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How Anastasia Overcame Body Dysmorphia

How Anastasia Overcame Body Dysmorphia

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. 

How Sarah Lost 4 Dress Sizes With the Help of PumpUp

How Sarah Lost 4 Dress Sizes With the Help of PumpUp

"I decided that I had enough of being overweight and I decided to do something about it. I joined my local gym and used PumpUp to gain motivation from other members' progress." Sarah's goal was to eventually share an inspiring transformation of her own, and she's done just that. "With the help of PumpUp, I have lost 52 lbs, 4 dress sizes, 10 inches off my stomach, 9 inches off my waist, and 6 inches off my thighs," she shared. "I am healthier and happier. I want to continue my journey by getting leaner."

You Are Not A Bodybuilder (So Don't Train Like One)

You Are Not A Bodybuilder (So Don't Train Like One)

Bodybuilding magazines may inspire you to hit the gym and push as much weight as possible. But, trying to imitate your favorite bodybuilder is possibly one of the biggest mistakes you can make. It will not work for you unless you are a pro bodybuilder yourself or simply have the genes that will allow you to pump up easier than those who are not genetically predestined for that.

5 DIY beauty hacks straight from your kitchen

5 DIY beauty hacks straight from your kitchen

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Sunny weather and salty water bring tons of fun, but they can also damage your hair and skin. Even though healthy skin comes with having a healthy mind and body, you should still take extra care of it. Not only are these 5 DIY beauty hacks great for your skin and hair, but they're also made with 100% natural and easy to find ingredients.

  1. Coffee Grounds Face & Body Scrub: Coffee is used to wake us up when we're tired. When it comes to beauty, coffee works the same way. Why not use it in your routine? Coffee contains antioxidants and it also helps to get your blood circulation flowing. This is the reason why many anti-cellulite products have caffeine in it. Enough with the chit-chat. Here's what you need:
  • fresh coffee grounds (organic, if possible)
  • a bit of coconut oil

Mix both ingredients together and scrub all over your body in the shower, and on your face with round, circular motions. Be cautious and try to exfoliate your skin for once a week at max.

  1. Oats & Avocado Face Mask: From your breakfast to your bathroom, oats have many uses. This ingredient can soften your skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties. The healthy fats from the avocado in this recipe will keep your skin moisturized and smooth.
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 tablespoons of oats

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Put the avocado and the oats into a blender and pulse till you get a creamy consistency. Apply mixture evenly onto your face and neck and leave it there for about 15 minutes. Refrigerate avocados in the fridge before you make the face mask for best results.

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  1. Infused water for sunburns: Summer is all about lazy days at the pool, long walks on the beach, and sun-kissed skin. But when we focus too much on getting the “sunkissed” look, we get sunburns. If your skin is sensitive, the last thing you want to do is put chemicals on it! These ingredients below will help your skin to heal and hydrate in a natural way, without putting to many products on the affected area.
  • 1/2 Cool/frozen cucumber (you can also use cantaloupes)
  • ½ Liter of coconut water (you can also use regular water)
  • Mint leaves

Just put everything in a bottle with a spraying device, leave it in the fridge for a few hours, and then use it all over your body.

  1. Coconut oil as hair mask: Coconut oil has many many uses when it comes to beauty, but my favorite one is moisturizing the hair! A lot of people use about 1 tbsp of coconut oil as a day-to-day face mask, but I prefer to put it into my dry hair. First, I massage it (remember, the oil must be melted) on my scalp and comb it through to the ends of my hair, then I leave it there for about two hours. After, I wash my hair with water until the oil is rinsed out completely. It works even better if you put it on before bed and wash it out next morning. I only do this once a month, and it works fine for me!

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  1. Green tea skin toner: Green tea is a must when it comes to beauty products. Just look at all the things you can buy with green tea in it! This ingredient helps oily skin, reduces the appearance of your pores, has anti-aging effects, and even has a bit of sun protection. You can use matcha powder to maximize results. Make a strong brew, put into an airtight container and apply it on your skin with cotton when you wake up and before bed.

