Spotlight on: Nick Alley
1. What does health mean to you?
Health has always been something I’ve yearned to have under control since about middle school. I grew up wanting to be stronger than what I was. I primarily ran track, swam, and participated in cross-country running throughout high school. I was always underweight for my age and had an iron deficiency. Although I was athletic, I had always wanted to be bigger and stronger than I actually was. When I got to college is when I really started exercising and monitoring my diet. I gained 20 pounds in my freshman year alone (the good freshman 20). It’s not just something that it is important to my well-being; it is an accomplishment that I’ve strived to reach for years. Knowing I appreciate and respect my body through exercise and feeding myself a proper diet, though difficult, is extremely self-rewarding. In short, health to me is an accomplishment, a commitment, and step towards self-actualization.
2. What do you do to make a healthy UNH?
I am a huge health nut. I’ve educated myself on proper dietary needs since I’ve arrived at college. Getting a blend of veggies, carbs, and protein are important to my diet (stir fry at HOCO is my favorite meal). I also follow and utilize a lot of the services UNH’s has to offer – Healthy UNH, UNH’s UDoo compost production (where dining hall waste goes), the Hamel Rec Center, etc.– all of which help me stay healthy at UNH. I also could live off smoothies since they’re such an easy on-the-go snack.
3. How do you stay fit?
I stay fit by exercising 5-6 days a week. I always aim for 6, but sometimes life gets in the way. I try to focus on a specific body part or group of muscles each a day, followed by a day of cardio at the end of the week. Being an RMP major, I also love participating in recreational activities. Soccer, Intramurals, and hiking are a few ways that allow me to stay fit without overworking my body. As long as I’m getting at least 60 mins a day I’m satisfied. I’m also a huge advocate for utilizing the sauna after a workout.
4. Do you have any tips for eating healthfully?
Tips for ON-CAMPUS students: the dining halls are your best friends. Utilize them while you can! Stir Fry is my favorite option at the dining hall – it is almost always available, it’s prepped right before your eyes, and you choose what you like. You’re getting protein from chicken, steak, or shrimp, veggies for vitamins, and rice for carbs (I go for brown rice – usually the healthier version.) Likewise – the omelette station is the same for those looking for a healthier breakfast option than the chocolate peanut butter pancakes they offer. Tips for OFF-CAMPUS students: DON’T skip meals and learn to COOK! Food is expensive, but learning to cook at least gives you the option to eat healthier. Another tip – FOOD PREP is the most helpful thing you can do! Take a day to cook all your meals for the week (namely lunch) so you can eat them while you’re on the go during your busy weeks. Tips for BOTH – 70% of it diet, 30% is exercising!
5. How do you find motivation to stay healthy?
Two ways: 1) Setting goals and and knowing that YOU are in charge of getting yourself to workout. YOU are responsible for making the time to reach those goals and 2) Getting others involved. While we’re all responsible for getting ourselves to our goals, it also never hurts to have friends along the way for support. Making your goals known to some close friends or even sharing a gym schedule with them is a great way to stay motivated.
6. Have you made any tangible improvements to your physical or mental well-being by making positive changes in your life?
For sure. They both fit hand-in-hand as far as I’m concerned. Those slow improvements to your body will increase your confidence and your personality. Remember that patience is a virtue – it took me almost 3 years to get to where I want to be! Be persistent. I also fully believe that exercising increases your emotional intelligence as well as your GPA. For instance, exercising is a great stress reliever.
7. Anything else you would like to add that might encourage others on campus to make health efforts?
DO IT WITH A FRIEND! Having someone to hold you accountable for eating a balanced diet and exercising is huge. Not only that, but you can meet more friends along the way if you do so. Also, everyone loves those food videos on Facebook – try making them! Cooking can also be fun with a friend and you both get a great meal out of it in the end. Lastly, remember that it will take a while to get to your goal but it will be a huge accomplishment for when you get there. Believe in yourself and you achieve great things!