Viewing entries tagged
how to be healthy

The Fail-Safe Guide to Getting on Track in January

The Fail-Safe Guide to Getting on Track in January

If there is ever a time that our collective enthusiasm for fitness takes a back seat, it is during the holiday season. Starting with Thanksgiving, and carrying on well into January, more people are into growing a bloated belly than a bicep, breaking the habits of a bodybuilding lifestyle – and well, any routine.

Getting back in shape is an imposing task, one that requires a whole lot of willpower. Armed with unbeatable determination and past experience, however, it is possible to make a triumphant comeback early into the new year. Here are a few tips for getting on track in January!

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:

Learn the Top 5 Root Rules to Health

Learn the Top 5 Root Rules to Health

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The-5-Roots-to-Health The idea of Roots Health & Fitness came because I had the desire to share my passion and experience with others. Roots focuses on a holistic approach to health from the ground-up, emphasizing our healthy lifestyles inside and outside of the gym. And then we get our sweat on at the end of each session!

“Healthy” means a lot of different things depending on who you are, so here are the Top 5 Roots Rules to Health, no matter who you are!

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The Top 5 "Root Rules" to a healthy lifestyle

Drink More Water

I know, I know…everyone says to do it. This rule isn’t revolutionary, but it works! Not only does water aid in maintaining body functions like digestion, but it also gives energy to your muscles, flushes your kidneys, and makes your skin glow like you’re a vampire in Twilight. So everyone please grab your water bottle and take some (water) shots with me!

Don’t Cook

So before you get too excited, let me explain…Eating cooked fruits and vegetables is a wonderful thing, but there are even more health benefits to eating raw fruits and vegetables. For one, you don’t have to add any oils, fats, or sodium that we usually include when cooking. Also, the enzymes, fiber, and other nutrients in fruits and veggies are preserved when left raw. And finally, it’s just plain easier! My favorite way to incorporate more raw fruits and veggies into my diet is through green smoothies. View my favorite green smoothie recipe here.

Eat More (often)

This doesn’t mean I want you guys to eat a bunch of Thanksgiving style feasts every day (though if you can, that’s quite impressive). As long as you’re fueling your body mindfully with healthy meals, your metabolism speeds up the more often you eat. Otherwise, the body can store fat and energy when it has to wait a longer period of time for the next meal leading to unwanted weight gain. Eating 5-6 small healthy meals a day is exactly what your belly and body need to stay happy and healthy.

Prepare

Having a plan, from start to finish, makes staying on track as easy as breathing. Plan your healthy meals for the week before you go to the grocery store, use a shopping list, and pick a day to prep a few meals for the week. My favorite meal to prep for the week is a homemade Chipotle Burrito Bowl. Preparation is great because you save money by cooking at home instead of purchasing your meals at restaurants, and you know exactly what’s going into every meal you eat.

Invest

Think back to the last time you got a new shirt, and how excited you were to wear it and show it off. Apply that same concept to your health. Buying a new piece of gear – whether it’s a pair of shoes, a fancy sweat-resistance shirt, a cool fitness watch, or even a water bottle – gets you excited to use it, and holds you accountable. When you look good and feel confident, you’re more likely to go out there and work hard (and not waste your hard-earned cash by letting your new shoes collect dust in the closet).

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This is a post by Randi Shores, creator and trainer for Roots Health & Fitness. Find her on the PumpUp app @randiashley to follow her health and fitness journey. 

5 ways fitness taught me to love myself

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

“She Loves Herself” usually has negative connotations; arrogance, a judgmental nature, vain, attention seeking. I think it’s time we changed that, don’t you?

My Fitness Journey, particularly the last 6 or 7 months, has taught me that loving yourself is a positive thing; it makes life more enjoyable, makes it easier to get on with other people and it makes it easier to make decisions that will improve your life.

1.     It taught me how phenomenal my body is

Fitness is a great way to get to know your body. When I say phenomenal I don’t mean “bodacious”. I mean it is an extraordinary and interesting thing that is capable of a lot of movements and reactions, and so is everyone else’s body.

Learning that my body can deadlift a load I would never have thought of attempting to move has made me appreciate it so much more. Learning that feeding it the right foods and training it in the right ways will get to respond the way I want it to has rendered me awestricken. When you think something is awesome or even intriguing you realise how outstanding it is and learn to love it. I can now look in the mirror without dread and shame and trust me, this has been the biggest part of the battle.

2.     It taught me to appreciate the idea of “rest”

Any of my friends, family or colleagues will tell you that I am a worrier; perpetually anxious and almost afraid to not work or do something to keep myself busy. I would socialise, work and write myself into the ground to the point where I could hardly produce the energy to meet friends for coffee.

Learning the importance of “rest and recovery” in training made me realise how important it is in the rest of my life.  That’s why we have annual leave in work, it’s why we take vacations; we need to slow down and take a break from the daily grind regularly to ensure that we are really benefiting from what we are doing. I now make time to read non-fitness and work related books and blogs every night before bed, I pick days when I will promise myself a pamper session or a lazy day and I consciously make more time for the little enjoyable things like watching a TV show or going out with friends and I am so much better for it.