What are your favorite homemade DIY beauty hacks? Give one or two of these beauty recipes a try and let us know how you liked them in the comments below!

These 5 DIY beauty hacks were shared by PumpUp member @veganizingme. Check out her blog and Instagram for more health and beauty inspiration.

 

4 moves to build strength with this full body workout

4 moves to build strength with this full body workout

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You're short on time and you want a workout that completely and thoroughly strengthens your whole body. If you're going to squeeze some exercise in between your tightly-packed schedule, it might as well be a full body workout. These 4 moves demonstrated by PumpUp member @fitmissrach will make your efforts worth it. You'll be working your abs, glutes, quads and arms. Only two pieces of equipment are required for these exercises: a medicine ball and a pair of dumbbells. Feel free to try this workout within the comfort of your home or at the gym. That's how accessible it is. Plank dumbbell rows

Plank dumbbell rows - 4 strengthening moves for a full body workout (GIF) from the PumpUp Blog

Begin in a plank position. Your shoulders are in line with your wrists, your feet are shoulder-width apart and you're gripping a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your elbow close to the side of your body and stabilize your core as you draw the elbow up towards your body in a rowing motion. Repeat on the other side. Perform at least 12 reps on each side.

Plank side tucks

Plank side jumps - 4 strengthening moves for a full body workout (GIF) from the PumpUp Blog

Begin in a plank position. Your feet are close together, shoulders aligned with your wrists in a straight line and hands gripping dumbbells. Tuck your knees and jump your feet together, towards the side of one elbow. Promptly jump towards the other side and repeat for 30 seconds or at least 12 reps on each side.

Medicine ball squat jacks

Plank medicine ball squat jacks- 4 strengthening moves for a full body workout (GIF) from the PumpUp Blog

Hold your medicine ball tight towards your jest, with one hand on each side of the ball and elbows out. Drop into a full wide legged squat, with your knees just over your toes. Jump your feet back together so that you spring into a straight standing position, then drop back down into a wide legged squat. Repeat for 30 seconds or at least 12 reps.

Medicine ball squat to overhead reach

Medicine ball squat reaches- 4 strengthening moves for a full body workout (GIF) from the PumpUp Blog

Hold your medicine ball out in front of you with straight arms, one hand on each side of the ball. Take a wide legged stance and drop down into a full squat, lowering the medicine ball down towards the floor and in between your legs with straight arms as you squat. As you straighten your legs, reach the ball over your head, maintaining the same arm position. Repeat for 30 seconds or at least 12 reps.

4 move full body workout from the PumpUp Blog - Get your heart pumping! You just need a medicine ball and a pair of dumbbells. Plank dumbbell rows, plank side tucks, medicine ball squat jacks, and squat to overhead presses.

Love these 4 strengthening full body workout moves from PumpUp member @fitmissrach? Let us know in the comments below and tag us on PumpUp and Instagram with #TeamPumpUp and #WorkoutWednesday if you tried these moves! Have any other favourite full body workout moves that you'd like to show the PumpUp community? Tag your videos on Instagram with #TeamPumpUp so that we can see them!

You are absolutely enough. Here are all the reasons why.

You are absolutely enough. Here are all the reasons why.

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I am trying to remember when I first became self-conscious of my body.   When did I go from being a happy-go-lucky girl to being ashamed of my body? I can’t pinpoint when that happened exactly. I remember when I was in fifth grade, wanting to look like other girls in my class because I was bigger. I remember boys in middle school making fun of my c-cup sized boobs. I remember when the insult “fat” was hurled at me like a torpedo when I’d get into an argument with my friend’s sister. In 6th grade, I remember crying myself to sleep a lot of nights because I thought that I was just so hideous and not good enough. This all breaks my heart. I’ve always thought that those experiences have made me into the strong confident woman that I am today. But looking back, I was a pretty strong person all along.  One of my favorite quotes is from Mother Teresa, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” I had this written on a sheet of paper that I carried around in my purse when I was in high school. Another quote from that same sheet of paper said, “Sticks and Stones can only break bones, but words can shatter the soul.” I’ve seen this quote attributed to Adam Savage. I think I came across it in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book. I read a lot of those back then. And my, how true those words are.

