Viewing entries tagged
health

My Journey To A Healthy Pregnancy

My Journey To A Healthy Pregnancy

Last November, I was surprised by the gift of discovering I was pregnant with my first child. My husband was thrilled, but my first reaction was surprisingly confusing. I always looked forward to having children one day, but for the past eight years, I've been very work-oriented and independent. Finding out about this huge and unplanned change proved to be a challenge for me. Ultimately, I knew that I was happy and blessed. My wonderful and supportive partner helped me work through my initial fears. I've been determined to have the healthiest possible pregnancy for my baby's sake, as I knew that stress would not at all be helpful.  More than anything, my mind played a huge part in helping me to have a healthy pregnancy.

5 Tips to Balance Food and Happiness This December

5 Tips to Balance Food and Happiness This December

Happy holidays to you and your family this joyful season! Tis' the season to be fit and jolly. December is a beautiful time of food, food and more food! Of course, whenever excess food and treats are are involved, temptations are our worst enemies. From irresistible mashed potatoes to the sweet aroma of freshly baked Christmas gingerbread cookies, it is easy to get carried away.

Why not end the year on Santa’s ‘nice list’? Leave some coconut & peanut butter protein balls with a nice tall glass of almond milk for Santa this year! Here are 5 helpful tips to balance food and happiness this December:

The Ultimate Wellness Guide : 10 tips to get your mind on the right track

The Ultimate Wellness Guide : 10 tips to get your mind on the right track

We all know that being healthy can improve the quality of our lives. Sometimes, we need a little bit of a push to get into the right mindset. This Ultimate Wellness Guide will help you to change your approach to health and fitness. You'll be able to maintain positive changes, regardless of what your circumstances are.

What the Elderly Can Teach Us About Fitness

What the Elderly Can Teach Us About Fitness

We laugh at the elderly for thinking that girdles and jazzercise will keep them young forever. Even I laugh. The oldest, most Russian man in the world goes to my gym in the mornings. He wears an adidas-esque track suit, gold chains, and a fur hat while he walks on the treadmill. He takes off the hat when he goes upstairs and lifts tiny yellow 2 pound weights for about 10 minutes. But he likes it, he’s there every morning, he knows everyone, and he’s fit, and that’s what matters. There are a few tricks those fab 50+ers can teach us about getting fit, and being happier while doing it.

The Ultimate Guide to Bone Health for Millennials

The Ultimate Guide to Bone Health for Millennials

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Calcium, calcium, calcium! Television ads, cafeteria posters, and billboards are constantly harassing us to down another glass of milk, because dairy equals calcium which equals healthy bones. America’s sitting at number three for global milk consumption, so we obviously have these bone matters under control, right? Well, truth be told, the campaign against bone disease hasn’t come close to the success of all those Got Milk ads. America has 10 million people coping with osteoporosis, and another 50 million teetering on the edge of bone disease. Our parents and grandparents were told that dairy was the answer, but it’s clear that bone health takes more than an extra cup of yogurt. Here’s a guide to bone health for today’s generation.

The Bone Down: Why Should You Care?

We have all kinds of advanced tests and technologies around these days, but they don’t mean much when it comes discovering bone loss. Our blood requires a constant supply of calcium to take care of muscular function, clotting, balancing pH, and so on. When our diet falls short of our calcium needs, our cells make up the difference by pulling it out of our bones. Years and years of this leads to low mass and density, which makes for weak and brittle bones.

Osteoporosis, a degeneration and weakening of bones, is a health problem that millions are at risk for. Women should pay extra attention as it’s projected that half of females over 50 will suffer a broken bone from osteoporosis. Men have it a little easier, but a quarter of males 50 and over are at the same risk, so prevention is something we all need to think about.

Bone Health for Millennials - A 5-step guide to building stronger bones // The PumpUp Blog

Bone Health for Millennials - A 5-step guide to building better bones

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Diet

This comes as no surprise, but diet plays a HUGE role in bone health. Foods like meat, dairy, and sugar can wreak havoc on our bodies because they’re acid-forming foods that threaten our extra-sensitive pH balance. Fortunately for us, calcium is able to maintain equilibrium with its alkaline nature, but that means making trips to the bone bank for a calcium withdrawal. Long story short, all meat and no veggies makes Johnny a calcium-depleted boy.

We all know dairy can get us a quick dose of calcium, but there are other options worthy of our kitchen. Collards, Broccoli Rabe, Bok Choy, Sardines, and even figs and oranges will give you a hearty (or should I say bony) dose of calcium. The National Academy of Sciences recommends that adults ages 19-50 hit 1,000mg a day, so take a few days to monitor your calcium intake. Once you have an idea of what a bone healthy diet looks like, you can find ways to easily meet those daily needs.

Exercise

Bone health for millennials : the ultimate guide // The PumpUp Blog

 

Getting your sweat on does more than strengthen and tone your muscle. It develops your bones too! When you move your body against the forces of gravity, you’re putting strain on your body. Our bones respond to this subtle strain by building density. That’s great news when it comes to bone health because higher density makes for stronger bones that are more resistant to breakage.

Get to work strength-training those bones! Everything from light walking to heavy weight-lifting will firm up your calcified tissues. The more weight you bear the more bones will densify, so put that fancy equipment to use or get creative with fun and easy weight alternatives.

