Walking Challenge

Yesterday, I managed to walk a bit over 10 miles. This may seem like a lot but I was trying to catch up to my walking app. The virtual walking app that I use is the Conqueror Virtual Challenge. I started doing this when Covid first started because I did not want to become lazy and a couch potato. Ever since I started, I have completed 5 challenges and have tracked over 1400 miles!

The Conqueror Challenge is super fun and they offer really great medals after you complete each one. Currently, I am walking the Appalachian trail which is 1968.3 miles, which I am currently 33% of the way through. To stay on track, I have to walk 5.6 miles, so that’s why I walk so much.

Here’s a picture of the medal I have so far. Each of those has a distance between 40 and 400 miles, so I have been walking quite a bit since I started. Walking this much has been a huge stress reliever which has been a great incentive to do it so much. Also the medals are a good incentive too.

I do emphasize the importance of exercise in grad school and this is a great way of stay on top of your health. Each challenge requires you to put in how long you think it will take you to finish. Then, it tells you how far ahead or behind you are on that goal. This is great for grad students because it will force them to actually go for a walk so they don’t fall behind. The last thing a grad student wants to do is fall behind on literally anything. Also, it’s super useful in creating habits that are sustainable.

This is not just a great thing for grad students, but also working adults. If you are interested, here’s a link to their website.

How to Eat Healthier in Grad School

Let me preface with saying that I am not a nutritionist. I am a personal trainer but I can’t really give you advice on nutrition. I will however give you great advice on fitness. Check it out on my other blogs. Anyway, giving nutrition advice is out of my scope but I can tell you tips to incorporate healthy foods into your day. Also, if you have dietary issues, see a trained nutritionist or dietician, please. For those that are living off of pizza because you can’t cook, this blog is for you lol.

You are not 19 anymore and your body might be telling you that it is time to really focus on healthier options than all you can eat at Cici’s. Man do I miss going to Cici’s. Anyway, grad school can cause you to want to just eat junk food all of the time and eat it quickly. I mean, you’re sooooooo busy, right? I find myself constantly trying to talk myself out of getting to go at least 3 to 4 times a day. The best deterrent that I have found is just looking at my bank account. If you are the kind of person that really wants to start eating healthier stuff, then I think I can help. Here are a few tips on how to eat healthier when in grad school.

  1. Start packing your lunches.
Tuna Salad on Transparent Lunch Pack

Packing your lunch is a great ways to mindfully prepare a nutritious and hopefully balanced meal. Going to get food at a restaurant is nice but you may not be fully getting all of the macro and micronutrients that you need. Packing a lunch is a great way to incorporate healthy foods into your life. Plus, it’s a great excuse to get a cool lunch box.

2. Shop Bogo deals

Red Sale Tag

In Florida, we have Publix. One of the greatest grocery stores to shop at and some of the most friendly employees. It’s a great place to shop. They often have buy one get one deals on healthy items that you get add to your lunches. I often just walk into a publix and shop only bogo deals. Since they change up each week, you will always have a different variety of food to choose from. This is a great way to try healthy food items and get a ton of them for cheap.

3. Get a crock pot and use it.

Cooked Food on White Ceramic Plate

One way to make healthy meals is to just throw a bunch of veggies and some meat and spices into a crock pot and let that baby cook. It is so easy to chop up a few onions, peppers, and really any other vegetable to a crockpot and let it stew. I bought a fairly large one because I like to make a ton of shredded chicken all at once. I usually go to Walmart and get the packs of like 5 pounds of chicken and let it cook for 8 hours in the crockpot. Add some vegetables and you have an amazing meal to put over rice.

4. Ask yourself “What kind of food would I feed my pet?”

Black and White Dalmatian Dog Eating Fruits

I do this all of the time. I try and feed Sirius the best quality food that I can get, so why do I have to eat terrible quality food? You want what’s best for your pet so you should take care of yourself too. That means not eating junk food, or extremely low quality food. Unfortunately, good quality food can sometimes be expensive. This is why I shop those bogo deals!

