MemFit: Fitness

Making Time for What's Important

By Mickey Falls

Jump ball is about to go up and I am already dripping in sweat like I've played the whole 32 minutes. Was it the warm-up or is it the nerves? Well, fast forward! 3...2...1... the horn blows and my first high school basketball game is over! I can finally calm down. I've never been so terrified in my life. That's okay! Now that I have that out the way, I won't be nervous, and I know that I will be more than ready for the next game.

That wasn't the case! Throughout the next game, I am just as nervous as before and nowhere near prepared, mentally. Toward the middle of the season I figure it out. These guys are seasoned! It's my sophomore year in high school and I'm just getting started. They've been playing organized basketball half of their life and this is all new to me. They're faster, stronger, jump higher, and are just better than I am. Once I came to this realization, it was time to take action. I wanted to run faster and longer, jump higher (the highest), and be able to compete with these guys, despite being a late bloomer.
What was that all about, you might ask. Well, that was the beginning of my fitness journey. That experience has stuck with me, and I have made an oath to myself to stay as physically fit as possible. Although I am no longer playing organized basketball, fitness has become one of the most important aspects of my life. I do tend to play basketball from time to time, but with or without it I continue to work out. Just a fun fact: I've tried yoga once before, but I would love to incorporate it into my routine fitness schedule. Fitness has been great for me and it can be for you as well. You might wonder, how can someone (like you and I) consistently indulge in fitness activities with such a busy life? With things like school, work, and other activities being so overwhelming, how is there any time to stay fit? Let me tell you a little story about how this thing called "life" tried to take "my precious fitness" away from me (but me and my fitness conquered).
Now I don't come from the richest family, and we were weren't far off from being the poorest... That's kind of off topic, but you know how it is when you're in college and you're on your own. You have to buy your own food, toiletries, gas, and of course food. Eventually, that money you raised over the summer tends to run out, and things start to get a little hectic. I probably should've mentioned that when I graduated high school, I went on to attend college in Selma, AL (but, yeah!). Two years later, I moved back home and transferred to The University of Memphis. Back at home, it was time to find work. After finding work, I felt like I was drowning in responsibility. If I wasn't at school, I was at work, and if I wasn't at work, I was at school. I didn't completely cut the gym out of my schedule, but I was on the verge. Just when I thought overwhelmingness was taking a toll on my fitness... BREAKING NEWS!!! Phone rings...
Uh, Mickey?
It's a boy!
Well, it went something like that (you get the point). Now that I'm a dad, I need more money, so that means more work. Boom! No time for fitness (at least I thought). Now all I'm doing is working and school and working and working! I would go play basketball from time to time and I would get winded, easily. The competitor in me wanted to compete hard, but my cardio wouldn't let me. It was time to figure something out. I needed "my fitness!" I realized that every day, I had three hours in between school and work. I needed at least 30-45 minutes of perseverance to get a good quality workout in. Boom! It was done. I had brought "my fitness" back into my life. With the busiest schedule that I had ever had in my life, just when I thought I had no time to do anything else, I was able to fulfill this oath that I had made to myself. That very journey was great preparation leading up to this moment in my life.
At this point in my life, I have never been busier. It's my senior year and I'm busy filling out graduate school applications, completing an internship, working full-time, raising my son, and being a full-time student. With all that's going on, I still find at least 30-45 minutes in a day (at least three days a week) to involve myself in fitness activities. It's not the same intensive work out I did once before, but it's enough to keep me physically fit. I also find time to play basketball (usually whenever I feel like it). Although life and its events can seem to be overwhelming, it's very important to understand the importance of physical health and to make it a priority.

Mickey Falls recently graduated from The University of Memphis with a Bachelor of Science in Health Studies with a Concentration in Healthcare Leadership. He served as a Marketing Intern at the UofM Campus Recreation Dept. In his free time, Mickey likes to play basketball, work out, spend time with his son, and try new restaurants and foods. His favorite healthy meal to cook is salmon served with lots of vegetables on the side. Post-graduation, Mickey hopes to enroll in the UofM's MBA program with the goal of eventually working in a hospital as a healthcare administrator or healthcare marketer.

