May 6, 2010

The first document contains a thorough overview of whey protein facts. This, I felt was important mainly because these products tend to be relatively obscure, at least from the standpoint of people who have not used them. By providing readers with hard facts about the product, I hope that I can provide a form of explanatory journalism that introduces readers who otherwise are unfamiliar with protein products to these supplements. In order to appreciate the issue being discussed in this blog post, it is important that readers understand that there is a specific science behind muscle building. Without understanding that, they cannot appreciate where discussions about protein intake comes into play when it comes to recovery-a cornerstone of any muscle building program.

The second document focuses on the issue of height to weight ratio. This serves to illustrate the situation of a source’s high school friend, who, as the post describes, ends up gaining weight in fat from protein supplements. The document is important particulary due to the fact that Kelly mentions that his friend was short, which added to the consumer’s weight-gain problem. According to that scale, Kelly’s friend, if he gained too much weight, could have been considered overweight just due to his height.

Wheying In

May 2, 2010

So, let’s talk investments.

T.J. Coleman, a finance major, is probably pretty familiar with this topic. An avid gym goer, he can also teach you a thing or two about fitness and putting on muscle.

So, T.J., if you had the choice to either invest in extra food, or one of the many protein shakes that are on the market, where would you put your money?

For Coleman, the easy choice is the latter. He shells out an estimated 60 bucks a month for his two containers of protein-a meal supplement and a recovery shake.

“Where you’re losing a bit in dollar value, you’re gaining time,” Coleman says.

Any serious fitness program is an investment of time, energy and money, for the betterment of one’s body. For college students, that first element is stressed further by the rigors of classes and other extracurricular committments.

A busy schedule that consists of a tough course load, coupled with Greek life makes it tough for T.J. to find the time to cook, and every experienced weight lifter knows that what you put in at the gym is rendered useless without the right intake of protein and carbs after a workout. For Coleman, supplements such as whey protein provide for a quick and efficient recovery.

Junior Mike Germs agrees.

“It serves as being a meal for you,” Germs says. “It can last for a long period of time. It’s kind of a way to eat healthier, and eat on the go.”

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But what’s any investment without the whole money factor?

Germs estimates that he spends around 40 dollars a month on the protein he buys. Junior Mike Spinosa shells out between 40 to 60 dollars for cassein protein, a slower releasing supplement that he uses as a meal replacement.

“When you’re at college, you buy food you know that you’re gonna eat,” Spinosa says. “Buying the tub is better than buying all the snacks. You’re eating healthier.”

A survey of Quinnipiac gym goers reveals that 50 percent use whey protein and/or other fitness supplements. A little over 14 percent say that they spend between 60 to 70 dollars on a monthly basis, while just over 7 percent pay between 40 to 50 dollars for protein. Just over 28 percent spend between 20 and 30 dollars.

So when does an investment go bad?

Senior John Kelly has a high school buddy who knows this experience all too well. Kelly’s friend Derek, who requested to be identified only by his first name, gained an estimated 20 pounds of fat from using protein supplements to put on muscle mass to enhance his athletic performance in baseball and football.

“He was always a short guy, so in order to be effective, he needed to be bulkier,” Kelly recalls.

Given his height, Kelly’s friend may have dug himself into a hole with all of that added weight, following the logic of the Rush University Medical Center scale.

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Needless to say, the move backfired.

“He had to move from second base to designated hitter,” Kelly says. “It ruined his senior season.”

The lesson here-like any investment, when it comes to your body, it’s a good idea to read into where you’re putting you’re money, and most importantly, you’re health, says Kelly.

“If you’re doing it just to look good, then it’s probably not worth your cost,” Kelly says. “But if you’re a high school or college athlete, and you’re willing to take the time to learn about what you’re buying and use it properly, then I think it’s worth it.”

It certainly has been for James Turcio, a competitive bodybuilder.

Now that’s a worthwhile investment.

Fitness Isn’t Always Free

April 13, 2010

How much would you pay for a gym membership?

