How long have you been weightlifting for? 

I’ve been lifting for sports for about 10 years now, however I didn’t take it seriously whatsoever until about 3 years ago.

How important is proper nutrition in addition to exercise?

Proper nutrition is so important for health, in fact much more than exercise is. While both combined are best, health and weight maintenance depend almost completely on how you eat. Exercising is great as it builds muscle and increases your metabolic rate, but in the end it comes down to 95% diet. 

What are some of your favorite spots on campus that fit into your nutrition plan? Any go-to meals?

I don’t eat on campus much anymore, but freshman year I did and it was surprisingly easy to eat nutritiously on campus. Fresh foods and lakeside are both great; there’s always fresh fruit and veggies and great meal selections. My personal go to was a grilled chicken Caesar salad, it’s a great and consistently good option. In addition, the Shake Smart in the rec center has countless options that are not only delicious and healthy but also super filling. In terms of cooking at home, precooked frozen chicken or lean beef and rice is great, it’s easy, quick, tasty, and you can season it however you want. Once you can grill it’s better to grill chicken but of course there’s no open heating elements in the dorm so you can get some good microwavable chicken if you still live there. Protein shakes are also great, all you need is milk, fruit, oats, and protein powder and you’re good to go. Eggo waffles with Greek yogurt is also a great on the go snack. 

Is it difficult to maintain a good balance between school and fitness/personal health for you? Why or why not? 

It gets difficult occasionally during weeks with a lot of tests/projects, but for the most part it isn’t bad. A common thing I see happening to students is that they come in thinking they need to be in the gym for 2 hours a day to stay in shape, but in reality all you need is a half an hour. Even if you don’t have time to hit the gym, there are many ways to get in exercise. If I have a busy day and don’t have time to get a lift in, I’ll hook my laptop up to the tv and put lecture recordings on so I can study while I do some calisthenics. Some preparation is also integral to maintaining health when school gets busy; a common trap people will fall into is constantly getting fast food because cooking takes too much time. Instead, you can take an hour or two every week and prepare meals ahead, that way you can still eat healthy without having to spend hours every day cooking. 

Do you have any tips for somebody who wants to begin to get active? How can they do so at UA?

The best advice I can give to someone who wants to begin to get active is to find something you live that you can be active while doing. The traditional image for fitness may be weightlifting, but that’s one of many activities that you can do to stay fit. You could do yoga; you could dance; you could play sports; etc. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing to stay active, it’s much less likely that you will stick with it. UA does a great job of offering different activities so that everyone can do something that they like. There are countless intramural sports, exercise classes, outdoor activities, dance classes, a rock climbing wall, there is just so much to do and there is something for everyone.