2018 December Dash Recap

Talk about mental toughness, phew!!! Who said you couldn’t run 4+ miles?!

We at Yates Field House wanted to thank everyone who participated in our second annual December Dash. You were truly an inspiration to us all!

We sincerely appreciate your contribution of non-perishable food items that will be donated to Capital Area Food Bank. As this is the season of giving, we truly cannot express the amount of gratitude we have for your support and provision in times of need to our local community.

We are already planning our 3rd Annual December Dash for next year and we hope to see you there…running the appropriate distance, of course!! Be sure to stay up-to-date on our Facebook page to get the latest news and information!

In the meantime, check out some pictures from the event below!

Fitness & Wellness Corner – January 2019

Keeping it Simple- Steps to Stick To It in 2019

Liz Greenlaw, Yates Field House Health & Wellness Coach

Although we may eat and drink our way through the days between Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, we wake up on January 1st with every intention of doing things differently for the rest of the coming year…

But, by the second or third week of January, you may have noticed one of two things: You’ve either a) formed some new, sustainable habits that excite you or b) completely ditched your unrealistic resolutions.

In years past, I have started January off with a thorough to-do list of all my hopes and dreams that I wished to accomplish in the coming year. While this process seemed very efficient, it quickly became quite daunting and stressful. And to be honest, it didn’t always help me to accomplish my goals. As much as I enjoy checking items off my “to do” list, sometimes just reading through the remaining tasks led me to focus not on what I had accomplished, but on what I had failed to accomplish. It also pulled me out of the moment and into a state of future anxiety…

Do you find yourself in the same boat? Or maybe you find yourself still worrying about “rollover resolutions” from last year? Don’t get stuck on old resolutions that didn’t work out. Instead, focus on moving forward and making new resolutions that stick! Here are 3 ways to help you shift your mindset in order to set yourself up for success in 2019…

1)    Don’t just “resolve” … COMMIT to something:

To actually stay on track, we need to change the language around our goals and shift our brains to a different way of thinking. Instead of saying, “I would like to,” or “I will try,” make stronger statements to yourself. For example, “I WILL do X, Y & Z in the New Year” creates a different sense of urgency and develops a deeper sense of commitment. To practically apply this idea, you might put some money down to keep you committed. Or, maybe you schedule specific events into your calendar that will serve as milestones.

Commitment entails saying “no” to certain actions and behaviors that don’t align with our goals, so that we have more space in our lives to say “yes” to those things that do align.

2)    Make it CONCRETE:

Write down your aspirations and goals and put them in places where they’ll be seen each day. Those daily visual reminders go a long way in keeping our priorities top-of-mind. The saying, “Out of sight, out of mind” is so true! If you aren’t looking at your goals daily, writing them down and visualizing them as if you have already achieved them, you will never move forward with inspired action towards them. Then, they soon become something that seems hard – something you procrastinate about – and soon those “resolutions” are just a thought of the past.

Research on follow-through shows that it primarily comes down to the written answers to 4 questions: What? When? Where? How?  For example: On Monday and Friday at 6pm I will exercise with a trainer at the gym, and on Wednesday at 5:30pm, I will sprint the hill to the top of campus for 10 minutes after a warm-up.

3)    Create CONSISTENCY:

To reach the goals and intentions that you set for 2019, find ways to consistently remind yourself of what they are. How do you do this? Find an accountability partner (or two!) that will check in with you to see how you’re doing with your goals. This is a great time to seek out a Health & Wellness coach, who can help you map out a plan of all the action steps you need to take, and who will help to create a consistent measure of accountability.

It’s proven that social support has a positive impact on a person’s overall well-being and longevity. Having someone who sticks by your side while you tackle tough goals can build up your confidence and change your life for the better.

Rarely is it a good idea to go wild with New Year’s resolutions. Rather, diligent focus on goals will carry you much farther. Clearly articulated, compelling goals are the key to continual and gratifying progress.

