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7 workout sneakers that are actually good for running

7 workout sneakers that are actually good for running

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Though you may be tempted to buy the best looking sneakers on the market, it is important to know whether that particular shoe model suits your form of exercise. Will you be using your kicks for intense heavy lifting? Serious rope climbing? Stick with specific CrossFit or Olympic shoes. The Reebok Nano 3.0 is a good choice with added protection. The best workout shoes that are actually good for running // The PumpUp Blog

As for me, I run outside almost everyday and hit the gym 3 times a week for basic exercises. Since my primary activity is running, I choose my shoes with that activity in mind. Popular brands want to sell you as many shoes as they can: one pair for fitness, another for cross-fit, another for running in the rain, etc. However, I've come to realize that certain running shoes adapt to almost all body-weight exercises: from air squats to burpees. This particular type of shoe will have great ventilation, flexibility and stability and of course, it'll still be excellent for running.

In this list, I'll be selecting the best running shoes that will help you to sprint or go the distance— but you'll also be able to do box jumps and double-unders with equal ease.

Need workout shoes that can withstand your jogs AND your lifts? These cross-trainers are the answer for you // The PumpUp Blog

Mizuno Wave Rider 18

The best workout shoes that are actually good for running // The PumpUp Blog

These are one of my favorite shoes for both running and multi-form fitness. The workout sneakers' toebox is roomy and its ventilation is superb. What's more, it weighs in at a mere 10.6 oz.

Unlike most premium running shoes, this Mizuno is far from being soft. The usual squishy foam sole is replaced by a firmer substance called the Wave plate, a patented support mechanism that can be found in the midsole. Paired with a 12mm heel to toe drop, this makes the Mizuno Wave Rider 18 an unexpectedly good fit for squats. Its raised heel boosts your posture in the way that modern lifting shoes would. The shoes' lack of compression will give you a consistent platform to push from.

The flexibility on this shoe is better than you'd expect, especially in the forefoot. It will get better with time, as the EVA rubber will become less resistant to bending. You can decide for yourself whether this shoe fits the bill after 100 miles or 200 planks.

With the Mizuno Wave Rider 18 you won't find yourself wobbling during an overhead squat. Who knows you may also win a marathon with it.

Skora FIT

The best workout shoes that are actually good for running // The PumpUp Blog

SKORA means "skin" in Polish, thus it comes to no surprise that most SKORA models feel as comfortable as wearing socks. All SKORA models have a no-sew build and an anatomic fit that mimics the natural shape of one's foot— design signatures that make these shoes unique. You'll want to splay your toes in these sneakers.

With 16mm of thickness in the heel and the forefoot, the FIT equally belongs in the gym and on the road. The minimalist cushion will give you plenty of depth, as well as the stability you need for weightlifting. If you're craving for a complete ground connection, just remove the 4mm sock-liner and go sockless when you're wearing these workout sneakers to the gym.

With a glove-like fit and a featherweight quality,  the Skora FIT makes tough exercises look easy, fast and precise. Are you ready for one leg jumps?

Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit

The best workout shoes that are actually good for running // The PumpUp Blog

Nike promises a more natural ride with its "Free" line. The point is to offer a ground-like feel akin to running barefoot less is more. While it's a "minimalistic" shoe, what so special about it?

First, it comes with a special Flyknit material. This was selected by the New York Times  as one of the best inventions in 2012. There is an engineered "knit" in the upper area of the shoe, which is more or less dense depending the size of one's foot. It blends mobility and support in one sneaker. Finally, the shoes have flex grooves etched into their outsoles, which allows for crazy flexibility and a natural range of motion.

The Nike Free 4.0 is the best of the Free line, according to experts at SoleReview.  It sits between the more minimalist Free 3.0 and the more cushioned Free 5.0, affording wearers with a sweet balance of comfort and ground feel.