3.     It taught me to be mindful

Fitness is a form of mindfulness, especially strength training. If allows you focus on one thing; getting through your sets and completing each rep. It is the one time in a lot of dedicated trainers’ days when they put their worries behind them and that is honestly the best thing you can do.

Being Mindful is to be consciously aware of how you feel, what you are doing and your surroundings and it is important to practice so you don’t get caught in a whirlwind of negative emotions and anxieties. It is, essentially, one of the most important things you can do to look after yourself.

4.     It taught me to put myself first

Whether as a result of being focused on my goals, the advice of my trainer or the people I have come across on social media I have learned that it is not a bad thing to put yourself first.

I am a firm believer that an inherently good person will always be available to help and to listen when someone needs them. I have learned, however, through fitness in one way or another, that putting yourself first does not make you a bad person either.

It’s ok to say “no” to plans, it’s ok to say you can’t go because you want to train and it is ok to decide you are no longer going to put up with someone or something if it will benefit you.

5.     It made me more aware of my mental health

Ok. Time to get heavy. There was a time when I was only happy during and after a training session. For a while this felt normal, it was a very welcome release, but when I became more aware of the contrast between how I felt when I was training and how I felt the rest of the day I realised there was something else wrong. As well as helping me realise that there was an issue, Fitness kept me going while I tried to figure out what was going on and how I could fix it.

Because I was more aware of my mental health and triggers in my life that made me feel bad, to put it gently, I eventually developed the tools and the wherewithal practice a little self-love, take care of my mind as well as my body and start creating a more positive life for more self.

Has training taught you to appreciate and take care of yourself more?

You can follow my journey, lap up my advice and consider my motivation over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as on my blog www.voltafitness.co and on PumpUp. I’d love to hear from you.

Can we convince you to never skip breakfast?

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Can we convince you to never skip breakfast? Meal prep ideas and tips

Ever feel irritable when you’re low on food? You, friend, are feeling hangry. Love yourself: don’t skip meals…especially not breakfast! Eating a bigger breakfast can help suppress cravings and prevent you from being #hangry later in the day. You (and most likely, those around you), will thank yourself for eating breakfast.

Need more reasons?

  • Concentration. You’re strolling down a slushy sidewalk. A letter for the post office is in hand. You glance at the envelope and realize that you forgot to decorate it with a stamp. Your phone pings: it’s an emoji story from your best friend (what else). Your phone pings again: a fitness app like the pumpupapp reminds you that you missed your morning workout. Suddenly you forgot what you, well, forgot in the first place. We didn’t mean to ramble, but let’s face it: our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. Breakfast may help with that.

  • Faster metabolism. A study conducted by Harvard University, with a huge sample size (17,000 men) indicated that participants who consumed breakfast on a regular basis had consistently lower weights than their counterparts who rarely or never consumed meals in the morning

Too lazy?

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Even if you wake up and you cannot even bear the idea of cracking open the fridge; meal prep is a sure-fire way to make sure you that you do get breakfast. Just. Do. 

  • Cut up pieces of fruit in advance and seal it in tupperware 
  • Seal smoothie ingredients in ziplock bags. All you have to do is blend them and go. So. painless.
  • Make a bunch of protein pancakes (1 banana + 2 eggs) or gluten free pancakes, or ANY pancakes in advance; freeze ‘em, and reheat them. They’re much better homemade: you know exactly what you’re putting into your body. 
  • Make homemade protein bars that you can grab and go
  • As a general rule of thumb to keep in mind: add more fiber and protien to your breakfast. Chia seeds are great for mornings:  they have 10 g of fiber + nearly 5 g of protein per ounce! A little chia goes a long way to keep you fuller for longer. 

Overcome your 'fear' of being healthy and never deprive yourself

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Over the past six months, I have come to learn that there is a kind of “fear” of living a healthy lifestyle in the sense that people may feel deprived or that they will only be eating small green salads all day. I believe that this misconception scares people away from living a healthy lifestyle because they think that being healthy—whether it’s a ‘clean’ diet, vegetarian, vegan, raw, paleo, gluten free…etc— is extremely restrictive. The image of a healthy lifestyle is portrayed as an unsatisfying one in which people are always in the gym and barely eating to maintain a slim, toned, or muscular figure. This misconception deters people from ‘committing’ to a relationship with nourishing food. The key to succeeding on a plant-based diet is to eat enough food! Calorie restricting is proven to slow down your metabolism as a protective mechanism. Investing in your health now prevents you from dealing with illnesses and aches that supposedly “come with age,” when in fact, they come from a poor diet in the early stages of your life.

Here is some perspective on what a plant-based diet can do for you and your health:

PREVENTS/CURES/REVERSES: Heart disease, cancer, emphysema, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney failure, influenza, blood infection, liver disease, hypertension, parkinson’s, pneumonitis, injuries

COUNTLESS studies have proven that through a plant-based diet, these diseases can be cured, prevented, and even reversed through a healthier lifestyle. So, with all of this knowledge, how could you neglect what your body truly wants and needs to thrive for a long, healthy life? My number one tip is to eat enough calories from high carb, whole food, plant based sources so you:

  • have high energy and feel satisfied
  • avoid cravings for unhealthy junk/processed foods
  • avoid binge eating
  • are able to focus clearly
  • improve hormonal and bodily functions
  • and be the best version of you!!!

