Posted by: brookeblerdahl | April 10, 2011


If you are looking for a fun and challenging way to work out, think about training for a triathlon.  Triathlons include swimming, cycling, and running.  Running by itself is hard, but imagine running after an hour of swimming and cycling!  I think that is what is cool about triathlons-they’re challenging and it takes dedication.  You can’t just wake up and say I think I’ll sign up for that triathlon today, and go race.  Completing a triathlon takes months of consistent training.  Click here for a great website for beginners.

Did you know there is a triathlon club at BYU? Check out their blog or look them up on Facebook.  They are a great group of people that welcome athletes of all levels.  They get up and work out at 6 every morning, put on the True Cougar Tri every year, and race as a team at several races each year.  If you are thinking about getting into triathlons, contact them through their blog.  They will write you a personalized training plan, you can work-out every day, and help you get started.  I think I might even try the True Cougar Tri this coming fall…yikes!


Posted by: brookeblerdahl | April 9, 2011

College Students are At-Risk for Sedentary Lifestyles

A recent study by exercise physiologist Jeanne Johnston found that college students become more sedentary the closer they get to graduating.  Although I’m sure it varies on an individual basis, I think that college is a time when a lot of people become physically inactive.  College is a big transition for many people. Johnston pointed out, “It is the first time students are responsible for leading a healthy lifestyle,” Johnston said. “It is the first time they have to manage their time and make time to exercise.”

Johnston conducted a survey that asked students about their level of physical activity.  Most students showed a significant decrease in moderate physical activities such as walking.  Johnston has found that as students get older they walk to school less and exercise less.  Johnston recommended college students make time for physical activity by making specific plans for exercising, and making sure its something you enjoy.

I can definitely relate to this article. Studying takes a lot of time, as does having a job, going to classes, sleeping…it’s easy to leave out exercising.  However, I notice that when I do actually exercise, I can focus on my homework better and I feel more energized.

I posted this link once before, but I want to encourage everyone to sign up for exercise classes at school-it’s a great way to incorporate exercise into your day. BYU exercise classes


Posted by: brookeblerdahl | April 9, 2011

Barefoot Running

As I mentioned before, my husband Grant is a triathlete.  A little after we first got married, I came home to find him cutting his shoes up.  When I asked him what in the world he was doing, he explained-he was cutting some of the padding out of the heels of his shoes because he was trying to reduce his “heel striking”-where you run and your heel hits the ground first.  Then he told me a lot of people run without shoes at all-I thought he was crazy, but I didn’t know anything about running.  Then I went to the BYU indoor track and saw a girl running without shoes.  So I thought it would be interesting to learn a little about barefoot running.

One webpage gives this description:

“Check it out…

Look at the illustration below. When a runner strikes the ground wearing running shoes, the positive heel (all that foam/air/gel cushioning) causes him/her to heel strike, then ‘roll’ and push off. This is NOT how our body is designed to run. Look at the runner on the right. When you’re barefoot (or nearly barefoot) you will land gently and feel the ground below your feet. This is very important to be a healthy and injury-free runner. Now you try! Run 20 yards in your runners, then do the same barefoot. Have someone watch you just in case you fall over from glee!”

So maybe if you’re interested in running, give barefoot running a try.  However, there are steps you have to take to avoid injuries. has a lot of good articles on this technique. Here is a page that gives you tips to get started:

Also, if anyone does barefoot running or has an opinion on it, feel free to post! I’d love to learn more about it.

Posted by: brookeblerdahl | April 9, 2011

6 Surprising Superfoods

The article “6 Surprising Superfoods” caught my eye as I was searching for an idea to post on.  It highlights 6 foods that have surprising benefits to your health.  According to the authors black-colored foods are good because “their color comes from anthocyanins, plant pigments that may help lower the risks of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.” I think that basically any fruit or vegetable that is darker colored is going to be good for you. Here are the 6 healthy foods they highlighted:

1. Black Rice-contains high amounts of vitamin E, which helps the immune system, and protects cells from “free radical damage” (I don’t know what that is…”

2. Black Lentils-one cup has 8 mg of iron. They also have high levels of soluble fiber which lower your cholesterol and may improve immune function.

I love Blackberries! So good.

3. Blackberries-Blackberries contain “polyphenols” that may reduce cognitive decline in older age by cleaning up cells that impair  brain function. Blackberries also have 8 grams of fiber in 1 cup.

4. Black Beans-the dark skins are full of “bioflavonoids-potent plant-based nutrients that may protect against cancer, research out of Cornell University reveals.”

5. Black Soybeans-can possible decrease the risk of bloodclots and lower cholesterol.

6. Black Tea-shown to possibly lower risk of heart-attack

If you’re interested in more research about these and other black colored foods, check out this article.


