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fitness advice

Stay healthy while travelling, even with dietary restrictions

Stay healthy while travelling, even with dietary restrictions

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Whether you’re a college student, have a full time job, or a house full of children, eating healthy on the go can often come as a challenge. The notion of “fast food” has been completely misconstrued by society over time. The simplest, fastest food, is straight from the Earth. Yes—fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds are “fast foods” and won’t leave you feeling sluggish when you’re on the move. From travelling through an airport to taking a road trip, it may seem like unhealthy food is your only option! I promise, healthy food is all around you if you’re looking for it! Here are some of my top tips on how to stay healthy while travelling, even with dietary restrictions!

“IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN, YOU PLAN TO FAIL…”





BE PREPARED— BRING SNACKS! This is my #1 tip to help you stay healthy while travelling! Packing snacks for yourself ensures that you will be much less likely to give into those unhealthy temptations. Not to mention, it will save you from spending money on overpriced airport and rest stop food. Cut up some veggies and fruit, put them in some plastic tupperware, take a few handfuls of nuts in a ziploc, and you’re good to go!! ALWAYS hydrate while you are travelling—you will not only be pushing toxins out of your body, but you will also keep your immune system strong while you are surrounded by new environments and people.

EAT A BIG MEAL BEFORE YOU GO!

If you know that you are going to be traveling for a long period of time without many breaks for eating, eat a big meal before you take off or before you begin the drive to your destination. Starting your travels with a big bowl of fruit or a large green smoothie will keep you energized and fuelled until your next stop.

DO SOME RESEARCH!

This tip has not only tremendously helped me while travelling, but it has also helped me through my raw vegan journey in general. Planning ahead will allow you to scope out restaurants and markets at your destination that have healthy options for you and will keep you on track! Whether your trip is for leisure or business, there is no reason that food should cause you any stress. Exploring a new city or town can be an exciting way for you to try new things and take in the unique options your destination has to offer.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY!

Just because you are traveling does not mean you should neglect your body! Although you may have a fully packed itinerary, always make sure you are allowing yourself enough time to rest and rejuvenate so you can enjoy your trip to the fullest. Sneak in some exercise by taking the stairs, skipping the escalator/elevator if you can—I am not saying that you need to go to the gym every day of your vacation! Your time off should be spent in the most enjoyable way you see fit without returning home in a slump over bad food choices.

BE FLEXIBLE! Let’s face it, things don’t always go perfectly when we’re travelling. From delayed or canceled flights to mixups at the hotel to bad restaurant choices, travel can sometimes be challenging. Rather than struggling against things that you cannot control, you can use these unpredicted events as opportunities to sit back and catch up on things you’ve been avoiding—like taking time to think about how you will better yourself!

Ashley Hampton (PumpUp: @rawincollege) is a college student looking to spread the power of the raw vegan lifestyle through her positive posts and vibrant photos. Check out her blog

Why motivation is all about your mindset

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This is a post by fashion and fitness blogger Jodi-Kay Edwards. Follow her on PumpUp @jodikayedwards and on her blog, lifestylefinesse.com.

January has come and gone, but what about your goals and New Year’s resolutions? Have you been able to make it to the gym 4 days a week, did you stop eating copious amounts of chocolate, did you stop overusing the word bae? Have you been nicer to your brother and have you been calling grandma at least once a week?

No matter where you are in your fitness/health/personal journey remember this, it is just that, a journey! While there is no overnight magic pill to help us concentrate on our goals or fairy godmother to help make our dearest wish come true I can let you in on a little secret and that secret is motivation.

So what can you do with that? Well you can’t eat it, sleep on it, or take it on dates but you can internalize it. The key to not only getting motivated and (keyword) staying motivated is your mindset. The mind is a powerful thing so be careful what you tell yourself!

Busy schedule, no time to get to the gym? Okay then, no gym it is. But what if no gym turned into a few squats while brushing our teeth or a few sit-ups before crawling into bed?

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Throughout the day things will always “come up”. My favorite time to workout is in the morning, I feel refreshed and energized, even if it’s a small workout I can always do a second workout in the afternoon if I have the energy or time. Pinterest has great workouts you can do at home in a matter of minutes! Start small even if it’s just one day a week and build from there. Once you start setting and reaching even the smallest of goals you will automatically be motivated to continue. If you set your goals too high it might turn into a chore and that’s where our motivation drops. Are you a clean the house all in one day type of person or clean up as you go, figure out what works best for you and your mindset!

(Think about what small goals you can set for yourself this week. Don’t set yourself up for failure or disappointment!)

Another way to keep up with your goals is to stay focused! Don’t get distracted or discouraged along the way. To become the best version of yourself requires a little bit of time. You didn’t get to where you are overnight right? It took time to learn those habits or behaviors that you have decided you want to change, so give yourself enough time to unlearn them and to learn a better way instead.

Don’t forget as you are setting and reaching those little goals check them off and keep going, decide if you are moving at a fast enough pace, from here do some self reflection and make a few changes depending on what you think you can handle. Make SMART goals. Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Be good to yourself, you deserve this!

