"Working out has helped me develop a passion for health and fitness. It gave me a purpose to wake up every morning."
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"Working out has helped me develop a passion for health and fitness. It gave me a purpose to wake up every morning."
"I overcame anxiety and depression by looking at what I was eating and why I was eating it. I got up and went to the gym instead of hiding away and feeling sorry for myself.”
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."
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."
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."
"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.
'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."
At the start of 2015, Birta discovered that exercise relieved her symptoms of depression and anxiety. After she became an active member of the PumpUp community in March 2015, Birta lost 8 kilograms. She's more confident than ever. "I have never been more happy and proud of my body as I am now," she insisted.
Lana learned that the state of her mental health was tied to her physical health. She began to eat healthier and saw positive changes. “Running became my escape,” she revealed. “I lost weight and I felt amazing. Before PumpUp, I lost about 25 pounds. I was doing good…but I wanted to be great.” Though Lana exercised in moderation, PumpUp really helped her to take her health and fitness to another level.
Picture a girl who is working her hardest at the squat rack. She's proudly adorning loudly-patterned calf-high socks. She doesn't have makeup on, her hair is up, and sweat is dripping off of her body. That girl is the most confident girl in the room: she has taken everybody else out of the equation. In this moment, the only thing that matters to her is that she's doing the best that she can with her body. "That girl is me," said Anne, a PumpUp motivator who has come a long way in terms of body confidence and self-acceptance.
As an emotional eater, Kamaile's mental health tendered an intimate connection with her physical health. "My husband worked nights, so it messed up our metabolisms," she elaborated. "I had a large fry and a large coke at every meal." When Kamaile joined the PumpUp community in January 2015, she found a renewed sense of purpose.
With hard work, determination, and a community of support, bad habits aren't impossible to break from. PumpUp member @michellecantin is a testament to this. After joining PumpUp in 2014, Michelle had the motivation to quit smoking, curb her anxiety, moderate her drinking, and achieve the results that she was always striving for. When Michelle officially began her fitness journey in 2013, her drinking and smoking habits hindered her progress. "I was still smoking, but I barely did any cardio. I was eating healthy, but I was drinking every weekend," she elaborated. "I would get frustrated because I was working out all the time. I was seeing no results because of my poor diet and lack of dedication. By the time Monday came around, I wouldn't want to go back to the gym." This vicious cycle made it difficult for Michelle to adapt the kind of lifestyle that would give her the results she was looking for. Michelle also battled severe anxiety between 2011 and 2013, which undermined her sense of self worth. "I didn't want to get out of bed except to go out and drink," she recounted. "I wanted to forget about everything else. I wasn't myself and I didn't feel like anything I did was worthwhile."
PumpUp became the catalyst that motivated Michelle to transform her life. "I was looking for new workouts, stumbled across it and really loved what [the app] had to offer," she remembered. "PumpUp really helped me find motivation in myself and in the other people using it." Scrolling through PumpUp in the morning became routine for Michelle. "I would see pictures of people working out and it would make me want to do the same," she recalled. "Around August 2014 I started to make serious lifestyle changes: I stopped going out every weekend and I quit smoking cigarettes. Aside from random attacks, my anxiety was almost completely gone."
The difference in Michelle is palpable. Her lifestyle underwent a complete overhaul ever since she committed to changing her habits for good. "If I had known that working out was all I needed to get rid of my anxiety, I would have started long ago," Michelle mused. "My skin is softer and zit free. My hair is softer and I am so full of energy all the time." For Michelle, working out became a passion rather than a chore. She resolves to exercise at least 6 times a week, whenever that may be. "If I don't feel like going to the gym on a given day because my body is tired, I listen and make up for it on another day," she explained. "I love watching my body change because of how I eat and exercise. It's an interesting and never-ending journey."
Michelle's lifestyle change didn't happen automatically. Her progress is the product of several attempts, many victories, and occasional failures. "I've given up a number of times, but what made me continue is the fact that I kept trying again," Michelle insisted. "I would give up, but I'd be back at it next week. I would stop for a month, then try again next month. Finally, I wanted it so bad that I kept pushing." Michelle's passion for health and fitness sparked big dreams for her. "I have withdrawal if I miss the gym for just two days!" she exclaimed. "PumpUp makes me want to do bigger and better things. I would really like to create a free eBook for people to use at the gym, or at home. I'm also very interested in going to school for sports and conditioning, then working my way into becoming a personal trainer."
Michelle's best advice
Don't compare your body to others, because it will destroy your confidence. You can strive to look like someone all you want but everyone has different bodies and shapes. It's impossible to look like someone else's body. So strive to be a better, healthier person. Don't strive to look like someone else.