Words can wound pretty deeply and cause a lot of emotional damage. People can be so cruel, especially when they are hiding behind a computer screen. It is so shocking to me, some of the savage things I have read on the Internet – complete strangers hurling insults and unsolicited advice at anyone who is different than they are. I shudder to think about how my life would have been if I grew up in the age of social media. Being different or uncool was hard enough without the pressures of living life in such a public way - Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, and probably a ton of other social media platforms that I am too old and out of touch to even know about. I don’t understand the desire to tear someone down to build you up. You are enough. Although I guess I can understand it a little since I tore myself down on a daily basis in the past because I didn’t realize that I was enough.

Sometimes, you just have to be your own superhero

 

I don’t pretend to know the answers. How do we stop bullying? I know that education is important - education about bullying, education about positive body image, education about self-worth, education about love. I also think that some bullying is learned behavior. It’s up to all of us to be positive role models for our youth. Let me say that again: It’s up to ALL of us.

I try not to preach about things because I definitely don’t have the answers. People get bullied for all kinds of reasons, not just about weight or body image. All I knew to do was to cry and let it out and tap into that inner strength to get through it, because it did get better. It took me a while to get to the place in my life where I knew that I was enough, but I got there. So for all those that are out there struggling, please know that you are not alone. You are never alone. Also know that you are enough. No matter what, you are enough. All of our strengths and weaknesses and quirks make up this wonderful tapestry of life. I know that sounds so cheesy, but I realize it more and more every day. If any of you ever feel that it’s a little overwhelming or you're struggling with the “enough” part, please reach out to me. And for everyone else that gets it - all of you who realize your self-worth and know that you are enough in life, don’t you want to lend a helping hand to others on that journey from time-to-time?

You are enough. Here are all the reasons why - PumpUp Blog

This is a post by PumpUp member @k_c, a vivacious blogger based in Central Arkansas. Learn more about her through her blog: voluptuousmisadventures.com

When Emma lost her excuses, she found her results - PumpUp Success Stories

When Emma lost her excuses, she found her results - PumpUp Success Stories

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"To be fully frank with you, my lifestyle was still a bit of a mess," admitted Emma, who became fully invested in the PumpUp community 9 months ago when she decided to make health her first priority. A number of negative influences weighed her down the summer before she joined  PumpUp. "I was depressed, lonely, drank hard liquor constantly and only worked one job for 10 hours a week," Emma recounted. "Ordering pizza was never much of a concern. I didn't give much thought as to what I was putting into my body." Slowly, Emma began to integrate cardio and weightlifting into her routine and began to research how she could best attain her health and fitness goals. "I found out about PumpUp from a fitness bikini competitor that I follow," she divulged. "She mentioned how motivational of a community it is. At that point I had only been a part of the community at Bodybuilding.com, which was informative but slightly different." 

When emma lost her excuses, she found her results. Here's her arm progress pic.

Emma is a firm believer that you are what you invest in. Once she began to invest 200% into her mental and physical health, everything fell into place. "I transitioned into a healthier lifestyle by researching everything: from exercises on Bodybuilding.com to following influential females on Instagram and PumpUp." The adjustment came easily for Emma. Her passion for food made it easy for her to see how she could be creative with healthy cooking and  share about it with an online fitness community such as PumpUp. "My old trainer, who used to professionally compete, saw my hunger for growth and power and he suggested that I should try to compete in a bikini competition that was hosted at my old high school." Now a full-fledged fitness bikini competitor, the rest is history in the making for Emma.

Since Emma began her journey with PumpUp, she began to make a photo-diary of her progress toward the stage and even switched her career paths. "I went from going to school for fashion design in Manhattan to going back to school for Dietetics and Nutrition this coming fall," she elaborated. "My heart bursts every time an old acquaintance, classmate, or coworker comments about how I am a role model and sees me as motivational. It's both humbling and heartwarming and keeps my drive intact. PumpUp is also full of constant positivity and support, it's my second family. I'm finally surrounded by positivity and I'm never looking back!"

