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Outdoor Gear Review: Kammok Mantis UL

October 23, 2020

Written by Luke Whitmire, Hydaway Outdoor Center Manager

Camping is a wonderful way to spend an extended period of time in the outdoors. It provides a way to connect with nature by unplugging from our daily lives and intentionally spending time sacrificing the comfort of our homes in favor of being outside. One of the best ways to enjoy this time is to utilize a hammock tent setup rather than a traditional tent. The hammock tent provides several comforts and conveniences that set it far ahead of the traditional tent.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Hammock Tent

There are several advantages that hammock tents provide. First, the hammock provides a comfortable escape from the ground filled with rocks and roots. This allows for camping in many different locations or on hills that would be impossible for tent camping. Hammocks can provide a safe haven above waterlogged campsites and critters. Additionally, most hammock tents provide a lightweight alternative to tent camping. Although high-end minimalistic tents can provide a light shelter, the average hammock tent offers more comfort at a lower weight and often with a lower price point. The hammock eliminates the need for any sleeping pad, eliminating more gear and weight from your pack. The convenience of these advantages provides many reasons why hammock camping might be the right switch for an avid camper.

Although I am a strong proponent of the hammock tent, it does not work for everyone. Despite the comfortable setup, it does not provide as much ability for socialization. In rainy weather, it forces everyone back into their individual hammocks rather than fellowship in a shared tent. In addition, a tent allows for easy storage of extra gear and equipment away from the elements. A hammock tent can provide this, but extra clips, rope, or a gear hammock is often required to suspend gear above the ground under the shelter of the rain fly. This might detract some from making the switch.

Overall, I would recommend everyone to make the switch. Although it may not be worth it the purchase for short car camping trips, it is the obvious choice for any extended stay in the outdoors, especially for backpacking trips or where space or weight capacity is in short supply. If you are looking to switch up the way you experience camping, a hammock tent will change the way you see camping.

Kammok Mantis Ultralight Review

On a whim, I purchased a Kammok Mantis Ultralight hammock tent. At a price of $259, this kit offers a hammock, sewed in bug net, rain fly, and a set of ultralight straps. This offers an all in one package that comes in just below 32 ounces (or 19 ounces without the rainfly), making it ideal for anything from a weekend car camping trip to a week-long backpacking trip. The material is light, durable, and comfortable. It is made with a ripstop fabric that helps to prevent damage to the material. Initially, I was very impressed with the size of the tent. Everything, including the hammock, straps, bug net, rain fly, stakes, and guy chords, packs down into a pouch only slightly bigger than the average water bottle. The setup is very easy and intuitive, making an easy and quick set up and tear down. I have used it around six times and have been very pleased with its performance on each trip! It has yet to fail me and provides an excellent combination of convenience and comfort in the outdoors.

Although this set up might be towards the high end of your price range, there are many cheaper alternatives that will provide a comfortable hammock tent set up. There are many alternatives that each have different advantages and disadvantages. Check out these resources for additional information: Beyond the Tent | REI | Clever Hiker



5 Ways to Improve Sleep

October 16, 2020

Written by Victoria Dissmore, Marketing Employee

Getting a good night’s sleep is an integral part of your overall health and wellbeing, especially as a student. You need that sleep to be able to focus in class and do your homework well. If you’re having trouble sleeping or want to get better, deeper sleep, check out these five tips for improving your sleep quality.

Dim Your Lights

Having lights on around you at night will delay your melatonin production, telling your body that it’s not time to sleep and making it harder to fall asleep at bedtime. Instead of turning all your lights on at full brightness, dim them if they have a dimmer switch or unscrew a couple of lightbulbs if it’s a multi-bulb light. Also consider completely turning off overhead lights and switching on a lamp that’s not as bright.

You can also light a few candles or hang string lights to set the mood in the evening so by bedtime you’re ready to fall asleep.

One more thing to note is that darkness is crucial for a good night’s sleep, so try to shut out as much light as possible. Blackout curtains might be a good investment if it’s bright outside your bedroom windows and be sure to close your bedroom door if there’s light out in your living area.

Stay Off Screens

You can dim your lights all you want but if you’re still looking at your bright, blue-light producing screens up until bedtime, you won’t be ready to fall asleep because your brain will still be wide awake. Try staying off your phone, tablet, and computer at least 90 minutes before bed.