Don't Let Rumors Keep You From The Rec!

by Sidney Hall


I have been a student at The University of Memphis since August 2012 and I will be graduating this December. Out of all these years of attending the U of M, I've only been to the Rec Center maybe four times. Crazy, right? Especially since I know all that the Rec Center offers. On top of that, everything that I wanted to be involved in was free for me! When I look back, I really wish I would've taken advantage of the Rec Center more. The only thing is, somehow I listened to a lot of rumors about the rec without even confirming if they were even true. My freshmen year, when I first debated on going, I had friends who said that the rec was only for upper-level classmen and that freshmen would get treated like they didn't belong there. Once I heard that, I definitely didn't want to go, because I didn't want to feel bad for coming or feel isolated. Another rumor was that the Rec Center was a meet-and-greet and students rarely worked out. I was also under the impression that the gym in the rec was huge, but I prefer smaller gyms.
With all of these different reasons, I made up my mind to stay as far away from the Rec Center as possible. Surprisingly, during my freshmen year, I lost 15 pounds, which I owe to the huge campus and getting lost literally every day when looking for my classes.

After losing that weight, my goal was to keep it off with a healthy diet and exercise. By my sophomore year, I found that trying to eat healthy with a small budget and at 19 years old wasn't the easiest thing in the world. This was right around the time I started socializing and eating out at all times of the night, so that weight I lost started to come right back. My next attempt to keep the weight off was to join a gym. The Rec crossed my mind, but then I thought about all of the rumors I had been told my freshmen year, so I continued to stay away. There were a few gyms I considered, but they cost way too much. I also couldn't make myself give so much money to a place that I knew for sure I couldn't be every day, because of school and work. Through all the indecisiveness, my eating and work regimen had become completely thrown off. By my junior year, all the weight I lost had come back, unfortunately. I was so upset about my weight gain and not having any control over it that I didn't even care about the gym. Throughout this time, I would still try to eat right and at least walk at the park, but I saw no results. I then decided to join an inexpensive gym, which was okay starting off, but I didn't care for the long-distance drive. Finally, my senior year had arrived and I was still unsatisfied with my weight and I was stuck when it came down to looking for the next and best move to change it.

Then one of my friends suggested that we set up dates to go to the rec each week and work out. I told her about all the rumors that I had heard about the rec and why I didn't go before. Once I finished talking, I remember her having a confused look on her face. She told me how she never dealt with any of those things I told her about. After she said that, I agreed to start working out there. I kept in mind that if I didn't feel comfortable once I went for the first time, that I wouldn't go back, but my first time working out there actually surprised me! I realized how wrong I was with all those rumors about the Rec. I got to the point where I would go almost every day when I could, because it was close, free, and the machines were awesome! I even began to see results within myself. My outer and inner selves had both become better. I even started to bring my younger sister, and we both would work out together.
When I think back, I really wish I would've taken full advantage of the rec and its wonderful benefits. I let almost five years go by and never thought to go because of rumors. This was a lesson learned that I could also apply to life regarding other things that hold me back because of a certain perception I have on something. I know now, when in doubt, to ask questions. I also learned to do my research on things that I feel skeptical about. I feel like I would've gotten a lot more out of the Rec Center had I started coming sooner. I do intend on continuing to come work out and enjoying the benefits the rec offers after I graduate, though!

At the time this was written, Sidney was a Senior majoring in Health Science at The University of Memphis and was serving as a Marketing Intern at The UofM Campus Recreation Department. After graduating, she enrolled in a medical program and is now working in the medical field.