Brooks Connect 4

The best workout shoes that are actually good for running // The PumpUp Blog

Brooks is one of the most popular brands for marathon sneakers. They focus on high-performance running shoes with made with high-quality materials and a solid build. Great running shoes like Brooks should have a place in the gym.  My choice goes to their Pure line. It's composed of 3 lightweight, low to the ground shoes: the Connect, Cadence and Flow.  Small frame shoes are preferable for the gym because they are lighter and more flexible.

The Connect is the fastest and most responsive of the 3 workout sneakers: it features an outstanding midsole and a seamless upper sole. The forefoot is extremely flexible, which something I value when I'm doing any exercise that requires jumping or plyometrics. The fit is narrow and supportive, thanks to a strapping system called the "Nav-band".

Also worth mentioning is its traction. Several pods in the outsole give you an outstanding grip, regardless of which surface you're working with.

Under Armor Speedform Gemini

The best workout shoes that are actually good for running // The PumpUp Blog

Though Under Armour is better known for its apparel, the brand released a shoe that works well for most types of exercises.

Its cushioning is consistent, and on the firmer side. The shoe's midsole foam firms up when you accelerate and it softens up when you decelerate, making transitions smooth and exciting. This shoe is a great asset for HIIT running workouts, where you often need to change gears.

The upper, crafted in a clothing factory, is perforated for increased breathability with no visible seams. The only drawback is its non-removable sockliner, so make sure you buy anti-odour sprays before you slip them on.

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante

The best workout shoes that are actually good for running // The PumpUp Blog

The American brand delivers a great lightweight shoe with the Fresh Foam Zante. At a light weight of 8.1 oz and with a low stack height, this shoe will help you run fast. Runners would use it for uptempo workouts to increase speed and endurance.

The midsole is made out of a single soft foam, which increases flexibility while adding just enough softness to the foot strike. The rubber that composes the entire outsole offers outstanding grip and the upper foot is well ventilated. It has an internal smooth sleeve and the tongue is built on top of it – which makes these workout sneakers a perfect fit for sock-less running.

Vibram FiveFingers Bikila EVO

The best workout shoes that are actually good for running // The PumpUp Blog

These are the most flexible workout sneakers you can find out there, as your toes can move independently. FiveFingers are synonymous with barefoot running and this Bikila is no exception. It features a minimal 8.5mm of cushioning and the upper feels like a second skin.

Of course, this is not the choice for long-runs on the road but they are perfect for running on the treadmill. The transition can be hard, especially in the beginning, because you're using different foot muscles to compensate for the lack of cushioning and the flat sole. Expect stronger calf muscles and a stronger big toe.

What's your choice for the gym? Do you go with regular trainers or are you peeky about your choice? Let us know in the comments below!

Fastblr is a powerful running shoe finder which lets you compare prices among 13 online stores. If you don’t know which running shoe to pick, start with our shoe recommender – it gives you 5 best shoes based on your physical and performance characteristics. Keep in touch with us on Twitter and Facebook.

Cover photo via PumpUp member @rachaelgervais.

How Trang went from running her first mile to a running a half-marathon

How Trang went from running her first mile to a running a half-marathon

Trang didn't consider herself to be a runner when she started her fitness journey. Most of her days were spent lounging on the couch. She contemplated the idea of working out, but never followed through. "I couldn't even run a mile straight," Trang admitted. "I was overweight 12 years ago and workouts felt like punishments to me. I always had excuses not to be active because I hated feeling tired."

5 Running Workouts To Do the Impossible: Lose Fat And Gain Muscle

5 Running Workouts To Do the Impossible: Lose Fat And Gain Muscle

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There's a myth that cardio— in any way or form— is destructive for muscle-building. For this reason, some bodybuilders prefer to walk on an inclined treadmill rather than increasing their pace. On the other hand, those who want to lose weight (like me), tend to resort to slow and long jogs. Whatever your fitness goal is, high-intensity interval training might be the way to go. Recent research found that when you throw high-intensity workouts into the mix, physiological adaptations are greater.  It turns out that aerobic exercises and muscle-building are very far from being incompatible, and that high-intense interval training (HIIT) helps you build more muscle and lose more fat. With HIIT, it's possible to lose fat and gain muscle. Here are 5 running workouts to help you // The PumpUp Blog

But what exactly is high-intensity interval training?

