It's easy to get stressed out during the school year; whether that stress comes from schoolwork, friends, a job or the smallest, most inconvenient incident. For some people, staying active and eating foods they enjoy eating is a way to cope with that stress.
Bailey Wesselmann, fourth-year marketing and management student, said she tried yoga for the first time during high school after she had an ankle injury and couldn't run cross country anymore.
She said she hated her first yoga class, but, later on, she tried a type of class called buti yoga, a high-intensity interval training type of yoga that incorporates dance. She said she fell in love with it.
"I was getting a good sweat. It was still low impact, but high cardio. Really great workout — muscle toning, all of that," Wesselmann said.
With the help of her sorority sisters, Wesselmann said she finished up her 200-hour yoga training by teaching them practice classes in the house going into her second year. In August 2019, Studio Fire, an infrared-fusion fitness studio, opened. Wesselmann started teaching there, and she's been there ever since.
On days that it's hard to stay motivated, Wesselmann said "if everyone's in a good mood and wanting to [do the class], it's so much easier to push through it, and I can feed off of everyone else's energy to push through."
Yoga isn't for everyone, but Wesselmann said she hopes more people try it out.
"It's just yoga; don't take it too seriously," Wesselmann said. "As long as you feel your strongest, and you feel powerful within yourself, that's all that matters."
A spin class is a more high-energy option than yoga. Eliza Howard, second-year international business and finance student, has been taking spin classes since her freshman year of high school. Like Wesselmann with yoga, Howard said she didn't love her first spin class, but a friend's older sister told her to "'stick with it."
"Lo and behold, I did, and I absolutely fell in love with it," Howard said.
When she came to USC, CycleBar Forest Acres had just opened up. Howard auditioned and got the job, and Howard said it became an outlet for her to release her emotions.
Howard said she is a music junkie and good music gets her hyped.
"If I can find a good beat, just like the enthusiasm behind it, then I'm good," Howard said.
Other than cycling, she said she enjoys running and other forms of cardio but also likes to slow it down with yoga.
Molly Jones, third-year public health student, teaches WERQ classes on campus at Strom. According to her, WERQ is more fun than a regular workout.
"I also absolutely love teaching WERQ, which is a dance-fitness class that I teach, because it basically doesn't feel like we're working out, it just feels like we're having a dance party for like 45 minutes," Jones said.
Jones said she stays motivated by thinking about how she feels after she finishes a workout.
"For the most part, I always feel much better, and I feel like I can really get stuff done after and be motivated to do other things," Jones said.
Jones also has an Instagram account, @munchwithmojo, which she originally created to share places she ate here in Columbia. When quarantine hit last March, she transformed the account into food she was making at home during the lockdown. One day, she posted about her struggles and got a ton of positive feedback.
"Since then, I've been sharing my struggles with — in the past — of eating and how I have been trying to heal my relationship with food and my body. And through that, just trying to help other people feel like they're not alone in all those struggles," Jones said.
Jones said she knows to listen to her body when she needs rest days and understands it is okay to take a break.