Vitamin D

Healthy bones take more than just calcium. When it comes to maintaining calcium levels, Vitamin D is the boss. This bad boy boasts a list of health benefits, but it’s especially important for bones because it helps our bodies with calcium absorption.

Sad as it is, you really can’t hit your daily needs with diet. You can always pick up a good Vitamin D supplement (which may actually be a necessity if you’re deficient or living up North), but this essential nutrient is available for free. All it takes is some sunlight!

The general rule of thumb is to get 15-20 minutes of sunshine a day, but that figure will vary depending on skin color, time of day, season, and location. Supplements, sunlight, or both, aim your daily target for 800-2,0oo IU.

Omega-3's

Omega-3 fatty acids can actually help rebuild bones. Studies have shown that Omega-3’s can maintain bone mass, and perhaps even increase it. Calcium seems to be more easily absorbed with the help of Omega-3’s, and bone strength and growth boosted. There are three types of Omega-3 fatty acids: ALA, EPA, and DHA (the most important). The notable Dr. Weil recommends aiming for a daily intake of 700-1,000 mg of EPA and 200-500 mg of DHA.

Just about everyone knows that fatty fish = fatty acids, but you can get your daily dose of EPA and DHA without stinking up your kitchen. There’s plenty of plant-based sources shining in fatty acidness. Hemp, chia, flax and sesame seeds are some of the highest sources, and they can be added to everything from oatmeal to desserts. Try tossing them into your next smoothie or protein shake for a quick and easy omega fix.

Vitamin K

Bone health for millennials: the guide

 

This vitamin is popular for its role in blood clotting, but science is showing that Vitamin K is an important cofactor in strong bones. Studies suggest that Vitamin K aids in regulating calcium as well as forming bones, and research in Japan has shown that it can even reverse bone loss and boost bone mass.

Dark leafy greens are the answer to your Vitamin K needs. Kale, Spinach, and Collards are loaded with K, with honorable mentions going out to fellow greens like Broccoli and Brussel Sprouts. Our daily target sits at 90 micrograms for women and 120 micrograms for men.

Make It Happen

Bone disease may be a problem for millions, but a healthy lifestyle can make all the difference for us. And it can be so easy! What do you do to make bone health a simple part of your lifestyle?


This guide to bone health was a post written by Ash Stevens. Follow her on Twitter @AshStevens000 and check out her blog.

3 ways to turn your passion for health and fitness into a career

3 ways to turn your passion for health and fitness into a career

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Do you like to spend all of your free time catching up on all of the latest diets and fitness news? And are you the person who all of your friends and family come to when they need advice about how to lose weight, gain muscle, or eat a healthier diet? If so, then you may find it deeply satisfying to turn your passion for health and fitness into a career. Not sure what you could do to earn money while working in this particular field? Here are some options to consider:

How to transform your passion for health and fitness into a career

#1. Start a Health & Fitness Blog

3 ways to turn your passion for health and fitness into a career // The PumpUp Blog

 

Writing a blog is a great way to enter health and fitness part-time as it will likely take you a few months or more to create a big following. However, once you do gain a lot of subscribers, you can monetize your blog with affiliate marketing and advertising, providing you with additional income simply by sharing your expertise and passion. You can even sell it outright if you’d like! (Blog Tyrant got $20,000 for one of his blogs after just eight months!)

There are many sites that allow you to start a blog for free, which means you can begin writing today, and WordPress is probably the best-known one. Plus, if you have basic computer skills you can even design it yourself quite easily, saving you from having to pay someone else to do this for you.

#2: Become a Personal Trainer or Group Fitness Instructor

3 ways to turn your passion for health and fitness into a career // The PumpUp Blog Zumba Group Fitness Gif

 

If you prefer a more hands-on approach, a career option to consider is personal trainer or group fitness instructor. This allows you to work more one-on-one with clients to help them meet their weight or muscle-related goals by showing them precisely which exercises they can do to enhance their particular body shape within their current fitness level.

Two of the most popular accredited agencies that offer this type of certification are ACE and NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine). It usually takes a couple months or more to get through the coursework and earn your certification, but once you do you can earn a decent living. Salary.com reports that the average annual wage of a personal trainer is more than $55,000.

#3: Become a Health Coach

3 ways to turn your passion for health and fitness into a career // The PumpUp Blog

 

Another career option that enables you to make money while doing what you love is health coach. A health coach is someone who assists others in achieving their health and fitness goals by helping them effectively deal with a variety of aspects that affect their overall health and wellness, ranging from food to exercise to their thoughts and beliefs. Where would you work as a health coach? According to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, one of the top nutrition schools that connects students with teachers such as Dr. Oz, Deepak Chopra, and Dr. Andrew Weil, as a health coach you can find employment in “doctor’s offices, wellness centers, and gyms.”

Choose this option and you’ll have a slightly higher monetary commitment up front for the course, but your ability to earn a high hourly wage can quickly help you recoup your costs and then some. Some health coaches earn as much as $200 an hour (or more), so this can be very lucrative field if it appeals to you.

Yes, there are many options when it comes to making money in the areas of health and fitness if this is your passion. Now all you have to do is pick the one that interests you most and do it!

3 ways to transform your passion for health and fitness into a career // The PumpUp Blog

About the Author

Sara Upton is an online freelance writer who loves covering anything related to fitness and healthy living. She's a proud owner of two dogs (Bill and Chewie), and you can follow her thoughts on Twitter @saraupton33.