Deprivation is not adopting a healthy lifestyle filled with vibrant, nutritious foods—deprivation is being on a standard ‘diet’ that makes you feel guilty for indulging in what you are craving!

Wouldn’t you rather have an abundance of food that makes you feel great over a spoonful of ice cream that just leaves you wanting more? Through this lifestyle, you can feel truly confident in what is going into your body! This is the first lifestyle that I have come across that is simply about long-term health and not short-term solutions. You can heal your mind and your body by nourishing yourself properly by adopting a plant-based lifestyle!

This is a post 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.

6 ways to transform your life

6 ways to transform your life

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Switch Your Mindset- Lasting change is not something that a “quick-fix” diet or bottle of pills can achieve. Instead, think about this as a permanent lifestyle change—a commitment to your health for life. While there are many diet plans and bootcamp classes out there to help kick start your transformation, ultimately you need to take responsibility for your health by changing your life! Eliminate processed foods completely- if you want to drastically change your health in the quickest way possible, I suggest avoiding as much processed and packaged food as possible. This means white breads, pastas, crackers, chips, cookies, snack bars, etc. There are always loaded unwanted ingredients in there that are adding to your waistline!

Opt for a whole foods diet- So once you cut out processed foods, you will probably be wondering what to eat! My advice is to eat as many colourful fruits and vegetables as possible, combined with the highest quality animal products, nuts, seeds and mindful eating practices you will be on your way to the best version of yourself in no time!

Set goals and review them regularly- Having a goal, like wanting to look good for bikini season, usually don’t work as well as wanting to feel more confident or wanting to lose weight because of health issues. Use positive visualization to dream up how you feel when you are at your ideal weight, shape or size. Write it down and use this visualization when you need a boost of motivation to cook a healthy dinner or go to the gym.

Find your cheerleaders- Human beings are social creatures, so it no wonder that we are so successful when we feel supported. There are many health programs out there that use support groups to supercharge results so don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Find your support circle whether it’s a personal trainer, nutritionist, online community, friends, coworkers or family. Recruit others to challenge themselves along side you, share your struggles and triumphs and most importantly encourage each other.

Reflect-Keep a journal of your progress and include how certain foods and activities make you feel. Emotional issues are often at the core of self-defeating habits that got us overweight and out of shape to begin with.  Looking back at your past pictures and see how far you’ve really come is also very powerful…however its important that this comes from a place of non-judgement!

This is a post by Gillian B

Digest your food faster with the Thunderbolt pose

This is a post written by PumpUp member countrygirl4ever. I’m a size four, but I have the appetite of a college football player.  How? The Thunderbolt pose. This is one of my ultimate secret to having a fast metabolism.  I have been practicing yoga for over ten years and this is by far one of my favorite yoga poses because it helps aid in proper digestion. Unlike other Asanas that should be done on an empty stomach to prevent acid reflux, this asana is most beneficial done after eating.  How does this work? Well, sitting in this posture decreases the blood flow to the legs and increases the blood flow to the digestive organs, which increases the efficiency of the digestive system.

How to do a Thunderbolt Pose

  1. Kneel on both knees, keeping the legs together, placing the feet where the two big toes touch or slightly cross each other.
  2. Sit the thighs on the calves, keeping the spine and neck straight.  Look forward.  (The gluteus should be resting on the heels).
  3. Settle the hands on the knees, palms down, elbows straight and breathe naturally.

The goal is to sit like this for thirty minutes after a meal.  However, it is natural for the legs to start to cramp in the beginning if this is new for you.  If so, try to sit like this for one to five minutes, then stretch and massage the legs as needed, and try sitting again.  I recommend practice sitting like this at least once, if not two times a day, after a meal.  With practice, you’ll gradually build up and sitting in this pose for thirty minutes will be easy as a breeze.  A trick I use to move my attention away from my cramping legs is to watch TV or listen to music.  If I am really crushed on time, I’ll literally sit in this pose in my office to type up a report, to make a presentation, or to read.

Other health benefits for this pose are that it provides relief for people suffering from low back or sciatic pain, helps aid for ones with gas problems if done immediately after a meal, helps relieve constipation, gives longevity and strengthens the spine.

*Note: Although the Thunderbolt pose may have many health benefits, it is not recommended for anyone with bad knees or who has had knee surgery.

Are you on your fitness journey for the right reasons?

In this post, PumpUp member fitnessriss (@carissamarie2 on the pumpupapp) teaches us how to reorient our mindset in a positive way, allowing us to view our personal motives for “fitness” with more critical introspection. 

Everybody wants to be a health nut, to have that “perfect” body, and to be that “beast” in the gym. I’m curious though; do we know why we want these things? Are we working hard for the right reasons? We each have our individual reasoning, but together we should be working towards the same thing: to better ourselves, to become healthier beings, and to spread love. Your goals should not be surrounded in vain; striving to imitate the hottest celebrity or striving to become beautiful! Do it for YOU! You are someone great and you were born beautiful.

