Beat Writers: The Pulse of UCLA Club Sports

Look around you. Our campus is filled with incredibly hard working students, staff, faculty, and world-class athletes. If you’re lucky, you may even spot an Olympian or two causally sitting in one of your lecture halls, or a MacArthur Fellow teaching one of your classes.

My point is this: UCLA’s hyper-competitive nature gives it its edge. By creating an atmosphere where students challenge one another and pull each other up, UCLA cultivates success. It breeds Nobel Prize laureates and gold medalists, Grammy award winners and NCAA champions. Its students are successful because they grow and mold in an environment that fosters healthy competition in all fields and at all levels.

But sometimes, the game gets exhausting. We want a break from the endless competitions, and we want to sit back, relax, and admire those around us instead. A win for UCLA is a win for everyone associated with UCLA, and it’s exciting to share that. Ever wonder who wrote those articles you see on your Facebook feed, or in the Daily Bruin, praising fellow Bruins? Other fellow Bruins! One such program that follows and writes articles about UCLA sports is the UCLA Club Sports Beat Writers program.

The Beat Writers program at UCLA is a relatively new student run organization, but is one of few of its kind and caliber compared to other top universities. Amit Nainani, a 4th year sociology major, made the transition from Daily Bruin writer to Beat Writer during his sophomore year. As a Beat Writer, Amit gets assigned to cover different UCLA club sports at their home tournaments or games, ranging from Men’s Rugby to figure skating. He writes about the wins, the losses, and everything in between.

As a Beat Writer, he interviews players and coaches to get the inside scoop on the game, asking questions about big plays, commenting on team chemistry, and promoting upcoming events for the team. They’re called Beat Writers because they are the “pulse of the club,” having established a rapport with the athletes so they feel comfortable doing interviews. Besides writing articles, Amit and the four other Beat Writers in the program serve as photographers and videographers, occasionally live streaming important games or tournaments so that out-of-state friends and families may tune in and support.

So what does it take to be a Beat Writer, you may ask? Someone who has a passion for sports, is ambitious, and can work independently to reach deadlines has the perfect attributes to be a Beat Writer. No prior experience in photography is necessary, and basic writing skills (or a willingness to improve upon writing) is enough of a background to apply to the program.

The Beat Writer program is a perfect opportunity for sports lovers to get to know athletes at UCLA on a personal level, and to get paid doing what they love to do anyways! If you fit this criteria and would like more information on the program and application process, email Kyle Urban at , or take a trip to the Club Sports Clubhouse located in the John Wooden Center.

Ellie Benitez is a 3rd year undergraduate Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics major and Society and Genetics minor at UCLA. She currently serves as the HCI representative for UCLA Recreation, where she is a Student Supervisor for Intramural Sports.


What’s Shaking Around UCLA?

Hello, my Bruin Fitness Pals!

Have you been wondering what fitness events are shaking up UCLA? Well have no fear, I am here to help you move and even de-stress with an update on loads of programs sweeping through UCLA!



Photo via UCLA Recreation

UCLA Rec has added a lot more amazing new classes for great prices! For example, there are new tennis classes that take place in the LA Tennis Courts on campus. There are many options from just learning how to play tennis to tennis workouts. They also offer both private and group options.

Also, we have a new Applied Martial Arts Program! It is a mix of all the different martial arts classes offered to students right now. It is also personalized, based on your level of martial arts, what you are comfortable with, and what you are interested in learning. So if you haven’t been comfortable taking a martial arts class because you didn’t think it would fit you, check this out!



Photo via Flickr

If you have been looking for an awesome place to get into meditation, look no further! The UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) holds free drop-in meditation at various locations at or near UCLA. For example, on Mondays, the Ronald Reagan Medical Center hosts them, the UCLA School of Law on Tuesdays, and on Wednesdays, these are in Powell Library. So if you are interested, check out the full schedule here! For more events, such as the mindful awareness practices that help students apply the principles of mindfulness in their daily lives, held by the UCLA MARC, check out their calendar here, where the dates and times are listed, along with the dates of their meditation sessions.



If y’all are interested in some free yoga, check out Flexible Fridays! Multiple sessions are held around campus and in the Residential Halls at different times of the day to accommodate your busy schedules. Although some of the outside sessions have been cancelled due to rain this quarter, there are still many inside options. So if you are interested, check out the times in the photo above! And for more updates (such as if a session is postponed or cancelled), check out their Facebook page here.

“I Heart Walking!”


Photo via UCLA Recreation

Get moving with UCLA’s 11th Annual “I Heart Walking” program! Starting from Monday, February 13th all the way to Thursday, February 16th, step out from behind your desks and walk with us and your colleagues! Join your fellow Bruins as we gather for lunchtime walks to get refreshed and improve your health!

Everyday, there will be walks happening at lunchtime, starting from 12:10 and 12:15 pm. There will also be free health screenings in Pauley Pavilion on Thursday. For more information on times, locations, and how to register, check this link out.

Also, if you attend two or more walks, you can get a free t-shirt (while supplies last)! But there will be loads more giveaways, samples, and prizes, so start registering!

So now that you are all loaded up with fun events, get out there and keep up your movements! We, here at MoveWell, wish you luck in your movement adventures!

