Why People Don't Suck

Why People Don't Suck

Reasons to appreciate the people in your life.
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Recently a friend asked me, “What is one thing you appreciate?” A few responses ran through my head and “A cold glass of water on a hot day” sounded like a good answer. Instead, I decided to think on it. What’s something I really value and rely on? So I dug deep and answered with “I appreciate the company of people.”

Perhaps one of the reasons I enjoy Air Force ROTC so much is that I’m not alone in it. Waking up at five o’clock in the morning a couple days during the week certainly takes a toll. Having extra classes on top of taking tough classes for my major, attending drill practice and late meetings, are included. Forming up into a flight at six in the morning when it’s cold and windy really makes me miss my warm bed. Standing at attention on a parade field as I wait for my commander’s direction ends up feeling like I’ve been staring at the sky for an eternity. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with the added responsibilities, but dealing with the stress becomes less arduous when I know I have others with me. I’m not the only person standing on that parade field. I’m not the only one with goosebumps at PT in the morning, wishing they could go back to sleep. When we start running and a fellow airman calls a jodie, everyone joins in to sing. The people I run with, plank with, and do lunges with, make getting through the pain possible.

I know that one day I will commission and my list of responsibilities will triple. However, I don’t dread that moment. When I receive my first assignment and it’s time to pack up and ship out to a new place, inevitably I’ll feel nervous. That moment will probably feel like how I felt during my first semester of college. Being thrown into a new place, with strangers, and no sense of home felt depressing and lonely. Only when I realized I was surrounded with people going through the same thing was I able to relax. I joined Air Force ROTC and immediately belonged somewhere. I see my peers in this organization as family. I can walk into our detachment lounge and feel at home. I can look forward to drill practice late at night because I know I’ll have friends there with me.

In a group setting, complaining spreads like the Santa Ana winds in Southern California. When one person complains about how cold they are, the next person will complain too. Consequently, the whole group begins complaining. Then morale drops even lower than mercury measuring the temperature outside. Camaraderie is undervalued sometimes. It’s what strengthens a team and gives people a reason to act. It’s what stops the complaining. What motivation do we have to face hardship when we are alone? Loneliness causes us to feel weak and isolated. It steals our incentives to continue working hard through suffering. Knowing that I’ve got a friend by my side helps me endure. I believe in appreciating the people around me. I believe in trusting my wingman and trusting that they will pull me out of a rut. I appreciate people because being with others beats the alternative.

Cover Image Credit: chainimage.com

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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

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Distracted Driving Is A Great Thing, hear Me Out

Actually, it is deadly.

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Surprise! It isn't.

In 2016, nearly 4,000 people lost their lives due to distracted driving. Distracted driving can take many forms, such as texting, messing with the radio or reaching for something on the passenger seat. It's dangerous and it is becoming an epidemic in our society. We have all been guilty of it at some point, but it needs to end.

A few nights ago, I got a call from my boyfriend on his way home from my house. He had just gotten t-boned at an intersection. The person who hit him ran a stop sign in a subdivision fast enough to cause the airbags to deploy. Thankfully, he only had a few bruises, but his car was totaled. It was not even 2 months old.


My boyfriend had just gotten a dash camera, so he had evidence that the other driver was at fault. I drove to the scene of the accident, only to hear the other driver repeating over and over to the police officer, "I just didn't see him." In the video, the driver clearly doesn't even stop at the stop sign. You didn't see him, or you weren't paying enough attention to try?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, looking down at your phone for only five seconds is like driving the length of a football field at 55 mph. All it takes is one text, one bite of food, one song to skip for your life or someone else's life to change.

Distracted driving is not a joke. People often think, "I'm a great multi-tasker, I can do it." You can't. It doesn't mean you can't multi-task. It simply means that you SHOULDN'T.

I can honestly say there is not a text I have ever sent that was important enough to take my life or the life of someone else. Waiting until you're at your destination to pick up your phone doesn't make you "lame." It gives you the best opportunity to focus your attention on the road. Just because you are doing everything right doesn't mean that someone else is, like in my boyfriend's case, so you need to be hyperaware of everything going on around you.

Everyone on the road has a family or someone out there who cares about them and wants to see them again. Don't be the reason someone else never returns home. Put down the phone. Ignore the call. Wait. It just might save your life.

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