Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper

The Independent

“Bring Papa Home”

Ashor Jajou, Sports Editor
September 19, 2012
Filed under NFL

Super Bowl talk is already in the air for Chicago Bears fans. The enthusiasm is not without warranty, for the Bears have made some key additions to their team and also have star quarterback Jay Cutler and premiere workhorse running back Matt Forte both back and healthy. The Bears also traded for the...

The “Ab Belt” and the “Perfect Pushup”: Are They Legit?

Nicholas Santana, Assistant News Editor
April 27, 2012
Filed under Health

                  Last issue, we covered the merits of a standard gym exercise, the upper body squat. This issue, we’ll review the merits of two well-known and highly advertised pieces of fitness equipment: The “Ab Belt™” and the “Perfect Pushup™.” The “Ab Belt™” is essentially an electric muscle stimulator that wraps around your midsection. The nodes emit mild electric shocks to the abdominal muscles, causing them to contract. By this function, advertisers of the Ab Belt promote it as a “portable” form of abdominal exercise that you can simply “put on” to transform your midsection. Does the “Ab Belt™” work? Yes and no. In terms of providing electrical stimulation to the abdominal muscles, the “Ab Belt’s™” advertisers keep their promise. In terms of providing the requisite stimulus for producing the sculpted six-packs as seen in its commercials, the “Ab Belt™” is an out-and-out fraud. While the muscular contractions caused by electronic muscle stimulators such as the “Ab Belt™” are indeed legitimate, they are nowhere near the level of intensity required to cause a substantial improvement in muscle-tone. The visibility of ab muscles is almost completely an issue of body composition, with body composition being a matter of caloric fuel-economy. What’s an alternative to the “Ab Belt™?” Good old-fashioned hard sit-ups and leg-raises, which involve much more intense muscular contractions, coupled with a balanced, low-calorie diet. There’s no easy way around the hard work you need to put in, and no short cut to stunning abdominals. The “Perfect Pushup™” is a set of rotating metal handles that are suppose to improve upon the standard pushup exercise by means of providing a more natural positioning and movement of the wrists. It’s simple: In a standard pushup, your hands and wrists are flat on the ground and stationary for the duration of the entire movement, while in a “Perfect” pushup, your hands are grasping handles while your wrists rotate for the duration of the movement. Is this alteration, in fact, an improvement upon the pushup? The answer is yes. Standard pushups, while beneficial, are nevertheless “imperfect” for your joints. They exert pressure right where the hand and wrist meet, increasing the likelihood of arthritis down the road. Furthermore, that pressure can worsen at various points in the actual pushup movement, as the extension of the elbows naturally causes the wrists to try to rotate with the movement. The “Perfect Pushup™” fulfills its promise by allowing a large amount of that pressure to be transferred to the thenar region of the hand—the area between the thumb and the index finger—where there is much more elastic flesh and cartilage to absorb it. Also, it allows the wrists to rotate as they are naturally inclined to do. Is the “Perfect Pushup™” an ideal modality for the perfection of one’s chest, shoulders and triceps? Probably not. It does not replace the parallel-bar-dip, which allows for more resistance and variation, but the “Perfect Pushup™” is definitely a legitimate asset. In closing, I give the “Ab Belt™” an F and the “Perfect Pushup™” an A. The “Perfect Pushup™” is worth buying while the “Ab Belt™” is next to useless. The moral here is to exercise caution when watching infomercials on products such as these. There are gems and there are gimmicks. It may seem hard to determine which is which, but when in doubt, refer to anatomical science.    ...

Men – Eating Heart Healthy

April 27, 2012
Filed under Health

  My culinary journey to become a chef started because of my dad’s influence. We went to many diverse restaurants together and we loved them. My house was also frequently filled with the smells and flavors of wonderful southern food due to my mom’s phenomenal cooking. My dad’s parents were...