If you must look at your screen devices, try turning on a yellow-orange filter like night shift mode for Apple products, and wear blue-light blocking glasses to prevent exposing your eyes to the harmful light.

Instead of watching Netflix or scrolling through Instagram before bed, try doing non-screen activities like…

  • Journaling
  • Doing a jigsaw puzzle
  • Stretching
  • Drawing or painting
  • Coloring in a coloring book
  • Doing a crossword puzzle
  • Listening to a podcast
  • Reading a traditional paper book, like your Bible!

Have a Consistent Bedtime

Studies suggest that in order to get the best sleep, you need to go to sleep at the same time every night. This will get your body into a rhythm so you can fall asleep better and wake up more refreshed. Similarly, it’s also important to wake up at the same time every morning so your body gets used to waking up at that time.

Avoid Certain Foods

The foods you eat before bed actually have a significant impact on the quality of your sleep, so here are some foods to avoid and why:

  • Protein: protein takes a lot of energy to digest, and one of the amino acids in protein promotes brain activity which will keep you up into the night
  • Dairy: avoid eating that late-night ice cream snack because the high fat content triggers a higher acid production in your stomach, leading to acid reflux or heartburn
  • Celery: yes, celery is a healthy vegetable, but avoid this food before bed unless you want to get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night
  • Spicy food: these will get your blood pumping and raise your body temperature, neither of which are conducive to a good night’s sleep

Eat Certain Foods

If you are still hungry after dinner but before bedtime, try eating these types of foods instead:

  • Protein + carbs: protein by itself might not be the best nighttime snack, but protein coupled with carbs, like almond butter with apple slices, will help stabilize your blood sugar levels for better sleep through the night
  • Bananas: these yellow fruits contain lots of magnesium which is known to be relaxing for muscles and nerves
  • Honey: just one teaspoon of honey before bed can stimulate melatonin production and shut off orexin, the hormone that makes you alert
  • Oats: grab a bowl of oatmeal or granola for a bedtime snack rich in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, which encourages insulin and melatonin production

Give a few of these tips a try and you will notice your sleep quality improve!


Breathing While Running

October 8, 2020

Written by Nikki Kilian, Fitness Coordinator

During my sophomore year of college, I signed up for the advanced running class (Phys Ed 236). I had enjoyed running but wanted to learn how to be better at it. I was looking for a technical formula and concrete answer. What I gained was so much better. One of the many questions I had about how to improve my running was how to breathe. To unfold this idea, first you need to determine your goals: Are you doing interval training or distance running?

Interval Training

If you are conducting sprints, you will get out of breath. The key here is to get breathless, let yourself recover, and then sprint again. (Do not go breathless if your doctor advises you not to, if you have a medical condition, or if you are pregnant).

The benefit to doing sprints is that you will achieve maximum caloric burn in a short amount of time and doing high intensity interval training (HIIT) actually allows your body to continue burning calories throughout the day. This is because aerobic activity causes excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).

Distance Running

When aiming for distance, a good rule of thumb is to run at a conversational pace, as advised by the legendary Dr. Horton. (if you don’t know him, take PhysEd 235 or 236—it’s a good time.)

Now to some, and to myself at the time, talking while running may seem like a malicious form of torture. But it works. If you are able to carry on a conversation with the person next to you, then you are able to breathe well while running. In a conversational pace, you should be able to run for a while (approximately 26.2 miles, speaking from experience).

If you are looking for a new personal record (PR) then you may need to increase the pace a bit, which would then make it harder to keep up a conversation. At this pace, make sure you can still speak 3-5-word sentences somewhat regularly. If you are gasping for air, then you are not at a maintainable pace.

Variables to Consider

Hills will make your entire body work harder from your cardiorespiratory system, to your musculoskeletal system. Therefore, anticipate breathing heavier on hills. Tip: In Dr. Horton’s running class, he advocated for walking hills. Dr. Horton explained that your heart rate running on flat road was approximately the same as power walking up a steep hill. So feel free to walk uphill!

Weather can also play a significant role in your respiratory capability. Humidity and heat, specifically, can make breathing evenly a bigger challenge. On these days, try to run in the morning before the heat or humidity, indoors if that is an option, or alternate walking and running.

Lastly, you will be a variable. You will feel different every day. Some days you may get out of breath faster, and that’s okay. Give yourself grace and do not be too hard on yourself. Allow yourself the freedom to walk if you need to. Listen to your body and respond with what it is asking you to do.

