Faced with a full-time course load and two jobs, Katelyn had a difficult time prioritizing her health. "I ate out often, and it wasn't fast food necessarily, but I rarely ate home-cooked meals," she remembered. "I always said to myself, 'On Monday, I am going to start eating healthy and going to the gym." Much to Katelyn's chagrin, 'Monday' would turn into the next week, and then the next month. "Now that I use PumpUp and avidly go to the gym, my lifestyle has changed completely," she insisted.
With the help of the PumpUp community, Autumn made more strides with her nutrition than she could have ever achieved on her own. By the time she stepped on stage as a fitness competitor, she lost nearly 25 lbs in 11 short weeks by making changes to her eating and exercise habits. This was an incredible feat for a female over the age of 30. "I learned that less food isn't always the answer," she shared.
"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.
Towards the end of 2014 in the cool and bleak midst of winter, Katharina needed a greater dose of positivity than she ever needed before. "Before using PumpUp, I had a slump in my motivation and needed to get back on track," said Katharina, who, as a fitness athlete, couldn't afford to lose sight of her goals. Though she was exercising as much as 10 times in one week, Katharina's eating habits would derail her progress. "My sweet tooth got out of control," she insisted. "I had a cheat meal (and sometimes, even a full-on cheat day) every single week and this really hindered me."
With motivation from the PumpUp community, Katharina was able to maximize her athletic potential. "By tracking every workout and posting my progress on PumpUp, [the app's] very positive community kept me on track," she professed. "When I started to use PumpUp I was finally able to increase my cardio workouts and decrease the frequency of my cheat meals to one every 2-3 weeks." Her regimen is quite admirable. On top of weight training, Katharina clocks in up to 14 cardio sessions a week and eats up to 7 times a day. You'll be hard-pressed to find a more dedicated individual than her. "I'm working out on a daily basis, doing cardio before breakfast and both weights and cardio prior to eating lunch," she said happily.
Since she joined PumpUp in December, Katharina was able to stay in amazing off-season shape— something she hasn't been able to achieve in her entire career. She now looks forward to competing in an autumn 2015 bikini competition and the PumpUp community can't wait to encourage her toward her journey to the stage. "I eventually hope to increase my muscle mass so that I can move up to a higher figure class in 2016," she mused. "This is the greatest dream that I'm chasing. Without everything that I accomplished since I joined PumpUp, I wouldn't ever dare to dream as big as I'm dreaming now."
It wasn't easy for Katharina to build as much muscle mass as she did over the past few months. She struggled with anorexia between 2006 and 2014, constantly conceding to a mental disorder that was distorting her relationship with food. "By convincing myself that food was making me fat, I lost almost all my muscle mass. My lowest weight was 42 kilograms," she recalled. "I had to build my muscles up from point zero." Katharina hopes to inspire others along her journey by speaking up against starvation. "I know exactly what it feels like to desperately want to lose weight," she confided. "Only small steps will allow you to climb a mountain: no crash diet can do what good nutrition and consistent exercise can do for you. There is no quick fix."
Best Advice to fellow PumpUp members
"Form new habits so you don't have to make decisions all the time. Don't question your routine, just do it and let the time work for you."
"My biggest motivation is the Ms. Olympia champ Nicole Wilkins. I just love her physique and to achieve a body like hers is my ultimate goal."
Katharina's Healthy Mug Cake
"Mix 15g of rice protein, 15g of coconut flour, 100ml of egg whites, 50ml of water and flavour/sweetener of choice in a big mug and microwave it for 3-4min. I like to use Walden Farm's Syrup for a little more sweetness in the afternoon with my cake and coffee."
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act but a habit."
More about Katharina
I have a BSc in Anthropology and I'm on my way to my MSc now. I'm doing this for fun and to satisfy my curiosity for new discoveries in science. In my opinion, learning is an ongoing progress in life. I'm constantly curious about innovation in the areas of health, sports and nutrition. This way, I can work as a personal trainer and coach for a living and use new information and techniques to help my clients. My business is named "Fitness Glam Coaching" and is located in Austria (Europe).
Keep Katharina pumped on the app @katharina_fitglam and cheer her along her journey to the stage!
Lisa was a competitive gymnast who ate fast food every day, a long-distance runner who wasn't feeding her body with proper nutrients, and a springboard diver who ate anything and everything in sight. Lisa isa gymnastics coach and a nationally-qualified bikini competitor, placing 1st in both Novice and Open Divisions. Throughout her entire life, Lisa also struggled with an addiction that a very slight percentage of women in the United States deal with, let alone other body building competitors. Lisa is a compulsive overeater in recovery.
