How to Keep Sane During Finals Week

A horrible thing is about to happen.

A painful

tragic

beautiful

thing.

Finals week is about to end, meaning that it is officially the time for the big workout.

The hard, going-to-die workout.

The I-haven’t-done-much-this-month regrets finally catch up with you, and now it is time to get real.

You know that it needs to happen. Those long study nights do not add up to great health, physically or mentally.

So here is what you do.

Do not just sleep for an entire day straight, despite the appeal I know that has.

  1. Listen to the Mayo Clinic and work on creating a steady sleep schedule. This may not seem like the first step, but trust me, if you have had a semester anything like mine, this is a key ingredient to a healthy summer.
  2. Hydrate and stretch before, during and after your workouts. This is incredibly important, as I am sure every person in the state of Arizona has heard more times than they can handle.
  3. Find a buddy. “If you can find a workout buddy it can help you keep yourself accountable,” says exercise and wellness major Ben Holko. If you alone will know that you did or did not work out, it is much easier to put it off.
  4. Create a playlist.
    Music is a great counter to stress.

    Music is a great counter to stress.

    I promise, it is necessary. Start with some motivating, high-tempo songs that make you feel fantastic and empowered — I suggest including plenty of Queen Bee. Work your way into some angrier, more intense pieces to push you through the rough patch and end with the most fun song you can find. Here are some must-haves:

    • “You Give Love a Bad Name” – Bon Jovi

      In order for you to be properly psyched for the legendary workout you are about to have, you must include this hit — at least, according to Barney Stinson.

    • “Are You Satisfied” – Marina and the Diamonds

      I have never been more motivated to challenge myself than when listening to some Marina. You are not complacent. You are strong and ready to destroy that treadmill.

    • “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” – Weezer

      This song always makes me feel happy and ready to take on the elliptical.

    • Everything Beyonce has ever touched.

      But seriously. Looking into that big mirror showing all your sweat and jiggle can be very detrimental. The entire purpose of this workout is to feel better inside and no one can make you feel more proud, capable and strong than Queen Bee. You can, and will, take on the world.

    • Wannabe – Spice Girls

      A throwback, but still a great mid-workout song. I recommend filling the middle part of your Get Psyched mix with throwbacks that will make you laugh. Working out can be fun. Painful, maybe, but fun.

    • One Foot – Fun.

      Maybe it is just me, but Fun is the soundtrack to my summer. This song is a great way to finish and get you through that final push.

  5. Create a plan. Stretch, warm up with some cardio and hit the machines. Do not forget to do a cool down. Decide your goal beforehand and give yourself a set amount of time you want to be at the gym or wherever you are.

    “Have a plan with you on paper and have a schedule of your workouts. It’s hard to keep it up, but when you have a journal-type thing, it helps,” Holko suggests.

    Only you can really know all the improvements that you have made, and that concrete proof can be a great motivation. Avoid overdoing it. You may think you can handle it, but this will negatively affect your future workouts.

Head out! Do not forget water, headphones and an optimistic outlook.

It’s going to be legendary.

Be Social — It’s for your Health

As I sit here preparing to write the post, with my bowl of ramen noodles and general lazy attitude, I truly begin to understand how college can change a person’s activity and health level.

Taking a break is the healthiest thing you can do for your body and mind!

Taking a break is the healthiest thing you can do for your body and mind!

One of the most helpful tips is going to be pretty surprising: keep busy.

Now, this seems insane. Of course you are busy. You’re too busy. You can barely even function, always a paper looming on the horizon or a blog post due in a day…

According to Kristen Franquist, a junior health and wellness major, there are different ways to organize your business so that you can make time to work out and eat well.

Most days when I have a million things due and school is really piling up, I stay home and block out hours of time in order to get everything done. Franquist suggests that you give yourself an actual time limit for getting each specific task done. Do not make it some excessive amount with enough padded time for you to scroll through your Tumblr dash four times and watch an episode of Game of Thrones.  Make it a realistic amount of time to get the job done, and then make plans after that.