PumpUp has covered its principles before, but in essence, HIIT is can be described as “short, high-intensity bouts of exercise followed by a short period of rest or low-intensity activity”. Believe it or not, you can make a fine workout for yourself in 4 minutes. It works because you’re able to incorporate lots of short vigorous exercises into your routine, all of which would be impossible to sustain for long periods of time if each individual exercise were to be performed on its own.

Research has suggested that the higher the intensity and shorter the duration of work and the rest period, the better.

How HIIT affects muscle building // The PumpUp Blog

HIIT and running are best friends

As far as running goes, higher intensity translates into a faster pace. You won't be able to maintain a fast pace for long because you’re gasping for air. This means you are near your maximum oxygen uptake and heart rate. If you're alarmed about higher intensity running workouts, check out the curative powers of HIIT: one study demonstrated that HIIT can play a role in preventing heart diseases.

Intense running workouts can improve your strength, muscle growth, metabolism (even after your workout), and build the endurance. But there are different forms of high intensity running workouts that can give you more results for less. Here’s how can you introduce High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) into running with huge results, starting with moderate-intensity Fartlek and Tempo runs, and ending in style with the full-fledged high-intensity Interval Training, “All-out” Sprint-Interval Training and 400-meter sprints used by bodybuilders.

  1. Fartlek

Swedish “Fartlek” or speed-play, is a training method that became popular in the 1940s. Swedish runners almost broke the 4-minute mile record. It consists of randomly selecting visual landmarks that you accelerate to— the next tree or a house, for example— followed by a recovery period. You can do it alone or in a group, with each person taking turns to choose the landmark and the pace.

It’s a great way to get back in shape and test your limits, while having some fun.

  1. Tempo

Tempo runs consist of continuous high-intensity sprints that last for 20 to 40 minutes or over a predetermined length. Professional runners use “tempos” to build endurance and to mimic a slightly more rapid pace but close enough to their competition pace - a “comfortably fast” pace. Sprinkling a “tempo” in your workout develops your aerobic system, stamina and efficiency.

To prepare you for faster paces of serious HIIT (as you’ll see next), you can throw a “short” burst of super-maximal intensity, every 5 minutes.

  1. Intervals

This is the most popular type of training the running world. Like Fartlek, it involves bouts of running between easy and very hard paces. However, in this case, you determine how fast you run and for how long, as well as the duration of rest period and how many times you repeat your intervals. According to Jonathan Savage, owner of running resource Fellrnr, the right pace for your intervals (which greatly varies) is the fastest you can run in 6 minutes.

An example of an workout would be 30s-1 minute at your fast pace, followed by half of the time recovering, and repeat it 5 times. Intervals should not last more than 5 minutes (excluding the rest period).

You won’t be able to recover from each fast interval. This is done on purpose, to build up the aerobic stress in your system. Research indicates that active recovery contributes to superior performance because of metabolite washout and lactate utilization. If it's hard at first, don't worry. You’ll get stronger!

  1. “All-out” Sprint Interval Training or Wintab

Shorter and very intense intervals are the ones that perform better. You cannot get more a intense workout than the WinTab protocol. It involves 20 seconds of an “all out” running sprint followed by 10 seconds rest, for 8 repetitions. The results are remarkable:

A 2014 study tested this program for 6 weeks (3 times a week) on 15 active women. It resulted in an average body fat mass decrease of 8% and a waist circumference reduction of 4%, while increasing muscle mass by 1.3%, peak running speed by5% and maximum oxygen consumption (an endurance metric) by 9%. All of this happened without a change in the athletes' food intake.

  1. 400-meter Sprint Program

This is bodybuilder trainer Christian Thibaudeau’s favorite workout for fat loss. He says that it has a “high fat-burning potency.” He found that his athletes were getting leaner and stronger after this programme.

The workout consists of 400m sprint repetitions followed by at least 1 minute and half of rest. This exercise is so intense that he recommends doing just one time per week.

