Healthy habits according to Roy Lewis

With only a few weeks left before the havoc of finals begin, you might find yourself bonding more often with those sweatpants, a pack of Oreos and a Rockstar. As the stress piles up, so do the pounds. However, former NFL cornerback Roy Lewis, who played in 2008 for the Pittsburg Steelers and from 2009-2011 for the Seattle Seahawks, has a few pointers to keeping that waistline fit for spring break.

In an interview with Lewis, he began by stating that “showing up is half the battle.” And in a time of work-out videos, gyms and at-home exercises, he said, “there’s really no excuse” for ignoring your physical health.

On a side note, perhaps it’s important to identify the kind of battle you’re really facing – and it’s a much simpler one than expected. The impulse to overeat and indulge on junk food is brought about by a feisty little hormone called cortisol.

According to research conducted by Harvard University, cortisol can cause an increase in appetite and motivation, and in some cases, the motivation to eat. (Harvard’s study also found that high insulin levels, as well as the “hunger hormone” ghrelin, might also have something to do with the body’s reaction to stress.)

Therefore, exercise provides an alternate way to burn off this “motivation.”

As college students, many of us are short on time and sleep. But Lewis gave some pointers for quick and easy tricks to getting fit at home.

He mentioned that “natural” exercises are often overlooked. Things such as crunches or sit-ups are still effective ways to get in shape. Running hills was another suggestion of his. And given SPU’s location on Queen Anne, there are plenty of hills right outside for you to run off that bag of Doritos.

When asked if he had time for only one type of exercise, what would he do, Lewis answered, “core strength.” He said oftentimes people underestimate the importance of this. He suggested exercises such as holding a “plank” position for 30 seconds on each side, crunches, again, or even something as simple as tensing your abdominal muscles when sitting or standing around.

But one of the most effective at-home methods Lewis mentioned was Tabata training. This method consists of eight intervals, each one lasting about 20 seconds long. A total session should last about four minutes. Lewis recommended doing this process twice in a row, so plan about eight minutes or so.

Here’s what a Tabata training plan would consist of:

Squats, with the option of weights (intervals one and three);

Pushups (intervals two and five);

Chin ups, if you have access to a chin up bar (intervals four and six);

Sprinting in place (intervals seven and eight).

It’s important, as Lewis mentioned, that you go full out for each interval in order to obtain the maximum results.

As a professional athlete, healthy eating habits are an important part of his daily routine. Lewis acknowledged that eating healthy can be more expensive, but buying food grown from the ground can be just as affordable.

For example, a Snickers bar usually costs roughly $1 on average. But bananas are roughly 69-89 cents per pound (depending on whether or not they’re organic), or you might be able to find a bag of mandarin oranges for about $5-$6 for a whole bag, which might give you enough for two or three of those oranges per day for a week. A cucumber might cost you about a $1, or so might a pepper. Whatever your preference, consider picking up one of those naturally made snacks over one of those factory-made packs of corn syrup and artificial flavoring. As Lewis put it, “we’ve been eating from the ground since the beginning of time. It works.”

In the time it takes to wolf down that bag of Cheese Puffs, you can, instead, find yourself one step closer to that six-pack (and no, I don’t mean the kind you found on Saturday night).

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Title: Healthy habits according to Roy Lewis | Author: Therese Chapman | Section: Features | Published Date: 2013-02-27 | Internal ID: 8593