The Pearly Gates of Auburn

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By Darrell Puckett

There’s a new attitude in Auburn athletics brewing.  It’s been circulating in the atmosphere ever since athletic director Jay Jacobs hired Gus Malzahn.  Sunny Golloway was hired next to coach baseball, and then came Bruce Pearl for basketball.  Jacobs has potentially established himself with the ranks of Louisville athletic director, Tom Jurich, as colleges’ top AD.

Auburn basketball has been nothing short of terrible for years and facilitates one of the worse football-basketball college programs.  Of course, Coach Malzahn brought Auburn football back to dominance, but how about basketball?  Obviously, Tony Barbee wasn’t the answer and was fired after AU’s loss in the SEC Tournament.

Who’s going to bring Auburn back?  That answer was simple.  Bruce Pearl.

Pearl’s resume speaks for itself.  His record as Southern Indiana basketball coach was 231-36 with a NCAA D-II Championship in the ’94-95 seasons.  He then took the Milwaukee job from 2001-2005, where Pearl lead them to an 86-38 record with two NCAA Tournament appearances.  Afterwards, Pearl accepted the Tennessee coaching job where he excelled and brought together a struggling athletic college.  His record at UT was 145-61 with six straight NCAA Tournament appearances.

Pearl isn’t all shiny and glamorous, but no one ever said he was perfect.  His past is talked about as if he committed a murder, but in reality, it was just one bad mistake.  Pearl’s knowledge of the NCAA recruiting handbook is strong, but he just ignored it for one grill out.  Yes, he hosted a cookout and acknowledged to the recruit that he shouldn’t be there because of NCAA rules.  Aaron Craft and his family was the invited family, and they were encouraged to not speak of this party to anyone.

This obvious and ridiculous rule-break wasn’t what did Pearl in at Tennessee, but his consistency to lie about it all.  Honesty is always the best approach to any problem, especially with the NCAA.   So with all that being said, what does Pearl bring to Auburn and how can he bring this dying program back?  Again, the answer is simple.

Pearl’s ability to engage a fan base and bring people together is exactly what Auburn needs.  The Auburn Arena has been waiting for a coach to bring it to life and exemplify how college basketball should look like.  His energy and enthusiasm will help promote Auburn in every avenue possible.  Basically, Pearl’s a marketing machine who will sell AU basketball everywhere.

It’s a great time to be an Auburn Tiger with so many great coaches.  There’s a lot of promise that sits at the pearly gates of Auburn, Ala.  Malzahn, Golloway, and Pearl will bring Auburn to a national powerhouse in the big three sports.  Congrats if you’re an AU fan, because it’s going to be a long fun ride to the top.

Contact the writer: dpucket1@aum.edu

Holidays: Why Do We Do What We Do?

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By Nikki Headley

You wake up and realize that it’s Easter. This can only mean one thing: the Easter bunny came to visit. You walk to the living room to see your youngest brother bouncing up and down with anticipation. You see a large basket in his little hands. You look at him and ask, “Where does the Easter bunny come from?”

Holidays and folklores, we all have them. Whether it’s Christmas, The Fourth of July or Easter, we all have traditions. Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, and some people were asked why they wore green.

Katelyn Turner said that she wanted “to participate with tradition.”

Kelsie Miller said “you wear green so you won’t be pinched by annoying people.”

Traditions are fine, but the real question is where the tradition of wearing green came from? Avoiding be pinched is understandable, but where does this come from?

So many Americans celebrates July Fourth. Have you ever wondered why we shoot fireworks?

I asked Brittany Williams this question, and she said “It’s culture to shoot fireworks during July Fourth.”

Everything is coming back to words like “tradition” and “culture.” It seems as if both of these words lack meaning. A tradition is something you do with your family. As Americans we do so many things during our holidays. We wear green, put up Christmas trees and shoot fireworks. Do we really understand what started these practices?

Unfortunately we do not. What’s the point of doing all of these things if we don’t understand their origins? Are we just doing them to seek entertainment? Has the sacredness of a holiday been exchanged for a good time?

Most people do not know where pinching each other for not wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day comes from. During our big holidays movies will come out in theatre for us to go and watch. We entertain ourselves with the ideas that we have about a certain holiday. During winter break most college students are looking forward to the long break. This means we will get more time with the people that matter. While family-time is crucial, would one go so far to say that all of these distractions take away from the importance of what the holiday signifies?

