21 Things I Learned In 21 Years Of Life

21 Things I Learned In 21 Years Of Life

Learn to laugh at yourself.
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I am two decades and one day wiser. I have learned, I have laughed and I have lost. Some may consider themselves an adult at 21, I still feel much like a child.

In lieu of my 21st birthday, here’s a list of a few things I have learned during my 21 years of life.

1. Always shop at Goodwill

2. Put your phone down when you're outside

3. Make time to watch the sunset, its good for the soul

4. Liquor over beer, always

5. It's only awkward if you make it awkward

6. Emergen-C saves lives

7. Take LOTS of pictures, don't feel embarrassed

8. Spend money on experiences- not things (unless at Goodwill)

9. Go pet that dog

10. Always eat before a long night out

11. Bring hot sauce to Spain !! and ranch !!

12. People will come in and out of your life, don't take it personally

13. Make time to stretch and meditate every night before bed

14. Make your bed every morning, you'll feel less stress and it promotes productivity throughout the day

15. You'll never be perfect, don't expect your parents to be either

16. Look after your siblings, they'll all you'll have left

17. Always forgive, grudges hurt you more than anyone else

18. Learn to laugh at yourself

19. Think before you speak, you never know the full story

20. It is okay to move on and away from comfortability, that is when you really get to live

21. Learn to love yourself, and love everyone and everything around you. The world needs more of it.

With greater age comes greater knowledge. The capacity of knowledge is boundless. We can never stop learning.

At this moment in time, I’m not exactly sure where life will take me, but I do know I’ll have the opportunity to learn so much along the way. In 21 more years, who know's where my lessons will take me.

Cover Image Credit: Chynna Chan

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Everything You Need To Know About BANG Energy Drinks

Say goodbye to your favorite pre-workout drink.
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BANG energy drinks from VPX Sports are the hottest new products for athletes everywhere. On every can, you'll find their catchphrase "Potent Brain & Body Fuel" and it gives you just that. Clean energy, laser-sharp focus, and no sugar induced crashes are just a few of the reasons these bad boys are flying off the shelves faster than retailers can keep them stocked. Haven't heard of them? Sound too good to be true? Let me answer your questions.

What is it? It's an energy drink that's kind of like your typical Red Bull or Monster. It's a perfect substitution for pre-workout supplements or coffee.

Who's it meant for? Anyone! A better question to ask is, "Who isn't this drink meant for?" On the can, you'll find a recommendation for no one under the age of 18 to consume the drink. You also may want to steer clear of it if you're sensitive to stimulants like caffeine.

What's in it? BANG energy drinks contain zero calories, zero carbohydrates, and zero sugar. But what you can find are BCAA's, CoQ10, creatine, and copious amounts of caffeine. These are things athletes often take as supplements.

What are BCAA's? BCAA's are Branched Chain Amino Acids. They are known to stimulate protein synthesis, increase muscle function, decrease your soreness after a workout, and even aid in repairing damaged muscles.

What's CoQ10? Coenzyme Q10 is found in the mitochondria of your cells and sparks energy production. It helps produce energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. People often take this as a dietary supplement when they feel tired or lethargic.

What's super creatine? Creatine does a great job in enhancing athletic performance by aiding growth of lean body mass (AKA muscle). When you take creatine orally, the amount in your muscles increase and helps regenerate ATP more efficiently. According to the nutrition label, this so-called "super" creatine is bonded to Leucine to make Creatyl-L-Leucine. On SupplementReviews.com, a VPX Sports representative allegedly said the following about the Super Creatine in the drink:

"The creatine in there is actually something very special...it is the world's only water stable creatine. It is Creatine-Leucine peptide. Think of this...if you mix creatine in water, it sinks and if you mix leucine in water, it floats....if you combine the two into a peptide, it creates a water soluble and water-stable form of creatine. It also has a fatty acid chain that makes it easier to cross the blood brain barrier. The focus of the super creatine is not for muscle function, but for cognition...by combining this form of creatine with caffeine, it works synergistically for mental focus."

How much caffeine is in one can? In one can of BANG, you'll be blessed with 300mg of caffeine. This is the equivalent to over three cups of coffee.

Is that even safe? Yeah, it is. In order for the caffeine in the energy drink to be lethal at any capacity, I would have to drink 30.7 cans.

So, what are the downsides? There are two things that come to mind. One is that consumers have no idea how much BCAA's, CoQ10, or creatine is actually in the drink. It could very likely be trace amounts too small to do anything beneficial. Two, BANG energy drinks do not go through the FDA approval process.

Is it really that good? Well, out of 113 reviews of the product on Bodybuilding.com, there's an average 9.6 overall rating. Most reviews comment on the quality of the energy, the cognitive focus, and the non-existent crash once the drink wears off.