Cover photo courtesy of PumpUp member @marismaria

5 tips to stop belly bloating

5 tips to stop belly bloating

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Whether you feel like you’ve gained five pounds in the past few days, made some poor food choices, or you just feel constant discomfort—there’s definitely a reason for your belly bloating AND there’s many solutions for it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJPkc_vva9o&feature=youtu.be

Here are my top 5 tips to STOP belly bloating

1. Eat slowly

As I talked about in one of my previous articles, eating slowly is essential to proper digestion of your food! In order for your brain to tell you when you’re full, it needs up to 20 minutes to send you the signal to stop eating!

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(Image c/o giphy)

2. Decrease your intake of processed food

Processed sugars, saturated fats, dairy, carbonated drinks, and artificial sweeteners are the most commonly found sources of an upset stomach and belly bloating. INCREASE your intake of whole fruits and veggies, especially those with a high water content!

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(Image c/o giphy)

3. Chill out

RELAX! Stress hormones disrupt the digestive system! Always try your best to take time out of your day to FOCUS ON YOU, even if it’s just a ten-minute walk around the block. Along with relaxation comes a good night’s sleep! A lack of sleep distorts your perception of hunger and appetite, often leading you to overeat highly processed foods which can make you bloated!

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(Image c/o giphy)

4. Up your fiber intake

Choose unprocessed, whole foods that are high in fiber to decrease bloating and improve your digestive system! Fruits and veggies such as watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, cucumbers, grapes, berries, avocado, pears, oranges, bananas, celery, and leafy greens are a great way to nourish your body AND fight off belly bloating while flushing out toxins.

(Image c/o tumblr)

5. Stop, drop, and chug water

A lack of water and an excess of sodium in your diet can lead to discomfort and unwanted bloating. From my experience, I have found that starting my day with about 32 ounces of water (that’s a liter!) helps to jump start my digestion and wake up my body early in the morning! DRINK MORE WATER!

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Starving, fasting, and using laxatives are NOT the answer to your belly bloating!! Whole fruits and veggies, water, exercise, and sleep will put you on on the road to success and will help you achieve your flat tummy!

These tips to stop belly bloating were written by Ashley Hampton (PumpUp:@rawincollege), a college student looking to spread the power of the raw vegan lifestyle through her positive posts and vibrant photos. Check out her blog.

5 tips stop bloating pumpup blog

How Caroline beat depression with the help of a support system

How Caroline beat depression with the help of a support system

Depression is a clinical condition that affects an estimated 1.5% of the adult population in the U.S. on an annual basis. In other places around the world, millions more struggle with this condition. They often cope with their personal symptoms in silence. PumpUp member Caroline grappled with depression prior to having her children, and dealt with postpartum depression after her second child was born.

This is the one secret you need to travel healthy

This is the one secret you need to travel healthy

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0P08YXLUZI Be prepared and bring snacks. This is my #1 tip for you if you're looking to travel healthy! Packing snacks for yourself ensures that you will be much less likely to give into unhealthy temptations. What's more, it will prevent you from spending money on overpriced airport and rest stop food.

The one secret to travelling healthy // rawincollege for the PumpUp Blog

Stone fruits like peaches and plums are easy to grab and go. Fresh berries can be packed away without much preparation. 

How to travel healthy

Cut up some veggies and fruit, put them in some plastic tupperware, take a few handfuls of nuts and dried fruit in a Ziploc, and you’re good to go!! ALWAYS hydrate while you are traveling—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.

The one secret to travelling healthy // rawincollege for the PumpUp Blog

 

It's pretty straightforward and do-able. If you fail to plan, prepare to fail :) // The PumpUp Blog

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

My big health transition from college to work

My big health transition from college to work

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Last time I wrote a PumpUp blog, I was finishing up my list assignments as an undergrad and preparing for what I like to call, “the big transition.” Now, I am writing this post from the computer at my new job. That’s right, y’all, I finished college and started working. While this job transition isn’t too bad right now, I know that there is a lot of work coming for me. I'm enjoying this time as a newbie. That being said, I’m having some problems transitioning my physical health. It’s only been 3 days and I already feel slammed with responsibility. This is bad since I have the rest of my life ahead of me. I worked out on Monday, but it was at home. While the workout was decent (I used DailyBurn for the first time), it wasn’t what I was used to at my school’s gym. I miss that gym. I miss doing hardcore cardio everyday. I already feel like a fatty, as well, with all this eating out I’ve been doing. STOP THE MADNESS! My mind is weak at the moment. I haven’t felt this way in a long time. I have this whole mentality that the workouts that I do throughout my transition from college to work will end up doing will slow down my progress.

Ohmyitschels: Chelsie Jamerson's health transition from college to work

Luckily, my job has a wellness initiative where they will give me 1.5 hours a week to work out. What that means is that I can leave 30 minutes early to go work out. And, another cool part is that my job has a 1 mile jogging trail and a pool (even though the pool is closed for the summer). I have the resources but I’m just so restless. I wanna get back on track. I want to bring my lunch and my snacks and I want to work out hardcore.

The only reason I bring up these frustrations is because if I say them aloud or in public, I have to acknowledge them. I want the PumpUp community to hold me accountable. I enjoy posting progress photos every week and seeing all of the encouraging comments I get. It helps me move forward. Something I didn’t expect when getting on this journey is being an inspiration to others. It means a lot when people say I’ve inspired them and I don’t want to let them down almost as much as I don’t want to let myself down. So that’s why I’m saying it here: I’m frustrated but I’m not quitting. I will continue. This mind block is only temporary and I will move past this transition from college to work. Thanks to everyone who reads my blog posts and follows me on PumpUp. I hope that I can continue to inspire you.

