Remove to plate and garnish with chopped mint.

Yogurt Sauce: In a bowl, combine yogurt and honey. Serve with pineapple and top with walnuts if desired.

As always… don’t be vicious, be nutritious and come see us at the Rec!

Have you ever tried grilled fruit?

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National Nutrition Month

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Every March National Nutrition Month (NNM) is celebrated nationwide. This is a campaign that places attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthy eating and physical activity habits. Along with National Nutrition Month, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day is celebrated to increase awareness of RD’s. If you are seeking help with certain disease states and your diet or need help with menu planning or weight loss, see a professional. Registered Dietitians are the nutrition experts, they have had extensive course work/training and they know their stuff!

I want to keep today’s blog short and sweet, but also want to create awareness and to challenge you! The theme for NNM this year is “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle.” How are you going to take a bite into a healthy lifestyle? Are you going to take the stairs instead of the elevator? Are you going to aim to drink more water? Are you going to park further away from the entrance to the building you need to go to? Whatever the case may be, challenge yourself to make one change this month!

Here is a link to a nutrition game “Rate Your Plate”, http://www.nationalnutritionmonth.org/nnm/games/quiz/index.html. It will ask you a series of questions and help you get or stay on track with a healthy diet. You can find other activities/tips on www.nationalnutritionmonth.org and at www.eatright.org.

Need help taking a bite into a healthy lifestyle? Come see us at the Rec Center!

For more information on basic nutrition education and fitness plans, call us at 304-696-4REC(4732).

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A Place in Huntington that’s not so Huntington

I have lived in Huntington for like 15 years. I came here as a student and never left. I moved here before Pullman Square and Super Walmart and Starbucks ever thought to open up in this part of the world. I have a sort of reserved love for this city, meaning it’s my home and I love all the people here, but I sometimes get a little jealous of other places and some of the cool stuff they have to offer.

I recently visited BitterSweet Coffeehouse on 20th Street at the urging of my friend Cindy one rainy Saturday morning. As soon as I stepped into the eclectic old building I felt like I was stepping into a place in another city. (Asheville, NC came immediately to mind) Needless to say I was blown away.

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Not only is the coffee shop quaint, edgy and cute as all heck, they are experts on one of my favorite subjects…COFFEE!

They have your standard beverages with all the flavors and sweetness you could possibly want, but they also offer “pour over” coffee, which is pretty hard core. Not only is the coffee itself of exceptional quality, you need to still your beating heart while they are making it- it takes about 6 minutes. Patience is a virtue, your reward is a gorgeous, silky cup of some of the best stuff on earth. The caffeine is intense: one day I grabbed one at about 3pm when I was suffering from intense laziness at my desk. I powered through my workday and did an at-home workout in my living room that evening at 8:30. #winning

 

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Here are a couple pictures of the small but mighty menu.

They also have a few little treats in the glass case, and I snapped a couple pictures of a banana nut muffin and a chocolate cupcake we bought. A couple weeks ago I snagged their version of the lemon loaf that you can also get at Starbucks. OMG, I may have licked the paper bag when I finished it.

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BitterSweet Coffee makes my day a little brighter every time I go there. They have wifi and ample space to work on your computer, meet with friends, or just sit back and relax. It’s that perfect little place to dream about being in another place. But then you open your eyes, and you realize you’re in Huntington, and it makes the experience that much sweeter.

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Enjoy your day today, loyal readers, and don’t forget to follow BitterSweet Coffee on Facebook and Instagram (bittersweetcoffeehouse). They are located at 2001 7th Ave.

I love that Huntington is becoming such a FAB place to live! What do you like best about our city?

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Mood-Boosting Foods

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It has been an interesting few weeks here in Huntington, WV. With freezing temperatures and tons of snow, Marshall actually closed for snow for the first time in forever. At first it was great! I got caught up on grading and completing my assignments. But then came another day off and another day and another day and so forth and so on, until I had the entire week off! Talk about having “Cabin fever”, I have reached my limit of staying in!

Here in West Virginia we experience power outages, being snowed in and not getting enough sunlight! The sun is a biggie because this can affect out mood. No one wants to be snowed in with no electric around a bunch of hateful people. Right? Today I want to share with you some key foods and nutrients that I ran across on Appetite for Health, which may help boost your mood as we move through these frigid days.

· Omega- 3 fats can be found in oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. They are also found in flaxseeds, canola oil, walnuts and fortified eggs or milk. Last week I posted a couple benefits you could reap from eating these, but there is one more! Some studies have shown a connection between omega-3 fatty acids and a lower risk of depression. While we do not know this for certain, it is still worth a shot to try them. Heck even if it doesn’t help your mood you will still benefit from consuming these.

