The Five Day Challenge

This is a unique challenge for those who want to make their week less stressful and more fulfilling. Even if you have a schedule that suits you, these small improvements can do wonders to your quality of life while redefining your physical and mental health. I strongly recommend giving it a try.


1. Practice Yoga In The Morning

For the five-day challenge, do a 10 to 15 minute yoga routine after waking up. If you have never done yoga, do not worry. Erin Motz is an excellent instructor into the relaxing and fulfilling practice.

-Monday: Yoga Workout for Posture

-Tuesday: Yoga Workout for Abs

-Wednesday: Yoga for Wrists and Hands

-Thursday: Sun Salutation Yoga Flow

-Friday: Full Body Yoga



2. Write For Ten Minutes Before Work

Writing is a very therapeutic and useful act. Writing for just 10 minutes in the morning will help you clear your mind of useless thoughts and set goals for the new day.  This time isn’t for “diary” writing — that comes in the evening.  This time is for you to do one of the following:

-Read a motivational article, enlightening article, or poem, and copy down the parts that inspire you.

-Set a daily goal you can realistically achieve and take notes on how it will bring you closer to achieving your long-term goals.


3. Take A Midday Break

If you work from morning to evening without taking a break, you’re hurting your physical health, quality of work and productivity. We’re not machines — we’re humans — and, therefore, need to take breaks from persistent work.  Forgetting about work for a little during the day will reduce stress and make you more productive.

-Take a brisk walk outside.

-Kick around a soccer ball or throw a football outside with some co-workers.

-Eat lunch with your friends and talk about things unrelated to work, or eat lunch with someone new.

-Call your significant other, say you’re thinking of him or her, build up excitement for the evening.


4. Exercise After Work

Taking thirty minutes or less to get your blood pumping before settling in for the evening can make your nights that much more enjoyable.  It will push out all the stale air stuck in your lungs, relieve stress, and separate your mind from your workday.

  • Here is a recommended workout schedule for the five day challenge, compliments of Coach Kozak:

 -Monday: HASFit Body Weight Workout #1

-Tuesday: HASFit MMA Workout #1

-Wednesday: HASFit Six-Minute Ab Workout

-Thursday: HASFit Body Weight Workout #2

-Friday: HASFit MMA Workout #2


5. Drink Tea And Write Before Bed

The combination of hot, non-caffeinated tea and the therapeutic act of writing is one of the greatest ways to clear your mind before bed.  The tea warms your muscles, opens up your blood vessels and helps you think clearly.

  • Teavana is an excellent brand. I’m a big fan of chamomile and cinnamon, but I encourage you to explore.
  • Some Ideas for your writing;

-Write down five things you’re grateful for.

-Write a short letter to someone you appreciate.  (Handwrite it and mail it the next day.)

-Write about a specific goal you achieved that day (how you did it, how it brings you closer to your BIG goal, why it’s important to keep completing small, specific goals, etc.).

-Write with compassion about someone you feel anger, love, or frustration towards.


By: Gavin Ajami


Read More at:


Reindeer Run


Get into the Holiday season of joy and giving and support a cause by running! The Gainesville Reindeer 5k run is December 14th, 2013 supporting the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation and Girls on the Run. The run is in the evening meaning even though Gainesville weather has been staying fairly warm, the night will cool things off a little with the race starting at 5:00pm. Starting at 3:00pm there will be pre-race fun at Tioga Town Center. While running make sure to concentrate on your breathing and stride. Make sure to take slow deep breaths to allow the maximum amount of oxygen to enter your lungs providing a greater reserve for your muscles. Additionally make sure those deep breaths are coming from the stomach not the chest. As for your stride, it should be a rolling motion from the heel to toe.

Cardio vs. Strength Training for Weight Loss

Cardio vs. Strength Training for Weight Loss

By: Tatiana Mamola

                While a good strategy to exercise is mixing up your routine, there are some forms of exercise that burn more calories than others. In a recent study done by Duke University Medical Center, three groups were tested: a cardio group, a weight-lifting group and a group with both cardio and weights (who worked out twice as long as the other two groups). In this study, the cardio group who worked out on mainly the elliptical and treadmill lost an equal amount of weight and fat as the cardio plus weights group and in a shorter amount of time.

However, these results don’t mean that you should only do cardio and ditch the strength training. When you build muscle, you increase your metabolic rate and burn more calories even as you sleep. Therefore, strength training is best for long-term weight loss and maintenance. I believe you will see the best results by incorporating both strength and cardio into your exercise routine.

How to add flavor to your foods without adding salt, sugar, or fat

Saute and sear like you mean it!  All vegetables used in soups or stews (especially onions), should be sautéed in a bit of oil, until they give up their liquid, and start to turn slightly brown.  This browning reaction is known as caramelization – and it results in a sweeter, nuttier, more intense flavor in vegetables, all of which have natural sugar.


The same goes for meat-chicken, turkey, beef, even fish. Place your meat in a hot, dry pan, and do not disturb until you strongly suspect that a golden crust has formed.  Then flip and repeat.  It’s similar to caramelization, except with protein, it’s called Maillard reaction (for anyone interested in food science).  Maillard is what produces those delicious crispy bits that you love to pick off the pan. 