When we forget the source, we forget the holiday. We have customs that are acted upon every year, but they no longer show us why we celebrate our holidays. We all seem to be more than willing to participate in these things without even knowing why we are participating. Do you really want to wear green and not know why you’re doing it?

What type of person do you want to be? Go out there and learn about why we celebrate. Stop asking other people and find out on your own.

Spring Break Playlists

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By Jessica Klinner

Spring break is finally here! After spending half of the semester freaking out about papers, deadlines and tests, it’s time to relax and unwind for a whole week. For many people, spring break is a week spent taking road trips with friends, beach days and fun nights out. Music is always a huge part of any of those activities. From tan lines to conga lines, here are a few playlists to keep your spring break moving. Enjoy!

Road Trip

  1. Best Day of My Life- American Authors
  2. I Feel Alive- We The Kings
  3. Pompeii- Bastille
  4. Radioactive- Imagine Dragons ft. Kendrick Lamar
  5. Treasure- Bruno Mars
  6. The City- The 1975
  7. Young Volcanoes- Fall Out Boy
  8. Tightrope- Walk The Moon
  9. Ain’t It Fun- Paramore
  10. It’s About Time- Young the Giant

Beach Day

  1. Waves- Sleeper Agent
  2. The Wind- Zac Brown Band
  3. Little Black Submarines- The Black Keys
  4. Happy- Pharrell Williams
  5. Good Times- Cassadee Pope
  6. Kangaroo Court- Capital Cities
  7. Chillin’ It- Cole Swindell
  8. 19 You and Me- Dan + Shay
  9. Give Me Hope- New Politics
  10. Diane Young- Vampire Weekend

Night Life

  1. Wild For The Night- A$AP Rocky, Skrillex, Birdy Nam Nam
  2. Neon Lights-Demi Lovato
  3. Hesher- Wallpaper
  4. m.A.A.d city- Kendrick Lamar
  5. Talk Dirty ft. 2 Chainz- Jason DeRulo
  6. Drunk In Love- Beyonce, Jay Z
  7. Take Back The Night- Justin Timberlake
  8. This Is How We Do- Katy Perry
  9. Holy Grail- Jay Z, Justin Timberlake
  10. Stay The Night- Zedd, Hayley Williams

Smartphone Robots

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By Nikki Headley

You pull into the school parking lot and trudge to the main building. You pull out you phone and begin scrolling down your news feed. You trip on a rock and glance up to realize you are only halfway through the parking lot. You continue to walk when you suddenly see an overly dramatic status update. You stop and begin to read all of it. Suddenly you hear a loud honk. You look up to realize a line of cars are being held up by you standing in the middle of the parking lot.

We spend hours and hours looking at boxes. Those boxes being televisions, computer screens, smartphone screens, and many more electronics. It’s disturbing to see millions of my class mates with their heads buried in their phone. When I try to talk to them about something most people give generic answers to my questions. This proves my point. We are forgetting how to socialize with people in person. People would much rather be behind a screen, protected from the real world. How will my generation be able to work in social settings? How will they do well in interviews? How will they make new friends?

Your life is so much more than a smart phone in your hand. You are missing out on real life while you are scrolling through Twitter. What does reading a Twitter update really do for you? Do you feel personally fulfilled that you just used an hour of your life doing this? You could have done something far more constructive, like working on a paper or cleaning your house.

I will sometimes go out to lunch with some of my friends. Where will their attention will be? It won’t be on me or their other friends. They will be focused on the digital world. Just walk around and watch. You will see people not talking with their heads downs ignoring everyone around them. What is the point of having friends if you are going to do this? You should just eat alone with your phone instead of eating with friends.

In the beginning when smartphones were released they seemed like a real blessing. You can look up movie times,  important information, and keep up with your bank account. When did all of these helpful benefits in turn into a curse?

We are being brainwashed. We cannot hold a meaningful conversation without checking our phones. We can’t even walk down the hallway without almost bumping into someone who is also not paying attention. So what do we do? How do stop ourselves from becoming smartphone robots?