From College to Work: The Health Transition is bumpier than you think

This post about transitioning from college to work was written by PumpUp member @ohmyitschels. Check out Chelsie’s YouTube page here.

Transformation Tuesday: Couples who train together remain together

Transformation Tuesday: Couples who train together remain together

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Couples who train together remain together. This is an idiom that I really believe in. Why? My boyfriend and I are living proof. Let's preface this with our background: both of us were very active during our younger years and we loved to run and play football. We never had to worry about our weight. As I got older, I remained in a job that I hated for 6 years because I desperately needed the money. During that time, I gained 3 stone (42 lbs) because I'd turn to food for comfort.  My boyfriend remained healthy and fit, which made me feel so bad about myself that I became increasingly self-conscious. Then, my boyfriend moved away to college for 6 long months and he started to gain weight: 21 pounds in total.  By living in a college environment where few people were similarly interested in practicing football, he went from playing sports 2-3 times a week to stopping altogether. What's more, he lived in a house where his land lady cooked large, but unhealthy meals for him and his roommates every evening.  He could feel his clothes getting tighter and tighter and my boyfriend lost all interest in trying to lose the weight.

Couples who train together remain together

When I finally got out of my job, I was determined to lose my own weight and feel confident in my own skin. I started eating healthy foods and working out 5-6 days a week. I was a different person and I was determined. I slowly convinced Darren to go for walks with me and convinced him to prep his food.  After college, he began to take up football and was back to his old self. He lost the weight and he feels better than ever.

Over the course of my journey, I lost a total of 42 lbs and worked hard to become a qualified fitness instructor. I motivate people every day through my fitness page on Facebook and also through Instagram. I was named in the top 16 Irish fitness instagramers by evoke.ie (it’s a huge accomplishment in Ireland).

Through working out together we have become closer, we are more organized with our lives. Instead of watching television all the time, we go for a long run in the evenings. We both have a love of fitness and know it‘s not a short term thing. It’s permanent. It’s for life. If you are in a relationship and you both need to get healthier, get fit together. If you start by getting rid of unhealthy food from your house and going for a short walks/ runs, it really can turn into a positive change for both of you. To top off all the good things that happened to us since we lost the weight, we got engaged at Christmas. We are busy planning our wedding in May 2016. We are happy, fit and healthy. What more could we ask for?

Transformation Tuesday: Couples that train together remain together

This Transformation Tuesday story about how couples who train together, remain together was shared by PumpUp’s @DebbieMC1232. Through her weight loss journey, she has been able to motivate and inspire others both on PumpUp and through her own personal fitness page Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram. Featured image courtesy of pixsharx.

15 health and fitness e-cards that sum up your life

15 health and fitness e-cards that sum up your life

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Fitness is not a joke. If you doubt this statement, perform 50 consecutive burpees and you'll soon catch our drift. Although every day of the year can't be April Fool's day, there's always room for a good laugh. Here are a few golden health and fitness e-cards that you can relate to in some way or another on Motivation Monday.

When you get overly competitive on the treadmill

If you're on the treadmill next to me, the answer is yes, we are racing

When you feel like you're being watched at the gym

The number of reps I can do is directly proportional to the number of people I think are watching me

When you take a HIIT class and feel like fainting

Those were some enjoyable burpees- said no one ever

When you start training for your run for the first time since winter

Running for the first time since winter

When your clothes FIT

When you hit a new PR

One of the greatest moments in life is realizing that two weeks ago, your body couldn't do what it just did

When you have one mile left in your run and your workout buddy encourages you to sprint

I'm beginning to think that my workouts are tailored more toward not dying than squeezing into a bikini this summer

When you're asked to go dancing after leg day

I don't have swagger. I'm just sore

When the struggle to do anything after your workout is real

When the struggle to do ANYTHING is real

When you sweat the equivalent of Niagara Falls at the gym

When it's rest day but you feel like exercising anyway

When you can't imagine changing into anything other than comfortable pants

When you finally finish all of your food packed in tupperware

When you need motivation to run fast

When your yoga instructor prompts you to hold an impossible pose

Enjoyed these fitness e-cards? Have more funny health and fitness jokes to share on #MotivationMonday? Lighten up! Share what motivates you with the PumpUp Community.

 

5 ways to stay sane during hectic situations

5 ways to stay sane during hectic situations

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Between work and school and family, right now, I’m drowning. I have so much to do in the next month in order to prepare for post-university life. Yet, I keep pushing my work to the side to play on my phone or watch TV or to do anything imaginable that isn’t work. It’s been so bad that last week, my heart was racing for about 5 days due to anxiety and stress. How am I supposed to cope with all that’s going on? In my head, it seems easy to just buckle down, get the work done, and then relax. But in application, it takes a lot more energy. So I’m going to do something a little different for this post. This week I’m going to list my top 5 ways to stay sane in hectic situations.

Plan your work and work your plan

Make a plan and stick to it

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I don’t know about you, but I’m a visual person. It helps me get things done if I write things out in the form of calendars, to do lists, and even step-by-step tasks. It may seem like extra work but by writing things down, I’m seeing just how much needs to get done and how it needs to get done.

