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girls who lift

Afraid of lifting weights? Lindsay will inspire you to get over that fear

Afraid of lifting weights? Lindsay will inspire you to get over that fear

Social anxiety used to get in the way of Lindsay's fitness progress. "I have always felt overwhelmed in a crowd, preventing me from attending certain events and social gatherings," she elaborated. "When I first began going to the student gym at my university, I found it very difficult to be in the weight room because I felt like everyone was judging me." 

 How Anne learned to truly accept herself and fuel her body

How Anne learned to truly accept herself and fuel her body

Picture a girl who is working her hardest at the squat rack. She's proudly adorning loudly-patterned calf-high socks. She doesn't have makeup on, her hair is up, and sweat is dripping off of her body. That girl is the most confident girl in the room: she has taken everybody else out of the equation. In this moment, the only thing that matters to her is that she's doing the best that she can with her body. "That girl is me," said Anne, a PumpUp motivator who has come a long way in terms of body confidence and self-acceptance.

How getting a stress fracture changed my life for the better

How getting a stress fracture changed my life for the better

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I suffered from my very first stress fracture at the beginning of 2015. I was pretty upset by it at first and was very worried that this injury would derail my quest for a healthy and active lifestyle that I embarked upon at the start of 2015. It definitely did not derail my quest for health, but it ended up being a really good thing. Here's why: I was always the cardio queen. Cardio was my go-to for being physically active. In the fall of 2014, I was even doing two-a-days where I would get up and run in the morning and then go to Zumba at night. Or I would go to a spin class and then go to Zumba. Or I would run to my gym (about two miles away) and then go to Zumba. You get the picture. Yet, I would hop on that scale, and nothing would really happen. I wasn't really losing weight, but I kept up the cardio. Then in October and November, I traveled a lot for work and gained about 15 pounds because I was having a high time sampling local cuisine and not working out. In the middle of December, I really started to revaluate my life and decided that enough was enough. I was going to get fit in 2015.

If you follow my blog, you know that I started off with a different approach by really trying to address the mental issues behind my unhealthy habits. However, I was doing the same thing in the realm of physical activity- cardio. I took a Body Pump class where we lifted very light weights (2.5 to 5 lbs) for 50 minutes, but I still shied away from weight training. I wasn't comfortable doing it, so I didn't. Then I was diagnosed with the stress fracture. I had to wear a boot and my doctor said no to any high-impact cardio. WHAT? What was I going to do? He did say that I could weight train while healing and ride the stationary bike.

I started off doing low-impact cardio (again, too scared to go outside of my comfort zone), and then I realized that I really enjoyed Body Pump and lifting weights during the class. I wandered up to the weight room with my workout pal, Watts. At first we would eyeball machines and pick one that was empty and looked do-able. We'd randomly choose the amount of weight and do three sets of 15-20 reps. You know, the standard. After doing this a couple of times, I wanted more.

I started to research about weight training and settled on a beginner plan that I thought was both reasonable and effective. I ran it by Watts, and she seemed pretty into it too. I've stuck to that plan pretty consistently since the early part of March (about two months to date) and increase my weight amounts by 5 lbs as the reps get easier over the weeks (roughly an increase once every two weeks).  I practice a split body plan Alternating ABA on week one and BAB on week two. I lift heavier now than I ever would have considered being able to do. I do squats on the squat rack, bench press, bent-over rows, deadlifts, lat-pulldowns (working up to a chin up someday), shoulder overhead presses, and am building in tricep pulldowns, calf raises, and bicep curls. I try to do ab work at least three times a week too. It seems to work. I feel stronger and definitely more confident.

How getting a stress fracture changed my life for the better

I was once the girl who would max out with a 12 lb dumbbell and was too intimidated by the weight room at the gym. Now, I sashay my way in there and feel strong after my workout. I'm really proud of how far I've come. Lifting weights has really changed my perspective. More than ever, I want to be fit, not just less fat. And I'm getting there, little by little. I stay off the scale for the most part and concentrate on how my body is positively changing. I feel unstoppable, even on days that I don't want to work out. And for that, I guess I owe my stress fracture a thank you.

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

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Stand tall and be proud of all you’ve achieved! According to a study by Ohio State University, posture may affect confidence in one’s own thoughts. When we think about our positive qualities, a confident posture makes us believe what we think more strongly and, therefore, feel better about ourselves. Here’s PumpUp member fitybuildy’s ThrowBACK Thursday progress! Keep her pumped!

