Blog Archives

The Best Fitness Magazines You Should Be Reading!

Sure, Tar Heel Tone Up is a great way to get health and fitness information, but you may be searching for further resources.  Maybe you’re looking to learn more about weight lifting, you need an easy meal plan to follow or you need something good to read to keep your attention for an hour on the elliptical.  I’ve put a list of the greatest health and fitness magazines.  Overall, they’re fairly cheap but have great information!  For most (if not all), you can subscribe to the old-fashioned, paper version, an iPad version or you can simply peruse around the website.

To my knowledge, there aren’t too many health and fitness magazines for both guys and gals.  So I’ve divided it up into two categories!  Feel free to comment with other magazines you may read!

Women’s Magazines – These magazines are great. Most of them are completely focused on health and fitness, while some, like Women’s Health and Shape also include articles on beauty products, etc. Open any of these and you’ll almost always find some sort of meal plan that’ll help you out if you’re trying to figure out easy, healthy meals to cook up. Also, there is usually a strength training routine. The routines change month to month, keeping your muscles guessing, allowing for continuous results. If you’re unsure on how to put together a fitness routine or a meal plan, be sure to search around on these websites/subscribe to a couple!

Men’s Magazines – While I’ve never flipped through an entire fitness magazine written for men, I do search around some on the websites while finding articles for News Roundups. These are similar to the women’s magazines, where both strength training tips and meal plans are provided. They provide a lot of great information on all health and fitness related topics, referring to the latest scientific research. Searching around on these websites or reading through one of the magazines will help you stay focused on your health goals by providing nutrition advice and recommendations for your fitness routine.

Fitness & Nutrition Roundup: Reasons to Start Lifting, 23 Healthy Workout Habits & More!

The 5 Best and Worst Nutrition Bars: Nutrition bars are great on-the-go snacks, especially if you need something to fuel your workout or help you recover.  Well+Good NYC lists the best and worst of them, so you can treat your body pre and post-workout the way it deserves!

Need-to-Know Nutrition Advice from The Biggest Loser’s RD: I may not completely agree with this show, but it’s addicting! Plus these tips that Cheryl Forberg gave Fitness Magazine sure come in handy when it comes to eating healthy!

20 Reasons to Start Lifting: Do you find yourself avoiding the weight room and always signing up for the treadmill? If you’re obsessed with cardio, these reasons to start a strength training routine from Fitbie may turn you into a lifting fan.

23 Healthy Workout Habits to Start Now: USA Today gives us a long list of reasons of workout habits, like “multitask your movements” (e.g. lunge and bicep curl combo) and “run faster.”  Picking out a few of these will make fitness more enjoyable and you’ll see results!

Countdown to Spring Break!

Believe it or not, Spring Break is about four weeks away!  This is usually a time when students are stressing about two things – midterms and bathing suit/shorts season.  I want to challenge you to not stress, but make it a time to be healthy!  So many times, people cram in as many sweat sessions as possible and do crazy dieting.  Or they’ll pull all-nighters, eating a couple pints of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream to stay awake through a sugar high.  But I’m here to tell you that you can reach whatever fitness goal you may have (and you can do it while surviving exams) in a healthy way!

Here are some tips to help reach your fitness goals and stay sane during midterms!

  1. Plan out Your Exercise: Take a look at your schedule a week ahead and write down when you will fit in your time at the gym.  If you’ve got a busy day plus an exam on Tuesday, maybe ending the day with a yoga class will relax you.  Or if you’re crammed for time, fit in a spin class at lunchtime – they’re only 45 minutes!  When each sweat session is written down in a calendar like an important appointment, it’s hard to skip.  Then, when you’re done, you’ll be feeling relaxed (hello, endorphins!) and proud for your commitment.
  2. Take it Outside: Spring Break means warm weather!  If you’ve been sitting in the library for hours, take a 15 minute walk to get some fresh air.  Or, join Fleet Feet Carrboro and Nike for their weekly campus run.
  3. Meet up with Friends: Chitchatting in the library may get you some ugly glares from others.  A great way to socialize, give your brain a break and get ready for Spring Break is to take a group fitness class with a friend.
  4. Watch What You Eat: When you can’t write one more sentence for your lab report or can’t memorize any more history dates, don’t reach for that bag of potato chips.  Eating healthy meals and snacks during these upcoming stressful midterm times will keep your brain focused, and your body will be on track for Spring Break.
  5. It’s Not About a Number: Last, and certainly not least, you are not defined by a number on a scale.  If you are treating your body in a healthy way, you’ll feel confident during Spring Break.  Here at Campus Rec, we are promoting Body Beautiful.  More information is to come in a blog post, but if you haven’t checked out the inspiring wall of those participating in the campaign, be sure to look at the wall on the first floor of the SRC – you won’t regret it!

