Posts Tagged ‘Amber Brenza’

I’ll admit it: I’m guilty of prematurely judging people based on their weight. But before you start rioting in the streets, trying to discredit me as a health blogger, hear me out. I’m not saying overweight people aren’t worthwhile people; I just don’t associate being overweight with being fit.

That was, until I read multiple articles claiming that overweight people could be just as fit, if not fitter, than thin people. And if those articles didn’t change my mind on the subject, my experience at the gym a few days ago sure did.


I don’t usually pay much attention to what I wear to the gym. I throw on an old, cut up T-shirt, a pair of running shorts, a good sports bra and I’m out the door. In fact, if you ever have the immense pleasure of seeing me at the gym, I’ll probably be looking something like this. But the truth is, what you wear to the gym can make or break your workout. has compiled a list of what to wear (and what not to wear) at the gym. Make sure you keep the following rules in mind before you head out the door for a good sweat-sesh.


You’re in your 2:00 p.m. class and you find yourself nodding off during the professor’s monotone lecture. But instead of reaching for your latte or a chocolate bar as a quick pick-me-up, opting for a spoonful of peanut butter might do a better job at helping you power through the rest of class.

Okay, so maybe it isn’t feasible to carry around a jar of peanut butter to stave off a midday slump, but what I’m getting at is that protein, rather than caffeine or sugar, will do a better job at keeping you awake.

According to a recent study, protein stimulates certain brain cells, not only keeping us awake, but also telling the body to burn more calories. Those specific cells, known as orexin cells, help regulate the body’s energy and wakefulness. In fact, the loss of orexin cells can result in narcolepsy and weight gain.


It’s that time of year again.

No, I’m not talking about the holidays. I’m talking about the short amount of time before the holidays, when college students everywhere are attempting to lose whatever weight they’ve gained at college before having to see their high school peers.

For most of you, that means taking on some sort of diet for the next two weeks or so. And while healthy snacking is an important part of any diet, snacking in the morning may do more harm to your diet than good.

According to a recent study in the American Dietetic Journal, those who snack during the midmorning (10:30-11:30 a.m.) are not only more likely to snack more frequently during the day, but they also lose less weight than those who don’t indulge in a midmorning snack.

What’s more, midmorning snacking may not be a sign of true hunger, but rather, mindless eating, which racks up extra calories without deterring the mindless eater from eating less at their next meal. So, if you’re feeling the urge to have a snack between breakfast and lunch, it may be a sign that your diet isn’t quite as healthy as it could be.

But while morning snacking may be harmful to one’s weight loss goals, healthy snacking at other times during the day may actually improve a diet. In fact, a study published earlier this month found that people who snack regularly eat more fruit and whole grains than those who don’t snack.

For those of you looking to add some healthy snacks to your already healthy diets, check out’s “30 Healthy Picks.” Not only does it give you 30 great options for snacks that won’t add a spare tire around your waist, but it also breaks those snacks down into two categories: salty or sweet. (I’d stick with the sweet category if I were you–call me crazy, but tuna jerky just doesn’t make my mouth water.

-Amber Brenza

To the delight of elementary school children and college frat boys everywhere, pizza can officially be considered a valid part of an everyday diet.

Congress declared pizza – or, more specifically, the tomato paste on pizza – a vegetable this past Monday, after it finalized a version of a spending bill that would reverse the Agriculture Department’s proposal of healthier school lunches.

Potatoes (read: french fries) were also on the edge of extinction in the Agriculture Department’s proposition for school lunches that would ultimately limit sodium intake and push children to consume more whole grains and actual vegetables.

Thank goodness for the Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee, who saw error in the Agriculture Department’s plan of keeping children healthy.


If you have a heart, chances are it has been broken before. Maybe a relative died or an ex broke your heart (word of advice: don’t blog about it. Yikes!), but something happened that put your ticker through some emotional distress.

For most of us, a broken heart is just a figure of speech. Sure, you can’t eat, you can’t sleep and you don’t enjoy the things you once loved, but there’s little physical pain attached to the heartache. For a select few people, however, a broken heart can mimic the agony of an actual heart attack.

Broken Heart Syndrome was first identified in the 1990s by Japanese medical researchers. The condition, caused by a sudden rush of hormones and adrenaline, can actually cause one’s heart to begin behaving as though it’s having a heart attack. But while the body’s experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack, it isn’t suffering from the physical damage associated with such a medical trauma. Sure, broken hearts are a pain, but they don’t actually clog your arteries. (The food consumed during a broken heart, however, just might.)


When I was at the gym a few days ago, I couldn’t help but notice that the girl on the elliptical in front of me had a pretty bad cold.

Witnessing her hacking cough during her leg and arm pumping movements on the machine, I found myself asking the question, “How sick is too sick to work out?”

According to the Mayo Clinic, gym-goers should let their bodies be the guide. As a general rule, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist, Edward R. Laskowski, M.D., suggests that if your symptoms are “above the neck,” then you should be okay to sweat a little. However, if your symptoms are “below the neck,” you should probably take a break from the gym.

So, what constitutes as “above the neck” and “below the neck?”


It’s an excuse women have used to avoid sex ever since human beings have been able to form words.

You’re relaxing in bed and your significant other looks over at you with those come-hither eyes. But you’re just not feeling it tonight. Your retainers are in, your hair is pulled back into the messiest of buns, and you’ve already resigned yourself to wearing that ratty nightshirt and granny panties.

But since you don’t feel like explaining to him that sometimes women just don’t feel attractive enough to do the deed, you think up something that can’t be argued with: the presence of a headache.

Did you know, however, that having sex can actually cause headaches? According to the Mayo Clinic, sex headaches or can be described as two different things. It can either be a dull ache in a person’s head and neck as their arousal level increases, or a sudden, severe headache right before–or during–liftoff.

So, what causes this unpleasantness during what should be a rather pleasurable experience? The health experts at believe that there are three main causes of sex headaches.


Unlike almost every other woman I know, I don’t crave chocolate. Sure, I’ll eat the occasional Reese’s peanut butter cup, and if an Almond Joy candy bar magically appears in front of me, I’m not going to throw it away. But, sweets just aren’t my thing.

When I have a craving, it’s usually for something salty. (If you leave me unattended with a bag of Tostitos and some guacamole, I’ll most likely end up in a food coma.) So, why is it that some people crave one thing while others crave something else?

According to a recent article on the Huffington Post’s website, those cravings aren’t only based on your taste in food, but also stem from a person’s emotional state. Whether it’s a craving for sweet, salty, creamy, spicy or greasy; your insatiable hunger for a certain type of food can say a lot about you.


Five years ago when I was in my freshman year of college, I was terrified at the thought of gaining the “freshman 15.” Weight-gain in college seemed inevitable: I was surrounded with greasy dining hall food, well-stocked vending machines and copious amounts of alcohol at every turn of the head.

Miraculously, my weight didn’t skyrocket during my freshman year. Naively, I assumed that it was due to my self-control (refusing dining hall burgers and fries on a daily basis is no small feat). But a recent study provides a counter-argument for my self-praise. According to, the freshman 15 is really more like the freshman 5.

What’s more, freshman weight-gain may not be college-related, but more a result of becoming a young adult. A recent article by NPR highlights the reasons why many people put on the pounds as they get older. Aging causes muscles to break down, which in turn causes calories to be burned at a slower rate. (Just one more thing to look forward to, right?)