Is a bikini fitness competition for you? Here's what to expect

This is part of a series of posts by Jennifer (@liftingfairy on PumpUp), a bikini competitor. Check out her blog here and vote for “Jennifer Reis” so that she can achieve her dream of attending the Miss FIBO power beauty competition.  Everyone has to start somewhere… For some athletes, their first round of competition preparation launches their journey into “Fitness Land.”  Starting can be intimidating. Some people are unsure of what to expect. I faced the same hesitancies last year.

The pros and cons of preparing for a bikini fitness competition

  • In my first ‘post-competition’ post, I wrote how taxing contest-preparation is. It will challenge you not only physically, but also mentally. Don’t expect it to be easy. Your first time preparing for a competition will be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life. If you consider it easy, go harder because that’s what makes the difference on stage.

  • Once you start your prep, you will see your body change from one day to another. The last two weeks for your prep will be mind-blowing. Prior to my first competition (and still today) I took pictures at least once a week to remind myself about how much I already achieved. Don’t only look back on your progress. You also have to look forward and focus on your goals and what you want to accomplish.

 

  • There will be A LOT of sacrifices. You don’t see me in a restaurant during my prep, rarely in the cinema and even less in a bar. When I decide to go to the movies, I always have my Renee Tote at hand with the meals I need, because planning meals is the key and it will keep you from getting anything at the candy shop. I never stay out too long in the evenings during that time, because I have to get up early the day after to hit the gym, or simply because my body has adapted to a regular rhythm (more about this soon). I left a lot of people behind, because negative words aren’t what you need during a contest-prep, especially from people who won’t even attempt to understand your lifestyle or those who eat pizza, pasta and burgers all day long and want you to do the same. They don’t have the slightest idea of what you are going through. (If you need some positivity, have a look HERE).
  • You will be amazed by your own results. Even if you have never been a very sporty person before, contest preparation will allow you to be in the best shape of your life because you pay much more attention to your eating habits and training routine. You have to put everything in your preparation and knowing that you will look the best you could possibly look is just an amazing achievement.

 

  • Sometimes you will be hungry and want to do a table-flip with your whole diet, which is totally understandable because you are slowly cutting carbs and at the same time training even harder. YES, you will be hungry and damn tired, but in the end it will be totally worth it.

 

  • The mirror is going to be your best friend and greatest enemy. It shows you how far you’ve come, but at the same time it plays very dirty mind-games with you… You will NEVER see yourself like others do. If someone else tells you ‘oh, you look great!’ you will be like ‘naahh… still not satisfied yet…’ The further you get in your prep and the closer the D-day comes, the more you will start to freak out and worry that you are not lean enough already and that you won’t be dropping fat fast enough etc. But let me tell you one thing, there will ALWAYS be one thing that is 100% honest with you. It’s the process.
  • People will tell you that ‘you are going too far’ or ’ you are too skinny and muscular, eeerrww…’. BUT there will also be positive people who support you with simple words or tiny actions like ‘wow, you are really inspiring’ or ‘because of you I started to hit the gym and watch over my eating habits more’. You are going to experience great support from people you never ever expected.

 

  • Most of your thoughts will be dedicated to FOOD. Because the only thing that matters during your prep is the right food. I am convinced that you will find yourself looking at other competitor’s food-posts to see what they are eating. And you will be spying ‘food-porn’-pictures because you have enough of chicken, broccoli, tomatoes and turkey-steaks.

 

  • Try not to follow your opponents on social media, it will drive you crazy. You can’t control what other athletes are doing or how they are training to get their physique. Focus on yourself and on your own preparation to achieve your personal goals. If it motivates you to get it on, go ahead. And while following those athletes you can also leave a positive comment to cheer them up, because it will cheer you up as well.

 

  • The week prior your competition-day will be the most exciting week of your entire preparation because you are doing something different every single day. You will have to decrease your water intake because you start the water-depletion, as you want to get REALLY lean and then load up on carbs during the last few days. Your final preparations are going on, like showering, shaving, scrubbing, and putting on a tan (HERE some tips for your first tanning). Depending on your own preparation plans, you should be allowed to go grocery-shopping and get yummy food like gums, sweets, chocolate or whatsoever to get a little pump before the show or simply to devour post-contest. Believe me or not, you will look like a little child on Christmas when you are buying delicious treats.
  • The big day will be so much fun and thrilling. The time has finally come to be paid for your hard work. You can put on as much make-up as you want. You can style your hair as fancy as you’d like it to be. The best is yet to come… the moment you line up backstage. You will be so hyped up but still, you won’t be thinking about anything else than stepping out on that stage and rocking your banging body. That moment on stage is the best and most thrilling feeling ever, and you will always remember it. Even if you didn’t get the ranking you wished for, you can be damn proud of yourself that you didn’t give up and that you stayed strong.