Parallel-Bar Dips: The Upper Body Squat

Nicholas Santana, Assistant News Editor
April 17, 2012
Filed under Health

    Last issue, I covered some general, macro-level fitness information. This issue, I will discuss a particular, micro-level concern: that of the timelessly alluring and globally coveted upper-arms. Men everywhere want strong, well-conditioned upper arms. Well-built biceps are universally attractive, for they convey thriving health and masculine dominance. Essential to the performance of an array of physical activities, they are a staple attribute of any athletic physique. Thus, many men take great pains to acquire them. However, many honest trainees fall into the rut of performing exercises primarily for the bicep muscles, such as the curl. While they are not at fault in incorporating them into one’s overall regimen, they are mistaken in believing that such exercises are what really make the arms grow. In actuality, the biceps brachii comprises approximately 40% of the upper arm’s muscular mass. The other 60% is comprised of the triceps. Keeping this in mind, by increasing your triceps training exercises, you can maximize the sculpting effect to your upper arms. There are a number of exercises you can employ to work the triceps, as well as many specialized, sophisticated pieces of equipment available to target them from all sorts of angles. While these can be useful, you can get lost in their variety and complexity and forget about the basics. One such basic is an archaic exercise that requires very little in the way of equipment, the parallel-bar dip. Employed since Greco-Roman times and probably even before that, parallel-bar dips are a primitive but effective exercise. The results they bring are anything but primitive, and that is why they are still in use today. Observe any adult male gymnast and you will not only see strong, well-developed upper arms but a powerful chest and thick shoulders; dips are the reason why. Dips work the triceps, pectorals, and frontal deltoids simultaneously. More difficult and kinesthetically natural than the push up, they are equivalent to squats for the upper body. So how should you perform the parallel-bar dip? Raise yourself up and lower yourself down - it’s no more complicated than that. And that is the beauty of it! The simplicity of execution allows for variations of technique: leaning forward or leaning back, legs raised or legs at rest, elbows tucked or elbows flared, and many more. Experiment with these and create new variations of your own. You can also vary your resistance by using weight attachments. You can turn a breezy set of thirty repetitions into a grueling set of three by increasing the weight as you raise and lower yourself. If you cannot perform dips with your own body weight, have a spotter aid in the movement by carrying your ankles, or perform them on a specialized “dip-machine” that provides a counterweight. 
With parallel-bar dips, you can’t go wrong. You have a panoply of options to vary your upper arm-building routine, and by focusing on your triceps; you will build the arms you’ve always wanted. Make this exercise a staple of your workout-routine and the results will be as timeless as the exercise itself.  ...

It’s Baseball Season But Where Are the Brothers?

Manuel M. Frencha, Staff Writer
April 17, 2012
Filed under MLB

The smell of fresh cut grass, along with the sounds of batted balls being hit tells us that it is springtime, otherwise known as “Baseball Season.” In the African-American community, baseball has a long and celebrated history, as it was the sport that we, as a group of people, gravitated to before...

Hot Dance and Fitness at NEIU

Jacklyn Nowotnik, Arts and Life Editor
March 5, 2012
Filed under Health

          Many of us have classes, work and other responsibilities to attend to, but it is important to schedule some quality work out time. A regular workout routine may be nice but the monotony of typical cardio or the treadmill may decrease a person's motivation to work out over time. If you find yourself in such a slump, then look no further than NEIU's own Zumba class! Held at the NEIU P.E. complex, Zumba is a great solution to cardio fitness boredom. It's a rhythmic and vivacious mix of cardio dance set to the rhythms of Latin, Reggae Dance hall, and hip-hop music, tempered with the sensuality of belly dancing. There are numerous instructors and each one is different in their approach, and may incorporate other genres of music; however it's a great way to get the heart pumping and work up a sweat. The P.E. complex offers several Zumba class times throughout the week. However, for high-energy exercisers, Juan Ortiz's class seems to be the perfect dance getaway from the stresses of college life. Ortiz is a certified group exercise and Zumba instructor and has been in the business of dance fitness for 5 years. His experience in dance fitness has inspired him to create a spin-off of Zumba called "Feevah," which he incorporates into his Zumba class. According to Ortiz, "Feevah" is dance fitness where "some of the music is sped up 3-12 times faster, making this one of the most powerful workouts ever." He successfully manages to incorporate the dance styles of Bachata, Cumbia, Merengue, Mambo, Salsa, Reggaeton, and Juke into a heart-racing dance routine set to the hottest Latin and Club hits, all while keeping the energy of his class at a motivating high. Right before the hour long session with Ortiz is over, he initiates a "cool down" with a slow tempo track which sets a good pace for stretches, relaxation and even breathing. "My class is like Zumba on steroids, and because I'm so passionate about what I do, I believe my energy transfers over into my class." Ortiz's Zumba classes are on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the NEIU P.E. Complex.  ...