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So now that the whole “New Year, New you” craze is over take a few minutes (after reading this) to look at where you are. Are you still on track or did you find yourself wandering of course? Are you acknowledging the little improvements or are you frustrated that big changes haven’t happened yet. Are you bored of your current routine or have you found ways to switch it up? There are only so many ways you can eat eggs right? Wrong! I for one am a huge fan scrambled eggs with asparagus and boiled eggs with lemon pepper seasoning. There are so many oatmeal choices out there, one week I might have brown sugar or add some honey and apples. Eggs and oatmeal for breakfast, yes I’ll admit my basic-ness when it comes to breakfast but I know what works for me and as that chimney guy from Mary Poppins once said ” I does what I likes and I likes what I do”. Chim chim-in-ey, chim chim-in-ey Chim chim cher-oo.

Same goes for my workout routine, once something stops working for my body, instead of getting frustrated, I try something else.

With us being only a month into the New Year we may not see any home runs but keep working for it, keep looking and what you see a few months from now just might surprise you!

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I almost forgot! Another way to stay motivated is to surround yourself with people who have a common goal. The PumpUp community keeps me motivated to continue to live a healthy lifestyle. You can find me on the PumpUp app @jodikayedwards where I post my meals and a few workout tips as well!

Shoes/Nike Pants/Nike Top/Given to me compliments of PumpUp

Toning doesn't exist

This is a post by Rachel Carpenter (@bothgirl). Check out her blog for her daily workouts!

So your fitness goal is to “tone up”.

I think what you meant to say is that you want to increase your muscle size and lower your body-fat percentage so that you appear to have more muscle definition. 

Cameron Diaz isn’t “toned”. She has developed her muscles and eats a clean diet for a low body-fat percentage so that those muscles can actually be seen.

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You see - there is no such thing as toning, and I’m going to explain to you why.

I hear from one girl after another, telling me that they “don’t want to get big”that they “just wants to tone”.

This has always frustrated me, because I know that a musclecan only get bigger or smaller. It’s not a shape shifter. Unfortunately, the media has marketed the toning myth to us for quite some time – but it’s not too late to get educated on the facts. 

Shall we have a short lesson in anatomy?

  • Our muscles are anatomically confined to the space between our joints and our bones.
  • They cannot get longer; they have a starting point and an ending point.
  • Between those two points the muscle can only grow bigger or smaller. It can’t change its shape.

The “toned” look that most people are hoping for is actually a result of an increase in muscle size paired with a lowering of body fat percentage so that you can more easily see the muscles. In order to get that look you need to:

  1. Build up muscle (through strength training)
  2. Lose the fat around the muscle (through a clean diet) 

The misconception surrounding toning beings with the myth that doing light weight and high reps will result in lower body fat and increased muscle. This is essentially cardio, and all this really means is that it’s going to take you a heck of a lot longer to grow that muscle that you want to see. This is also why so many people struggle to see progress. 

The biggest offenders of this “toning” fad are the barre or ballet type classes, as well as Pilates. Don’t get me wrong, there are benefits to both of these types of exercises, but they claim to give you “long, lean muscles”, which is anatomically impossible.

By participating in these types of exercises, with the hope of “toning”, you’re just building your muscles more slowly than you would if you were strength training with heavier weights. You might achieve other benefits, but this is the hard way to get a lower body fat percentage.

I’d love to stop hearing the word “toned” – and I’d love to see a lot more women in the weight room. Don’t take my word for it. Find someone, like Cameron Diaz, who you want to look like and find out what they are doing. Chances are, they aren’t “toning” or practicing magical spells to get those results.  Remember to avoid the fads and stick to the facts…and don’t be afraid of heavy weights.

5 Smart Steps to take at the beginning of a new year

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This is a post published by PumpUp member @coachmelissa. Check out her website at melissalepage.com 

Happy New Year everybody!!! 

The first week of the year is already gone, so have you decided how will you set yourself for success? Have you created a list of your New Year Resolutions you would like to achieve in this brand new year? If you have taken it slowly after the Holidays, it’s OK.

It’s a new day, so let’s set you up for success with these 5 smart steps to follow.

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The first thing you need to do is to set your mindset for success. Whatever you desire to accomplish over the next year, whether it would be finding a new job, having a baby, improving your diet, sticking to your workout routine once and for all, losing weight your baby weight, changing career…You’ve got to decide and commit to achieving those things. If you haven’t changed your mindset the chances for you to achieve your goals are (let’s face it) tiny. Decide to go ALL IN today!

  • Find a quiet and peaceful place in your house where you can start to clear your mind of negative thoughts, limiting belief you may have. Then, you can start to reflect on the things you want most to accomplish this year.
  • Take a sheet of paper and a pen and start writing down how you want to feel every single day when you awake and allow your actions to support that feeling.

You’re no longer going to say ”I’ll try to…”, this sentence will no longer be a part of your vocabulary. You’re focused on your goals and you’re not going to stop until you succeed!

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When you are writing your goals, each and every single one of them need to be written positively and in the present tense. Using positive statement in a direct way to affirm your commitment to completing your goals has a major impact!

  • Break down your goals into small steps so you won’t feel overwhelmed by them. If you would like to lose 100 pounds over the year. It should look like this: 100lbs divided by 12 = 8lbs/month divided by 4 = 2. So you will write your statement like so: ”My big goal is to lose 100 pounds this year, so I am going to lose 2 pounds each week so that way I can feel beautiful and confident again!”

Always remember how YOU want to feel at the end of your achievement!