· Vitamin D is found in fat free and low fat dairy, fortified soy milk, fatty fish and egg yolk. This is a big one to focus on making sure you are getting enough of. In the winter months here in West Virginia we do not get vitamin D from the sun like we do in the summer months. Some studies show that vitamin D can boost serotonin, which is responsible for mood. Serotonin can help elevate, “seasonal affective disorder (SAD),” also known as the winter blues.

· Vitamin B 12 can be found in shellfish, wild salmon, fortified whole-grain cereal, beef, cottage cheese, low-fat yogurt, milk and eggs. If you are not getting enough vitamin B12, this can potentially cause anemia, nervous system disorders, and depression. Get your vitamin B12!

· Folate can be found dark leafy greens such as kale, broccoli, and spinach, fortified whole grains, beans and lentils, sunflower seeds, wheat germ and oranges. Folate is another B vitamin that may help your mood. Some studies have shown that folate is used by the body to make serotonin. Much like vitamin D, serotonin is a “happy” neurotransmitter and could help keep those winter blues at bay.

While all of these nutrients and food items could potentially help you stay healthy and in a good mood, let us focus on another area that is a vital part of our day, breakfast. It is so important to eat breakfast once you wake up. Eating breakfast will give you energy to start your day and some studies have shown that it can lift your mood. By having more energy starting your day, you may feel less tired and less irritable. Plus breakfast can help improve your concentration at work or in school. A good breakfast consists of complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain cereals like oats, wheat or bran, and protein, such as eggs, low fat dairy, and/or nuts.

Want a breakfast that provides all of these nutrients? This is what I eat for breakfast and let me tell you, it is super yummy!

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This is the breakfast cereal of champs! It contains whole grain wheat, date crumbles, sunflower seeds, raisins, whole grain rye, whole grain barley, whole grain oats, flaxseed, almonds and walnuts. This is a heart and bowel healthy cereal that has the potential to boost your mood! You can eat this cereal either hot or cold! In the winter months I like to eat mine warm. I add about ½ cup of cereal in with about 1 cup of low-fat milk in a microwave safe bowl. Then I cover the bowl with a paper towel and microwave on high for about 4 minutes; his makes about 2 servings. The only thing I do not like about this product is that is it a little on the pricy side. If you order on Amazon or another website you can purchase this a little cheaper, you can get one 40 ounce bag (2 pounds and 8 ounces), for about $8.00-9.00.

Do not let the winter months cause you to be vicious, stay in a good mood by being nutritious. I hope you all stay warm and in a good mood! A key component to good health is through exercise. Come see us at the Rec Center. For more information on nutrition education and fitness plans, call us at 304-696-4REC(4732).

How do you combat winter blues?

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PureWow

I have been meaning to write this blog post for a long while now, and I’m just now getting around to it. I am an avid blog reader, and somehow I must have clicked on something one day that brought me to a website called PureWow. I wanted to read or see something on their site and somehow I must have given them my e-mail because now I get updates via e-mail from them based on my interests.

 

Can I just reiterate to you my love for this amazing website that has made my life…well.. better?

 

PureWow is a digital publication that actually finds way to make life more interesting, beautiful, or manageable. (It actually says this on their website). Their motto is “Elevate the Everyday”. They are doing a fantastic job of this because their e-mails have enriched my life in ways that I never thought possible. So simple, it’s stupid. I’m stupid for not signing up for the e-mails sooner!

 

It’s like that one friend you have that always has fantastic advice on what book to read next, how to handle your money, how to curl your hair or how to boil an egg!

My favorite feature is the tips and tricks videos. They are simple as heck and I feel like every time I watch one a light bulb goes off over my head like in a cartoon. My favorites? How to eat a cupcake, How to cut a big cake perfectly, How to pose when you are having your picture taken, the list goes on and on. They are 40 seconds of PureGenius <-(see what I did there?)

 

I actually made the PureWow version of a pumpkin pie this year for Thanksgiving with a cinnamon swirl crust!! I impressed everyone I know with my amazing culinary prowess.

 

Cinnamon-Roll Pie Crust

It’s pretty impressive looking, isn’t it?

 

Just today I received an e-mail with a video on how to make your bed while you are still in it, and I saw just now while researching the blog, that yes, in fact, there is a very lady like way to drink directly out of a champagne bottle.

 

Before you start thinking how in the world does this blog have anything to do with health and fitness, yes, there is a section of PureWow dedicated to just this. Check out this article about 11 pairs of leggings that make working out more fun, or 6 tricks to keep your gym bag fresh.

 

This is my happy little place on the internet. Hope you like it!

 

Do you have any favorite websites?

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