Go hang out with some friends, take a walk or, better yet, head to the gym with your workout buddy to release some stress.

Making more plans can actually motivate you to get your schoolwork done and will lead to a higher physical activity level. I know that I am much more likely to resist clicking on that next episode if I know I have an opportunity to leave my room in the horizon.

The key to this is making concrete plans based on time. Do not say that you come out when this is done, or the usual, “I’ll text you when I need a breather.” Tell your workout buddy that you will meet them on the second floor at 8:45 p.m. and be there. Take the mental break you need and go work on your self-esteem.

An additional benefit to this sort of planning is your health.  If you know you are going to spend the next six hours sitting in your room, you are going to make bad eating choices. I grab the ramen noodles, maybe some chips, definitely caffeine.  Not just the black, unsweetened kind either, which is actually not bad for you, but the syrup-filled deliciousness that will give me a sugar high till the end of time.

We all do it. We basically stock up like winter is coming and we need to get to that iron throne.

But what if you could motivate yourself to continue with plans to see daylight in just two hours? Small study breaks like a jog around campus or a salad with friends will make you feel better about yourself — you popular and healthy little champ.

This comes full circle and remotivates you to finish your work. Normally, three hours into my work, I am convinced that I am not capable of anything, decide I should change my major and feel like taking a nap. A small workout, some food and some socialization can completely change your outlook of the rest of your work, and feeling better about yourself and your capabilities will certainly affect the quality of your work.

Now head out there and make those plans!

Yoga in Downtown Phoenix

Have you ever felt like you’re in a slump? Is your energy level on a constant decrease as your workload increases? After all the coffee and energy drinks you consume, do you still find yourself feeling tired or really just dead? Well I have a solution for you.

Inchworms. You'll learn to love them. Photo via Evie Carpenter

Inchworms. You’ll learn to love them. (Photo by Evie Carpenter)

Exercise!

Now, don’t get all hot and bothered. If traditional exercise like getting on the treadmill or elliptical just isn’t your scene, yoga might be your best bet.

As you’ve probably heard before, yoga is not only beneficial to your body in terms of muscle toning, it also helps release toxins that can be harmful to your health if built up in less-than-proportional terms.

So, what are you waiting for? If you want to rejuvenate your schedule and throw a fun, healthy activity into your routine, try yoga!

There are several downtown or near-downtown options that can cater to your yoga needs! Refer to the list below.

Urban Yoga: This yoga option is the most versatile in price variation and yoga type offered. They offer student and other categorical discounts, which is really great! All classes are done in rooms that are 80-85 degrees to promote better muscle mobility. It also does good for the community by donating select proceeds to local charities.

Sutra Midtown: Sutra Midtown is honestly one of my favorite places. Its motto involves mixing the traditional parts of yoga with a modern flair, and that’s what really sets it apart. They offer eight different flow yoga options: vinyasa, power, core, basic, slow, candlelight, power hour and yin.

Yoga Phoenix: The main type of yoga practiced at Yoga Phoenix is Kundalini Yoga, which is a combination of yoga poses, chants, and breathing exercises. Focus is placed on the spiritual part of yoga as equally as the physical benefits of yoga. Partaking in yoga at this nonprofit yoga option is sure to pay off.

Desert Song Yoga: This yoga option places a lot of emphasis on the body and soul healing combination and also stresses community health. Essentially, a lot of the classes offered at Desert Song Yoga are structured to build bonds between classmates and really take the spiritual part of yoga to the next level.

Yoga Pura: With two Valley locations, this might be a great option for those of us who commute between two places often like a dorm and your parents’ house. The structure of Yoga Pura’s classes has three categories: fundamental, active and gentle. They cater to all levels of yoga knowledge.

As you can see there are tons of yoga places near downtown Phoenix! So get out there and experience something new. Seriously, yoga is really a great option for stressful lifestyles.

Stay healthy, my friends!