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One of the biggest mistakes people tend to do is not attaching a deadline to their goals or resolutions. You can have the best intentions to accomplish it but unless you put a plan in place with an impending deadline, how can you stay on track?

  • Once you have your list of positive goals written on a sheet of paper or in your journal, grab your calendar and start to assign each goal to the month you want to accomplish it in.
  • It’s one thing to have your goals set on your calendar, but you need your small steps (tasks) that will lead you to them in order for you to succeed. Start to brake down your goals into daily action plan. Start to think what you need to do each day, each week to achieve your goals. If you are not sure how to get there, I am always here to help!
  • Now it’s time to schedule those tasks! Ensure you’re doing this at the same time every week so it becomes a habit! Sunday evenings are my time to plan out my week which includes: workouts, meal plans, work and personal stuff.

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Journaling is a great way to keep track of both personal and professional progress. Checking in with yourself and acknowledging the progress made towards a certain goal is key to staying motivated and accountable. 

  • When losing weight, keeping a record of our progress is very important and motivating. It helps you see that your body is changing (it takes time) even though sometimes you feel like nothing is ”actually changing”. Start by taking your ”Before” picture, which I call it your ”Goodbye picture”, every 30 days take progression pictures and stick them in your journal with the previous ones. You will be SHOCKED (in a good way) to notice the progress you have made thus far. Also, keep track of your measurements of day 1 and of every 2 weeks.
  • This principle can be applied to everything, not only to health and fitness. Always record your progress.

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With busy schedules and hectic lifestyles it’s easy to put our own health and well-being on the back-burner.

BUT NOT THIS YEAR!

You’re no longer going to “try” to fit exercise and healthy eating into your schedule. It’s time to implement a workout & nutrition plan that is realistic for your lifestyle and has strong support & accountability from the very beginning (the piece you’re probably missing)! I’m here to help with that! It’s my passion & purpose to show you HOW to make this work.

“I know what I need to do, I just don’t know how to do it…consistently!”

If this is you, I invite you to join my “New Year, New You: Find Your Strength in 2015” accountability group to kick-start your goal of creating a healthier lifestyle for yourself!

It’s a chance to work with me personally in a small group of like-minded people all working towards the same goal! We’re close to filling up but if you COMMIT by this Sunday, I’ll squeeze you in and get you started!

Click HERE to learn what it’s all about and exactly how it’s designed to help you successfully transition to better health, energy & confidence!

Here's why you should set daily challenges

This is a post by PumpUp member Claire Kane (@voltafitness), qualified fitness instructor, sports nutritionist, and the brains behind VoltaFitness

As a newly qualified fitness instructor I have recently become aware that I will in no time at all be helping others make and achieve their fitness goals. Because of this I have been taking part in the #MyResolution challenge with PumpUp and with each day I am seeing the benefits of setting yourself daily “challenges” that run in tandem with your goals or resolutions.

Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Constant motivation
  • Consistency
  • Regular sense of achievement
  • Planning gets you further to your end goal

Challenges you could set yourself:

Post all meals and snacks on Pump Up

Set yourself a challenge of posting all of your meals on Pump Up some days. This will encourage you to firstly be aware of what you are eating and secondly to plan your meals carefully. This will, theoretically, help you to see the benefit of meal planning and hopefully make it a habit.

Go up 5% or 10% on your lifts

Unless you have a personal trainer or have a gym buddy you are probably guilty of going a little easy of yourself and not pushing progression. One day of the month up your weights; you might be surprised at how manageable it is. The sense of achievement and confidence to come from this will keep you smiling for a days.

Try a (new) class or something different

If you train solo set yourself a task of going to a class, if you find you’re falling out of love with fitness, try something new.

I attended TRX classes and do a lot of weight training and Intense Cardio. When I felt like I was hitting a bit of a block, fitness wise, last year I went wall climbing. It reinstated my belief that I am strong and it was darn fun too!

Give your metabolism a needed shock by trying something different; it’s the best kept fitness secret.

Write out all your achievements

When we’re working towards a goal we can often hit a slump. “What’s the point?” “I keep slipping up” and other negative thoughts might cross your mind. About half way through your programme/the month set a challenge to write down all the things you have achieved in fitness and nutrition for as long back as you like.

This will give you an instant boost and keep you right on track.

Time to set yourself some challenges! I’d love to hear how you’re going to challenge yourself. Type them out and tag me in them on Pump Up (@VoltaFitness) 

Connect with Claire!

4 reasons why you should get off the elliptical and into the weight room

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This is a post by Rachel Carpenter (@bothgirl). Check out her blog for her daily workouts!

When people ask for my fitness advice, I preach three guidelines:

  1. Stick to a clean diet. Eat real food, and more protein/veggies, fewer sugars/carbs.
  2. HIIT (High intensity interval training) cardio.
  3. Lift heavy weights and strength train.

But every time a woman asks me for advice, she shies away from #3. Or, God forbid, she says that she wants to exercise with “less weight, more reps” because she “just wants to tone up” (don’t get me started on “toning” – I’ll save that for another blog).

The next thing I’ll say to her, in the interest of time, is to look at me.

I lift heavy. No, I’m talking heavy. On a weekly basis I max out (hundreds of pounds) on squats, lunges, deadlifts, bench press, pull-ups, dips, etc. If I’m not failing on the second or third rep, I’m not going heavy enough. Of course I switch up the weight and intensity, but super-heavy sets of 3-5 repetitions are an integral part of my training.