The answer to that question is complicated. I suggest you try to stay off of social media for a week if it isn’t part of your job. Try putting your phone away when you’re with friends or family. Give them your full attention. When you are walking to your car or to your next class enjoy the view and say hello to people.

Enjoy your life like you did before you or your parents bought that phone. Show the people in your life how important they really are. Put your phone away and get out there and live.

Midterm Madness

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By Nikki Headley

It’s that time of the semester again. All of your teachers are piling work up to your ears. Part of you is wondering if it will ever stop and the other part is wondering if you will have enough time to do all of your work. Your stress levels feel like they have reached maximum capacity. How do you deal with the perils that midterms can bring us? How will you get through it?

First you must study or you will do badly. It is pretty tempting to come home after a long day at school, work, or both to eat dinner and go straight to sleep. You should probably look over a few things before you go to bed. But don’t stay up all night studying. Your brain needs to rest and process all of the things you have been studying for.

Next, don’t put off your studying until the night before the test. Give yourself more than a few hours to study. Having a cram session normally hurts you more than it helps you. Dedicate a day to studying. It can be hard to do but it will pay off in the end. You will walk out with a good grade if you study.

You need to remember to pay attention in class and don’t forget to attend as well. Believe it or not, test material is normally in the teacher’s notes or lectures. So instead of skipping class to stay at home to play video games you should probably wait until after class. Remember to keep focused. What’s the point of going if you don’t pay attention? So stop listening to what the people are saying behind you and focus.

Remember that time is of the essence. You have been making plans with your friends every day this week and you have been putting off looking over your history notes. Suddenly it’s the night before the test and you realize that you forgot all about it. How you spend your time in college is an important part of how well you will do in your classes. It’s easy to put off your studying until the last minute but it won’t be so easy when the test is sitting in front of you. Be wise with your time.

Finally, remember that Spring Break is coming up fast. After all of that stressing over midterms you get a whole week to do whatever you want. Some of you may be going to the beach, visiting family, working, or just spending time at home. Remember to enjoy your break when it does get here. Also, check out our list of 10 vacation spots within six hours of Montgomery.

Studying, not procrastinating, paying attention, being in class, using your time for the important things first and looking forward to some time off will make you prepared for your midterms. Be confident in yourself and you will do great things. Now go study before it’s too late.

Auburn’s Future is Bright with Marshall

By Darrell Puckett

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After the most memorable Auburn football season recorded, there’s one question that lingers.  Does Nick Marshall deserve to start next season under Coach Gus Malzahn?  A lot of naysayers say that Marshall will be trumped by sophomore quarterback Jeremy Johnson without question this spring.   Not only do I think Marshall will start, but his ability to be multi-dimensional should shock many haters.

Marshall completed 142 passes out of 239, threw for 1,976 yards with 14 touchdowns and six interceptions.   His passer rating totaled 143.2 and total quarterback rating was 71.0.  Understanding that his role wasn’t necessarily to pass every down is key.  Marshall totaled 12 rushing touchdowns, while hauling in 1,068 yards on the ground.  The multi-threat that he brought to this team is remarkable and a constant fear for opposing defenses.

A few reasons why Marshall will undergo significant improvements deal with the upgrading of positions.  Yes, Auburn lost Tre Mason who was spectacular all season long, but that’s not a huge deal.  I understand that beloved fans think Mason is a top three back in AU history, but Coach Malzahn has big surprises in store.

The biggest upgraded position is AU’s receiving group coming in.  Duke Williams stood out to be Rivals only 5-star JUCO recruit, and is talked about as the next Calvin Johnson.  Of course, the Tigers bring back Sammie Coates who dominated with deep receptions all season.  Coates physicality was clearly seen by his performance against Texas A&M.  Also, sophomore Marcus Davis stepped up and show cased his skills through the seams against defenses.

With more options on the WR end, why wouldn’t Marshall flourish this ’14 season?  People want to see Mr. Football of Alabama, Jeremy Johnson for obvious reasons.  Johnson’s build resembles Cam Newton’s. That’s without question.  Tiger fans are also ecstatic of Rivals ’13 QB signee Shaun White, which brings the question of when is he going to play?  There’s no right answer about Johnson and Whites future, other than they’re very talented players with loads of capability.