At Quinnipiac, the fitness facilities are free, but students at Penn State University aren’t as lucky.

In addition to a “facilities fee” that is added to the tuition of every student at Penn State, the University charges students anywhere from 52 to 99 dollars for year-long access to the campus’s three facilities, according to Penn State student Melissa Graesser.

“I know that some people don’t register for the gym because they feel that they won’t use it enough to get their moneys worth, but if it was free they would take some of the classes that the gym offers,” said Graesser. “Many students still pay to use the gym, myself included, but it would be nice to be able to use the facilities paid for in the facilities fee.”

It’s a good thing Quinnipiac doesn’t charge its students to use the gym-more than 70 percent of those polled say that they would not use the fitness facilities if the university included a fee. Over 29 percent say that it would depend on how much the university was charging.

“I would go to a gym off campus, LA Fitness probably,” said senior Mike Capko.

Sophomore Rob Monico, who pays 35 dollars a month for his LA Fitness membership, says that the gym at Quinnipiac isn’t worth paying for.

“The gym is just lacking cause the weights are destroyed,” he said.

Sleeping In, Working Out

April 6, 2010
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You need sleep to work out, at least effectively-that’s no big secret. For college students, however, this simple ingredient can be hard to come by.

Junior Sam Friedman is used to being bogged down by what he describes as “irregular” sleeping habits, due to a schedule that has him taking morning classes every other day.

According to medHeadlines, college students have a reputation for being short on sleep.

“I end up being being very tired on some days, or very refreshed on other days,” Friedman said.

Friedman stays up late when he knows he can sleep in the next day. Unfortunately, he has trouble breaking this habit on nights before his early morning classes.

“A lot of times when I stay up late I’m doing my schoolwork, because I don’t have a lot of time to do it during the day,” he said.

In addition to taking classes, Friedman holds an internship at WTNH and works twice a week at the Quinnipiac Polling Institute, not to mention that one of his broadcast journalism classes has him covering a beat in Waterbury.

“That’s almost like another work study,” he said.

One has to wonder how Friedman even finds the time to get to the gym, let alone gather the energy to work out.

“Anytime I don’t sleep well, I don’t have as much energy,” Friedman said. “I will still go, but it ruins my workout.”

According to medHeadlines, college students have a reputation for being short on sleep. A third of college students surveyed in a sleep study had took 30 minutes or more to fall asleep, while over 40 percent reported waking up during the night.

Junior Justin Ottino knows this problem too well.

“It’s really difficult to get a lot of sleep,” Ottino said. “I wake up to just anything really.”

An occupational therapy major, Ottino is some times up until 2 a.m. doing homework. An avid gym goer, he naps in the afternoon after classes to re-energize for his workout.

“I usually find it a really big struggle to go in the gym, because I’m really, really tired,” he said.

BMI and Widgets

March 30, 2010


Ankit Marwah is the developer of the BMI Calculator Widget. Time Under Tension had the opportunity to catch up with Marwah, and he explained the use of the product, as well as what inspired him to create it.

TUT: What brought about the idea for the BMI Calculator Widget?

Marwah: I used to work with a health and wellness company and was just browsing through many sites and saw that though BMI calculators were available on many sites, there were no widgets that fitness enthusiasts could embed into their own sites and blogs, so I decided to make one myself.  I have made a number of widgets related to health and wellness.

 TUT: How is it beneficial to one’s fitness regime?

Marwah: Many people have a misconception that if they are lightweight then its good, and if they are heavy then its bad for their health. What people fail to understand it that there is a ratio between one’s weight and height that is to be maintained in order to be considered healthy. For example, a guy can be 5’5″ and weigh just 60kgs but would be considered overweight, but another guy whose 6′ and weighs 80kgs is considered normal.

Going the Distance

March 25, 2010

At Quinnipiac, students can ignore the second factor, considering the fact that they use the facility at the Mount Carmel campus for free, but for some students, particularly those living off campus, distance can hold considerable weight.