10 Restful Activities for Your Sabbath

October 2, 2020

Written by Victoria Dissmore, Marketing Employee

It can be hard to take a whole day to rest when you have homework piling up, but the Sabbath is an important spiritual discipline that will keep you from burnout while strengthening your relationship with God.

Taking a Sabbath doesn’t have to mean sitting around doing nothing or watching Netflix all day. The Sabbath is meant to be an enjoyable, restful time with the Lord, which should make you want to prioritize getting your homework done at other times.

Whatever day you choose to Sabbath, these suggested activities will give you a fun break from work to help you enjoy God and delight in the life He’s given you.

Bake Cookies

I don’t know about you, but I feel like Fall is the perfect baking season. Find a friend who lives on East or off-campus and get a few more friends together for an afternoon in the kitchen. Baking or cooking something simple is a way to spend quality time together doing a shared activity and enjoying each other’s company. And then you can eat whatever it is you made together!

Watch a Movie at the Theatre

There’s something special about going out to see a movie as opposed to watching one at home. You get to leave your worries outside, sit in comfy seats for at least two hours without the distraction of your phone, and you get to focus on just one thing. It’s also fun having a shared experience with the people around you.

This applies to seeing a theater performance or an orchestra concert, as well. Did you know that Lynchburg’s Regal is now open? Check out what movies they’re playing here.

Write Letters to Friends & Family

You could Facetime or email or text them, but writing letters is so much more special. Your friends and family members will appreciate the handwritten note in the mail, and the time you take to write it out will be refreshing for you, too.

Take a Day Trip

Sometimes you just need to get out of the Liberty bubble. There are so many places to explore in the surrounding area that would be a great place to drive to for the day. Try…

  • Going on one of the many hikes near Lynchburg (i.e. Sharp Top, McAfee’s Knob)
  • Visiting one of Virginia’s beautiful lakes (i.e. Lake Anna, Lake Moomaw)
  • Exploring a nearby city (i.e. Roanoke, Charlottesville)

Go to a Local Sports Game

Obviously, this one might be a little tricky in 2020. But even if you’re not into sports, it can be fun to go out and cheer for a team! You could go to a Lynchburg Hillcats baseball game, or if you have any local friends with kids, you could ask to go with them to their kids’ sports game. And of course, you can go to one of Liberty’s many sports games, including club sports and intramurals.


There’s nothing like the wide-open starry sky to remind you that God is bigger than that paper you have to write or that test you have to study for. Try to find a spot on campus without too much light, but for a real view drive out to Liberty’s very own observatory just past the Liberty Mountain Equestrian Center.

Go for a Jog

Take a minute to appreciate the body God has given you and go for a jog! Getting your heart rate up and your blood circulating will be just the boost you need to get back to studying after your sabbath. You can also work out at our lovely LaHaye Rec & Fit Center. You can run, walk, lift weights, rock climb, play some basketball, swim some laps and more!


Just like writing letters to friends and family, journaling can also be refreshing, not to mention therapeutic. It’s a way to get all your thoughts and worries out of your head where you can process them and bring them to God. Writing with pen and paper is also a good way to rest your eyes from looking at screens all day.

Read a Book

You’re probably tired of reading for school but reading a good book for fun could be the rejuvenating break you need, especially a fantasy or realistic fiction novel. Sometimes it can even be fun to read a children’s chapter book, and it doesn’t take as much brain work as reading your textbooks.

Sit Outside

Have you ever gone outside and just sat? No phone, no homework, maybe even by yourself? Sometimes it can be really refreshing to just sit with nature and breathe in the fresh air. Our very own Hydaway has lots of great spots to sit and relax with the God who created the nature you’re surrounded by.

Find Your Passion at LMGC

September 25, 2020

Written by Bill Crawford, General Manager of Liberty Mountain Gun Club

The morning started off with a quiet calm and just a bit of low-lying fog. Rumors of “record-breaking weather” were murmured until the lead edge of the cold front started to blow in. Now everyone is conceding defeat, but not you. You suspected the front would bring crazy winds, and you were right.

You’re at the 1000-yard Benchrest Shooting National Championship and surprisingly find yourself as one of the favorites. Who would have thought just few years earlier you had wandered up to Liberty Mountain Gun Club with no experience and no expectations whatsoever? The Range Safety Officers and staff there immediately made you feel comfortable and encouraged you to learn.

