Monday, April 14, 2014

Music in the Gym

Music plays a huge role in workout routines here at the SFA Rec Center. You can’t go 2 feet without seeing someone with their headphone on, jamming with their music. Why is this the case? What makes music so valuable to a person’s routine that they have to carry little music devices around their arms or waists?

After talking to roughly 50 people at the Rec Center, I have found three common themes involving people listening to music during workouts.

1.)  Use different genres of music for different workouts.
2.)  Music helps tune out the rest of the world.
3.)  Listening to music helps the workout.

One person I talked to explained her choice of music to me. She used classical music for yoga and stretching exercises, Rap or Rock for weight lifting, and Pop music for cardio. If you look at her choices, they all have something to say about how music affects workouts.

It turns out that your brain waves resonate with the beat of music, which can cause your breathing and heart rate to try to match the beat of that music. This is why we tend to listen to more upbeat music when working out or doing cardio.

An abstract from a book by Mark H. Anshel indicated that, “music, particularly if synchronized to physical movement, had a positive effect on the ability to endure the task and that male subjects endured longer than female subjects.”

So ladies, don’t be surprised if some guys take the weight room more seriously than they should. They’re just in the zone.
Speaking of the zone, Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D. from Brunel University School of Sport and Education said, “[Music] can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance by as much as 15%.” So that explains why it seems like you can run for days on the track with music. The music gives your mind something to think about, other than the pain from your legs.

One thing to keep in mind; listening to sounds over 95 dB can reduce your mental and physical reaction time by 20%. To get a feel of how loud that is, clubs typically have their music playing at 120 dB. Though it’s good to be in the zone and have your music, you don’t want it to be too loud. You want to maximize your efforts.

Enjoy your music people! And remember to stay fit!

-Just a thought, Devonte Hill


Friday, March 21, 2014

The Beauty of Trails

The weather is amazing outside! Finally we can enjoy some fresh air. I’m a huge believer in that outdoor and trail hiking is the perfect way to spend time outside of your room. Here’s a list of some of the best trails in Nacogdoches:

Lanana Creek trail:
Originally an Indian footpath, this 3.5 mile trail weaves through beautiful trees, historic sites, and the Lanana river. It’s the largest trail system in Nacogdoches. Starting from the Pineywoods Native Plant Center, this trail will take you through the Aboretum, Ruby Mize Azalea Garden, Pecan Park, Zion Hill cemetery, Fr. Margil Historic site, Demonstration Garden, and many more landmarks. I’ve personally hiked on this trail many times and it’s always a new adventure. It’s one of my favorites trails to hike on. You could spend hours out there. If you decide to hike the trail, I recommend bringing a ton of water.

SFA Recreational Trails
Managed by SFA Outdoor Pursuits, this trail system includes more than 8 miles of mountain bike trails. The trails bring a good mix of challenge and excitement. Some features include steep climbs, rooty sections, tight and twisty routes, smooth and flowy single-tracks, jumps, and wooden turnpikes. It’s a great place to enjoy some biking time with friends. If you don’t own a bike, you can rent one at the Outdoor Pursuits Center at the Rec.

SFA Interpretive Trail:
A part of the SFA Experimental Forest, this trail borders the Angelina River and the Alazan Wildlife Management Area. Unique in its concept and design, this trail features the first major trail in this region designed and constructed for universal accessibility. Two separate loops (the Jack Creek Loop and the Management Loop) spanning a distance of 2.8 miles, take visitors into some of the most dynamic and scenic areas of the Forest. 150 species of birds and 80 species of butterflies may be seen on the trail. 
Make sure to bring your binoculars!

Whatever trail you decided to hike on, make sure to practice good safety. Stay hydrated, be aware of your surroundings, and try to avoid hiking at night. Most importantly, make sure to have fun!