Every human being is beautiful, you must learn to love yourself, because nobody will love yourself more than you will. We must stop comparing ourselves to people we’ve never met, and start comparing ourselves only to the person we were yesterday. Are you better than you were yesterday? No? Then continue to do exactly what makes you better than you were yesterday, whether that is working out, finishing your work, creating something, or simply thinking positively about yourself.

Remember: be patient while working towards your goals!  If your goal is to be healthy and yo see yourself going down an unhealthy spiral, make sure you pick yourself up instead of bringing yourself down. Boost your confidence with positive affirmations and keep working toward those goals. Be patient, you will get to where you need to be in time. Focus on the now, because that is truly where we are. Right now is all we have to bring the tomorrow we want. Worrying about your past or future is useless and wastes the time you have in the present.

We are all beautiful human beings. Be proud. Be you. Stop saying I will be healthy, I will be beautiful, I will be happy. Instead, right now, at this moment, remind yourself you ARE healthy, you ARE beautiful, you ARE happy. Be all that you can imagine right now. And if you are able to make these realizations, you can view the world with clear eyes and a warm heart. You will see others with the same beauty you see within yourself and love others as you love yourself. In turn, this spreads positivity and happiness to everyone, and creates a better environment and better world for all of us to live in. Now, ask yourself, do you do what you do to become a better you? A healthier you? Are you doing this for your happiness and your well-being? Are you doing this for you?

Why motivation is all about your mindset

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amazing slow cooker oatmeal

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Slow Cooker Spiced Oatmeal

This is a recipe by PumpUp member @dashdoze, an aspiring dietitian with a passion for healthy living. Find her blog here.

I don’t know about you, but for me preparing breakfast in the morning is too much effort! When I wake up I’m always feeling peckish and wish I could just snap my fingers and have my breakfast appear. Although I haven’t figured out how to master that trick yet, my trusty slow cooker is my life-saver for having my breakfast ready and waiting for me when I wake up.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 tsp imitation vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (less or more if you prefer)
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (less or more if you prefer)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds

Method:

  1. If your slow cooker is not non-stick, spray now with cooking spray to cover the bottom of the pot.
  2. Add all the ingredients to your slow cooker.
  3. Stir to combine.
  4. Select your slow cooker setting and cook for 5 hours.
  5. In the morning, if any liquid remains, stir to combine. The longer the oatmeal sits, especially in a cold environment (fridge or freezer), the thicker it will become.
  6. Add toppings of your choice and enjoy! :)
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Recommended toppings:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts (e.g. almonds, pistachios)
  • Seeds (e.g. sunflower, pepitas)
  • Chia seeds
  • Muesli
  • Cereal (e.g. puffed rice or corn)
  • Granola
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Nut butter (e.g. peanut butter or almond butter)
  • Natural sweetener (e.g. maple syrup, honey, agave, rice malt syrup)
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It's world nutella day, but that doesn't mean your life is over

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It’s World Nutella Day 2015. That doesn’t mean the world (or your healthy lifestyle) has to be over.

While Nutella lovers around the world rejoice in the glory of this velvety, chocolate-hazelnut spread, you’re sitting idly by your computer, wondering whether you can incorporate the beloved condiment into your day. Just this once. 

The answer is yes. Live in moderation. Make healthy eating part of a lifestyle, not a diet. Did you eat a lot of wholesome food this week? Eat some Nutella and savour it.

Pro tips for indulging in that Nutella

  • Dip it wisely. The glycemic index of different types of food can influence your blood sugar. Fruits generally have low GI values and won’t make your blood sugar fluctuate as much (read: make the hunger real and trigger intense cravings). White breads, crackers, and other dippers that you generally associate with nutella have GI values on the higher end of the spectrum. If you’re gonna eat nutella with something, spread it on a piece of food that’s better for you!
  • Savour it, don’t obsess over it. Have a tablespoon. Maybe a tablespoon and a half. But don’t eat the whole jar. Remember that nutella also has a lot more sugar than peanut butter does, and it contains tons of modified palm oil as opposed to natural fat. 

  • Balance it out. Ramp up your workout just a notch: run an extra kilometre, do a HIIT class, try a pilates video. Get up and move by doing something you genuinely love. Never hate yourself or punish yourself for indulging in anything. 
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  • One tablespoon of nutella goes a long way. Diffuse the tablespoon into a recipe with other, better-for-you ingredients that’ll make you feel fuller for longer, and pumped for your next workout. We love this protein pancake recipe, it’s genius!

Growing up without processed food helped me find my passion

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.

I grew up in a household and lifestyle where food and health were key. We were extremely poor, especially when I was very young, but my parents had given their lives to their farm and their dairy cows: this was our livelihood. 

My four siblings and I were expected to help, and the amount of help increased as we got older. As a teenager I was throwing around 100 pound square bales each summer and 120 pound bags of grain twice a day, carrying calves up to the barn on my shoulders from the far pastures, pounding fence posts, digging holes, hand hoeing 1/8 acre of garden. We were vegetarian primarily for my first twelve years of life, though I did get to eat Polish sausage from my great grandfather’s meat processing plant, as well as turkeys we raised for thanksgiving. We went trick or treating at maybe eight houses for Halloween, and were allowed the candy for a day or two before my parents upped and burned it in the wood stove. (This happened every year!) Processed foods were not available to me at all as a child unless I was at a friend’s house. 