Need some coaching guidance and accountability? We’re here to help! Our Health & Wellness Coaching program, Well Within, is designed to transform your approach to wellness and help you form smart, attainable healthy lifestyle habits that will make you feel great all year long! It’s never too late to start, and it’s not too late to create the life that you are rightly deserving of!



This blog post was written to provide educational information only. This article should not be used as a substitute or a replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have questions or concerns about your personal health, you should always consult with your physician. It is recommended that you consult with your physician or health care professional before beginning any fitness regimen to determine if it is suitable for your needs. The use of any information provided by this article is solely at your risk.

Fitness & Wellness Corner – December 2018

Yates has Boxing!?
John Liuzzi, USA Boxing Certified Coach and Yates Group Fitness Instructor
first in a series

And it’s part of group fitness? Yes and yes! But what’s even cooler is that it has a connection to Georgetown’s storied boxing history.

While most people know Yates has a large variety of excellent group fitness courses, they’re often surprised to learn that includes boxing instruction. And to answer the immediate question that usually comes up: yes, we’ll teach you how to actually fight.

The classes are designed to replicate the training you’d get if you walked into an old-school boxing gym and told the grizzled trainer with the ancient sweatshirt “I wanna learn to box!” We do use a group format at first, as everyone needs to get the fundamentals down – how to stand, move, punch, etc. But once you start to get it, you’ll work first in smaller groups and then individually to refine and advance your technique, just like in a real boxing gym.

That means the first few sessions aren’t really much of a workout. But as any of our advanced students can tell you, the workload rapidly increases as you progress from learning the technique to actually applying it, whether on the heavy bag, with a partner working the punch mitts, or even sparring in the ring. Until you’ve tried it, you won’t believe how tiring it is to hit something continually for up to 3 minutes (amateur rounds are 2 min long, so we train for 3).

We’ll teach you everything you need to know, from the ground up: offense, defense, ring tactics, and fight strategy. We focus on fundamentals, so wherever your boxing journey takes you, you’ll be able to accomplish your goals. As this is Georgetown, be careful you don’t get us started talking about boxing history, classic ring literature, or philosophical views on the sweet science…

And if you’ve actually boxed before, you’re more than welcome too…you can skip the basics and get right to the workout. We do our best to find appropriate sparring matches too – so whether you’re a returning student from a previous year, or a former golden gloves competitor looking to keep your hand in the game as you now focus on more scholarly pursuits (yes, this actually happened), we’ll try to make sure you get the ring time you want.

So what about that connection to Georgetown boxing history? Two words: Tom Quinn.

Tom (C’55) worked with Yates to ignite a boxing renaissance at Georgetown at the turn of the century, and it’s been going strong ever since. Right, right, but does it really matter who did it? Yes…it does. Go to McDonough Gymnasium and inspect the trophy cases – you’ll immediately see why.

Keep your hands up!

John Liuzzi, USA Boxing Certified Coach and Yates Group Fitness Instructor

Fitness & Wellness Corner – November 2018

Dark Gray background with a navigation symbol on the left. Mint green text reads, Let's Take This Outside. Exercise, That Is. By Christie L. Simoson, Assistant Fitness Director

It’s that time of year again! Our outside workout regimens are becoming harder to attain due to the temperature creeping lower and lower. You may be the type of person that has a shiver automatically run down your spine when just THINKING about going outside in the cold. But guess what, it doesn’t have to be quite that bad, so long as you know how to properly dress for the occasion. So how should you dress in order to exercise outside in the winter, you may ask?

