By Guest Blogger: Megan Bogolia
Losing weight seems to be a popular topic in today’s news. Everywhere I look I see magazine covers that rave about a celebrity’s dieting secrets and the top tips on how to get a flat belly. Many women have developed eating disorders because of body image issues that arise from what the media portrays as the “ideal body.” Dieting has become an obsession as people strive for an impossible standard. This is not a healthy way to live.
I personally believe people should stop worrying about their size and start focusing on their health.
Health and fitness became a big part of my life about a year ago. It started after I got a job at the gym for my local park district. I had always been into working out, ever since middle school, I went to the gym on a regular basis. This was partly because I enjoyed it and partly because of my own self image issues. The majority of my workout was intense cardio, aimed at burning as many calories as possible. This of course, never yielded the results I wanted.
However, while working out with one of my coworkers from the gym, he introduced me to the idea of weight lifting and body weight exercises. At first I was hesitant because I did not want to become an overly muscular and unattractive girl. But with his insistence, I gave it a shot; and I fell in love. If you are trying to change your life and get in shape, here are my suggestions.
First of all, balancing your work outs with strength training is very important.
Strength training has changed my life and my approach to fitness. I have seen significant changes in my body, for example, I have more energy, more confidence, and I just feel better about myself. As it turns out having muscle does not look bad on women. I have never been happier with my body and I have never felt so comfortable in my own skin. I highly recommend adding a weight lifting routine into your workout. Focusing on building muscle rather than losing weight is much more effective. Not only will your body look better, but building muscle will actually help you burn calories while you’re not working out. Not to mention that being stronger gives you more confidence in yourself.
While I believe strength training is very important, that doesn’t mean you should forget about cardio. Another thing I have fallen in love with in regards to fitness is kick boxing. Kick boxing is an empowering workout that I would highly recommend. It is a great stress relief and a fun way to get your cardio workout in. I am completely addicted and am currently looking for an affordable place near Lincoln Park. If you are tired of running on a treadmill, staring at the same wall, kickboxing could be a great cardio alternative for you.
After starting school at DePaul University, I also started taking cycling classes. I didn’t think I would enjoy sitting on a bike for an hour but as it turns out I actually really like it. There are some great instructors at DePaul and the classes are anything but boring. The lighting, music and energy is very motivating and I always get an amazing workout.
My biggest recommendation if you are trying to get in shape is to find someone who will do it with you.
Having someone else to motivate you is very effective and will help you stay on track. I met a girl at my job who became my workout partner and she has become one of my best friends. Working out with her makes the experience all the more enjoyable and watching her push herself inspires me to work even harder. Having someone by your side while trying to keep up a healthy lifestyle is one of the most helpful things you can do to stay focused.
Eating right and staying fit are the two keys to being healthy. I try to avoid processed foods whenever possible and I rarely eat fast food. Eating a lot of protein is also important for a healthy diet. If you are serious about living a healthy lifestyle I strongly encourage you to set a goal for yourself.
You don’t have to wait for the New Year to set a resolution. You can start to make a change in your life at any moment. It’s never too late to change your life style. Stay motivated and be patient because healthy results take time. Don’t expect to see big changes immediately. As I said before, I’ve been working to improve my health and fitness for a year now and it took time before I started seeing a difference. But when you finally get there, there is no better feeling.
… Megan Bogolia is currently a member of the Office of Student Involvement EDGE team and is a freshman at DePaul University. Megan also is a volunteer for Hoops for Hopes which, is an organization at DePaul that travels to the Kelly YMCA in Humboldt Park, Chicago to work with children in their after school program. Megan tutor children, ages 6 to 14 in Math, Science and/or English!