Tiffany Hu is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics with a minor in Bioinformatics. She is a blogger for Move Well of the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative. She is the co-Director of the Student Health Advocates, which focuses on educating students on various intersections of health. Tiffany is also the Special Projects and Alumni Coordinator of the UCLA Care Extender Internship, which helps students volunteer at all departments in the UCLA Medical Centers.

5 Tips To Sticking With Your Fitness Plan!


Photo via Google Images

I can’t believe it’s already the middle of January and week 3 of Winter Quarter! Where has the time gone? It feels like my New Year’s resolutions are a thing of the past!

If you’re like me, sometimes you wanna just give up on your resolutions, or your fitness plan in general. (And no worries if you don’t stick with them because there are loads of reasons why some resolutions just don’t work out and all of them are okay. Just remember that you tried and even taking small steps to stay healthy and keep active is enough!)

But if you are wondering what you can do to help you stick with them or just maintain an active lifestyle, read on! Here are 5 tips to help you stick to your fitness plan, new or old:

Tip #1: Make sure to clearly define your goals!


Photo via Google Images

I know this seems really obvious, but many people tend to make a goal of “becoming healthier” or “getting more active.” These broad goals are easier to dismiss because people tend to believe they are not making any progress as there are no definitive markers of success when reaching broad goals.

Instead, make clear goals! Some examples could be exercising three times a week or biking to work everyday to get some additional movement in! By setting more definite goals, it’ll be easier to complete them as you can more easily see how to achieve your goals. But also make sure to not rely heavily on a numeric goal because that could negatively affect how you perceive yourself, especially if you don’t reach that number! So have a clear goal but don’t sweat the actual number: as long as you can tell you are making some awesome progress!

Remember to make your goals feasible too! For example, if you haven’t been that active, don’t make a goal to run a marathon by next week. Creating unattainable goals is just as bad as making ambiguous goals because you will want to push yourself to achieve it while making incredible progress, but still end up feeling upset (click this link for how to set reasonable goals). Although it isn’t actually bad that you can’t run a marathon in a week, you will create this mentality of failure, which only makes you less inclined with continuing or creating other goals.

Tip #2: Create a schedule!


Photo via Google Images

Make sure to remember to include these goals in your schedules or planners! By being able to visually see your commitments, it will make it easier for you to continue to stick to them. It takes out the time in your day when you have to worry about when you can possibly make time for it.

By scheduling in time to achieve these goals, according to Dr. Paul Marciano, a psychologist specializing in behavior modification and motivation, you will definitely be more inclined to stick to them because your mind will mark them as priorities. They would be just as important as the scheduled time you have for class or meetings!

Tip #3: Track your progress!


Photo via Google Images

Remember to also track your progress! This will provide further motivation to stick with your current fitness goals because you can see how well you are doing! The tangible evidence helps people stick to their goals because they can realize how much they have grown in their endeavors.

And don’t be discouraged if you don’t meet the end goal for a certain time frame! Any progress you have made proves that you are one step closer to your end goal! Dr. Marchiano states that achieving our goals is not reliant upon our willpower but rather encourages us to develop the right skills and patience that will lead to success. Also, according to the American Psychiatric Association on how to keep a healthy life, this could also be an indication that you should simply reassess your plan and make adjustments to your goals!

Tip #4: Reward yourself!


Photo via Google Images

Now don’t get me wrong: getting healthy and staying fit can be reward enough. But if you’re like me, sometimes you need a bit more incentive. What better way than to treat yourself! These rewards shouldn’t be anything that would prevent you from continuing, but should still be fun to further motivate you! For example, treat yourself to a fun day: a spa trip, video game day, or movie marathon!

Taking a day off of your fitness plan can actually motivate you because it will be like a breathe of fresh air! After a day of relaxation, you will be more energized to continue on with your goals to better yourself and reach that next “treat yourself” day!

Tip #5: Talk about it!


Photo via Google Images

Talk about your goals with your friends and family! It may seem daunting at first, but I promise you: they are all only here to support you and cheer you on!

This will also help reduce stress if you think that the entire resolution may be too much. By talking it out, you’ll be able to see a fresh perspective and determine whether to keep going or if certain adjustments should be made! They can help you reason out your true goals and capabilities. So don’t be afraid to share with your loved ones!

Just one more note: remember the first step in making and sticking with these goals is to ensure you are doing them for the right reasons. According to Michelle Segar, Ph.D., a motivation scientist, those who stick to their resolutions have their reasons based in truly wanting to change their lives in a way that will “energize them – not deplete them”. Make sure these goals are based in the want to better yourself FOR yourself, not for anyone else. By embarking on these goals for yourself, you’ll be more inclined to stick with them and the success will feel much better too!

I hope these tips were helpful! Good luck and just remember, sticking to the “plan” is great, but as long as you feel you are making progress, continue on! We, the Healthy Campus Initiative, are always with you on this fitness journey!

Tiffany Hu is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics with a minor in Bioinformatics. She is a blogger for Move Well of the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative. She is the co-Director of the Student Health Advocates, which focuses on educating students on various intersections of health. Tiffany is also the Special Projects and Alumni Coordinator of the UCLA Care Extender Internship, which helps students volunteer at all departments in the UCLA Medical Centers.