By: Devonte Hill

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentines Day: Male Point of View

For some, Valentines Day is a wonderful holiday full of love and romance. For others, it’s a stressful occasion that’s full of spending money on pointless cards and flowers. Whichever way you look at it, every person has a story to tell during this day.

Today I’m mainly going to focus on the male point of view of Valentines Day. I asked 10 guys about their thoughts and experiences. Don’t worry guys; I’m not going to mention your names. I’m not trying to get anyone in trouble, especially today.

As I conducted my interviews, I noticed that some of the younger males didn’t care for the holiday. The ones that did, were experiencing their first Valentines with a significant other. You could see the excitement on their faces.

If you’re a newbie, Valentines can be really exciting. I remember for my first Valentines, I wrote a poem and glued it into a homemade card with our first picture we took together. Then I made a homemade bag and filled it with her favorite chocolates. I even sought help from some girls to get the designs right. It was all worth it when I saw her face.

Not everybody sees this experience. Some see Valentines as a stressful time where they feel obligated to buy something. This isn’t an uncommon feeling. A lot of women see this day as a day where they are entitled to gifts and fancy dinners. This creates a standard by which some guys feel they must meet. This standard causes stress and anxiety. Companies take advantage of this by producing extra cards, flowers and other gifts. One woman said, “I heard if a man buys you perfume, it’s because he forgot to get something for Valentines.”

So why is this the case? Well, if you ask most guys, they will tell you that this is strictly a woman’s holiday. To be fair, women make it a big deal and since it’s a big deal to them, it’s a big deal to guys. This causes some guys to go out of their way to do things they don’t want to do. Some women say they don’t want anything for the holiday, but react a certain way when they don’t get something. Men aren’t dumb. We can tell if you really care about the holiday or not. It gets so bad sometimes that people actually get into arguments with their significant other with small things like where should they go to eat.

All is not lost for those who find themselves in this situation. Like a lot of things, it starts with communication. Having honest conversations about how each other feels about the holiday will help decrease the level of stress for guys. If you’re a type of guy that hated the holiday and you’re with someone who loves it, it’s important to know that. The girl could then be more understanding and know even the simplest of gifts from him would be special.

If a guy is going to buy something for a girl, it helps if the girl gives a gift in return.
In a world where genders are becoming more equal, some things don’t add up. We’re all supposed to be equal now, yet women want men to treat them special. I’m all for that, but let’s be consistent. Guys would like to get stuff too. I’m not talking about flowers and teddy bears, but something so that it levels the playing field. In general, people are more willing and excited to buy gifts if they know they’re getting something in return.

I’m lucky enough to be with an understanding person. I shared with her my feeling towards this holiday and we reached agreements. I’m receiving one the best Valentines gift this year: a Seahawk Superbowl shirt!! It is awesome. Also, we decided to do more quality activities like walks, movie nights, and even camping. These experiences have proven to be more fun than fancy expensive dinners.

Another thing that would help guys out is if women took away the pressure of the holiday. When you take away the pressure, Valentines can be really fun. You tend to do things because you want to, not because you’re obligated to. Yes there is a standard, but we can personalize this standard. Valentines can be a day where you just spend time with people you care about. This is something that both non-single and single people can enjoy. If this is truly a holiday of love, then it should be about love.

 Just a thought - Devonte Hill

Monday, February 3, 2014

It's Here it's Here!!

Week 1 IMS Basketball Report

Last week kicked off an amazing start to the spring 2014 Intramural Basketball season. 52 teams stepped on the court to make a statement. They will spend the next 6 weeks competing for glory, bragging rights and the champion’s shirt. Intramural basketball is big here at SFA. Anticipation is high and the trash talk is in full effect.

Let’s go to David Fletcher for Monday and Tuesday’s highlights.