See his guideline table for a recommended 8 week plan that can be adjusted for different fitness levels.

After such high-intensity running workouts, you can rest assured that your post-workout cookie will hardly affect your system. After all, you deserved it.

Fastblr is a powerful running shoe finder which lets you compare prices among 13 online stores. If you don’t know which running shoe to pick, start with our shoe recommender - it gives you 5 best shoes based on your physical and performance characteristics. Keep in touch with us on Twitter and Facebook.

I'm a non runner who started running. Here's how I did it.

I'm a non runner who started running. Here's how I did it.

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I’ve been into running lately. Ever since my life transition left me without a proper gym, I have been taking advantage of the summer sun (and sometimes rain if you can relate to how crazy the weather is in Texas). I’ve never been a fan of running. I'm a non runner who started running, well, weeks ago. It hurts. It’s long. It makes me feel like I’m gonna cough up a lung. But when I finish, runner’s high is like nothing else in this world. How I learned to love running, even when I hated it.

Since I started to run more, I reached my first goal of running 3 miles. What's more, I finished two 3 mile runs. Both times, it felt awesome. Nevertheless, I make it a point to run at least 2 miles each time I run for distance. The minimum used to be 1 mile but now that I know that I can run for at least two miles, I strive for two. Sometimes it’s hard. Other days, it feels like nothing (and those are the days that I run 3 miles). I guess it’s because I can’t afford for my brain to think it can start relaxing at two miles when I know I have 1 more mile to go. My goal is to run a 5K soon and then, by the end of the year, I want to run a 10K. My 1st hardcore goal is to run a half marathon next year. If I keep this up, I’ll be well on my way to completing that half marathon. But I must focus.

Focus is definitely key if you're a non runner who started running this year. You must focus on breathing, focus your mind to keep it from panicking, focus your eyes on something to keep your mind off the distance. Running still isn’t easy for me. And I am, by no means, a fast runner. And I’m okay with this.

I'm a non runner who started running, and it isn't as bad as I thought

This challenge is necessary not only for my body but for my mind. Because it’s weird what I think about in order to keep myself going. I think of how some people don’t even have access to their legs and are unable to run. I think of my grandmother who hasn’t really taken care of herself and is now in bad health conditions because of it. I think of my future children and how I want to be able to keep up with them and teach them how to make healthy life choices. I want better for myself and that’s what this whole lifestyle is about for me.

This post about being a non runner who started running was written by PumpUp member @ohmyitschels. Check out Chelsie’s YouTube page here.

What happened when Alyssa found the positivity she needed - PumpUp Success Stories

What happened when Alyssa found the positivity she needed - PumpUp Success Stories

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PumpUp member @alyssa_a_ford needed a major dose of positivity in her life when she joined the app in November 2014. "I started to use PumpUp because it is such a positive place to be. It's an environment that is inspiring and it is something that I've always wanted to be a part of," she said gleefully. Alyssa wanted a rapid departure from the habits that she adopted in her younger years. "We ate whatever we wanted...all the junk food and soda," recalled Alyssa. "I ate like a piglet. Though my family grew to be more health-conscious, I only exercised because I was enrolled in sports. I wasn't very competitive at them. Besides walking around, I didn't do much. I didn't really care before."  What happened when Alyssa found the positivity she needed | PumpUp Success Stories

Once Alyssa joined the PumpUp community, she gained the motivation that she needed to push her limits as far as exercise was concerned. "Everyone on PumpUp is so nice, helpful and inspiring," she mused. "It's somewhere that anybody can go to if they need motivation. It's amazing what we can do if we work together." Alyssa indeed worked together with the PumpUp community to achieve all sorts of health and fitness goals. She became much more health-conscious and fell in love with running. Not only does she strive to visit the gym every day for at least 45 minutes, Alyssa began to incorporate short runs after her workouts. "I accomplished quite a lot on PumpUp. I lost 25 pounds and began to love my body and treat it the way it should be treated," she shared. "I have gained confidence, which I never thought was possible. I truly love PumpUp and the family it creates for anybody who takes the time to reach out and ask for help. I hope to inspire others and help them when they need it." 