5. Incorporate fruits and veggies in every meal

Variety of Fruits and Vegetables

This is a no brainer. Fruits and vegetables are so important t and you need them to stay healthy. I incorporate a salad into my lunch each day and eat an orange or an apple. What’s good about fruit is, the more you eat them, the more you start to crave them. I find myself after about a week craving fruit more than anything sugary.

6. Buy a rice maker

Photo Of Assorted Rice Grain On Wooden Spoon

Do you love rice because I sure do. Making brown rice is almost an everyday occurrence now. In undergrad, I was in the best shape of my life because I ate brown rice, protein, and veggies. I actually craved that meal during the day which was awesome. The rice maker helped out so much. Like a crockpot, you just set it and forget it. It makes the best rice in the world and I always tell my friends and family to get one if they don’t have one already. Also, rice is super cheap and a great addition to meals, especially brown rice. Check out this study basically saying that brown rice is superior (here).

7.Meal Prep

Flat Lay Photography of Three Tray of Foods

If you aren’t into the whole crockpot thing, you can always meal prep. There are literally thousands of books on how to meal prep. Here‘s a whole page on amazon about them. Meal prepping takes a bit of time but only one day a week. It’s a great way to make sure you eat healthy foods each day. I tried it for a week and thought it was great. Unfortunately I travel quite often so I was not able to stay on top of it. This is also great if you are very busy and don’t really have to time to cook. Just heat up a premade meal and you’re ready to go.

Hopefully you are not too busy to actually sit down and have a meal. I understand that life can be hectic at times but taking a moment to sit down, have a meal, and relax is almost as important as eating healthy. I said this in my last post but I want to say it again. Why do people glorify being busy? I can see that it may give them a sense of being important but it’s just hurting you in the long run. If you are truly trying to be more mindful and have a healthy mental state, take some time to make a healthy meal and just eat it in peace. I guarantee this will help make you way more productive than staying busy ever will.

6 Hobbies to Take Up in Grad School

Grad school is an amazing experience that many people will go through. Yes, it is tough and you may experience some dark times, but that is part of the journey. I mean, look back at every adventure movie that you’ve seen. There is always a moment where the protagonist is having a very rough time. Think of grad school as an adventure. I often pretend like I am in Lord of the Rings and each hardship is just one step closer to getting to Mordor.

With these journeys, you will need helpful tools to keep you motivated. Unless you really love your research and school, you probably won’t be spending your whole existence doing grad assignments and work. You need other things to preoccupy your time as well as spark joy in your life. Hobbies are the answer. Everyone has a hobby, whether they know it or not. Some people really enjoy cooking ( I am included in this). Other’s may love to do sports related activities. Hobbies can be anything that brings enjoyment.

It is essential to pick up a hobby while in grad school, heck, even just in life, period. It brings a ton of joy and allows you time to relax, which is extremely important. I want to share a list of hobbies that you can take up in grad school which I believe are extremely beneficial to keeping you sane, as well as spark happiness in your life since these are pretty dark times for all of us.

  1. Cooking
Woman In The Kitchen Preparing To Cook

Everyone by now understands the importance of eating healthy foods. It is extremely important for your overall well being to eat stuff other than pizza. Cooking allows you to make those things as well as learn a very valuable skill. I find cooking to be quite therapeutic as well, as long as you aren’t in a restaurant or on Iron Chef lol. It gives you about an hour out of your busy day to just focus on one task. Also, cooking is a great way to impress your friends as well as a date!

2. Wood Carving

Gray and White Penguin Decoration

This hobby is one of my favorites that I took up when Covid first started. I make small figurines just from a piece of wood and a knife. It is a fairly cheap hobby to take up and you will spend hours and hours creating some really cook figurines. All you need to get started are a few tools which I will link to here. If you are interested in this hobby, I highly suggest watching Doug Linker. Here is a link to his YouTube channel. He makes some of the coolest figures ever and shows you how to, step-by-step.

3.Weight Lifting

Man Carrying Barbel

If you know me, you know I absolutely love orking out. I do stadium workouts, gym workouts, and I walk everywhere. Check out those links to my other blog posts. Exercise is just like cooking and eating healthy, it allows you to take time out of your day and focus on your mid and body. You need to get moving to stay healthy, mentally and physically. This hobby is pretty easy to take up because you only need to workout an hour a day. I suggest going in the morning because it will wake you up, you’ll feel amazing afterwards, and you can start the day on a good note. Also, going to the gym after a day in the office is very difficult and it’s often crowded.

