Personal Fitness Challenge

Mrs. Porter's Personal Fitness class is used to challenges: running 50 miles in one quarter, Zumba, hot yoga, strenuous workouts in the gym...but this time, they took on something a little more. Each student undertook her own personal challenge in order to better her health in addition to daily exercise. Here are 5 of the reports from Mrs. Porter's students that speak to the results of their respective trials.

Alex Bennet '16

It is common for teens to stay up late and only get a few hours of sleep. What many teens misunderstand is that sleep is absolutely necessary in order to maintain physical and mental health. Without at least 8-9 hours of sleep, teens become more susceptible to a slow metabolism, a compromised immune system, high blood pressure, and many more. Therefore, for this project, I chose to go to bed at least 5 minutes earlier every night. For example, on Sunday I went to bed at 12 a.m which served as my starting time. Thus, the next night, I had to go to bed at least 5 minutes earlier than 12. I predicted that with such a busy week ahead of me, I would struggle to go to bed 5 minutes earlier each night and that towards the end, I would stop doing it. However, every night I would end up going to bed even more than 5 minutes earlier. Each night became easier and easier and each sleep became deeper and more restful. Since it was a very stressful week, going to bed earlier each night reduced my stress significantly. I felt more energy to do the things I needed to get done, my mood improved, and the mental clarity made it easier to remember things. On the other hand, this challenge had only one slight bad affect; I felt I was not in the know. However, I only missed replying and continuing conversations. Going to bed 5 minutes earlier every night would be difficult because I cannot go to bed as early as 9 o'clock. However, if I set a limit to the ideal time to go to sleep so I get an optimal number of hours, then I will continue to challenge myself to get some rest. In conclusion, getting more and more sleep each night contributed significantly to my mental and physical well-being, leaving me healthier and ready to conquer the day.

Dominique DiFalco '16

The mission: Go one week sans any products with sugars that aren’t occurring naturally. This meant I was allowed to eat fruits and such, but I avoided added sugar and honey (truvia and stevia were exceptions because I really like coffee).

Day One: My mentality was strong. I had faith in myself and my ability to go without sugar. I thought that this would be a good idea for my mental health as well as physical. Spoiler alert: I quickly realized this was not the case.

Day Two: Okay, this isn’t fun. I woke up and honestly all I wanted to eat was a waffle, but what’s the point in eating a waffle without syrup? Second option: Cheerios. EXCEPT THEY HAVE ADDED SUGAR???? SERIOUSLY, CHEERIOS? SERIOUSLY? (okay sorry for the yelling). And then the day began with an AP Lit review session, at which someone brought homemade blueberry muffins for the whole class, which I could not eat.

Day Three (aka the day of the headache): So day three sucked. We had advisory, during which I brought snacks that I couldn’t eat (my mom’s pound cake, if you’re wondering), then we had rehearsal until past 7, during which time I was craving candy more than ever. By the end of the day I was completely drained.

Day Four: I can’t even remember day four. I know I was kind of fuzzy all day and really wanted a brownie.

Day Five: I broke. As soon as I left school on Friday I ate a piece of chocolate. Does that make me a failure? Yes, yes it does. Am I okay with that? Yes, yes I am.

Overall: I won’t do this again. Or maybe I will, but only when I have more control over what I am eating and what I make (aka when I’m an adult).

A Poem about my Cleanse

O Sugar! my Sugar! our fearful cleanse is done,

I have not eaten an added gram, the end I sought is won,

The end was near, the bells I hear, my stomach was exulting,

While follow I the steady diet, the last day grim and daring

But O sweets! sweets! sweets!

O the sugar I so missed,

Between each class a snack lost,

Hungry sad and unfed.