“It actually is the factor,” says Tammy Reilly, Assistant Director for Fitness and Wellness at Quinnipiac. “If you don’t live close to where you’re gonna go, you’re just not gonna do it.”

Students at Quinnipiac, particularly those living at the York Hill campus, are encountering this obstacle.

“It’s extremely annoying on weekends, because I have to wait 20 or 30 minutes just to get to the gym,” says Andrew Merrick.

A junior, Merrick lives five minutes from campus, but ask any student living at the York Hill campus, and they’ll tell you that the commute from there to Mount Carmel is not, by any means, a short trip.

“You have to leave here like a half hour early,” says junior Mike Spinosa. “Walking to the garage is very inconvenient.”

The walk to the York Hill parking garage is more an issue during the winter, when high winds on the hill amplify the chill in the air.

“It’s like you have to mentally prepare yourself for that walk,” says Spinosa.

York Hill residents like Spinosa, a frequent gym goer, can either drive to the main campus and face a packed commuter lot, or wait anywhere from five to fifteen minutes for one of the shuttles that run between the two locations.

Brett Ainslie, a junior living in a house on New Road, doesn’t even have the second option. Living off campus, he says, has literally stopped him from going to the gym altogether.

“It’s not that much harder to drive to campus,” he says. “It just makes me not wanna come.”

A busy class schedule can add to the inconvenience.

For Kareem Gentles, another York Hill resident, going back up to York Hill after class, changing into gym clothes, and then making the trip back “is too much of a process.”

“I either go home or bring my stuff to class, which sucks because then you go to class all sweaty and shit,” says Gentles.

Gentles goes to the gym about once every three weeks.

“I went a lot more when I was on campus,” he said.

Expectations on Sanitation

March 4, 2010

The shortage of space caused by the crowd occupying the Mount Carmel gym on any given afternoon is a clear indication that students at Quinnipiac are committed to fitness. In addition to staying in shape, however, Mount Carmel fitness center staff members want students to embrace a different habit.

 The facility’s staff makes sure to minimize the risk of gym users contracting and/or spreading of the virus MRSA, but part of the responsibility falls on students, says Assistant Athletic Director for Fitness and Wellness Tammy Reilly.

 A potentially dangerous form of a staph infection known to spread in hospitals, MRSA has become cause for concern at gyms and fitness centers due to its tendency to breed in congested facilities. Staph is a bacteria that exists on skin, but it is not always harmful. Twenty-five to thirty percent of the population carries the bacteria without the risk of infection, according to a Journal News article.

MRSA bacteria, which is resistant to certain antibiotics, is found on 1 percent of the population.

Staff members disinfect the benches and machines using a spray called SaniGuard, but it is necessary for students to clean and wipe down the equipment they use throughout the course of the day to prevent germs from spreading, says Reilly.

“Obviously we don’t go out and slap people on the hand, and tell them to wipe off the equipment, but we enforce that in the orientation video, and the signs we put around,” says Reilly.

An American Medical Medical Association study   revealed that MRSA, at 19,000 fatalities annually, kills more people per year than the Aids virus.

Reilly says that students, typically, are conscious about equipment cleanliness, but an hour spent in the facility on a busy afternoon suggests otherwise. Someone observing the scene is unlikely to spot anyone using the paper towels or hand sanitizers stationed throughout the facility, and gym users themselves have admitted that they rarely see those guidelines followed.

“You don’t see people wiping down the equipment because some people don’t sweat that much, and they don’t really feel like they have to wipe it down,” says Justin Ottino, an occupational therapy major who frequents the gym.

“I think they’re better on the cardio equipment, than the weight equipment,” says Reilly. “I think it’s because they see themselves sweat on it, and that’s not picking on Quinnipiac, from all the gyms I’ve been at, that’s what I see.”

So far, says Reilly, Quinnipiac has not experienced any widespread MRSA outbreaks.

