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Mighty March: A 31-Day Burpee Challenge

Mighty March: A 31-Day Burpee Challenge

"Fun" might not be the first word you'd attribute to burpees. Love 'em or hate 'em, just do them. You'll work your legs, arms, and core in the process. For the month of March, we challenge you to try our 31-Day Burpee challenge. You'll improve your stamina and get a full-body workout in the process.

Fabuary: A 28-Day Fitness Photo Challenge

Fabuary: A 28-Day Fitness Photo Challenge

February is about self-discovery. Join our 28-day fitness photo challenge! To get started, share this blog post with 2 friends. Follow the calendar every day, add #Fabuary to your captions on social media, and give us (@pumpup) a tag, too. To keep your mind and body active, make sure to do the daily exercise and reps after you share your photo. Turn this #Febuary into #Fabuary!

25 Days of Workout Dares: Your Fitness Advent Calendar

25 Days of Workout Dares: Your Fitness Advent Calendar

As delicious as chocolate may be, the days leading up to December 25th don't need to involve copious amounts of sugar. Dare to be active this holiday season. We put together a fitness advent calendar with 25 workout 'dares'. See if you can commit to our daily challenges - each day of the month will correspond to the number of reps you need to perform, or the duration of a particular exercise. While you're following our fitness advent calendar, be sure to use the #DaringDecember tag in all of your posts. This will help you to connect with other people around the world who are just as awesome as we think you are.

How to Touch Your Toes (Even If You Can't)

How to Touch Your Toes (Even If You Can't)

You can easily touch your head, your shoulders, and your knees — but what about your toes? The straight-legged toe touch can be deceptively difficult. A 2007 audit estimates that over half of the UK population can’t touch their toes. Stiffer than the Whomping Willow? Nobody expects you to Bend It Like Beckham straight off the bat. With consistent practice, simple stretches can make all the difference. Use the straight-legged toe touch as a launching pad for further adventures in the world of flexibility.

So, what are whole grains anyway?

So, what are whole grains anyway?

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You walk into a grocery store and see a whole lot of wholes. Not to be mistaken for deep circular pits of doom that break apart long stretches of highway, 'whole grain' and 'whole wheat' products are food items labelled with numerous health claims and caveats. What should you buy? What are whole grains anyway? Are whole grain products even good for you? Let's take a step back and get a closer look.

Whole Grains vs. Refined Grains

Grains can either be whole or refined. Whole grain food essentially contains the entire seed of certain plants. To be classified as such, whole grain products need to contain all three parts of an individual grain kernel: the bran, endosperm, and the germ. These contain valuable nutrients and they're a major source of insoluble fibre, which can keep you fuller for longer and reduce cravings associated with having high blood sugar (no more midnight snacking)!  Refined grains don't have the germ or bran— think white Wonderbread and white sushi rice.  This means that refined products lack some of the nutrients that whole grain products have. What's more, refined grains are generally simple carbohydrates: they make your blood sugar go up and down faster than the tide at Huntington Beach. This induces cravings and it can even make you feel sluggish afterwards. Simple carbs are great if you need a quick burst of energy before a race, but they require minimal work for your body to digest.

 

Whole Grains vs. Everything Else

In some places, the distinction between whole grain and whole wheat becomes a bit tricky. Take Canada, for example. According to the Whole Grains Council, Canadians face a problem resulting from regulatory naming conventions: whole wheat flour can leave out as much as 5% of the original grain seed. What's more, multigrain and organic products might actually contain minimal to zero whole grains.  Whole grain products must contain 100% of the original grain seed.

Don't eat things you can't pronounce except quinoa (you should eat quinoa) // What are whole grains anyway? - The PumpUp Blog

How to make sure you get whole grains

Almost always sold as whole grains: Amaranth, buckwheat, bulgur, quinoa, millet, sorghum, teff.

What to look out for:

To be extra sure that you're eating whole grains, a general rule of thumb is to check if the word 'whole' prefaces the actual grain (ex: whole barley).

  • Barley should be hulled or whole barley, rather than pearl barley
  • Corn should not be 'degerminated'  if it is to be classified as a whole grain.
  • Farro should not be 'pearled'
  • Oats should be 'whole oats' or 'old fashioned oats'; instant or quick oats do have the same nutritional value, but they have a slightly higher glycemic load
  • Rice is generally considered a whole grain when sold as colored rice, such brown rice, wild rice, and black rice. White rice is a refined grain.
  • Rye should be listed as whole rye or rye berries. Rye bread may not necessarily be a whole grain product.
  • Spelt can be sold refined, so it make sure it appears on the ingredient list as whole spelt.
  • Wheat, when listed by itself, can refer to refined wheat. Look for whole wheat or (if you're in Canada), whole grain whole wheat.

So what are whole grains? We hope this helped clarify a few things! Let us know what your favorite whole grains are in the comments below! What is your favorite way to prepare whole grains?  Cover image via PumpUp member vegan_federica. Quinoa photo via Flickr.

#AliveJuly - 4 weeks of nutrition challenges

#AliveJuly - 4 weeks of nutrition challenges

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Make nutrition your primary focus for the month of July. Live life in the present, live life in the fullest, and challenge yourself in new and exciting ways with #AliveJuly. To get you in the right mindset, we put together 4 complete weeks full of miniature nutrition challenges. Each day of the week has a different theme. You'll be challenging yourself creatively and you'll become more in tune with how your eating habits impact your overall wellbeing. Feel alive and well. Take the #AliveJuly challenge. Smoothie Sunday: New and exciting ways to spruce up your morning smoothies

Meal Prep Monday: Tips to make healthy meal preparation much easier for the rest of the week

Tasty Tuesday: Show off your culinary skills. Try your best to make healthy cooking a part of your lifestyle.

Willpower Wednesday: Give yourself permission to say 'no' to anything that doesn't serve you. Learn to eliminate or minimize your intake of salt, preservatives, and added sugar.

Try It Thursday: Try something new. Whether it's a new ingredient or a new way to eat, you'll push your boundaries.

Food Fact Friday: Learn more about yourself. Become more aware of your own eating habits and patterns. Identify what you're already doing well, and what you can improve upon.

Superfood Saturday: Some ingredients are nutrient-dense powerhouses. See if you can incorporate these superfoods into your diet at least once.

If you're participating in these nutrition challenges in July 2015, your starting date will be Sunday, July 5.

#AliveJuly 2015 4-week nutrition challenge and calendar by the PumpUp Blog

Check back on this page for more details about the nutrition challenges each week. We'll include weekly checklists, useful links, and more.  Use the #AliveJuly hashtag so that we can help you with the challenges! Link back to this page very easily by bookmarking bit.ly/alivejuly

Sign up for weekly email reminders about the challenge

We'll send you checklists for every week of our #AliveJuly nutrition challenges, helpful resources, and a care-package of motivation straight to your inbox! Subscribe here.

AliveJuly - four weeks of nutrition challenges (week one) // The PumpUp Blog

Week 1

Smoothie Sunday: Prepare and freeze smoothie ingredients into small containers or freezer-safe Ziploc bags! You'll never have an excuse not to drink a smoothie ever again. Bananas, kiwi, pitted fruits, and berries tend to be your best. Here are some great smoothie recipes to get you started! Check out our guide to DIY smoothie packs here.

Meal Prep Monday: What's in your grocery cart? Healthy choices start with your groceries. Try to stay away from pre-packaged food and ingredients as much as possible in order to reduce your sodium intake! Here are some great tips for healthy grocery shopping.

Tasty Tuesday: Cook with whole grains (not to be mistaken for whole wheat). Incorporate whole grains into your any of your dishes today to complete the challenge. Here's our useful guide to whole grains.