Take a deep breath

Breathe

(Image via Dundee Runners)

During those times when my heart races with stress, I like to take some really deep breaths and clear my mind. If possible, I also try to listen to some nature sounds like the forest or, my favorite, ocean waves on Spotify or YouTube. By focusing my mind on breathing and the nature sounds, I’m able to clear my head for a second and create a blank slate to do more work.

Imagine the satisfaction

Do a happy dance. You deserve it

(Image via Tumblr)

Visualize how great you'll feel once your work is complete. One thing that also helps me is envisioning myself completing the tasks at hand. Seeing the pure joy on my stress-free face makes me want to work towards that even more.

Ask for help

Don't be afraid to reach out for help

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Nothing in this world is accomplished alone and we are not super humans. Ask for help if you are unable to complete a task. It may be hard to let someone down or place a burden on another but, chances are, that person is agreeing to help you because they care about you very much.

Take time to make yourself happy

(Image via giphy)

I cannot stress this last point enough. No matter what you do in hectic times, it’s important to remember your own happiness. Carve out some times for breaks in which you do something you love to do like baking, watching TV or, in my case, singing your heart out to your favorite songs.

I hope you can use some of these tips in your own life to stay sane in the busier times in of your life.

This is a post by PumpUp member @ohmyitschels. Check out Chelsie’s YouTube page here

4 Easy Ways to Stay Healthy on a Crazy Schedule | Healthy living 101

4 Easy Ways to Stay Healthy on a Crazy Schedule | Healthy living 101

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1) Plan your meals Plan your meals and make sure that your fridge is stocked with healthy options

Bulk shop, cook and prep on the weekend so that at least your breakfast and lunches for the week are ready to go. Having the fridge stocked with healthy options that are available for you to just grab and hurtle out the door will ensure that you stay on track! Put aside 1-2 hours on the weekend to get this together and you will be so happy you did!

2) Pack your lunches

Plan your meals in advance if you know that you're going to have a busy week.

Not only does this save time and money but it's also hands-down the healthiest way to eat! You cooked it, so you know exactly what is in it. While this is a bit more work up-front, after the first week of adjusting to this new routine it will become second nature!

Don’t forget to pack snacks too, you never know when the munchies will hit. Apples, bananas, cut up veggies or trail mix are the perfect portable snacks!

3) Break out the Crock Pot

Crock pots help you save time and eat healthy when you're on a time constraint

Image c/o Juan Calderon

Whether you are single or feeding an army of children, the slow cooker is a lifesaver! You can prep all of the ingredients the night before, pop them in on your way out the door in the morning and viola! You come home to a perfectly cooked meal. It’s so easy, I like to start with onions and root veggies on the bottom, then a nice piece of grass-fed meat, or some beans, some broth or diced tomatoes! The best part is that you'll have lots of leftovers.

4) Lean on Liquid Meals

Green juice is the way to go if you're pressed on time. Juice from the Village Juicery works like a charm.

Not so keen on green juice? Experiment with it first. Try either a warm blended soup or a smoothie to start your day off, and see how you feel. Many of us aren’t hungry when we wake up and that's because it takes awhile for your digestive system to warm up. Starting off with a liquid meal is a great way to ease into the day. You can pre-make soups and stockpile them in your freezer or blend up a smoothie with some protein powder, berries and greens for a nutrient-dense breakfast that’s easy to digest. Liquid meals require less prep and cleanup but are just as satisfying and healthy as your traditional breakfast options.

I hope these tips and tricks help you to stay healthy when time is tight!

I am launching my online video course next month!! Its called ‘Healthy Living 101’, and you can see a sneak peek HERE. Subscribe to be the first to know and get a FREE Snack-Sized Cookbook.

Meal Prep Tips for busy schedules

If you want more inspiration and healthy recipes, follow me on social media and check out my blog. I post daily goodies on InstagramTwitter and Facebook!

This is a post by Gillian B. Follow her on PumpUp @gillianb and connect with her on Facebook for more tips about health, wellness, and holistic living.

How PumpUp gave Karishma a much-needed motivation boost - PumpUp Success Stories

How PumpUp gave Karishma a much-needed motivation boost - PumpUp Success Stories

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Like a car without battery juice, Karishma's fitness journey was at a standstill. She sought a way to jump start her progress with a boost of energy and motivation. Over a year ago, she joined the PumpUp community and hasn't looked back since.  "After seeing a few posts about it on Instagram, I thought I'd check the app out," she explained. "I loved it straight away! I found it so easy to use and became acquainted with different workouts that I hadn't thought of before. I was already interested in having a healthy and fit lifestyle."

 

Prior to her journey with PumpUp, Karishma was still maintaining a regular routine at the gym but neglected to see much progress from her frequent visits. "I wasn't the healthiest, and nothing in comparison to how [healthy] I am now," she admitted. "An average day consisted of me waking up early, having a good 60-90 minute workout, coming home, eating, then going to work." Her routine was consistent and cyclical. She was doing a great job maintaining this workout schedule until a new job derailed her plans. "I ended up putting on weight at my new job," she recounted. "Then, I got motivation and worked it all off."
Karishma PumpUp

 

Karishma is sticking to a healthy lifestyle for good thanks to the constant motivation that she receives from the PumpUp community. Since she joined the app, Karishma's much more comfortable wearing certain outfits, exercises more consistently and makes more balanced eating choices than ever before. "I've never had such a healthy lifestyle," she professed. "My routine varies now, because I'm attending university. Being away from home has made me healthier, as my family doesn't adhere to the same lifestyle as I do. I usually go to the gym before or after classes and always go on my days off. Using PumpUp inspires me. I just hope that I can inspire a few other people, as well as learn from others." 

