At the start of 2015, Gemma was fiercely motivated to live a healthy lifestyle on her own terms. After she shared her first post with the PumpUp community, her drive to succeed accelerated to new levels. "I started using PumpUp as a way of keeping me motivated," she explained. "When I train, I train on my own. My friends aren't really into health and fitness. With PumpUp, even if you exercise alone, as soon as you share a picture or workout, it feels like the rest of the team is there with you!" Before she joined PumpUp, Gemma struggled with her eating habits. It was not uncommon for her to skip breakfast and to binge on food late at night. "I had no real structure or routine together, nor did I have a real understanding about how important nutrition really is," she elaborated. Gemma quickly became dissatisfied with her hour-long cardio-intensive sessions at the gym. Though she committed to exercising at least 2-3 times a week, she was unsure of how to go about expanding the scope of her exercise regimen.

However, Gemma was incredibly active in her earlier years. She ran cross country and played Netball until she was involved in a serious hit and run car accident. "[This] left me unconscious with broken bones," she shared. "I had broken my leg in three places and damaged both of my hips. [It was] permanent, lasting damage." Following the accident, Gemma began to gain weight. It was a massive shock– both emotionally, and physically. "I went from being active all the time to not being able to walk at all," she remembered. "It changed me as a person for a very long time." She attempted to ease back into cross country running on three separate occasions. Each time, Gemma sprained her ankles because her bones were too weak to handle the pressure of running. "Living with daily pains in my hips has become a way of life for me, and it doesn't make working out easy," she shared. "Pushing through is the only way around it. So that’s what I do!"

Since Gemma joined PumpUp, her eating habits changed completely: no more skipping breakfast or late night snacking. "It’s so easy to pick up new recipes/ideas for healthy snacks by following others on PumpUp," Gemma expressed gleefully.  "Now, I always make a fresh smoothie every night so that I have it ready for the next morning. If I’m in a hurry or running late, I can grab my smoothie on the way out rather than skipping breakfast all together!"

Gemma's workout routine also changed after she learned more from the PumpUp community. "PumpUp has given me the courage to try new things," sheaffirmed. "Seeing others push themselves gives you drive to push yourself too. I no longer just do cardio workouts. I have recently started incorporating weightlifting in to my workouts – something I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing before! Seeing others push themselves gives you strength to think that you can do it too."

The PumpUp community taught Gemma a lot about herself. She struggled with self acceptance and self belief for as long as she can remember. "Being a part of the PumpUp community has taught me so much, the biggest probably being that it is okay to be yourself," she revealed. "For the first time, I am able to say that I am happy and comfortable and completely self-accepting.   This has only come in the months that I have been using PumpUp." Gemma has come a long way and she hopes that the PumpUp community will continue to motivate and inspire her just as it has done over the past year. "My initial goal [was similar to others]: to “'lose weight'," she stated. "Having become a part of PumpUp, 'losing weight” is not the aim.  I want to continue to live a fit and healthy life and inspire others to do so to."

Gemma's best advice to others in the PumpUp fitness community

As cliché as it sounds – just believe in yourself.   Set small, realistic targets and reward yourself when you hit them. I would say don’t restrict yourself, don’t tell yourself you “can’t” eat something, or you “can’t” go somewhere because you “should” really workout.   Don’t look at healthy eating as a “diet”, don’t look at working out as something you “have” to do.  Preparation and planning ahead is so important – whether that be meal planning or planning your workouts for the week ahead.   If you tell yourself you’re going to do something, chances are you will!  

Gemma's biggest motivation

Although there are many people who inspire me and motivate me, what motivates me most is the PumpUp community and its love and support for one another. I have used the app for 7 months now and in that time I can honestly say that I have never seen a negative comment from one person to another – it's inspiring.   When I originally started my journey, “weightloss” was my only goal. Seeing what others achieve and how they have transformed their bodies and lifestyles makes me realise I can do whatever I set my mind too and that is what keeps me motivated the most.

Gemma's favorite workout

I tend to mix up my workouts as much as possible, whether that means running/hiking, getting in a gym workout or just doing an at home workout.   Hiking is a love of mine and living where I do, I am surrounded by beautiful places to go – it’s fun too, to make the most of and enjoy your surroundings! I also enjoy outdoor workouts, just using what you have and making the best of it.   If there is one thing PumpUp has taught me, it’s that you do not necessarily need a gym membership to stay active!

Keep Gemma pumped! Find her on PumpUp @_gemmalouise and give her words of encouragement!