“I’m thinking it’s isolated cases, and it’s gonna happen wherever you are,” she says.

The Journal News reported that fitness centers do not play a large role in the spread of MRSA, mainly due to the fact that the virus tends to be spread by “skin to skin” contact, although sanitation precautions at gyms, nevertheless, should be taken.

Reilly says she has not seen the topic surface in the various health club conventions she attends.

“I don’t think it’s an issue in our industry yet,” she says.

The Price of Convenience

February 25, 2010

The Food Factor

February 18, 2010

Which line is always the longest in the cafeteria? 

If you said Coyote Jack’s, you’ve won a free quarter pound burger. Just kidding, but according to the Quad News, you may not want one anyway, if you’re health-conscious that is.

You might even be better off going to McDonald’s. A quarter pounder has triple the amount of fat as a Big Mac.

 Okay, so what if you simply don’t eat the fast food? Maybe take the Subway approach. Nothing like a good old fashioned sandwich, right? Wrong, says Quad News. A large vedgetable sub from the rat, they say, his packed with calories, at close to a thousand.

For the record, this is not another rant against Chartwells. Quinnipiac isn’t the only campus with a shortage of healthy food.

According to USA Today, 60 percent of college students “eat too much artery-clogging saturated fat.” Furthermore, a survey cited on The, a student newspaper out of Brandeis University reported that 20 percent of college students are overweight.

College students are often limited to the less than healthy food served in university cafeterias due to a number of reasons, says Assistant Athletic Director for Fitness and Wellness Tammy Reilly. For one thing, students tend to be on a tight budget, making it difficult to load up on groceries. Time is another factor, students say. The amount of time it takes to drive to Hamden, pick up food, and drive back, to many students, just isn’t worth the trip.

“That’s something you’re gonna face no matter where you are,” says Reilly. “It’s hard to eat well, so you have to spend the extra money and seek the healthier alternatives.”

Study habits can also be tied to less than beneficial eating habits, says Reilly. For students pulling all-nighters, late meals can become a regularity, causing the pounds to add up.

The Buzz and the Burn

February 5, 2010

Starting An Exercise Routine:
Drugs, Alcohol And Physical Fitness

The experts have spoken, so, let’s break it all down. If you’re chugging as many beers as you are protein shakes, chances are your workout program is taking a significant hit. The fact that alcohol is detrimental to the pursuit of any serious fitness endeavors isn’t exactly a major shock, but it doesn’t seem to bother the 83 percent of college students that drink either.
As a member of Quinnipiac’s chapter of the Sigep fraternity, which stresses physical fitness, as well as having a good time, T.J. Coleman is used to juggling both worlds. Even he, however, sometimes drops a ball.
“It’s not impossible, but it’s very tough to get into the gym when you’re hung over,” Coleman said. “You feel like you have to throw up while you’re lifting. It’s one of the worst feelings in the world.”
Coleman advises against working out after a rough night of drinking. “If you’re not mentally and physically ready for it, you can hurt yourself.”
Sigep brothers are required to dedicate time to the gym and track their progress. They also take three fitness tests that include a timed two mile run, pushups, situps, pullups, and wallsits.
“It’s really about benchmarking and seeing how you can make improvements,” Coleman said.
In addition to racking up unwanted calories, drinking can stop you from bulking up too. Alcohol slows the release of a growth hormone, and lowers your level of tetosterone, both of which are essential for muscle building. Your body also uses energy during muscle recovery, but the removal of alcohol from your system expends this energy.
So how do students like Coleman balance the two lifestyles?
“Honestly, it’s a per person situation,” he said. “It’s college, so let’s be real, most people are gonna be drinking. If you can handle that responsibility in moderation, it shouldn’t conflict.”
For Coleman, who devotes time to classes and Sigep, in addition to the gym, drinking is usually only a weekend activity.
“It’s kind of like a reward for putting in the work you need to do 5-7 days a week,” Coleman said. “It’s really all about moderation.”