 

Severe shin splints hindered Karishma from running as much as she used to over the course of her journey. "It's just not worth the pain," she said regretfully. "The pain does affect other areas of my lower legs, so I'm going to a physiotherapist soon. This should help deal with whatever problem I may have." Further, like most university students, Karishma admitted to having phases of very irregular sleeping patterns. This is another challenge that she's learned to overcome after committing to a healthy lifestyle.  "On some nights, I don't sleep until 5 a.m., or just have one hour's worth of sleep," she lamented. "It's horrible. I've tried everything to help. Nothing but sleeping aids help." 
Karishma PumpUp

 

She advises that others looking to achieve a healthy lifestyle should eat well, train hard, and progress will come thereafter. "However small the progress is, it's still something," she counselled. "Everyone struggles sometimes, but it's important to maintain that focus and to slowly reach that goal." She creates smaller benchmarks towards every big goal that she sets for herself. This helps her to feel like she has achieved more, and helps to keep her motivated. "My biggest motivation is seeing other people who have goals that I wish to achieve," she mentioned. "It makes me work that much harder. I definitely see many people on PumpUp whom I admire." 
Karishma's meals PumpUp

 

Karishma's meals
"Breakfast - porridge with strawberries and a cranberry green tea. Lunch - Scrambled eggs with mushrooms. Dinner (currently) - a red onion and goats cheese tart, with roasted sweet potatoes (slightly salted and peppered), a variety of boiled vegetables and grilled asparagus. Snacks - carrots with sweet chilli hummus or a fruit filled smoothie."

 

Motivational Mantra
"Giving up is always an option, its whether you make it your choice that counts."

 

Favourite workout
"Don't have a favourite workout, never have! Anything that makes me sweat makes me happy."

 

Karishma PumpUp

 

More about Karishma
"I study Optometry at Cardiff University in Wales and I have wanted to be an Optometrist/Optician for 6 years!"

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Keep Karishma pumped on the app and follow her along her journey @karishmaaa! Inspired by her story? Let her know your thoughts in the comments below! Have a great story to share with the PumpUp community? Email alessandra[@]pumpup.co!

Pro tip : Oats in your smoothies keep you fuller for longer

Pro tip : Oats in your smoothies keep you fuller for longer

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Maybe you love smoothies, but don't really love how hungry you feel an hour or so after you drink one. Make your smoothies oat-standing by adding oats to them. They won't be floating around helplessly like alphabet noodles in alphabet soup. Pulse them before you add them to your smoothies so that they disperse evenly throughout the drink. Adding oats in your smoothies is a fail-safe trick that will increase your fibre intake while making your smoothie thicker and equally as delicious. PumpUp member @wigart created a perfectly banana raspberry oat smoothie that will last you throughout the morning. You'll want to chop, blend, sip, repeat.

Banana raspberry oat smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 2 handfuls of frozen raspberries
  • 1 handful of steel cut oats
  • 2 spoonfuls of greek yogurt
  • 1 tiny dash of honey

Pulse oats in food processor first, then add all other ingredients to your blender or food processor.

Pro tip: add oats in your smoothies, it'll keep you fuller for longer. This summer smoothie recipe has bananas, raspberries, oats, honey, and greek yogurt in it. It's a perfect drink for breakfast and a great idea for a post-workout snack. Courtesy of the PumpUp Blog

Wondering how @wigart made her photo collage? Try the new PumpUp photo editor and choose from different layouts to showcase your best smoothie-making skills. Do you add oats in your smoothies? Show the PumpUp community your smoothies by tagging them on the app with #smoothie or #smoothieseries.

 

4 ways to stay on track when you're stressed out to the max

4 ways to stay on track when you're stressed out to the max

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As the end of the school year rolls around, I know we all can’t help thinking about the quickly approaching summer months. I know how easy it is to start slacking off and getting distracted by the thoughts of relaxation and warm sunshine. We are in the final stretch!! Time to find some motivation in all aspects of life and stay on track to finish the year out successfully! Here are my top tips for staying on top of your health and school work!…

1. Plan AHEAD!

My favorite way to stay organized is to write everything down. Making a list and crossing things off can be extremely effective in not only staying on top of your work, but also finding a personal sense of accomplishment when you complete things. Also, if you know you are going to be studying at the library all day–bring snacks! Eating “brain food” like fruits and veggies is the perfect way to stay energized during long hours of studying.

Plan ahead by writing everything down - 4 tips to stay on track, even when you're stressed out from the PumpUp Blog

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2. Give yourself a BREAK!

Make time for YOU on a daily basis. Whether you take 30 minutes to exercise, watch a TV show, or take a nap, breaks are necessary for your brain, your body, and your sanity! Never feel guilty for taking time for yourself. :)

Give yourself a break - 4 ways to stay on track even when you're stressed out

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3. Surround yourself with MOTIVATION!

Studying in a an environment with little distraction will help keep you focused. If you like studying in a group, find other students who like to do it too! Find what works for you and what inspires you and you will absolutely be on the road to success!

Surround yourself with motivation - 4 tips to stay on track, even when you're stressed out | PumpUp Blog

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4. Stay POSITIVE!

