Beating School Stress this Week…Kapow!

For those of you taking Summer courses, you know ALL TOO WELL how quickly the course materials go by and before you know it finals are here (…then again, it feels like that during the Fall/Winter courses but y’all know what I mean!). One of my favourite things to do on-campus is to hit the gym, stressed or not.

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Drop-In Skating and Exam Prep (Already?!)

I’ve been feeling a little-more-than-a-little subpar recently. I’m not sure if it’s the weather or a change in routine due to injury or just everyday stressors, but I don’t like to hang out in ruts like that. Last Friday served as a nice little pick me up, thankfully. I finally made it out to drop-in skating at the Varsity Centre!

I regret that I didn’t take pictures, I was consumed by how good it felt to be using my legs after making my arms so terribly sore at aerial silks. I’ve been less active recently and I think that might be contributing to my lousy mood. Skating with a good friend helped! I went on Friday from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon and it served as a nice study break. Skate rentals are available for only $3.39 (debit/credit only) and entry is free with your T-Card of course! It wasn’t very populated, which I really appreciated. I definitely recommend checking it out, especially if you’re looking for some space to make some mistakes (I sure am!).

Source: www.macedoecunha.com.br

Source: www.macedoecunha.com.br

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It’s Not All Sunshine and Rainbows: How to Prevent and How to Care for Injuries

The human body is a remarkable construction. It’s strong, powerful, capable and — unless you’re me — resilient more often than not. With all this talk of being physically active and trying new things, I thought it was time for a post addressing risk, how to minimize it and what happens when despite your best efforts you find yourself injured.

While I’m not a doctor [insert moment of silence here], I feel I have sufficient experience to speak about this subject. I have the joints of someone far, far older than twenty paired with a “can’t stop won’t stop” approach to life. That combination isn’t particularly risk-reducing.

So, here are 4 tips to risk reduction in sport — coming from someone who needs all the reduction she can get.

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Feature: MoveU Crew!

This week I thought I’d shed some light on how to get involved with physical activity on campus in an administrative role. I met with the MoveU team to talk about what they do, how they got involved and what they love about being a part of the team.

But first: What is MoveU and what does the team do? Well, in their words they “do so much!”

“The breadth of what we do is so broad because we promote health on campus and being physically active,” says Alcina Wey. Fellow work-study student, Naomi Maldonado, adds, “We try to promote physical activity in alternative ways. A lot of people assume that if you’re not working out you’re not active, but we try to make physical activity accessible.”

As volunteers, the MoveU Crew supports and leads events. They interact with students, make them feel comfortable and get them involved at events. Continue reading

Finding my Flow and my #JoyAtUofT

Hi team!

“Happiness is not for the faint of heart”. These are words I remember from a life-altering lecture I attended this past August.

Over the summer I had the opportunity to attend the Canadian Fitness Professionals conference, a multi-day event with the biggest names and faces in the fitness and health industries. With hundreds of educational sessions, workshops, and classes to attend, it was a wonderful opportunity to be immersed in new ways of thinking, moving, and being healthy.

My favourite speaker of the day, Petra Kolber, spoke at a panel discussion titled “Mind Before Muscle” and again in her own lecture called “The Happiness Epidemic: Catch It If You Can.” As a fitness professional and positive psychology guru, Petra introduced me to a concept called FLOW. This term describes the moment in time when time disappears, when we are challenged in a way that matches our skills – when we are in what we often call “the zone”.

She explained that being in a state of FLOW is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves to contribute to being happy. Happiness, she said, is not a steady state, but something that we have to train ourselves to achieve. She recommends a minimum of two hours of FLOW a week as our basic training exercise.

Finding FLOW, or recognizing the activities that bring me peace and joy, is something I have been trying to identify ever since. Whether or not I appreciate them as FLOW-inducing exercises, there are tasks that I complete in my daily life that make me feel whole.

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“Little Victories” and Where To Find Them

You’ll never guess what I got to do last weekend. I took a stunt fighting seminar! We have a Jiu Jitsu regional event every few months and last Saturday’s regional welcomed Lori O’Connell from British Columbia.

Lori O’Connell is a 5th degree black belt in Can Ryu Jiu Jitsu and a professional stuntwoman! Move over Ronda Rousey (former UFC champion), I’ve found a more suitable role model.

Source: lorioconnell.com

Source: lorioconnell.com

It was AWESOME. Best decision I’ve made recently. We practiced different aspects of stunt fighting and then choreographed short stunt scenes and filmed them. I picked up a signed copy of her book When the Fight Goes to the Ground: Jiu-Jitsu Strategies and Tactics for Self-Defense afterward, which I’m super happy about.

Trying new things has been bringing me a lot of pleasure lately. I think it’s largely due to what I’ve coined as “little victories.” Continue reading

Well, That Was a Lot Harder Than it Looked: Circus Silks @ U of T

I walked into my first circus silks class at the Athletic Centre last Friday pretty confident (largely due to the fact that I found my way from the AC change rooms to the Lower Gym in the Benson building on the first try).

Essentially the layout of the Athletic Centre and, of course, University College. Good luck. Background Source: watchervault.com

Essentially the layout of the Athletic Centre and, of course, University College. Good luck.
Background Source: watchervault.com

I wasn’t arrogant — I know I know nothing about aerial silks, but the instructor asked if I had done anything similar or notable and I mentioned that I’ve been coaching gymnastics for over five and a half years and used to do aerial yoga.