My biggest motivation is Lacey Dunn. She is the newest bodyspace spokesmodel and she has an amazing body. She's strong but petite and she knows her flaws which I love. It's great to find a roll model who knows they have to work on things and that the journey is endless.
I love to squat. I love it because of the journey. When I started, I could only squat maybe 50 pounds. Today I can squat 180 pounds and am on a mission to 200!! I also love to sprint!
Michelle's eating habits
I now eat like a carnivorous rabbit haha. I love all vegetables, but also eat white meat and fish. Of course I indulge every now and then but I will never go back to the way I used to eat.
More about Michelle
I have been horseback riding for over 8 years and have a horse of my own named Nishka! I love animals with a passion and the fact I can join fitness and animals is great.
Keep Michelle pumped! Cheer her on as she makes strides with her progress @michellecantin on PumpUp! Were you inspired by Michelle's story? Let us know in the comments below.
If anxiety and tide pools of profound unhappiness have ever burdened you, Jessica knows exactly how you feel. Freshly out of university in July 2014, Jessica decided to do something about it by joining the PumpUp community. “I turned to fitness and a healthy lifestyle in an effort to lose weight, boost my mood, and combat my anxiety,” she explained. “My lifestyle has completely changed since I’ve been using PumpUp. I can’t even express how much healthier I feel!”
Prior to PumpUp, university-induced stress got the best of Jessica’s eating habits. “I would constantly snack when writing essays, a form of comfort eating I suppose,” shrugged Jessica. “There was quite a lot of partying and drinking so I put on quite a bit of weight while at university.” Frequent fast-food trips didn’t help her case either, as much as she tried to stick to lean meat and fish at dinnertime. Her snacking habit and lack of exercise became two of her biggest obstacles next to her 3-year battle with anxiety. “I would suffer from frequent panic attacks and avoided many situations because of it,” she recounted. “PumpUp was the beginning of my fitness and health journey. The community was so positive, uplifting and encouraging. I began to appreciate what I had and learned that positivity is key. I started to say yes: I will live my life to the fullest, believe in myself, and face my fears.”
Suffice it to say, Jessica has be true to the promises she made since she began to share her story with the PumpUp community. She eased into the groove of a different routine and was stunned by the palpable impact it made upon her physical and mental health. “What’s so great about PumpUp is that I can track my progress since I first started my journey,” she insisted. “It really helps me to see how far I’ve come with the added bonus of such a motivational community.” Not only are Jessica’s eating habits much more balanced, they are less so dictated by her stress level. “I started my job as a teaching assistant in September—this keeps me busy because I don’t get many breaks,” she elaborated. “There is less time and no temptation to snack.”
Once work finishes, you’ll be able to find Jess at the gym 4 times a week, tracking her progress on PumpUp as she goes. “When I especially don’t feel like working out, I’ll go onto PumpUp and it’ll instantly motivate me to get back in the gym,” Jessica enthused. “I’ve never regretted a workout and really do feel so much better after. Not only is she motivated it exercise more consistently, Jess’s mood is discernibly more positive. You’ll be hard-pressed to find an ounce of negativity when you’re around her. “I used to be extremely pessimistic, always worrying about what I looked like,” she recalled. “I’m happier and healthier than ever before since I joined PumpUp. I’m an optimist for the first time in my life and I’ve been able to help encourage others with their own journey.”
If there’s one thing that Jessica recommends to others looking to lead a healthier lifestyle, it’s perseverance. “Believe in yourself,” she affirmed. “If you’re struggling to maintain an active lifestyle, set goals and believe that you can achieve them. Change doesn’t happen right away. It takes time. Often I feel like when you're close to giving up, you begin to see change!"
Jessica’s biggest motivation
Initially my biggest motivation was wanting to love my body. PumpUp helped me to achieve that. Now I'm constantly motivated by the wonderful and supportive PumpUp community but in particular, Lorrin (@lorrin) and Dan (dmccarthy). I've been following their journeys since I downloaded PumpUp and they have always been so encouraging and supportive, not just to me but to so many other users too. Both have come so far and I'm so grateful to be surrounded by such inspirational and supportive people like them!
I usually eat porridge with chia and flaxseed for breakfast, a banana as my morning snack and I make a salad every night for lunch, which consists of spinach, chicken or salmon, olives, tomatoes, humus, falafel, avocado and a grain such as quinoa or bulgur wheat. Sometimes I'll have a protein bar an hour before I go to the gym or oatcakes with almond butter (my favourite snack!) A typical dinner for me now would be salmon and sweet potato or a chicken casserole.