Late-Night Snacking 101

Hello, hello! Devilishly Healthy is back and is off to a running start! Welcome back, readers. To be honest, I may or may not have gone completely overboard this winter break. Okay, I definitely went overboard. With food, family and so much fun, it was hard to stay on track healthwise. But hey, it’s a new year and now is my chance and your chance to revamp your dietary habits!

Fruit is truly the best option for those late night munchies!

Fruit is truly the best option for those late-night munchies!

This week’s topic is going to focus on late-night snacking. We’re now at that point in the semester where classes have definitely started to pick up, and at this breaking point, our bodies might not have adjusted to the workload. So, we may start to overcompensate when it comes to our nutritional needs.

So can we speak in layman’s terms now?

Do you find that after a long day of classes and a mediocre dinner at 6 p.m., that by 10 p.m. or later your stomach is grumbling? If your answer is yes, good news! You’re not alone.

The bottom line is, sometimes we don’t get the most out of dinner, or we feel inclined to eat a few hours after dinner for no legitimate reason at all. That’s okay — as long as you regulate what you consume after about 6 p.m.

The metabolism is a fascinating thing. It is known that metabolic processes are linked to the time of day you consume food. So what does this mean for you?

Generally speaking, unless you’re some metabolic anomaly, the metabolism functions at its best during the day and slows during the night. So, it’s ideal to eat your biggest meals during the day time and then eat smaller portions as the day goes on.

But what happens when you’re starving at 11 p.m.?

I interviewed ASU sophomore Ashley Garcia, a nutrition major with a concentration in dietetics. She said, while eating late isn’t ideal — the reality is that it does happen.

So we should all be prepared for this!

Garcia said that eating heavy foods with lots of fats and oils are generally not the best options for a midnight snack. But she did say that eating fruits and even dark chocolate is a good option for that late night fix.

Being a college student in the lovely downtown Phoenix, where can you get some good tasting, healthy late-night snacks?

For one thing, Devil’s Greens is a great option. It has the fruit bar and a yogurt bar that can satisfy the sweetness craving while maintaining decent calorie intake.

Another option is to buy some fruit and keep it. I would highly recommend getting your fruit from the Phoenix Public Market. It’s always a good feeling to know you’re shopping locally and eating fruit that isn’t covered in pesticides.

Well, friends, the motto of this week is: when in doubt, eat fruit! When you’re up late studying and you need a quick pick-me-up, whip out a healthy snack that’s fiber-rich. But also, remember that portions are important too!

Stay healthy, my friends!

The Perils of Abusing Energy Drinks

When a sizable amount of the student body is wearing yoga pants, UGGs, and that signature messy ponytail, you know finals are approaching.

Don't be deceived by the hype! Avoid these at all costs.

Don’t be deceived by the hype! Avoid these at all costs.

Finals are just around the corner for college students, and holiday season preparation is beginning to peak! Many people may look to less-than-kosher stimulants to ensure their assignments are completed — energy drinks being one big potential culprit.

People often forget just how bad abusing energy drinks is at any time, but especially at this crucial time in the year.

Energy drinks might give you the buzz you’re looking for in a short-term sense, but continued consumption of energy drinks can negatively impact your health in a way that’s just not worth the one night you’re trying to bust an all-nighter.

Drinks like Monster, Full Throttle, Amp, Rockstar and Red Bull may give you a temporary boost in energy, but they can result in symptoms like nervousness, irritability, insomnia, rapid heartbeat and increased blood pressure.

So what exactly is an energy drink and what makes it bad for you? Energy drinks are stimulants, meaning that they provide both mental and physical stimulation. They contain stimulants such as taurine, ginseng, and carnitine.

However, while these drinks may stimulate your senses in the short term, they can cause harmful neurologic and cardiovascular damage in the long run. Also, they can be very dehydrating if adequate water isn’t consumed.

Additionally, energy drinks are usually very high in sugar! Stay away from them as much as possible. They can cause weight gain, and nobody wants that right before the holiday season!

