Finding the Balance: College, Health, and the Gym

Many college students struggle to find a healthy balance in their academic lives. Between staying in shape by going to the gym and pursuing higher education, students will often compromise their living for schoolwork. It can feel like an impossible endeavor considering the amount of coursework being piled on students during the average college semester. But students can learn some simple truths of healthy living from professionals.

Exiting the center stage of the octagon, a professional Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter and full-time fitness coach training out of Rocklin CA, Orion “Galaxy” Cosce shares his knowledge of how to take care of your mind and body as a busy college student.

“It doesn’t matter how busy I am, I need to try to get at least one gallon of water a day, I need to be able to eat the proper nutrition.”

There is no doubt that finishing college coursework is important, but when it starts negatively affecting a student’s mental health to finish an assignment, it raises the question of how students can incorporate a healthier lifestyle into their schooling. The answer to this question is complicated and imperative on the individual, but if it was easy everyone would be doing it by motivating themselves to go to the gym.

Schoolwork and Health, Evaluating Priorities

Motivation is the keyword when students apply every ounce of energy into completing classwork. Many students are highly motivated in pursuing and attending college but at a cost. Common examples highlighted by the award-winning publication LiveScience found frequent health defects like sleep deprivation, depression and stress are present in dangerously high quantities among college students. And it’s no wonder students are having these health defects when everything, sometimes even eating, has to be put aside in order to finish an assignment.

A lot of kids, they, you know, survive off of like noodles and stuff like that, they start to eat only once a day…They’re not really getting the water intake that they need… they kind of lack on the sleep because they’re, you know, most kids are taking Ritalin to try to help them stay awake and do all their academic studies. But the problem is they’re actually taking a negative health turn,” Cosce said.

There needs to be a new evaluation of priorities. While turning in school work on time is important, sleep and nutrition are vital parts of a student’s success. The benefits of a healthier lifestyle aren’t just in a student’s physical well-being, but also a mental one. For example, the most common effect of sleep deprivation is a disruption in the brain’s ability to perform and carry out tasks such as studying for that upcoming exam. A healthier outlook to a student’s living would help their academics in the situation, not just get in the way.

These health defects are common enough that students have surely noticed them on their own, and some students reading this are probably experiencing them at this moment. So where are the solutions? Here is our professional fighter’s advice. 

Multiple Paths to A Healthy Lifestyle

How do you go to the gym when you are constantly busy? What exactly should I be doing at the gym or at home? Do I have to be there for hours? Students who may not be initiated in the land of exercise have all of these questions and more when they think of going to the gym. Cosce has answers to many of these questions: 

If your college has a gym, take one hour of your time, or 30 minutes of your time. If you’re doing a high-intensity workout, no more than 30 to 40 minutes. If you’re doing a strength program, no more than an hour to an hour and a half and literally, that’s all you need once a day, and you’ll feel a lot better and a lot healthier.”

So the expert fighter tells the average college student to start with thirty minutes a day, that’s the time needed to begin. What should a student be doing in those thirty minutes? Well, that’s the more personal part as every individual’s needs and health goals will be different. The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to the Gym goes down the list of times to go, what to wear, explanations of the machines in a typical gym, and even personal health conditions to consider when deciding to exercise.

Although the article presents material for beginners, it includes valuable information on specific machines and when to use them, as well as tips for any aspiring health nut. Almost everything is handed to you when analyzing this information, the next step is to apply these forms of guidance into action, and Cosce has lots of guidance on action.

You just want to get a good workout in and just find yourself a good area where you’re going to either A) have friends to go with you to help push you if you need that or, you know, maybe a potential personal trainer, or B) if you have that self-motivation already, you just got to remember, take 30 minutes to an hour every day to get that training session in.”

Orion Cosce training at the Urijah Faber UFC Gym in Rocklin CA, Nov. 12, 2020. Photo provided by Liana Cosce.

As a professional fighter, Cosce goes through the motions of training and exercising in preparation for a fight knowing that his health is imperative to his success. In the form of a role model, he wants students to be aware of the benefits of going to the gym as a whole, not just for the octagon.

He knows what it takes to achieve goals that at first seem out of reach, with each and every fight preparing him to move on to the next step when a new opponent appears. He applies the same principle to a college student’s time management and constant planning to prepare them for an upcoming assignment.

It takes more than the average work of consistently going to the gym to be a fighter like Cosce, but not everyone has to train or religiously go to the gym. It’s important to take care of both your mind and body by practicing good habits now, such as having a proper sleep schedule and eating three meals a day.

Cosce lives by a schedule that is best suited for him to eventually knock out any opponent that comes his way. From proper sleeping habits to meal prepping, he takes calculated steps in preparation for upcoming fights. As a personal trainer, he helps others achieve individual goals by guiding them to success.

As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

Only students themselves can make the change to a healthier lifestyle. Remembering to eat and sleep are necessities to continue living a happy and hopefully, less stressful life through college. Cosce hopes that his example can help others looking for success in health and college achieve their goals.