Willpower Wednesday: Say 'no' to added sugar! You might feel a difference in your energy levels afterward. Opt for fruit when sugar cravings hit you, or make healthy Homemade desserts like these vegan coconut energy bliss balls: 400g pitted dates, 5 tbsp cold coffee, 5 tbsp water, 5 tbsp melted coconut oil, 125g almond flour, 53g shredded coconut, 7 tbsp cacao powder, splash of vanilla extract. Blend dates with liquid ingredients, add in rest of ingredients, roll into balls and roll them around in the coconut.

Try It Thursday: A few extra veggies won't hurt! Add an extra veggie to your plate and share about how you felt on PumpUp. Here are some awesome vegan recipes that you can use for your inspiration.

Food Fact Friday: Become aware of when you eat. It might help you to identify times of the day when mindless snacking gets the best of you. Write it all down and share about it on PumpUp to keep yourself accountable. Are your eating patterns consistent? Irregular?

Superfood Saturday: Oh, quinoa. Everybody talks about it. Tons of people cook with it. Eat some quinoa today to complete the Superfood Saturday challenge. Name one fun fact that you learned about quinoa on PumpUp!

AliveJuly - four weeks of nutrition challenges (week one) // The PumpUp Blog

Week 2

Smoothie Sunday: A little greens ain't never hurt nobody! Add leafy greens to your morning smoothie in order to complete the #AliveJuly challenge of the day. If you're impartial to the taste of kale, try a more neutral vegetable like spinach.

Meal Prep Monday - An organized fridge will make it much easier for you to whip up healthy meals together in an instant. Cleaning out your fridge will also help you to identify which items of food you don't need. This is your opportunity to get rid of pesky guilty pleasures.

Tasty Tuesday: Go lean or go home. Opt for white fish or lean meat. If you're a vegetarian, eat tons of beans, nuts, and seeds. Protein will keep you much fuller for longer!

Willpower Wednesday: Put the chips down: excess salt consumption can lead to hypertension and bloating. You may not realize it, but several common grocery items (like cereal) contain tons of sodium. Dance it out, shake your body like a salt shaker, but go easy on consuming the actual mineral itself.

Try It Thursday: Try a new ingredient in your repertoire of meals! Explore the abundance that the Earth has to offer. Whether it's a fruit that you've never tasted or a spice that you haven't cooked with, be adventurous with your culinary skills today.

Food Fact Friday: Track your fiber intake. Lots of insoluble fiber can lower your cholesterol and combat cardiovascular disease! Oats and whole grains are a great way to up your fiber intake.

Superfood Saturday: Packed with tons of cancer-combating antioxidants, blueberries make the perfect on-the-go snack. Keep a few blueberries handy in a container for your snack, or garnish one of your meals with a generous handful of them.

Week 3

Smoothie Sunday: Give your smoothie a boost! Today, we're using hemp hearts. All you'll need are 5-7 strawberries, 2 frozen bananas, 1 cup of frozen mixed berries, 1 tbsp hemp seeds, and 1 cup of water. Find more recipes and a video of this recipe here.

Meal Prep Monday: Never tried meal prepping before? Start today! Make tomorrow's breakfast. You won't have any excuse not to start your morning the right way. Overnight oats are always a great idea for this.

Tasty Tuesday: Do you have a secret healthy ingredient that makes all of your dishes extra special? Whether you sneak zucchini into your brownies or flax seed into your smoothies, share about an ingredient that you love to add to your meals!

Willpower Wednesday: Minimize your processed food intake today and see how it impacts your energy levels. Highly processed food tends to contain a lot of salt, sugar, trans fat, and extra preservatives to increase their shelf life. Just say no. If you're craving french fries, make your own sweet potato fries instead!

Try It Thursday: Try a new recipe and broaden your horizons in the realm of food preparation! There are tons of healthy recipes waiting to be discovered from other PumpUp members, including smoothies, healthy summer snacks, and even a healthy summer potluck recipe guide.

Food Fact Friday: How many servings of fruits and veggies do you eat in a day? Are you eating enough? Too little? Be conscious of this and share about it on PumpUp!

Superfood Saturday: Get creative with chia! No, you won't need to grow a furry little chia pet. But you will need to incorporate the protein-packed and fibre-filled superfood into your diet. Chia pudding is a great way to start.

Week 4

Smoothie Sunday- Make a smoothie bowl and tag your recipes with #TeamPumpUp. You'll consume your smoothies more slowly and have more time to savour it. Check out these awesome smoothie bowl recipes

Meal Prep Monday- Now that you have a pretty decent grasp around how meal prep works, try to prepare all of your meals for tomorrow ahead of time! You won't have an excuse to not eat healthy if your meals are already laid out for you.

Tasty Tuesday- Post a photo of your favourite healthy meal. Are you great at making a particular recipe? Share it on PumpUp! Is there a healthy meal you love to eat at your favourite restaurant? Share that too! Check out these awesome ideas:

Willpower Wednesday- Late night snacking can get the best of us. Close the kitchen after dinner and see how you feel the next day! Your metabolism is much more active at the beginning of the day, rather than late at night when you're more sedentary.

Try It Thursday - Fill 1/2 your plate with greens and eat more veggies today! These edamame recipes will certainly help you to get your green on.

#AliveJuly 2015 4-week nutrition challenge and calendar by the PumpUp Blog

Share about these nutrition challenges on Instagram and PumpUp with this square version of the calendar.

HIIT it outdoors with this no equipment full body workout

HIIT it outdoors with this no equipment full body workout

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HIIT us with your best shot and give your workout your all. Head outdoors to try this no equipment full body workout from PumpUp member @rachaelgervais. You'll be sweaty and ready to tackle whatever comes your way with just three moves. Each set is twelve repetitions. Rest for 30-60 seconds upon completing these three moves, then repeat the circuit 2-3 times. Here's a great no equipment full body workout from the PumpUp Blog!

Burpee mountain climbers

Full body workout gif // The PumpUp Blog

Do a vertical jump from a standing position, arms raised in the air. Plant your hands firmly on the ground and jump both feet back behind you. Lower your entire body down into a pushup, making sure that your neck is in line with your spine. When you come up from the push-up, cross one knee towards one side of your body and swiftly return it back to plank, alternating the same movement with your other knee. Do four repetitions of mountain climbers before you push back up into a burpee.

High plank leg raises

Full body workout gif // The PumpUp Blog

 

Bring your body down into a high plank. Your wrists should be in line with your shoulders, heels off the ground. Raise one leg up straight into the air, then tap it back down. Repeat the movement on the other side. Do 12 leg raises on each side before you move on to the next exercise.

Single leg tricep pushups

Full body workout gif // The PumpUp Blog

Lower yourself on the ground into a plank position, keeping your elbows pressed to the sides of your body. Raise one leg and bring your body down. Do six push-ups in total before you repeat the movement with your other leg raised.

Loved this no equipment full body workout? Find more workouts here. Earn points for doing 15 minutes of high intensity interval training for our June fitness challenge. Learn more about it here. 

 

10 darn scrumptious healthy breakfasts for marvellous mornings

10 darn scrumptious healthy breakfasts for marvellous mornings

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Breakfast is a most egg-cellent meal. Films have been named after it. Guitar-carrying crooners shower it with praise, and for good reason: breakfast is a way of saying good morning to your body. Evidence suggests that healthy breakfasts can regulate your appetite and even improve cognitive function. In the wise words of Parks and Recreation's Ron Swanson, there has never been a sadness that can't be cured by breakfast food. Not a morning person? Short on time? Get your creative juices flowing and your razor-sharp juicers running. We're doing simple, scrumptious, and healthy breakfasts that you can scramble together in an instant. There has never been a sadness that can't be cured by breakfast food - Healthy breakfasts

Vegan raspberry nice cream

Raspberry nice cream // Healthy breakfasts from the PumpUp Blog

Recipe courtesy of PumpUp member @justy

  • 2 ripe frozen bananas
  • 10 raspberries
  • 1/2-1/4 cup of coconut milk

Pulse bananas and raspberries together. Add coconut milk gradually, blending until desired consistency is achieved.

