When you start considering a new fitness routine, it is easy to get overwhelmed with options: from at home routines and apps to finding the right gym for you. Finding your fit can make or break your relationship with exercise.
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When you start considering a new fitness routine, it is easy to get overwhelmed with options: from at home routines and apps to finding the right gym for you. Finding your fit can make or break your relationship with exercise.
When Aicha returned from her study-abroad term in the United States, she made up her mind: she no longer wanted to remain at such a low weight if it meant that her health was being compromised. "In September 2014, I started using PumpUp and in one way or another, it's been so supportive," she shared. "I never had a lot of confidence in myself, but I kept going because other people were motivating me. Posting pictures became a habit."
I used to think that to be beautiful, I had to stop eating until my ribs showed and suck it in so much that my face turned purple. Some people are blessed to be naturally thin, but unfortunately I did not receive the "thin gene." I wasn't alone either. Many of my friends have also struggled to lose weight. For years I was surrounded by the influence of fad diets, useless pills, and extreme calorie counting. One time, I spent 3 days drinking only cranberry juice. Don't get me wrong, I did lose a lot of weight with these methods, but it usually came back. Even at my skinniest, I was still unhappy because my body was so tired of being malnourished.Why was I hurting my body when one of the biggest reasons I wanted to lose weight was to be healthier?
I thought that I would be happier if I was skinny. After years of useless and harmful diets, failing over and over again, and losing confidence, I decided that I needed to get serious. I researched a ton (and I mean a ton). Finally, I realized that the problem was my goal. Why aspire to be skinny when I can be fit instead?
From that point on, I began my journey towards becoming fit. Although I have come very far, I still have a long way to go. It is a constant challenge. Being fit not only makes you lose unwanted fat and makes you look better on the outside, but it also helps you become happier, healthier, and stronger on the inside. You legs might get bigger because your muscles will grow. Your shirts might start fitting a little tighter around your developing biceps. You may even gain weight eventually, since muscle weighs more than fat. Although getting "bigger" and "heavier" are things that all girls dread, it really should not matter how big or small you are as long as you are healthy.
Right now my thighs are bigger than they have ever been, but they are also the most beautiful they have ever been. I nourish my body with healthy food: vegetables and lean protein. I eat multiple times a day and I eat a lot. I no longer ration all my meals as if I was amidst a famine. I just eat smart. I went from being an insecure girl who hurt her body trying to FIT an ideal image, to a confident woman who strengthens her body to BE FIT. That's why I chose fit over skinny.
Between hectic schedules and sleep-scarce nights, mothers face a difficult set of challenges along their health and fitness journeys. There are thousands of fit moms on PumpUp who choose to make their health a top priority on a daily basis. Despite the varied landscape of obstacles that they've overcome, these fit moms prove that they really are superwomen in their own capacities. Not only are they mothers to their own families, they make the PumpUp community feel like a family by nurturing other members with their own brand of support. There's a reason some people think that they can do anything. They listened to their mothers. Happy Mother's Day to all of the wonderful parents on PumpUp! Here are some awesome fit moms who have been in the PumpUp spotlight in the past:
PumpUp member @limitlesstyle combatted depression with the help of exercise and with the support of PumpUp's community. By sharing about her workouts, tasty recipes, and words of encouragement, Francesca is an inspiring mother to the PumpUp community and frequently offers help to other members.
After recovering from 3 devastating athletic injuries, @designsbuydonna joined the PumpUp community and began to realize her full potential as a role model for others in the PumpUp community. "By using PumpUp, I have been given a glimpse of what people are searching for. This has definitely helped me realize that my purpose is to encourage, inspire and inform these individuals how to reach their goals."
@minimimi26 broke from her family's history of high blood pressure and diabetes by getting healthy on her own terms. She's in her fitness journey for the long run. Though Mimi initially adopted healthier habits in order to set an example for her daughter, Mimi began to inspire the PumpUp community with her constant stream of motivational words of encouragement and her stunning progress photos.
One simple New Year's resolution prompted @kayleefit31 to change her lifestyle. She achieved her goal weight with the help of the PumpUp community after 9 months of hard work and dedication.