4.Learning a new language

Dictionary Text in Bokeh Effect

Being bilingual has so many benefits. Learning more than two languages will get you a career literally anywhere. Learning a new language is fairly tricky and needs a ton of work, but the benefits are amazing. This is a hobby that I just recently took up. I want to learn French because my adviser knows French and it would be cool to talk to him in his native language. I highly suggest taking up some new language such as French or Spanish. You neve know when it will come in handy.

5. Take up a sport

Man Dunking the Ball

Take up a sport while you are in school. This can include club sports, intramural sports, heck, I joined an adult kickball league. Talk about making a ton of friends, and fast. It’s great exercise and you can talk to people outside of your department. If you are not super athletic then I suggest joining intramural sports. They are a bit less competitive and you don’t have to worry about being the best. I did flag football with a ton of grad students right before Covid ruined everything. We never won a game but had the best time of our lives. I made a ton of friends and lasting memories. Currently, I play co-ed kickball. We start our next season in a month so I am excited to play again.

6. Blog

Person Holding Turned-on Silver Laptop Computer

Blogging has become my newest, and most favorite, hobby. I am starting to see how my blogging is helping others, not just in the US, but all around the world. Blogging is extremely therapeutic, see my post about it here, and has been so helpful in my journey to cope with anxiety. Blogging is a great way to just lay out all of your thoughts from the day and let them go. If you are interested in blogging as a hobby or as a way to earn a side income, I highly suggest watching Income School on YouTube, here’s a link to their channel. You may be very specialized in a field, and by blogging, you can help thousands of people with their problems. I help with mental health in grad school. Other people help by putting up reviews for campers. Both are valid blog niches lol.

These are 6 hobbies that I truly believe are helpful in grad school. What types of hobbies do you do? I am always looking for things to try and I know people reading these blogs are also looking for hobby ideas. Post them in the comments!

As always, thank you so much for reading my blog posts. You guys are just amazing and supportive. Until the next one, peace!!!

Having a Part-Time Job in Grad School:6 Jobs for Busy Grad Students

You started grad school and realized that you are poor, but you have the hopes of not being poor one day! Your stipend is the only income that you will unless you work another job. Now, I want to say that school is your main priority. Please keep this in mind when getting a job on the side. Also, some grad program prohibit having a job on the side. If this is the case then this blog won’t really help you too much, but I will try and include something for you. Here’s a list of 6 jobs that I believe are perfect to have in grad school, if you are able to find the time and energy.

1.Waiting tables or bartending. This is a great job to have that will get you quite a ton of money on the side, especially in a college town. You get to meet quite a few people and working in a restaurant is definitely an interesting experience, one that everyone needs to do at least once in their life. This job can be extremely part-time so you can spend your day working on your studies.

Person Holding Pastry Dishes on White Ceramic Plates

2. Tutoring. This is a perfect job because you know the material and can really tutor any subject. Tutoring is also a great way to hone your teaching skills in case you need that for your career or if you just so happen to be teaching a course that semester to get a stipend.

Serious female teacher wearing old fashioned dress and eyeglasses standing with book while pointing at chalkboard with schemes and looking at camera

3. Grade Papers. I get emails every semester of professors looking for graders for their classes. They usually pay a decent amount and you only have to put in about 10 hours a week, max. One professor was advertising 10 hours at a rate of $15 per hour. $150 a week or and extra $600 a month is rent money right there. You can also do this work any time of the day. Say you are waiting on lab results, grade some papers instead of just sitting, scrolling on Reddit. Get paid and feel more relieved that you have enough money to eat this month.

Student with documents and laptop happy about getting into university

4. Work as a Personal Trainer. I added this one because this is a side gig that you can do and you do not have to tell your adviser that you are doing it. One hour a day, 3 times a week and you can make about $60 extra. $20 a session per person is not bad at all and people are willing to pay that. All it takes is getting a certification and then insurance. Afterwards, you are good to go. Just find a client by posting fliers around campus and the clients will come.