Undiscovered Talent

You quickly found your passion in precision rifle shooting. When you found out there was an academic rifle shooting class, you were pleasantly surprised. Who would ever have thought you could get two credits learning to shoot? So you became a regular at the range and your skills grew rapidly.

While LMGC offers 100, 200, and 300-yard shooting ranges (which are good distances to learn precision and some wind reading), your tastes grew to longer ranges—600 yards, then 1000. From contacts you made while studying at Liberty, you even got an opportunity to engage steel targets at over a mile away!

Friendly Competition

Back at the national championship, as you stare downrange, you notice the 200-yard wind flag blowing slightly to the left, the 400-yard flag blowing strongly to the right, and the 800-yard flag blowing up. UP?! You make note of this anomaly and wonder how on earth a flag can be blown straight up. This is going to be a fun and challenging day.

About then, one of the world’s greatest shooters and defending national champion walks up next to you. He looks to the flags and casually observes, “Our kind of weather huh?” You nod and say you sure hope so.

You find a sense of pride and are humbled at the same time that someone like him would make such a comment to you, like you were long-time pals—even equals! He knows you went to school at Liberty and learned how to shoot there, and he finds it intriguing that a university has such a rare facility within their campus recreation department.

After a friendly exchange, you wish him luck, shake his hand, and say you hope to meet him in the finals. Then, with one last look downrange, you head back to your car to prepare for the day of shooting, in the sport you grew to love those few short years ago.

To view hours and find more information, visit Liberty.edu/LMGC

Dorm-Friendly Meals

September 14, 2020

Written by Victoria Dissmore, Marketing Employee

Do you ever have those mealtimes when you don’t feel like going to the Rot, or you just want a change? You can easily make meals in your dorm room microwave that are still healthy — well, relatively healthy. In this blog, you will learn the basics of microwave cooking so you can mix and match different foods to make your own custom meals. Note: For all of your microwave creations, be sure your mug or plate or bowl is microwavable!


Eggs are super easy to cook in the microwave.

  • Crack a couple in a mug
  • Beat them with a fork until smooth
  • Microwave for 2-3 minutes

You can add veggies and cheese for an omelet or scramble them up with some fried rice.


Who doesn’t love some good pasta?

  • Throw some macaroni in a mug
  • Add equal parts water (ex: 1/2 cup of water for 1/2 cup of macaroni)
  • Microwave for 2-3 minutes.

Add whatever toppings you want (mac and cheese, anyone?) and microwave for another 30 seconds for a heartwarming meal.


If you’re craving a loaded baked potato or sweet potato, here’s how to cook one in the microwave:

  • Poke holes all over potato with a fork (so the potato doesn’t explode)
  • Coat potato with oil and salt if desired
  • Wrap potato loosely with a damp paper towel to hold in the moisture
  • Microwave 7-9 minutes


You can even get some steamed veggies from your microwave endeavors.

  • Add 1/2 cup of fresh broccoli to a microwavable bowl
  • Drizzle on 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Add 1 tablespoon water
  • Sprinkle a little bit of salt to taste
  • Cover with a damp paper towel to keep the moisture in
  • Microwave 2 minutes


Get those carbs in with a steaming bowl of rice.

  • Add 1/2 cup dry rice to a microwavable bowl
  • Add 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Stir and cover with a microwaveable plate
  • Microwave 6-8 minutes or until water is gone

Spaghetti Squash

If you have a sharp knife and a cutting board, you can add this tasty gourd to your meal creation.

  • Cut spaghetti squash open long-ways
  • Scoop out all the seeds
  • Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper on the open halves
  • Microwave 10-15 minutes until soft
  • Scrape the sides of each half with a fork to get the fruit out

You can even warm up some frozen meatballs and pasta sauce (microwave 1-2 minutes or as directed on package) for a fun take on spaghetti and meatballs!

French Toast

If you want to make your own breakfast, or you’re craving breakfast for dinner, whip up some mug French toast!

  • Cut any kind of thick and sturdy bread (brioche, challah, French baguette) into bite-sized cubes and drop into a large microwaveable mug
  • In a separate bowl, mix 1 egg, 1 tablespoon milk, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until smooth.
  • Add fresh blueberries to the mug of bread cubes (add both at the same time to mix better)
  • Pour egg mixture over bread and blueberries, soaking each bread cube
  • Microwave 1 minute 30 seconds
  • Drizzle on maple syrup and enjoy!
  • *You can also do this with bananas and chocolate chips instead of blueberries*

Hopefully these recipes and tips give you the tools you need to make your own microwave meals! With the guidelines above, you’ll be on your way to becoming a master microwave chef in no time.

