Viewing entries tagged
lifting

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

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

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

How PumpUp inspires Jessica to be her best self

How PumpUp inspires Jessica to be her best self

It all started with a gym membership. Jessica was eating healthy food, but didn't have the motivation to experiment with her recipes or workouts. "I didn't start getting serious about health and fitness until about a year ago," she elaborated. "I joined a gym for the first time - that was around the same time I joined PumpUp. Why not be surrounded by daily motivation and people who enjoyed bettering their lives just as much as you do?"

Are Chucks good for lifting?

Are Chucks good for lifting?

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When you think about weightlifting shoes, Converse sneakers might be the last thing to cross your mind. Though canvas Chuck Taylor All-Stars (colloquially known as Chucks) are regarded as an emblem of creative expression with widespread and nearly iconic appeal, you'll be surprised to find that they're pretty popular among powerlifters too. The next time you're pausing between reps, scan the floor of your gym. Among the weighted plates, half-filled water bottles, and dingy towels, your little eye might spy somebody sporting a pair of Chucks. But why? For fashion? Of course! Chucks have found fans in Harry Potter and even the First Lady. However, original Converse All-Star sneakers are a decent option for resistance training.  While some people prefer to lift without shoes or splurge on more expensive lifting shoes, Chucks reasonably achieve the same purpose.

Are Chucks good for lifting? // The PumpUp Blog

 

Why you should consider Chucks for lifting

They aren't running shoes

Running shoes are not great for lifting gif // Are converse shoes good for lifting?
Sorry running shoes, you can't lift with us. When you perform heavier lifts, it's important to ground your feet on the floor so that you can stabilize yourself. They're your base of support, as you transmit energy through your feet to lift.  Padded running shoes absorb shock and thus, energy that could otherwise be used for your lifts. The more energy you transfer through your feet, the heavier you'll be able to lift (all while looking like a boss). With arched running shoes, you recruit other muscles to compensate for the lack of force you would be able to derive from grounding your feet on the floor. This can undermine your technique over time and increase your risk of injury.

They have flat soles

Lifting shoes // Are Chucks good for lifting? - The PumpUp Blog
Chucks have thin and flat soles that don't compress under a heavy load. Because older Chucks don't have any arch support, your feet will be in close contact with the floor and you'll be at liberty to push through your heels. You'll also train the stabilizing muscles in your feet. This will eventually help to protect your lower extremities against injury and it'll make your lifts more efficient. You'll hit depth with your squats and maintain better form as you progress.

They're comfy and affordable


Chucks are light, durable (wear them for ALL the years), and their canvas build makes them fit like a sock. If you so desire, Chucks are an ideal first-step to help you progress to barefoot lifting. While Adidas powerlifting shoes sell for roughly $190 USD, you can purchase Converse sneakers for a fraction of the price at $30-50 USD.

Why you might want to suck it up and splurge on lifting shoes

The Converse All Star Chuck II isn't great for lifting

Are converse shoes good for lifting?
In July 2015, Converse unveiled a redesigned model of their classic All-Star shoes for the first time in 98 years.  While the All-Star Chuck II looks almost identical to its predecessor, it no longer bears the qualities that make Chucks a desirable option for lifting: arch support and affordability (to some degree). A foam lining cushions the soles of the All-Star Chuck II, providing a form of arch support that would make it more difficult for lifters to exert force through the ground. Although the updated sneakers don't cost as much as lifting shoes, they do ring the cash register in at $75 for high-tops and $70 for low-tops.

Raised Heels

Adidas lifting shoes // Are Chucks good for lifting? - The PumpUp Blog
Lifting shoes, on the other hand, might be worth the splurge if heavier squats are your goal. They don't have any extra sole padding, but they have slightly raised heels, which gives your ankle more mobility and allows you to squat deeper. It'll also correct potential stance deficits, keeping you upright, reducing pressure on your lower back and recruiting the right muscles to help you lift with better form and greater efficiency. But when you're deadlifting, you really want shoes that are as flat as possible.

Extra Stability

If you do have ankle problems, weightlifting shoes will also give you more stability. Their hard soles will ensure that you're able to transfer tons of force into the ground and your feet will be able to have a tighter grip on the floor. With better balance and stability, you'll improve your technique and reduce your risk of injury simultaneously.

The verdict

Are converse shoes good for lifting?