The Health Benefits Of Being A Vegetarian

Tamira Harvey, Staff Writer
February 26, 2012
Filed under Health

  If you have decided to become a vegetarian, or have been thinking about going "vegan" either for the health benefits or as a stand against the cruelty of animals, then you're making a smart choice.  Most people don't realize that a lot of their health issues stem from what they put inside their bodies.Being a vegetarian results in becoming more conscientious about the foods and products you buy and consume.  Vegetarians are often healthier eaters and their diets are hydrophilic and rich in antioxidants. A vegetarian diet can help to lower your risks for heart disease, cancer (ovarian and breast cancer, among other forms), diabetes and high blood pressure. A vegetarian diet can also improve your skin complexion, and the condition of your hair and nails. Since most vegetarian diets are full of fiber, vegetarians usually have a more efficient digestive system. A high fiber diet has many holistic health benefits, including regular elimination, detoxification, and decreased risk of colon and rectal cancers. Lowering your cholesterol helps reduce weight gain, obesity and helps prevent heart and kidney diseases. On the conscientious side of vegetarianism, consider that the conditions in the slaughterhouses of the animals we eat are horrific. Industrialized cruelty is a very profitable business for meat producing companies. Unfortunately in many various meat production factories and some animal farms, the animals are not properly cared for. The animals are fed animal byproducts along with grain to increase their weight and meat yield. The areas that the animals are kept in are undersized and unsanitary, increasing the risks of disease transference between animals, and increasing the fatality rates of animals before slaughter. If the animals are not properly fed, sick with disease and open sores, housed around other dead animals, and then slaughtered and sold, it raises the question: is this the kind of meat products that we as a society want passed along to the consumer? That's the risk we take when we consume meat; and yes, this is inhumane treatment towards animals and raises very scary concerns about our long-term health. This issue eventually affects the planet's environmental stability. It takes more energy to feed a carnivorous consumer than it takes to feed an herbivorous one. I hope that after reading this article that these benefits will give you better insight into the beginnings of a healthier lifestyle.   Published: Saturday, February 25, 2012 Updated: Sunday, February 26, 2012 02:02...

White Sox and Cubs Hope to Find Success in 2011 with Revamped Rosters

Jeff Dutton, staff writer
February 7, 2011
Filed under MLB

Baseball's spring training kicks off in a couple of weeks with pitchers and catchers set to report to camp in the middle of February. Both the White Sox and Cubs have pinned their hopes of bringing home a championship on revamped rosters. 2011 will see new faces both on the mound, and in the field for...

Make the Most of Your Semester

Matthew Von Moss, Staff Writer
February 7, 2011
Filed under Intramural

The month of January has come and gone, taking with it many of our new year's resolutions. No matter if we swore to lose weight, get out of debt, or learn something about boxing, our good intentions could not overcome the unpleasant demands of commitment. After all, when the sweat starts to flow on your...

NEIU Intramural Sports Season

Roberto Rivera, Staff Writer
February 7, 2011
Filed under Intramural

The hard work that the student body endures every semester also comes with stresses that are sometimes overwhelming. However, these stresses can easily be subdued with some physical activity that is available at the Physical Education Complex. The Spring Intramural Season provides various activities...

Derrick Rose: MVP?

Brian Rogers, Contributor
January 25, 2011
Filed under NBA

Lebron James. Kobe Bryant. Dirk Nowitzki. Steve Nash. Derrick Rose? The list of former MVP winners is a Who's Who of future Hall of Famers. Does Derrick Rose truly belong on that list? Over the years, Chicago has watched Derrick Rose mature from a budding high school star, to a freshmen phenom in Memphis, almost winning a national championship, to a number one pick in the NBA draft, to becoming the go-to guy on a nightly basis for the storied Chicago Bulls. He was the Rookie-of-the-Year, an All-Star in his second year and recorded his first career triple-double on Dr. Martin Luther King Day against the Memphis Grizzlies. At the age of 22, he has displayed seemingly inexhaustible energy, drive, heart, leadership, and an uncanny knack for knocking down clutch shots down the stretch. His game has improved drastically since his rookie campaign, and his experience winning the gold medal at the World Championship with Team USA has boosted his game up another level. His ball distribution has improved, as has his maturity and ability to run the floor. He is a more consistent scorer and has carried the team on his back during stretches, especially with the injuries to Boozer and Noah. There have been knocks against him. His defense has been questioned and it is said that he doesn't get to the free-throw line enough. These are areas that he has worked on, and his improvement has been evident this season. One thing that has never been questioned, though, is his athleticism. He has tremendous speed and an incredible leaping ability that few in the league can match. His vertical exploits are regularly featured on nationwide sports replays. So where does Rose stack up with the elite this season, and does he have a legitimate chance at being the MVP? He currently ranks 7th in points per game (24.5) 9th in assists per game (8.1) and among guards in the league he ranks 1st in points + rebounds + assists per game with an astounding 37.3 per game. He is undoubtedly one of the league's best players. There's no question that Rose is a special talent. He was the number one pick for a reason. He fills the seats at the United Center and he fills the city with pride through his outstanding play, his determination, by the way he carries himself, and through his will to win. He is quiet and reserved and doesn't display the enormous ego that has become so common with today's players. More importantly, the Bulls are winning. They have been on a roll and are tough to beat at home. Rose is the main reason why, keeping the team together through adversity. Will he win the MVP this season? He's close to being the number one player in the NBA. He is the Bulls franchise and the team's most valuable player, but we have yet to see his best game. He is a young player, and he is on the threshold of super-stardom. With the right development and talent surrounding him, he will be the league MVP before long. Since Jordan's retirement, the city of Chicago has waited for another superstar caliber player to come along, someone to root for, and someone to spark our hopes for another championship run. That player has arrived in Derrick Rose....