Her best advice for others looking to lead a healthy lifestyle is to be persistent. "I'm a small 5'2 girl at 115 lbs," she began. "I weighed 150 lbs at my heaviest and I was a train wreck. Now I take my motivation from what I want to achieve." Alyssa particularly likes to draw inspiration from motivational quotes. Lucky for her, PumpUp has a wellspring of quotes and photos that encourage others to lead a healthier lifestyle.

More recently, Alyssa has been shaving a lot of time off of her running pace. She can now run a mile at a speed of 6 minutes and 40 seconds and tracks all of her progress on the app. "Sweating makes me feel confident. I love the way I feel so accomplished after every workout," she said emphatically.

What happened when Alyssa found the positivity she needed | PumpUp Success Stories

Motivational Mantra

My quote is a verse from Shakespeare: "And though she be but little, she is fierce." This is part of who I am and is my motivation.

Alyssa's Meals

My breakfast consists of a granola bar or granola mixed with  either yogurt or milk.  The food that I eat is mainly organic. I do eat gluten free often and I do not drink dairy unless it is my only option. I prefer almond and coconut milk.

Biggest motivation

My biggest motivation is my boyfriend. He is loving, caring and can be a bit of a know-it-all. However, he helps me to achieve things I didn't believe I could do. This man pushes me to do my best and never sell myself short. (Although he is always making jokes about my height!!)

What happened when Alyssa found the positivity she needed | PumpUp Success Stories

More about Alyssa

I'd love to open a bakery that specializes in healthier versions of normal baked goods. I love to be in the kitchen, it is my 3rd home (after the gym!!)

Keep Alyssa pumped and check out her PumpUp profile @alyssa_a_ford! Have any questions for her? Let us know in the comments below! 

From gasping for air after 100 m to running 10 km - Skaistė's PumpUp Success Story

From gasping for air after 100 m to running 10 km - Skaistė's PumpUp Success Story

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A candy shop isn't the most conducive environment for living a healthy lifestyle. After spending a summer working in a shop that sold sweets and chocolates, PumpUp member @sky97 had trouble curbing her cravings. "I thought, what's the worst that could happen?," she revealed. "By the end of the summer, my friend took a picture of me at the beach and I was shocked to see that I gained extra pounds over the summer." When Skaistė decided to take action against her unwanted weight gain, she resorted to drastic measures. "I tried crazy diets and counted every calorie, but I was uncomfortable with my body and felt like a walking nightmare," she lamented. "At the end of January, my friend (@am23) urged me to try PumpUp because it motivated her. She was 100% right. I signed up for the app and my life changed completely."   Before Skaistė joined the PumpUp community, she led an overwhelmingly sedentary lifestyle. "I played video games on my computer and watched movies or TV to spend my time. I made sure that I had enough snacks that would last me for the whole length of any given TV show," she recounted. Physical education classes were also a struggle. "I hated every single lesson," she said vehemently. "I got tired after 5 minutes of exercising and I thought that I was never meant to be athletic. I'd think that I wasn't worthy, that I wouldn't be able to do anything. When I joined PumpUp, people surrounded me with motivation and positivity. I really wanted to try to make things better. For that, I think that I'm a much more confident person than I was before."

PumpUp member @sky97 went from being out of breath after 100m to running her first ever 10 km. This happened within the span of a few months!

 

Since she began to track and log her workouts with the app,  Skaistė fell into a routine embraces exercise and healthy eating. "This new regime makes me really happy," she gushed. "Every time I eat healthy food and exercise, I feel like a wonder woman who can do anything!" Skaistė is able to work at the candy shop and resist the cravings that used to overpower her. Though she has cheat days from time to time, she plans ahead to keep everything in control. Skaistė's lifestyle change made an incredible difference in her demeanour. "I've become more extraverted. Since I began to exercise, I made so many friends who don't allow me to relapse into my passive ways."