When emma lost her excuses, she found her results. Here's a photo of her incredible muscles.

Emma has been able to pursue her passion for health and fitness head-on, despite financial obstacles that she faced along the way. "For awhile, my mother was telling me that [fitness competing] was a hobby and wanted me to get a better-paying government job, as well as return to school for Fashion," she mentioned. "I'm back at my mom's place and I'm currently saving up money for my own apartment later this year. Having no car has been stressful with financial difficulties, my competition prep, loan repayments, and more." Her dedication is admirable: Emma holds three different jobs at the moment, working at Starbucks, Mac Cosmetics, and Athleta. "I love every minute of it," she enthused. "I stopped creating excuses!"

She urges her fellow PumpUp members to tackle every fitness goal one day at a time. "What separates those who are successful is  those who aren't afraid of failure, but welcome it," she insisted. Emma has had slip-ups throughout her journey, but chooses not to ruminate upon them. "Recently, even during my strict preparation schedule for my competition, I had a slip," she confessed. "Take it all in stride and don't be afraid to ask for help. Smile and have fun! Remember that fitness is not a job but an adventure!"

When emma lost her excuses, she found her results. Here's her full body progress pic

As Emma continues to share about her progress with PumpUp, she hopes to spread more positivity with the community. "I want to grow with PumpUp in more ways than one," she insisted. "I have been in dark places and kept forgetting that my family and friends were there fore me. I will continue to do more competitive shoes throughout the winter and constantly strive for more progress."

Biggest Motivation

"If you asked me this a year and a half ago I'm not sure I would answer the same way. My biggest motivation is my mother completely. She is the craziest, most loveable superwoman I could ever ask for. I've come to understand her side of things and she's never left my side despite me leaving college and creating an opposite lifestyle. She has lived through multiple wars, brought our family to the states, is getting her degree in the next few months all despite being a single mother and working two non-stop jobs. She even works out and was using protein powder among other things before me!"

Motivational Mantra

"Fuel and train your mind and your body will follow!"

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Fun fact about Emma

"I'm actually going to get a little company started this summer selling protein desserts! Wish me luck! I can also do crazy special effects makeup!"

Cheer Emma on as she reaches her goals with the help of the PumpUp Community! Find her on PumpUp @emmakeshchyan and on Instagram @Emmageorgiyevna! When was the moment that you learned to stop creating excuses for yourself? Let us know if you relate to Emma's story in the comments below!

How I learned to shift focus away from the 'ideal' body image

How I learned to shift focus away from the 'ideal' body image

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It starts when we are children. We look around at the world and begin to see ourselves as individuals, separate from everyone else. As a teacher, I see this in the classroom every day when children call on each other about how different they are. Sometimes they are saying it as a positive experience, other times they are trying to get a rise out of their target by tinting it with judgement or disdain. We are constantly trying to find comfort for ourselves by putting judgements out towards others, to see what they think or how they view us. How do we grow up and stand within ourselves, accepting who we are, where we come from, and where we are going?

 

There has always been an image out there in society for people to grasp at as an ideal. This image has changed a bit throughout evolution but now for a long time it has moved around the physical quality of "skinny". Today, to be "skinny" as well as "fit" are popular ideals. Human beings pressure each other and themselves beneath the weight of this. Unfortunately, just like when corsets were the fashion and women wore them even to sleep just so they could achieve the "ideal" shape despite its affect on their organs, this new idea of how people "should be" is also found to be harmful to some people. Almost all of us hold some insecurities about how our physical bodies look, no matter how they look. Some people take this to extreme measures and become ill because of their insecurities.

 

It is up to us to remember that our body is our instrument. We create with itIt does not define who we are, but it is shaped by who we are wanting to become. If we can remember that our happiness is most important; that a balance in life is always healthy; eating enough for whatever it is you do; sleeping and resting your body and mind; doing things to nourish your own personal spiritual life; our body will begin to reflect all of this. And not only that, but when you look in the mirror or stand before another person you will have a bearing that is most beautiful of all: confident and happy.