So put together a plan to feel your best in just one month!  Make it fun, use exercise and nutritious food to mentally get you through your midterms and enjoy living a healthy lifestyle.

Pre and Post Workout Nutrition

If you’ve made it to the “Tuesday Table” at the SRC, Tuesdays (obviously) from 4:00-7:00 p.m., you’ve probably been given some protein shakes, whey protein powder and other free goodies. But when do you use these?  Before or after exercising?  How do you fuel up for a workout and how do you help your muscles recover?

Ms. Mary Ellen Bingham, MS, RD, CSSD, head sports nutritionist at UNC, recommends “book-ending”.  This means you eat something small both before and after your workout.  To fuel up and in order to have enough energy to get through your time at the gym, eat within about an hour prior to exercising.  Then, eat again within 30 minutes – don’t wait until lunch or dinner time to eat.  These don’t have to be complete meals, but more so, snacks.

Check out the image below on nutrient timing that Ms. Bingham created. (Click for larger image).


For pre-workout, carbs will give you the energy to push yourself and not get exhausted.  Try crackers or toast with peanut butter, fruit, a small granola bar or a handful of pretzels.  Post-workout, you want to refuel your muscles.  First and foremost, make sure to drink water!  All that sweat is going to leave you dehydrated, so you need to be drinking before, during and after your workout.  Additionally, have a combination of both carbs and protein such as trail mix, a sports bar, a smoothie or – the classic drink that promotes fast muscle recovery – low-fat chocolate milk.

Previously, I interviewed Dr. Abbie Smith, an assistant EXSS professor.  If you read this interview (I don’t want to repeat it all!), you’ll find other similar advice.  Dr. Smith gave me nutritional advice for those trying to gain muscle, those trying to lose fat, what “cheat days” are all about and supplement information.  That blog post is extremely informative and can clear up some further questions you may have about nutrition for athletes.

So, if they’re right for you, continue with your protein shakes, nutrition bars or whatever your usual pre/post workout snack may be!  Remember – carbs before and a combination of carbs and protein after.

Carolina Tae Kwon Do

Casey Miller, President of Carolina Tae Kwon Do, filled me in on what it’s like to be a part of the club that practices WTF (World Taekwondo Federation) style Tae Kwon Do, including Olympic style sparring and the Tae Guek forms.  This is her second year with Carolina TKD and she has over three years of experience with World Champion Tae Kwon Do in Wake Forest, N.C.  Her belt level is 1st Dan Black and her style is WTF.  Additionally, she has a Brown Belt in Goju Ryu.  Keep reading for the scoop on Casey and her team!


1. What made you decide to do Carolina TKD?

I transferred to UNC last year as a sophomore from American University in D.C.  I was looking to find my place at the university and had participated in both Tae Kwon Do and Goju-Ryu Karate in the past.  I wanted to find an activity that I would enjoy and that would help me meet new people at the university.

2. What is your favorite thing about this sport?

I really like how well-rounded the sport is.  We focus on sparring, perfecting techniques and learning new techniques, so no matter the person’s skill level, there’s always something that he or she can learn or work on.

3. What does a typical practice look like for your team?

We have a couple of different types of practices.  Both Monday and Wednesday practices are generally broken down between beginner/intermediate and advanced skill levels.  The first 50 minutes are allocated for beginner/intermediate students, the middle 20 minutes is set aside as the cardio section of class for all students, and the last 50 minutes of class are geared toward advanced students.  We practice sparring on Monday and technique on Wednesday.  We also have demo team practice on Fridays where the members learn new techniques as well as create and practice choreographed demonstrations for events on campus.

4. Tell us about some of your team’s accomplishments.

We had a sparring scrimmage with Duke in October of last year where we defeated the 2-1.  We also have two demonstrations coming up in mid-February.  Our demo team will be performing at Dance Marathon and at Koreanite.  We have been practicing and rehearsing this for months and are really looking forward to showing our demo to the public.