Thanks Devonte. The season started last week on Monday with five games. Team "Glory" and team "Uh-Oh Oreos" headlined the night as the latter edged out a 52-49 victory.
The amount of games increased the next night, and so did the atmosphere in the HPE. Lots of Lumberjacks showed up to watch friends play in their first game of the season.
Tuesday had its share of good games, but the game that drew the most interest was "Goon Squad" Vs "Team Air."
Students watched as swift possession changes and turnovers finally gave "Goon Squad" their first win 66-46, making them the team to watch going forward.
Other teams to watch are: “M.O.A”, “Troopers”, “Strokin 3’s”, “Fundamentals” and “KA Gold." Now back to Devonte for Wednesday’s and Thursday’s highlights:


Thanks David. Wednesday's games were full of turnovers and teams not capitalizing on possessions. The game that stood out the most was “Sammy” vs. “Snakes”. It wasn’t much of a game with “Snakes” destroying “Sammy” 55 - 15. “Snakes” dominated both sides of the ball throughout the whole game. Let’s see if they can keep up that level of play moving forward. I was more interested in the really close games.

Thursday was full of intense drives down to the wire. It all came down to which team wanted it the most. The matchup between “2tall” and “Nash Potatoes and McGrady” was an all out fight with “2tall” finally inching the win 44 to 42.

Intramural basketball is a nice way to take a break from school. The excitement, thrills, and cheers make it a fun environment. This week’s games start tonight at 8pm and 9pm. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to see the next champions in action!
I’m Devonte Hill
And I’m David Fletcher
Stay classy Nacogdoches !

- Just a thought, Devonte Hill
(Ft. David Fletcher)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Trying to get fit for 2014?

 New Year's Resolutions

The month of January marks the beginning of New Year's resolutions. The most common is “working out”, “getting fit” or “getting into shape.” In the past 3 days the Rec Center had over 5,000 people working out or taking part of our other activities. Roughly 35%-40% percent of these patrons are newbies trying to fulfill their New Year's resolutions. The idea of New Year's resolutions is a little troubling, considering the majority of people quit after the first month. They want to do or change something, but lack the plan or resources to complete it. Today I’m going to try to help some of these people. The first thing you have to do is define exactly what you want.

If your New Year's resolution is to get fit, you have to define what "getting fit" exactly is. Personally, getting fit for me has nothing to do with weight or how much someone weighs.  It’s all about feeling good. If you can physically do the things you want to do and feel good while doing it, you’re in good shape. I’m not a weight room junkie, but if I get invited to a pick-up game or a hike, I can hang with group. I’m not going to fall out and die of exhaustion. That’s what’s important. Another thing to keep in mind is if you’re trying to lose weight, go by measurements and not by the scale. Scales can be misleading. Since muscle weighs more than fat, you could be gaining weight while getting into good shape. Muscle is denser, so it takes up less space.

After you define what you want, the next thing to do is to create plan.  Working out isn’t something you just decided to pick up and expect results right away. It takes effort and commitment. Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Sarah Drake wrote a great blog about planning your resolutions and making them realistic. In her blog Reasonable Resolutions she talks about the SMART guideline system. SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time based. Here is a link to the blog if you want to go more into depth:

It’s a good idea to schedule exact times in your day for workouts. Getting into a routine will help you transition into this new life style.  It’s also important to do research before hand. Here are some things to look into:


Nutrition plays a big part into getting fit and getting healthy. It’s important to get the right building blocks and tools like Carbs, Sugars and Protein into your body to maximize your efforts. Sarah Drake is again a great resource for answering questions you may have on nutrition. The SFA Dining site suggest to:

1.)  Don’t skip breakfast – it’s important for jump starting your metabolism
2.)  Have several servings of fruits and veggies daily – The more colorful the plate the better
3.)  Buy lean meats and low fat percentages
4.)  Drink plenty of water

Workouts depend on what you’re trying to accomplish. A rule of thumb is to do more reps/less weight for muscle endurance and weight loss, and less reps/more weight for building muscle. Break up your workout sessions into different body parts. Monday could be arms and shoulders, Tuesday upper leg, Wednesday chest and back, Thursday lower leg, and Friday could be a flex day where you could do something outside or do abs. At the beginning of every workout could be a warm up like jogging on the track and at the end of the work out could be a cool down like stretching or yoga. It’s important to give your body rest days. Do NOT work out the same area everyday. You don’t want to overwork your muscles. Sleep is another valuable thing to get. If you’re not getting enough sleep at night, your workouts are useless.