5 Easy Tricks to Adding More Activity to Your Day

What is the number one problem afflicting college students of today? LAZINESS. Just kidding! It’s actually stress! However, what does stress have to do with being physically active? Everything! I know it might be stressful to think about how to budget time out to exercise (look for some tips here on how to exercise with a busy schedule) but exercise really does help with decreasing stress.

Here are some tricks to help incorporate some more activity into your daily life and decrease your stress levels in the process!

Trick #1: Walk EVERYWHERE!


Photo via Google Images

Whether it is to class or out to dinner, just walk! Trust me, this is a great “step” towards a healthy lifestyle!

And for those of you who may be a bit skeptical at how many health benefits there are for walking, according to Harvard Health walking can reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems by 31%. Now, you do have to walk more than just a simple ten minute walk, as the CDC suggests you should probably walk about 4-5 miles a day or 8000 steps, but this adds up quickly if you can walk while accomplishing other tasks. You can walk while calling your parents, catching up with friends, or listening to the most recent audiobook on your list. You can walk to get your groceries or to a nearby restaurant.

Trick #2: Stand, don’t sit!


Photo via Google Images

Many people don’t realize they actually sit for most of their day. People typically sit from 8 to 15 hours in their day, which according to the American Medical Association, is not good for personal health.

There are easy ways to fix this! Stand while you are doing work, in a meeting, or even in class. For meetings, you may have to check if everyone else is okay with it, but if you are leading it, initiate it! As for classes, a lot of professors are fine with it if you want to stand for a bit in the middle of class. Now don’t do that if you are sitting in the front or the middle, but if you quietly walk to the back of the lecture hall, give it a try. Standing also keeps all the blood flowing through your body and will help keep you energized.

Trick #3: Take the stairs!


Photo via Google Images

Loads of people already use climbing stairs as a fitness tool because, as Dr. Harvey Simon, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School states, climbing stairs is one of the best contributors to preventative medicine. And if you think that sometimes they get too taxing, no big deal. They are supposed to be taxing, so start off at a slower rate and gradually build it up! Or even if you can’t make it all the way with stairs, start with stairs and then reward yourself with taking the elevator the rest of the way.

Trick #4: Clean your dorm/apartment!


Photo via Google Images

As college students, we can get pretty darn messy. We all have that chair that we stack clothes on and those tables littered with papers everywhere that need to be dealt with (don’t worry, you don’t have to admit it: we’ve all been there). So when you’re looking for an excuse for a break that is both helpful to your living situation and your health, clean those rooms!

While cleaning your room, you can actually break quite a sweat. From using those Swiffers to vigorously wiping those desks, your arms and legs actually get quite the workout! So the next time either your parents or your roommates get on your back for not cleaning your area, go with it! You’ll get some exercise in your day and it will lead to a bunch of other health benefits, such as making you sleep better!

Trick #5: Use a fitness tracker or app!


Photo via Google Images

Tracking your activity will do wonders to adding more movement to your day! By seeing your progress for the day, you’ll be more likely to walk more and be active. And there are loads of ways to make this more fun! You could check out awesome apps that track your walking while adding a game to it. For example, there’s an app called “Zombies, Run” that uses the amount you walk, jog, or run and helps you fight off the zombies. There are loads more apps out there too that help monitor your activity and make it way more exciting!

You could also track with your friends! Get your friends into tracking their walking as well, so you can motivate each other to stay active daily. Remember that it doesn’t have to be a competition: you want to make sure that you are getting active for your own health and enjoyment, not because you need to prove something to your friends

Also, if you are interested in a FitBit to track your activity, check out UCLA Rec’s Stress Less Week (this week!) and you can be entered to win one! It’s from January 22nd to January 26th and they are giving a FitBit away every day. All you have to do is register and go to their events, from yoga to stress relief.

Now that you know some tricks to adding some activity to your lives, good luck! Here’s to everyone staying active despite the busy schedules!

Tiffany Hu is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics with a minor in Bioinformatics. She is a blogger for Move Well of the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative. She is the co-Director of the Student Health Advocates, which focuses on educating students on various intersections of health. Tiffany is also the Special Projects and Alumni Coordinator of the UCLA Care Extender Internship, which helps students volunteer at all departments in the UCLA Medical Centers.


The Benefits of Stretching during your Study Break


As the quarter is wrapping up, students find themselves having a bazillion things to do. From finals to papers, deadlines are soon approaching! So, you’re studying and you’re losing focus. Students might not realize it but during those precise moments taking a five minute fit break and stretching out your muscles is a great way to recharge and refocus.

Stretching isn’t only for the playing field or the gym it is also for the workplace and any other place. Studies have shown that stretching affects the neurological system in a positive way by regulating heart rate and blood pressures which often tend to rise when one is under stress. Stress also causes muscle tightness, which can be relieved by stretching. Researchers found that physical movement can optimize your brain functions, increase your IQ, and increase your focus. Therefore, next time you’re studying and you find yourself losing focus get up and give yourself five minutes to move around, stretch and de-stress.

But before you try to go straight into stretching you want to make sure you warm up your muscles by performing some dynamic movements. Below are some dynamic movements and stretches that you can easily perform while sitting down or standing up next to your favorite studying place!

Neck Tilt:

  1. Tilt your head sideways to one side, reaching towards your shoulder, then to the other side.
  2. Maintain your hands at your sides, hanging loosely.
  3. Hold each side for 6-8 seconds.
  4. Repeat as desired.