"It preoccupies my thoughts at all times: What can I eat next? When do I get to eat again? What if I run out of macros for the day? Saying no to food goes far beyond 'self-control'," she explained. "Even when my food is measured and prepped [...] I can't escape the compulsion to eat, no matter what plan or strict diet I'm on. After my bodybuilding competition, where I took home two first-place trophies, I was confident that I could tame the beast that had built up inside of me." That wasn't the case. One bite of food that didn't adhere to Lisa's meal plan ended up leading to a huge binge. "This binge brought up so many feelings of disappointment, anger, and guilt," she said dejectedly. "I thought I had enough "self control" to keep from binge eating. Heck, I went 5 months without cheating on my contest diet even once. What I'm slowly learning is that self control has nothing to do with it. I am not weak, I am strong. I have admitted to feeling powerless over food, and I'm ready to let it go."
As a former gymnast, Lisa always led a fairly active and healthy life. She admitted that taking care of her body didn't always rank as her highest priority. "I lifted weights a couple of times per week but rarely did cardio, and didn't have a problem stopping at the drive-through on the way to work," she recalled. "I convinced myself that it was okay because I worked out. My energy was low on most days, but I assumed that it was due to my busy schedule."
10 months ago, Lisa joined the PumpUp community in search of a support system. "My [students] were very proud to tell me that they were working out on their spare time using PumpUp," she explained. "They seemed to be having fun creating workouts [on the app]. I was immediately interested and downloaded it. I love posting everyday: whether it be a picture of what I ate for breakfast or logging a workout that I completed. My body and health are now my top priority." Since she began to share her journey with the PumpUp community, Lisa's exercise and diet regimen has been more consistent than it has been in her entire life. "I plan on keeping it that way," she stated proudly.
After all of the hurdles and obstacles that Lisa bravely endured and overcame, she managed to pull herself back on track and hopes to inspire others on the PumpUp community to do the same."PumpUp has given me a reason to be more open and accepting! People are using this app for support and it really allows me to feel like I can be myself, as well as accept others for who they are on each step of their fitness journey," she gushed. "I don't feel judged or disrespected, and in return I want to use PumpUp to inspire people to be confident with who they are right now."
Hard work really does win, and months of training and preparation really allowed Lisa to shine after she won first place trophies at her competition, despite her compulsive eating disorder. "I know I'm not alone, and I will continue to recover one day at a time," she affirmed. "Today I feel free from the thoughts that seemed to run my life. I hope to inspire my fellow friends on PumpUp to keep pushing no matter what obstacles they face! My compulsive overeating is like a sleeping lion. I hope to keep the lion at rest, and keep my goals in sight. Today is a new day, and for that I am thankful. Just for today, I will abstain from compulsive overeating."
Lisa's Favourite Eats
"One of my favorite meals is my morning protein pancakes! I blend spinach, oats, egg whites, and prime nutrition's Phytoform together to make delicious pancakes that taste like fruity pebbles! You can always substitute sweet potato instead of oats! I also enjoy making French toast out of rice cakes! Soak rice cakes in egg white batter (with cinnamon and stevia) then cook it just like French Toast!"
"I absolutely love weightlifting! Lifting makes me feel strong, and in my opinion is the best workout anyone can do! I enjoy training back and shoulders! Pull-ups, leg lifts and shoulder presses are some of my favorite exercises. I lift 6 days a week and that is how I choose to stay active. I'm currently also doing cardio 6 days per week. I will taper off the cardio until it's at 2x per week now that my competition training is over."
Lisa's Best Advice
"If you are looking to lead a more active life, you have to realize nobody is going to do it for you. You aren't going to want to workout everyday, you're going to want to choose a bag of chips over a piece of fruit. The reality of it is, you will need to make sacrifices. Sacrifice time each day to get to the gym, and sacrifice foods you know won't help you reach your goals! You have to install these habits and even then, it won't be easy. I have been on one heck of a roller coaster ride with ups and downs of leading a healthy lifestyle. It doesn't come easy, but once you decide to change it will be the best decision of your life! Day in and day out, do it no matter what, until giving up isn't an option anymore! You have to rise above the doubt in your head. Making this a lifestyle will take time, so don't get discouraged when you have a setback. Take it one day at a time and you will do great things!"
"You've got what it takes, but it's going to take all you've got! This saying reminds me that even when I'm having a hard day that I'm not weak, I just have to give my all plus a little more."
More about Lisa
"I coach springboard diving, and gymnastics. I was a competitive gymnast for 7 years. In 2013 I placed second in the state for springboard diving. I am a nationally qualified bikini competitor placing 1st in both novice and open. I have a hairless cat named Baldwynne. I'm studying to get my NASM personal training certification."
This is part of a series of posts by Jennifer (@liftingfairy on PumpUp), a bikini competitor. Check out her blog here and vote for “Jennifer Reis” so that she can achieve her dream of attending the Miss FIBO power beauty competition.