First, we’ll explain the why. Why is it important to dress appropriately? In relation to our topic today, I will give you a scenario: Imagine you are outside walking to your car (you parked pretty far away). In this scenario, it is cold outside, and you are losing body heat. This is where your body’s safety gear kicks in and says (not literally, of course), “time to rev up the heat in here!”  In order to produce heat, one’s body does so through muscle activity. If you are not doing enough of it (i.e. exercising), your body will initiate involuntary muscle activity, such as shivering (Carlson, 2012, pg. 8). However, once your body temperature drops to a certain number, the shivering ceases and you are well on your way to hypothermia. Hypothermia is the lowering of the core body temperature to below 95 degrees Fahrenheit (Carlson, 2012, pg. 10). This can occur any time in environmental conditions that are colder than internal body temperature. Symptoms of hypothermia include: shivering, pale skin, and bluing of the lips, hands, and feet (McGill, 2019, pg. 165). Additional signs of hypothermia include stumbling or decreased coordination, fatigue, drowsiness, impaired judgement, and lack of self-concern (Carlson, 2012, pg. 10). This leads us back to why it is so important to dress smart! Now, how do we do this? Let’s start at the top!

Background has little gray and purple winter hats. Text in the foreground says, "Wear Headgear"

Seeing that your head is actually a place in which your body extracts heat, wearing a hat allows you to keep the heat in your body. You also may experience a discomfort of breathing in cold air because it is just ‘too cold’. Well, that just may be the case! Your lungs appreciate warmer air, as this improves humidification which reduces the irritation cold air causes (Carlson, 2012, pg. 10). This cold air issue can be easily resolved by wearing a piece of fabric like a mask or scarf over your mouth and nose; the breath you exhale is warming this area, and the fresh oxygen will in turn be warmed prior to entering your body. This eliminates the uncomfortable feeling of breathing in cold air all together.

Magenta background with an illustration of a shirt, jacket, and coat. Text says, "Layer Up"

…but in a smart way. Think about this: when you exercise, your body’s safety mechanism from overheating is to sweat. Your body pulls the heat from under your skin, creating sweat droplets on the surface of your skin to cool you off, which then evaporate (Roy, 2013, pg. 3). You may be thinking, “but it’s cold outside, I’m not going to sweat.” Well, that can be a false statement, as you can still sweat outside in the cold. Tying it back together, imagine you begin to sweat while exercising, but you are wearing layers of clothing which trap those sweat droplets in, in turn making your clothing a little damp; we all know this is not a good thing in the winter. This is why it is important to continue to wear clothing with ventilation and wicking material during the winter months. To break it down, I suggest wearing first a wicking layer to extract the sweat, followed by an insulation layer to trap in the warm air, and then lastly, a wind and rain repellent layer (which can be removed if it is not raining or windy out). In regards to types of fabric, I suggest synthetics (i.e. polypropylene) for the wicking layer, a fleece or synthetic for the insulation layer (NOT COTTON), and then a shell layer that will allow sweat out, and prevent wind or moisture from seeping in (Carlson, 2012, pg. 9).

Lastly, try wearing darker clothes. On the opposite side of what they say to do in the summer, feel free to wear clothes which will attract sunlight. While we do encourage you to wear a bright/reflective vest or strap for safety reasons, wearing a darker color underneath can help absorb the sunlight.

Background contains winter gear icons including mittens, socks, and earmuffs. Text in foreground reads, "Wrap Up The Extremities"

Gloves, mittens, and socks, OH MY! Be sure to at least cover your ears if you are not willing to wear a hat. When you are very cold and have hypothermia, your body will warm what it deems necessary to survive. In extreme cases where an individual may be stuck in the cold for a very long time, your body experiences vasoconstriction, which is when the body reduces the blood flow to the surface tissues under the skin, in turn retaining heat (Morrison, 2010, pg. 47). Vasoconstriction causes the blood to circulate the warm blood around the vital organs, leaving your extremities to get cold. This is why you typically see frostbite on an individual’s hands, feet, nose, and ears; your body knows that these tissues are not vital, so the warm blood is focused on the center of your body, where organs such as your heart, lungs, liver, etc. are located. Wearing warmer socks with a thin wool component help keep your feet dry and warm. This will help prevent those awful foot blisters we all strongly dislike as well. In sum, always cover your extremities to keep them warm!