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As a child you go through the struggles of wishing you could have what you don’t have, and craving foods your parents don’t want you to eat. You hate your chores and wish you could play video games all day on the weekends like your friends (if you even owned any). But then one day you are an adult. 

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I grew up and was living on my own, realizing how much I loved to work hard and be physically fit, and how much I loved the taste of wholesome food. As I pursued my four-year degree in the art of Eurythmy, I more and more experienced how much both these things-food and fitness-mattered even as I worked on changing myself on an inner level. The outer strength gave me courage and confidence, the ability to stand upright for long periods of time, to move on a stage to music for 20 minutes without pause. Nourishing food gave me health, the ability to think and take hold of everything in my life, to have enough energy to do so. And I realize now that all of my parent’s choices have come into fruition in me today, as I take the fitness journey and work towards optimum health. 

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This is only the beginning and the first revelations of a person who sees fitness as an essential part of life. I am completely inspired by others who are on this journey and who show such dedication to health and motivating those who need help. The fitness community on the pumpupapp is a great one to be a part of: it’s positive, fun, confident, supportive and health-oriented. I realize that no matter how poor you are, if you can be a part of such a wonderful group of people, you are truly given wealth a thousandfold~”health is wealth.” Happy journeying.

How healthier eating habits changed Belinda's life - PumpUp Success Stories

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Healthier eating habits made a world of difference for Belinda (@beldots). She’s a beloved pumpupapp member who inspires others endlessly with her dedication to a holistically healthy lifestyle. “I grew up as a chubby kid with low self esteem—but when I found my passion for GOOD food, I found myself shedding the kilos quicker than I could realize,” she admitted. Now, almost every facet of Belinda’s life revolves around health and fitness. “It has spiralled out of control (in a good way!)” she laughed. “I go to the gym 7 days a week, eat as much healthy food as I can, and talk about health and wellness in most of my conversation topics!”

WhenBelinda joined the PumpUp community in June 2014, she was looking for a way to stay true to her health and fitness goals. “I had my hesitations because I wasn’t so sure whether the outside world would be accepting or receptive about little old me and my goals,” she confessed. “After a few posts on PumpUp, I was hooked! I wanted to try PumpUp because I needed motivation and didn’t like the idea of a workout buddy. I still needed to be held accountable for my workouts and eating choices and PumpUp fit the mould perfectly.”

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She lived a moderately healthy lifestyle prior to PumpUp, performing cardio-intensive workouts twice a week and making good eating choices from time to time. “I tried to cook my own meals, but studying full-time made it difficult. There is a lot of comfort food and take-out readily available around campus, and that let me down a fair bit,” she explained. As a self-professed stress-eater, Belinda recounted how she would consume chocolate and energy drinks endlessly whenever she was tasked with a big assignment. “It was terrible,” she lamented. 

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Bolstered by motivation from the PumpUp community, Belinda now epitomizes health and wellness. She exercises an impressive 6-7 times a week, incorporating both weightlifting and cardio into her routine. She has begun to count her macronutrients as well. It’s something that, in her opinion, sheds a new light on what kinds of food she consumes every day. Above all, health and wellness has made a huge impact on Belinda’s mentality. “When I was younger I’d never let anyone around me take photos of myself—I was so embarrassed and ashamed!” she professed. “I don’t have any real ‘before’ photos but I do know that fitness has improved my quality of life drastically. I find myself healthier, happier, and surrounded by likeminded people on PumpUp and in my daily life—this pushes me harder to pursue my personal aspirations.” 

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Belinda strongly advocates for a holistic approach towards health and wellness. “I’d love to emphasize just how important a well-rounded and healthy lifestyle is for your wellbeing and appearance,” she stressed. “I see so many girls—who are around my age or younger—believing that eating less is good. That isn’t always the case. Sometimes—maybe even most of the time—you need to eat more of the right food to lose body fat (not to be confused with ‘weight’!).” Belinda hopes that her PumpUp page demonstrates that any normal person can lead a healthy and active lifestyle at any point in their lives—it isn’t unrealistic. “I started on a similar (if not worse) state as many others who typically begin their journeys on an app like PumpUp,” she mused. “A healthy and active lifestyle can be done and it is worth it. As soon as I got my health in order, everything fell into place: university grades, relationships, overall happiness, a cleaner room—you name it!”

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Biggest Motivation

“I know it sounds strange, but truly, myself! I believe you have the power to be exactly who you want to be each and every day and if you know you’re not the absolute best you can be the only person that can really change that is yourself.” 

Motivational Mantra
“’What is stopping you being your absolute best you can be today?’ 99% of the time there is none, so it works a charm!!”

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Favourite snack: “Recently I’ve just discovered how amazing cottage cheese is (especially for macro counting) so that on some crackers with some fresh tomato, avocado, pepper and chives is my favourite!!”

Favourite meal:My kangaroo chili con carne recipe would have to take the cake… It’s so nutritionally good for you and chilli itself being somewhat addictive means you just want to keep eating and eating!”