Photo via Monica Aguilar

Finger Stretch: Your fingers need a break too! All that typing and writing causes them to get stressed as well, so stretch them out!

  1. Make a fist.
  2. Open your fist and stretch your fingers by opening them widely.
  3. Repeat 5 times for both hands.


Photo via Monica Aguilar

Arm Circles

  1. Extend out your arms on either side of your body.
  2. Slowly start moving your arms in circles forward 10x
  3. Switch directions by moving your arms back in circles 10x
  4. While performing this movement make sure your back is straight and your core is tight.

Trunk-Twist (standing):

  1. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Twist your trunk to the right and pivot your left foot at the same time.
  3. Repeat by twisting to the left and this time pivoting your right leg.
  4. As you are twisting, simultaneously swing your arms with the momentum of your twist.


Photo via Monica Aguilar

High Knees

  1. Stand hip width distance apart with your arms hanging loosely by your side.
  2. Begin with a slight jog in place
  3. As you are getting rhythm begin jumping from one foot to the other by bringing your knees up high above your hips
  4. Make sure you are touching the ground with the balls of your feet and your arms are moving with the motion of your feet.


Back Stretch: You can perform this stretch while sitting or standing up.

  1. Begin by leaning your body forward as far as you can and trying to touch your toes.
  2. Make sure to keep your head down and your neck relaxed as you are are leaning forward.
  3. Hold for 6-8 seconds.


Photo via Monica Aguilar

Hamstring Stretch: This stretch helps untighten your legs and glutes after being seated for a long period of time.

  1. Point right heel to the ground in front of you.
  2. Meanwhile, keep your left leg slightly bent.
  3. Gently lean forward to your right and try to reach your toes. Hold for 6-8 secs.
  4. Alternate legs and repeat.


Photo via Monica Aguilar

Now remember next time you find yourself studying make sure you take a fit break in between to enhance your focus and learning. Simply perform some of the movements/stretches above, but always make sure that you do not continue performing the stretches if at any point you experience any pain or discomfort. Studying in groups? No problem! Get your friends involved and share the great benefits of stretching during your study break!

Monica Aguilar is a third-year undergraduate Chicano/a Studies major and Spanish minor at UCLA. She is the current project director for [FITTED] a student-run program established in the Community Programs Office which is designed to assist students and maintenance personnel in incorporating lifelong health into all aspects of their lives.


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Quarterly Check-in: What’s Shaking in Move Well?


Hello, my Bruin Fitness Pals!

We are finally in the home stretch! Two more weeks left until winter break (or maybe even less for you lucky ones with early finals)!

As the quarter comes to a close, I want to give you all one last update on the programs and projects MoveWell has been working on this year thus far.

  • Flexible Fridays

    Photo via Ellen Gerdes

    If you are a lover of yoga or if you’ve ever wanted to try it out, this program is for you! On “Flexible Fridays,” MoveWell offers yoga classes that are completely free! These classes happen every single week at locations both on campus and on the Hill. Since there are multiple sessions each Friday, there’s bound to be one that fits into your schedule. You can even go to multiple if you are really getting into the yoga mood! So come around if you want to join in. The times are 10:05 – 10:55 AM at Wilson Plaza (below Janss Steps), 11:10 – 11:55 AM at the Court of Sciences, 3:30 – 4:30 PM at Sunset Rec, and 5:00 – 6:00 PM at Hedrick Mov Studio. For more information about Flexible Fridays, you can also visit @YogaAtUCLA on Facebook! The page also provides updates if a certain session may be cancelled due to acclimate weather or a possible alien invasion (probably the first one).

  • UCLA Recreation 
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    Photo via Google Images

    UCLA Recreation offers dozens of fun and interesting classes each quarter. While most of the instructional exercise classes and workshops have probably ended for this quarter, you can start thinking about what you want to take for next quarter! You can’t enroll just yet, but UCLA Rec does have the list of all the classes they have and which quarters they are offered (click here for more!). These classes are phenomenal and are pretty decently priced, ranging from $25-50 for the ENTIRE quarter. Most classes are 2-3 days a week, so its quite a bargain! They have classes in dance, martial arts, arts (like knitting and the art of DJ’ing: didn’t think we offered that, did you?), and even yoga (if Flexible Fridays don’t fit into your schedule)! The skies are the limit for how many classes they offer, so go ahead to their website and check out all of the amazing courses and programs they offer!

  • The Bruin Health Improvement Program
    Sorry undergrads, this one is only for UCLA staff, faculty, and graduate students. But for those eligible, this is a fantastic program as well! It is under UCLA’s FITWELL initiative that is trying to help UCLA staff and faculty achieve wellness in various areas of fitness and health. BHIP is a three-month long program that offers participants intensive lifestyle training in areas of exercise, nutrition, stress management and mental conditioning! It consists of comprehensive conditioning of strength training and cardiovascular fitness, while educating the members on becoming more physically active and nutritionally mindful. The Fall 2016 session is over but they will be enrolling for Winter 2017 very soon so keep checking back if you are interested in this intensive program! You can also check out the ongoing events by just going to the session and, possibly, speaking with the coordinator during Week 10 (schedule here) if you want a sneak peek at what the program is about before deciding to enroll!
  • Sitting is the New Smoking

    Photo via Google Images

    Our wonderful ResearchWell pod has been doing extensive research on how much our sedentary habits are affecting us. This even affects those of us who consider ourselves to be quite active individuals! There is so much sitting incorporated in our jobs and classes, from sitting in meetings, in class, while working at a desk, and while driving! The amount of time we actually sit in a day adds up! The constant sitting can lead to a lot of adverse effects, such as increased risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and possibly even depression, according to this research. UCLA has started to implement “instant recess”, which is an incorporation of 10-minute physical activity breaks during meetings, designed to help improve health and productivity. It is to help combat these sedentary habits while also getting people to recognize how much just a bit of movement can help you refocus and feel refreshed. For more information about the research being done on this and other movement topics, check out this website and scroll down to “Data and Statistics” and “Searching for Research Literature”.