Mint green background with three illustrated pairs of sunglasses. Text reads, "Other Tips"

Don’t forget about sunscreen and sunglasses. If your face is uncovered, those delightful rays of sunshine can still cause damage to your skin. Be sure to keep it protected. Also, the winter months are typically very bright due to the white snow. Add a little dampness to the mix, and you have yourself what I like to call snow blindness (yes, it’s a thing). Sunglasses can help reduce some of those glares and even reduce vision-related headaches due to these reflections, ensuring you can fully see where you are stepping so you do not injure yourself (Bird, 2013)! Lastly, I advise you to bring a cell phone along for the run. It may be rare for an individual to get stuck in the cold due to an injury while exercising, but guess what? It happens!! Keeping a cell phone on you will allow you to make that urgent phone call if something were to happen in which you needed assistance right then and there, or if you come across another individual who was injured and has been exposed to the cold for quite some time.

Background contains icons illustrating winter gear including sunglasses, mittens, hats, socks, earmuffs, and jackets. Text in foreground reads, "Wrap It Up".

In summary, the proper way to dress in the cold in preparation for exercise is to wear a hat, gloves, warm socks, and to wear appropriate layers. Give this piece of advice a try, and let me know what you think! I promise it makes a difference and will maybe even get you to enjoy exercising outside when the temperature drops.



  1. Bird, C. (2013, December 26). Why Wearing Sunglasses in Winter Is Important. Retrieved from https://www.sweye.com/blog/general/why-wearing-sunglasses-in-winter-is-important/
  2. Carlson, M. J. (2012). Exercising In The Cold. ACSMs Health & Fitness Journal,16(1), 8-12. doi:10.1249/fit.0b013e31823cf99b
  3. McGill, E. A. (2019). Principles of Group Fitness Instruction (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
  4. Morrison, G. (2010). Exercise in the Cold. ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal,14(6), 47-49.
  5. Roy, B. A. (2013). Exercise and Fluid Replacement. ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal,17(4), 3.


This blog post was written to provide educational information only. This article should not be used as a substitute or a replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have questions or concerns about your personal health, you should always consult with your physician. It is recommended that you consult with your physician or health care professional before beginning any fitness regimen to determine if it is suitable for your needs. The use of any information provided by this article is solely at your risk.


Fitness & Wellness Corner – October 2018

When “Hanger” Strikes – The Reactionary Chain
Hormone Response to Hunger
Maegen C. Stoner, Director, Fitness & Wellness

Have you ever felt the emotional impact that takes over when you’ve gone too long without food? Someone might label you as “hangry”, irritable, and/or grouchy. I’ll raise my hand for most of us 🙂 Usually if I’m in a foul mood, most people (especially my husband) will ask when was the last time I ate?  I’m the 30-year old that carries snacks in her purse for herself ( I don’t have children yet!) Well guess what, there’s actually some science behind this phenomenon that has recently been published to explain why this might happen.

“Empirical evidence demonstrates that emotions impact every aspect of our waking lives, from visual perception to decision making and interpersonal processes” (MacCormack & Lindquist, 2018, pg. 1). There is a small body of scientific research that explains the hunger-induced emotionality or feeling of hanger is more that a mere colloquialism. Studies have shown that individuals who have not eaten and have entered a glucose-depleted state tend to be more impulsive, punitive, and aggressive. Additional research links hunger to negative mood as well (MacCormack & Lindquist, 2018). As humans, we are capable of listening to our hunger and satiety cues. However, in the busyness of our daily lives, we often ignore internal signals and wait far too long before consuming sustenance (Lewis, 2018). As we deprive or ignore these signals, our body responds with an emotional reaction, such as anger, anxiety, or stress, to illicit a response for us to seek food. The longer we go without eating, typically the greater the emotional response (Lewis, 2018).