511108-35310-23Always use herbs liberally!  Experiment with different herbs.  Dried herbs like rosemary, thyme, and oregano can give a nice depth of flavor and should be added during cooking. Add tender, fresh herbs like basil, parsley, tarragon, cilantro and even some chopped green onion at the very end or cooking– they will give your dish a fresh flavor and a bit of crunch that complements any cooked vegetables and herbs.


Add umami instead of salt.  Umami is Japanese for “pleasant, savory taste”, and many consider it to be the fifth basic taste along with sweet, salty, sour and bitter.  Foods that are rich in umami include soy sauce, ripe tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and mushrooms.


lemon-parsley-300x200Brighten flavors just before serving.  When plating anything from salad, to poultry or seafood dishes, to cooked vegetables, brighten up the flavor with chopped fresh parsley (flat leaf), lemon zest, or lemon juice OR all of the above.  A bit of fresh parsley and grated lemon zest makes an incredible difference in almost any dish.


Instead of cream in your soup, just one word – potatoes.  Well maybe two, potatoes and bread.  I know you’re thinking, “why not Fat Free Half and Half?” Because it will break apart when heated, but it’s fine if you’re making a cold soup or sauce.  Instead, cook a diced potato in the broth, or add a slice or two of toasted bead cubes to the pot, hit it with your immersion blender, and voila- instant non-creamed soup! I also think the potato or bread trick gives your soup a thicker, creamier feel in your mouth.

12 days of Christmas

It is finally December meaning it is socially acceptable to celebrate the winter Holiday season! Coming from Patty Minta, here are a few tips to stay healthy during the Holiday season.

On the first day of Christmas, my dietitian said to me…

Bring One dish to share (a low-calorie nutritious choice for the meal)

Two sugary beverages (sticking to two limits our liquid calories)

Three yummy cookies (have a few cookies but keep track and don’t overdo it)

Four fruits for snacking (when hungry, choose a serving of fruit instead of sweets)

Five veggies each day (get all those phytonutrients by meeting this daily minimum)

Six feet from the buffet (prevent mindless eating by moving away to converse)

Seven days of exercise (don’t forget to exercise regularly during the holidays)

Eight glasses of water (daily, and especially before and during parties and gatherings)

Nine ounces of protein (three 3-ounce portions of lean, natural protein each day)

Ten pounds we won’t gain (by sticking to a healthy eating routine through the season)

Eleven new choices (if we tried 1 new healthy food/month, we now eat more variety)

Twelve counted blessings (count our blessings each and every day and all year long)

On a time crunch?

If you’re looking for a better way to burn fat and improve your resting metabolic rate, you may want to consider High Intensity Interval Training (HITT) opposed to long distance endurance training. HITT involves short intense anaerobic exercises with less-intense recovery periods. Anaerobic exercise promotes the building of speed, power, and strength. You engage fast-twitch muscles and cause the body to form lactic acid by means of converting glucose, fructose, and sucrose to cellular energy to be used for the high intensity exercise. This type of engagement allows similar biochemical muscles changes to occur as 10.5 hours of endurance training by performing a combined total of 2.5 hours of sprint interval training. Additionally, HITT improves resting metabolic rate (RMR) because the high intensity causes greater post-exercise oxygen consumption. So while thanksgiving break comes around and you’d rather be sitting around watching football or eating, make sure to get out and at least get in a quick 30 minute HITT workout.

Take on the trails this Fall!

Now that the weather is finally cooling off and it’s becoming bearable to workout outside again it is time to shake up your workout routines and try some local running trails! Gainesville is home to many diverse running trails that are perfect for trying out this new craze. It is important to run with a buddy (especially your first couple of runs) and avoid running after dusk. I would recommend bringing water with you, because you won’t find any water on these trails.

Listed below are five well shaded running trails in Gainesville:


5. Morning-side Nature Center

Roughly five miles east of campus, Morning-side Nature Center features about 7 miles of trail throughout 278 acres of beautiful running terrain.  Morning-side has ample amount of shaded trail, particularly on the center’s 3-mile perimeter trail. Don’t be surprised to see any large deer roaming on the trail.

4. Sweetwater Preserve

Sweetwater Preserve has it all: short trail loops, long trail loops, elevation changes and varying running surfaces.  The preserve is free to enter, and you can park right at the trailhead. You can even hop a wired fence past the “closed trail” sign in order to run all the way out to Payne’s Prairie.

3. San Felasco Park

San Felasco is the most beautiful place to run in Gainesville.  Its tens of miles of trails meander through varying landscapes; you will never get bored running here.  The only downside to the park is its distance from campus, but it’s certainly worth an occasional trip. This park does have an entrance fee of $4 but it is worth the price to run in such a gorgeous environment.

2. Loblolly North

Located just a half mile from the north side of campus, the Loblolly trails are ideal for relatively short and straightforward trail runs.  Loblolly North, in particular, is extremely shaded and connects 8th Avenue with 16th Avenue. This park is considered the best birding spots in the country, so expect to see some flying friends.

1. Clear Lake Nature Park

The most-shaded trail system in Gainesville.  On a hot summer day, the Clear Lake trails are 20 degrees cooler than outside temperatures.  Because the trails are without designated parking, they are relatively infrequently run. Parking at the Woodlands of Gainesville would be most convenient and is located about a quarter mile from the trail.