So have fun on your fitness journeys: whether it is exercising your body or mind! And good luck to all you students who are entering the Finals Zone soon! Just don’t forget to keep up your movement!

Tiffany Hu is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics with a minor in Bioinformatics. She is a blogger for Move Well of the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative. She is the co-Director of the Student Health Advocates, which focuses on educating students on various intersections of health. Tiffany is also the Special Projects and Alumni Coordinator of the UCLA Care Extender Internship, which helps students volunteer at all departments in the UCLA Medical Centers.


Fitness Busters: Myth or Fact?

“When there’s something strange in your fitness plan, who you gonna call? Fitness Busters!”

Do you ever wonder if some of the most common fitness sayings are fact or fiction? Does it keep you up at night to know you could be working out in a way that is better for your body? Well if you have, then this blog is here to help!

So let’s see if some of these common fitness sayings are myth or facts to help ensure that you all are getting the most out of your workouts today and for the future!

STATEMENT #1: MYTH OR FACT: “Always stretch before you exercise!”


Photo via Google Images

MYTH! Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Wait so it’s bad for you then?”  The myth that has been surrounding the fitness world has always been that stretching will help prevent injury. According to personal trainer Maik Weidenbach, stretching may actually do harm if you are not properly warmed up first. It weakens the muscles by about 30% and that reduced tension could lead to injuries. Its better to warm-up before stretching and strenuous exercise. For example, if you go on a run, start off with a brisk walk just to get your muscles working. Similarly, if you are doing intense weight training, start off with some lighter weights and build up for the workout.

Now, stretching AFTER you exercise is definitely recommended! However, it might not help you recover faster, like many people think. A study at the University of Milan has indicated that there were no changes in blood lactate levels, an indication of muscle fatigue, when comparing those who do and don’t stretch after exercising. But it will help with joint flexibility, which is definitely a plus as that will help with long-term effects of exercising.

STATEMENT #2: MYTH OR FACT: “No pain, no gain!”

MYTH! Now, for all of you biology students, I know that you are thinking, “But what about all the times that my muscles are feeling a burn due to lactic acid? That’s just the body telling me I’m pushing myself a bit. I thought that was good for exercise!”

And you are right! But some people take “no pain, no gain” to mean something a bit more extreme. The phrase almost denotes that the more pain you are in, the more you are probably gaining or that all pain acts as some sort of indicator that you are working out in the correct way. Both of these statements are false. Just because you are in pain does not mean that you are doing the exercise correctly. By how serious that pain is, it probably means that you are actually doing it wrong or that you are taking on too much!

If you are experiencing any sharp or acute pain, please STOP! Exercising is not about who can handle the most pain so they can achieve their desired outcomes. Any sign of serious pain means that you are hurting yourself, whether it’s in your muscles or elsewhere. It is normal that you feel a slight burn, as that is just your muscles telling you that you are pushing yourself to do better and handle a bit more strength. But by no means does this tell you to injure yourself. As Cooper Fitness Center Professional Fitness Trainer David H. Williams has said, “There is a difference between discomfort and pain.”

So just keep in mind that if you are experiencing pain during your workout, try and assess if it is a normal burn or something more serious. If it is, there is no shame in stopping! It’s always better to know your limits and just increase the intensity of one of your normal workouts before trying something completely out of your comfort zone.

STATEMENT #3: MYTH OR FACT: “You have to spend more time exercising to stay in shape!”


Photo via Google Images

MYTH! This is a super big myth! Especially for those who are just getting into the groove of working out. This will probably do more harm than good! This is true for both day to day and in the long run.

Although studies have recommended that people should get some sort of physical work out for 30-50 minutes, 5 or so days a week, you don’t need to over-do it! You don’t even have to do all of your working out at once each day. According to a study done at Arizona State University, those who split up their 30 minutes of their daily walking into three 10 minute sections had, on average, lower blood pressure readings than those who took their daily walks at 30 minutes per day.

For long-term, you definitely need to take rest days, especially after long workouts, as you could potentially injure yourself. According to celebrity trainer, Ashley Borden, by working out too often, you would be preventing your body from ever recuperating and improving to take on more challenging workouts the next time.

So just remember: work out often, but don’t forget to listen to your body! Your body will tell you what it requires, whether it’s food, rest, or breaks in between exercising.

STATEMENT #4: MYTH OR FACT: “Movement helps with stress!”


Photo via Google Images

Fact! Movement helps reduce stress due to neurochemical effects.