The Icemen Cometh: NEIU’s Mens Hockey Team!

Roberto Rivera, Staff Writer
January 25, 2011
Filed under Intramural

    Northeastern Illinois University’s Golden Eagle center Ryan Kutak faces off against a rival center. Bringing in the spring semester with Chicago's usual cold January weather seems befitting to have a winter sport to accommodate the season. Therefore, hockey lovers within the NEIU student body have come together to represent NEIU with a hockey club born from the pure love of the sport. Officially, NEIU does not have a certified competing hockey team in any collegiate athletic organization, but with the organizing of the NEIU Men's Hockey Club, the team has taken the first steps to becoming a fully supported NEIU sports team. The NEIU Eagles Hockey Club formed in November of last year and has slowly progressed into what appears to be a well-organized club. Jack Spethmann and Steve Yost, Head Coach and Assistant Captain respectively, are partially responsible for being the first organizers of the club, and have addressed the amount of dedication and hard work that is required in keeping a hockey club in working order. When it comes to eventually becoming a fully organized school team, Spethmenn said, "Everything has been a difficulty. It's been hard to find players from within the school to join." The club's ultimate goal is to eventually become a member of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA). Along with the problem of finding players, the team also has an extensive set of requirements they must first meet in order to be allowed into the ACHA and thereby officially be recognized as a school team. The team currently plays under the Men's Hockey League at the Northbrook Sports Center where they compete against other teams in the community. Although the team holds its origin from within NEIU, playing through Northbrook's Hockey League has allowed players from Northbrook's community to join, some of which have even expressed an interest in attending NEIU in order to support the organizing of a NEIU Hockey club. With the recent Stanley Cup Championship won by the Chicago Blackhawks back in June of last year, it would seem as though hockey would have a higher spectator rate, or team memberships within Chicago. However, the truth is that despite hockey's popularity, the sport still has a problem filling up a team roster. Hockey is popular, but unlike other sports it's more difficult to put together a team. Yost explained, "Sports like basketball, baseball, and football, which only require a field or court and ball don't take long to organize. However, hockey requires extensive skill in more areas, and a list of expensive equipment, all of which is hard to come by." Even finding other hockey players is a difficult endeavor Spethmann explained,  "When you meet another hockey player it's almost like you build an immediate bond with them because it's not so often you meet them." For now, the team practices Wednesday nights from 10:40pm – 12:10am at the Oakton Ice Arena in Park Ridge. Although the team is managed from within themselves, the coach Jack Spethmann is dedicated to training and building the team to be well-organized and productive. Their practices run just as professionally and proficient as any other veteran collegiate hockey organization. The club's practice time has proven to be intensive, as both Spethmenn and Yost explained while showing signs of fatigue do to the practice of the night before. The current players are fully dedicated to the club, but it's reasonable to assume that just like any other student at NEIU, one's schedule is usually limited when trying to manage time between school and work. This is why the club continues to ask for more players willing to join in order to keep a full roster come practice time and game day. The team is built from students of all academic years, from freshman to graduate students; with no limitations as to who can join the team. All that is asked from the club is an individual's dedication. "Anyone is welcome to join the club; we need as much support as possible," Said Spethmenn. Spectators are also fully encouraged to attend games. The process of building the team is already well underway, now all the team needs is to garner interest throughout the university. It will be a continuous process in building a fully functioning team, but with the short season the club plans to play throughout the year by joining spring and summer leagues in order to keep up the development of the team. The club is scheduled for five games this season, with the last game on Tuesday February 22 against The University of Chicago. Hoping to raise interest and support for the games, players will be wearing their team jerseys on Tuesday game days and Friday's weekend games. Any kind of support is welcome and appreciated.   For any Further Information visit: http://campusrec.neiu.edu/clubsports.php?p=8 or email them at: [email protected] Remaining Team Schedule (All games at Northbrook Sports Center) Tuesday 2/1/2011 10:10pm  Rink B vs. Scorpions Tuesday 2/22/2011 10:40pm  Rink A  vs. University of Chicago...