 I wish every new athlete best of luck over the course of their first preparation and competition(s), may the chicken be with you. Enjoy your season!

Louise is training for her first bikini competition using her own research. Learn how - PumpUp Success Stories

When Louise began her journey on PumpUp, became inspired to tackle one of the biggest challenges she’s ever faced: to enter in her very first bikini competition using her own methods and research. Her truly admirable story and the dedication that she devotes to her craft never fails to inspire PumpUp’s million-member community on a very regular basis. 

Never one to be sedentary, Louise described herself as an intermittently active person throughout her whole life. One crucial obstacle was holding her back. “I had very little knowledge of nutrition and no goal in mind other than to stay healthy,” she mentioned. In an average day prior to PumpUp, she would eat very little and rarely breakfast—just cereal and the dinners that were available to her at home. Hydration was also the last thing on Louise’s busy mind. “I rarely drank enough…maybe a glass a day,” she admitted. “If I would have continued on that road there would have been major negative health repercussions in my later life.”  As a university student, Louise would practice cheerleading and dance once a week. Excessive drinking would, however, negate those workouts.

Since Louise was introduced to PumpUp in February 2014, she leveraged the community as a knowledge hub for health and fitness. “Everyone on PumpUp is very positive—there is a surge of energy that is very motivating,” she insisted. “I like that people ask questions and give support. I began my journey by answering peoples’ questions and adding photos with small facts. I like to spread knowledge.” The more engagement she received from the community, the more her thirst for knowledge about health and fitness intensified. “I found that many have been misled by fad diets from magazines and the media,” she continued. “I wanted to know facts.” 

Louise amassed an extensive collection of science-based books and  effectively placed herself at the center of her own ‘human trial’, experimenting with exercises, nutrition, and supplementation and using PumpUp to document everything. “Immediately I discovered that the body is a machine and if you fuel it efficiently, you will reap the benefits,” she concluded. “My energy levels were improving, I slept better, and my memory was almost at 90 percent—that’s not like me at all. I loved the feeling and that’s when wellness became a lifestyle choice.”

Over this period of time, Louise gathered a wealth of support from the PumpUp community and embraced the encouragement she received from her followers. Eventually, Louise became inspired to enter in her very first bikini fitness competition. “I came across a few people on PumpUp who competed in body building and fitness shows. I began researching and I knew straight away that it was what I wanted to do,” she recounted. “I picked the competition I wanted to enter and began to search for methods to achieve my goal.  Now I’m working backwards from my competition date.” Louise is completing the entire process without a coach, learning as she progresses. “It’s been physically, socially, and mentally challenging but my PumpUp followers have always been there to encourage me when I am feeling unmotivated or alone,” she said earnestly. “It might sound cliché, but they have pumped me up when I felt deflated (pun intended).”

A journey isn’t really a journey without obstacles or speed bumps. Louise is only human. “I have had times when I wanted to eat every sugar-contained item in my house,” she professed. “When I do, I raid the cupboard—and of course I feel guilty. I confessed about it on PumpUp and everyone was very supportive. My journey has not been straightforward; but rather like hiking up a mountain. I know that when I get to the top, I did everything I could to be my best. That will be my reward.” Her dedication to her goal is admirable in every way, and she keeps sane by calculating a healthy balance that works for her—even if it means waking up at the crack of dawn to exercise, or turning down a social event every now and then to make sure that she sticks to her training schedule.

She has succinct and wise words for others who are just beginning their fitness journey or learning to love themselves. “Everyone is different and different things work for different people: there are so many individual factors that can impact a ‘healthy lifestyle’,” she advised. “Big changes take time. Start small and then develop.”

After her competition, Louise hopes to communicate with others more on PumpUp and aspires to assist them on their journey. “I already obtain all of the support and encouragement I need from PumpUp,” she affirmed. “Whether it is prep for a competition or even just to improve their healthy lifestyles, I want to help others by spreading the knowledge that I obtained.  One day I may even become a sponsored athlete.”  

Biggest Motivation

“Michelle Lewin. She was the first bikini competitor I discovered. Her physique inspired my journey.”

Favourite eats

“ I adore banana and peanut butter protein pancakes.

  • 1 banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 scoop of your favourite flavoured protein powder (I use peanut butter Quest powder)

Use a non-stick pan on a low heat. Mix all the ingredients together, don’t mash the banana too much (because it’s nice when you taste a piece in the pancake). Then pan fry like a normal pancake, when the base is solid and moves around the pan it is ready to flip over.”