So, are Chucks good for lifting? While the new Chuck II shoes aren't ideal, original Converse sneakers are decent. They have flat soles that resist compression and they're affordable. But depending on your technique, ankle mobility, level of intensity, and budget, you might want to splurge on a pair of weightlifting shoes. What are your favourite shoes for lifting? Do you wear shoes at all? Let us know in the comments below!

 How Anne learned to truly accept herself and fuel her body

How Anne learned to truly accept herself and fuel her body

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

A behind the scenes look at these PumpUp transformation stories | Transformation Tuesday

A behind the scenes look at these PumpUp transformation stories | Transformation Tuesday

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Contrary to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, there is no “class” or “spell” that Muggles can learn to charm their way into different physical forms. But able-bodied humans are capable of extraordinary things. Most drastic physical transformations are a gradual manifestation of many small changes. They’re representative of so much more than a side by side picture. Transformation Tuesday embodies the strength, resilience, and improvements in the overall wellbeing of anybody who had the courage to share about their progress.

 

Behind the scenes look at PumpUp Transformations | Transformation Tuesday

 

It’s been nearly one year since mikaylaeddie joined the PumpUp community. On Transformation Tuesday, she shared her first-ever full body comparison photo. “My journey is 2 years in the making and I’m proud of how far I’ve come,” she shared. “Don’t be afraid to lift heavy. Since I started weightlifting, I couldn’t be happier with the way my body has shaped up.” With the help of PumpUp, Mikayla disavowed the stigma against weightlifting and embraced strength training wholeheartedly.

 

Behind the scenes look at PumpUp Transformations | Transformation Tuesday

 

After receiving overwhelming help and support from PumpUp’s fitness community, little_birdy was able to completely transform her body in mere months. “I couldn’t have made it this far without PumpUp and my PumpUp family,” she nodded emphatically. She achieved her progress with patience, persistence, and perspiration. “It took me about 2 months to see results and another 5 to get to where I am today.” Tons of behind-the-scenes work went into little_birdy’s transformation. “I work out for about 1.5 hours a day and eat 3-5 healthy meals every day."

 

Keep them pumped and share about your amazing transformations on #TransformationTuesday with the PumpUp community.

This is what heavy lifting does for your back (Hint: awesome things)

This is what heavy lifting does for your back (Hint: awesome things)

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When PumpUp member @sharksbitesoflife took up heavy lifting one year ago, she never could have imagined how it would transform her body. Not only is her back definition much more pronounced, this PumpUp member looks and feels stronger and more confident. "Obviously the lighting is different, but I think I made some progress between then and now," she said modestly. "I have seen a huge improvement in my upper body strength and definition over the last few months." @sharksbitesoflife has been hard at work preparing for her beach vacation to Mexico. She's alternating between intense cardio, weight-lifting sessions, and resistance band workouts. She frequently documents her progress by sharing photos with the PumpUp community. "My reason for posting this photo is to hold myself accountable, so that I can post proof of progress," she mentioned. "I'm motivated."

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Keep @sharksbitesoflife pumped! Do you have back progress pictures to share? Tag them on PumpUp with #throwbackthursday so that we can see them! Do you have feedback about how heavy lifting changed your body? Let us know in the comments below! 

Transformation Tuesday | Why you shouldn't be afraid of setting new goals

Transformation Tuesday | Why you shouldn't be afraid of setting new goals

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"I used to hate looking at my body," explained PumpUp member @priscillanavia91, who has lost over 40 pounds over the course of her weight loss journey. "Now I look at it every morning to keep me motivated." Priscilla is no stranger to setting new goals. She uses different benchmarks to keep herself motivated. It's working: Priscilla has reached her weight loss goal twice. "I wanted so badly to be at least 145 lbs when I was still at 180 lbs," she recounted. "Then, I wanted to be 135 lbs. I've set a new goal for myself: 125 lbs. 11 more pounds and I'm there." Her year-long transformation is a manifestation of two things: a consistent exercise schedule and balanced, but nutritious meals. Priscilla swears by cardio and especially weightlifting. She also stopped eating fast food and overcame her persistent cravings for sugar. "Don't be too strict with your diet," she counselled. "You'll go crazy. I tried counting calories and eating 5-6 times a day, but with my busy schedule, I couldn't keep up with that. I don't consider how I eat as a 'diet' anymore. I just eat really clean." Her perspective on food is one that many people can relate to and her progress is absolutely admirable.

