Speaker visits campus, offers health hacks for students

Frankie Rabas

Fitness expert Tom Ryan describes the physical reaction that occurs when people see food that they really want at Tuesday night’s Speaker Series event.
[/media-credit] Fitness expert Tom Ryan describes the physical reaction that occurs when people see food that they really want at Tuesday night’s Speaker Series event.

University Speaker Series keynote Tom Ryan helped students understand fitness, nutrition and fighting the Freshman 15 on Tuesday evening in Reeve Memorial Union.

Ryan, who is an athlete, speaker and activist for healthy living, motivated students to live a healthy lifestyle while bringing his own experiences into the speech.

The Speaker Series aims to bring positive, motivated speakers to campus to better the UW Oshkosh community.

Advisor Chris Annis said although he was not part of the decision-making process to have Ryan visit campus, since he was not in his current position at the time, Ryan was chosen because he specializes his speeches for college students.

Annis said it is important for students to come to Speaker Series because they have the ability to learn something unique from a specialist.

“There’s specialists all the way from doctors, to educators, to nutritionists, and having the opportunity to truly hear a specialist would give you some tools that other places may not understand or have,” Annis said.

Annis said nutritionists play an important part in our world because we often get wrapped up in work, school and many other things, causing us to lose track of how to take care of ourselves.

“Having him come in here and educate people is important so they can see it’s not just the outside [of the body]; you have to think about what’s going on inside,” Annis said.

Ryan began his speech with some personal background, like how he used to be overweight and the ways in which he overcame that.

He incorporated jokes into his speech and made his presentation interactive by calling on people in the audience.

Ryan had three stages of his presentation: basic fitness and nutrition, myths and facts and a question and answer portion.

Ryan first described the overall well-being of the body and the mind.

“We often think of nutrition and fitness as purely just a body perk,” Ryan said. “When you accomplish things nutritionally and physically, it adds to your self-esteem and your confidence like, ‘I did this.’ It’s measurable.”

Ryan also talked about common myths and facts in the nutritional world, which included topics such as skipping meals, excessive exercise and sleep deprivation.
One piece of advice Speaker Series member Katie Becker said she enjoyed was when Ryan gave tips on treats and snacks.

“I think he gave us a lot of really good tips on not necessarily cutting out junk food and the unhealthy food that is really easy to get in college,” Becker said. “It’s just all about moderation and being aware of how your body reacts to certain things.”

Ryan said his best piece of advice for college students who are struggling with health and fitness in college is to get more rest.

“All the people that I work with, the first thing we look at is how much sleep they are getting,” Ryan said. “Most people aren’t getting enough sleep, and when they don’t get enough rest, their body is naturally out of balance.”

Ryan explained once sleep is in order, the body starts to come around in magnificent ways.

Ryan also explained how to burn calories, good fats versus bad fats and even the origin of beer bellies.

“It depends on your body type,” Ryan said. “There are three bodies types: endomorphic, ectomorphic and mesomorphic. If you’re endomorphic, you have to eat more fats and less carbs but if you’re ectomorphic, you have to eat equal part carbs and protein. There’s no one way to eat ‘right’.”

The last part of Ryan’s speech consisted of an optional hour-long question and answer session, where many students stayed to ask Ryan questions about naps, body types, breakfast, calorie intake and more.

Ryan answered all these questions and insisted he would stay for any other questions.

Becker said Ryan’s presentation was inspiring and college students should care about what he said because nutrition affects their entire lives.

“A little bit now is going to help us so much in the future, and if you just don’t pay attention to your nutrition, it’s going to be really detrimental in your future,” Becker said. “So no matter what you do, it’s going to affect you in the long run.”

Ryan said he enjoys speaking because of the energy created in the room after an unexcited and apprehensive audience shows up.

“When they leave, you can move them where they really enjoy it,” Ryan said. “I like that a lot. Like tonight, seeing all those people that stayed. For really any age group, to be sitting in a room for two hours, bravo!”

If interested in joining, University Speaker Series holds its meetings on Tuesday’s at 6 p.m. in Polk 023, unless there is a speaker that evening.