Motivational Mantra

“Every champion was once a contender that refused to give up”—Rocky Balboa

Favourite Exercise

I love to train my legs, the strength has developed so quickly. I strength-train four times a week. I love compound exercises, my favorites are Squats and Renegade rows. However, I do like to experiment with new exercises. Every session I try at least one new exercise, usually I feel it the next day. My last session I tried curtsy lunges with a barbell…great for the glutes.”

Fun Fact About Louise

“Although I do not use my qualification, I am actually a qualified fitness instructor.”

Follow Louise on PumpUp @louiseusa101 and keep her pumped as she strives to reach her goal!

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.

Nobody kicks more butt than April and we mean it. Learn all the reasons why- PumpUp Success Stories

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PumpUp has its very own #liftqueen and her name is April (@uneekapril is her PumpUp superhero alias, of course). She’s happy, healthy, extremely body positive, and lifts heavy. “I do cardio because I have to, but I lift because I love to,” she confessed. Learn about her incredible journey to recovery from an extreme leg injury and her perfect advice for those looking to lead healthier lifestyles in 2015.

When April broke her tibia, fractured her fibula, and dislocated her ankle in 2009, this event proved to be one the most challenging mental tests of her entire life. “I was completely dependent on others for many months,” she lamented. “I was incapable of doing things on my own, going places, and needed help out of the bathtub every morning.” The feeling of hopelessness consumed her, as acute pain accompanied her every action during the healing process (both during and after physical therapy). “I could feel depression overcoming me,” she recounted. “I wanted to walk again. Be strong again, Hike again. After a year of wearing a cast, then a boot, on crutches, physical therapy, then home exercises, I started to improve.” After the pain began to subside, April was determined to get her lost muscle, flexibility, balance, and mobility back. In the process, she became better and stronger than ever before, both mentally and physically. “I’m stronger than I’ve been my whole life,” she admitted. “Me and my titanium-filled transformer leg.”

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Although high school represented a turbulent point in April’s life, she managed to move above and beyond her personal obstacles through the help of exercise and tons of encouragement. “I used to be a size 12,” she further explained. “I felt fat and depressed and wore baggy clothes to cover up myself.” These insecurities slowly melted away when April made the decision to be healthy in college, regardless of her size. She slowly began to incorporate more physical activity into her schedule by lifting weights and hiking. “I LOVED the feeling that lifting gave me, not to mention the tight muscles that I developed,” she stressed. When April began to lift weights with her friend Jeremy in 2002, he taught her everything she needed to know about proper technique and form. This elevated her passion for healthy active living to the next level. “I’m very fortunate to have had some wonderfully knowledgeable people to grace my life…they helped change my life,” she admitted.

Nobody ever messes around with April’s body-positive image. “I got down to a size 8 and I decided that I was healthy and therefore happy,” she affirmed. “I didn’t care what people thought about my big legs or my big butt. If they didn’t like my shape, they could eff-off. I’m proud of my shape and my strength…not to mention my overall health.” She pays attention to the queues that her body gives her and strives to eat healthy, whole foods. This helps her to keep everything in moderation: April knows when to load up on carbs and when to increase her protein intake. For this reason, she encourages others to do intensive research about what is best for their own bodies. “Everyone is different, so find what works for you,” she counselled.

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April is a strong advocate of immersing oneself in a community of healthy and like-minded individuals (like PumpUp!). “Find a mentor that you trust and stay away from unhealthy people,” she emphasized. “I have found that they can be like cancer—they seem to poison people around them. Find someone you want to ‘be’ and emulate them.” She also encourages others to hold themselves accountable and to eliminate excuses—patience is the greatest virtue for April. “Change takes time, so try hard to stay dedicated,” she explained. “Your body is capable of amazing things: push it! Training is all mental—push yourself through those mental walls and you will surprise yourself!”

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With each and every post, April strives to motivate at least one person on PumpUp to stay on track. She’s been a member of the app since July 2014, after @winnoble convinced her that PumpUp would be a great community for her. His intuition was right in every single way. “I hoped to meet some neat people with similar goals and looked for a community where motivation and encouragement flowed effortlessly in both directions,” she elaborated. “I can say that I’ve definitely found that..and more! I’ve met the most amazing people on here who have truly become my friends: @bellsetters, @mattgmi, @humbleman, and @jerrydonwheeler, just to name a few.” April actually met up with @jerrydonwheeler and trained with him on her birthday! “It was an honour,” she professed. “I hope there are many more PumpUp members who happen to pass by Little Rock, AR and want to lift with me!”