My view on this matter is that Marshall starts and shines during his senior campaign, while Johnson and White both mature.  Auburn hasn’t had this much talent at quarterback before, and the future looks brighter than ever.  Look for the Tigers to have a very productive and interesting spring.

[Photo Credit: ESPN]

10 Vacation Spots Within 6 Hours of Montgomery

By Jessica Klinner

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Spring break is only a few weeks away, and it’s time to figure out how you’ll be spending your week long vacation! While there may not be a lot going on in the city of Montgomery during the break, there are several vacation destinations within a six hour drive of Montgomery that are sure to be a great getaway.

 1. Destin, Fla.

Travel time: 3 hr. 50 min.

Why visit? This beach trip destination is sure to be a perfect choice for a group of friends or family. Instead of sitting on the beach for the day, rent a boat and cruise over to Crab Island. This popular sandbar even has floating food vendors, inflatable slides and trampolines to make the experience more enjoyable. To recover from a day of partying and fun, visit Destin Commons for an evening of shopping or a movie at the IMAX theatre. Another fun attraction to check out in Destin is The Track, a family fun center with a huge go-cart track, arcade and mini golf course.

2. New Orleans, La.

Travel time: 5 hr. 5 min.

Why visit? New Orleans is a classic southern city filled with many historical sites and fun attractions. During the day, explore the French Quarter or take a tour of the many historic houses, plantations and cemeteries in the city. At night, take a walk down Bourbon Street or slip into a cozy jazz bar. Before leaving, you have to stop for beignets and coffee at the world famous Café Du Monde.

3. Nashville, Tenn.

Travel time: 4 hr. 46 min.

Why visit? It’s the home of country music! Walk into a bar on Broadway at any given time during the day and you’ll find a band or solo act performing. The city is alive with music at all times of the day. Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame to see how the genre got started and where it stands today. Buy a ticket to the Grand Ole Opry or Ryman Auditorium, and enjoy a night in a historic venue listening to great music. Whether you consider yourself a country music fan or not, Nashville is a great city to visit.

4. Atlanta, Ga.

Travel time: 2 hr. 34 min.

Why visit? With the shortest travel time on the list, Atlanta is already a great place to spend your vacation. This city offers a variety of fun attractions including the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, Centennial Park and the CNN Center. Hit TV shows The Walking Dead and The Vampire Diaries film in and around the Atlanta area, and you can book a tour to see where the action of the shows takes place! After spending the day exploring various areas of the city, take in a nice concert at one of the many music venues.

5. Pensacola Beach, Fla.

Travel time: 3 hr. 9 min.

Why visit? Pensacola is not one of the most talked about beaches in Florida, but it is one of the most beautiful. The quiet, laid back atmosphere of the beaches in Pensacola makes it the perfect choice for a quick vacation. Since it is located on a small island, there is no need to drive anywhere because everything is within walking distance of most hotels and condos. Spend the day on the beach, and dance the night away at Bamboo Willie’s. If you’re not one for dancing or partying, enjoy a nice dinner at The Grand Marlin, and go for a moonlight stroll on the Portofino Boardwalk.

6. Panama City Beach, Fla.

Travel time: 3 hr. 41 min.

Why visit? When you think of spring break in Florida, Panama City is sure to be one of the first places that pops into your mind. In recent years, it has become the go-to beach spot for spring break activities. If you’re into the party scene, the hot spot to check out is Club La Vela especially during spring break. After a few days of partying, wind down with a trip to Pier Park, an open-air mall with a great mix of local shops as well as name brand stores.

7. Gulf Shores, Ala.

Travel time: 3 hr. 38 min.

Why visit? There are so many fun attractions in Gulf Shores that it’s almost impossible to do all of them. Take a dolphin cruise. Try the zipline course at the Gulf State Park. Visit the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. If you’re more into catching rays than exploring the town, head down to the beach for a day of relaxation. For a nice evening, head down to The Wharf for dinner, shopping and if you’re lucky, maybe there will even be a concert at the amphitheater during your visit.

8. Biloxi, Miss.

Travel time: 3 hr. 52 min.