      LaHaye & David’s Place COVID-19 Regulations & Policies

      September 10, 2020

      Written by Lauren Shaw, Assistant Director of Operations

      Over the last six months, you have probably become quite familiar with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, as well as the importance of social distancing, hand washing, and wearing a mask. You’ve probably heard the phrase “the new normal” and thought to yourself, “What does this mean to me?”. According to the writers of the Oxford English Dictionary, the phrase has been defined as “a previously unfamiliar or atypical situation that has become standard, usual, or expected.”

      As we continue to navigate the Fall 2020 Semester at Liberty University, operations and policies at LaHaye Recreation & Fitness Center and David’s Place look a little different than they have in the years past. Our “new normal” includes abiding by the state executive orders and the Virginia Department of Health’s coronavirus guidelines for all fitness and recreational facilities. In this post, you will find what we are currently doing as a facility to preserve the health and safety of our Liberty community — including students, faculty, staff, and guests. Current modifications for safety include limited capacity, spacing of participants and equipment, enhanced disinfection, navigational flow, and reduced recreational play.

      Preventative Measures


      • LaHaye Rec & Fit and David’s Place are both operating at a limited capacity.
      • LaHaye’s busiest hours are between 4 – 6 P.M. — during this time, we encourage you to visit David’s Place Fitness if you do not want to wait in line.
      • Due to the increasing amount of traffic at the front of LaHaye, there are designated entrances and exits to improve traffic flow.
      • An active membership to LaHaye Rec & Fit, utilizing a Flames Pass or temporary membership card, is required to utilize LaHaye Rec & Fit and David’s Place.
      • Due to capacity limitations and operational modifications, LaHaye will only be offering guest passes to immediate family members of Liberty affiliates until 3 p.m. daily. LaHaye will not be offering alumni memberships at this time.


      According to the Liberty University Coronavirus Guidelinesmasks are required inside any campus building — this includes when entering and exiting LaHaye Rec & Fit and David’s Place. Masks are encouraged to be worn at all times, except when swimming, using cardiovascular equipment, and during group exercise classes.

      Physical Distancing

      Members must distance themselves six feet apart from others in lines and while walking through LaHaye and David’s Place. Members additionally must stay at least ten feet apart during exercise.


      Members must take an active role in wiping down equipment before and after use, frequent hand washing/sanitizing, and following directional signage to ensure a safe environment for all participants and staff. Staff is responsible for cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces, equipment, and each area of the facility.


      Fitness and Cardio Floors

      • Equipment and machines are spaced to meet distancing protocols.
      • The indoor track is open and all walkers and runners are encouraged to maintain ten feet of physical distance.

      Group Exercise

      • Hand sanitizer use is required when entering or leaving a class. Each classroom has floor decals spaced 10 feet apart indicating where participants can stand.
      • Participants must wipe down their equipment before and after class.
      • Instructor will wipe down equipment while wearing a mask and gloves after participants leave.

      Personal Training

      • Trainers will wear masks while training clients and maintain at least 6-foot distancing except when spotting or assisting.
      • Trainers are responsible for disinfecting equipment before and after use
      • The Personal Training Lab capacity is limited to 4 people.

      Rock Wall

      • To promote safe distancing, the LaHaye Rock Wall is on a reservation system that allows one person to reserve one of four zones in the bouldering area.
      • Each zone consists of two bouldering walls, and members can reserve their section for an hour time slot.
      • The holds and wall will be cleaned between reservations.
      • The tower and roped area are closed.
      • Equipment checkout is closed. Street shoes will be allowed.
      • Individuals are permitted to bring in their own equipment but are encouraged to not share their equipment with others.
      • All programming at the LaHaye Rock Wall will be limited to keep groups small.


      • LaHaye Aquatic Center
        • Members are encouraged to wear masks prior to entering the water.
        • Members must shower before entering the water.
        • Lane capacity is limited to 3 members.
        • Swim equipment must be disinfected between members.
        • Hot tubs, diving board, and recreational sports are not permitted.
      • David’s Place Pool
        • David’s Place Pool is operating at a limited capacity.
        • 10 feet of distance must be maintained at all times between non-family members.
        • Chairs on the pool deck cannot be moved.

