Ever struggled with motivation to get healthy? That's what happened to PumpUp member Talia S. when she realized that she was beginning to compromise her health during her senior year of high school.  She understandably shifted her focus towards assignments and tests that would determine her academic future—at the expense of her physical and mental wellbeing. “When I was younger, I used to be very active—every week, I would have some activity: swimming, dancing or tennis,” she recounted. “During high school, the only physical exercise I got was once a week during gym class.” Talia’s eating habits also took a turn for the worse, as she’d prioritize convenience over nutritional value. “When I got home from school, I made what was easy and quick—this normally consisted of grilled cheese sandwiches, microwavable Mac and Cheese, and pizza,” she lamented. “I ate Burger King at least once a week because it’s right down the road from where I live.” Talia realized that this lifestyle wasn’t sustainable. It was at this moment last year that she decided to join the PumpUp community. “When I saw PumpUp in the app store I immediately downloaded it,” she recalled. “I haven’t turned back since. After using PumpUp I have become more conscious about what I eat.” Drawing inspiration from other members on PumpUp, Talia made choices that were much more beneficial for her health. “When I come home from school, I now normally eat a banana or an apple, then a salad,” she explained. “I normally leave some of the meat or fish from the night before and mix it in with lettuce for lunch.” Equipped with the tools and the motivation to get healthy, Talia learned to have a more balanced relationship with food since the start of her journey with PumpUp. “I am not strict with myself when it comes to food because I love food too much to sacrifice what I love,” she affirmed. “I find that I'm too young to be so constricted with my diet but this is my personal opinion of course.”


Balancing exercise with academics

At first, Talia incorporated more exercise into her routine by creating custom workouts for herself with the PumpUp app. “Because of PumpUp I learned to love exercising, which is a huge accomplishment,” she expressed. “It gives me this high that I can’t compare to anything else.” In addition to PumpUp routines, she thoroughly enjoys the adrenaline rush that the Just Dance series gives her two to three times a week. Talia is performing exercises that she loves, within the parameters of what the International Baccalaureate program encourages her to do. “The course encourages students to be involved in some sort of physical activity,” she elaborated. “On top of PumpUp workouts, I was encouraged to book some personal training sessions and went to dance classes. I currently take kickboxing classes once a week, which I love.”


Not only was Talia able to balance exercise and her academic workload during her senior year, she graduated as Valedictorian. Exercising also helped Talia learn to love herself more. “I live on a small island in the Caribbean where the ideal portrait of beauty is very specific, focusing on three things: curly hair, big butt, and big breasts,” she confessed. “I don’t have any of those three things and many guys would only be attracted to girls that had those characteristics. I had to learn to become comfortable having straight hair, small breasts, and a small butt. Now I can say that I am confident about how I look. I might not be exactly where I want to be but I have been loving the journey thus far.”

Motivation was also something that Talia struggled with the most. From experience, she attests to the oft-said platitude that without motivation to get healthy, the likelihood of sticking to a fitness program decreases drastically. “Finding a goal or a workout buddy to help you is a difficult process. I had the PumpUp community as my motivation,” she asserted. “The members were very encouraging, warm, and friendly, and most of all made me feel comfortable. Ever since I started using PumpUp, I became more comfortable in my skin. I felt like people liked me for me and not because of what I physically looked like (as others would on other platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).”



Talia’s Biggest Source of Motivation

I honestly don’t have a certain person who is my motivation to get healthy. I exercise to improve my own body and not to have a new body. If I had to pick a person it would be Cassey Ho from Blogilates. I do Pilates on a weekly basis from her YouTube channel. She would be my motivation because she encourages persons to work at their own level while still pushing and motivating them. What does motivate me while I’m working out is music. My love for music is on another level. I like listening to rap, R &B and Hip Hop. If you follow me on PumpUp you would realize that I quote many lyrics especially from the artist ‘PND’. Therefore I would say that music is my main source of motivation.

Talia’s Eats

My favorite food would have to be sushi. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE sushi but I know it isn’t completely healthy for me so I eat it once a month. I also love salads with fruits in them!



Motivational Mantra

My favorite saying would have to be “She needed a hero, so that’s what she became” and “Be with someone who makes you happy”

Favourite Exercise

I am hooked on kickboxing and Pilates. I love boxing and kicking people haha, I’ve been told I can be violent at times. Kickboxing makes me feel strong and independent. I only need myself and my will power to succeed in both these sports which Is why I love them. I’m all about making yourself happy without the aid of anyone else!”


More about Talia

“I was born and raised on the small island of St. Maarten; this is really a beautiful place to grow up in. I grew up in a Dutch household and attended a Dutch primary school. When the time came to go to high school I decided I wanted to go to an English high school. Keep in mind that my English was absolutely horrible. In my first year I took many extra classes and managed to stay on track. I am very interested in cooking now since I come from a multicultural island. Many of my friends are Chinese, Indian or Spanish. I’m learning traditional Dutch cooking as well as Surinamese cooking since my mother is from there. I’m interested in all types of cultures and religions and I’m hoping I’ll make more friends when I move to college in the Netherlands next year! Which would mean I have to learn how to ride a bike really soon. I am a pot of different cultures so I don’t believe in stereotyping and judging persons on where they come from or what they look like. Everyone is interesting and special in their own way.”

Keep Talia pumped by following her health and fitness journey on PumpUp @taliyah_s and on Instagram.