Do You. Be You.
By Treven Treece


As he reached mile 10 of the 12-mile ruck march/run, he was exhausted – depleted of all energy. Sweat, saliva, and Cerasport saturated the uniform he was wearing. He was completely drenched by these fluids as he trekked the hills of Fort Benning, Georgia. At 02:15, on a mid–July morning, it was around 100 degrees Fahrenheit intertwined with 100 percent humidity. He carried 45 pounds' worth of gear and equipment on his back as he rucked. He had never been pushed this hard. All of his physical training had led him to this moment. This man stood at a staggering 5'4" and weighed 130 pounds. As he pushed on, his quads, calves, and hamstrings began to spasm uncontrollably. His Camelbak and two canteens were running dry. He writhed in pain with each step that passed. He already had his Air Assault wings in his hand. He had two more miles to go. He knew he could not stop...

My name is Treven and this is my fitness story. I arrived into this world at a hefty two pounds, one ounce. I was born three months early. Mom says I was anxious to see the world. I was born to a singer/actress and an All–American athlete. As I grew up, I was drawn to sports. Growing up in a single–parent home was not easy, but my Momma did an incredible job of keeping me constantly engaged with the world. One way was through sports. Mom had me playing four sports, starting at the age of five. I constantly had a ball in my hand. I loved running. That is where my passion for fitness began.

As I approached middle school and high school, I noticed that I was significantly smaller than my peers. I had the heart to play sports. I was, and still am, an overachiever. I always strived to outwork everyone. I had the heart and ambition to excel in sports, but my size was not all there. My Mom told me to quit using my size as a crutch–to quit being a victim. From that day forward, I stopped making excuses. I was never a star athlete, but I loved working out and running. I ended up lettering in varsity football and track and earned the position of captain in both sports. I had dreams of playing college sports, but my education was the priority.

As I entered college, I decided to enroll at The University of Memphis, six and a half hours away from home. I was anxious to move and to experience city life. Once there, still stuck in my old ways, I woke up early every morning to lift and run. I trained like I was back in high school athletics. I felt that something was absent, though. I was missing the camaraderie of a team in my fitness routine. In the first few weeks of school, I noticed military personnel working out at the same time as me. I have always admired the military. I almost enlisted in the U.S. Navy straight out of high school, because my Papaw was in the Navy and served in World War II, but the U of M had given me an offer I could not refuse. One day, I decided to climb a rock wall. I made it to the top! An Army National Guard recruiter met me at the bottom. He said that they needed "people like me" in the Army. I decided to enlist that day.

About a month later, I was asked by my recruiter to participate in the Army ROTC program at Memphis. He said that, with my character, grades, and physical fitness, I could be a great officer. I didn't know what that meant at the time. I knew that Army ROTC students worked out together and were a part of a team. I knew I needed that, so I began to work out with the program. I was pushed hard--we were always running and doing calisthenics. I loved physical training so much! I learned what Army ROTC does and how I could join this team. By the end of my freshman year, I earned my way into the program.

I am also a First Scholar (a program for first-generation students that provided me with a scholarship so I could attend college). It was required that, by my sophomore year, I would declare a major. I started off as a Psychology major, but later changed to Health and Human Performance (now called Health Studies). I decided to change majors because I wanted to learn more about how to be healthy and live a life reflective of that. My family is known to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high stress levels. Many of my family members suffer from, and have fallen victim to, heart attacks and strokes. I knew that I wanted to live differently. I want to be around for my children and grandchildren.

One day I was talking to a mentor of mine within the Army ROTC program and he told me something I will never forget. He said, "Mr. Treece, don't worry about comparing yourself to others. Let that all go. Do you, be you, Mr. Treece." I struggled with gaining weight to look more muscular or buff. I have a wonderful physique, but I still desired to look like others. I have since learned to embrace who I am mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I have learned to let go of the past. I cannot live life as a victim. I must keep moving forward. Never quit.

Treven graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences, with a major in Health Studies. A native of Morristown, Tenn., Treven served as our Marketing Intern, was a participant in the First Scholars program, a cadet in the Army ROTC, and a member of the Golden Key Honour Society and Omicron Delta Kappa leadership society. He received the Outstanding Health Studies Student Award. He is now serving in the U.S. Army, where we are sure he is still excelling at being him and doing him.