Banana berry protein smoothie bowl

Banana berry protein smoothie bowl // Healthy breakfast recipes from the PumpUp Blog

Recipe courtesy of PumpUp member limitlesstyle

  • 1 ripe frozen banana
  • 6 large strawberries
  • 6 oz almond milk
  • 2 scoops whey protein

Blend all ingredients together until smooth and pour into a bowl. Top with coconut flakes, bee pollen, sunflower seeds, and goji berries.

Homemade granola

Homemade granola // Healthy breakfast recipes from the PumpUp Blog

Recipe courtesy of PumpUp member mjvspa

  • 140g (about 1 1/2 cups) oats
  • 25g (1/4 cup) almonds
  • 25g (1/4 cup) hazelnuts
  • 30g (1/3 cup) shredded coconut
  • 55g (1/4 cup) honey
  • 40g (1/4 cup) melted coconut oil
  • Dash of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 170C/325F.  Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, and lay it out on a flat baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes, shaking the pan and tossing the mixture with a spatula every 5 minutes or so. Cool the mixture slightly, then break it up into clusters.

Whole grain french toast

Whole grain french toast // Healthy breakfasts from the PumpUp Blog

Recipe courtesy of PumpUp member linel

  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp honey
  • 3 thick slices of whole grain bread

Whisk together milk, egg, cinnamon, and honey until well blended. Pour mixture into a shallow, wide bowl. Heat up a large skillet and melt a bit of Earth Balance or unsalted butter. Soak bread in mixture, shake off excess liquid, then cook each side until browned. Serve with fresh fruit.

Puffed pancakes

Healthy puffed pancakes // Breakfast recipes from the PumpUp Blog

Recipe courtesy of PumpUp member bodysoulspiritfitness

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cups of your choice of milk
  • 1/2 cups of your choice of flour(s)

Preheat oven to 425F. Whisk eggs together in a large bowl, then add milk until fully blended. Fold in the flour until just mixed.  Heat up in a hot cast iron pan until the bottom of the pancake develops a thin skin. Place pan in heated oven for 12 minutes.  Pancake should be puffed up and slightly browned. Top with fruit of your choice!

Fruity granola bowl

Fruity Granola Bowl // Healthy Breakfasts from the PumpUp Blog

Photo courtesy of PumpUp member gettingfitjourney

Layer bottom of the bowl with yogurt, then top with sliced fruits. Add granola as desired.

Miniature banana bites

10 healthy breakfast ideas - banana bites

Recipe courtesy of PumpUp member @thenewalexandra

  • 1 banana
  • A few tsps of the yogurt of your choice
  • Oats, granola, or nuts
  • Handful of blueberries

Cut banana into slices and add a dollop of yogurt to each. Top each 'bite' with slight amounts of toasted oats, cereal, homemade granola and one blueberry.

Superb superfood oat bowl

Superfood oat bowl // Healthy breakfasts and recipes from the PumpUp Blog

Recipe courtesy of PumpUp member mariajumps

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp ground flaxseeds
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1 banana
  • Handful of museli
  • 3 strawberries
  • 5-8 blackberries
  • Handful of blueberries
  • 1 tsp natural peanut butter
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Handful of hemp hearts
  • Sprinkling of bee pollen

Mix oats, almond milk, chia seeds, and flaxseeds together in a medium bowl. Heat for one minute in the microwave, then mix in maca powder. Slice a banana and layer it on the oatmeal. Dust it with muesli and top with the fruit. Layer on the natural peanut butter, honey, hemp hearts, and bee pollen.

Cinnamon chia overnight oats

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Recipe courtesy of PumpUp member gillianmicah

Mix all ingredients listed above and pour into a mason jar. Chill overnight. Heat up in the morning if desired, or eat it as is.

Open-faced watermelon fruit bowl

Watermelon Fruit Bowl // Healthy Breakfast Recipes from the PumpUp Blog

Recipe courtesy of PumpUp member annamanda

  • 1 small watermelon
  • 1 tangerine
  • 1 cup of sliced pineapple

Slice watermelon in half. Trace and carve out a semi-circle shaped bowl from the watermelon. Cube the carved watermelon and place it back into the fruit bowl. Mix in tangerines and pineapple chunks.

10 healthy breakfast ideas // Recipes from the PumpUp Blog

Loved these 10 healthy breakfasts? Let us know how you make your healthy breakfast in the comments below! If you're participating in PumpUp's June Fitness Challenge, you'll earn 20 points for sharing a photo and the recipe of your breakfast.

5 ab exercise videos for busy bees (15 mins or less)

5 ab exercise videos for busy bees (15 mins or less)

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Working on your core doesn't have to be a bore (or a chore for that matter). Take 15 minutes out of your day to improve your core strength. If you're at home, you can easily do so with simple, straight-forward ab exercise videos. Resources like Fitness Blender, Tone It Up, POPSUGAR Fitness, and XHit Daily make it easy for you to squeeze in a quick workout, regardless of how busy you are. No gym required. If you're doing the PumpUp #ChallengeMe June fitness series, you'll earn points for every 15 minutes of ab exercises that you do today. 15 minute ab workout videos

Fitness Blender's Abs Boot camp

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLN-NAazKeg

Difficulty level: Beginner - Moderate

You won't need any equipment to do these ten exercises. You'll repeat each move twice, for 30 seconds each rep. You're encouraged to perform the moves at your own pace in order to maintain proper form throughout the entire video. Though Fitness Blender expects you to break an intense sweat during their ab exercise videos, this one isn't too challenging. According to their website, you can burn as much as 103 calories by doing this video.

Tone It Up's Bikini Abs Routine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9wbX1vKKck

Difficulty level: Moderate to Advanced

Tone It Up's bikini abs routine really is a difficult workout on its own. There are standing warm ups to get your heart pumping before you proceed with challenging moves that play a game of tug-o-war with your stabilizer muscles. Watch out for the single leg reverse crunch when you're doing this routine. Go slowly, emphasizing proper form rather than maximizing your repetitions to get the most out of this workout.

Popsugar Fitness's Fast and Furious Calorie Burn

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAQK22crBWc

Difficulty level: Moderate to Advanced

Autumn Calabrese sure knows how to make mean workouts. This 'full-body' routine actually incorporates several dynamic standing moves that are great for burning fat around your abs. It'll keep your heart rate up and help you to build strength as well. You'll need a pair of dumbbells for this routine.

XHit Daily's Washboard Abs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4dJqWS95fo

Difficulty level: Moderate

You'll have a ball with this ab workout.  As fun as bouncing on a stability ball may be, you can get a pretty effective ab workout with a few simple moves. The ball makes conventional ab exercises a lot more challenging by destabilizing your body. Just roll with it (but actually, try to minimize rolling while you're performing the moves).

Jessica Smith's Crunch-Free Workout

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AZFlHItbCU

Difficulty Level: Beginner - Moderate

Who doesn't love ab exercise videos that don't include crunches? This workout uses more static exercises (like the plank) in order to build your core strength. All of these exercises are done on the floor and you won't need any equipment to get started.

Loved these ab exercise videos? Let us know your favorite ways to build core strength in the comments below! Cover photo courtesy of PumpUp member m_dancer18. If you're doing our #ChallengeMe June fitness series, you'll earn points for every 15 minutes of ab exercises that you do today.

Creative lunge variations you never thought about, but should try - #ChallengeMe Day 5

Creative lunge variations you never thought about, but should try - #ChallengeMe Day 5

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You'll often hear that one does not simply walk after leg day in a foreboding and ominous tone. Leg day inspires abundant amounts of sarcastic e-cards, fitness memes, and it makes you cry if you're commuting to work by foot the next day. A tried-and-true staple of great a leg workout is the lunge. It is, in its most basic form, a stationary bodyweight exercise that strengthens several muscle groups at once and elevates your heart rate at the same time.