Woman Doing Exercise

5. Teaching Assistant. For my program, to be a TA, you must be a masters student. They do not allow PhD students to do this since we already work for our funding. This is a great opportunity to gain experience in the classroom as well as meet people. Often times, being a TA will pay for your tuition as well as give you a bit of a stipend too. Grad school is super expensive so working for free education is ideal.

Cheerful young female home tutor with sketchpad in hands

6. Blog. I highly recommend blogging your journey through grad school. First off, writing is essential to be a good/decent grad student. By blogging, you will be writing each day which will make your thesis writing a piece of cake. You can make some money by ads and affiliated marketing. You won’t see a ton of money at first, but by the end of your first year, you may have another couple of dollars in the bank. Plus, blogging gives you freedom to express yourself and that’s what college is here for, right?

Person Holding Turned-on Silver Laptop Computer

I hope this list was inciteful. I recommend trying to find an easy way of making money that doesn’t rob you of the grad school experience. Let me know if you have a part-time job and what it is. Until next time, peace!

How a Massage Gun Helps With My Mental State

Ok, I want to dedicate this blog post to the massage gun that I recently bought from amazon. Now, I am not one to just write a post for one particular product unless it has significantly helped me in some way.

I bought a massage gun about 2 months ago that I keep in my office. This is the one I bought.

So at first I bought it because I am terrible when it comes to stretching. I am constantly sore from workouts and needed a drastic change. I also had a discount, which I wish I had for you guys, because these can be awfully expensive :(. I think the discount was like 80% off too so I had to take full advantage of it. Anyway, I received the massage gun and immediately tried it out. It worked like a charm. I am not here to just tell you that a massage gun works on loosening muscle fibers. No, I want to tell you how it has helped with my mental state.

I want to start off by saying that I don’t know what is happening that is making me feel better, but it is working. So apparently I keep my stress in my shoulders. You can tell by the knots that are there. I was about to do a back workout one day when I decided to try the massage gun out and see if I could release those knots and activate my muscles. It did alot more than that. I worked my shoulders and lower back which caused me to relax more than I have in a very long time. In fact, I was so relaxed that I put off the gym until that night.

I tried the same thing the next day, this time before I did some meditation. Holy Cow! I immediately went into a pretty deep meditation and almost didn’t come out of it (lol). The massage gun is definitely causing an increase in serotonin or something but it has allowed me to relax, especially now when I am pretty stressed out. I will have to read some peer reviewed journal articles on massages and reduction in anxiety. I am sure that there is a reason that this is occuring.

For those that want to try something new for your anxiety, I would suggest investing in one of these massage guns. Even if it doesn’t get rid of your anxiety, at least your muscles will be relaxed and I am sure no one will complain about a nice massage.

If you happen to know why my anxiety goes away, let me know in the comments. I would prefer to know the actual mechanisms that come into play and how that affects the body. Thanks guys!

5 Stadium Exercises That You Need to Do

I haven’t written about fitness in a few days, so I wanted to write something to help motivate you to do stadium workouts. I currently do a stadium workout twice a week, personal training two people at the same time. We went yesterday and definitely put in a ton of effort. So, I wanted to share the exercises that I think would benefit you and make you much better at running stadiums/working out there.

  1. Stadium Mountains

This is what I call running/jogging/walking/crawling up all of the stairs to the top of the stadiums. Our stadium has like 180 steps or something crazy like that, so you definitely feel it going up. Be careful coming down, though. Your legs will be wobbly.

2. Stadium Mountains with added weights.

So I bought a sandbag during the pandemic when we were all working for home. This was perfect to use yesterday to go up and down the stadiums with added weight. I bought this one https://amzn.to/3hxEOk6. You can also get a weighted vest or just carry a backpack with books in it. Just make sure that there is additional weight and I guarantee it will be a hard, yet satisfying exercise.

3. Leg raises on the stadium bleachers

leg raises are amazing to target lower abs, which can be a pain to work out. The bleachers are perfect to do leg raises because you can comfortably fit on them laying down and they add some instability to work out those stabilizer muscles. I see people doing these all of the time and it shows. I would suggest bringing a yoga mat since the bleachers could be a little uncomfortable at times.