And I am not big. I am slender and strong with a body-fat percentage hovering around 14-17%. I am not bulky. Every person’s body is different, but the principles are the same. I don’t have a body fat percentage of 16% because I do cardio, and it’s not by accident. 

Don’t believe me? Here are four reasons you need to go pick up a heavy barbell – right now. 

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1)  Let’s talk about efficiency

Cardio burns fat and calories during exercise (1 hour). Weight training causes Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). This means that your metabolism is revving for up to 38 hours after your workout. And listen up ladies: the heavier the weight – the more EPOC. (Norwegian University of Sport and Physical Education, Oslo, Norway)

2)  Muscle burns fat

Muscles are the primary energy consumers in the body. More muscles = more fat burned. (Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology)

3)  You will NOT get big and bulky

Women have far less testosterone than men – making it extremely difficult to get large without the use of drugs. You can work your booty off and still only build a fraction of the muscle that men do. (Muscle and Health)

Plus, do you think it’s easy for guys to get huge? Trust me, you’re not going to “accidentally” get big.

4)  Outside of fat loss, you need to do strength training for your overall health

Don’t believe me? Strength training will:

  • Boost energy
  • Protect joints from injury
  • Reduce depression
  • Fight osteoporosis
  • Lower diabetes risk
  • Better heart health
  • Blood sugar control
  • Back pain prevention
  • Improved balance
  • Better sex
  • Reduce stress
  • Sharpen memory 

If we’re being honest – there are other factors that play into the female stigma against lifting weights.  All too often I see women let their misinformed fears about bulking up keep them out of the weight room. This makes the weight room a scary place for the women who understand the importance of lifting heavy. But we can change this, and do the men a favor, by getting in there.

Ladies: please lift heavy. You’ll look better, you’ll feel better, and you’ll be better. Get after it.

How Ron nestled himself at the heart of the PumpUp community - Spotlight Series

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As a performer and fight choreographer known among PumpUp members for his incredible physique and his motivational posts, Ron danced his way into the PumpUp community’s heart and shines bright like a diamond in the spotlight. Ron’s advice is wise, his training schedule is magnificent, and his presence in the PumpUp community is unmistakeable.

At the beginning of his journey, Ron kept himself busy with plenty of cardio due to the nature of his occupation but he hadn’t begun to truly focus on building muscle prior to joining PumpUp. “I hit the weights maybe once a week and ate indiscriminately,” Ron admitted. “I certainly knew nothing about nutrition, or eating to achieve certain goals. Though I got plenty of exercise as a dancer/theatre performer, I really wasn’t making any lean muscle gains!”

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After becoming a member of the PumpUp family 8 months ago, Ron made dramatic changes to his lifestyle and it absolutely reflects in his incredible progress. He frequents the gym at least 4 to 5 times a week for 2 hours at a time. “My splits focus on free weights and I’m training for strength and size so I mix hypertrophy (4 sets for 8-12 reps) with basic strength (5x5 or 5 sets for 5 reps). I also hit a lot of calisthenics, bar brothers or street workout style exercises,” he explained. “I monitor my calories (3200 a day) and eat 70% clean. With nutrition it’s all about balance!”

Certain obstacles have marked notches in Ron’s pathway toward a more healthy and active lifestyle. “I’ve found that life always intervenes during your fitness journey,” he admitted. “Heartbreak, death in the family, illness or injury: I’ve had all of these things happen this year. It’s tough to stay motivated—and to be honest, there were times when I wasn’t motivated at all. I had to take a few days to regroup, but the gym was a place of stability for me.”

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Ron aspires to inspire others on PumpUp for change. “I’m currently studying a diploma of fitness and using PumpUp has been really great for me to share my own personal fitness experiences and the knowledge that I’ve gained,” he elaborated. “The community is top notch—basically one big family!” It seems surreal for him to have garnered such a critical mass of followers who are motivated by his posts, but Ron affirmed that he hopes that he can do his best to help them in any way. “I’m really just a regular guy who likes the gym,” shrugged Ron. “It’s crazy to see how many people are following me (and I thank them immensely) and I hope that I can inspire them.”

His affirmation for those looking to lead a more active lifestyle is sage and succinct. “The best way to get started is to get started,” he counseled. “If you’ve made the start you’re already halfway there! Make activity and exercise a routine or habit and motivation becomes unnecessary. You don’t question whether or not you brush your teeth in the morning, so why question exercise?”

Ultimately, Ron aims to be the best version of himself that he can be, in and out of the gym. “I’m most motivated by myself—it may sound weird but I’m motivated to be better, bigger, stronger, and more awesome than who I was yesterday,” he professed. “There are people that I admire but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I wanted to be the best at whatever I do. I think that drive is natural and even healthy. Just don’t let it turn negative. I’m always hungry for progress.”

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Ron’s Meals
“Without a doubt, [I can’t resist] buffalo wings. No matter what diet plan I’m on, if there is a chance of wings, I’m down like a clown. I’m actually not a great cook though! That’s why there are so many selfies on my profile. None of my meal preps look amazing. Nutritionally, they are great. Aesthetically—how great can brown rice and tuna look? (I do love brown rice and tuna).”

Motivational Mantra

“I don’t really get motivated by sayings, sure some of them are 100% true but I think I can find them a bit cliche. I’ve always found a connection with Dylan Thomas’s poem, ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’. It’s got a fierce, desperate quality that fires me to no end.” 