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Biggest Motivation

“My PumpUp family definitely motives me.  I absolutely motivate myself!  My ultimate goal (although not sure it’s attainable) is to have a body like P!NK.  Saw her in concert, saw how strong she was, and decided I wanted that.”

Favourite eats

“I drink water with lemon, lime or both everyday throughout my workday.  My favorite treat is pomegranates, which I have to make myself earn. “

Motivational Mantra

“Just because I’m a girl, doesn’t mean I have to act like one” – Me

 “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” - Emerson

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Fun Fact About April

“I am a tomboy completely.  I’m tough, I hate shopping, I don’t paint my nails, I won’t wear a dress, and I’d rather be cutting wood with my dad than being pampered at a spa.”

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.

Daisy got the body she always dreamed about with one simple New Year's resolution

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Fitness has always been Daisy (@daisymuscles)’s passion. When she purchased her first gym membership 4 years ago, however, she was a self-professed ‘rookie’. “I was so into ‘working out’ but I didn’t know what was right for my body,” she explained. "I only did cardio and some weight machines, but my nutrition was bad. I’d eat 2-3 times a day and I wouldn’t eat ‘clean’." 

Years went by and though Daisy was fit, in her eyes she still seemed too skinny. “It was very depressing to see no progress,” she lamented. "One of my goals was to have thick and toned legs, as well as a slim waist." Frustrated by this conundrum, Daisy resolved to stop going to the gym in 2013, eating much more without incorporating exercise back into her routine. "Of course, it didn’t work out," she confessed. “I did gain weight, but it was all fat. That was even more depressing. I went from skinny to fat, and all I really wanted was to look fit.”

At the end of 2013, Daisy challenged herself with a New Year’s Resolution: to transform her body into the body that she always dreamed about. She took charge of her transformation with full force. "I asked around for help and advice, followed a lot of fitness accounts on Instagram, and began my journey with PumpUp," she mentioned. "It is really inspiring to see other peoples’ transformations and it’s reassuring to receive so much feedback from other PumpUp members. We are all a true fit fam."

When she first started out, nutrition was the hardest for Daisy to get ‘right’. “I began to body build and was advised to eat 6 times a day, all in small portions,” she explained. “This was something I never had to do before! I had to do a lot of research about what to eat, what kind of carbs, protein, and fats are good for my body, etc.”

Needless to say, Daisy’s one New Year’s resolution changed her life. Body building was at first introduced to her by one of her brothers. She quickly fell in love with the concept of giving time and attention to each section of her body in order to build muscle. “That’s why I embraced this lifestyle. My progress is my motivation,” she enthused. "Weights changed my body and gave me the definition of muscle that I always dreamed about."

Her rigorous schedule manifests in more confidence than she’s ever had in her whole life. Here’s a peak at Daisy’s routine: she performs cardio 1-2 times a week and does weight training 5 days a week. "After years of struggling to have a fit body, I’m finally seeing progress and I’m in the best stage of my life," she professed. “I’m inspired by my own progress as well as PumpUp members and fitness instagram accounts. I challenge everybody to not give up on their dream bodies. No matter how much time it takes, no matter how many struggles, regardless of the circumstances: just do it.” Daisy successfully achieved her 2014 New Year’s resolution. She’s ending it on a happy note and is motivated to keep striving for the best version of herself in 2015. 

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12 days of FITmas Challenge: Get Fit for the Holidays

On the first day of FITmas, PumpUp gave to me…a challenge!
PumpUp member Katie Evitts (@jatie) is hosting the “12 days of FITmas Challenge” starting Friday, December 12. She’ll post the daily challenge on PumpUp and Instagram (@katefit_) + a daily 20-30 min workout. Get fit for the holidays!

To participate, there are only 3 simple rules! 
1. Complete the daily workout.
2. Complete the daily challenge.
3. Post a photo each day of anything related to each day’s challenge & tag @katefit_ and #katefitmas 

We’d also love if you used the tags #TeamPumpUp and #SpreadPositivity ;)
You in? Reblog the challenge! We’ll be posting videos on Tumblr!

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.

Throwback Thursday: Back Progress

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"For the past three months, I committed to become healthy. I wanted to prove to myself that it was achievable and to somehow, someday inspire those close to my heart to do the same." This message does nothing but #SpreadPositivity!

Marieta is basically PumpUp's guardian angel - PumpUp Spotlight Series

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@_Marieta_ is one of the most wonderfully inspiring and positive members to have ever joined the PumpUp community. Like a guardian angel watching over the PumpUp universe, Marieta continues to support and encourage other members despite not being able to post as frequently as she used to. Similar to our other terrific spotlight members, she has touched the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of others since she became a part of the community in May 2014. “I joined to help myself with personal workouts, and to gain help and support,” she explained. “Now it feels like I found my second family.”