How lunges help you

Deep lunges primarily work your glutes and your hamstrings, whereas shallower lunges will really target the quadriceps in your thighs. Because lunges exert more pressure on one leg, other muscle groups come into play as your calves, your core, and your back work overtime to stabilize your body. If you're training for a big race, lunges will help you to run harder, better, faster, stronger by challenging your balance, strength, and range of motion.

How to perform a legit lunge

Maintain proper form to get the full benefits from lunges and to minimize exercise-related injuries. Step forward with one leg and create a 90 degree angle with both knees. The front knee should be in line with your front ankle and it shouldn't extend past your feet (think the corner of a square rather than the corner of a rhombus). Push your front leg off the ground and step your feet back together in a standing position, leading the movement with your other leg.

Creative lunge variations that you can try today

Once you've mastered the basic front lunge, back lunge, and side lunge, you're ready to move on to weighted lunges and plyometric lunges. These 5 creative lunge variations will make you enjoy leg day a lot more than you used to. Have fun walking up a flight of stairs the next day!

Plyometric jumping lunges with a squat

Begin in a standing position. Extend your front foot and bend your knees to form a straight line with your ankles, lowering your body down into a front lunge. Jump vertically, switching your front foot and your back foot so that you come into a lunge on the other side. Land softly as you do so. Next, jump your feet to your sides and lower down into a squat. Perform the complete movement with a jumping lunge for each leg, then squat in between.

A video posted by Debbie (@debbie.hit) on

Back lunges with a raised arm extension, dumbbell sumo squats.

Step one foot back and lower your body down into a back lunge, raising your opposite arm overhead as you do so. Carry a light weight in your raised hand for an extra challenge. When you're coming out of the lunge, step your foot to the side of your body and create a wide-legged stance. Lower down into a squat immediately, bringing the weight between your legs.

https://instagram.com/p/3ilICFq8bk

Lunges with water-filled bars. A stability exercise.

If you have a water-filled bar handy, this will help you to improve the balance and strength of your front lunge. The dynamic motion of the water adds a greater challenge than a solid metal weight would.

https://instagram.com/p/3esoPWhI8h

Lunges with knee-ups

Step one foot back and lower your body down into a back lunge. Push your back knee up and off the ground, pressing it to your body before you step it back into a lunge position again. Do this with weights to intensify your workout. Perform this exercise on a smith machine like PumpUp member @tinytinne demonstrates below if you'd like to add more weight.

https://instagram.com/p/sb8BPPPLCr/

Weighted overhead lunges

Get creative with these and make sure you don't arch your back. If you're tired of regular weighted lunges, bring the weights overhead to give a bonus burn to your core, shoulders, and traps. No weights? Make sure you have a firm grip of whatever (reasonably dense and heavy) object you have on hand: textbooks, camping bags, or dictionaries!

https://instagram.com/p/0FhAvGQolR/

Loved these creative lunge variations? A great general rule of thumb is to do 3 sets of 12 lunges per leg. Earn 30 points for every set of 12 lunges if you're participating in our June #ChallengeMe series! Let us know which creative lunge variations you liked best in the comments below!

The 5 best Blogilates videos for abs (20 mins or less) - #ChallengeMe Day 3

The 5 best Blogilates videos for abs (20 mins or less) - #ChallengeMe Day 3

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Yes, it's entirely possible to lie down on the floor and strengthen your core muscles while you're at it. Sadly, this isn't an excuse to marathon five episodes of Orange is the New Black while clenching your abs. That won't work. There's a simple solution: pilates videos. You can do these within the comfort of your home, even if you only have 20 minutes to spare. All you need is a speedy and hearty WiFi connection. Thanks to Cassey Ho (Blogilates), a popular pilates instructor of YouTube fame, you can gradually build your core strength with a few of her Blogilates videos for abs. The thing is, Cassey has been making pilates videos on YouTube for quite awhile: almost eight years. There are a lot of her videos to choose from. We made it easy for you. If you follow Blogilates, or even if you're just becoming acquainted with the world of pilates, we put together a list of the best Blogilates videos for abs, and which moves you should look out for. These videos are perfect if you're starting Day 3 of PumpUp's #ChallengeMe series.

Abs on Fire (13 mins) | Difficulty Level : HARD

This video is no joke. You'll be shaking involuntarily throughout most of the static postures that you'll be asked to hold. Don't worry if you need to take small breaks if it's your first time doing this video, because you'll probably need them. Just hit pause and never doubt the power of Blogilates videos for abs. Your lower abs will be working overtime for most of the thirteen minutes.

 

Move to watch out forRunaway Abs
Lie down on the floor with your back pressed to the mat. Your hands will rest on the nape of your neck to support your head. Your elbows will be set wide and your feet should extend straight out in front of you and off the ground, your head raised slightly. You'll make small flutter kick movements while keeping your legs straight the entire time. This move isn't too challenging, but it's laughably difficult to perform immediately following a full body crunch called Eagle Pose Abs. Beware.

 

Playa del Plank (7 mins) | Difficulty Level : Beginner/Moderate

 This is a perfect way to start your morning without waking your downstairs neighbours up with stampede-like HIIT moves. You'll be maintaining some variation on the classic plank position throughout the entire video. It isn't too long, and you'll feel like you won your country an Olympic Gold Medal for planking once you finally rest your knees on the floor. There aren't any 'breaks' during the workout (but hey, it's only seven minutes). Instead, expect to 'rest in plank' as you switch between more dynamic postures.

 

Move to watch out forBeach Reach
You'll be in a raised plank position. Make sure your shoulders are in line with your wrists and that your hips aren't too high or too close to the ground (find a happy medium). Lift an arm off the ground and extend it forwards. Plant it back on the ground and reach your other arm straight out in front of you. As you perform more repetitions, this move really challenges your body to stabilize itself in a steady position. This means that your core muscles will be working overtime to maintain proper form.

 

Intense Ab Workout (10 mins) | Difficulty level : Moderate/Advanced

Some of Cassey's oldest Blogilates videos for abs are the most effective. Put succinctly by one YouTube commenter, "It's the equivalent [of] getting punched in the gut repeatedly by an angry Mayweather...and I'm not even mad." It targets all sections of your core: your upper abs, lower abs, transverse abdominals, obliques, and your lower back. The best thing about this video is that Cassey goes slowly, emphasizing correct form with (relatively) fewer reps per move in comparison to her more recent videos.

 

Move to watch out for: Cheerleader "L" Pulses
You'll be lying down on the mat with your hands resting on the temples of your head. One leg is extended out straight and forward, the other leg will be straight and raised towards the ceiling, making an "L" shape. You'll hold this movement for a bit, then switch sides. Next, you'll be raising your neck and shoulders off the ground to pulse up into the movement. These really kill your upper abs by isolating your core muscles and incorporating pulsing motions as you focus on each side of your body.

 

Extreme Abs Workout (14 minutes) | Difficulty level: Advanced

If you're still reading this sentence after finishing the workout, congrats. You're a survivor in every sense of the word. Cassey throws all of her most difficult moves from her arsenal of Blogilates videos for abs and ties it into one nasty routine. You'll be focusing on performing many repetitions right off the bat, then you'll move on to challenging static postures that will have all of your muscle groups working to maintain proper form.

 

Move to watch out for: All of them, but especially the Triple Crunch
Almost nearly one third of the workout will have you perform a variation of the same movement. You'll start with your back on the ground, legs raised and knees bent into a ninety degree angle. Pulse your neck, head and shoulders up three times with your hands behind your head and elbows out wide before you lower your upper body down. After doing this several times, you'll raise your legs straight into the air to do the same pulsing motion, then you'll extend the legs straight in front of you and crunch either leg towards your body so that you'll target your obliques. This move is pure torture, but the repetitions are worth it. You'll sincerely feel it so much the next day, that it'll hurt to laugh.