"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

Ron’s favourite exercise

“In terms of weights, I love my compound exercises (squats, deadlifts and bench press). I [also] love working on bars because you can be flashy!”

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Fun fact about Ron

“Two things: I used to be in the Australian army (the infantry). I’ve also nearly traveled around the whole world through various theatre opportunities.

Find Ron on the app @rseet and check out his Instagram @ron_seeto!

Learn how Bill transformed his body AND aced his past semester with a 4.0 - PumpUp Spotlight Series

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Bill (@bsiddiq) has the brains of a scientist and the body of a superhero. He joined PumpUp in June 2014 and confessed that he immediately fell in love with the app’s positivity and fitness community. He’s an extremely encouraging and informative member and he looks forward to lending his insights both as a PumpUp spotlight member and as a regular blog contributor. 

Around this time last year, Bill set his mind to look like his fitness idol Hugh Jackman, an actor most famous for his onscreen body as Wolverine in the X-Men Movies. “[Jackman] had the type of look I wanted for my body, and I became obsessed with it. I was ripping off pages from TRAIN magazine’s issue of “The Wolverine” and posting them to my walls. I even set various pictures as my iPhone background.”

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Bill was systematic with his approach to achieve his goals. His mentality echoes that of Arnold Schwarzenegger: Visualize and see exactly what you wish to become. "It became my motivation and mission in life, sitting next to my dream of becoming an orthopedic surgeon," said Bill. He purchased a foodscale and began to weigh all of his portions to precise amounts of grams and ounces. Next, Bill reviewed scientific studies on Baylor University’s research database, as well as Bodybuilding.com articles that contained adequate citations for the best approaches to food intake, supplementation, rep ranges, and exercises. "That, coupled with my motivation from PumpUp and visualizing what my final body would look like set me on a “by any means” mentality," he professed. 

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Bill has coined the phrase “BrainsANDGains” on Instagram and PumpUp, as he highly believes that those looking to lead a healthier lifestyle should focus on all, rather than one, aspect of their lives. He admits that balancing his studies with his workout regimen is still not easy, but it is do-able.“At first, it was so difficult to adjust, but now it is a lifestyle. I live and breathe it,” elaborated Bill. He stresses the importance of his ‘BrainsANDGains philosophy by urging, “Do not get stuck just worrying about your body because life is more than just looking good. Make sure you are trying to do your absolute best in every aspect of your life. Whether that means in the classroom or in the office, be the best Renaissance man and or woman you can be!”

Bill’s fitness journey is a 24/7 grind. Despite his busy schedule, he works out at the gym for 2 hours at a time, 5 days a week. However, nutrition made the biggest difference for Bill throughout his transformation over the past year. “I firmly believe that nutrition is what builds the body of a champion,” he emphasized. "Through experiences, research, personal trials and the power of science I can safely say that nutrition is 75% of “fitness” in general.”  

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More about Bill

His “body of work” has recently been published on Bodybuilding.com, and his lifestyle involving his studies in sports medicine at Baylor University and staying in optimal shape are his main focus. He works as a certified personal trainer and aerobics class instructor at the student life center at the University. Bill’s article on bodybuilding.com goes into deep detail about his personal fitness transformation, nutrition, and workout regimen but he does highlight the main aspect of his body’s amazing transformation was in visualizing how he wanted his body to look.

Bill’s future plans are to continue his studies and push his body to new heights and exposure. He will now be writing frequently for PumpUp as one of its permanent blog members, bringing his expertise in the science behind fitness and nutrition to the topic/theme of the month. 

“I want everyone to know that if you have ANY questions, you can direct them to my KiK: BaylorFitness and I will try my best to respond within the next couple of days (since my article debut on bodybuilding.com my inbox/text messages/ KiK has been full with inquiries, but I do not let this deter me from helping others as it is why I do what I do that being to inspire, help, and motivate. I look forward to blogging for the PumpUp community in the next upcoming months!”

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Be sure to keep up with his journey through both his PumpUp: @bsiddiq and his Instagram: @bsiddiq .You can read more in depth about Bill’s personal fitness journey, personal workout regimen, and diet through his bodybuilding.com feature.

Lifting myth: Once you stop training your muscles turn into fat

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This is part of a series of posts by Jennifer (@liftingfairy on PumpUp), a bikini competitor. Check out her blog here. 

You may or may not have been told that once you stop exercising, your muscles turn into fat. But is this actually true? Sure, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronnie Coleman no longer have their former physiques, but are they really ‘fat’ 

I’ll admit that they don’t look that fit. Maybe a bit flabby. But it is scientifically impossible that their muscles turned into fat. Muscles and fat are two completely different substances. That’s like saying ’ I will turn my fat into muscles’ it just doesn’t work like that!

I will explain to you what actually happens.

Let’s take the example of a man who eats a lot of calories to his body the nutrients that it needs to build a certain amount of muscles. While he is still training, his muscles also allow him to burn more calories each day. This helps him to stay fairly lean. However, if he stops training— for whatever the reason might be—and maintains his former eating habits, his body will not only lose the extra calorie-burn from his workouts, but also the extra burn from his muscle mass.