5. What kind of teams do you play?

We typically organize events with Tae Kwon Do clubs from local universities.

6. What is your most memorable moment on Carolina TKD?

I’d have to say that my most memorable club moment was sitting on the couches outside the Great Hall right after we performed at Koreanite last year, watching the recording of our demo that we’d just preformed 20 minutes earlier on stage.  I’d injured my foot the night before at practice and, while it hurt after performing, the sense of accomplishment overpowered whatever pain I felt.

7. What’s your favorite thing about playing on this team?

Most of my best friends here at school are part of the club, so I really enjoy being able to practice a sport that I love with some of my friends.


8. What else are you involved in on campus?

I’m a Multimedia Journalism major and am working as part of a team this semester to update and reorganize the Living Galapagos website hosted by the Journalism School.

Carolina TKD definitely has a lot of things to be proud of!  This team has many great accomplishments and Casey proves her commitment and hard work!  Thanks, Casey, on filling us in on you and your team!

For more information on Carolina TKD, visit  And if you are interested in joining the club or would like more information, feel free to contact Casey at or Vice President Jenny Lindh at

Campus Rec Pinterest Page

Did you know?…Campus Rec has a Pinterest page. Guys – do not ignore the rest of this post. While I may be a biased Pinterest user who believes the website is the greatest thing ever created, it’s not just for women.

Here, you will find healthy recipes, fitness tips, workouts (gym and dorm), the latest workout clothes and more.  Today, I’m going to give you a taste of my favorite pins from Campus Rec.

  • 30 Protein-Packed Meal Ideas Under 250 Calories: How does a mango pineapple protein shake, yogurt with apple or any of these other protein-packed meals sound?
  • The Top 10 Exercise Myths: If you think a protein shake is the ideal post-workout meal or that losing weight is done by cardio alone, you may want to check out this infographic.
  • 7 Treadmill Workouts for All Levels: It may be too cold to run outside, but the treadmill is still an option with these various workouts that’ll keep your attention and get your legs moving!
  • The 63 Best Health and Fitness Apps: If you need an app to keep track of what you eat or one that gives you new workout plans, check out these apps that’ll help with any fitness or nutrition goal you’re striving towards.

Feel free to explore the rest of the Campus Rec Pinterest page! Pinning tips, quotes, workouts and nutritious recipes will keep you motivated to stay healthy.

Dynamic Stability Specialty Fitness Class

Starting next week, Campus Rec will be holding a new specialty fitness program – Dynamic Stability!  You’ve heard me rant and rave about TRX and Boot Camp.  If you’re looking for something new and fresh, consider this class that uses BOSU balls, stability balls and core boards – tools necessary for sculpting flat abs.

In each one hour session, you’ll focus on improving your balance and stabilization.  The class will include typical strength training moves, like squats and lunges.  Thanks to the special equipment, your body will be worked from head to toe.  This total body workout incorporates strength, cardio, agility, balance, core and more for one effective workout.

My favorite aspect of these specialty fitness classes is the small size of the class.  I use that time to get extra attention from the instructor, allowing me to perfect my form, push myself harder and ask for help when I need it.  Another bonus – the last class is February 28, just a week before Spring Break.  So you’ll be motivated to give it your all before you start struttin’ around in a bathing suit and shorts!

The first class will be held Tuesday, January 29 and is every Tuesday and Thursday from 4 p.m. until 5 p.m.  When you’re exercising like this for five weeks, two sessions a week, you will see your body transform.  Working on balance and stability makes every exercise harder and works your core that much more.

Space is limited, so hurry and sign up!  To register for the program, please fill out the Dynamic Stability registration form and return to SRC 101 with your fee.  And if you haven’t given TRX or Boot Camp a shot yet, consider signing up for one or the other.  You can find more information on all specialty fitness classes here.

Fitness & Nutrition Roundup: Best Fat-Loss Workout, 50 Healthiest Snacks & More!

How to Baby Step Your Way to a Big Goal: Maybe you’ve got a resolution to run a certain amount of miles before 2014 or gain some weight so you can bench press some extra pounds. Whatever your fitness or nutrition goal is, read these tips from FitSugar that’ll help you accomplish great things one step at a time.

The Best Fat-Loss Workout of All Time: These moves from Shape combine weight training and plyometrics to build muscle and burn fat. Add this routine to your weekly schedule a few days a week and you’ll be feeling stronger and looking toned up in no time.