Keep @priscillanavia91 pumped on the PumpUp app! We want to learn how you're reaching your goals on #TransformationTuesday. Share a picture with our new PumpUp photo editor to get started.

Alyssa's leg progress will stun you - Transformation Tuesday

Alyssa's leg progress will stun you - Transformation Tuesday

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"Nothing makes me happier than seeing all of this hard work pay off," said PumpUp member LyssDiane, who made tons of leg progress over the month of March. "I never want to be that incredibly skinny again. I'm nowhere near where I want to be, but I'm so far from where I was." Alyssa has been working out 5 times a week to achieve her transformation, often fighting the demons of procrastination and lethargy to work out. "All I want to do when I get home from work is [lie down], but I feel 1,000 times better when I get home and workout!" she exclaimed. "My leg transformation has been my favourite to watch. I thank my PumpUp friends for being so motivating!" When Alyssa was much skinner, her friends reacted poorly to her exercise routine. "I remember their reaction being, 'Why? You're already thin'," she elaborated. "A health complication made me realize how important my life and health really is. 6 months ago I began lifting and I am happier and more confident than ever." Alyssa loves herself and her figure and we're incredibly proud of all of her positivity and her leg progress! March to your dream by demonstrating any kind of progress that you made over the month of March! The PumpUp community welcomes all kinds of transformations, be they scale-related or not!

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

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

The pros and cons of preparing for a bikini fitness competition

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Biggest Motivation

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

Favourite eats

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

Motivational Mantra

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

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

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Fun Fact About April

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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More about Bill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I will explain to you what actually happens.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matt bounced back from knee reconstruction surgery and is now in his best shape ever- PumpUp Spotlight Series

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One fateful day on Twitter, PumpUp was recommended to Matt as one of the ‘best fitness community apps’. Since joining PumpUp, Matt stated that he couldn’t agree more with this superlative. “I have been a frequent gym goer for years, but never really had the focus and determination that I do now until I had the reconstructive knee surgery.  I had hit a plateau, and was frustrated, but the awesome community on PumpUp really motivated me to go harder, lift heavier, and clean my diet up,” said Matt.

Prior joining PumpUp, Matt still exercised four days a week, for about an hour and did similar workouts to what he performs right now. This schedule helped Matt to gradually transform his body. In retrospect, however, he admits that his diet was still not at its best at that point in time. “I ate for the most part whatever was there, with no real thought to what was going into my system,” he said. “Fried food and soda was a regular occurrence for me, which definitely did not help.”

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In the ten weeks that Matt has been part of the PumpUp community, he’s upped the intensity of his workouts and cleaned up his diet. “I hit the gym 6 to 7 days a week, 2x a day for at least 2 of them, and workouts are much more intense, heavier weight, more explosive lifts, just a different attitude,” he explained. “I don’t eat anything bad anymore, just tons of protein low carbs and a lot of veggies.  No soda anymore either,” he laughed. Though his average daily activities have not changed, Matt finds himself approaching life with a renewed vigor. ‘Beastmode’ is aptly his favourite term. “It reminds me to be a monster and dominate every challenge in front of me, and never back down or quit.”

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Matt’s struggles do not define him, but have rather influenced him to push even harder. Last year, knee reconstruction surgery was a major obstacle for him because he lost lots of muscle, was in a wheelchair for 2 months, crutches for another month, and gained a lot of weight. “It was difficult and painful to get back into lifting and exercise, but I just focused on making small progress daily,” he admitted. “And before I knew it, was back to my old size and strength.  I am bigger, more defined, and WAY more ‘beastmode’ now.  That struggle made me better.”

Matt is one of the most supportive members on PumpUp, and he’s regularly involved in the community to both receive motivation and give it back to others four-fold. “PumpUp started as a motivator for me, and it still is. I have met great people there, and continue to use it not just for motivation and inspiration, but for the feeling of community and positive vibes that permeate the app,” he said.

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According to Matt, the first step ‘off’ the couch is the most difficult, yet important part for those looking to start or lead a more active lifestyle. “It’s scary, it’s hard, but you will be amazed at what you can accomplish. You have to COMMIT to it. No quitting once you start, and find a support system that will give you a push when you feel stagnant and that will celebrate your successes with you,” he explained.