With the help and support of the PumpUp community, @carmel23shine lost over 60 lbs over the past year. She stays healthy and active by maintaining a positive attitude. "My journey is still ahead of me. I love the encouragement everyone on PumpUp gives! I have met a lot of people that don’t even know me. They push me harder than my own family!”
PumpUp member @countrygirl4ever overcame a traumatic brain injury. She's an amazing example that anything is truly possible if you set your mind to it. This PumpUp member is now a yoga instructor and a p90X, Asylum, Chalean Extreme, and Rushfit grad.
@shundyg combatted depression with the support of other PumpUp members. She also found the consistent motivation that she needed in order to break away from quick-fix dieting. "“I currently go through depression moments but I’m quickly pulled out of that dark place when I log onto PumpUp,” she confirmed. “It truly keeps me going. Everyone is so uplifting and sometimes I cry when I read the kind words under my posts."
PumpUp member @dezireeryonna confirms that progress is more about the journey than the end result. Her weight fluctuated throughout her lifetime. By embracing a balanced diet with nourishing meals, Desiree is more confident than ever with her post-pregnancy body. "I was always overweight. I wanted to be 'skinny' so badly that I lived a very unhealthy lifestyle to do so. Don't ever sacrifice your health. I'm doing it right this time, and so can you."
PumpUp member @vanessamejia taught us about the importance of self-love throughout any transformation journey. We highlighted her story on #TrasnformationTuesday: "It took me 9 months to get to where I am! Having a baby is the best thing that happened to me! I do have stretch marks and loose skin, but I almost have abs. For those of you just starting your fitness journey, just remember that you will get there!"
Completing a 5K race was a huge achievement for PumpUp member @racquelannd. She trained for 8 weeks prior to her first race, despite the fact that she had never been much of a runner over the course of her entire life.
"6 months ago, I wouldn't have dreamed of doing something like this, ever," said PumpUp member and former PumpUp contest winner @ilovecoffee2xaday, a mother who ran her first ever 5K race just two months ago. Like many others on PumpUp, she fell in love with running after joining the PumpUp community. @ilovecoffee2xaday likes to push herself outside of her comfort zone. "I've been lifting heavier (30 lb) weights instead of 5lb dumbbells that I've been doing. I tried to push for the 4th set and I failed to take it all the way up. I failed but I had to try! No shame in that. It's a start and I am here to get strong."
PumpUp member @jmorales617 won a PumpUp contest by demonstrating her favourite outdoor exercise move. You can try it any time you find yourself at the park! Her favourite exercise is the hanging knee raise. It targets your lower abs, hip flexors, and your lower back.
Keep them pumped! We'll be adding to this list as we feature more PumpUp mothers in the future. Have story that you want to share with the PumpUp community? Let us know by emailing alessandra[@]pumpup.co.
Honesty is the best policy, especially when it comes to goal-setting. Take time to reflect upon your fitness goals on National Honesty Day and write them down. It might be more useful for you than you realize, and it might even be the secret to your success. Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do, long after the mood that you set it in has left you. Make a commitment to yourself and to others by sharing your aspirations with a fitness community like PumpUp. It'll help you stay accountable and achieve more than you could ever have imagined.
Did these quotes about honesty and commitment help you with your fitness goals today? Share about it on the PumpUp community and let us know what your honest fitness goals are on National Honesty Day!
Donna has been tirelessly dedicated to a lifestyle of regular exercise and healthy eating for many years. "I wanted to look better before I turned 40, and to be healthy and happy on the inside as well," she confirmed. "Once I started to notice positive changes, that just fuelled me keep working even harder." When she first joined the PumpUp community, she was looking for a group of like-minded individuals who shared in her passion for health and fitness. "The app seemed to be the perfect fit for me because I love sharing what I've learned over the years and inspiring others to do the same," she insisted. "Since being involved on PumpUp, my eyes have been opened and my perspective broadened to people’s needs and interests. I have a wonderful camaraderie with likeminded individuals and I have seen a level of respect, love & support like no other." One photo of Donna's lunch changed the landscape of her future in ways that she could never have imagined. "My daughter suggested that I post it, before I had any idea about what PumpUp even was," she admitted. "I thought PumpUp was a more suitable platform to share my workouts and meals than other apps— as well as a potential opportunity to share some of my learning experiences & to help inspire others in their health & fitness journey." Little did she know that she'd become a role model to thousands of others.