Posted by: brookeblerdahl | April 5, 2011


If you’re looking for something to spice up your work-outs, try Zumba! It’s a fun, energetic, new style of aerobic exercise.  In a news article, Alberto Perlman, CEO of Zumba, said, ” We turned exercise into a party.”  If you’ve ever watched or participated in a Zumba session, you’ll agree with Perlman.  You’ll see (mostly) women of all ages shimmying, moving their hips, and having fun.  Zumba is part dance, part aerobics, and works almost every muscle in your body.  Zumba uses a wide range of Latin Dance styles including cumbia, salsa, merengue, mambo, cha-cha, Reggaeton, samba, hip-hop, and more.

Many gyms/community centers have aerobic fitness programs that offer Zumba.  Also, BYU just announced in a recent article they will offer Zumba as a fitness class Fall 2011.

I remember the first time I tried Zumba, I felt silly trying to keep up with the steps, but the more you go the more you’ll enjoy it.  The routines are pretty simple and its easy to catch on!  It’s a great way to get moving and get excited about exercising.

Posted by: brookeblerdahl | April 5, 2011

Santa Claus vs. Ronald McDonald

In Eric Schlosser’s book Fast-Food Nation: The Darkside of an All-American Meal, it talks about a study that found that 96% of American children could correctly identify Ronald McDonald.  The only fictional character with higher rates of identification was Santa Claus!

Slightly Creepy

Here are some shocking statistics from the Fast Food F.A.C.T.S. organization:

  • The average preschooler (2-5 years) saw 2.8 TV ads per day for fast food; children (6-11 years) saw 3.5; and teens (12-17 years) saw 4.7.
  • Young people’s exposure to fast food TV ads has increased. Compared to 2003, preschoolers viewed 21% more fast food ads in 2009, children viewed 34% more, and teens viewed 39% more.
  • Although McDonald’s and Burger King have pledged to improve food marketing to children, they increased their volume of TV advertising from 2007 to 2009. Preschoolers saw 21% more ads for McDonald’s and 9% more for Burger King, and children viewed 26% more ads for McDonald’s and 10% more for Burger King.
  • Eighty-four percent of parents reported taking their child to a fast food restaurant at least once a week; 66% reported going to McDonald’s in the past week.
  • Forty percent of parents reported that their child asks to go to McDonald’s at least once a week; 15% of preschoolers ask to go every day.

This website also pointed out that fast food chains are starting to target children through company websites and other forms of digital media.  For example,,, and attract children with games and other activities.  For example: at, you can upload a picture of yourself into a picture with Ronald McDonald.  It is evident that fast-chains try to hook their consumers while they are young.  The F.A.C.T.S. organization states, “Above all, fast food restaurants must drastically change their current marketing practices so that children and teens do not receive continuous encouragement to seek out food that will severely damage their health.”  If 15% of pre-schoolers are asking their parents to go to McDonalds every day, then the marketing is working.  It is important to be aware of the effect marketing has on us and to monitor our fast-food consumption.

Posted by: brookeblerdahl | April 5, 2011

5 Moments of Weakness

I found a great article called “The Moments That Make Us Fat.”  We all will have moments where it would be easy to eat all sorts of things not good for us (last night I went my family went to Training Table-how do can you not eat those cheese fries with their delicious home-made fry sauce??).  The article basically says no matter how hard we try, our willpower will run out at some point when it comes to eating healthy, so you should have a plan for your weak moments.


1. On Vacation:  if you’re in Paris/anywhere cool, you can’t skip out on going to a local bakery, but share with friends, suggests Frances Largeman-Roth, a registered dietitian and senior food and nutrition editor at Health magazine.

2.  After a Break-up:  Largeman-Roth suggests instead of drowning your sorrows with Ben & Jerry, meet a friend and go for a walk/run.  I don’t know about you, but when I (used to)  go through a break-up, I want my ice cream.  I still love my ice cream, but now I’m trying to buy more frozen yogurt-it’s tasty, usually cheaper than normal ice cream, and usually has no fat.

3. A Party With Great Food:  “The problem: You’re at a party and everything looks delicious. It’s free, it’s in front of you, and no one’s stopping you.”  The article suggests to eat before you come.  Or you could set a limit-I will only try one or two things.

4. Watching TV:  Use a small bowl, or snack on fruits or veggies instead-grapes, yogurt, veggies, etc. Don’t bring the whole bag of whatever you’re eating with you to the couch-put a set amount in a “small bowl”.

5. At a buffet, or a restaurant with enormous portions:  At a buffet-load up on fruits and salads first, so you’ll get full off the good choices.  At a restaurant with huge proportions, the article suggests to ask for half of your meal brought out to you on your plate, the other half put in the to-go box right from the start.

That’s a cool idea-I didn’t know you could do that! (In the picture below I guess you’d have to ask for 5 to-go boxes.  You could split it up and eat part of it every night for a week.  Gross.)  I couldn't resist adding this picture.  I guess you'd have to ask the waiter for 5 to-go boxes to take portions home...