Both of his children, aged 2 and 6, are the biggest sources of inspiration for Matt. “My 6 year old son tells me every day that I’m his hero and he wants to be like daddy,” he gushed. “I’ll be damned if I’m not going to be the best me I can possibly be, and be the example of what’s possible when we focus and strive towards our goals.”  He also professed that the members on PumpUp have helped him tremendously throughout his journey. “Those people are amazing, and their posts, stories, and comments really help me stay focused and get excited to progress and push even harder,” Matt beamed.

Matt’s meals

“A monstrous 4 scoop protein shake, made with silk almond milk, and a bowl of cottage cheese with fresh pineapple on it.  As far as meals go, I eat tons of eggs, chicken, lean beef, veggies, and a lot of water. Nothing too impressive,”he laughed.

Motivational Mantra

“‘It is better to die on your feet, than to live on your knees’. To me this means never stop fighting, and pushing forward.  If you fail, fine. But to TRY and to fail is far superior to never trying.  The lessons learned in failure make progress that much sweeter.”

More about Matt

“I’m a major nerd!  I’m finishing my masters in software engineering, I’m also an artist (tattooed for years in college as a part time job at a shop), and a major goofball.  Always laughing and silly.  And I love horror movies and stupid jokes!”

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If you’re struggling to stay motivated, Matt encourages you to reach out to somebody on PumpUp or to anybody in your life and let them help. “While we manufacture and are responsible for our own motivation, that doesn’t mean that we can’t all use encouragement and a friendly comment,”said Matt.  “Take advantage of PumpUp, your fellow gym members, and enjoy the ride.  Goals are great, but it is the road we travel to get there that truly teaches us something.  Never lose sight of that. 

Follow Matt on PumpUp @mattgmi! 

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Question of the Day: What is your greatest fear? Spiders? Heights? Have you been able to overcome it? Let us know! Don’t let your fear of what could happen make nothing happen! Thanks to absolutely amazing PumpUp member @xfitfirecracker for this photo!

This is why women shouldn't be afraid of lifting weights

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

Let me present the body of every woman’s dream: Being lean, without being too skinny nor too muscular, having feminine (but defined) arms and legs, a flat belly and of course a sexy round bubble butt that fills your jeans. Am I right?

To achieve this, losing fat isn’t enough. Women lack the required muscle tissue, so losing weight, spending hours over hours doing cardio and training with 2kg tinkerbell-weights won’t get you this athletic look.

If you want a toned body, all you have to do is build muscles and reduce your Body-Fat Percentage (BFP).

Lowering your BFP is only a question of a proper diet, which also includes supplements to support the recovery of your muscles. This leads us to the next point : To build up muscles you have to lift heavy weights. 

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Unfortunately, when it comes to heavy weight lifting, I always hear women complaining about how this is going to make them look bulky. You will never get a bulky look because the hormone that directly regulates muscle growth is testosterone, which is, for women, only at 5-10% of a man’s average testosterone level. 

Scientific research has shown that a man’s testosterone level is 45 times higher than a woman’s after exercising. This should not surprise you, because resistance training doesn’t increase the level of testosterone for women.

I can reassure you that you won’t look like Arnold Schwarzenegger overnight if you lift heavy. It would take you years and a lot of very hard work to really bulk up and obtain a large amount of protruding muscles. The women in the real bodybuilding-scene don’t get that look by only drinking pineapple-juice, just saying…

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Still not sure about lifting weights? Have a look at the benefits:

Health benefits of lifting

  • It reduces the risk of developing diseases like diabetes, metabolic syndrome or cancer.
  • It strengthens your bones
  • It’s easier for you to stay lean as your metabolism speeds up (even post-workout)
  • It increases your life expectancy
  • It strengthens your immune system

Physique benefits of lifting

  • You will get nice curves due to the well-developed muscles.
  • Lean muscles will improve your look (”Fit girls look better naked”, remember?)
  • A strong and developed body helps you age better, as research has shown that a greater muscle mass in older women is associated with better mobility, lower body weight and BFP.

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Therefore, if you want to get those toned and sexy legs and that round bubble-butt, nothing beats an intense workout of ‘guy exercises’ such as walking-lunges, squats or stiffed leg deadlifts. To get sleek and defined arms, just do some heavy exercises like curls, triceps skull crushers, shoulder press, dips or military press.

Ladies, it’s definitely time to put down those pink baby weights and get sexy by lifting with the guys! They will respect you even more if you lift heavy and work for your body. Believe in yourself and don’t get intimidated by the guys-corner at the gym!

Your Lifting Fairy xx

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