One of the best pieces of advice my parents ever gave me is “You don’t have to be the best, you just have to do your best.” It is so important to remember this in all aspects of life– don’t compare yourself to others. You are your own biggest competitor! Challenge yourself to be a better version of YOU every single day. That’s all you can ask of yourself!

Remember that there is LIGHT at the end of the tunnel! Summer is right around the corner! Working hard until then will make your time off even more enjoyable, I promise.

Stay positive - 4 tips to stay on track, even when you're stressed out | PumpUp Blog

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These tips to stay on track, even when you're stressed out were written by Ashley Hampton (PumpUp:@rawincollege), a college student looking to spread the power of the raw vegan lifestyle through her positive posts and vibrant photos. Check out her blog.

4 tips to stay on track and be healthy, even when you're stressed out. Plan ahead, take breaks, immerse yourself in a motivating environment, and stay positive. Learn more from the PumpUp Blog at blog.pumpup.com

Alexandra committed to a lifestyle change for good, and so can you | PumpUp Success Stories

Alexandra committed to a lifestyle change for good, and so can you | PumpUp Success Stories

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You know the drill. You're familiar with 'Day 1' scenarios. Time and time again, you commit to maintaining a lifestyle change until life gets in the way and derails you from your goals.  Like you, PumpUp member @thenewalexandra revisited her starting point more than once. "I tried to live a healthier lifestyle many times, but always gave up on myself," admitted Alexandra. "I began to use PumpUp almost a year and a half ago because I wanted to be more healthy, with the support of a great community." Prior to PumpUp, the state of Alexandra's health habits hit an all-time low. "I was less healthy than I've ever been," she conceded. "My friends and I frequented McDonald's more than twice a week. I drank Ice Cappucinos from Tim Hortons every single day. I did absolutely no exercise, which made me feel sluggish and tired all the time." A three-minute run would easily leave her gasping for air. Alexandra's erratic sleeping patterns weren't helping her energy levels either. "I wasn't treating my body the way it deserved to be treated," she lamented.

Paradoxically, a trip to the movies sent Alexandra on the wellness journey of a lifetime after she found out about PumpUp from a preview on Mark Saltzman's Gear Guide. "I instantly fell in love with the whole community of people," she recounts. "The number one thing I love about this app is that there is not an ounce of negativity anywhere. PumpUp is a safe place for all people to document their fitness journey's."

Alexandra's lifestyle change

As a student, it was tough for Alexandra to make healthy and convenient eating choices. Since she joined PumpUp, Alexandra taught herself how to make basic healthy meals: everything from quinoa, to soups, to salads. "PumpUp has inspired me to make healthier decisions each and every day," she confirmed. "I always keep cut of fruit and vegetables in my fridge so that I have no reason to snack on anything unhealthy. Beyond that, I rid my cabinets of any junk and replaced it with healthier snacks." Alexandra now exercises at least 4 times a week, regularly attending yoga classes and walking to and from school on a daily basis.  Over the summer, she plans to take up Zumba and pole dancing and will continue to incorporate physical activity into her routine. "Whenever I have free time, I get an extra workout in," she explained. "It clears my mind and makes me feel amazing."

When Alexandra really began to engage with PumpUp's different features, she taught herself more than she expected. "PumpUp workouts taught me a lot about fitness [and opened my eyes up to] different workouts," she professed. "My little muscles are starting to show more in my abdominals, arms and legs." Beyond healthier habits, PumpUp has helped Alexandra to considerably improve her self-esteem. "There are days when I'm feeling down about myself, whether it be because of my eating habits, or other reasons , and all I have to do is think about PumpUp community members and I'm instantly much more happy," she mused.  "This app really helped me to realize that every single person in this world is absolutely beautiful, and the members of this community aren't just beautiful on the outside, but they have amazing, kind, warm, hearts as well."

Alexandra PumpUp

Alexandra has fresh and realistic advice for those who hope to make a lifestyle change with the help of PumpUp. "Just do it," she counselled. "There have been days where I sit for hours on the couch just staring at my yoga mat, or thinking of excuses as to why I shouldn't go for a run, but I know that when I just do it I feel much better. Start slowly, and work your way up to a more healthy lifestyle, so when you go to eat healthy or exercise you dread it just a little bit less." She reminds that it isn't realistic to expect immediate results from changes in your lifestyle habits. "I want things to happen right now (I'm not very patient), but [remember that] they happen gradually," she said. "One weekend, my mom and dad both told me that I lost some weight. I hadn't really known if I had or not. That validation is amazing, you just have to wait for it (and do a lot of hard work). Fitness is a life long journey, and we all must accept that in order to be the best we can be."

As Alexandra progresses with her journey, she hopes to be as active as she can be this summer. "With my newfound love for hiking, I plan to travel all over Ontario to view Webster Falls at Dundas, and the cool rock formations in Caledon," she enthused. "I [also] plan on taking every single step to the top of the CN tower by the end of this summer. Without PumpUp I would never have thought to be this active, and when I have my doubts I know I'll be able to turn to the PumpUp community through the next steps in my fitness journey."

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Biggest Motivation

My biggest motivation is my mother. My family has had a though time over the last few years, and we wouldn't have been able to survive without her. No matter what the situation is, she manages to put a smile on her face  and be the best mother in the world. She constantly puts my brother and my health in front of her own, in order to ensure that were happy. For example, when I didn't have enough money for a prom dress, she took on extra shifts at work in order to help me. When I didn't have enough money to pay my tuition, she did the same once more.