Though Skaistė used to detest running, support from the PumpUp community really encouraged her to complete her first-ever 10 km run. "I used to feel tired after 5 minutes of exercising...so imagine me gasping for air after a mere 100 metres," she enthused. "I ran 10 km three times ever since I joined PumpUp! I also went on a leisurely 30 km bicycle trip. Not long ago, it seemed like the biggest challenge in the world. I couldn't have done it without the help of other PumpUp members!" In the future, Skaistė aspires to run a full marathon. She'll be relying on the support of PumpUp to encourage her along the way.

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Her best advice for other PumpUp members is to find an enjoyable form of exercise that they can realistically commit to. "Don't like weight lifting? Try Zumba and shake it off!" she counselled. "A passive lifestyle won't benefit your body or your mind. After running a marathon, you'll feel proud and inspired. After a television marathon, you'll exhaust your body and you won't have energy to enjoy life." 

Skaistė's meals

I start my day with greek yogurt and granola or oatmeal with a little bit of peanut butter on top, then after 2 hours I eat a banana/pear/an apple for a snack. I usually carry my lunch box to school filled with vegetables, brown rice and chicken for lunch to fill my stomach before I work out after school. After my workout, I come back home (I cycle to school everyday. 4 kilometres one way and 4 kilometres back) and eat another snack like whole wheat bread with avocado and tomatoes or 2 boiled eggs just to make sure that I have enough protein after a workout. For dinner, I eat salad, fish or lean meat and I always make sure that I go to sleep after 3-4 hours after my last meal.

Biggest motivation

My biggest motivation is Emily Skye who leads a healthy lifestyle and shares her fitness journey with all of her followers on Facebook and other social media platforms. One more person is a Pump Up user: @akvile. She motivates me to stay active all the time even though we both have a lot of studying to do before our exams. If it wasn‘t because of Pump Up, we wouldn‘t have become friends and I really appreciate the way we're able to connect! 

PumpUp member @sky97 went from being out of breath after 100m to running her first ever 10 km. This happened within the span of a few months!

Favourite workout

My favourite workout routine is a full body routine! It‘s a set of exercises for all of the muscle groups and I love it! I start with arms: bicep curls, shoulder press, tricep kick backs (20 reps. 3 times each), I do my back and chest with weights on the bar and lift it behind my back and to my chest. (20 reps. 3 times each). Then I like to do many kinds of crunches for burning that belly fat (I usually do simple crunches and bicycle crunches) and I do them for 200 times each, in total: 400 crunches. After these, I do 2 kind of planks (the basic one and side plank) for 1 minute each and do some stretching for my legs and go with squats, lunge pulses, plié squats and single legged bridges (20 reps. 3 times). Then I finish this killer workout with 20 minutes cardio.

More about Skaistė

When I‘m not working out, I like to spend my time writing poetry or novels. I dream about releasing my poetry book in the near future. I also like cooking, singing, dancing and sometimes I do all of these three in one time, so the view is really fun! I also believe that every member in Pump Up is a wonder because they do wonderful things for their bodies and stronger mind.

PumpUp member @sky97 went from being out of breath after 100m to running her first ever 10 km. This happened within the span of a few months!

Keep Skaistė pumped on the PumpUp community by following her journey: @sky97! Follow her on Snapchat: skaisktem. She regularly posts recipes and shares videos about her workouts on a daily basis!

How Laura achieved the unachievable with the help of PumpUp - PumpUp Success Stories

How Laura achieved the unachievable with the help of PumpUp - PumpUp Success Stories

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Overcoming binge eating

Having a slim frame doesn't make you immune to body shaming. It affects everybody, either directly or indirectly. Though PumpUp member @laurakaleja has been slim for most of her life, one negative weight-related remark made a deep impression upon her relationship with food at a very young age. "Before I started using PumpUp, my diet was crazy and the only thought I had in my head was the need to be super skinny," she recounted. "When I lived with my grandmother in primary school, she let me eat everything I wanted and more. One of my siblings began to call me fat. It really hit me – it hurts when somebody close to you says those kind of remarks about you. From that point onward, I decided that nobody should ever have reason to call me overweight. I started to eat less and less, which of course led to binging later on." This mindset coaxed Laura into developing erratic eating patterns. "I went through so many different diets and experimented with vegetarianism, veganism, you name it. There was a point when I only ate raw food," she recalled. "As I got older, I began to realize that torturing my body with restrictions wasn't the answer."