 

5 Minute Flat Abs (5 minutes) | Difficulty level: Beginner

Never say that you don't have time to exercise. You definitely have five minutes in your day to fit a quick pilates video into your schedule. The wonderful thing about this workout is that it's much easier to complete the entire video without pausing between moves. She previews all the moves at the beginning of the video so that you can see if it's a good fit for you. Feel free to repeat the entire video if you have time later on in the day. It's a great sequence to perform if you're tired from cardio, but still want a quick fix for your abs.

Move to watch out for: Single leg jackknives Begin by lying on the floor with both legs on the ground and your arms raised straight overhead. Lift one leg and your upper body at the same time, keeping the other leg flat on the ground. Crunch the leg in between your arms, then lower down to the floor with control before you raise the other leg up for the 'jackknife'. This move is difficult, but very effective at isolating the muscles on each side of your core.

The best Blogilates videos for abs // The PumpUp Blog

Loved these Blogilates videos for abs? We want to know what your favourite pilates moves or videos are in the comments below! If you're doing Day 3 of PumpUp's #ChallengeMe fitness series, you'll score points for every 15 minutes of pilates that you do.

All images courtesy of Blogilates.com.

10 Inspiring Healthy Snack Recipes from #ChallengeMe Day 2

10 Inspiring Healthy Snack Recipes from #ChallengeMe Day 2

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Never let the munchies get the best of you. Gnawing, cookie monster-like cravings are never a good feeling to have, and can lead to overindulging if they aren't addressed. If you're in a bind for time, the quickest and easiest healthy snack 'recipes' are fruits, veggies, and mixed nuts. Prepare cut-up veggies and fruits in advance so that you have a healthy snack ready for you at any time of the day. Better yet, keep 'grab and go' items like bananas, apples, and pears handy (no meal prep required)! Pair your healthy snack with a lean source of protein to keep you fuller for longer. Need inspiration for healthy snack recipes? Check out these ideas from Day 2 of PumpUp's #ChallengeMe challenge. 10 healthy snack recipes - Recipe roundup from the PumpUp Blog

Passionfruit Mousse

Passionfruit Mousse - #ChallengeMe Day 2 | Healthy Snacks from the PumpUp Blog

Recipe courtesy of PumpUp member fabfit

  • 1/4 cup passion fruit concentrate
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 3 dates

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients together in a blender
  2. Set in the fridge for a few hours before spooning it out into individual glasses

Peanut Butter Apple Rings

Peanut Butter Apple Rings - #ChallengeMe Day 2 | Healthy Snacks from the PumpUp Blog
Recipe by PumpUp member amanda_brennan
  • 1 apple
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • A handful of granola
  • 1/2-1 tsp honey
Directions
  1. Core an apple and slice it into rings
  2. Spread light or natural peanut butter on top of the apples
  3. Top it with granola and drizzle it with honey

Strawberry Banana Muffins

Strawberry Muffins - #ChallengeMe Day 2 | Healthy Snacks from the PumpUp Blog

Recipe courtesy of PumpUp member cklassen

  • 3 bananas
  • 1 cup milk of your choice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups oats
  • 3 chopped strawberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Mash bananas in large bowl
  3. Mix in milk, eggs, baking powder, vanilla
  4. Slowly incorporate oats and strawberries
  5. Fill into muffin liners, about 3/4 full
  6. Bake at 375F for 25 minutes

Low Sugar Peanut Butter Cookies

Low sugar peanut butter cookies - #ChallengeMe Day 2 | Healthy Snacks from the PumpUp Blog

Recipe courtesy of PumpUp member kmichellebeauty

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup stevia
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp spice of your choice
  • 1 egg
  • Sprinkling of granola

Directions

  1. Mix peanut butter and stevia together, then add the baking powder and spice(s)
  2. Add the egg until fully incorporated, then fold in granola
  3. Bake at 350 degrees 10-12 minutes.

Banana Strawberry Smoothie

Strawberry Banana Smoothie - #ChallengeMe Day 2 | Healthy Snacks from the PumpUp Blog Recipe courtesy of PumpUp member stephs_

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup low fat sugar free strawberry yogurt
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • Ice

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients together, adding ice and almond milk as needed to achieve desired consistency
  2. Pour into glass of your choice

Nutty bites

Nutty Bites - #ChallengeMe Day 2 | Healthy Snacks from the PumpUp Blog
Recipe by PumpUp member fitgirl_95
  • 1 cup assorted mixed nuts
  • 1/2 tsp almonds
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • Drizzle of organic honey
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F
  2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, and in an oven save dish lined with parchment paper
  3. Place in oven for 2 hours, or till nice and crispy

Banana mug cake

Banana Mug Cake - #ChallengeMe Day 2 | Healthy Snacks from the PumpUp Blog
Recipe from PumpUp member lieke_vv
  • 1/3 banana
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp sweetener (honey is fine)
  • 3 tbsp flour of your choice
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cinnamon
Directions
  1. In a mug, mash the banana and incorporate the oil, honey, and vanilla into the mixture
  2.  Add in the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamo and mixed til combined
  3. Microwave for 45-55 seconds (timing may vary)

Crispy zucchini boats

Crispy zucchini boats  - #ChallengeMe Day 2 | Healthy Snacks from the PumpUp Blog
Recipe by PumpUp member chillerstrasse
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1/2-1 tsp fresh or dried basil
  • Sprinkling of salt
  • Grated parmesan
  • Breadcrumbs (optional)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C
  2. Mix basil, olive oil, salt in a small bowl
  3. Cut the zucchini lengthwise and brush the slices with oil mixture
  4. Mix grated parmesan with breadcrumbs (if using) and sprinkle abundantly on top of the zucchini
  5. Place in an oven safe dish for 15 to 20 minutes

Avocado toast

Avocado Toast - #ChallengeMe Day 2 | Healthy Snacks from the PumpUp Blog
Recipe by PumpUp member taylortherunner
  • 1 slice whole grain toast
  • 1 avocado
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions

  1. Place whole grain toast into a toaster
  2. While waiting, slice avocado in half, then make small strips to layer on top of the toast
  3. Sprinkle pepper and cheese

Fruity wonton snack cups

Fruity wonton cups - #ChallengeMe Day 2 | Healthy Snacks from the PumpUp Blog

Recipe by PumpUp member natsichon

  • 3-5 Wonton wrappers
  • Olive oil

Toppings

  • 3-8 tbsp greek yogurt
  • Sliced fruit (strawberries, kiwis, and pineapples work well)
  • Mixed nuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Lightly spray muffin tin with olive oil and place wonton wrappers into it
  3. Bake for 8-10 mins, keeping a careful eye on the wonton wrappers
  4. Let cool, then add desired toppings

 

Creamy vegan nice cream - #ChallengeMe Day 2

Creamy vegan nice cream - #ChallengeMe Day 2

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Happy June! This is my latest and most favourite recipe. Creamy vegan nice cream is low-cal and so delicious during the hot summertime. You can add whichever toppings you like, and it's completely gluten free and vegan! You can even add a scoop of vanilla protein powder to add some protein (I was just in a rush so I didn't add any this time around). The consistency of vegan nice cream is just like ice cream and it tastes SO rich! It's filled with fiber and potassium from the bananas, anti-inflammatory properties from the cinnamon, and some protein from the nut milk. Creamy vegan nice cream - The G-Free RD

CREAMY VEGAN NICE CREAM

Ingredients:

Creamy vegan nice cream - The G-Free RD

Directions:

  1. Blend first 4 ingredients in a high powered food processor until blended well. Then, slowly add in almond milk TBSP by TBSP until mixture has reached a more smooth, yet still thick consistency (like ice cream :) )
  2. Blend until well blended, then spoon mixture into serving bowl.
  3. Top with granola and drizzle with date syrup.
  4. Enjoy!