Despite the fact that Marieta had never been overweight nor underweight, she was nevertheless struggling with eating healthfully and lacked the motivation to exercise as often as she would have liked to. “I’d only dance once a week—that was it for my workouts,” she elaborated. “Though I am a generally positive person, I lost almost all of the energy that I used to have within the span of a year. I would catch myself feeling sad or aggressive for no reason.”

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Everything changed when she found the motivation that she needed on PumpUp. “When I saw all of the different people on PumpUp working hard at school, at work, at home (especially the amazing fit-moms on the app) who still found the time and energy to squeeze workouts into their crazy schedule and to cook healthy food, it changed everything,” she confessed.  “This community and its beautiful members brought me back to life.”

She relies on a stream of constant and daily inspiration thanks to PumpUp members such as @nystrongest, @_harleyjade_, @hotchilipepper, and @kathreena. “It was a big surprise for me when I realized that everybody on PumpUp could share their progress with each other,” she revealed. “The best part of it is that no matter how you look, people will support you and give you tons of motivational words and healthy tips.”

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For those looking to lead a more active lifestyle, she advises that positivity is best way to stay committed. “You can always find a million reasons and decide to NOT do something, and it always seems impossible until you find one tiny reason to say yes,”she insists. “Find this reason, believe in it, believe in yourself, and start working. You and only you are responsible for your happiness. Your mood should not depend on the weather, nor on other people who weren’t nice to you.”

Despite not being able to post as often, Marieta is constantly on the app for her daily dose of motivation. “If mothers who work 6 days a week can do it, and if people who have been through tough surgeries can do it, then you can do it too,” she affirmed. “Don’t let excuses hold you back. That’s what I continue to tell myself every single day. I could never imagine that there were so many positive, kind, and beautiful people in this world, and PumpUp just puts all of them in one place! Couldn’t be more inspiring!”
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Motivational Mantra
“Life is too short to spend it on sadness and negativity. Love your family and friends, love yourself. Live a full life. Carpe diem - seize the day. That’s what my tattoo says!”

Favourite Exercises
“Squats and lunges with a barbell, leg raises, donkey kicks, hip raises and the plank of course. With these ones you can really tone up your body.”

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Favourite meal

“I love bananas (I could eat them all day long)! I also love quinoa, tomatoes, spicy food and meat.”

Marieta’s Protein-Packed Mixed Berry Smoothie

“Yogurt, 2 bananas 1 cup of frozen berries, 1tbsp of pumpkin seeds, 1 tbsp peanut butter.
One day I hope to have my own small café with delicious healthy food and drinks!”

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Keep track of Marieta and she’ll keep you motivated on PumpUp @_marieta_ and on Instagram @marietamulata

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Happy Flex Friday! We’re officially jealous of PumpUp member @sureya’s arms! Here’s a fun fact: Muscles can’t actually push! They can only pull. When a part of your body is “pushing” onto something,  it’s because another muscle is pulling. 

Follow PumpUp on Tumblr for more fitness tips, motivation, and gifs!

Katie is the most inspiring person you'll ever read about - PumpUp Spotlight Series

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It would be an understatement to say that PumpUp member @katieeliza_ has been through a lot! “Confidence is a new thing to me and I wish I could help grant everyone with even just a little bit of it!” shared Katie. “I could only imagine where I would be or who I would have become if I’d just learned to believe in myself sooner.” After she gained weight in the years following high school, Katie recovered from an eating disorder and now lives an active lifestyle with the help and support of PumpUp!  

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Katie has been on PumpUp for almost a year—and look how far she’s come! “I was starting to make a change in my lifestyle and I figured that using the app would be a good way to help me get started and keep track of my progress,” she exclaimed. Not only has Katie been consistent about updating the PumpUp community about her transformation, she gives back unwavering support to other members as well.

Prior to PumpUp, Katie’s lifestyle was quite different. “It was pretty all over the place,” she explains. “I was athletic when I was younger and I used to eat a lot of junk without a second thought. After high school my metabolism hit a brick wall and I started gaining weight. I had no idea what to do with myself.”

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It was difficult for Katie to cope with the physiological changes brought on by her weight gain. “I was pretty depressed about my body image and I struggled with losing weight in extremely unhealthy ways,” she revealed. “Living [with an eating disorder] left me miserable and I felt too weak to do even the simplest of daily tasks.”  Nevertheless, Katie bravely recovered from her eating disorder, put weight back on, but began to feel sluggish all the time. “I knew it wasn’t the way that a normal person in their twenties should be feeling,” she recalled.