According to articles from Harvard Health Publications and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, exercising helps reduce the stress-inducing hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. By helping to reduce those, you will be less likely to feel stress at various situations since your body won’t be filled with higher levels of those hormones. Also, exercise actually helps stimulate the production of endorphins, or what I like to call the “happy” chemicals. These are the hormones that produce the effects as seen with painkillers or elevating your general mood.

Likewise, this amazing fact also refers to mental exercises, those that help your body as well, such as meditation, can also help reduce stress. Meditation has been known for helping “slow the heart rate, lower the blood pressure, reduce the breathing rate, diminish the body’s oxygen consumption, reduce blood adrenaline levels, and change skin temperature”, according to studies of Indian yoga masters. These will counteract the general effects that are associated with stress, which are elevated blood pressure and racing of the heart.

There is even a form of meditation that is referred to as progressive muscular relaxation. By tightening your muscles, holding that for 20 seconds, and slowly relaxing, you’ll be able to both release your body’s physical strains and stress while also releasing your mind’s stress!

So here are all of the facts and myths that I think are the most important to know about fitness! Remember to always do your research about common fitness sayings before you believe them or even performing them!

Good luck, once again, and you all will do wonderfully as you embark on your unique fitness journeys!

Tiffany Hu is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics with a minor in Bioinformatics. She is a blogger for Move Well of the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative. She is the co-Director of the Student Health Advocates, which focuses on educating students on various intersections of health. Tiffany is also the Special Projects and Alumni Coordinator of the UCLA Care Extender Internship, which helps students volunteer at all departments in the UCLA Medical Centers.



Free Self Defense Classes at UCLA: Protecting the Mind and Body


What if…

Imagine walking back from a late night at Powell Library. Its tenth week, and you’ve spent the past few days studying for your upcoming final. Day in and day out, you’ve labored over past midterms and practice tests, keeping yourself awake with liters of coffee and Yerba Mate tea. Eventually, you decide to throw in the towel for the night and make the long trek home to your cozy apartment. All your friends called it quits hours earlier, so it looks like you’re walking alone at 2AM with minimal light to guide your way once you exit the safe confines of UCLA’s campus. As you round a corner, two clowns jump out at you from behind the bushes and nearly scare you to death. They charge at you, and you stand there, motionless in fear, your fight or flight instincts muting each other out. Do you run? Do you attack?

Riley Woolvett, a fourth year undergraduate student here at UCLA, could relate to this hypothetical. As Riley walked home from her on-campus job one late night this Fall Quarter, she was met by two masked clowns on the corner of Gayley and Kelton. She instantly pulled out her pepper spray and ran as fast as she could in the opposite direction towards a friend’s apartment. After chasing her a few yards, the clowns ceased their ghoulish noises and retreated with snickering laughter. Although shaken, Riley was not physically hurt, and has since warned her friends and coworkers to be extra wary about walking home late at night. She also highly recommends that everyone at UCLA take the weekly free Bruin Self Defense class offered in the John Wooden Center — it could one day save your life.

Wait, FREE Self Defense Class?

That’s right! Every Wednesday from 5:30 pm to 7:00pm, the Bruin Self Defense class (BSD for short) takes place in Yates Gymnasium on second floor of the John Wooden Center. It’s free for all UCLA students, and is arguably one of the best kept secrets of this campus (maybe second to the Food Closet?). Instructors Lance Wisdom and Vincent Pham cover a plethora of basic self defense moves, including strikes and blocks, as well as self defense topics, ranging from weapons defense, car attacks and sexual assault defense. The instructors start the class by asking for student recommendations and input, and structure the day’s routine based based on the focus participants want. If no hands go up, no worries, Lance and Vincent are prepared with a lesson plan of their own.

Emily Lopez, the Martial Arts Student Coordinator, stresses the importance of knowing basic self-defense techniques. She says, “We obviously touch on the physical aspect of self defense, but we also go over the mental side. Our instructors facilitate discussion about being prepared and aware of your surroundings at all times.” Since UCLA is an open campus, it is especially important to be conscious of common crime areas in Westwood, and aware of exits and escape routes in lecture halls and public buildings. The BSD class uses on-campus scenarios to prepare students for incidents that may occur while the university is in session, but are widely applicable to other situations.

BDS is an adaptive class, and accommodates people of all genders, religions, and abilities. So, to reiterate, the Bruin Self Defense class is FREE and INCLUSIVE of all people. Can you find a reason not to go? Knowing how to protect yourself from an attack is empowering, and having control of your state of mind and body is important for a healthy and happy life. As busy UCLA students, it’s hard to commit to a martial arts instructional program that costs extra money and meets biweekly. BDS is designed to be an accessible resource for all students, without causing financial distress. The Martial Arts Program plans on extending the Bruin Self Defense platform to include safety information while travelling and “everyday carry” essentials, must have items to have in your back pocket if you were to face an assailant.

If you want more information about topics and moves covered in BSD, you can click here to visit their Facebook page. This site is also a great source of information on crimes that occur around the Westwood area, such as the dual kidnapping and car theft that occurred earlier this year.

Sign me up!

One caveat, these classes are available only to the first 40 people who show up or have reserved a spot online through the UCLA Recreation website. So just log on to the website, click on “Bruin Self Defense,” and register for the Wednesday you would like to attend. But if you’re walking by and see there’s spots available, just hop on in and sign the waiver! Make sure you’re wearing athletic attire, and bring water.