Creamy vegan nice cream

Liked this creamy vegan nice cream? This is part of a series of recipes from PumpUp member @fit_caroline. Follow her blog, the G-free RD, here.

#ChallengeMe: PumpUp's June Fitness Challenges

#ChallengeMe: PumpUp's June Fitness Challenges

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This is your summer. Own it, don't settle for less, just start. PumpUp and Coach Melissa Lepage (@coachmelissa) put together a series of daily mini fitness challenges for the entire month of June to help you focus on your health goals with laser-like precision. These challenges focus on different aspects of your wellbeing: from nutrition, to exercise, to sleep, to hydration. Every time you complete a challenge, you'll earn points that might earn you some PumpUp swag. Take the June 1 challenge for example: every time you finish 50 squats that day, you'll earn 50 points. Tally up your points each Saturday in June and share about them on PumpUp to be considered for some swag!

You in? Sign up for the #ChallengeMe email newsletter for daily reminders and tips!

What's more: participating in the challenge will get you $10 off of all items over $20 at RoniTaylorFit. Use the code: Pumpup10

#ChallengeMe Calendar PumpUp Blog

*Revised version of the original #ChallengeMe calendar

#ChallengeMe Week 1

Monday June 1 - 50 squats

Let's get down to business to defeat the buns...with squats. For every set of 50 bodyweight squats on June 1st, earn 50 points towards #ChallengeMe. Experiment with different types of squats if you can. Here are some awesome bodyweight squats that you can try for the challenge.

Tuesday June 2Healthy snack

Never let the munchies get the best of you. Snack smart by planning ahead! Do away with packaged snacks and instead opt for fruits, veggies, and nuts as your go-to ingredients to tide you over before the next meal. For every healthy snack idea that you share on June 2, earn 20 points. Here are some great ideas for healthy snacks.

Wednesday June 3 - Try your hand at pilates

If your workout was easy, it probably wasn't pilates. It's a system of strengthening and stretching exercises that engages your core, mobilizes your spine, and builds strength and flexibility. If you're already following a Blogilates challenge this June, you're off to a good start. You'll earn 25 points for every 15 minutes of pilates that you do on June 3. Here's a great resource that lists the best Blogilates videos for abs (20 minutes or less).

Thursday June 4Share your water intake of the day

It should be a natural instinct to drink enough water on a daily basis, but that isn't necessarily the case. Whether you guzzle water by the gallon or sip it slowly and surely, be aware of your water intake on June 4 and post about it on PumpUp to earn a total of 25 points for the day. Here are 5 great reasons to drink water.

Friday June 5 - Lunges

Lunge now, lunch later. Start off your day with a set (or two, or three) of lunges! Perform them with weights for an extra challenge. Bring the weights overhead to give a bonus burn to your core, shoulders, and traps. For every set of 12 lunges per leg, you'll earn 30 pts. Bored of basic lunges? Here are some creative lunge variations that you can try!

Saturday June 6 - Sweaty Selfie

Work hard and share a Sweaty Selfie on PumpUp after you finish doing an activity that you love. It should also be something that gets you real sweaty, real quick. You'll get 40 points for each sweaty selfie that you post on June 6 (from separate workouts), plus 20 points if you tally up the total number of points that you accumulated over the course of the first week.

#ChallengeMe Week 2

Sunday June 7 Plank Challenge

This time, you won't be walking the plank. Your body will serve as a plank to earn you points. For every 1 min of plank that you perform on June 7, you'll earn 45 pts towards #ChallengeMe. Be sure to post your plank time on PumpUp to be considered. Creative plank variations are all welcome!

Monday June 8- Abs

Get abs-olutely incredible abs today! It'll be the main focus of today's #ChallengeMe workout. For every 15 minutes of abs that you do today, you'll earn 50 points towards #ChallengeMe. Here are some Blogilates videos for abs to get you started, as well as an intense standing ab workout to help you take it to the next level.

Tuesday June 9Healthy Breakfast

Start your day the right way. Breakfast is a pretty egg-cellent idea. Share the recipe and photo of a healthy, non-packaged breakfast on June 9 to earn 20 points. Short on ideas? Try this Apple Chai Quinoa Porridge. Short on time? Try this 10 minute Tofu Scramble! If you feel like slurping a portion of your healthy breakfast instead, check out our smoothie library (you might be surprised with what you find!).

Wednesday June 10HIIT

HIIT us with your best shot and give your workout your all. For every 15 minutes of HIIT that you do on June 10, you'll earn 25 #ChallengeMe points. Get started with this 20 minute full-body HIIT workout or try your hand at these 7 fat-burning HIIT moves.

Thursday June 11 - Green Tea - Spend some quali-tea time with yourself and sip on a cup of green tea today to earn 25 #ChallengeMe points, because you're tea-riffic. Green tea may selectively increase fat burning and apparently helps regulate glucose levels, slowing the rise of blood sugar after eating. Here's a #tbt to some migh-tea matcha green tea recipes.

Friday June 12Crunches and V-Sits. You only need a few body weight moves to strengthen your core. Earn 30 #ChallengeMe points for every set of 25 crunches and 1 minute of V-sits.

Saturday June 13 - Best Advice. What's your best advice for living a healthy lifestyle? You are only confined by the walls you make for yourself. Challenge yourself daily and find joy in being healthy. Here are some of the best pieces of advice from other PumpUp members. You'll earn 45 points for sharing a PumpUp post with words of encouragement, and you'll earn 20 points after you share your total #ChallengeMe score for the week!

Sunday June 14 - Weights. What's your best advice for living a healthy lifestyle? You are only confined by the walls you make for yourself. Challenge yourself daily and find joy in being healthy. Here are some of the best pieces of advice from other PumpUp members. You'll earn 45 points for sharing a PumpUp post with words of encouragement, and you'll earn 20 points after you share your total #ChallengeMe score for the week!

#ChallengeMe Week 3

Monday, June 15 - Upper body. Remove "can't" from your vocabulary. Improve your posture and grow stronger every day. For every 15 mins of upper body exercises that you do today, you'll earn 50 #ChallengeMe points. Here's a great upper body workout that you can do with a partner!

Tuesday, June 16Healthy Lunch- You're probably eating your lunch on the go. Plan ahead and you'll make a plan to succeed. Pack a healthy lunch today to earn 20 #ChallengeMe points. What are your best tips for packing and planning out healthy meals? If you need some ideas, here are some light and lovely lunch ideas to help you through the week. Make this un-'beat'able beet salad if you're in a rush, or try these edamame recipes if you're looking to try something new!

Wednesday, June 17Cardio - Yes, we're putting you down for cardio. Do just 15 minutes to get your heart pumping! Simple body weight exercises can do the trick if you don't have a gym or if running and swimming isn't your thing.

Thursday, June 18Lemon Water- When life gives you lemons, drink lemon water. It can improve your digestive health and jump start your metabolism! Each glass can earn you 25 #ChallengeMe points today. Learn how lemon water can benefit you, and find our best lemon water recipe here.

Friday, June 19Jumping rope- We're jumpin' jumpin'. Grab a jumping rope and skip intensely for at least 5 minutes to earn 30 #ChallengeMe points. Whether you treat it as a mild warmup or a workout in itself, jump rope will help you burn tons of calories, fast. If you don't have a jumping rope, just mimic the same skipping motion with your arms and legs.

Saturday, June 20-Show lots of love to your #PumpUpFam. After you're done tallying the points you earned this week, share who your @PumpUp inspiration is in your caption. Each post that you dedicate to another PumpUp member will earn you 40 #ChallengeMe points

Sunday, June 21Biceps and triceps: Wanna show off on #FlexFriday in a major way? Do so by working on your biceps and triceps today. Every 15 minutes of bicep/tricep exercises will earn you 45 #ChallengeMe points!