What kind of flavors can I get? There are currently eight BANG energy drink flavors on the market: Black Cherry Vanilla, Cotton Candy, Sour Heads, Star Blast, Blue Razz, Champagne Cola, Power Punch, and Lemon Drop.

Where can I buy BANG energy drinks? You can find BANG energy drinks at Amazon, your local GNC or Vitamin Shoppe retailers, Bodybuilding.com, VPX Sports' website, some gas stations, and privately owned retailers.

How expensive are they? This depends on where you make your purchase. The cheapest place to purchase your BANG energy drinks is at Bodybuilding.com for about $2.00 per can. You can find similar prices on Amazon and at your local retailers. The energy drinks are most expensive through the VPX website where you'll pay about $2.75 per can.

How does BANG compare to other energy drinks? I'll give you some data on nutrition facts and you can make your decisions based on that:

16 oz. BANG: 300mg caffeine, 0g carbohydrates, 0g sugar.

16 oz. Monster Energy (regular): 160mg caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

16 oz. Red Bull (regular): 160mg caffeine, 56g carbohydrates, 56g sugar

16 oz. Rockstar (regular): 144g caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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Working Out Before Sunrise Changed My Life And My Attitude Toward Time

Whenever things aren't going my way in life, I wake up bright and early to kick life's ass.

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I used to religiously work out three to four times per week. Whether I was running, kickboxing, spinning or hitting the gym with a friend, I was on it.

Working out never felt like a chore to me, but it almost always put a dent in my plans for the day. It was as if I had to make sure that I had no other commitments that day in order to get a decently long workout in.

I'm a full-time student who prefers to take showers at night so that my curls can lay the way I want them to. So every time my schedule gets a little busier than usual, I begin my slow descent into hermit land.

Not working out had a direct correlation with my mental health, as it does with a lot of people. But I simply could not fit it into my schedule. After skipping out on my weekly exercise rituals, I became easily irritable and too tired to even think about slipping on my Nikes.

Eventually, I decided that I needed to just force myself to get up and move. I began walking to work and doing simple leg raises while watching Netflix. But the little things obviously could not replace a sweaty HIT.

Then one ordinary morning in my school parking lot, my friend rolled down the window to her black Honda and yelled out, "Me and Erin are going to spin tomorrow at 5:30. Come!" Instinctively, I thought she was insane. The only thought that crossed my mind was: You'll be too tired for school if you go. Don't be stupid.

But as the day went on, I realized that I was going to be tired even if I woke up at two in the afternoon and skipped out on school. Because "tired" had become my new mindset.

My workout used to be a time in which I would completely forget any negative thoughts and just focus on myself. The sweat, pain and last few hurdles during the end of the workouts would almost be a reset button for the attitude I had about life. I missed that.

Without giving myself the opportunity to feel like a slob any further, I registered myself in the class and set an extremely early alarm for the following day. Waking up, I felt like I was heading to the airport. My eyes were sore. Heck, my entire body was sore. All I wanted to do was kick myself in the face for even attempting to wake up this early, let alone to work out.

But miraculously, when I opened my blinds and doused myself in some early morning sun, I felt a sense of ease. The fact that I was awake and ready to exercise somehow no longer felt like a chore. I slipped on some comfy clothes and chugged a cold glass of water. Before I knew it, I was at the spinning studio, cackling at some joke my friend threw into our conversation.

For those of you who have never been to a spin class, the best way I can describe it is this: a rave on steroids on wheels.

The gist is, it's loud, hot and extremely difficult (for me, at least). This class was no different. But I had so much unknown energy that I was able to blast through the class. I was able to push myself harder than I had before.

Leaving that dark, loud room, I felt a sense of accomplishment and excitement for the day to come. By the time I arrived home, it was only 6:40 a.m. and the streets were still quiet. I sat there for a minute, taking it all in and watching the leaves sway.

It gave me a sense of comfort I had not experienced in a long time. It was similar to a very successful meditation session. I loved it. I took a shower, got myself ready for the day and had a big beautiful breakfast that I prepared. I still got to school before second bell.

And yes, my body was tired. But I wasn't, not mentally at least.

I felt like I had the power to take on new challenges for that day and all the days to come. I know it sounds cliché, but it's the truth.

Obviously, I don't wake up before the sun every single day, After all, I am a student who also has a part-time job.

But whenever I'm feeling like things aren't going my way in life, I wake up bright and early to kick life's ass.

Working out before the sunrise not only gave me a new perspective on the abundance of time we actually have in a day, but it gave me a new mindset of what I was capable of accomplishing.

Plus, air drying throughout the day actually did wonders for my curls. I would highly recommend!

Cover Image Credit:

Wikimedia Commons

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