4. Sprints

Sprints are amazing because you can do them anywhere, on a football field, up ramps, through traffic, through a busy marketplace after you just stole a diamond necklace, really anywhere. I love sprinting up ramps particularly. You really work up a sweat and burn a ton of calories. Also, your legs will become so muscular and defined which is always a plus. I try and incorporate sprint each session when I go. I have seen a significant improvement in my stamina as well as strength. Give it a try.

5. Lunges up the steps

This is a killer. My legs are always so tired after lunges and man do they hurt the next day, but they are so worth the pain. Lunges are such an alpha exercise, working your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. These are really good to do as a burnout at the end of your workout mostly because it will take all of your energy to do them lol.

I hope you try stadiums at least once in your life. The gym can get pretty crowded and most of the workout I shared will target the same muscles that weight lifting targets. You don’t even need to be an expert to just run around a stadium and do these exercise. Let me know if you do stadiums and what exercises you incorporate into your workout. I may just incorporate those into mine :). Peace all.

Must Haves When Going Back to Grad School, or School in General

It is Summer B semester currently and the freshman are back in full force. This will be the first time that colleges will have people back in full, at least here in Florida at least, and that might be scary for a few people. I honestly don’t want people to come back because the gym gets overcrowded. For those coming back to campus, whether it’s for grad school or undergrad, I wanted to put a list with links to stuff that I find very helpful. This will be a short list because I don’t want to be one of those bloggers that post something like “33 must have items to survive grad school” or something like that. I’ll keep the list fairly short but these are all things that I have found to be the most helpful.

  1. A portable monitor to connect to your laptop https://amzn.to/3ADsbLL

So I bought one of these additional monitors that connects to my laptop so I can work literally from anywhere and have two screens. This was a game changer. I use it all of the time when I am out of the office. It’s super helpful for presentations, writing, having multiple tabs open at once on different screens, etc. There are cheaper ones but this is the one I got.

2. Good pens. https://amzn.to/3dTSy6q

Ok these pens may be cheap on Amazon but they are by far the best pens that I have ever received, and they are cats. They write so well and they give you a ton so you can share with your friends…if that’s what you want to do lol.

3. A “to-do” list/Planner https://amzn.to/3ys69to

This is all you need right here. Something super easy and simple. You can go out and buy a fancy one but I like simplistic planners. I personally bought this one ad use it every day since I forget to do stuff constantly.

4. A good water bottle https://amzn.to/36jUjFL

This is a must have, especially on campus when you are running from class to class. I was buying water bottles from the vending machines and wasting so much money and plastic. I bought a water bottle, the space one to be exact, and have been quite happy with it. It is a bit difficult to clean so you may want to shop around for an easier one to clean.

5. Last, a Watch or Fitbit https://amzn.to/3dW2pse , https://amzn.to/3hkOwGa

Ok I apologize for this one. These are quite expensive so they really don’t follow my grad school on a budget lifestyle so you may need to wait until there is some money to use to get one. I received the Active 2 for Christmas and it is probably the most important thing I have on me, other than my phone. Since I am a personal trainer, this has been extremely helpful. If you are trying to lose weight, I would say the Fitbit is the way to go.

I hope this list was interesting for you. These are just essential items that I have that have helped me survive this long in grad school. What things should be added to this list that has helped you? I would love to know.

Grad School on a Budget: Coffee

You must be here because you have an addiction to coffee. I totally get it. I, too, have an addiction and man is it bad. It’s not quite to the point of an intervention, but I would say it’s close. See coffee is what makes us “normal”. The caffeine is what allows me to write these posts each morning and still be in a good mood to tell everyone “Good morning” as they pass by my office. Unfortunately, coffee can be expensive if you buy it. We have maybe 10 Starbucks on campus and a handful of other coffee shops around campus. You can find it everywhere, but at $4 for an iced coffee, I need to look elsewhere.

Today’s blog will be a bit short but I just wanted to share a few of my favorite coffee with you guys. I do not drink hot coffee. Frankly, I hate warm or hot beverages (I know, I’m weird). I also just drink black coffee so I can reduce calories as well as I like bitter drinks. I even drink iced tea without sugar. Anyway, here are a few of my favorite coffees that I think you need to have in grad school, especially if you are on a budget.