Everyone has to start somewhere… For some athletes, their first round of competition preparation launches their journey into “Fitness Land.” Starting can be intimidating. Some people are unsure of what to expect. I faced the same hesitancies last year.
The pros and cons of preparing for a bikini fitness competition
In my first ‘post-competition’ post, I wrote how taxing contest-preparation is. It will challenge you not only physically, but also mentally. Don’t expect it to be easy. Your first time preparing for a competition will be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life. If you consider it easy, go harder because that’s what makes the difference on stage.
Once you start your prep, you will see your body change from one day to another. The last two weeks for your prep will be mind-blowing. Prior to my first competition (and still today) I took pictures at least once a week to remind myself about how much I already achieved. Don’t only look back on your progress. You also have to look forward and focus on your goals and what you want to accomplish.
There will be A LOT of sacrifices. You don’t see me in a restaurant during my prep, rarely in the cinema and even less in a bar. When I decide to go to the movies, I always have my Renee Tote at hand with the meals I need, because planning meals is the key and it will keep you from getting anything at the candy shop. I never stay out too long in the evenings during that time, because I have to get up early the day after to hit the gym, or simply because my body has adapted to a regular rhythm (more about this soon). I left a lot of people behind, because negative words aren’t what you need during a contest-prep, especially from people who won’t even attempt to understand your lifestyle or those who eat pizza, pasta and burgers all day long and want you to do the same. They don’t have the slightest idea of what you are going through. (If you need some positivity, have a look HERE).
You will be amazed by your own results. Even if you have never been a very sporty person before, contest preparation will allow you to be in the best shape of your life because you pay much more attention to your eating habits and training routine. You have to put everything in your preparation and knowing that you will look the best you could possibly look is just an amazing achievement.
Sometimes you will be hungry and want to do a table-flip with your whole diet, which is totally understandable because you are slowly cutting carbs and at the same time training even harder. YES, you will be hungry and damn tired, but in the end it will be totally worth it.
The mirror is going to be your best friend and greatest enemy. It shows you how far you’ve come, but at the same time it plays very dirty mind-games with you… You will NEVER see yourself like others do. If someone else tells you ‘oh, you look great!’ you will be like ‘naahh… still not satisfied yet…’ The further you get in your prep and the closer the D-day comes, the more you will start to freak out and worry that you are not lean enough already and that you won’t be dropping fat fast enough etc. But let me tell you one thing, there will ALWAYS be one thing that is 100% honest with you. It’s the process.
People will tell you that ‘you are going too far’ or ’ you are too skinny and muscular, eeerrww…’. BUT there will also be positive people who support you with simple words or tiny actions like ‘wow, you are really inspiring’ or ‘because of you I started to hit the gym and watch over my eating habits more’. You are going to experience great support from people you never ever expected.
Most of your thoughts will be dedicated to FOOD. Because the only thing that matters during your prep is the right food. I am convinced that you will find yourself looking at other competitor’s food-posts to see what they are eating. And you will be spying ‘food-porn’-pictures because you have enough of chicken, broccoli, tomatoes and turkey-steaks.
Try not to follow your opponents on social media, it will drive you crazy. You can’t control what other athletes are doing or how they are training to get their physique. Focus on yourself and on your own preparation to achieve your personal goals. If it motivates you to get it on, go ahead. And while following those athletes you can also leave a positive comment to cheer them up, because it will cheer you up as well.
The week prior your competition-day will be the most exciting week of your entire preparation because you are doing something different every single day. You will have to decrease your water intake because you start the water-depletion, as you want to get REALLY lean and then load up on carbs during the last few days. Your final preparations are going on, like showering, shaving, scrubbing, and putting on a tan (HERE some tips for your first tanning). Depending on your own preparation plans, you should be allowed to go grocery-shopping and get yummy food like gums, sweets, chocolate or whatsoever to get a little pump before the show or simply to devour post-contest. Believe me or not, you will look like a little child on Christmas when you are buying delicious treats.
The big day will be so much fun and thrilling. The time has finally come to be paid for your hard work. You can put on as much make-up as you want. You can style your hair as fancy as you’d like it to be. The best is yet to come… the moment you line up backstage. You will be so hyped up but still, you won’t be thinking about anything else than stepping out on that stage and rocking your banging body. That moment on stage is the best and most thrilling feeling ever, and you will always remember it. Even if you didn’t get the ranking you wished for, you can be damn proud of yourself that you didn’t give up and that you stayed strong.
I wish every new athlete best of luck over the course of their first preparation and competition(s), may the chicken be with you. Enjoy your season!