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Now you can say that he is going to turn into a little fluffy ball because if he keeps eating the same way, he will lose muscles and gain fat. But he won’t be turning his muscles into fat. That’s what people keep misunderstanding.

Muscles are breaking down because they are no longer needed. Your body will, however, gain fat, if you have the same caloric intake as before. But you won’t turn into a flabby ball if you take a little break from your sports. If you stop training you will certainly lose muscle tissue, but if you also reduce your caloric intake you won’t gain fat. 

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According to a study, strength and muscle mass are generally maintained for up to 4 hours of no training. In my experience, I’ve seen drop-offs in my strength within seven days without training. However, I never experienced major muscle loss within two or even three weeks out of the gym.

If you are afraid of losing too much strength or muscle when you are on vacation, just do a full-body-core workout like push-ups, planks, pull-ups, squats, lunges or go for a run at the beach.

This is part of a series of posts by Jennifer, a bikini competitor from Luxembourg. Check out her blog and follow her on PumpUp @liftingfairy and on Instagram @lifting_fairy.

Lauren is a ray of sunshine! Find out why. - PumpUp Spotlight Series

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Lauren is a ray of sunshine who lights up the PumpUp community with her inspiring progress, her incandescent smile, and her positivity! She no longer treats food as a source of comfort, nor does she treat exercise as a form of punishment.  Learn how Lauren changed her outlook on fitness with the help and support of PumpUp! 

Motivation gives us the momentum to sustain progress, and Lauren sought support when she decided to commit wholeheartedly to her fitness journey in the summer of 2014. “I knew that I needed a push to keep me going, and PumpUp holds true to its title,” she exclaimed. “I couldn’t ask for a more supportive coach throughout this journey—and when I say coach, I obviously mean my amazing fit family!”

 

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Before PumpUp, Lauren graduated from her senior year of high school with an unhealthy relationship with food and a bitter attitude toward fitness due to two separate break ups. “You know the ‘freshman 15’ people are supposed to gain during their freshman year of college? I gained my own ‘senior 30’,” confessed Lauren. “That really brought me down for awhile.” She explained that she would binge-eat on a regular basis and perform intense sessions of cardio at the gym to burn it off. “I was using food to try to make me feel better, then used the gym as punishment afterwards,” Lauren elaborated. “It was an unhealthy cycle, which ultimately led to my weight gain.” 

Although Lauren is fighting a constant battle, she sees fitness through a different lens since she joined the PumpUp community. “Working out is no longer something I dread. It’s a part of my lifestyle, it makes me feel good while I’m doing it, and even better after I’ve finished,” she maintained.  Exercise significantly eased her transition into her first semester of college. “The rush of endorphins is especially great when you’re living away from home for the first time—it’s like a big hug to yourself.” She’s excited to see the little changes to her body, even if they are imperceptible at first glance, because she realizes that her transformation fits within the frame of a much bigger picture. “My legs and tummy are getting slimmer and my arms are getting stronger,” she said breathlessly. “I refuse to do anything too drastic to get to where I want to be. PumpUp is about health, not weight loss. The PumpUp community is wonderful about posting their healthy habits and it gives me that extra push I need to stay on track in a healthy and realistic way.”

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She now leads a much more balanced and holistically healthy lifestyle—and it shows! Her transformation is an incredible achievement and PumpUp congratulates her for every single success. “PumpUp gave me the support I needed, exactly when I needed it in my life,” Lauren gushed. “The amazing ‘fit family’ I’ve made has supported me so much over the past four months, and I can’t thank them enough. I love sharing my successes and watching the accomplishments of my fellow PumpUp pals!”

Lauren believes that good things come to those who wait. “It takes at least a week or so to start seeing the little changes in your body. If you give it plenty of time and just enjoy the process you will delight yourself along the way,” she said. Lauren learned to embrace her progress, and is a strong advocate of using pictures as a way to document it. “Unless it’s a drastic change, our peers don’t tend to notice our personal progress, nor do they point them out,” she explained. “Progress pictures show yourself and others that the hard work is paying off, and it’s an amazing feeling.” In contrast, she advises against using the scale as a measure of progress. Lauren does not know, nor does she quantify her progress by how many pounds she has lost. “Weight gain can be a good thing—you could just be gaining muscle,” she counseled.

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Members on PumpUp have by and far made a tremendous difference for Lauren. “Watching @randiashley and @lorrin consistently pursue their progress further, while motivating others, has inspired me so much,” she insisted. “They are amazing ladies and they have made my experience on the app even more incredible!” Scrolling through the app is one of Lauren’s favourite things to do when she’s feeling a little down. “Seeing how everyone else is doing on their journey, liking a few pictures, and leaving a few comments always makes me feel better—and makes me want to get my butt to the gym too,” she revealed.

Lauren’s Meals 

“My favorite snack has to be apples, and in any form…I might actually be addicted. I love apple chips, applesauce, apples with peanut butter, apples with cinnamon, apples, apples, and more apples! My favorite meal has to be breakfast for dinner: oatmeal, cereal, granola, fruit salad, any smoothies, toast with some jelly. Really, if there’s any breakfast food and you can count me in! I’m going to sound annoyingly cliché but I’d have to say water is my favorite drink, but coffee is a close second. Living in the dorms, I don’t get to cook any recipes, but my favourite post-work out snack has to be peanut butter and banana!”