Though Donna suffered from three devastating athletic injuries over the past year, these setbacks gave her the strength and experience to meaningfully help other PumpUp members who are struggling. "I'm learning to listen to my body and to know the difference in being persistent and being stubborn," she confided. "Last year, I pulled a back muscle due to improper form while deadlifting, and then I had two separate toe injuries while training for a Savage Race. Each time, I rested when necessary, adjusted, adapted, learned & persevered." As Donna recovered from her injuries, she professed that her biggest obstacle was more mental than physical. "I had completely changed my training routines for months in preparation for the race," she recounted. "Getting injured the night before was a crushing blow." Despite having to deal with the disappointment of dropping out of her race on the morning of her event, Donna moved forward. "I had to get in my mind that this was just not meant to be at this time and move on," she offered. "I have learned that setbacks are a part of this journey. They need not get you down or hold you back. They are opportunities to learn about yourself, and result in chances to grow stronger."
It's safe to say that Donna found her true calling as a PumpUp motivator and role model. You'd be hard-pressed to find a day when she isn't sharing a healthy recipe or giving encouragement to other PumpUp members. "Through this journey, I hope to help people find their inner strength to love themselves unconditionally," she insisted. "I love being supportive of others' goals and accomplishments, as well as helping them through setbacks. By using PumpUp, I have been given a glimpse of what people are searching for. This has definitely helped me realize that my purpose is to encourage, inspire and inform these individuals how to reach their goals." The PumpUp community wouldn't have it any other way.
Donna's Best Advice
Donna's biggest source of motivation
You know the drill. You're familiar with 'Day 1' scenarios. Time and time again, you commit to maintaining a lifestyle change until life gets in the way and derails you from your goals. Like you, PumpUp member @thenewalexandra revisited her starting point more than once. "I tried to live a healthier lifestyle many times, but always gave up on myself," admitted Alexandra. "I began to use PumpUp almost a year and a half ago because I wanted to be more healthy, with the support of a great community." Prior to PumpUp, the state of Alexandra's health habits hit an all-time low. "I was less healthy than I've ever been," she conceded. "My friends and I frequented McDonald's more than twice a week. I drank Ice Cappucinos from Tim Hortons every single day. I did absolutely no exercise, which made me feel sluggish and tired all the time." A three-minute run would easily leave her gasping for air. Alexandra's erratic sleeping patterns weren't helping her energy levels either. "I wasn't treating my body the way it deserved to be treated," she lamented.
Paradoxically, a trip to the movies sent Alexandra on the wellness journey of a lifetime after she found out about PumpUp from a preview on Mark Saltzman's Gear Guide. "I instantly fell in love with the whole community of people," she recounts. "The number one thing I love about this app is that there is not an ounce of negativity anywhere. PumpUp is a safe place for all people to document their fitness journey's."
As a student, it was tough for Alexandra to make healthy and convenient eating choices. Since she joined PumpUp, Alexandra taught herself how to make basic healthy meals: everything from quinoa, to soups, to salads. "PumpUp has inspired me to make healthier decisions each and every day," she confirmed. "I always keep cut of fruit and vegetables in my fridge so that I have no reason to snack on anything unhealthy. Beyond that, I rid my cabinets of any junk and replaced it with healthier snacks." Alexandra now exercises at least 4 times a week, regularly attending yoga classes and walking to and from school on a daily basis. Over the summer, she plans to take up Zumba and pole dancing and will continue to incorporate physical activity into her routine. "Whenever I have free time, I get an extra workout in," she explained. "It clears my mind and makes me feel amazing."
When Alexandra really began to engage with PumpUp's different features, she taught herself more than she expected. "PumpUp workouts taught me a lot about fitness [and opened my eyes up to] different workouts," she professed. "My little muscles are starting to show more in my abdominals, arms and legs." Beyond healthier habits, PumpUp has helped Alexandra to considerably improve her self-esteem. "There are days when I'm feeling down about myself, whether it be because of my eating habits, or other reasons , and all I have to do is think about PumpUp community members and I'm instantly much more happy," she mused. "This app really helped me to realize that every single person in this world is absolutely beautiful, and the members of this community aren't just beautiful on the outside, but they have amazing, kind, warm, hearts as well."