Favourite Exercise

“Oh my goodness that’s a tough one! Ummmm… Everything?! I love bike riding for cardio and an added lower body workout, or ergo meter for upper body, but mainly anything with weights! I love planks! (But strange I know) but I’ve built up to doing 5kg placed on my back while planking and that really gets the heart going and core burning! Apart from that, barbell squats, deadlifts or anything with weights really!”

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Fun fact about Belinda

“My overall goal in life is to live like my grandparents have. They’re from a little place just south of Rome in Italy and they came to Australia in 1955. They’re the most humble but most remarkable people you’ll ever meet and they’re my overall inspiration. My Nonno is 88 and my Nonna is 86 and they’ve never taken medication in their life, they’re still so incredible active, grow, make, and eat all their own food themselves and blow all our modern doctors away by just how healthy they are.

I think it’s something that’s lost in our society yet so so important. I want to eventually bring my kids up the way they’ve brought my whole family up!”

Keep Belinda pumped on the pumpupapp by following her @beldots! Find her Instagram page too @bel_health! 

Transformation Tuesday: EDNOS Recovery

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How Gracie made peace with her past

Love Yourself. Make peace with your past. Share a #TransformationTuesday pic about how your past has shaped who you are today! 

pumpupapp member fit_gracie shared her brave story: "My progress is not only in my appearance, but in my heart as well. I was struggling with depression and hated myself more than anything else," she explained. "[Later on], I had my first go with anorexia, EDNOS, and stress eating. Now I’m happy and healthy. I feel stronger and better than ever. Not only is there an obvious change in my weight, there is a huge change in my smile. I owe it to myself to get better" 

 Cheer her on! http://bit.ly/trypumpup

Fruit does NOT make you fat

This is a post 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.

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Finally putting the fruit controversy to rest, I am going to tell you why fruit is so beneficial for you and your body and why fruit does not make you fat!! After doing some research, I found a general consensus that people who eat more fruit on a daily basis have lower BMIs. Think about it this way—if you swap your regular morning muffin for an apple every day, you would save about 135,000 calories in one year alone! Isn’t that amazing?! Making small swaps like this will absolutely help you achieve your long-term goals. I am not saying to change your entire diet overnight—taking baby steps towards a healthier lifestyle will help you keep it up forever! It is all about quality and quantity on a raw vegan diet—fruit calories are packed with water, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. This means NO restriction!

Just to put things into perspective for you:

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I included the image above to give you a visual understanding of why you never feel full after eating a donut that is high in calories– those calories are not nutrient dense! The calories in processed foods do not give your body what it needs to thrive and properly function throughout the day, therefore sending your brain messages that you need more—now it is up to you to give your body what it truly needs. The endless nutritious components of fruits and veggies allow you to consume as much as you desire while constantly feeding your cells with what they need to survive.

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Fruits and veggies do not only benefit the inside of your body, but they also help you to flush out toxins, radiate from within, and give you the energy that you need to get through your busy day. The antioxidants in fruits, for example, even out skin pigmentation and improve circulation giving you that desired “natural glow.” Fruits and veggies also fight off free radicals that could lead to diseases such as skin and lung cancer. I could truly go on and on about the benefits of this lifestyle but for now just remember to start making small changes that could eventually overhaul your life and your health inside-out.

Check out more from Ashley at rawincollege.com and find her on the pumpupapp @rawincollege!

10 steps to better eating : the mental approach

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

Clear your mind of can’t. I believe that you can eat your way to a beach-ready body for the summer. Trimming off those extra holiday pounds might be a hurdle and a half, but don’t give up now! 

Be patient and follow these 10 steps 

1. SET PRESENT-TENSE GOALS! It all starts by having clear and realistic goals. Write a list of things you want to change about your diet. Incorporate goals that you have for your body and plan your new lifestyle around those objectives. How to do it? Set present, short them and long term goals. Write in the present tense. Pin it up somewhere in your house: a place you know you won’t be able to avoid (like the fridge). Take it one goal at a time. Take your time to achieve your goals, it’s not a contest :-).

2. Make Your Goals Public! You might feel uncomfortable doing this but I highly suggest it. Why? Because making your goals public (on the pumpupapp, for example) will put a pressure on you and will have no other choice but to follow through with them ;-)! Plus, you can inspire people around you and they might join you!

3. Realistic Expectations. You need to be realistic when setting up the parameters of your new diet. Your plan needs to work for you and your situation. Follow your budget, cook your food to help you stay on track with your new lifestyle. Be realistic with time, and give yourself extra time to prepare food. Keep in mind that obstacles can and will derail you from your progress, so don’t think that everything will be easy and will just magically happen. This takes work.

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4. Keep healthy food on hand. Make a list of foods you enjoy, and what food you can take with you to work, school, in the car etc. You can create entire menus depending on where you will be. Never give yourself an excuse to not have something available for you to eat, no matter where you are when you are supposed to have a meal. Always keep healthy food on hand. If you don’t you will end up eating whatever is available for you at the moment. This can throw off a diet plan and get you in the habit of making bad food choices and eat whatever is fast and convenient.

