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healthy lifestyle

4 tips to help you form healthy habits

4 tips to help you form healthy habits

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It is so challenging to give health and fitness advice when we are all so different. I come from a background where I learned to form healthy habits from the beginning by doing physical labor on the farm as a kid, and not having very many unhealthy foods available in our house. Each of us has a different story, different habits, different body types and levels of willpower. I came up with some tips to help those who struggle perhaps to create new habits. These are things I have done myself to get back into a healthier routine if I had lapsed in my discipline.

Keep a well-stocked pantry

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If you stock your fridge and pantry with food that suits a clean eating, nourishing lifestyle, and keep out the foods that negate that, you won't have to fight temptation as often. I keep protein options around not only to build muscle but also to cut my sugar cravings if I have them. I keep fruit, both fresh and dried, around to satisfy my moments of wanting dessert. Or I make 3-ingredient pancakes (eggs, banana, & nutmeg) if I'm dreaming of cake. These choices at home also mean I can go to meetings or to visit my family and not have to say no to everything. I can eat a little of what is offered without being rude or strange, and not feel horrible about myself because I know when I go home, I will be back into my clean food routine.

Wake up, workout (and quickly)

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Working out right after you get up in the morning, even for just 15 minutes, helps you wake up and build confidence for your day. Setting your mindset into 'active' mode right away helps you enter your life with a lighter, brighter outlook and you will be energized. If your day becomes super busy you won't arrive home at night and say, "Dang, I didn't have time to work out today." You won't have to deal with days on end that are too busy if you set that alarm 15 minutes earlier just to get your squats, crunches, push ups, or a mile on the treadmill in. It's one way to start, and build in that habit. I know for me, I'm super tired when I get home from work, so some days if I just give in to that feeling and don't work out in the afternoon, I don't feel bad about myself because I did my 30-minute workout in the morning.

Challenge yourself during breaks

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You get a break during work. These are great moments for those 30-day challenges, especially the squat challenge which you could do anywhere, as they take very little time yet definitely help progress. Do some push-ups, pull ups if you have a spot, squats, lunges. It all adds up, and vastly improves your ability to form healthy habits by helping you to integrate workouts into your routine, no mater how busy you are. These challenges can also kick sluggishness, as long as you are staying nourished throughout the day as well.

Pack it up

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Packing enough food is super helpful for anybody looking to form healthy habits. I pack more than I need, just so I don't get tempted to go out and buy something when I'm hungry (this is also because I'm working on keeping a healthier budget!). Ziplock bags of measured amounts of fruit, nuts, seeds, vegetables; containers of healthy leftovers or if you're one of those organized people who preps their meals every week; some protein or energy bars that are made with more natural ingredients. Smoothies and your favorite protein drink are wonderful things to carry around with you!
These are just a few things for those of you looking to build stronger, healthier habits and needing some advice on how to do it and stick to it. Most of all, try and enjoy the journey: discovering simpler food and how good it actually is, how strong you are and can be, and progressing step by step on the path of changing lifetime habits. Human beings are so amazing, we get to choose what we do in every moment and how we do it. Keep up the good work, and may you be the healthy person you dream of being!
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This is a post by PumpUp member @bodysoulspiritfitness, a teacher and movement artist with a passion for healthy living and adventure. Follow her blog here.

Zoe achieved all of her progress without the help of a gym! Here's how- PumpUp Spotlight Series

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Zoe (@zoetigran) has a luminescent smile and the warmest heart. She joined PumpUp in October 2013 to keep her heart healthy in light of her family’s history of cardiovascular disease. “I realized how important it was to live a healthy lifestyle and I didn’t want any problems as I got older, particularly with my heart,” she elaborated. “A lot of people in my family don’t lead a healthy lifestyle and are now afflicted with heart problems. I didn’t want the same thing to happen to me. I know I’m young but you can never start too early!”

Being proactive about her holistic wellbeing, rather than being reactive towards problems that arise from unhealthy decision-making, was the solution that Zoe sought when she became a member of the PumpUp community. “Before PumpUp I wasn’t that healthy. I ate a lot of junk food and I’d go to McDonalds every Saturday with my sister,” she lamented. “The only exercise I performed was one hour of hip hop…and that was once a week.” Though she was never overweight, Zoe went on to explain that her changes in her body began to reflect her sedentary lifestyle. “I didn’t drink enough water, and my body had no shape at all,” she elaborated. “In 2012 I realized that I wasn’t healthy but I didn’t know what to do. I started my journey by eating more wholesome food in the summer of 2013. Then I began to think about fitness—although I was hesitant because I had the impression that you could only exercise at the gym.”

 

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Believe it or not, Zoe has achieved all of her progress without the help of a gym. She prefers calisthenics and at-home workouts. “I’ve NEVER been to the gym and I don’t use anything when I work out. I first and foremost want to prove to myself and to others that you can reach your goals without pouring tons of money into a gym membership, machines, and weights,” she affirmed. “You can do it with just you, your body, and your own bedroom.” After she joined PumpUp, Zoe began to realize the benefits of training every part of her body, rather than one single area. She particularly enjoys the Ultimate Lower Body Gainer and the Ultimate Body K-O workouts on the app. “At the beginning of my journey I only performed core exercises,” she admitted. “The rest of my body wasn’t in shape at all. I now make sure that I do full-body workouts as well.”

Zoe more regularly incorporates exercise into her busy schedule as a student and she has a greater flare for culinary creativity. “I like to go through the popular page on PumpUp to look for motivation or healthy food,” she explains. “Healthy food sounds boring, but there are so many ways to make your food healthy AND delicious. After joining PumpUp, I try to perform a 30-minute workout at least five times a week.” Though she does treat herself to McDonalds from time to time, she hardly eats fast food as frequently as she used to. “I also make sure to get enough sleep and drink more water,” she added.