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Motivational Mantra 

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

Favourite workout exercise/routine  

“To stay active, I’m truly blessed, because my dorm is across the street from my university’s rec center! I just walk about 5 minutes across the street and I am ready to work out! I like to check the app right before my work out; it always gives me that extra bit of encouragement to make each work out a great one!”

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Fun Fact about Lauren 

“I’m going vegan in 2015! I’ve been taking little steps leading up to it for the past while. I have been dairy free for almost 6 months, and I haven’t had eggs in about two months. The only reason I still eat meat is for convenience in the dining halls, and these express dining halls at my university; it seems like everything is served with meat or with meat in it. I am going to make my best efforts to consume a plant-based diet for at least this spring semester; I’ve done a lot of research on that lifestyle and it seems to have amazing benefits. I know it could only move me further in my health journey, so I’m looking forward to testing out this experiment!”

Follow Lauren on PumpUp @laurenkleine96 to keep her pumped! 

Say Buh-Bye to Bloating with These Tips!

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This is a post published by PumpUp member @coachmelissa. Check out her website at melissalepage.com 

We all feel bloated from time to time, and it’s the most annoying sentiment in the world. It’s one of the reasons why I eat clean and workout every day. Even if you do abide by a healthy lifestyle, bloating can still happen. Fortunately for you, I have a couple of tricks to share!

Say  buh-bye to bloating and hello to gorgeous tips! 

I drink hot water with lemon every morning

Lemon water is a natural diuretic (which is huge when it comes to de-bloating). It also:

1.} Boosts the immune system: Lemon water stimulates brain & nerve functions.
2.} Balances pH: It reduces your body’s overall acidity (it’s one of the most alkalizing drinks!). Even though it’s acidic it metabolizes alkaline. Yay!
3.} Weight loss: Lemons help fight hunger cravings. Sold.
4.} Flush it out: Lemon juice gets rid of toxins. This helps with constipation & digestion.
5.} The best diuretic: Prep for your bikini season with lemon water! Lemons make you pee more, which rids toxins.
6.} Buh-bye pimples!: Vitamin C  helps decrease wrinkles & blemishes.
7.} Rids bad breath: Because no one wants bad breath.
8.} Later, stress: Vitamin C is the first thing to go when you’re under pressure or stress. Bottoms up!

Remember: not everything in life has to be so hard. This tip is easy. So make it an AM habit & thank me later.

(HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT HOT LEMON WATER.)

Note: eating too much lemons can eat away at tooth enamel. I highly suggest that you buy glass straws.

Reach for berries & grapes instead of apples or melons

Berries & grapes are easier on the digestive system. Dessert suggestion? Eat frozen berries & grapes! SO yummy!

I LOVE sparkling water!

Pelligrino is the BEST!!! I drink it alllllll the time & it keeps me very full. BUT. It tends to cause bloat. So, add some lemon in your glass!

Skip the salt

Salt= major bloat!!! I use fresh herbs, lemon juice, or curry powder instead. Also, anything spicy can release stomach acid. So ( unfortunately ) stay away from spicy foods to prep for a bikini.

Stay away from alcohol, if possible

Alcohol causes bloat– so sorry, guys— say ‘no way, rosé ( BOO ).’

Rule out wheat or lactose if you have an allergy or intolerance

Food allergies and intolerances can cause gas and bloating. Many people self-diagnose these conditions and unnecessarily eliminate healthy dairy and whole grains from their diet. You may benefit from reducing the amount of the suspected food or eating it with other foods. In the case of dairy, it can help to choose aged cheeses and yogurt, both of which are lower in lactose!!

Cut back on sugar-free gum

…And candy and other foods containing artificial sweeteners like sorbitol and aspartame, which aren’t digestible and trigger bloating.

Follow Melissa on PumpUp @coachmelissa. Check out her website at melissalepage.com 

Why Jessie is the best. The best ever. - PumpUp Spotlight Series

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We’re blown away by @jessie_189’s outstanding progress over the past few months! Jessie hopes to become a personal trainer one day and she’s making a terrific start (if we do say so ourselves) by being such a positive and supportive member of the PumpUp community! Learn about Jessie’s journey towards healthier eating, her workout secrets, her enthusiasm for peanut butter, and how people on PumpUp inspire her to be confident about her progress!

Jessie has been truly active and supportive of other members on PumpUp for just over three months . “At first I didn’t really understand how to use [PumpUp] so it just kind of sat on my phone, but once I started posting pictures it quickly became my favourite app!” she exclaimed. “I can honestly say that my life has completely changed (cliché, I know!) But I’m the kind of person that usually stays dedicated to something for about a month before I quit.”

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Though she already exercised quite regularly prior to joining PumpUp, Jessie’s healthy lifestyle truly manifested itself through a balanced and wholesome approach to eating. “Before PumpUp, healthy eating for me was nonexistent. I was cycling between eating a bunch of junk, and being way too restrictive,” she admitted. “I did a fair amount of cardio and was definitely intimidated by weights.”

This isn’t the case any longer. Jessie has been making tremendous and observable progress with the help of the PumpUp community. “I love PumpUp because you can be completely honest with your progress and still have a ton of support!” affirmed Jessie. “This has really kept me on track because I can look at how much my body has changed just by looking at older pictures on my page.” She now eats mostly wholesome and healthy food and works out an impressive 6-7 times per week by doing abs and some form of cardio every day, alternating between arm and leg days. “I feel like I have so much more energy than I did before. At first, I used to dread working out but now it is BY FAR my favorite part of my day!”

