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Student Life Spotlight: Aaron Whaley on driving healthy decisions

11.28.2016 | By: Texas Wesleyan University
Staff Spotlight Series

Of course the fitness guy is going to write about something fitness related; no big surprise, but understanding the importance of a healthy lifestyle during college (and in life) is vital to your ability to succeed. 

Unless you're an exercise science major or similar, I appreciate that all of the intricacies involved in understanding this concept can be very confusing and overwhelming; to help you to better understand these, imagine you're a car. 

To explain your caloric needs, think about fuel, gas mileage, and how often you drive. Usually when you're a college student you drive a smaller car, like a Smart car or a Fiat. Not only does this car have a small engine and requires little gas, but you also don't have to do a lot of "driving" to get around on our campus. Fast forward 15 years, and you might be a parent with a loaded-down Expedition. Not only is this a larger engine, but there is also a lot more coming and going. Your "fuel" needs (caloric needs) depend on the size of your "engine" (lean body mass), and how much time you spend "on the road" (moving and exercising). The amount of fuel you need is different then your partner or roommate, and might even be different than it was last year. 

To consider how much "fuel" you need in your "tank," let's go through a few questions. Which car are you? A Fiat? Camry? Expedition? Next, think about what kind of "driver" you are. Are you sedentary driving 20mph? Fairly active, driving along at an average 60mph? Are you always active, pedal to the metal, pushing yourself at 120mph?

Continuing the analogy, you must also consider how often and how far you drive, so to speak. Imagine putting ten gallons of gas in your actual car each day, even if you don't do much driving. Now consider how that concept might apply to you. If you fill your body's tank and don't do a lot of driving, when you refuel again the excess will "spill out" (that is, overflow into fat storage). Try to spend more time "on the road" than you do at the "station," and keep in mind how far you plan to drive that day. 

The bottom line is: most people should move a lot more and eat a little less! The majority of adults need 1200-2500 calories a day to maintain their weight, depending on the previously mentioned factors. If you want to lose weight, if you reduce your daily caloric intake by 250-500 you can lose 1-2 pounds a week.  

The final consideration for your "car" is the type or grade of fuel. Many people think that if they use "premium fuel" (healthy food), they can fill up as often as they like. Even healthy food, however, can cause an overflow of "fuel" into your fat cells to be stored as fat tissue. It's all about balance. 

Hopefully, this analogy has helped you to better understand the importance of fueling up and maximizing the fuel you put in, as well as helping you to reflect on your daily activities. You might find that you need to increase your speed or even slow down because, either way, you might just cause a wreck. 

About Student Life Spotlight

Over the new few weeks, a different staff member in Student Life will share a piece of themselves with you. They’weight reflect on what’s important to them, and what they believe will help you to make the most of your time at Texas Wesleyan.

No, they won’t be simply pitching their programs and services at you under the guise of a cleverly crafted article, but rather, digging deep to identify what has been most transformative about their experiences in life thus far, and passing that wisdom as best they can on to you.

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