5. Consistency Is Key! People respond well to consistency. Make a plan and stick to it. Try to eat at around the same times daily and keep the same portion size and caloric intake. Your body will recognize this pattern and in turn keep your metabolism burning and your energy level will stay high. You will feel better by getting yourself in a healthy routine!

6. Be Flexible. Of course, even the best plans fall short at times. Sometimes your eating routines need to change. Where you can, try to plan ahead for these events and have items on hand you can take with you when you’re in a rush or are eating out. Example: bag of nuts or almonds, protein bars, shakes, fresh fruits. Also, educate yourself on nutrition through the internet, blogs, magazines, books…Use your knowledge to help you improvise and find foods that are more compatible with your diet.

7. Don’t Beat Yourself Up. Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes or miss a few meals. Even I do it. Just pick yourself up and get back on track! You’re doing this for you, so the added stress of not living up to your own expectations can lead to a total diet derailment. Being healthy and eating healthy doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy food that isn’t on your meal plan. So, please don’t beat yourself up. YOU CAN DO THIS!!!

8. Make It Fun! Eating right takes dedication, commitment and sacrifice. Don’t stress yourself out over small bumps in the road. You have the power to change any negative situations or thoughts into positive ones. Find fun ways to keep yourself motivated! Get your family or a friend involved. Set challenges at home, with friends or at work to start eating healthier. You are making change for the better, so why not make it enjoyable!

9. Give Yourself Praise! Don’t reward yourself with treats. This will derail all of your week efforts into the trash. Realize that changing your eating habits can be a daunting task for anyone. Just think how long you have had your correct habits and know that changing those habits will not happen overnight, but with time. Congratulate yourself on any healthy changes you make, you deserve the praise!!! Instead of rewarding yourself with a treat, go and get a nice tank top to motivate you even more! Praise builds confidence and makes you feel good about the healthy choices you are making and in turn helps you stay on your path to betterment.

10. Focus On The Journey And Not The Destination. It is never easy to love a healthy lifestyle. But in order to enjoy it with all the ups and downs, we must enjoy the process and the journey on the way to our destination. Once we hit our destination we immediately look to the next mountain top and we either want more or worst case scenario we think that we have accomplished all we need to and we relax on all of the things that got us there in the first place. Take pride in the small victories along the way, they add up.

Making successful changes means measuring your progress towards your goals and recognizing your accomplishments. As you meet short-term goals, you can plan the next steps with more confidence. Constantly re-strategizing your goals takes long-term visualization. That long-term vision needs to be broken down into doable steps.

Now, go out and make a difference in your life today!!! Would you like to receive more support from me on a daily basis?? Ask me about my next Challenge & Support Group!

Together we can set goals and achieve them!

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Share a throwback photo of where you were one year ago, or a photo that captures a point in your life that reflects the very beginning of your health and wellness journey. What changes have you made since then? Reblog if you just want to comment about it!

PumpUp's best advice, from PumpUp's own members

Confidence

  • Step back, look in the mirror, and tell yourself that you’re good enough. You can get through anything. You can: no matter what anyone has told you, no matter who has left you, no matter how weak you feel, you are strong enough to change.
  • Accept the fact that everything you need to change is already inside of you. You don’t need anything from anyone and if you want something, go get it. No goal is too big. Get up, tell yourself you’re strong, and go for what you want. Regret is by far the worst feeling ever.
  • Accept yourself unconditionally, right now. Everyday, at least once, look in the mirror and say this. That person is all you’ve got. If you want to be better you have to earn it, but accepting yourself comes first.
  • Your limits aren’t the same as mine or anybody else. Push YOUR limits and you’ll only get better. Better than you were yesterday, or even a month ago.
  • Be yourself. The best version of you is not trying to be someone else. Don’t discourage others because a workout didn’t work out for you, or a certain diet didn’t go the way it was supposed to. We all struggle and we all want support. If you want to advise someone, there are ways to do it without hurting anyone’s feelings.
  • 7 billion humans. Not 1 of us has it all together. Your struggles, your pain: there are 7 billion others going through the same thing in different ways. What if we told you that the rich and famous dread the struggles of their lives. What if we told you that the gorgeous girls with glamorous lifestyles on Instagram are beyond insecure and need confirmation from others. They HAD setbacks. They HAD troubles with their health. They HAD problems looking in the mirror and accepting themselves. Don’t you see? You have a world full of people just like YOU. Realize that people show you their life in “movie mode” with loads of edits instead of presenting their behind the scenes. There are 7 billion of us. Not one of them is perfect. Not one of us has it all together.

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Motivation

  • Nothing is impossible in this world. If you’re willing to try seriously, it might take time but it’s never impossible. Don’t set an unrealistic time limit to your goals.
  • Be positive. Even if you don’t feel like getting up, GET UP! Even when you feel discouraged, KEEP GOING! As long as you try, that’s all that matters. Surround yourself with people who are going to motivate you and push you t o be better than you were the day before
  • Write down your feelings. It will really work wonders if you keep a record of how you feel. It’ll be easier to remember the struggles you’ve been through. You can look back to see how much you fought for your dreams.
  • Learn the art of saying no Don’t make excuses, don’t over explain yourself.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try. Do your best and you’ll never fail: as long as you believe in yourself and you know you gave your best, that’s an automatic win.
  • Turn “I Wish” into “I Will”. You can do this! It is the law of attraction: things we passionately think about and believe will come true.