Ellie Benitez is a 3rd year undergraduate Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics major and Society and Genetics minor at UCLA. She currently serves as the HCI representative for UCLA Recreation, where she is a Student Supervisor for Intramural Sports.



Let’s Get Moving! The 2016 Recreation Challenge

Hello my fellow Bruin Fitness Pals!


Photo via UCLA Recreation

Something very exciting is brewing at UCLA. I’ll give you a hint: it’ll give us all a shot at beating ’SC!

In celebration of Movement Week (10/24-10/28), all of the PAC 12 schools are getting into some healthy competition! During Movement Week, all twelve schools are promoting healthy living through exercise and movement. They hope to show students that all kinds of exercise or movement are fun and fantastic for our health!

Research has shown that excessive sedentary habits (like sitting at a desk, studying, and playing video games) can be detrimental to your health – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Take the time now to take care of yourself by giving yourself movement recuperations — celebrate movement in your life and at the same time make UCLA the best of the PAC-12 in this challenge!

So, what exactly is the PAC 12 challenge? During this week of October 24 – 28, the schools will be competing to see whose supporters can log the most minutes of activity. Any movement counts! Taking a stretch or movement break in class or at work? Log those minutes! Walking to class or work? Log those minutes! Taking a yoga class? Log those minutes! Attend /participate in one of the FREE offerings by student groups and REC center programs during this week? Log those minutes! Any movement counts!

Anyone that is a UCLA supporter is eligible to participate — all you have to do is sign up on the PAC-12 Challenge website and log your minutes of movement (however, there is a 120 minute per day cap). Need a reason to participate beside getting the chance to beat USC? The top 500 loggers for the week will receive a free PAC 12 Challenge t-shirt! Top loggers per day will be eligible to win a Fitbit or a yoga mat!

To help UCLA supporters log as many minutes as possible and beat USC, UCLA Recreation is offering a variety of opportunities from free Group Exercises classes to free classes at the Marina Aquatic Center to drop in FITWELL Games. In addition to these movement opportunities, there are a number of other fun opportunities happening this week, including Eat Well cooking demos at the Bruin Plaza Farmer’s Market, Martial Arts demos, and a Drum Circle (which helps with anxiety!).

In case you’re looking for even more resources to help get you moving, UCLA has loads of fun programs to get you moving, including the following:

  • UCLA Rec: They offer loads of fun classes to help get active from different types of arts, dance, sports, etc! (And they are only $25 for the whole quarter!)
  • Yoga: There are both classes in UCLA Rec but also FREE options! It is called Flexible Fridays: the classes are weekly and there are a couple times on each Friday to help accommodate your busy schedules!
  • Competitive Sports: If you are interested in something with a little more competition, these programs are great for you! We have Club, Intramural, and Unified teams! The Club teams are generally for the fun of competing with your fellow Bruins and other schools but they are largely student initiated. For something a bit more fierce, we have Intramural teams which are in a whole “league” of its own: because it consists of tournaments, leagues, meets, and special events! Last, but certainly not least, we have our Unified teams for anyone who wants to promote inclusion between those with and without disabilities, using sports to bond!
  • Adaptive Programs: UCLA Rec provides more great therapeutically-based programs for those with cognitive or physical disabilities to help widen their access to opportunities that will help them get active and promote wellness!

Now that you have all this information on ways to get active on campus, go sign up to participate in the PAC-12 challenge! Anyone can participate who is a UCLA supporter. Whether you’re a student, faculty or staff member, alumni, or fan of UCLA you’re welcome to join us and go for the championship! Have fun with getting active and I hope you all join this amazing competition to prove we’re the healthiest campus…and for the free stuff, fun programs, and to stay healthy!

Tiffany Hu is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics with a minor in Bioinformatics. She is a blogger for Move Well of the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative. She is the co-Director of the Student Health Advocates, which focuses on educating students on various intersections of health. Tiffany is also the Special Projects and Alumni Coordinator of the UCLA Care Extender Internship, which helps students volunteer at all departments in the UCLA Medical Centers.


No Time, No Problem! 5 Tips to Getting Active with a College Schedule


I know exactly what you are thinking — it’s already Week 4 and you’ve been to the gym a total of, let’s just say, “a few” times. You’ve just been too busy joining new clubs, meeting new people, catching up on that monster load of homework, or contemplating what life even is. With so much on your to-do list, it’s easy for gym-time to be the last thing on your mind.

However, it’s incredibly important to stay active for your health: it helps you cope with stress, combat illnesses, and maintain your mental health; furthermore, it gives you more energy and helps you live a longer and stronger life! To reap all these benefits, the Department of Health and Human Services and the American Heart Association recommend 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week.

Now you’re probably saying: “I know it’s good for me but I just don’t have enough time!”

What if I told you that you can get active in less than ten minutes a day and it will cost nothing and be done at your leisure? I know it sounds too good to be true, but it’s possible, my fellow Bruins! You’ll be able to stay active, finish your homework, and avoid AECATG: awkward eye contact at the gym!

Here are 5 tips and tricks to get active in whatever time you have!

P.S. You can use some of these tips multiple times a day, so that you can reach that goal of 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week!

TIP #1: Use home goods lying about as weights!