My biggest struggle was learning how to be happy and not to worry so much, so Helen Keller's quote "Be happy with what you have while working for what you want" is a fantastic reminder to enjoy life.
To stay active I mostly go to the gym and do running here and there. I like to start off my gym session with 15 minutes on a bike followed by 5 minutes on the rowing machine. I then use various different weight machines but I particularly like the roman chair (even if it looks scary!) to work my abs and I enjoy doing lunges with 8kg dumbbells.
Fun fact about Jess
I'm British but I'm also bilingual, I speak English and French and lived in Paris for a year in 2012! As well as fitness, I have a huge passion for makeup and beauty and I have my own beauty blog.
Keep Jessica pumped on the app @_js and follow her on Instagram @jessbabeszz!
This is an article written by PumpUp member @geek_getfit
At the age of 10, I was in counselling for depression. I was only 10, and I wanted to kill myself. At that period of time, I was hit multiple times a day at school, shoved into walls, I had people threatening to kill me, and a student wrapping their hands around my neck and shaking me. I was too small to defend myself and I couldn’t take it anymore. I remember the day I ran crying to my mom because I was so afraid to go to school. It got so bad I had to be pulled out of school and put into counselling, where they diagnosed me with depression and heightened anxiety.
Over the next couple of years, I did return to that same school and experienced a different type of bullying: sexual harassment. I can remember my 8th grade year like it was yesterday, but one night stands out in particular. On the way home from a national academic quiz tournament called the Scholars Bowl, two boys who groped at my chest while I was sitting on the bus. I became constantly worried about what would happen next, and increasingly became insecure about my appearance. My depression deepened when I was called a ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ whenever I wore a V-neck t-shirt or when I would not let boys touch me.
When I entered high school, I found PumpUp. I had heard a lot of great things about it, so I decided to give the app a try. I started working out twice a day using PumpUp- needless to say I fell in love with fitness. My stress began to disappear, my anxiety was at bay, and my depression was easier to handle. I spend my summer running, biking, and working out - I was so much happier.
Here I am at this present moment: a 15 year-old freshman, an honor student, the class president, an athlete on varsity sports teams, and a cheerleader. Depression can drive you crazy. I workout to relieve the stress from my everyday life at school, to relax, and to keep myself sane. I haven’t let my past stop me from being the best I can. I still continue to be sexually harassed, especially while I am cheering, but I have learned to ignore the boys. Yes, I still get bullied a lot, but I just have to let it go because I know those people won’t matter later on in my life. My past may haunt me, but I am not going to let it hold me back.
TO ANYBODY WITH DEPRESSION OR ANXIETY
Please keep your head up, I know that it may feel impossible to get out of bed on some mornings, but do it anyways. Tell that voice in your head that says “You can’t” to sit down and shut up. You will get through this, and if you think no one believes in you, you are wrong- I BELIEVE IN YOU. You can do this. You are beautiful/handsome, strong (though you may not realize it yet), the bravest person alive, and you can do anything.
Erin (@3rin) joined PumpUp with one simple goal: to have visible ab definition. “My fitness goals were reached because of my determination and because of members of the PumpUp community who have either become good friends or family to me,” she insisted. Erin is in the spotlight to bravely share her turbulent and inspiring story coping with PTSD, anxiety, and depression as a single parent, while still achieving her health and fitness objectives. “I’ve come to realize that being healthy isn’t about losing weight or getting abs,” she revealed. “It’s about having a positive attitude, eating right, and being with people who you love and love you.
One simple bike ride in 2012 became Erin’s catalyst to truly strive for a healthy and active lifestyle. “I went for a bike ride with a friend and we raced, but he beat me by 7km,” she said. Fuelled with determination, Erin built up her cycling skills over the next couple of months, improved her confidence, and lost weight. “After the 2 ½ month mark, I finally beat him. I was so excited that I entered a race for breast cancer. There were 500 other women and I would have placed 3rd if my scoliosis hadn’t affected the outcome of my race.”
However, Erin’s scoliosis took a toll on fitness journey other ways. “After recuperating in physio after the race for breast cancer, I was determined to get back into biking,” she elaborated. “At that point, my schedule had changed—I became a single parent because I left my abusive ex-husband, and with no visitation or child support.” Erin managed to get back on track despite of these obstacles, and in a major way. “My daughter was 2 ½ years old at the time, so I asked my friend to watch her in the mornings so that I could go running and clear my mind,” Erin added. From that point onwards, her healthy lifestyle has been something that she is proud of herself for maintaining.