#ChallengeMe Week 4

Monday, June 22Lower bodyThere's a reason why so many songs are being sung about our lower bodies. It's where most of our strength comes from.  Lower body exercises will enhance your performance in sports and various other compound movements. What's more, you'll improve your balance, stamina, and risk of injury. Squats are just the starting point. Here's a simple lower body workout that you need to do today.  Every 15 minutes of lower body exercise will earn you 50 points towards #ChallengeMe.

Tuesday, June 23Healthy Dinner: End your day the right way and make smart choices for dinner (after all, you won't be eating for another 8 hours...or more). An important part of having a healthy dinner comes with balancing out your day with a healthy breakfast and lunch.  Timing is key: don't eat too late, or you might overeat at night. Chew slowly and avoid fatty foods, as they're harder to digest and might disrupt your sleeping patterns. You'll earn 20 #ChallengeMe points for sharing a photo about your healthy dinner!  These almond recipes might spark some inspiration.

Wednesday, June 24Outdoor Workout: The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the great outdoors are calling your name. Start walking (or running) on sunshine: you might have a more effective workout when you're outside. Your body will work harder to adapt to changes in terrain, and you'll enhance your mood and self esteem. For every 15 minutes that you spend exercising outdoors, you'll earn 25 #ChallengeMe points.

Thursday, June 25Smoothies- If you've been on PumpUp for awhile, you'll probably notice one thing. Above all else, smoothies are our favorite things ever. There is an untapped of wealth of smoothie recipes waiting to be discovered on PumpUp. Share a great and creative smoothie recipes to earn 25 #ChallengeMe points. Here are just a few ideas.

Friday, June 26- Push-ups: Drop down and give us 20 (no, really). Try to do 20 push-ups today to earn 20 #ChallengeMe points. Don't worry if you can't do 20 all in one go: spread it out throughout the day, and get better. Get stronger. The push-up is a classic no-equipment exercise that works most major muscle groups. Here are a few push-up variations that you can definitely look forward to trying.

Saturday, June 27Workout Outfit: Funnily enough, we attach symbolic meaning to our athletic clothing. When we feel confident in our workout clothes, we may become more motivated (and even excited) to exercise. You're allowed to feel good in your workout gear at any shape or size. Flaunt it today: share a picture of your favorite workout clothes to earn 45 #ChallengeMe points. Remember to share how many points you accumulated this week in order to be considered for some PumpUp Swag!

#ChallengeMe Week 5

Sunday, June 28- Try a new yoga pose: Often, the most difficult thing about  yoga is beginning it. It's a practice. Begin and get stronger. Try a new yoga pose today, share a photo about it on PumpUp, and earn 45 #ChallengeMe points for every yoga post that you make!

Monday, June 29- 50 jumping sumo squats: Work your legs with some wide legged squats! Do a small jump as you ascend from each squat. For every set of 50 jumping sumo squats that you do, you'll earn 50 points towards #ChallengeMe. Experiment with different types of squats if you can. Find some other awesome bodyweight squats that you can try for the challenge.

Tuesday, June 30Cheat Smart. It's the last day of our June Challenge! You deserve a treat for all of your hard work. Share your favorite healthy treat on PumpUp! You might be able to find some inspiration from our ultimate BBQ recipe guide and from these other posts. Why should you treat yo' self? It might lead to better results.

Have any questions or feedback? Let us know in the comments below! 

Cover photo courtesy of PumpUp member @randy_dizon

5 bodyweight squats you should be doing (or trying)

5 bodyweight squats you should be doing (or trying)

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Let's get down to business to defeat the buns. You don't need a gym to get a full body workout. You might not even need equipment! Bodyweight squats achieve just that: it's a compound exercise that, when performed properly, exerts most major muscle groups. Here are 5 bodyweight squats that you should try today:
The deep squat
Deep bodyweight squats gif
When you’re treading in shallow water, your range of motion is fairly limited in comparison to when you’re swimming in deeper water. The same rings true for squats. By lowering your squat past your knees, you’ll be activating more muscles and burn more calories. Don’t sweat it: deep bodyweight squats won’t impact your knees any more than regular squats will. Weighted deep squats might even be more effective at increasing strength than parallel squats. Keep your weight in the heels and balls of your feet and make sure that your back isn’t overarched, ensuring that your knees don’t extend past your toes.
The prisoner squat
prisoner squats
Image via GymRa
Make your squats more challenging by placing your hands behind your head. Your body will work harder to stabilize itself throughout the movement, relying less on momentum and more on muscle control. The same rules apply: ground your feet, keep your knees in line with your ankles and maintain good posture throughout the movement.
The plié squat
plie squat blogilates gif
It’s high time to work your thighs. The plié squat specifically targets your quads, inner thighs, glutes, and hamstrings. Begin with your legs in a stance slightly wider than your shoulders and turn your feet about 45 degrees outward. Load the weight unto your heels and squat straight down, keeping your knees in line with your ankles. For an extra challenge, hold a weight in between your legs as you perform these bodyweight squats.
The jump squat
Jump squats cosmopolitan
Make sure you have good basic squat mechanics before you perform this plyometric move. Your knees shouldn't cave in and your chest should be higher than your hips. Lower down into a squat and jump vertically. When you land, decelerate so that you don’t put too much pressure on your joints. Make your landing slow and controlled and land through your heel. Use your arms to help propel yourself when you're starting out. Place them behind your head for an extra challenge. Clap your feet together while jumping to make the move more tricky.
The pistol squat
Pistol squat
While squats are challenging in themselves, pistol squats take difficult to an entirely different meaning. Gradual practice is necessary before you’ll be able to perform a full one-legged squat. When perfected, these bodyweight squats can help you to improve your strength, stability and balance. Keep your arms parallel to the floor, raise one leg with your foot flexed, and lower down slowly. Hold the position for a moment, then stand back up.
This article about bodyweight squats is part of a series of posts for #ChallengeMe: PumpUp's series of daily mini-challenges to keep you motivated. Check out the full challenge here. 

Here's how PumpUp members sprang into action this week | PumpUp Progress

Here's how PumpUp members sprang into action this week | PumpUp Progress

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PumpUp members are up to all kinds of amazing things. They're fitting into all kinds of clothes that they haven't been able to in a long time, they're defying their own self-imposed limitations, and they're smashing through personal records. April is a month of firsts, accomplishments, and steady progress. Here are some highlights from the PumpUp community over the past week.

They absolutely crushed their personal bests

@shotgunsamx beat her personal best 5K time

PumpUp member @shotgunsamx set a new 5K personal record at a race on Saturday, April 18. She finished at a very impressive and speedy time of 26:04. "I used to think 27 minutes was impossible," she exclaimed. It's clear that she's come a very long way from when she first started.

They fit perfectly into new clothes

This PumpUp member dropped 1-2 sizes in her clothes

Shirts and shorts are fitting better for PumpUp members more than ever before. This was especially true for @jazigrace when she took a trip to the mall this past weekend. "I went shopping for clothes today and I discovered that I'm one or two sizes smaller than the last time I went shopping. I haven't been able to fit clothes this size since my freshman year in softball!" She looks absolutely terrific: it's palpable in her bright smile!

...They also grew out of old clothes

This PumpUp member grew out of her old shorts from last summer

PumpUp member @cris_cc took our Spring Into Action message to heart. She worked so hard prior to summer that she realized that her old shorts no longer fit. "Last summer's shorts are too big for me now," she lamented. "I'm so happy and sad at the same time. I'll keep working. Looking forward to summer!" We're excited to help her achieve her goals for the rest of the year and beyond.

This PumpUp member grew INTO a shirt that didn't fit her last summer

Similarly, @camillagwp grew out of a shirt that fit tight around her stomach last year. "Now it's actually comfortable to wear, and I don't worry about it crawling up," she gleamed. Keep her pumped! She's been working so hard at improving her running pace!