      Sports & Recreation

      • To maintain social distancing, all unorganized play will be limited to individual play with one half-court or half-field assigned to each member.
      • Organized sports, including university athletic teams, club sports teams, and Intramurals, will be permitted to play under new policies and procedures upon scheduling approval. Organized sports will be regulated through symptom screening and/or temperature checks prior to each practice or game.
      • Equipment checkout is closed. Towels are still available.
      • Individuals are permitted to bring their own equipment but are encouraged to not share their equipment with others.

      The Virginia Department of Health and Executive Orders from the Governor are continually reviewed and have changed frequently. As changes occur, updates about policies will be communicated through our website and social media platforms as well as relevant signage around our facilities.

      Thank you for your cooperation with our rules and regulations. We are excited to continue to offer recreational fitness opportunities this semester. For hours of operations, please see the LaHaye Rec & Fit page and the David’s Place page.


          Capturing the River

          September 4, 2020

          Written by Katy Ward, Outdoor Adventure Manager

          The river. Complexly magnificent. It does not matter which river; they are all majestic in their own ways. The way the water flows, the rocks that have found their places at the bottom, the trees that seem to be holding onto the edges of the banks, the fish that frequent the shallows—each aspect is individually beautiful. But, together they paint a vivid masterpiece.  It seems now with our phones, screens, and constant communication that we have a harder time connecting with natural spaces. We want to take the quick picture and post about the experience. I would challenge each of you to soak up your next experience using all 5 senses. Rivers and water can be so comforting, and I hope you are able to get out on one and practice this wellness exercise!


          When you come to a river edge, take a minute. Look around. Watch as the water moves around the rocks and fallen trees. See the sparkle of the sun reflecting off the river. Gaze upon the breeze as it blows through the trees and bushes. Is the water fast? Or is it a nice steady flow? Is it crystal clear or a little murky? Watch the dragonflies dart around, only resting for a moment at a time on the water’s surface. There are so many things to take in and they are all simply beautiful.


          Stop. Close your eyes and just listen to the river. Hear the water trickle and bubble. Concentrate on the sounds that the wind makes blowing through the trees and rippling the water. Listen to the crickets and frogs and birds while they sing their songs. Do you hear any billowing waves? Can you hear the peace in the air? It is calming and beautiful.

          Now open your eyes and listen. Do the noises change now that you can see what is causing them? Be aware of them, but do not be scared, it is all-natural.


          Step into the water, ankle-deep. Feel the current against your legs. If you close your eyes, you will probably feel the power behind the river, it might even unbalance you a little bit. That is okay, bend with the flow of the water. Run your hands through the river. It will give you a brand-new understanding of being in tune with creation.


          Slow your breathing down and focus on the scents. The air on the river is most likely the freshest air you have ever smelled. It is crisp and new. The smells are probably the most underrated aspect of any trip, but especially on a river. The aroma will seep into your body when truly immersed and concentrated. It will help to relieve tension and stress.


          The hardest of the five senses is taste because you definitely should not drink the river water. Please do not do that. But make sure to pack food and yummy snacks for your day on the river. Slim Jims and Fruit Smiles are a fan favorite with our personal trips, and they always seem to hit a little different when on the river. Take your time eating, notice every flavor, using your taste buds to their fullest capacity.

          Use All Your Senses

          A river can change you. It will change you if you give it the opportunity. It will push you to try new things and challenge the way that you look at the world. Look for the beauty, listen for the harmony, feel the heartbeat, smell the seasons, and taste the snacks. On your next trip, make sure to slow down and walk through each of your senses at some point, making your experience deeper and more meaningful. Capture the river for all it has to offer.


              Food for Fuel

              August 27, 2020

              Written by Danielle Ledgerwood and Hayley Swenski, Intramural Sports Staff

              Whether you’re about to spend the next hour crushing it in the Training Loft, or you have an indoor soccer game at 7 p.m. — your nutrition matters! Next time you’re heading out to exercise, or you just finished an intense game of volleyball, consider some of these healthy and effective snacks.


              These are some snack ideas to give you the energy you need to power through anything. Ideally, eat one of these 30-60 minutes before you plan to exercise.