Intrigued by the prospect of a mobile app that could customize workouts for her, Erin joined PumpUp in July 2013 in order to augment her existing workout routine and to track her progress. “I was determined to get visible abs,” she insisted. With hard work, determination, and encouragement from the PumpUp community, Erin managed to achieve her goal and more. “About a month ago in November 2014, I took a random picture of myself lying on the ground… and I saw abs,” she explained breathlessly. “My daughter is in school, telling everybody about them. It’s embarrassing, yet exhilarating.”
PumpUp is honoured to have helped Erin to achieve one of her ultimate objectives for 2014. “I accomplished all I wanted to accomplish with the help of PumpUp. I have abs,” she gushed. “Now I just need the confidence to show off my hard work. I can confidently run in just a sports bra, and in every type of weather. However, I still lack the courage to wear a halter top or a bathing suit in public.”
The PumpUp community admires Erin’s strength in combatting her PTSD. “I have recurring flashbacks, anxiety issues, and severe scoliosis,” she mentioned. “I refused both the recommended therapy and medication for PTSD—but in retrospect, I should have taken the doctors up on the latter. I am stubborn, but I am self-sufficient.” While Erin admitted that she sometimes gets severe depression when she experiences a PTSD episode, she finds it therapeutic to spend time with the people whom she loves and who love her back. “My daughter and my friends are a real source of comfort for me, as are my PumpUp family,” she explained. “Writing poetry also helps because it is a real challenge for me to talk about myself in any regard. Creative outlets have helped me a lot, in addition to exercise.”
Although Erin always considered herself to be a healthy eater, she continues to grapple with portion control and moderation. “My theory is that we shouldn’t deprive ourselves,” she insisted. “Eat what you’re going to eat, but be prepared to see the consequences of exceeding your daily limit and not being able to burn it all off. You’ll have a higher success rate when you eat less junk.” Her fitness journey has allowed her to test the limits of her culinary prowess. She experiments with her food in healthy and creative ways. “I was never a cook before starting my fitness journey, but now I have the willingness to create things from scratch,” she explained. “I seldom use recipes because I like to limit my salt, sugar, and fat intake.”
As a self-professed cardio junkie, Erin prefers kickboxing, cycling, and running in order to stay active. When she first began her fitness journey, Erin explained that she would religiously perform Jillian Michaels routines until she learned how to create her own workouts based on calisthenics. “My routine just involves my own body weight—although sometimes I do one online when I’m lazy,” she admitted. “I workout twice a day—I have to because I have severe back issues. Exercise is my therapy—it’s better than physiotherapy. I use PumpUp to log my workouts and my progress.”
Her best advice for PumpUp members looking to achieve their resolutions in 2014 is to set realistic, achievable, and tangible goals. “Know what you can handle and start off small,” she counselled. “Don’t take on too much at once!” As Erin continues her journey with the PumpUp community, her #MyResolution is to face her problems head on rather than waiting for better circumstances. "My PTSD will not conquer, I will," she told PumpUp.
Erin is motivated to break combat her family’s history of heart disease. Her genetic history is the fuel that powers her progress. “My biggest motivation would have to be my daughter—I want to extend my life to be around her,” she explained. “I want to be around for longer to see that things get better for us.” Though cooking is a very recent hobby for Erin, she finds it fulfilling for one very important reason. “As a single parent, I have no choice but to impart great nutritional habits onto my daughter,” she affirmed.
“I love to eat Greek-style lamb with rice, carrots, potato, and occasionally house salad. My favourite thing to cook is salad rolls with cucumbers, carrots, avocado, and sometimes shrimp in rice paper. (It’s my daughter’s favourite).”
“You are only you. Only you know what you can accomplish. It’s up to you to get others to believe it for when you are too low to believe it yourself”
Fun Fact about Erin
“I’ve had half a dozen near-death experiences and I somehow miraculously always survive.”
Find Erin on the PumpUp app @3rin to keep her pumped! She’ll motivate you with lovely comments!
PumpUp member himarizard wins our #12DaysofSwag grand prize! She Spread Positivity so much this past month and made an outstanding effort to like and comment on almost every single post whenever she was on the app! “I mean every ‘like’ and every comment, no matter how simple. Thank you for being part of my mental and physical health journey.” She has high functioning autism, a major depressive disorder, and a generalized anxiety disorder, and she’s coping by leading a healthy and active lifestyle. Pump her up!
Let’s go through some balancing poses and see if we can stay in them! Remember that balance is a state of mind and a great core workout.