Why visit? While Biloxi is most commonly associated with its many casinos, the small Mississippi town is actually another historically rich destination. There are several museums worth visiting including the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art. The Biloxi lighthouse is a beautiful landmark on the gulf coast and a wonderful spot to take a picnic lunch and relax for a few hours. After a relaxing afternoon, take a chance and press your luck at one of Biloxi’s fine casinos. If gambling is not your style, buy tickets to a show at one of the hotels instead.

9. Savannah, Ga.

Travel time: 5 hr. 46 min.

Why visit? Savannah, Ga. has been called one of the most beautiful cities in the country and for a good reason. The architecture found in Savannah is beautiful and breathtaking. Take a stroll along the Riverfront Plaza, a nine-block stretch of shops, cafes and restaurants, and feed your southern appetite by dining at Paula Deen’s restaurant, The Lady and Sons.

10. Memphis, Tenn.

Travel time: 5 hr. 37 min.

Why visit? Memphis is a city rich with musical history. Elvis Presley resided here until his death and now his home of Graceland is a famous tourist attraction. While in the city, you must visit Beale Street, a location brimming over with cool clubs and fantastic restaurants. Not too far from Beale Street lies a small recording studio called Sun Studio where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis recorded music. Another must see attraction in Memphis is the National Civil Rights Museum and Lorraine Motel. The museum displays the rich history of the Civil Rights Movement and features a tour of the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. took his final breath before being assassinated on the hotel balcony.

Pride and Pucks: Why You Should Care About Team USA’s Mission for Gold

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By Chad Underwood

National pride is a weird concept when it comes to sports in the United States. Its inception feels artificial but so right in the moment. It is extremely rare when it occurs, when everyone in the country has rallied around a team just because it is made up of Americans. On Saturday morning around 9:30 a.m. Central Time, our country found that pride in the 2014 United States Men’s Hockey Team at the Sochi Olympics.

The storyline was familiar, one that dates back to a cold night at Lake Placid in February of 1980, where a team of young American college students competed against the Soviet Union’s professional players in the semifinals of Olympic hockey. That game, known as the “Miracle on Ice,” might just be the greatest sports moment in the history of our country. The Cold War was at its height and that hockey game, as silly as it may seem, meant everything that night. The United States won and went on to capture the gold medal.

Flash-forward to 2014: the Cold War is long gone and Soviets are now referred to as Russians. Team USA is still trying to recreate the magic of 1980, which is the last time it found the gold medal around their player’s necks. Russia is hosting the Olympics, and one medal matters the most to a hockey-obsessed nation. Now National Hockey League players are allowed to participate in the games, so the United States did not have to send their best collegiate talent to fight the mighty Russian professionals. Despite it being a preliminary matchup used to determine seeding for this week’s tournament, it had the feel of something bigger; the pace of the game from the beginning was unlike anything hockey fans had seen in these Olympics so far.

Back and forth the action went as thousands of Americans woke to their Twitter and Facebook news feeds, most likely confused as to why it was filled with hockey banter. The game had scoring from some of world’s greatest players, stellar goaltending on both sides, controversial calls and massive hits. Sixty-five minutes was not enough to decide the outcome, and like a fireworks show on the Fourth of July, the Americans and the Russians were set to put a grand finale on display in the form of a shootout. Eight rounds of the one-on-one battle proved to be enough for the Americans, as forward TJ Oshie scored four times, cementing his status as a legend of USA hockey in only his third game on the national team. Hollywood’s best screenwriters could not have written it better.

As an avid hockey fan, I had this game circled on the calendar as soon I found out we were in the same group as the Russians a few months ago. The “Miracle on Ice” happened eleven years before I was born, so naturally I am constantly pursuing an experience I could compare it to, something I would love to tell my kids about someday. Saturday morning might be as close as I’ve gotten to it so far.

I can say this from personal experience: hockey fans are stubborn. In the United States, we are outcasts. Our game is constantly labeled as a “niche sport.” It may seem ridiculous to refer to it as “we” or “us,” but that is how we feel. We are obsessive and possessive. When talking heads from other networks try to talk hockey because it just happens to be relevant this weekend, it is blasphemy. This is our sport.