1) Sboly Single Serve Coffee Maker Brewer for K-Cup Pod & Ground Coffee Thermal Drip Instant Coffee Machine with Self Cleaning Function, Brew Strength Control https://amzn.to/3xcazEH

So I have to start with the coffee maker I have. This coffee make brews single cups, up to 14 oz and takes both k-cups as well as ground coffee. I highly recommend getting one, but if not, a French press like https://amzn.to/2UbXAEi is absolutely perfect. This initial cost is a bit much but you get your money’s worth in no time, I promise. Ok let’s get to coffee.

2) French Vanilla Coffee from Dunkin’ https://amzn.to/2TqHIh1

French vanilla coffee is the superior coffee. OMG!! It’s amazing iced, hot (my girlfriend likes hot coffee so she told me it’s good), with creamer, with sugar, literally any way you want. I highly recommend this one.

3) SF Bay Coffee OneCUP French Roast/Dark Roast 80 Ct Compostable Coffee Pods, K Cup Compatible Including Keurig 2.0 https://amzn.to/3x5nNmx

My mother buys this brand and I think it is just so darn good. They are K-cups, but compostable one’s so they are better than the plastic ones. The flavor is really good as well and they are fairly cheap. Definitely a good choice if you have a Keurig or Sboly coffee maker.

4) DEATH WISH COFFEE Ground Coffee Dark Roast [16 oz.] The World’s Strongest Coffee – Organic, Fair Trade, Strong Coffee Grounds from Arabica, Robusta (1-Pack) https://amzn.to/3Ab9TBc

So sometimes you have to really get up and going. This is the coffee for you. I promise that you will not need more than half a cup of this stuff to get yourself ready for the day (and even to the gym). This stuff is potent and the flavor is really good. It’s is a bit expensive for the package but well worth it.

5) Coffee Pods Variety Pack Sampler, Assorted Single Serve Coffee for Keurig K Cups Coffee Makers, 40 Unique Cups https://amzn.to/3dAok8p

I put this one as last because I wanted to end with a fun one. This is a variety pack of coffees that includes pretty much every flavor of coffee that you can imagine. It’s about 60 cents per pod, so a bit expensive, but you can try different flavors then buy the flavor you like the most directly. This variety pack can only be used with a Keurig type coffee maker so you need one of those. I believe some of the flavors included also come in ground form so you can get them for your coffee maker or French press too. I bought this for my mom for mother’s day and she loved it. She was able to determine her favorite flavors and I believe bought a few more of those flavors. It was definitely a good gift (lol).

I hope this has helped a little. Hopefully you had some coffee prior to reading this so it didn’t put you to sleep. I am heading off to get some coffee right now and start my day in the lab. Thank you for reading and I will catch you in the next blog. Peace!

Grad School Fitness on a Budget

Let me start off by assuming that you are like me….and poor. I don’t mean “living on ramen noodles poor” though. I mean making enough money to get by but also not enough to save up for the future or buy a house, like every single person I went to school with is :(. Grad school is tough and much tougher with the stipend that we are given. This adds even more stress to our lives that we can’t afford to have. Well, this blog post is for the all of the grad school students that want to get fit without having to stress about money, high gym cost (I saw one where its $50 a month 0.o), or those very expensive stationary bikes that I made the mistake of looking up their price. No, you can get fit and not have to worry about spending that much money at all. I will include some links to things that I think are essential for the busy grad student that wants to get fit.

First off, if you are able to use the local school gyms, or apartment gyms, do it! Technically, you are paying for those gyms so take full advantage of them. They can get crowded though, especially school gyms. This is a main reason that I hear, at work, why people tend to just workout at home or outside. Totally valid reason so the rest of this post is for those that don’t want to go to the gym.

Do stadium workouts or track workouts. You can really do a million different workouts at the stadium and or on a track. Usually schools will have one available to you to workout at. If not, find yourself an open field. For these workouts, you can do body exercises or even incorporate resistance training as well. I bought these resistance band https://amzn.to/35Y7UT2 and they have been amazing, especially when everything was closed during the pandemic. Using these will help to build muscle and lose weight, which is always a plus. If you can, go on YouTube and look up resistance band exercises. There are a million to choose from. I recommend HASfit (https://www.youtube.com/user/KozakSportsPerform). I followed all of their exercises and saw significant results.