So maybe you already know just how bad energy drinks are for you — but do you know how to stay energized without them?

Can you say green machine? Green machine is usually a blend of dark green vegetables and some fruit. It’s high in fiber, protein, vitamins and energy! It’s literally all you need to get through those tough days of studying and holiday prep.

Green tea is also a great alternative to sugary energy drinks. It contains a smaller, healthier amount of caffeine and is also known to improve mental clarity.

Protein shakes are also a good substitute for energy drinks. They will boost your energy levels in no time and have the carbs you need to sustain long-term satisfaction.

Last, but certainly not least, get a decent amount of sleep and stay hydrated. Don’t write off sleep and water! They are the ultimate energy boosters and should be an integral part of your routine.

Be sure to avoid abusing energy drinks this year and in years to come! Like many other stimulants, they might help you now, but you’ll regret the effects they’ll have on your health in the future.

Have a safe, successful and simply wonderful holiday break!

Zumba: Dance Your Way to a Healthy Lifestyle

“Zumba fitness!!”

I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase exclaimed in a high-pitched, almost-maniacal voice at least once in your lifetime.

Get that beach body by this summer! Enroll in a Zumba class ASAP!

Get that beach body by this summer! Enroll in a Zumba class ASAP!

Well, the fact is, Zumba is something everyone should get excited about — it’s one of the liveliest ways you can stay fit! With a lively beat, your body can do wonders, and your overall health will increase tenfold.

First of all, Zumba burns a lot of calories. We’re not talking a measly 200 calories per session. We’re talking from 800-1,000 calories per 30- to 60-minute period. By dancing, you can lose that unwanted weight, just as though you were working out on an elliptical or treadmill.

Zumba tones your whole body. Not only do you burn a ton of calories — and I mean a ton — you also allow muscles all over your body to be contoured. The amount of movement you do and the regulation of moves that occurs allows for an even muscle tone that you will absolutely love.

Zumba is addicting. In a good way. Unlike many other addictive things that could be detrimental to your health, Zumba is a fun activity that helps you maintain a healthy weight and increase your muscle mass. You will never want to miss a Zumba session once you start. You’ll build lasting friendships, and your Zumba class will become a family away from home. At least, that’s what I experienced.

Zumba works for all age groups and body types! You don’t have to be 21 and stick-thin to participate in an upbeat, lively Zumba class. The truth is, you can be any age and really any weight and still do Zumba. There are classes of varying levels, and they help you feel comfortable with where you’re at and increase your ability to advance to harder, more complex choreography.

Zumba is a great way to release stress! Dancing in itself is known to be a great way to alleviate stress. Zumba not only utilizes dancing, it also comprises fitness techniques that help release chemicals in your brain that keep you happy and stress-free. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, join a Zumba class! It will make a huge difference in your life.

Lastly, Zumba makes you a better dancer. Let’s face it. Good dancing is almost always a desired skill set. Well, enrolling is a great way to make your dreams of becoming a better dancer a reality! So get out there and enroll in that Zumba class. You will not regret it!

Stay healthy, my friends!

Hot yoga: Is it just a fad?

You’ve probably heard the illusive term “hot yoga.” What comes to mind?

Do you envision a crowded room filled with artificial light and sweaty people simultaneously engaged in poses that stretch convention?

Or do you envision something more private — perhaps a small group that practices in a low-light sauna, each bead of sweat produced a testament to their commitment to health?

Om.

Om.

The truth is, there are many different ways to engage in hot yoga. You can do it in classes with more than 200 people; you can do it with 10 people. The lights can be recessed lighting or candles — the options are endless.

But one fact remains constant: hot yoga is one of the best things you can do for your body.

Doing hot yoga in a room that’s anywhere from 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit increases your pulse and metabolism. This, in turn, allows for better circulation throughout the body.

So when you sweat a lot, that means you lose more weight, right? Not necessarily! Studies have shown that the fact that you sweat more in hot yoga does not mean you will lose more weight than you would at standard room temperature. However, more harmful toxins are released during hot yoga through the greater amount of sweat than with yoga done at standard room temperature.