Whatever you decide to do, you want to make sure that it fits your goals. Don’t do a body building routine if you’re not trying to build muscle mass. There are plenty of resources at the Rec to get you started with your own personalized routine. You could ask any of the fitness staff here, or you could attend the Lady Jack Barbellas events. They can help you develop good technique, and answer questions you may have about working out. For more information on that, visit the Admin desk at the Rec Center.

Well I hope this was informative. Hopefully with the right plan, drive, and resources, you can reach your goals and achieve greatness.

-       Just a thought Devonte Hill


1.) Fitness Staff at Rec Center (Rachel, Clayton, Miranda)
3.)Sarah Drake
Phone: 936-468-1022

Monday, November 18, 2013

Going to Class is Important?

For years professors and students have discussed and argued over the importance of going to class. Most of these discussions don’t address the root of the issue. If you’re going to talk about whether or not class should be mandatory, they should ask why students would skip class in the first place.

I asked over 40 students if they have ever skipped class before. If they answered yes, I then asked if it was for work reasons, family, appointments, sleep or if it was because they thought the professor’s lecture wasn’t important. The results showed that 42% of the students said they missed class because of sleep. 24% said it was because they thought the professor’s lecture wasn’t important, and 26% said they missed class for all of those reasons stated (I happen to be a part of the 26%).

This leads us to our first question: why would anyone skip class because of sleep? Back in high school, we started class at 8:00am every day. Why is an 8:00am class so hard to make now? Well, college is different then high school. College students’ days are a lot longer, and they use more hours of the day for activities, homework and work. When it comes to sleep, that boils down to the individual. Every human prioritizes what they think is important.  If you’re a person that views sleep as important, you make sure that you get enough hours of sleep. You would be less likely to spend those extra hours of sleep on a project or a social event.  If you don’t view sleep as important, you would be more willing to spend 2 or 3 more hours on things like projects or work.

In a blog I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I talked about the importance of sleep for energy, but it’s also important for learning.

“If you know that class only puts you to sleep, then why not cut out the middle man altogether? Classes that don’t spark any interest aren’t necessary to attend because without the passion to learn, you can’t learn all that much.” - Steve Coulter,

“Research suggests that sleep helps learning and memory in two distinct ways. First, a sleep-deprived person cannot focus attention optimally and therefore cannot learn efficiently. Second, sleep itself has a role in the consolidation of memory, which is essential for learning new information.” – Division of Sleep Medicine at
Harvard Medical School

The second point made was that 24% of students skipped class because they thought the professor’s lecture wasn’t important. This goes against the common notion that attendance is important for getting good grades.

“Many professors say attendance is necessary to do well, and attendance and course performance are positively correlated. That being said, there would be no need for mandatory attendance, as students seeking high grades will quickly learn that they need to attend the course regularly. Inflating grades with 10-20 percent of your score coming from attendance is a poor judgment of an individual’s competency in the course.” – Sam Artley, Michigan State University

We all understand the importance of attendance when it comes to doing well in a class. At the same time, I can also understand why 24% of students said they skipped class because they thought the lecture wasn’t important. From personal experience, I’ve found that some classes don’t give you an incentive to attend class. If the professor recites material straight from the book, allows no class discussions, and posts all the power points online, then there really isn’t a reason to attend class. I’m smart enough to read the book; I don’t need you to recite it to me. The whole point of going to class is to get material that’s not in the book. I also do the most learning when there are discussions involved. I use those discussions as examples to look back on when I’m taking a test.

