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Health - Campus & Community

A Fitter U Q&A: December 2015

December 15, 2015

A Fitter U

Another month, another round of answers to fitness questions from the Drexel community.

Joe Giandonato, Drexel's manager of health promotion, has returned to answer questions on fitness and exercise brought up by members of the Drexel community. Those interested in asking their own questions can continue to email their queries and might have them answered in next month’s edition.

“What can I do to offset weight gain over the holidays?

The holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Year’s can be a lot of fun, but can also cause inordinate stress and associated poor health choices. Plus, the inclement and bitter weather creates yet another obstacle in beginning an exercise program or adhering to an existing one.

An investigation on weight gain between Thanksgiving to New Year’s revealed an average weight gain of less than a pound. But among sedentary individuals, who were classified as overweight or obese, weight gains exceeding 5 pounds were reported.

Knowing that a lack of time coupled with the unpredictable weather may disrupt your workout routine, members of the personal training staff at the Rec Center have assembled simple workouts and tips to help you stave off unwanted pounds and/or get a jumpstart on your New Year’s resolutions. Giving one of these “calorie cooking” workouts a try is definitely worth your while.

"What are some good, realistic New Year’s resolutions for fitness for someone who wants to be in better shape?"

Goal setting is requisite to the adoption and implementation of an effective, results-oriented and sustainable fitness program. Setting benchmarks can pay significant dividends for aspiring and experienced exercisers alike. However, most people, especially those embarking on New Year’s resolutions, end up overzealously setting goals.

Instead, goals need to be simplified and made realistic in order to facilitate success. Research has indicated that setting goals evokes greater adherence and outcomes among those participating in exercise programs.

Many fitness professionals and coaches have long championed the SMART approach, a mnemonic characterizing the components of proper goal setting: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.

Recently, mobile applications have entered the fray, emerging as indispensable resources for those wishing to set goals and track progress.

But if one wishes to receive more direction, it would be in their best interests to meet with one of our fitness specialists. They will help craft a personalized approach, accounting for your medical and injury history and preferences, aimed at improving your health.

Members of the Drexel community are invited to attend a goal-setting workshop hosted by our staff members in January.

“Do you have any suggestions for someone wishing to beat the crowds of other gym-goers come January?”

Most gyms will experience crowding until the tide of well-intentioned but lesser-dedicated gym-goers begins to recede as winter wears on. With that said, anyone wishing to stay the course during the bustling winter months should take heed to the following suggestions:

  • Economize your workouts and incorporate variety.

Prioritize what is truly important — be it a certain compound exercise (e.g. a deadlift, squat, pressing or rowing variation) or energy systems work utilizing a particular piece of cardiovascular exercise equipment — and get creative with your programming! Say you’ve accomplished your main objective that day, like one or two different exercises or modalities, for instance. Fill the rest of the time with things you would not ordinarily do: hit the basketball court, drop in on a group exercise class, walk or jog on the track. If weather permits, take it outside. The adage of variety being the spice of life definitely applies to the fitness realm. Incorporating new things will help you liven up your program while curtailing frustration associated with crowding.

  • Access the facilities during off-peak hours.

Traditionally, gyms are busiest after work (4 to 8 p.m.) and collegiate recreation facilities tend to attract crowds during the weekends when most are vying to work off the guilty pleasures of the night before or have free time from studying. Knowing that, it would be better if one accessed the gym earlier in the day or later in the evening. Our hours during the week range from 5:30 a.m. to midnight to accommodate all of your scheduling needs.

Have your own questions? Email your queries and Giandonato may answer your question next month.