By far the greatest advantage to doing hot yoga is the fact that your body will surpass the expected level of flexibility that currently defines how you pose. The heat loosens up tight muscles and knots, also lubricating joints that would normally inhibit your body from reaching its full potential.

However, while there are many advantages to doing hot yoga, you still need to take certain precautions. Staying hydrated is essential! It’s recommended that you drink at least 2-3 liters on top of the required eight glasses of water daily if you plan to commit to hot yoga as a fitness routine.

Also, food intake needs to be monitored. It’s recommended that you eat a small snack before doing hot yoga — too empty or too full of a stomach is detrimental to the hot yoga experience.

But, the most important thing is to listen to your body while doing hot yoga, and be careful not to overexert yourself. Oftentimes, you want to ignore the minor things you feel in a workout routine, but with hot yoga, the risk of passing out is higher than normal. It’s vital to take breaks when needed.

But, holistically speaking, hot yoga is a great fitness routine to get into. Not only will you burn calories and increase your flexibility, you will also put your mind at ease and keep your mental health in check! So, the verdict has been passed. Hot yoga is not just a fad. It’s arguably the best way to practice yoga because of all the added benefits. So get out there! Grab a buddy and sign up for a hot yoga class. The experience will be unforgettable, and your body will love you for it!

The Health Behind Spa Days

At this point during the year, a lot of students and professionals yearn for some sort of excuse to just kick back and take a break from the swamp of work piled up around them.

Treat yourself!

Treat yourself at Hotel Palomar’s Repose.

The vision of the spa atmosphere might seem extravagant to some — candles, aromatherapy, oil massages? Who really needs all that?

But the truth is, there are health benefits behind that luxurious visit to the day spa. Everybody needs a break, and a spa day is the ideal way to spend your day off.

So, how exactly do spa treatments benefit your health? Well, the explanation is actually quite predictable.

Many of the massage options at day spas release knots in your back that can worsen your posture and soothe sore muscles and inflamed joints by targeting areas that are tight or swollen. Additionally, services like bath soaks, mani-pedis, facials and other skin services can alleviate a lot of stress and tension that is built up throughout the school or work day.

It ultimately boils down to the “power of touch.” It’s been proven by multiple psychologists that being touched is essential to our sanity! Being touched releases endorphins which ultimately make you feel happy.

The following locations are full-functioning spas that include facials, wax options, makeup application, hair design and mani-pedi stations.

The Roose Parlour and Spa: Nestled in the historic district of downtown Phoenix at 918 N. Sixth St., this location is known for its charming, friendly staff and hip feel.

Repose Spa and Salon: Tucked inside CityScape between Washington and Jefferson streets and First Avenue and First Street, this location is affiliated with the Hotel Palomar and is known for its upscale, unique lay out.

Inner Radiance Spa: Though it’s not downtown, this spa at 4503 N. 32nd St is close to the esteemed Biltmore Hotel. This location is known for using all organic products and specializes in skin care.

Downtown Salon Phoenix: At 101 E. Monroe St., this location mainly caters to hair care but also offers massage, nail, and skin services.

The Spa at Pilgrim: Again, a bit outside downtown, but right off Jefferson Street, this spa at 1401 E. Jefferson St. focuses on massages, including Swedish and hot stone massages. But for “total indulgence,” the Caribbean Therapy Total Indulgence package is a must. It’s comprised of a bath soak, body scrub and body cleanser all done in flower water with candles.

As you can see, there are some pretty nifty places downtown or nearby where you can really treat yourself after a long day. So do it! The next time you’re extremely stressed out or just need a breather from whatever is going on, go to the spa! You won’t regret it.

Not only will you have the ability to completely unwind, you’ll also benefit your physical and mental health through various spa treatments. It really is a win-win situation. An investment in your comfort is an investment in your health. Don’t delay!