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Now a self-professed gym-junkie, Katie wouldn’t trade her active lifestyle for the world. “If you had ever told the old me that I’d be a gym junkie, I would have probably laughed in your face!” she gleamed. “But look at me now!” Since she joined PumpUp, Katie eats clean most of the time and eats more frequently than she ever has before. “I push for 5 small meals a day. But every once in awhile I remember how much I love cookies…I’m a sucker for a chocolate chip cookie,” nodded Katie. She also manages to work out 5-6 days a week, despite her hectic schedule. “I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she affirmed.

She counsels other PumpUp members to find motivation from within his or herself. “Hold on to that motivation for dear life,” she urged. “You are so beautiful and so worth working for! Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything.” Recognizing personal victories is an important part of the process for Katie. “Love yourself through all the successes and failures of your journey! You will fall, but that only makes victory that much sweeter when it’s accomplished,” she continued. Moving forward, Katie aspires to help other people find comfort in their own skin, just like she found comfort in hers. 

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Katie’s biggest motivation is her best friend Shayler (@shaysymm on PumpUp). “She really helped me kick my butt into gear!” said Katie. “She’s always been here to help guide me, she’s a beast!”

Favourite meals

“I’ll totally crumble for a gooey chocolate chip cookie with a tall glass of fat free milk. But besides that, I love steamed squash so much.”

Motivational Mantra

 ”We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”- Kurt Vonnegut 

Favourite Workout

I love weightlifting!”

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Fun Facts about Katie

 “I’m a Gemini, so I’m kind of a jack of all trades! I really enjoy doing just about anything new.”

Find Katie on PumpUp and Instagram @KatieEliza_  to keep her pumped!

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Check out @shark_attack’s muscles on #FlexFriday! She looks just incredible! “Fitness is not about being better than someone else. It’s about being better than what you used to be. I look in the mirror because that’s my competition, no one else.” Keep her pumped!
This is the new, more confident, her!

She marvelled at how much she’s changed in just twelve months, both on PumpUp and on her own personal Instagram account. ”At this time last year I looked totally different. I was really skinny and cut my hair short, which made me look extra young," Julié said. "I look young enough already." 

In January, Julié promptly got a gym membership and completely changed her lifestyle. “I switched majors to exercise science and sports science, got a job at the gym, and kept on transforming my body,” she asserts. It hasn’t been easy, but Julié keeps pushing – regardless of whether or not she sees immediate results. "My days have been long but this is the reason why: this is the new and more confident me. I’m not skinny anymore. I’m fit!"

Follow PumpUp on Tumblr for more fitness inspiration

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Question of the Day: It’s World Kindness Day and we want to know if you’ve experienced any truly memorable acts of #kindness, or have been kind in return! Do a random act of kindness today! Here is PumpUp’s @sandylieu, she has the cutest smile :)

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My first bikini competition experience

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

Last weekend, on the 2nd of November, I had my very first NAC Bikini-Competition in Rheinbach, Germany. But I will start from the beginning: The weeks prior to my competition were very stressful, both physically and mentally. When I decided to compete, some months ago, I never thought that this type of preparation would stretch me to the limits as it did. I can call myself lucky that I am surrounded by people that motivate and support me day by day by saying how much they admire my dedication, discipline and focus. They encourage me by constantly telling me that I will look fantastic on stage and that I’m a winner no matter what, if I qualify or don’t. 

Three days before the competition I wasn’t feeling well and I had to stop training a day earlier than initially planned, but fortunately this day off didn’t ruin anything. I had some bad stomach-aches and couldn’t eat very much, plus I was suffering from shivering. I was very worried because I didn’t know if I could compete or not. But when Sunday arrived I was a 110% ready for the competition and for my maquillage appointment.

I knew right from the beginning that I would be too nervous to apply the make-up all by myself. So my lovely friend Marga came to our apartment to pretty me up. She did a wonderful job and made me look simply fantastic. The maquillage was exactly how I wanted it to be and it matched the color of my bikini perfectly. Hats off to Marga and her artistic make-up skills. 

While I’m at my bikini, I don’t want to keep it secret where it’s from. I ordered it at the beginning of October at AngelCompetitionBikini (www.acbikinis.com). The fabric is named ‘Hologram Jade/Mint’ and for the crystal design I chose the ‘Crystal Explosion’. I give a big and sincere thank-you to the TurboTwins, Karah and Lauren, who helped me out with the right size, color, connectors and design of my bikini. Believe me, these decisions were not easy, so I was more than happy about the great service from AngelCompetitionBikini.