Alexandra has fresh and realistic advice for those who hope to make a lifestyle change with the help of PumpUp. "Just do it," she counselled. "There have been days where I sit for hours on the couch just staring at my yoga mat, or thinking of excuses as to why I shouldn't go for a run, but I know that when I just do it I feel much better. Start slowly, and work your way up to a more healthy lifestyle, so when you go to eat healthy or exercise you dread it just a little bit less." She reminds that it isn't realistic to expect immediate results from changes in your lifestyle habits. "I want things to happen right now (I'm not very patient), but [remember that] they happen gradually," she said. "One weekend, my mom and dad both told me that I lost some weight. I hadn't really known if I had or not. That validation is amazing, you just have to wait for it (and do a lot of hard work). Fitness is a life long journey, and we all must accept that in order to be the best we can be."
As Alexandra progresses with her journey, she hopes to be as active as she can be this summer. "With my newfound love for hiking, I plan to travel all over Ontario to view Webster Falls at Dundas, and the cool rock formations in Caledon," she enthused. "I [also] plan on taking every single step to the top of the CN tower by the end of this summer. Without PumpUp I would never have thought to be this active, and when I have my doubts I know I'll be able to turn to the PumpUp community through the next steps in my fitness journey."
My biggest motivation is my mother. My family has had a though time over the last few years, and we wouldn't have been able to survive without her. No matter what the situation is, she manages to put a smile on her face and be the best mother in the world. She constantly puts my brother and my health in front of her own, in order to ensure that were happy. For example, when I didn't have enough money for a prom dress, she took on extra shifts at work in order to help me. When I didn't have enough money to pay my tuition, she did the same once more.
My mom is the most selfless, caring, considerate person that I have ever met. She believes spending her money on herself isn't worth it if she can spend it on her children instead. It's because of everything she has done for me, that I want to succeed for her, whether that be through school, or my own health. After a rough patch, my mom started to take care of herself once again. She began to shop for herself, do her hair, grow her nails, take Pilates, and cut out all the coffee from her diet (and trust me six triple triples a day are not healthy at all!). Seeing her live her own healthy lifestyle is absolutely inspiring.
Fun Fact About Alexandra
I absolutely adore cats and have owned over 20 in my life time (taking care of and finding homes for kittens). I'm also studying psychology in university.
Cheer Alexandra along her journey on PumpUp @thenewalexandra and let us know what you thought about her story in the comments below!
A no cheese pizza? I know. You’re either totally into it, or just plain ready to run the other way. I, too, always thought that a pizza wasn’t a pizza without the cheese, but boy was I wrong. I tested this Fiery Sriracha No Cheese Hummus Pizza using a thin and crispy crust with this hot hummus, and it tasted something like heaven The catch is that you can’t make it with just any hummus. You’ve got to use a flavorful one that’ll create a gooey bed for your veggies to roast. I used the Tribe Hummus Fiery Sriracha flavor. I love Tribe, especially for their seasonal flavors and quality ingredients. This limited edition flavor has a special kick that gives this pizza a tang that’s irreplaceable!
Don’t let the idea of using hummus in place of cheese scare you away. It’s a simple method that’s sure to deliver tasty results. I spread a layer of a special hummus over the crust, then made a bed of veggies, and topped it off with dried herbs and a drizzle of olive oil. You can almost do it with your eyes closed. Enjoy!