When Louise began her journey on PumpUp, became inspired to tackle one of the biggest challenges she’s ever faced: to enter in her very first bikini competition using her own methods and research. Her truly admirable story and the dedication that she devotes to her craft never fails to inspire PumpUp’s million-member community on a very regular basis.
Never one to be sedentary, Louise described herself as an intermittently active person throughout her whole life. One crucial obstacle was holding her back. “I had very little knowledge of nutrition and no goal in mind other than to stay healthy,” she mentioned. In an average day prior to PumpUp, she would eat very little and rarely breakfast—just cereal and the dinners that were available to her at home. Hydration was also the last thing on Louise’s busy mind. “I rarely drank enough…maybe a glass a day,” she admitted. “If I would have continued on that road there would have been major negative health repercussions in my later life.” As a university student, Louise would practice cheerleading and dance once a week. Excessive drinking would, however, negate those workouts.
Since Louise was introduced to PumpUp in February 2014, she leveraged the community as a knowledge hub for health and fitness. “Everyone on PumpUp is very positive—there is a surge of energy that is very motivating,” she insisted. “I like that people ask questions and give support. I began my journey by answering peoples’ questions and adding photos with small facts. I like to spread knowledge.” The more engagement she received from the community, the more her thirst for knowledge about health and fitness intensified. “I found that many have been misled by fad diets from magazines and the media,” she continued. “I wanted to know facts.”
Louise amassed an extensive collection of science-based books and effectively placed herself at the center of her own ‘human trial’, experimenting with exercises, nutrition, and supplementation and using PumpUp to document everything. “Immediately I discovered that the body is a machine and if you fuel it efficiently, you will reap the benefits,” she concluded. “My energy levels were improving, I slept better, and my memory was almost at 90 percent—that’s not like me at all. I loved the feeling and that’s when wellness became a lifestyle choice.”
Over this period of time, Louise gathered a wealth of support from the PumpUp community and embraced the encouragement she received from her followers. Eventually, Louise became inspired to enter in her very first bikini fitness competition. “I came across a few people on PumpUp who competed in body building and fitness shows. I began researching and I knew straight away that it was what I wanted to do,” she recounted. “I picked the competition I wanted to enter and began to search for methods to achieve my goal. Now I’m working backwards from my competition date.” Louise is completing the entire process without a coach, learning as she progresses. “It’s been physically, socially, and mentally challenging but my PumpUp followers have always been there to encourage me when I am feeling unmotivated or alone,” she said earnestly. “It might sound cliché, but they have pumped me up when I felt deflated (pun intended).”
A journey isn’t really a journey without obstacles or speed bumps. Louise is only human. “I have had times when I wanted to eat every sugar-contained item in my house,” she professed. “When I do, I raid the cupboard—and of course I feel guilty. I confessed about it on PumpUp and everyone was very supportive. My journey has not been straightforward; but rather like hiking up a mountain. I know that when I get to the top, I did everything I could to be my best. That will be my reward.” Her dedication to her goal is admirable in every way, and she keeps sane by calculating a healthy balance that works for her—even if it means waking up at the crack of dawn to exercise, or turning down a social event every now and then to make sure that she sticks to her training schedule.
She has succinct and wise words for others who are just beginning their fitness journey or learning to love themselves. “Everyone is different and different things work for different people: there are so many individual factors that can impact a ‘healthy lifestyle’,” she advised. “Big changes take time. Start small and then develop.”
After her competition, Louise hopes to communicate with others more on PumpUp and aspires to assist them on their journey. “I already obtain all of the support and encouragement I need from PumpUp,” she affirmed. “Whether it is prep for a competition or even just to improve their healthy lifestyles, I want to help others by spreading the knowledge that I obtained. One day I may even become a sponsored athlete.”
“Michelle Lewin. She was the first bikini competitor I discovered. Her physique inspired my journey.”
“ I adore banana and peanut butter protein pancakes.
1 scoop of your favourite flavoured protein powder (I use peanut butter Quest powder)
Use a non-stick pan on a low heat. Mix all the ingredients together, don’t mash the banana too much (because it’s nice when you taste a piece in the pancake). Then pan fry like a normal pancake, when the base is solid and moves around the pan it is ready to flip over.”
“Every champion was once a contender that refused to give up”—Rocky Balboa
“I love to train my legs, the strength has developed so quickly. I strength-train four times a week. I love compound exercises, my favorites are Squats and Renegade rows. However, I do like to experiment with new exercises. Every session I try at least one new exercise, usually I feel it the next day. My last session I tried curtsy lunges with a barbell…great for the glutes.”
Fun Fact About Louise
“Although I do not use my qualification, I am actually a qualified fitness instructor.”
Follow Louise on PumpUp @louiseusa101 and keep her pumped as she strives to reach her goal!