My mom is the most selfless, caring, considerate person that I have ever met. She believes spending her money on herself isn't worth it if she can spend it on her children instead. It's because of everything she has done for me, that I want to succeed for her, whether that be through school, or my own health. After a rough patch, my mom started to take care of herself once again. She began to shop for herself, do her hair, grow her nails, take Pilates, and cut out all the coffee from her diet (and trust me six triple triples a day are not healthy at all!). Seeing her live her own healthy lifestyle is absolutely inspiring. 

Fun Fact About Alexandra

I absolutely adore cats and have owned over 20 in my life time (taking care of and finding homes for kittens). I'm also studying psychology in university. 

Cheer Alexandra along her journey on PumpUp @thenewalexandra and let us know what you thought about her story in the comments below!

 

5 ways to spring into action and commit to your goals

5 ways to spring into action and commit to your goals

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You've already set out your goals for the year and tested them over the past few months. Maybe your methods worked. Maybe they didn't. With summer just around the corner, it's time to really push yourself. Make your routine a bit stricter to achieve the best results. Don't expect change to happen overnight and don't give up after a few weeks! It takes time to create habits that will last a lifetime. Here are some ideas that will help:

Don't be too hard on yourself

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Image via BetweenScreens

It isn't hard to exhaust yourself by embarking on your goals a bit too enthusiastically. Your willpower can only do so much for you. Don't push yourself too much at first and don't beat yourself up about your failures. Starting little by little and gradually changing your habits will become central to your health and fitness journey. It's also a more thoughtful way to treat yourself, as your body needs time to adapt to change.

Research

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Be curious and critical. Don't be afraid to ask questions about what kind of food is best for your body and your lifestyle. Dare to research about how exercise affects your body and whether 'health fads' actually live up to the hype. Keep your goals in mind and make sure that you constantly ask questions before (and during) your lifestyle change. The fitness industry is just that: an industry. Be wary of false information and ensure that your decisions are well-educated.

Look around. Is there someone who can accompany you in this journey?

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Find a workout of this gif here

From personal experience, I've noticed how motivating is being able to count on somebody who is pursuing goals that are similar to yours. You and your workout buddy will be able to hold yourselves accountable to your goals and mutually benefit from the motivation boost you give to each other.  Put simply, it's a win-win situation that's just plain awesome. Reach out to your friends, colleagues, family members, classmates, or even your significant other. You have the power to give them the greatest opportunity to commit to their health and fitness objectives for real.

Stick to a consistent and realistic workout routine

Be consistent about your workout schedule

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Exercise isn't easy, and you won't see progress overnight. Overexerting yourself can be pretty dangerous and may even lead to muscle strain. Begin slowly, make adaptations as needed, and research about what kind of exercises will give you the best results based on your goals. Working out doesn't need to feel like a chore! If you love sports and hate the treadmill, sign up for an intramural team so that you at least have a schedule to commit to.

I always recommend PumpUp's customized workouts: they're so adaptable for any fitness level. It's just like having a personal trainer with you! YouTube workout videos are also great for staying in shape. You don't need to spend a fortune to create a daily routine for yourself!

Between workouts, make subtle changes that will help you to incorporate more activity into your lifestyle. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, ride your bike or walk instead of taking your car or a bus to nearby places, and do more active activities with people you care about. As long as you're making an effort to increase your movement in some way, you're doing something right.

Step out of your comfort zone

Step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself.

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The fact that this is the last tip doesn't mean that it is the least important. Challenges are the foundation of a happy & healthy life. If you haven't accomplished your goals, maybe you haven't stepped far enough from your comfort zone. Push yourself.

Are you watching Netflix on your couch when somebody asks you to go rollerskating with them? Ditch the television and go rollerskating.  For this moment, forget about relaxation and comfort: opportunities are once in a lifetime.

Do you plan your walks along the shortest possible route? Walk faster and and farther just because. You'll not only feel physically awesome because of the extra exercise, but you'll be conscious that you transcended the limits of your willpower.

These are just a few tools to keep you pumping up. Go for it and don't think about losing faith!

This is a post by PumpUp member Sara A. (@bunnies), PumpUp blog contributor. Follow her Tumblr @gurdiel

Feature photo via Hamad Al-Mohanna on Flickr

It's perfectly easy being green with this green smoothie

It's perfectly easy being green with this green smoothie

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It might not be easy being green for Kermit the frog, but it is definitely easy being green when we're sipping on this perfect green smoothie. Full of both fruits and vegetables, this green smoothie combination will give you the perfect energy boost to start your morning off on a healthy foot. Experiment with different mixtures of fruits and vegetables and share them as a collage with the new PumpUp photo editor. We can't wait to see what kinds of delicious smoothies you have in store for the PumpUp community.

Green Smoothie Ingredients

  • Handful spinach
  • 1 cup milk
  • oat flakes
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1/2 banana or apple
  • 3 spoonfuls of greek yogurt

Blend it all together and sip through a wide straw, if possible.

Recipe contribution by PumpUp member @regretnothing

One of the most refreshing green smoothies that tastes anything but: handful of spinach, 1 cup milk, oat flakes, 1/4 cucumber, 1/2 banana or apple, 3 spoonfuls greek yogurt

Do you have an amazing green smoothie that you'd like to show off? List the ingredients in the comments below! We love to experiment with novel green smoothie combinations and share them with the PumpUp community!