PumpUp member Laura Kaleja learned to stop bingeing and became motivated to train for and finish a half marathon

Almost one year ago, Laura joined the PumpUp community in search of motivation to develop a healthy lifestyle rather than temporary bouts of fitness. "I wanted to get in better shape since one of my favourite YouTubers, Eva Marison, recommended it," she mused. "I immediately fell in love with the PumpUp community. It has always been very supportive and motivating. Most of all, I loved the workouts that PumpUp offered. It opened me up to a whole different range of exercises according to my goals an my fitness level." 

PumpUp member Laura Kaleja stopped restrictive eating and learned to adopt more a more balanced relationship with food

A 21 km run became more than an aspiration for Laura

Since joining PumpUp, Laura's eating patterns are also much more balanced. "I have overcome bingeing by eating healthy snacks and having something sweet once in a while if my body really wants it," she offered. "I eat 3 healthy meals a day and 2-3 snacks a day. I hope that PumpUp will help me stay on the right track, because now I'm in a very good place. PumpUp has helped me to appreciate my worth beyond being skinny. With the help of this application I have changed my diet for the better." Laura is dedicated to maintaining this lifestyle. In addition to performing workouts on the app itself, she exercises 3-5 times a week at the gym and enjoys going on 7-20km runs. "I used to think that I couldn’t run more than 10 km, but using PumpUp has helped me realize that I can do even more," she confirmed. "In October 2014, PumpUp allowed me to accomplish something that I thought I couldn't do in a million years.  I ran my first half marathon – 21 km."

Best advice for fellow PumpUp members

Be the best version of yourself! You will never look like anybody else, so instead of comparing yourself to others try to focus more on your goals. And remember that everything is possible if you try hard enough. 

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Laura's meals

My go to dishes are brown rice with vegetables and chicken or with red beans, couscous with cooked mushrooms and vegetables, also different kind of salads – mostly with tuna fish. For breakfast my favourite food is oatmeal with fruit and for snacks – some fruit, a rice cake with peanut butter or carrots with hummus. Since I started using PumpUp I got a blender and now one of my favourite type of drinks are smoothies – my all time favourite is bananas with strawberries, blackberries and almond milk.

Biggest source of motivation

My biggest motivation is happiness – and a healthy lifestyle guarantees you that.

Motivational Mantra

Don’t try to be perfect. Just try to be better than you were yesterday.

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Favourite exercise

My most favourite activity is running. It is funny because I hated it a year ago.  I used to run only to keep my body in shape, but now I absolutely love it!

Fun fact about Laura

I am a first year University of Latvia student. I study English philology and hope to have a job in the future that would involve a lot of traveling, because that is my favourite thing to do. The most exotic country to which I have been is India.

Keep Laura pumped on the app @laurakaleja and let us know if you were inspired by her story in the comments below. Have an awesome story to share with the PumpUp community? Did you achieve the unachievable? Tag your posts with #SpringIntoAction whenever you feel like you've especially challenged yourself throughout the month of April!

5K personal bests : they aren't as elusive as you think

5K personal bests : they aren't as elusive as you think

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One simple resolution transitioned into one major lifestyle change for PumpUp member @danialani, who set a benchmark for herself to run 5 kilometers at least once a week during PumpUp's #MyResolution challenge in January 2015. So far, she's been doing better than good. In fact, Dania has been doing great by steadily improving her personal best times. "In 11 weeks I went from running 5 km in 38 minutes to running it in 32," she said gleefully. "I'm 2 minutes away from my ultimate goal. I'm so so close." In less than half a year, Dania stuck faithfully to her smart, measurable, and specific resolution for herself. Her progress is palpable; her updates exude happiness. By participating in monthly challenges with the PumpUp community, Dania is more committed to achieve her health goals than she has ever been in her life. "Love yourself because you're capable of incredible things," she professed. "With every personal best, I sure am loving myself more and more." Keep Dania pumped on PumpUp app @danialani and be sure to let us know how we can help you to achieve your personal bests as well! What are obstacles that are hindering you from springing into action? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @PumpUp, we'd love to hear from you!

