At the start of Ruben's fitness journey, he had trouble maintaining healthy habits because he didn't have a strong support system. "I struggled for about a year because no one wanted to work out with me," he professed. As a freelance graphic designer who works from home, Ruben spent up to ten consecutive hours sitting in front of a computer each day. "I lived off snacks, soda, and quick fast-food meals," he remembered. "The only exercise I would get was walking to the refrigerator."
For a portion of Anastasia's younger years, she struggled drastic weight fluctuations and body dysmorphia. In middle school, she weighed less than 70 lbs at a height of 5'5". Then, she gained 80 lbs in her recovery phase. "I was one of two things," she remembered. "At first, I was a girl who struggled with anorexia and bulimia for two years. Next, I was a girl who had gained too much weight after going on a pill I was given for recovery. I was unhappy and I hated my body. That's when I found PumpUp and my life truly began to change." Two months into Anastasia's journey, she had a hard time finding motivation to maintain healthy habits. Members from the PumpUp community helped her to get back on track.
Nutrition is hard to get 'right'. It takes time to find a regimen that works for you. It took years before Tarahlynn figured out how to fuel her body the right way. "I started using PumpUp right around the beginning of my fitness journey," she mentioned. "I ran cross country for a few years, so running was really all I knew. I paid no attention to what I ate or how much I was eating. I didn't eat breakfast or lunch, just little meals and a big dinner. At some point in the day, I would go for 1-3 mile runs and I had no idea how to properly provide my body with necessary nutrients."
"I've always been 'The Fat One'," recalled Marita. "I was bullied when I was younger and I started dieting when I was 12 years old. I've never been quite happy with myself, except from 2011-2012. I was what I considered to be a healthy weight, and I was happy with my body." After an ankle surgery made exercising nearly impossible for Marita, she fell into a deep depression because of all the weight she gained
Nobody's transformation story is ever completely straightforward. As a child, Rachel was constantly in and out of of the hospital because she had kidney disease. By the time she was nearly four years old, she already had 8 surgeries - one of which removed her left kidney. "My right kidney had to do the job of two kidneys, which caused [its] protective layer to be stretched thin," she recounted. "Because of this, the doctor told my parents that I should never play any sports or do anything that could cause me to fall on my right side."
When Brenda started to adopt healthier habits, she lacked motivation and support. Her workouts and meals lacked variety. "My life before PumpUp was really tedious to be honest," she revealed. "I would eat the same things every day [...and] I didn't know which workouts to do other than run. People around me weren't into fitness and health, so it was very difficult for me to get motivated."
In December 2014, Desiree dealt with severe depression and stress. She was afflicted by hypothyroidism, a hormonal condition that can slow down a person's metabolism, making it difficult to lose weight. "On most days, I just laid in bed, hating myself," she confessed. "I hated looking at who I was in the mirror. I was tired because of all of the extra weight I had to move on a daily basis to do ordinary tasks."
For years, Amanda had a difficult time thinking about food as fuel. She battled with both anorexia and bulimia at the same time. "I had a surgery, I was just really down about myself, and I took it out on my body," she recalled. "Once I started eating and it all became bingeing, I knew I had to make a change. That was when I really got into working out." It has been two and a half years since Amanda healed from her eating disorders. Moderation was the key to her success.
Chanelle struggled with Binge Eating Disorder (B.E.D.) to the point where it became destructive. She constantly dealt with a combination of disordered behaviours. "My typical week [consisted] of 4 days eating super clean (vegan, no sugar, only drinking water etc..) and 2 days binging on chips, cakes, pizza, coke, etc.," she explained. "Every time I ate "bad foods", I hated myself and went straight into fasting for the next 3-4 days to purge or 'detox'." On top of that, Chanelle exercised obsessively to counteract whatever she ate. Guilt about food consumed her. "I'd wake up at 5am in the morning to run and come back home after work to burn even more calories at the gym," she recalled. "My life was ruled around what I ate and burning calories. This was extremely stressful."
Anxiety negatively impacted Julie's life, to the point where her physical health was in danger. "I've always had bad anxiety ever since I was little," she admitted."I think it started when my grandfather passed away when I was 5 years old." Julie hardly ever slept and ate large portions of comfort food to cope with the emotional turmoil that stirred inside of her. "[The eating], combined with not caring for myself got me to my highest weight of 361 lbs," she stated.
Where do you turn to when your motivation is low? At the start of her fitness journey, Angela was too intimidated to push herself to the next level. She couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without struggling for breath and was hesitant about joining a gym. "I've always been a jack of all trades, but a master of none in all aspects of my life," she revealed. "Why? Because I was scared. Scared of failing, hard work, and commitment."
Things changed when Henna joined PumpUp in March 2015. "After getting to know the PumpUp community more, I realized what healthy food is really like," she explained. "You don't need to eat small portions or cut back on everything that you like. Eating a lot of vegetables and unprocessed food is the base of healthy living. PumpUp's atmosphere is something unique. Everyone is so nice to each other and each member spreads cheerful compliments and [messages of] positivity."
Social anxiety used to get in the way of Lindsay's fitness progress. "I have always felt overwhelmed in a crowd, preventing me from attending certain events and social gatherings," she elaborated. "When I first began going to the student gym at my university, I found it very difficult to be in the weight room because I felt like everyone was judging me."
Either eating mostly peanut butter sandwiches — and sometimes, nothing at all — Jessi realized that her stressful schedule was wreaking havoc on her body. "My lifestyle before PumpUp was [that] of a typical on-the-go mom," she shared. "I was extremely lazy and found every excuse. I was in a vicious cycle of hating my body, then eating because I wasn't happy."
"Once I started using PumpUp daily, I became more motivated. I would see everybody else getting their workouts done, so it gave me some energy and excitement to [exercise] as well. I love all the food posts on PumpUp. It inspires me to be more creative [with] meal prep and I have seen so many delicious recipes that I want to try." Not long after Alison joined PumpUp in April 2015, she started to research and train for her first-ever bikini competition.
"I thought that having a thigh gap would make me happy because so many girls had one," said Carla. "My body isn't built for that, and it's okay. Now, I feel happier, stronger, and full of self-love." For Carla, the hardest step was making the decision to prioritize her health over all else. The more she endangered her body, the less support she received from her closest friends and family members.
"I was unhappy with myself but [never considered] working out. [My friend] recommended PumpUp as a source of inspiration." When Ina joined PumpUp in the summer of 2014, she began to develop a more positive relationship with exercise. "My journey basically started when I [began] to use PumpUp," she confessed.
Stephanie was always 'the bullied kid' when she was growing up. "I dealt with bullying for every reason possible," she lamented. "I had acne, kids made fun of me, and I wasn't as outgoing as everybody. I was always sick, so I was called 'the virus'. I was overweight and didn't take care of myself, so I was humiliated for that."
'Healthy' isn't a weight - it's different for every body. Although Hannah always had a smaller frame, people judged her for it. Comments about her weight gradually undermined her confidence and aggravated her anxiety. "I've had anxiety since 2010, so setbacks aren't uncommon, but they're something I've learnt to overcome with the right mindset and support," she mentioned.
"I've always had to deal with anxiety every day— to the point that it becomes all-consuming," Becca lamented. "[And] before PumpUp, I definitely did not take the consequences of what I was eating seriously."