Did you know that your stomach and brain are connected to one another? Well surprise, they are! They communicate via signals of hunger and satisfaction. In a recent study conducted by the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found a correlation between hunger, feeling angry, and having low blood sugar (Lewis, 2018, pg.1). When the time between meals increases, your blood sugar levels drop, which releases several hormones into the body. The release of these hormones then alters an individuals perceptions, experiences, and responses (MacCormack & Lindquist, 2018).

Your body excretes four hormones in response to the feeling of hunger; Ghrelin, Cortisol, Adrenaline, and Neuropeptide Y.

Ghrelin is produced in the stomach and stimulates feelings of hunger and it can also trigger feelings of anxiety in the brain. A release of ghrelin causes your body to recognize that you are hungry and should signal that you should begin eating. As you consume food, the release of ghrelin ceases and the feeling of anxiety dissipates. If you continue to ignore the hunger signal, other hormones in your body can also be disrupted (Lewis, 2018).

As your blood sugar levels drop, your body also releases cortisol and adrenaline, two stress-related hormones. As the presence of these two hormones increases, the body exhibits fight-or-flight and the effects of hunger can present mentally, emotionally, and physically. As you become hungry, the function of your prefrontal cortex is inhibited. This reaction can affect “personality, self control, planning, and can even temporarily shut down long-term memory” (Lewis, 2018, pg.2). The longer you go without eating, stress, anxiety, and loss of patience and/or focus can set in. Heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration can also increase (Lewis, 2018).


Figure 1: Prefrontal Cortex (Dahlitz, 2017).


When ghrelin, cortisol, and adrenaline are released and you continue to ignore the feeling of hunger, your body resorts to full fledged panic mode. Basically, hanger in full effect! At this point, the body releases neuropeptide Y. In recent studies, the presence of this hormone has been found to make people behave more aggressively towards others (Lewis, 2018).  Neuropeptide Y is responsible for stimulating food intake and also has an affinity for quickly digestible carbohydrates. The release of neuropeptide Y is also linked to an increased intake of large quantities of food and delays the signal of satiety (Lewis, 2018).

Research suggests that you be mindful and prepared. Listen to your body for cues. If you are becoming irritable, think about when the last time you ate was. Hunger may be the cause for this irritability. Take a brief break and find a snack that aligns with healthy eating. A good rule of thumb is that most people should not go more that 4-5 hours between meals. Developing a healthy eating pattern will help decrease the likelihood of “hanger” and balance out your blood glucose levels so you avoid sharp peaks and low drops (Lewis, 2018). We want to avoid the roller coaster effect!

So remember when I was revealing about my snacks on hand habit? I do this so I’m always prepared whether I’m stuck in traffic, attending a meeting over the lunch hour, or just have not made the time to have a meal. I too get caught up in an overbooked schedule periodically.    Look for travel-friendly snacks that can be readily available. It’s best to have a snack that has carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and fiber. The carbohydrates will provide a quick source of energy, while the protein, fats, and fiber will provide longevity as they are digested slower and keep you feeling fuller for longer. Having snacks on hand helps to keep us from reaching for less healthy options that likely lack the nutrition your body needs.



Lewis, Rebecca. (2018) The Science of Hanger. Retrieved June 25, 2018, from https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/7006/the-science-of-hanger.

MacCormack, J.K., & Lindquist, K.A. (2018). Feeling Hangry? When Hunger Is Conceptualized as Emotion. American Psychological Association, pp. 1 -17.

Dahlitz, M. (2017, January 4). Prefrontal Cortex [Digital image]. Retrieved September 25, 2018, from https://www.neuropsychotherapist.com/prefrontal-cortex/.


This blog post was written to provide educational information only. This article should not be used as a substitute or a replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have questions or concerns about your personal health, you should always consult with your physician. It is recommended that you consult with your physician or health care professional before beginning any fitness regimen to determine if it is suitable for your needs. The use of any information provided by this article is solely at your risk.