Yoga is a big thing in college. All of the yoga classes tend to fill up so quickly. I guess people really enjoy it? I tried it and it kicked my butt, mostly because I was not used to stretching in weird ways and I used muscles that I had never used. If you want to do some yoga and don’t want to go to classes because….covid, then I suggest getting a yoga mat and watching more YouTube videos. Man, YouTube is amazing. I bought this mat https://amzn.to/3A4WGda and I watch MadFit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpQ34afVgk8cRQBjSJ1xuJQ. She is super good and extremely challenging. If you want ab workouts, she’s the one to watch. There are also a hundred more yoga instructors on the site that you can check out.

If you are like me, you love lifting heavy weights. This is a bit tricky to do without a gym, but if you want to spend a little more, I recommend getting a weighted sandbag like https://amzn.to/3x2FF1r. I bought one along with the resistance band and Oh My! I believe mine goes up to 45 pounds, so it’s a pretty significant amount of weight. You fill smaller sand bags and stuff them inside a much larger bag so the weight can be adjustable. This was a great buy! I specifically like it for arm workouts as well as back and shoulder workouts.

The last little bit of exercise “equipment” that I want to share are posters. They have posters that go over different exercises that you can do with weights, resistance bands, bodyweight, etc. I have quite a few in my office at school that I studied prior to getting my personal training certification. These were the ones that I got https://amzn.to/3dig4JW. These are great because they help you visualize a workout and expose you to many different other workouts that you may have never seen or heard of. They are fairly cheap and super helpful.

I hope these suggestions help a tiny bit. If you want some advice from me, reach out and I will happily help. Most importantly, just stay active. It helps in more ways than you can think of. Trust me when I say that staying active in grad school is not just essential for your physical health, but also or your mental health. I have been in grad school for a very long time so I know 😛

See ya later everyone

Let’s Talk about Anxiety Triggers

Grad school can be one of the best few years of your life. It can also be one of the worst times. For me, I can definitely tell you that I have had a wonderful time because I have learned to accept the good and bad moments. It took me a great while to be OK with hearing the word “no” all of the time, or having terrible days in the lab (I blame those days on the ghost that haunts it). Before therapy, I would have panic attacks almost weekly. They weren’t as severe as the very first one that I had but very close. My heart races, I get sweaty and shaky, and my thoughts get out of control. I brought this up to my therapist and she assured me that I am not alone and that I did a great job at describing what a panic attack actually was. Learning this made me think that something was wrong with me but she also let me know that there are millions of people who have this and are coping with it just fine. That was slightly comforting but alarming as well since I wouldn’t wish this upon anyone.

The next plan of action was to determine what set these states of panic off and if there was an underlying cause for my anxiety. Turns out, I had many. First of all, I am a worrier. I have been told my whole life that I worry too much and think of all of the bad things that can happen in my life. That was trigger #1. Whenever something happened, I would think of the worst possible outcome and that would lead to sooooooo much anxiety. It was something I needed to work on. My therapist suggested that I use my hand to help out. If you are unfamiliar with this practice, it entails you holding up your hand and assign different scenarios to each finger. For me, I think of the best possible outcome in a situation and assign it to my pinky. The worst outcome that I can think of goes to my thumb, and combinations of good and bad outcomes go to my middle three fingers. The middle three fingers are the more likely outcomes that will occur in any given situation. Having a visual helped significantly since, well, I am a visual person. Who knew? ;P

Trigger #2 was my sense of perfectionism. There’s one thing about grad school that everyone should be taught at the beginning and that is, if it’s good enough, it’s finished. Chasing after a perfect paper, a perfect poster, or anything perfect is completely unattainable. Grad school is a training experience and perfection just takes way too much time. I was chasing that dream of having a Nobel Prize winning research proposal/manuscript. My god that does not exist. Once I learned that good enough, was good enough, I was able to relax. I still struggle with this since I do want to give my best work, but I am in the last year of my doctorate so I can’t spend too much time perfecting everything.