Sarah Moore '16

I decided to try going full on vegan for a week. I was already a vegetarian, meaning I abstained from all meat or fish products, so I figured the leap wouldn’t be so tough. Also, I have wanted to make the switch for a while now, as I plan to go vegan after high school, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to discipline myself and test my limits. I vowed off all animal by products, meaning meat, diary, eggs, and even honey and gelatin, ate a pound of pistachios Sunday night and began my week. I definitely did not have an accurate idea of how difficult my project would soon become. By Tuesday evening after I had subsisted on fruit and vegan soups for the past 2 days, I realized I was in for a tough week. It wasn’t until the next day I really started getting hungry. I had trouble focusing all day; instead of completing tasks, I daydreamed about ice cream, cheese, and pizza. But it was only the third day. I would not break my vow of vegan-ness on only the third day in! My pride would not allow it. I devoured oreos and watched Blackfish that night to get back into the fighting spirit. The inevitable demise that happened the next day I can only blame on extreme hunger and really good Mexican food. I got a bean burrito with rice on the side, which was vegan, but my family got a big order of queso and chips which they know would be the Achilles heal to my vegan lifestyle. I slathered my burrito in the cheese sauce and finished the chips and dip. It was definitely worth it at the time. I passed out either from overeating or sheer happiness because of the liquid gold cheese. I woke up on my couch with tortilla chip crumbs still on my shirt, a bloated stomach, and a deep sense of shame. I attempted to get back on the horse for the rest of the week and I did pretty well, minus one after prom experience that left me at taco bell at 2 in the morning with $20 and very little self respect left.

This experience definitely made me more careful and conscious of all the food that I take in everyday. I had to be precise in what I ate or did not eat not only in order to stay away from animal products, but also to guarantee that I was getting the right amount of vitamins and nutrients from my food. My week also made me realize that going vegan is not going to be as simple or natural as any Instagram models or healthy eating vloggers make it out to be. Going vegan is accepting failure and struggle as a daily part of life; a reality that at the same time motivates and terrifies me. I’m not quite sure if I’ll stop eating animal products in the distant future. For now though, I will be sticking with my grilled cheese and real buttered biscuits.

Erin Niebuhr '16

Being in personal fitness, we run nearly every day. By doing this I realized I’m a terrible runner and not very fast. With this in mind, I decided that I would utilize my week to run at least one mile before I go to school each morning. On Monday, I was sick, so the running did not happen. Tuesday, I woke up at 5 am to get ready for my run. It was terrible and I was groggy, but after running I felt pretty good! Then I went to personal fitness that day, and I couldn’t finish my run because I thought my bones were shattering. This feeling continued until Thursday, so I completed the run before school again. But Friday I woke up exhausted and my legs dead at my early hour. Running before school is hard. It’s not difficult to get me to run, because I’m actually enjoying the quietness of it. It’s difficult to get me to run BEFORE 8 am. Though I cannot say that I will be waking up at 5 am to run every morning for the rest of my life, I will say that running has to become an integral part of my life. Especially as a singer, running is such a good exercise for breath control. I can already see my body reaping these benefits. Though it’s very hard, going into the theatre/performance world, I need to have the discipline that running will help give to me. On top of that I need the STRENGTH. I learned on the first day of personal fitness that after I run for about 1.5 miles I just stop feeling my legs essentially, so I could go for longer! All I have to do is make it past a certain point and from there on out, I will be golden. So, in proper lit conclusion, I tried running before school every day this week, and though I didn’t succeed, I did accomplish understanding myself better as a runner and my hopes to become a well rounded person.

Amy Schloss '16

For the week of April 4th- April 8, I underwent a five day fitness and well being challenge. One bad health habit I have never been able to shake is my tendency to not stay hydrated. Usually, I do not notice this harming my everyday life but ever since I started my lacrosse season, I have noticed that I need to create a habit of hydrating throughout the day. Sometimes during practice, I feel light-headed or fatigued really quickly which I imagine could be accredited to the fact that I am not drinking enough water. Since I have noticed this need, I decided to make my 5-day challenge drinking the appropriate amount of water for each day.

After doing some research, I concluded that I needed to drink 4 full water bottles a day based on my body weight and height in addition to the water I drink during lacrosse practice. The first day the biggest challenge I faced in undergoing this challenge was remembering to bring, refill, and actually drink from my water bottle. I didn’t notice any difference in my day, however, on Tuesday, I noticed that I felt more energized during my game. As the week went on, I generally felt more energized. Sometimes I have headaches throughout my day and I noticed I didn’t have these as much. However, I also noticed that I obviously needed to go to the bathroom so much more which was inconvenient. As the days went on, this challenge got easier because filling up my water bottle between classes became habitual and I made it a priority. I am glad I did this challenge because I think it taught me how much of a different such a small and easy change in my life can make. I plan to keep this in my everyday life because I know it impacted my lacrosse playing and school performance by keeping me more energized and headache-free.


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