The 50 Best Snack Foods in America: Not sure what to buy at the student stores or grab on your next grocery shopping trip? Check out the 50 greatest snacks from Men’s Health, including everything from granola bars to fruit smoothies.

Burn the Buns: In need of a new buns and leg workout routine? Here’s a 30 minute one from Anytime Health and you can do one or all exercises! Even better – if you’re not sure how to do the move, click on the link and it’ll show you the steps.

How to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

So we’re done with the second full week of January. How are your New Year’s resolutions coming along? I know so many people with health-related goals. Some are trying to lose weight, some are trying to gain muscle, some want to complete a marathon and others are trying to cut down on the sugar.

Me? I am trying to focus on my stretching and flexibility. I tend to spend a lot of time lifting weights and doing cardio, but rarely do I fit in a stretch. Sure, I’ve attended the occasional pilates and yoga class (click here to read my pilates review and here for my yoga review), but after a whole class of not being able to reach my toes, I quit.

Whatever your health resolutions are, here are some tips to help your reach your goal and become a healthier you in 2013!

  • Make Specific Goals – Being specific in your goals will help you focus on what you really want. This will keep you motivated and you’ll feel an amazing sense of accomplishment once you complete what you’ve planned to do. If you’re trying to eat more fruits and vegetables, how many will you eat per day or per meal? If you want to go to the gym more often, how many times a week will you go?pulldown
  • Have a Workout/Meal Plan – Whether you have fitness or nutrition goals, you need to have a plan. This will help you stick with your resolution, even when times are challenging. If you want to complete a marathon, you’re going to need to figure out how many weeks or months you’ll train for and how far you’ll run each week. If you want to cut down on your sugar intake, figure out what you could eat when you have that 10 p.m. ice cream craving. Maybe an apple or almond butter on toast!


  • Time Management – I’ve noticed the gym tends to die down around the time of midterms. Before school gets crazy busy, start practicing your time management. Maybe you have an hour gap between classes – hit up the 45 minute lunch cycle class! Or if you’ve only got 30 minutes for a quick workout, do some research on quick and effective HIIT workouts. Learn what fits in your schedule and try to fit in exercise, even on your busiest days! Your mind and body will thank you.


  • Make it Fun – If you have a goal but are dreading the process, you probably won’t make it. And if you do, you won’t want to continue. Health is fun! You can bring a friend to a group fitness class. You can have a healthy recipe night with your roommates. Get out and enjoy the fresh air on a warm day. Enjoy 2013 and let it be your healthiest, happiest year yet!


Spring Into Fitness 2013!

Want to start the semester off right? Stop by the SRC for Spring Into Fitness TODAY from 12 p.m. until 7 p.m. It’s like a whole semester of the offerings from Campus Rec and Carolina Fitness programs and services combined into one day.

For those seven hours, you can get a free fitness assessment in SRC 110. Read all about my assessment here (where I found out I should be proud of my bicep strength and learned that I had to improve on the strength of my core). At the fitness service expo, you can find out your body composition, blood pressure, target heart rate zone and more. Get all the tests done or just one!


Additionally, from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m., in the SRC Studio A (upstairs), three information tables will be held.  At “Ask a Trainer”, you can, well, ask a trainer. It’s “Fact vs. Fiction,” so you can find out if you can work out your abs every day, if chocolate milk really is the best post-workout meal and other rumored fitness facts. “Ask a Nutritionist” will be held during this time as well, so you can find out nutritionists’ favorite snacks, how many grams of protein you should consume in a day and if FroYo is actually healthy. Last, Carolina Dining Services will also have a table and provide you with information to make the best choices at Lenoir and Rams Head Dining Hall!

Chances are, you haven’t attended every fitness class at Campus Rec. Today is your chance to try a new class or even a few. You can find the schedule here. Basically, the most popular classes, such as Zumba, Yoga, Bootcamp and Muscle Cut will be held for 30 minutes. So if you go and find out you love it, you can go for the full time next week! This is a perfect time to bring along a couple friends and try something you haven’t tried before. Bonus – most the class will have never been there before. So, maybe you’re not a choreography expert (like me), but you’ll fit right in! My motto: the more newbies, the merrier.

For more information on Spring Into Fitness, read up here. And if you have further questions, feel free to contact Lauren Mangili at