Trigger #3 was being alone with my thoughts. This one is by far the scariest one. The pandemic definitely did not help because I was alone even more. Grad school is extremely isolating and lonely, so there’s plenty of time to be alone in your head. This is why half of PhD students won’t graduate. The best thing I ever did was take up meditation. This has helped to calm my mind and actually train it to not pester me with obnoxious and flat out wrong ideas. When I am not able to control the thoughts and I start to have anxiety, I’ll go on a walk or go to the gym. You can’t really think of anything when you’re gasping for air from running or doing squats lol.

Let me know the things that cause you anxiety and how you cope. I am interested in how people live with anxiety. Hopefully you found this to be enlightening or just somewhat entertaining. I’ll see you all in the next blog

Peace

**If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues, I highly recommend that they seek help. Online-Therapy.com or TalkSpace.com are great ways to reach out to a licensed therapist and get the help needed. Therapy has 100% helped me and I know it can help you.

Personal Training in Grad School: Advice

I want to give a little bit of insight when it comes to staying fit in college. First things first, don’t eat garbage food!!! That’s as much as I am allowed to say on that subject since I am a personal trainer and not a dietician. When it comes to staying fit in college, exercise is a major factor. You need to stay as active as you possibly can because the freshman 15 is a real thing. Here are a few things you can do to stay active:

  1. walk everywhere

Walking is by far the best thing that you can do during your college days because you do it every day, already. I joined a virtual walking app where it gives you a medal when you finish a certain distance. Check it out https://www.theconqueror.events/.

2. Go to the gym

I am a personal trainer so I definitely push for this. Gyms in college can be a scary place at first but know that everyone cares about themselves and not what you are doing. Start off slow by maybe just touring the facility or going on the treadmill. This gets you introduced to the gym and accustomed to it. Soon you’ll be going there every day, lifting crazy amounts of weight!

3. Find a workout partner

I was lucky enough to have my friend push me to going to the gym at 6 am each morning. God that sucked but was totally worth it. Finding a reliable workout partner is a bit difficult, but if you do, they are invaluable. You can do workouts with them at home, outside, at the gym, in your garage, anywhere. They will keep you motivated and you can keep them motivated too.

4. Take up a club sport

Intramural sports are amazing. Club sports are amazing. Sports are just amazing!!! I joined flag football prior to the pandemic. I made a ton of friends doing it and it was such a good stress reliever. Grad school can be super demanding and you need time to just not think about it. Joining a sport is the way to go.

If you happen to have any more suggestions, please comment. I would love to know how you stay active in school. Cheers!!!!

My Fitness Journey

 I love to work out. I mean, I LOVVVVVVEEEEE to work out mostly because it makes me feel like I accomplished something for that day. I do mostly lifting but I do kill myself some days and have a “fitness class” stadium session. First off, if you are not familiar with stadiums, they are practically the devil’s work. You run up and down these really steep bleachers and pretend like you are enjoying it. I am fortunate enough to have Ben Hill Griffin Stadium right down the street from me so I go there to do workouts. I usually just run up and down the stairs and then maybe do lunges or pushups.


 My fitness class that I spoke about early consists of a few friends and sometimes some coworkers. I am a certified personal trainer so of course my friends want me to teach them workouts. This is a ton of effort, but honestly, I love it. Plus I get to make them run up and down stairs, so if they are mean to me, I can retaliate (lol). 


We have two gyms on campus that I frequently go to. There is SW Rec and Student Rec. SW Rec is by far the superior gym, but it’s packed constantly. Student Rec is a nice little gym that has everything I need. I will usually take about an hour and a half lunch break and go over there to get a workout in. This is the beauty of being in grad school, I can go do stuff whenever I want, for however long I want. 

As I said earlier, I am a certified personal trainer. I do not really train people for money right now, but hopefully I can in the fall. UF’s RecSports hires personal trainers each year and that is what I am aiming to do. I took their course last fall and they offered me a position as a Wellness Associate. It’s a fun job and I get to interact with a ton of people. It is also like 1 or 2 days a week so it does not interfere with my PhD duties. I will definitely blog more about workouts and what I do. Honestly, I workout so much because grad school is stressful and this is an outlet. I made sure it’s not an outlet that becomes an addiction, though. Hope you guys are enjoying my blogs so far.

PEACE