 

Editor’s Note

If you’re looking to improve your own health while enrolled at Sierra, the College has athletic facilities to support its many student teams and they typically have open hours for general student use. There are also classes to support holistic learning such as yoga and meditation that are offered every term. Find them offered online and on-ground in the class schedule. Turn to the Kinesiology department and the course listings under “KIN” for courses like these along with weight-lifting, dance, and others. Students have access to health services through the Health Services department that offers support for mental, emotional, and physical health. Sierra College provides assistance with immunizations, injury evaluation, mental health resources including counseling, as well as food aid to support a healthy life-style through the on-campus food pantry. Most students also qualify for CalFresh and a Wolverine Meal Deal.

 

Angel Chavez is a Journalism Major at Sierra College from Rocklin. He plans to transfer in 2022 and continue in the Major.

Written by Angel Chavez | Featured Photo by Katelyn Vengersammy

Adrenaline Addiction

rock climber

Rock climbing, snow sports, and anything semi-dangerous was what fueled my childhood. Living in Sacramento allowed my family and I to be just an hour and a half away from some of the coolest places, such as Lake Tahoe and John Muir Woods. Choosing to study at Sierra College allowed me to stay close to amazing places like these, with the opportunity to take classes even closer to the mountains at the Nevada County Campus.

The Environmentally Concerned Organization of Students (ECOS) is a club at Sierra College that I was lucky to join. It helps educate students on the importance of sustainability and the principles of Leave No Trace. Thanks to ECOS, I was able to participate in outdoor activities and meet people who feel just as passionately about the earth as I do.

Alexis Young
Lexi Young in Tahoe National Forest. Young is an Environmental Science and Journalism major at Sierra College. She plans to transfer to San Francisco State in Spring 2022 and continue in her dual major. Photo by Mckenzie Gerbitz.

Written by Alexis Young 

 

College Ball During COVID-19

baseball on dirt

My friend, Gino Hutchinson plays college baseball and when I asked him about this upcoming season he said, “It’s not going to be the same.” The college sports world has been crazy these past few months in deciding whether or not teams are going to play, especially for bigger sports like football and basketball where most the money comes from. If these were not played this year, colleges would lose millions of dollars.

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Covering Sports During a Pandemic

Empty stadium

March thirteenth, 2020, is the day sports changed forever. Games and tournaments were canceled. Seasons were put on hold. The future of youth, college, and professional sports across the United States was in jeopardy. It threw a curve-ball at people who work in sports and millions of other Americans who lost their jobs due to COVID-19. It has been many long and uncertain months with roadblocks along the way.

The NBA, NHL, NWSL and WNBA just wrapped up their seasons this past month in a bubble format. No positive cases were reported from any of those four bubble environments. And this fall, football is at center stage. There has been a handful of cancellations in both college football and the NFL, but both have not shut down completely, yet, which is a positive sign.

The protocols at all levels have been high but the consequences of the pandemic could have a lasting impact.

I have covered high school sports since 2015. I never could have imagined this. It could be a long time until things in the sports world are back to “normal.”

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Sierra Football: Winning and Staying Healthy One Day at a Time

Sunny sky and football players lined up in distance, cloud patterns in wavy shapes

Ever since March, community colleges, our country, and the world have been different. The COVID-19 Pandemic has taken its toll on everybody and it will continue to do so until a vaccine is invented. Now that it is right in the thick of football season, when is the Sierra College football team going to play?  With the NFL and NCAA playing on Saturdays and Sundays it raises the question as to when Community Colleges will start playing again.

Given the current state of the pandemic, it is uncertain when sports will continue at the community college level. To get a better perspective, I met with Sierra College wide receiver and quarterback duo, Matt Smart and Qyntyn Pilcher, on Zoom.

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Playing at a Different Level: The Success of the Sierra Football Program at Moving its Players to the Next Level

Four Sierra College Alumni. (Top Left) Brandon Aiyuk WR 49ers, (Top Right) Vince Mayle TE Browns/Cowboys/Ravens/Chargers, (Bottom Left) Devin Gray WR Falcons, (Bottom Right) Devante Bond OLB Buccaneers/Bears. Graphic by Alex Huddleston.

For most young athletes, the dreams and aspirations for their athletic journey end with performing their craft at the professional level. This journey can take many twists and turns. After high school, many highly scouted football players might get scholarships to play at a big name NCAA Division I University.

However, some of those Friday night lights heroes can be overlooked by the big schools and end up starting their college football career at a local community college. From there they have to work as hard as they can in order to be able to transfer to one of those big name schools.

According to the Sierra College Football official website, there have been ninety-three players who have transferred from the Sierra football program to a four year university since 2013. This does not include those who have or are planning to transfer after this year.

Four of these talented players not only made it to the next level, but they achieved their goal of playing at the top level in the NFL. On October 9th, I spoke over Zoom to Sierra’s own head football coach and the biggest fuel tank that pushes this program to its success, Coach Ben Noonan, about what his involvement is with getting these players to the next level.

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