              Trail mix

              • You can customize this however you want! Include dried fruit, seeds, a grain (cheerios, pretzels, popcorn), and almonds, and you’re good to go! Trail mix is a great source of protein, fat, carbs, and fiber before a workout.

              Greek yogurt, fruit and granola

              • This snack is both cheap and effective. It’s also incredibly customizable — add what you want for fast, metabolizing protein and fat. The fruit and granola also add a great carb source to keep you full and energized for your workout.

              Energy bites

              • Easy to store and grab on the go for an extra boost of energy. Make sure to make these ahead of time, and let them cool in your fridge. You can find plenty of recipes on the internet, but this is a great one.


              After you finish up, you’re going to need some post-workout/post-game protein to help your muscles recover. These are some ideas of things to eat 30-60 minutes after for optimal absorption!

              Veggie Wrap
              • For something more filling, opt for a lean protein, like turkey, with a whole grain wrap and veggies of choice to create the perfect combination of protein, carbs, and fiber to help your muscles recover after a workout.

              Protein shake

              • Add Greek yogurt, spinach, strawberries, blueberries, almond milk, cinnamon, and a few ice cubes and blend. For extra protein, add a vanilla protein powder. This works great if you’re constantly on the go, and it’s packed full of protein, carbs, fat, and antioxidants for a refreshing post-workout recovery.

              Protein bar

              • Research the best option for what your body needs (low sugar, higher protein, etc.), and grab some at your local grocery store. It’s a super quick and easy snack between the gym and wherever you need to be next!

              It’s important to find healthy and delicious snacks that fit within your lifestyle and help you improve performance and achieve all your fitness goals!

                  Horse Talk 101

                  August 19, 2020

                  Written by Kimberly Counts, Barn Staff

                  Have you ever looked at a horse and wondered what they might be thinking? Horses communicate in mysterious ways, but if you look closely, you can figure out what they are trying to tell you.


                  Horses are generally very expressive creatures who have an interesting way of telling you what they’re thinking! They have a unique system to communicate amongst themselves and people. I’m sure you’ve heard a horse whinny, but do you know what it means? Whinnying and neighing are a horse’s way of letting you know what they are feeling or telling you they want something. These sounds can mean a variety of things like: “I’m hungry,” “Take me outside,” or “Pay attention to me!” If you walk through the Liberty Mountain Equestrian Center around 4:30 P.M., you will hear a chorus of whinnies from hungry horses demanding their food. If we happen to be even a few minutes late, we have about 50 hungry horses telling us it’s time to eat! Horses thrive on a schedule and are quick to learn what time things get done.

                  Another way they can “talk” to us is through snorting. A snort generally means they’re alarmed by something, and it can be their way of assessing the situation. For the most part, the snorts are loud when a horse is scared. Some of our horses here at Liberty snort when they get excited or are feeling particularly wild (especially in the cold weather!).

                  Lastly, horses often squeal when they get excited or are trying to play. Squealing is their way of saying “Yippee” and letting loose. Sometimes we’ll have to keep our horses in their stalls for a few days because of weather, and it’s not unusual for us to hear lots of squealing when we turn them out again. Squeals can also be used to figure out the dynamics of a group of horses. When horses meet each other for the first time, they often squeal as a greeting and figuring out who’s in charge.


                  The head of a horse can also tell you a lot about what they might be feeling or how they are going to act towards you. Looking at a horse’s ears is an easy way to figure out what mood they’re in. Ears up means they’re happy, interested, and overall in a good mood. If you see their ears go straight back and are pinned flat against their head — walk away! This means they’re angry, unhappy, and most likely want you to leave them alone. Most of the time, you’ll see horses with their ears somewhat relaxed and drooping to the sides. This type of expression is showing you that the horse is stress-free, content, and feels comfortable.

                  You’ll also sometimes see a horse “smile” by lifting their top lip and showing you their teeth. Funny enough, this is their way of saying they smell or taste something weird. Don’t be offended if a horse does it after sniffing you — I’m sure they’re just trying to tell you they like your perfume.

                  As you can see, there are a variety of ways a horse can “talk” to you. It’s important to know what you’re looking for in order to get a better understanding of what they’re trying to tell you. Remember to look at their faces for an indication of their mood and pay attention to their ears!

                  At the Liberty Mountain Equestrian Center, we love having visitor’s stop by and see the horses. View our website for visiting hours, and we can’t wait to introduce you to some of our sweetest horses!