Fit for Summer

With swimsuit season rapidly approaching, many students are beginning their frantic search for ways to slim down and tone up before the hot summer months.

The thought of changing eating habits, putting together an exercise routine and figuring out how to do it all can be overwhelming for some. However, several simple methods can help students get into better shape and improve their overall health and fitness levels in a short amount of time.

Cheryl Yoder, physical education instructor at UCC, offered some advice for students wanting to become healthier and get into better shape. “Set some realistic goals for what you want,” Yoder explained. “An example would be ‘I would like to lose five pounds a week’; ‘I will eliminate sugar from my diet’; or ‘I will work out five days a week for at least twenty minutes.’ Make these goals your priority every day. Affirm them and log your progress.”

One of the key elements in weight loss, according to WebMD and many other sources, is exercise. The Douglas County YMCA is one great option for students who are looking for a place where they can get full body workouts. Facilities include a cardio room, men’s and women’s weight rooms, racquetball courts, basketball courts and a swimming pool. The YMCA also offers special fitness classes, most of which are free to members and open to community members for a fee, varying by class.

“We offer all-level yoga, boot camp, teen weight training, swimming and also a kids’ triathlon that will occur on May 15,” explained YMCA Healthy Lifestyles Director, Leroy Thomas.

Thomas also offered some advice to students who are beginning their fitness routines: “Start out slow,” he suggested. “Two to three days a week of moderate exercise, i.e. walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike for 30 minutes.”

The YMCA also offers fitness evaluations, including body composition and personal training to those looking for more help.

Students can obtain more information about the YMCA, including membership fees and how to obtain a membership, by visiting the location on Stewart Parkway or by visiting their website,, for other contact information.

If time is an issue for students, Yoder suggests fitting exercise into their school schedules.

“Students can try taking one of the many UCC Physical Education classes that are offered spring term,” Yoder suggested. “They are guaranteed to get you in shape by our P.E. experts.” Some of the classes offered spring term include Weight Training, Martial Arts, Aerobic Fitness and Swim for Fitness.

Another key element of weight loss and fitness, according to many sources, is nutrition. “Nutrition is very important,” Thomas explained. “A good diet, plenty of rest and exercise all go together.”

Yoder suggested some healthy eating choices for students. “Try to avoid high fatty foods, sugar and high fatty proteins,” Yoder explained. “Eat more whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies and drink lots of water.”

For healthy eating tips and healthy recipes, one option is Self Magazine which offers exercise tips, dozens of healthy recipes for every meal of the day, as well as other tips that students may find helpful for getting into shape.

“Losing weight requires discipline,” Yoder explained. “If you exercise every day, you’ll achieve this goal if you don’t neglect your diet and pig out. The results: healthy weight loss and becoming fit.”

The Mainstream is a student publication of Umpqua Community College.