 

Ideally, which I think many people know, eating healthy and getting fit should be a happy aspect of ones life, supporting your work and dreams. Back in the days when farming was a bigger part of our culture, we had fitness in the form of physical labor. Today with many of us holding office jobs and the like, we have to fight to create a space for physical activity, and especially in the digital age. If we could emphasize the activity, and lower the stress of the image, would things be different at all? I like to think about that, and wonder.

 

Meanwhile, I meet my students each day with as much love and patience as I can muster, and do my best to help them discover how to be together socially in the most healthful and non judgmental ways possible. If we can give each other enough space and encouragement to grow and live our dreams, endless wonders will be possible.

 

This is a post by PumpUp member @bodysoulspiritfitness, a teacher and movement artist with a passion for healthy living and adventure. Follow her blog here.

Gaining muscle is a great thing. Just ask Samantha - PumpUp Success Stories

Gaining muscle is a great thing. Just ask Samantha - PumpUp Success Stories

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If Netflix's deadly auto-play feature ever spawned far too many television-marathons for your liking, you're not alone. Samantha has been down that road before and emerged triumphant in the best possible way after joining the PumpUp community. "I was super lazy, always watching Netflix right after work," she recounted. "I would eat whatever I felt like eating and paid no attention to how much I was eating. I was extremely unhealthy and I wasn't confident with my body." Samantha has come a very long way from the "old" her. In fact, she constantly reflects upon her past as extra motivation to maintain an active lifestyle. "I don't want to be the old me or feel like the old me," she insisted. "I felt insecure all the time and I don't ever want to go back to that." There was also a time when Samantha abided by a diet that was far too restrictive. "I only allowed myself 900 calories a day and performed intense cardio," she recalled. "I was just under 120 lbs: that's very tiny for a 5'11" girl." Others began to comment on her weight— even strangers took notice. "It got to the point where my body became fragile and if somebody even so much as touched my shoulder, it would hurt because I had no meat on me," Samantha lamented. "I still wanted to lose weight because I felt like it was the only thing that I could control." It's important for Samantha to focus on non-scale victories and she keeps tabs on how she's gaining muscle in particular. "I'm at 164 lbs now and I could never imagine saying that I'd be happy with how little I weighed back then," she affirmed. "I'm so much thicker but in a positive and healthy way." 

gaining muscle transformation

Since Samantha made the transition to a healthy lifestyle with the help of PumpUp, she's been maintaining a rigorous schedule of regular workouts and balanced eating habits. She began to weight train and gained more muscle mass than she's ever had before.  "After day one of using PumpUp I was hooked," she insisted. "To me, PumpUp is a way to share my passion for fitness with others who share the same interests. It's really motivating." Now, you'll be hard-pressed to find a moment when Samantha isn't active. In addition to the fair amount of physical activity that she performs at her warehouse job, Samantha exercises 5-6 days a week, alternating between weightlifting, blogilates videos, or HIIT workouts. She also gleans PumpUp for healthy eating ideas.   "I love to look at other peoples' posts about healthy meals and I get excited to share mine as well," she enthused.  Beyond the digital sphere, Samantha benefits from the support of her friend Patty, who also strives to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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Best advice

Take it one day at a time, and don't beat yourself up over one bad day or one bad meal. Just remember your goals and start over the next day.  Focus on how you feel/look rather than the number on the scale!! I cannot exaggerate this enough.

Samantha's Meals

"My food usually consists of eggs and avocado on toast for breakfast, chicken and veggies for lunch, and a standard dinner. When I want a snack I'll have a protein bar, smoothie, fruit, etc. On weekends I tend to be more lenient and treat myself!"

Motivational Mantra

"Laziness fuels more laziness. Activity fuels more activity' and 'A year ago you will wish you had started today."

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Cheer Samantha on as she strives to reach her goals with the help of the PumpUp community @samanthagonsalves3.