I was not born with the athletic/sporty gene at all. All my life, I’ve been pretty average when it comes to athletics. When I was younger, I did tap and ballet dancing which was a bit of a work out each week. The most I’ve ever been active was in high school, when I did color guard and winter guard. Both of these activities were intense and gave me mad muscles, yo. Nevertheless, when I graduated high school, I was not inclined to work out. I would get little itches to be fit after looking at myself in the mirror every once in a while but I wasn’t serious. My mind wasn’t ready for what it actually took in order to get the body I wanted and to maintain it. Needless to say, I slacked off quite a bit in the fitness department up until 2013 when I was a junior in college. I had a fear of being the chubby girl, so I started working out. But the workouts I was doing were not up to snuff. I started that journey by walking on the treadmill at a fast pace because I felt like I wasn’t good enough to run yet. I slowly started to get up to jogging and, to my surprise, I was able to jog a 5k on the treadmill. I was doing well.
I don’t remember what happened but I got complacent and started working out less and less. I think it was the fact that every time I looked in the mirror, I saw no difference in my body. I was looking in the mirror expecting to see an ab or a bicep or something and I saw nothing. I gave in and stopped working out altogether. I kept on this track for a while. Sure, I’d work out from time to time but it wouldn’t be anything intense. During Christmas time last year, I started researching exercises, foods to eat, and running techniques. I wanted to get in shape, for realsies. Finally, on January 5th, 2015, I went to my school’s gym and just started working out with HIIT on the treadmill. The rest, as they say, is history.
I tell this story because I feel like all those times I “worked out” and “wanted to get fit for real” led to this time in my life. I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been since leaving high school and I’ve been doing this not to just look better but to feel better. There have been two things that have helped me out so far during this journey:
I say all this to say getting into a healthier lifestyle should not be done for the short term goal of looking good because that implies that once you reach that point, you’re going to stop. Getting fit for real is a long term lifestyle choice. It's an ongoing thing. You may fall off from time to time but get back up. You’ll be happy you did.
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."
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.
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.
"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!"
"Laziness fuels more laziness. Activity fuels more activity' and 'A year ago you will wish you had started today."
Cheer Samantha on as she strives to reach her goals with the help of the PumpUp community @samanthagonsalves3.
If you once had speedy metabolism that suddenly slowed to a halt, Tian can sympathize with you. Despite having been skinny for most of her life, Tian took this genetic pre-disposition for granted. This led to drastic weight gain that weighed on her until June 2014, when she decided to take action against it. "It's never too late to make a change," she insisted. "I'm not the strongest or most athletic, but I have a lot of heart. I keep pushing forward." Not long after, Tian joined PumpUp in search of support and she hasn't looked back. When Tian shared about her transformation on PumpUp, the community was stunned by her truly admirable transformation. "[The] supportive comments really made my day," she said warmly. "I greatly appreciate [each person] taking the time to comment. [They] are all a constant source of great support. Much love and appreciation!"
Exercise is the best stress reliever for Tian, who regularly wakes up at 5am to perform gruelling Insanity workouts. Though cardio is a challenge for her, she makes an effort to push through every workout. "At the time I began my fitness journey, I couldn't do 1 pushup or last more than 3 minutes on the treadmill," she professed.
The PumpUp community is inspired by everything that Tian has achieved after having overcome the drastic weight gain from her past. Keep her pumped on the app @tianloves!
Think you can't make it to the gym? On many days, the trek just isn't realistic for you. You can still Spring into Action with ab exercises that require you to stand, not sit. These three standing ab moves by PumpUp member @emjoy_88 will target all areas of your core. Weights are not necessary for these exercises, but extra resistance is always an added bonus. You'll work harder, feel stronger, and perform better in sports as well as other athletic activities. Take your at-home workout to the next level with standing ab moves. Do them while you're watching videos or even while you're listening to music. That extra pump will be all you need to start your day off on the right foot. Do three rounds of these standing ab moves, for one minute per exercise
Standing oblique crunches
Standing oblique twists with a knee crunch
It’s #SpotlightSunday and we want to shed some light on PumpUp Member cb23. The caption of this pic was too good not to share. “Crazy workout with Mom today. She got me up at 6 am by saying ‘don’t complain to me when your jeans don’t fit.’” That is some motivation right there! Work hard today everyone!
Here it is, your #MotivationMonday pic and quote of the week - “You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great.” No matter where you are with your fitness level, or what stage you are at in your health journey, it doesn’t matter. The fact that you are making an effort and trying your best, is what says it all. So keep it up, and go hard this monday, because in the end you want to be GREAT, right? :)