I don’t know if any of those situations apply to you-some did for me some didn’t, but I think the point is to identify your weak moments and decide how you will handle them.  For example: my weak moment is about 10:00 every night, after a long day of work and homework, all I want is a huge milkshake.  My plan from now on: only have one 2 nights a week and have it with frozen yogurt instead of normal ice cream.  One step closer to eating healthy!

Posted by: brookeblerdahl | April 2, 2011

Mood Alteration With Swimming: Swimmers Really Do feel Better

I came across an older article (1983) about the benefits of swimming.  It followed a group of college students who enrolled in beginning or intermediate swimming classes and a group that enrolled in normal lecture classes served as a control group.  The swimmers reported “significantly less tension—anxiety, depression, dejection, anger-hostility, confusion, bewilderment, and more vigor-activity after exercising than before.”  The benefits are associated with the strenuous exercise that comes from swimming.  It was interesting that even beginners-most who couldn’t swim 75 feet continuously, and couldn’t do a really hard work-out still experienced these mood benefits.

I have been taking a beginning swimming class this semester and last semester.  I completely agree with this article.  Even though I was never really “confused” or “bewildered” to begin with, I have noticed other benefits noted in the article.  At the beginning of my swimming experience, I definitely couldn’t swim 75 feet-on the first day my teacher made us do a 50m (swimming the length of the pool twice) to see what level we were at-I think it took me almost a minute and a half-pathetic, I know!  But I kept with it and now I love swimming.  Its good for me because it’s a challenge, it was out of my comfort zone, and I feel like I get a great workout from it.  As a college student, it’s hard to exercise consistently.  I think that signing up for an exercise class as part of my class schedule helps me get work outs in consistently.  Click here for a list of classes BYU offers.  There’s everything from badminton to bowling to ice skating to swimming.  Find something that you love doing and sign up!




Posted by: brookeblerdahl | March 23, 2011

The Struggle!

I have to admit that I am a horrible eater! I love my ice cream, chocolate, cheeseburgers, and fries like every other American.  What is it about fast food that is so appealing?  It ‘s usually cheap.  Fast food advertisements always use bright colors to get your attention-seeing the bright red and yellow McDonald’s logos makes my mouth water for greasy fries!  Perhaps the bottom line is that it just tastes good.



Don’t get me wrong, I try to eat healthy, but I feel like it is so easy to make unhealthy food choices.  I think a lot of it is mind-set and planning.  The Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) has a great page with information about developing a healthy diet.

One feature I really liked was ‘plan a healthy menu option‘.  You enter in your gender, age, weight, height, and level of physical activity.  It calculates the average amount of fruits, vegetables, grains etc. you need to be getting every day.  When I first saw my results, I thought great, I need 6 oz. of grains every day how in the world will I regulate that I get 6 oz. of grain, 2.5 cups vegetables, 2 cups of fruit, etc. etc.  Don’t worry there are different tips to make the daily requirements more user-friendly.  I really encourage you to check it out.  There is even a meal tracking worksheet where you can plan meals for yourself, podcasts, specific information for kids, pregnant of breast-feeding women, etc. Lots of cool features to help you get started on a new diet. I think I will explore a little more and maybe even try out a “daily food plan” and see if it helps!  I’ll let you know how it goes in my next post.


Posted by: brookeblerdahl | March 23, 2011

Well hello

Hi! My name is Brooke (beecher) Lerdahl. I am starting this blog about healthy eating and exercising so that I can learn more about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, and maybe give a few people some tips and insights too.  This is my first time blogging, so bear with me as I try and get this figured out…

So yeah. A little about me, I am a junior at BYU majoring in Public Health.  I am interested in health topics like our health care system, nutrition, chronic disease prevention, infectious diseases (how could you not be slightly intrigued after taking Dr. Cole’s class?), and disaster/emergency response.  I have been married for almost 8 months to Grant, he is awesome!  I have an awesome family-a twin sister (Brittany) who is serving a mission in Minnesota, and a little sister (Maddie) who just turned 16 and went on her first date to prom with a guy who looks like Justin Bieber.  What else is interesting about me…I work at the illustrious Creamery on 9th East.

So I have to say that it was Grant who got me interested in the subject of exercising and eating healthy.  He is a competitive triathlete, so he is good at both!  He has a crazy training schedule, which you can see by checking out his blog-I don’t know how he manages to train so hard AND be such a great husband!  He writes himself a training plan for each semester which is made up of daily workouts, longer goals, and he is constantly crossing off workouts he has finished or bench-marks he has reached.  He is so inspiring! I don’t necessarily want to be a competitive triathlete, but I do want to be able to set goals and stick to them the way he does.  The closest I get to that is saying ‘ok! tomorrow morning I’m going to get up at 6 a.m. and run 5 miles!’ Obviously that hasn’t happened 😉  But yeah. In this blog, I want to talk about ways a normal person (like me) can incorporate exercising into their life.  I also want to address how easy it is to eat unhealthy and come up with solutions for choosing healthier foods and sticking to it.

This should be fun!

I thought this was fitting and very appropriate.