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Like many others, Jessie is working to tone up her body and build more muscle as she continues along her health and wellness journey. “Since I’ve started making an effort to change my ways, I have put on around 20 pounds (most of which is muscle),” she said. “I gained almost 2 inches around my arms, and 4 inches around my thighs, all while keeping my waist relatively the same.”

Jessie does her best to motivate people on PumpUp at every single opportunity she gets. She confessed that her biggest motivation is, in fact, scrolling through the app and seeing the progress of other members.  “Honestly, nothing is more inspiring than being able to see real people making real changes, and achieving real results!” she professed.

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She encourages others to believe in themselves—to be proactive and take charge of their own wellbeing. “No one is going to hold your hand and the only person who can make the changes is you,” Jessie insisted. “Be your own motivation, and never stop reminding yourself how much you want this!”

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Jessie’s Meals

I love cooking and I love food, but peanut butter is everything. Seriously, I consume a huge jar by myself in about two weeks. I’m really the person that throws a bunch of stuff together and hope it tastes good!”

Motivational Mantra

"It ain’t about how hard you can hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done." - Rocky Balboa

Favourite Exercises

“I love squats, lunges, and deadlifts for legs. Oblique planks and crunches have also helped my develop my abs. Some favorite upper body exercises are: reverse flys, lat pull downs, and renegade rows.”

Fun Fact about Jessie

I really hope to become a personal trainer one day! Nothing would make me happier than to help people achieve a healthy lifestyle.”

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Follow Jessie on PumpUp @jessie_189 and on Instagram @fitnessby_jess

Is cardio necessary for weight loss?

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This is a post by fashion and fitness blogger Jodi-Kay Edwards. Follow her on PumpUp @jodikayedwards and on her blog, lifestylefinesse.com.

Cardiovascular exercise is often overlooked when it comes to figuring out what is best for our exercise and fitness regime. Today I want to talk about a few beliefs related to aerobic fitness and take some time to give some thought as to why these may actually be myths.

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(Image c/o giphy)

Aerobic fitness is not important for everyone.

False: Aerobic fitness is not just about how fast and far you can run, or how easily you can make it through a kickboxing class without sucking out all of the air in the room. Everyone needs to have the ability to have an efficient oxygen intake so their lungs are accustomed to different levels of exercise. Blood also needs to flow to the working muscles so carbohydrates and fats can produce energy. Aerobic fitness actually plays a critical effect on the quality of your life.

Aerobic training only benefits the heart and lungs not muscles.

False: Your muscles are actually the primary target of aerobic training. As I mentioned above aerobic training increases the muscles ability to use fat as an energy source.

The best aerobic exercise is running.

False: The best exercise is always one that you enjoy. There are many alternatives when it comes to aerobic fitness. In fact running 1 mile and walking 1 mile burns about the same amount of calories, think about that the next time you get discouraged! Swimming, stair climbing, kickboxing and Zumba, wow there are many alternatives to running! One mans trash is another mans treasure, just because Betty Lou enjoys running 5 miles on the treadmill, doesn’t mean your 45 minutes of cardio kickboxing is doing nothing for your body and fitness goals.

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(Image c/o: giphy)

I don’t own a treadmill so I can’t, I just can’t even.

It always amazes me how quickly we tend to forget that there is prime real estate surrounding us at all times. If you don’t like others to see you while you are working out, find a DVD for indoors or tune into one of the many free workout programs on YouTube. If your neighborhood isn’t exactly your favorite place to run around find a trail or drive to a different location.

I don’t have time.

What suits your busy lifestyle better? 20-30 minutes a day or being dead 24/7? Not saying that if you don’t do aerobic activity you will die, but making excuses is silly. There is always time to invest in your health. You invested time for an education, for that job search, for that perfect guy or girl, hey you made time to binge watch Netflix for a few hours (guilty) make some time to say hey body, you’re amazing, let me take you for a walk.

Aerobic fitness is achieved by raising your heart rate.

False: Aerobic fitness is achieved when your metabolic rate is elevated and the rate in which your muscles start to consume oxygen are sustained. A faster beating heart rate is only the external effect of oxygen consumption. Sustaining your metabolism is the actual fitness goal, the heart rate is only a byproduct of this process.

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(Image c/o Tumblr)

I’m too old, too fat, too lazy.

You are never too old, you are never too overweight, out of shape, and never too lazy to start. It all starts with a positive mindset and a can do attitude. While the too lazy part gets a lot of us to throw in the towel early, the benefits of aerobic fitness doesn’t discriminate no matter how sedentary of a lifestyle you lead. An 80 year old can see a 10% increase in their aerobic fitness level from just a few weeks of regular exercise. Slow and steady wins the race. It is better to start out slow than to burn yourself out too quickly.

Health and fitness work together as a package. Cardio, a little bit of weights and of course a proper diet is key when trying to reach those fitness goals! If you worked out this weekend I’m proud of you, pat yourself on the back and keep up the good work! It doesn’t matter if your fitness journey is about shedding a few extra pounds, training for a sport, trying to fit into your favorite jeans or just wanting a healthier lifestyle, take some time to reflect on how far you have come and even if it was just grabbing a pen and paper and writing down a few goals. Don’t give up on yourself! xx