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Exercise

  • Work out daily! It boosts your mood, relieves stress, and fights disease!
  • "If running is difficult, run more" (This lesson applies to anything)
  • Fad diets can change your weight, but working out can change your body
  • Change up your workouts. Otherwise, your body will adapt to them and won’t progress further.

Eating and drinking

  • Aim for 5-6 meals per day: 3 strong ones (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and 2-3 small ones (snacks)
  • Try a new fruit or veggie every week
  • Eat healthy things that makes you happy. Make it fun and interesting and don’t restrict yourself
  • Drink at least 2-2.5 L of water daily. It’s critical to keep your body hydrated

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Rest

  • Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per day. Sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and it can benefit your heart, weight, and mind.
  • Avoid overtraining. You body needs a chance to rest. If you hit the gym hard everyday you increase your risk of injury and slow down your progress! Take your rest days. They are as important as your gym days. If you are desperate for exercise, limit it to a walk or a light jog. your body needs to rest in order to heal and build muscle.

Other

  • The best things in life aren’t “things”. Love the warmth of the sun on your face, a good firm hug, saying hello to a stranger, synergy, solitude, and the outdoors.

Don't just dream about a healthy lifestyle, adopt it and maintain it

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

The first month of the New Year is slowly coming to an end. I’m sure that a lot of people have already given up on their good intentions. This is pretty normal if you don’t have a specific plan in mind. Even if you did give up, it’s never too late to start again. This time, let’s start right.

Here are my 10 tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle

1. A realistic and healthy eating plan: 

As I always advise, set up an eating plan with lots of variety. Don’t make it overly complicated. Make it interesting for you. Think about healthy options that you’d personally (and realistically) look forward to eating, and plan around it.

2. Have faith in yourself:

Seeing is believing. Once you see results and see that you are capable of making changes in your behaviour, you will become more confident and motivated. Break down your goal in smaller steps; it will make it easier for you to believe that you can achieve it.

3. Avoid negativity:

Research has shown that social support is very important, especially after the first few weeks when your motivation begins to fade. Avoid negative people, seek support from a community of likeminded individuals like those on the pumpupapp, or get a gym-buddy to work out with you.

4. Work out all the details:

If you want to lose weight or hit the gym more frequently, set up a sensible plan for your grocery-shopping, cooking and workouts. Get a solution for your cravings without depriving yourself from food you love.

5. Celebrate small achievements

Say that you want to lose 30 kg. You’ll be much more motivated to stick to your goal when you think of every 5 kgs ‘lost’ as a ‘milestone’. Your success is a composite of mini milestones strung together. 

6. Prepare yourself for cravings:

Cravings are caused by swings in your blood sugar. Avoid quick boosts like sweets, soda or simple carbs. If you eat every 3 hours and include lean protein from nuts, meats or beans, you will satisfy your hunger for fewer and healthier calories.

7. Control your surroundings:

Eliminate tempting and fattening treats from your environment by stocking the pantry and refrigerator with healthy foods. For the first weeks, it may also be best for you if you surround yourself with people, places and things that will HELP you change and not tempt you.

8. Change your bad habits into good ones, don’t just cut down on them

Instead of resolving to eat less junk food or watch less television, think of a good habit that you can substitute for each bad habit that you’re trying to get rid of. Just dieting and cutting down on everything is non-sense. It isn’t a healthy, nor sustainable way to maintain your lifestyle.

9. Treat yourself:

Every time you reach one of your ‘baby goals’, reward yourself with anything you want: flowers, new gym clothes, even a sweet treat (in moderation).

10. Setbacks are inevitable:

It is totally okay if you have a setback, what matters is that YOU can control it. You have to learn to ‘recover’ from slips. You have to be strong, and remind yourself that you are strong and that you can do it. You shouldn’t see a setback as a failure and use them as an excuse to give up.

As far as I am concerned, I don’t call it ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ but rather ’ New Year’s Goals’, simply because I think that if you set a goal you are more likely to stay motivated and reach them as if you just set up some good intentions. And while I don’t have to change my eating habits or change my gym-habits, I have different things I want to achieve or improve for this year:

  1. Spend more time with my family
  2. Walk my fluffy ball Mumble more often
  3. Get in even better shape than I was in 2014
  4. Get a satisfying placement at the ‘Top de Colmar’ (France), Powerfood’s J-M.B Open (Luxembourg), Miss FIBO Power Beauty (Germany), West-German Championship (Germany) & maybe qualify for the World Championships in Warsaw (Poland)
  5. Be more organized  
  6. Be more positive
  7. Save more money (very original I know haha)

I am convinced that by the end of 2015 I will have tallied almost all the goals on this List. The 4th resolution may be the most difficult one, but I believe in myself. I want to represent my team with my best possible shape at the Powerfood’s J-M.B Open and if I get the chance to participate at the world-championship in Warsaw I don’t want to just be part of the event. I am going to compete. 2015 is GAME TIME.