Now back to the competition-day itself, which was very exciting. Backstage, you could feel a very vibrant atmosphere. It was a bit hectic because everyone had to get the last tanning-layer and get ready to step on stage, but every single athlete had his/her own little space to relax and switch off the uproar of the whole crowd. Waiting for my category’s turn wasn’t a big deal, but the moment we got called up for the backstage-lineup, I became super excited and nervous and I couldn’t wait to finally hit the stage. I always hated those moments right before stepping on stage, even back in the years when I was a gymnast. But once on in the spot-lights, the whole tension was gone and I enjoyed it to the fullest. I didn’t trip over my dress, my bikini fit perfectly, my heels stayed on my feet and I did all of the requested poses correctly, what else can you wish for? 

Afterwards I was told by my family and friends who came to see, that my posing was absolutely fantastic and that I was shining out from the other girls. I really appreciated their words as it was my first competition and I was slightly unsure about my posing-skills.

In the end, I didn’t qualify for the Mr. & Ms. Universe competition in Hamburg, but it was a great experience and I did the best possible. I am very proud of myself and I will work even harder in the future, because now I know what the judges want and I am determined that I will reach my goals. 

Never lose your motivation, because once you step on stage with your best form possible you are already a winner, no matter what your placement will be afterwards.

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.

How Kristi's New Year's Resolution Became A Lifestyle Change - PumpUp Spotlight Series

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Arms like those of PumpUp member @kayleefit31 weren’t built in a day. After nine months of hard work and dedication, Kristi achieved her goal weight with the help and support of the PumpUp community! Learn about how this adventurous and incredibly dedicated mother transformed her life in the best way possible with one simple resolution.

Kristi joined the PumpUp community in search of motivation as she embarked upon her health and wellness journey at the start of the New Year in 2014. “I was tired of living an unhealthy lifestyle and I wanted to see if change was actually possible,” she explains. For her, change wasn’t only possible—it became a lifestyle that she chose to maintain. 

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Since she started using PumpUp, Kristi incorporates more activity and healthier eating habits into her routine. “Before PumpUp, I performed no exercise, I ate any and everything, and I was extremely lazy,” she reveals. “My average day would consist of work, eating, playing with my son, and sleeping. I skipped breakfast most of the time and did no exercise whatsoever.” Breakfast is now a staple for Kristi, who now works out 5 days a week despite her busy schedule and eats 6 small meals a day to keep her metabolism high. “In the morning I do a quick 15 minute workout, go to work, and try to get in a half-mile walk on my lunch break. I come home, workout for 30 minutes, and then I eat a healthy dinner,” she elaborates.

Kristi’s dedication to her exercise routine and mindful meals culminated in her reaching her goal weight—all within the span of nine months! Moving forward, she plans to maintain her current lifestyle and gain more muscle by increasing her calorie intake as she concurrently hits it hard at the gym.  “I have accomplished so much with this app. I am now always motivated to do some type of exercise every day,” she states proudly. “I have never been so excited to work out and hit the gym! On the days I am not able to work out, my body does not feel right.”

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What is truly admirable about Kristi’s transformation is that she has been able to overcome obstacles such as post-partum depression and eating disorders by surrounding herself with positive people and by learning to holistically enhance her wellbeing. As her story demonstrates, there isn’t a quick or easy solution to beginning and maintaining a healthier lifestyle. Rather, it is a product of perseverance and hard work. “Never give up. Keep pushing yourself. Don’t stop until you have the body you want,” says Kristi. “Even when you do have the body you dreamed for, keep going. Once you see results it becomes addictive.”

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The fuel that feeds Kristi’s passion for health and wellness is her own awe-inspiring transformation, as well as the support she receives from the PumpUp community. “If it were not for my progress and the progress and motivation of other PumpUp members, I would have never been able to stay dedicated to exercising and eating right,” she confirms.

Favourite Snack

“Peanut butter, bananas, and honey on wheat bread. I thought that it was going to be gross, but it was actually good and very filling.”

Motivational Mantra

“Stop wishing and start doing.

Favourite Exercise

“Squats, weights, lunges, and sometimes burpees. To stay active, I normally do a workout that PumpUp has designed for me because it’s hard to get to the gym during the week.”

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More about Kristi

“I love trying new things. If someone asked me to go skydiving, I would not hesitate in doing so. Life is short so I love to live to the fullest.”

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Follow Kristi on Instagram and PumpUp @kayleefit31 to pump her up along her journey!