So what am I saying exactly? Am I saying it’s ok to skip class? Well, really it’s up to the person. The student is the one who pays tuition. The student is the one who receives the grade, so the student is the one who decides if class is important to attend or not. If you know the consequences for skipping and you believe it’s ok, than you should be free to make that decision. We also have to consider if it’s a class that you’re really interested in, it would be hard to imagine a reason to skip. On the other hand, if it’s a class that you feel that is a waste of time, you would have a hard time imagining reasons to go. It’s all a part of the process of growing up. We get to make decisions for ourselves.

 Just a Thought, Devonte Hill


Friday, November 8, 2013

Why be sad on a rainy day?

Most of the general public believes that weather affects their mood. I know I did. That’s why most people associate cities with good weather as happy places. I asked myself, “Why is that? How does weather affect our mood?” In this blog I investigated the myths and facts about weather and mood. Here are my findings:

I went and asked student staff at the Rec Center about weather and its effects on their mood. Most of them had similar answers.  Sunny weather makes them happy, active and productive. Rainy weather makes them sad, sleepy, unproductive, and makes them want to watch a movie.

 “If it’s cold and gloomy I’m going to stay inside and watch movies. If it’s raining, you’re most likely going to sleep because you don’t want to go outside.” - Demi, Service Assistant

“Yes, I don’t like cool weather, it’s kinda depressing to me. I like sunny summers or spring, but I hate winter. Being cold makes me uncomfortable.” – Stuti, Group X instructor

“Yeah, I guess on a subconscious level, I don’t really get sad if it rains generally, but I get happy when it’s sunny.” - Tony, Outdoor Pursuits

This is in line with the typical idea that most people have. Though this is the most popular assumption, the research says otherwise. Marcus Huibers J.H. abstract studies states, “Weather conditions were not associated with mood, and did not explain the seasonal variation we found. We conclude that, contrary to popular belief, weather conditions and sad mood or depression do not seem to be associated.”

This is the most common finding in the Google Scholar searches. Their hypothesis is that the effects of weather are all in the person’s mind. The person subconsciously associates an emotion with a current type of weather. Whether this is true are not is up for debate.

Another theory is the belief that weather doesn’t affect a person’s mood, but rather certain weather aspects have an effect on mood.

The main aspects of weather that affect mood are:
1.)  Humidity
2.)  Temperature
3.)  Sunshine

Jeffery Sanders and Mary Brizzolara’s “Relationships Between Weather and Mood” says that, “The pattern in inverse relationships suggests a general state of enervation characterized by feelings of diminished physical energy, reduced interest in social interactions, and somewhat flattened effect.” Basically, during days when it’s really humid, generally people have a tendency to be less active and stay home. Low energy levels have bad effects on mood. That is also the reason why cold weather could have a lowing effect on mood. The less active you are, the lower your mood tends to be.

The last aspect is sunshine. According to Deborah Kotz from,
“When the sun's UV-B rays hit the skin, a reaction takes place that enables skin cells to manufacture vitamin D.” The article goes on to say that fair skinned individuals only need 10 minutes in the midday sun to get enough radiation to produce about 10,000 international units of vitamin D. The article also says that dark-skinned individuals produce less vitamin D (possibly because of the higher concentration of melanin in the skin) so they would need more time in the sunshine to produce the same amount.  Kotz goes on to state, “The darker the skin, the more it's protected against skin cancer, but the less able it is to absorb UV-B rays.”  Maintaining your vitamin levels is a big factor in mood and in health. Generally, the healthier you are, the happier you are.

Most of these findings say that there isn’t a correlation between weather and mood. Rather, it’s the correlation between energy levels and mood. So next time when you find it raining outside or it’s a gloomy day, maybe try working out. Working out causes your body to release endorphins; which gives you a positive feeling. It might just change your mood for the better. 

- Just a thought, Devonte Hill

Relationships Between Weather and Mood by Jeffery Sanders and Mary Brizzolara
Rec Center Employees