A great alternative to dumbbells or barbells are ordinary objects you can find in your home! You can use soup cans or water bottles for some great 1-pound hand weights, but if you think you can handle bigger objects, try one of the following options:


Photo via Vimeo

  • For a great alternative for 3-pound weights, grab that sack of oranges and lift! Great for exercise and a boost of Vitamin C later for your diet!
  • For 5 pounders, you can grab a sack of potatoes or a gallon of whatever is in your fridge! Try to stick with two of the same objects though if you plan on taking one in each hand while exercising. Similarly, if you want to work with ten pounders, try using some large bottles of laundry detergent!

Some easy lifting workouts you can do with these alternative weights include the following:

  • The sumo squat! You take two soup cans or water bottles in you hands, ready to do bicep curls, and have your legs about two feet apart. While you do the squat, that’s when you do the bicep curl. Then, together, straighten your legs and arms. Repeat this for 10 times for 1 set.
  • The upright row! This is when you keep your feet about shoulder distance apart. Then keep your palms, closed around your weight, facing you. Then bring the weights up so that your elbows will bend to the sides. Then slowly bring it back down. Repeat this as well for 10 times for 1 set.

Also: remember to always be careful! Even though they are household items, you should still treat them as you would weights. Here’s some tips to keep in mind:

  • Remember to work at your own tempo when handling weights: meaning that you should never overestimate how much weight you can handle.
  • Start off small and then build up!
  • The weight should be a bit tiring by the last two repetitions in a set but you can still do in good form.
  • Try to also work out with another fitness pal so that they can spot you in case the weights are just too much.

TIP #2: Try some high intensity workouts!


Photo via Pixabay

Studies have shown that short high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts are actually better than longer low intensity workouts. You know what that means? For all you people who hate distance running, you can switch to short high intensity intervals. Or if you just don’t have the time to run, this is a great alternative!

High intensity workouts are amazing because they can help you develop a stronger heart, while also burning fat! According to research associate in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Howard Knuttgen, interval training is an example of aerobic training, which is designed primarily to enhance your cardiovascular system. This means that you can develop a greater endurance, while devoting less time from your busy schedules to exercising.

A great example of these high intensity workouts is the New York Time’s Scientific 7 Minute Workout! All you have to do is jumping jacks, wall sits, push ups, ab crunches, step-ups with a chair, squats, tricep dips with a chair, planks, high knees running (in place: I promise, no endurance running), lunges, push-ups with rotation, and side-planks. You only have to do each of those for 30 seconds and you get a 10 second break in between each of them. Sounds great, doesn’t it? There are more great examples of these in 7-minute workout apps or online!

TIP #3: Why sit when you can stand?

SPOILER ALERT: sitting has been deemed to be the new smoking. Now what does that even mean? It means that we got to get up and start moving! I know it does not seem like sitting could have much of an effect on the way we live but it does! Researchers have been finding more evidence that it increases the chance of developing serious illnesses like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Because once the effects of long-term sitting begin, there will be no way to reverse them. So start now! Stand when you are watching television, seeing as you already sit doing homework (trust me guys: it’s called “taking a break.” I know, revolutionary). Or take a walk when you are talking to your best friend about your wonderful days! Just remember to reduce the amount of time your butt is attached to those chairs!

TIP #4: Start the week off great!



Photo via Flickr

Fact: Mondays are awful. But you could bump it up if you start working out early in the week!

By starting your workouts early on the first day of the week, you’ll be setting yourself up to continue working out for the rest of the week! In fact, research has even shown that most people will start their exercise routines on Mondays versus other days of the week. People will psychologically gear themselves up for working out if they start on Mondays! So start off your week right with some fun exercise, as it has many health benefits!

TIP #5: Do the exercising that you like!


Photo via Ellen Gerdes

Not all exercise is awful, I promise! If you don’t want to go to the gym or workout at home (because it all seems a bit boring), find an alternative! Join some fitness classes or do something with your friends! UCLA Rec offers loads of classes each quarter that are both fun and great in helping you get fit! (Pssttt!: they are also only $25 for UCLA students for the entire quarter!)

Part of getting fit is just enjoying it. Even if it is more than ten minutes a day, it would be well worth it if you enjoy it. If you don’t like your current fitness routine, you’ll be less inclined to do it. I know that sounds really obvious to most of you, but it’s true and you need to hear it! Running is not the only option! Weight lifting is not the only option! High intensity workouts are not the only option! Do what you love and you’ll see that it’ll go a long way! There are programs such as: competitive intramural programs, adaptive rec programs, FREE yoga (it’s so incredible it gets its own category!), and loads of other amazing programs to get you excited for living a healthy lifestyle! Just remember to have fun while you are getting fit!

Now that you all are loaded with these tips and tricks to slaying the fitness game, go out and do what you love while staying fit! I encourage all of you to at least try one of these tricks to see if it makes a difference (or just take my word for it and try them all)!

Good luck and know that we, the Healthy Campus Initiative, are with you on this amazing fitness journey!

Tiffany Hu is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics with a minor in Bioinformatics. She is a blogger for Move Well of the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative. She is the co-Director of the Student Health Advocates, which focuses on educating students on various intersections of health. Tiffany is also the Special Projects and Alumni Coordinator of the UCLA Care Extender Internship, which helps students volunteer at all departments in the UCLA Medical Centers.