This is aerial yoga. 10/10 would recommend. Even if just for the awesome Instagram photos you’ll get out of it. Source: yearningforyoga.wordpress.com

This is aerial yoga. 10/10 would recommend. Even if just for the awesome Instagram photos you’ll get out of it.
Source: yearningforyoga.wordpress.com

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Sports and Recreation at UofT: A Second Look

Like most U of T students, I’m proud to be one. People like to call us pretentious and I like to argue there’s a big difference between being pretentious and being justifiably proud. We boast top 20 spots on lists of the world’s best universities and I’m “sorry I’m not sorry” that gives me the warm fuzzies.

While we excel as an institution overall, according to UniversityHub.ca (contributor to the Huffington Post), our sports and recreation programs are less well known.

Clearly something’s wrong here. We have a wealth of sport and recreational facilities, services, activities — there’s a lot going on here! We have FOUR athletic centres (if you count Varsity Centre), FOURTY-FOUR men’s and women’s varsity teams, the ONLY Olympic-sized pool in the city, a wide variety of registered and free classes, drop-in recreation, a FANTASTIC, SUPER-AFFORDABLE sports clinic open to students, more playing fields than I’m aware of and SO, SO MUCH MORE.

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Did You Know? Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre

I recently became aware of the fact that quite a number of students don’t know that their T-Card gives them access to the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre (TPASC), located at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC).

This facility is heaven on earth, my friends. It’s a magical utopia of athletics, fitness and recreation. And it has a Booster Juice! Seriously, this is my favourite place to train. During the summer (I had a membership because I was enrolled in summer courses) I would often go three to four days in a row.

Once finals are over, I fully intend to be back at it and I can’t wait.

Artsy TPASC-appreciation picture I took a little while ago.

Artsy TPASC-appreciation picture I took a little while ago.

If you live in the GTA, I highly recommend checking it out. Holidays are just around the corner and there’s no better way to spend free time and stay active FOR FREE at UTSC.

It’s located just south of the 401 Morningside exit. If you’re driving, not to worry, you can enjoy two hours of complimentary parking. Just drive up to the gate and take a ticket. As long as you feed the ticket to the gate on your way out within two hours, you’re home free! Pun not intended, but thoroughly enjoyed.

A friend once said that when he walks up to TPASC he can’t help but feel like he’s about to do something legendary. I can thoroughly relate. Source: tpasc.ca

Most visitors to TPASC (pronounced: Tee-pask) scan membership cards to get in. St. George T-Cards — as far as I know — still don’t scan as we aren’t in the system. When you arrive at the turnstiles, just show someone at the desk your T-Card and say you’re a St. George student. Most of them will know to let you in. If they don’t, you’ll have to explain your card doesn’t scan.

Isn't it beautiful?

Isn’t it beautiful? Source: tpasc.ca

This facility is massive and expensive. It was a $205 million investment, the largest amount ever spent on amateur sport in Canadian history (according to the National Post). So what did we get for that $205 million? A LOT. TPASC offers a variety of fitness and aquatics classes and the membership is designed so that they’re all free. So is swimming, use of the track, field house and fitness centre, and the CLIMBING WALL.

tpasc4

Source: tpasc.ca

Yes, TPASC has a climbing wall (41 feet!). There are introductory classes and drop-in hours you can take advantage of once the staff are comfortable letting you climb on your own — for safety reasons, of course. I actually haven’t checked this off my to-do list yet and I’m excited to take it on next summer.

For now, I’ll be enjoying this new facility by using the fitness centre. The place has everything I could possibly need, including things I have no idea what to do with! Which reminds me…check this out! It’s not something we have in any of the athletic centres at St. George, and it’s super cool! May I present Jacob’s Ladder:

jacobsladder

Source: bickelsinc.com

It’s essentially an inclined treadmill, but instead of running, you climb. It’s actually really challenging and can feel really silly, but I like to use it to change up my routine and do something a little more interesting now and then. You will feel the burn, my friends.

And I’ll feel a very different burn if I don’t get back to studying soon…

This is my last post before the holidays, so I’m wishing you all the best of luck on your finals and a very happy, very restful holiday! Check back in January for the 4-1-1 on new active classes, events and opportunities on campus to help you beat the winter blues.

The Barbell Prescription: The What, Why and How of Weight Training

So much cool stuff happens on campus all day every day. It breaks my heart that I literally don’t have the time to go do and see and hear everything.

On Tuesday, I went to a free seminar that was held at Hart House called, “The Barbell Prescription”.

You know it’s going to be a good one when you’re already taking notes and salivating over the guest’s credentials.

Dr. J Sullivan joined us from Michigan. A former US marine, 3rd degree black belt in Karate, 3rd level Krav Maga practitioner, doctor, researcher… The guy received a $2 million research grant from the NIH… that’s the National Institutes of Health. It’s a big deal. On top of all that, he owns, manages and trains clients at a gym called Grey Steel, for aging adults.

Dr. Jonathon Sullivan

Dr. Jonathon Sullivan Source: greysteel.org

We started off talking about what we considered an “athlete”, how we’d define the word. I learned a little bit about Greek athletes (the word athlete comes from the Greek “athlos” which means contest or feat). Apparently there was an athletic event in the Greek games, “Hoplitodromos”, which was a race in full battle armour. Competitors in the games had to swear an oath to Zeus that they trained for a minimum of 10 months. Awfully specific for so many years ago! Continue reading