That said, we welcome potential fans; any chance to introduce someone to the sport we hold most sacred is one we would attempt to capitalize on. My advice is to hop on this bandwagon now. Times like these for sports in our country do not come around very often and that pride, as brief as it will be, has meaning. Whether you lean to the left or the right or somewhere in between, we are all Americans, and this is something that rests in all of us and barely gets a chance to wake up and shout.

Starting on Wednesday, the United States will continue its quest for the gold medal in the elimination rounds of the tournament. On the other side of bracket is a Russian team trying to fight its way to another match with the USA, and if it happens again, it will be for a medal. Now that would be something I would like to tell my kids about someday.

[Photo credit: Washington Post]

Post Valentine’s Day Struggle

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By Nikki Headley

You walk into to your house after a stressful day at Auburn Montgomery. You hear your bed calling your name but you know you have school work to do. Irritation begins to set in and you plop down on your couch to look for your syllabus. Suddenly a bright red heart shaped box catches your eye. Just a few wont hurt me right? You open the box and begin eating chocolate while you work on your assignment.

Valentine’s Day has just passed and many of you are struggling with this. Especially if you are a chocoholic and your significant other gave you a ton of the good stuff. How do we enjoy chocolate without overdoing it, feeling guilty, and then wondering if you should have celebrated Valentine’s Day at all? As you are staring at the box of chocolate that you just devoured, you are probably also wondering how you could have approached things differently.

The saying “out of sight, out of mind” can be useful when it comes to many things including Valentine’s Day chocolate. Try putting that large box of chocolate in a place that you won’t be able to see it. Try putting in it in a desk drawer. Put it somewhere that you normally don’t go to.  Not seeing your temptation can be helpful in the long run.

Freezers are your friends. Some people like their chocolate chilled. Put that box of candy in the freezer. You cant eat something that is frozen solid unless you want a chipped tooth.

Take a few pieces out and thaw them in the fridge. Now you can eat smaller amounts of the chocolate and it won’t be as bad for you. Your candy will also last longer. When you want to splurge it’s right there in your house for you to eat.

Finally, this may sound a bit rude but you could also give some of your candy away. The person that gave it to you doesn’t have to know, nor does the person you are giving it to. You can just eliminate the problem if you don’t have self-control. Just keep it to yourself so you don’t hurt anyone’s feelings.

Yes, you can enjoy your candy. Just do it in moderation and all will be well!

Healthy Changes Lead to a Healthy You

By Nikki Headley

Motivation is a hard thing to come by. Finding a reason to work out and eat right requires dedication, self-discipline and more importantly the reason behind doing it. What’s the point of getting up every day and killing yourself in the gym? What’s the point of not eating that cookie after lunch every day? Why not live your life in a manner that supposedly makes you happy? Plenty of people ask themselves these questions. Working out and eating right isn’t something you can just do. These actions become a rewarding lifestyle. Going to the gym three times a year does not count as working out on a regular basis. Do you want the motivation to change the way you take care of yourself physically and emotionally? Give some of these suggestions a once over. Try to think about them when you think about working out again.

Take your time. Living a healthier lifestyle is not something you can do overnight. You have to ease yourself into it. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your motivation. Start by simply adding vegetables to your diet and cutting back on the sodas. Try doing light exercise like a brisk walk or an aerobics class like Zumba. This is better than nothing. In time you will see results in not only your body but in your gym performance as well.

Make goals for yourself. Working out and eating right are hard to do if you don’t have goals. If you are trying to build muscle make what your lifting a bit heavier every few months. If you want to lose weight try changing up your diet and doing some cardio exercise. Some people just want to be in better shape so do both cardio exercise and muscle training. Goals lead to great things not to mention you feel so rewarded when you reach that goal.

Never give up. It’s so tempting to not go to the gym when you are busy with classes, work, and family. Despite having all of these responsibilities you need to make time for yourself. You need to be able to look in the mirror and be happy with yourself. Confidence is an extremely important attribute when it comes to living your life in the professional and day to day world. Be motivated to love your body and never depend on somebody’s love for your self-worth.

Reading these tips and actually doing them are two very different things. Start slow, make goals, and never ever give up on yourself. Small lifestyle changes can lead to bigger changes. Motivation isn’t an easy task but if you truly want to see a change in your health start with some of these tips. Your mind will take you farther than anything else. Stop saying I can’t and start saying I can.