They became much more flexible

This PumpUp member made progress with her dancer's pose

The dancer's pose in yoga is no joke.  If you've ever tried it as a beginner, you probably experienced a lot of flailing and falling. Not PumpUp member @gorgeous303. She became so much more flexible between the months of January and April and she's been able to get her leg up much further than she ever expected.

They ran forever. Literally, forever.

This PumpUp member beat her personal best distance, running her first ever 15K

5K is hard. 10K is brutal.  15 kilometers? Absolutely, mind-numbingly difficult. @limitlesstyle challenged herself to finish her first-ever 15K anyway. "Today wasn't about my time or improving my time," she affirmed. "It was about running a first ever 15K that my son challenged me to run. I may or may not have crawled the last mile home, but I finished and feel accomplished!" She definitely deserves an amazing rest this weekend!

They're improving their form in a big way

This PumpUp member is seeing improvements in her upper body strength

By concentrating on her upper body strength, @clodaghsiobhan has really been able to improve her form with tricep dips. "I can feel that my strength has improved a lot. Persistence is key for sure!"

 

11 amazing photos from PumpUp's Scavenger Hunt

11 amazing photos from PumpUp's Scavenger Hunt

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We challenged the PumpUp community to find items that fit the description of what was listed in the photo below. Pretty terrific entries were submitted for the contest! Although only one winner was inevitably chosen, we've decided to showcase 12 amazing photos that inspired us from the scavenger hunt.

Here's what each person was challenged to find for the fitness scavenger hunt:

  • Something PumpUp Blue
  • Something inspirational
  • Something you use as a weight
  • Something nutritious
  • Something you use to play music
  • Something you wear while running

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From @alishasmith25: A PumpUp blue water bottle, an inspirational picture of her first 10 km race, purple dumbbells, baby spinach, pink speakers, and nike shoes.

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From @shannondancer11: A PumpUp blue water, bottle, her favourite quote, a weighted plate, oranges and bananas, an iPod, and sneakers.

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From @jenilacko: An inspiring card for South Africa, her backpack, kale, a vinyl player, and sneakers.Screenshot_2015-04-06-20-02-13

From @maryancgc: PumpUp blue progress bar, Khloe Kardashian, a white dumbbell, fruits, her headphones, and tennis sneakers.

pumpup fitness scavenger hunt

From @pigeonsmcgee: Running shorts, her favourite fortune, a dumbbell set, blue berry greek yogurt, headphones and boy shorts

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From cgal0113: An SAT preparation book, an inspiring quote, 5lb dumbbells, detox water, an iPhone, and cute running gear. 

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From @tiptopteacher: A balloon from her last day at school, her boyfriend, a kettle bell, Greek salad, her iPhone, and Nike free runs.

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From @carbsandcardio: Sports for Human Rights charity bracelets, Bend it like Beckham, a TotalGym home trainer, a healthy snack pack, an iPod nano, and an iPhone case.

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From @kieferjasmin: A "PumpUp blue" outfit, an inspirational quote, a blue dumbbell, blueberries and almonds, her favourite headphones, and running gear.

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From @marcialeite14: Sneakers, A quote from a wall at the gym, a dumbbell, Protein pancakes, and her computer.

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From @dylanr2015: A PumpUp t-shirt, a quote hung on his door, dumbbells at the recreation center, oranges and bananas, his iPhone, and Nike shoes.

 

Spring Into Action: Why action beats intention

Spring Into Action: Why action beats intention

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Good intentions are just that— they're good. Actions transform good intentions into great accomplishments. From experience, you know that taking action isn't so simple: you overthink, you don't know where to start, excuses pile up higher than Mount Everest, and life simply gets in the way. How we create our intentions poses another problem. Tucked away in the corner of our minds are intentions that manifest themselves broadly, like vapours waiting to take form as a cloud full of precipitation, action, and meaning. There's something in your life that you haven't done:  an intention to eat healthier, to exude more positivity, to exercise more often. What gives?

Later can be now. Someday can be today. Tiny and gradual actions can help you to achieve major results.

Spring into Action and let the PumpUp community help you to achieve your goals. Use the hashtag #SpringIntoAction to share about how you are making actionable difference in your lives and the lives of others. It can start with a plan, or a post. It can start with a commitment to a community. Share about what spring into action means to you this month in the comments below!

Photo via flickr

why action beats intention

 

5 simple reasons why burpees are here to stay

5 simple reasons why burpees are here to stay

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Love them or loathe them, burpees are one of the most efficient no-equipment full-body exercises that you can do. If you feel like your arms are collapsing faster than a Jenga tower and your heart is pounding out of your chest after just 5 reps of burpees, it means that the exercise is working, for the most part. You're doin' your body some good. There are several reasons why burpees are here to stay. Here are just a few of them. There's a tiny learning curve

Unlike complex yoga positions that really take quite a bit of patience, persistence, and practice to build up to (crow-pose, we're looking at you), burpees are composed of simple movements that most beginners can pick up quickly.

You can perform them anywhere

Feel like binge-watching the last season of Orange is the New Black on Netflix? Do burpees every time you see a character rolling their eyes. On vacation and you're stuck in your hotel room? Do burpees as soon as you wake up.  Burpees don't require any equipment. Wherever your travels take you, get your heart rate up with a few burpees in between your adventures.

They work your entire body

Burpees strengthen every major muscle group, which is why you may feel like you battled five armies after five burpees.  Full body exercises exert more pressure on your body than isolation exercises such as oblique twists, allowing you to get your heart rate up much faster and burn more calories in less time. A 140-lb person will burn approximately 1.11 calories per burpee.

The more you practice burpees, the easier burpees (and other exercises) will be

You'll become stronger and have much more endurance when you perform burpees on the regular. By utilizing your major muscle groups and incorporating high-repetition plyometrics into the movement, burpees will condition your agilitystrength, and endurance, helping you to perform better in other sports and everyday activities.

Burpee variations are quite cool

If you're ever in need of a new party trick, burpee variations are your next best bet. Try adding a back handspring or a back-tuck after each repetition for some serious karma points. For an intense upper-body burn, do a pull-up after your jump up from a burpee. Impress us with your burpee variations by sharing about them with the PumpUp community!

How do you do a burpee properly?

  • From standing position, bend your body into a squat, plant your hands flat on the floor
  • Jump your feet back into plank position. Your spine should be straight.
  • Lower your chest to the ground in a push-up. On the way up, jump your feet towards your hands
  • Jump up vertically in the air as high as you can, landing softly
  • Repeat

Try our challenge of the week

See how many burpees you can do consecutively, post about it on the PumpUp app, and tag two other friends to try it with you!

5 reasons why burpees are here to stay

Challenge of the week : Walk more

Challenge of the week : Walk more

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For a chance to win some PumpUp Swag from our March To Your Dream theme this week, we challenge you to walk more. Walk as many steps as you can this weekend. Track it on PumpUp, and tag your caption with #PumpUpSwag! The winner will be chosen on Monday.

How can I walk more this weekend?

Walking (or running, for that matter) really isn't for everybody. We still encourage you to get up and get moving; that's what March To Your Dream is about, after all!

  • Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator
  • If you're taking the car out, park further away from your desired destination
  • Plan to disembark public transit one or two stops earlier than you're used to; you'll benefit from the extra walk (and have more room to eat weekend brunch, obviously)
  • Instead of calling your friends over to watch a movie, do something active together instead
    • Indoor trampoline parks are a riot. More of a riot than Hot Tub Time Machine 2.
    • Weather permitting, go for a run! You don't have to be Usain Bolt. Dial down the pace so that you can chat and jog at the same time
    • Place yourself in an area where you know you'll walk a lot: malls, the zoo, museums, etc. are all locations where you'll definitely and deceptively walk more without it feeling like a chore

Good luck, PumpUp!