By NAOMI BERUMEN
Fitness specialist James Bench began teaching a weekly class Oct. 8 about the importance of a good diet, giving students a foundation of what to eat and cook in order to fuel the body correctly.
The series will consist of six weekly classes taking place every Tuesday in classroom C on the second floor of the Bradshaw Fitness Center.
Bench worked at Houston Methodist Hospital where the director of the fellness center, John Ramirez, met Bench and gave him the opportunity for him to work in the fitness center as corporate wellness coordinator.
Bench said that people tend to make wiser decisions when they are given instructions on what to eat and how it apply it daily, opposed to giving attendees a list of bad and good foods.
“Nutrition is the most important part of someone’s life and it is often the most overlooked,” Bench said
Bench created an outline in order to dispel myths of nutrition; his goal is to give straight facts.
The first class was a basic overview of cookware, technique and terminology; the second will cover nutrition labels and macronutrients.
The third class will discuss diabetes, with a guest dietitian, a former colleague at Memorial Hermann Hospital.
Bench will cover cooking in the fourth class: what to cook, how to work with a budget and portion control — minimalizing the amount of ingredients used without compromising nutrition.
The fifth class will be over what to eat when training. The foods to eat when someone is training are not the same foods as those to eat for weigh loss.
The final class will be over maintaining healthy eating habits during the holiday season, including an open discussion for questions and comments concerning the topic.
Bench said he hopes for a core group of people who will attend his classes regularly. He has offered a prize for whoever attends all of his classes to encourage attendance. Classes have been opened to all tudents and members of the fitness center.
Senior Miriam Ahmed, a kinesiology major, attended the first two class sessions. The introductiory session was not included as part of the schedule.
“I’m completing my internship at the fitness center and I think opportunities to learn about nutrition and our health are important for the community,” Ahmed said. “It is the first step to bettering our health.”
Bench’s goal is to offer a class every semester and eventually become a nutritionist for the University’s sports teams.
“The reason I am focusing on nutrition is because anyone could come in and work out,” Bench said. “It’s not hard to jump on a treadmill or pick up some heavy weights and put them down, but real change comes from your diet.”