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She encourages other PumpUp members to be resilient. “Never give up!” Zoe exclaimed. “It sounds cliché and I’m sure everyone says this, but once you start something, you have to finish it. I promise: You won’t regret any minute of your workout!” She also advises that members shouldn’t let lactic acid buildup discourage them from continuing their workout. It’s all about mentality: “When I felt my muscles burn during a workout at the beginning of my journey, I’d stop completely,” she continued. “That wasn’t the best decision. Now, when my muscles burn, I get excited because I know that I’m really working my body. I exercise ‘through’ the temporary pain.”

In the future, Zoe aspires to become a personal fitness trainer. She explained that she uses PumpUp not only to focus on her own progress, but to help others achieve their goals as well. “Now that I’ve accomplished my goal of living a healthier life, I make smaller goals for my self like gaining more muscle mass and slimming out my thighs a little bit,” she explains.

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While Zoe’s best friend Jente helps to keep her accountable in her daily life, she derives inspiration not only from PumpUp’s popular feed, but when other people leave motivational comments on her account. “It feels good when you know that others believe in you,” Zoe said happily.

Zoe’s Favourite Meals 

“When I don’t have a lot of time in the morning I like to put a banana, an orange and a couple (or a LOT) spoons of muesli in the blender. Delicious breakfast!”

Motivational Mantra

"If you work hard, you’ll reach your goals before you even realize"

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More About Zoe

“I’m 16 years old and I live in a small city in the Netherlands. When I’m older I want to become a personal fitness trainer in Florida. I have big dreams, but I know I can do it!”

Keep Zoe motivated as she tracks her progress on the app @ZoeTigran!

How Xanthy got healthy and recovered from heartbreak - PumpUp Spotlight

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Xanthy (@xanthynauta) is an International Business student who made a healthy lifestyle her business after she was inspired to eat mindfully with the help of PumpUp. She gained confidence, recovered from heartbreak, and is stronger than ever. Learn about how the PumpUp community (and posts from members like @_harleyjade_) helped her along her journey!

From the age of 7 till the age of 16, Xanthy’s life revolved around Irish dancing—but when this stopped, she needed a way to get back on track. Xanthy won the Mainland European Champion title three times and trained almost every day to improve. To her dismay, due to financial difficulties, she was forced to quit Irish dancing and abandoned her active lifestyle as a consequence. “Over summer vacation I’d eat McDonalds a few times a week and drank way too much alcohol. Seeing myself in pictures at the age of 18 made me want to change and get rid of that awful feeling of being insecure,” recounts Xanthy.

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In the 5 months before she started using PumpUp, Xanthy enrolled in a gym and worked out 4 times a week—without seeing palpable progress. “I had no clue about healthy eating habits until I started using PumpUp,” she insists.

Since she joined the app in April after her sister @cheyennenauta recommended it to her, Xanthy’s eating habits changed drastically. “Other PumpUp members gave me inspiration and a good image for how a healthy lifestyle should work,” she says. “I limit my calories to around 1200 a day: Oats or Greek Yogurt for breakfast, a small fruit snack, a small lunch (usually corn tortillas with chicken slices, a fibrous snack (often whole wheat bread with peanut butter), dinner cooked by my mom, and a high protein snack after I work out.”

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Xanthy works out everyday but rests when she feels like her muscles need to recover. She thrives on having variety in her routine. “I love going to the gym, doing a T25 workout, an Insanity workout, or going for a run. Squats are my favourite!,” she says excitedly. 

Support from the PumpUp community helped Xanthy recover from a broken heart.  “It was my first real relationship in my life and it lasted 8.5 months,” she reveals. “[From the time that this was written], it has been 2 months since the break up and PumpUp and fitness helped me through it every single day.”

The gym was the first place she turned to on the day of the break up. “I was crying and walked out of the gym, very emotional. I needed one week for myself,” she elaborates. “After two months I finally feel happier than ever because of your support! Seeing posts from other PumpUp members and all of the nice and motivational things that people say here, this PumpUp community makes me feel loved! It’s a very important part of my life.”

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Xanthy strongly stresses that PumpUp members should never compare their own progress with that of others. “Only compete with yourself,” she emphasizes. “Place one of your ‘before’ body shots in your room where you’d often see it. You will see that picture every day and you will be reminded why you started this [journey]!” As Xanthy continues to live an active lifestyle, she hopes to remain dedicated to her health, gain strength, and lose all of her insecurities. 

The greatest source of motivation for Xanthy is confidence. “It’s the best feeling in the world that every dedicated person deserves,” she says. Xanthy is extremely inspired by other members of the PumpUp community as well! “PumpUp member @_harleyjade_ is a strong lady who posts motivational things every day!”

Favourite Eats

“I love combining banana, peanut butter, and a little bit of dark chocolate in my oats. It’s my favourite thing for breakfast on weekends.”

Motivational mantra

“I am my only competitor.”

Favourite exercise routine

A complete body workout at the gym always makes me feel amazing!” 

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More about Xanthy

“I’m studying International Business. I’m 19 years old (my healthy lifestyle started at April 2014 thanks to PumpUp! I’m feeling blessed with my amazing family, sharing all the sad and happy moments in my life with them. And yes I’m obsessed with my new lifestyle and the PumpUp app!” 

Follow Xanthy on PumpUp at @xanthynauta and on Instagram @xanthy_nauta to keep her Pumped!!!