6 thoughts you have when you run outside for the first time since winter

6 thoughts you have when you run outside for the first time since winter

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Today is a very important day. Today is the day that the weather is finally warm enough that you can run outside without too much weather-induced turmoil. Now that spring has officially sprung, and temperatures are rising (…hopefully...eventually), go ahead, lace up, and enjoy life off of the dread mill. You deserve it.

1. Pavement? What is this?

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(Source: tumblr)

There are actually benefits to running on a trail/pavement versus drudging along the treadmill’s rubbery conveyor belt. According to exercise physiologist Elizabeth Quinn, you burn more calories when running at the same pace on flat pavement. Subtle variations in terrain, wind resistance, and lack of additional momentum from the treadmill make outdoor running a bit more difficult, causing you to expend more energy.

2. I think I’m running faster. I could probably beat Usain Bolt in no time (wait, who am I kidding?)

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Maybe you jog at a slow, constant pace. Maybe you sprint the entire way through. Regardless of how you run outside or inside, one study’s participants ran at a significantly faster pace at the same perceived effort level during their outdoor run in comparison to their indoor treadmill run.

3. *Runs up that hill*; *Deals with God*

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(Source: Surphile/Tumblr)

You probably didn’t miss hauling your body up unanticipated hills during your run. Everything was fine and dandy then all of a sudden: Mount Everest. When you’re running uphill, don’t lean too far forward; this decreases the efficiency of your stride and throws your body off balance. Think about ‘standing tall’ and use the muscles in your hips to power your way up the hill.

4. At least there’s a breeze! And sun!

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(Source: giphy)

Instead of suffocating from the smell everybody else’s sweat at the gym, you’re being caressed by a nice breeze. Instead of overheating from the body heat of the two treadmill runners adjacent to you, you’re being warmed by the sun. It’s important to maintain sufficient levels of vitamin D. A 2010 study by the University of Wyoming indicated that college athletes with sufficient levels of vitamin D were less likely to fall ill.

5. Wait, how long have I been running again?

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(Source: mrsjonie/Tumblr)

If you’ve ever been on a treadmill, you’ll be able to sympathize with us. One minute takes forever. Each second seems abnormally long. But outdoor exercise is, according to one review, associated with greater physical activity and lower levels of perceived exertion. In other words: you won’t be giving up as quickly when you finally take your run outside.

6. THAT WAS AMAZING

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(Source: glitter-onmymind/Tumblr)

Outdoor running may be better for your physical and mental wellbeing. It may even make you want to go for another darn run the next day. In one review, participants who ran outdoors were reported to have greater decreases in tension, more satisfaction, higher energy, and a greater intention to run again.

5 poses to supercharge your run: yoga for runners

5 poses to supercharge your run: yoga for runners

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Why yoga might make the difference for your run

You're running. You feel the wind ripping through your hair, adrenaline pumping through your body, then suddenly: a cramp. Tight hamstrings. Sore feet. Your knees. If running pains deter you from being able to thoroughly enjoy outdoor or indoor jogs, do yoga for runners!

We particularly like the way that Daily Yoga structures their Yoga for Runners sessions by making a distinction between pre and post-run stretches. Their pre-run yoga routine focuses on body balance, muscle strength, and joint flexibility and makes use of simple stretches to condition the body for long-distance runs. Their post-run training restores, elongates, and loosens any tension built up in your muscles. Mobile communities like PumpUp and Daily Yoga provide the guidance and structured routines that a personal trainer would give you, but within the comfort of your home.

Our favourite pre-run yoga moves

daily yoga for runners forward fold

 

Standing forward fold with hands on hips

daily yoga for runners wide legged forward bend

 

Wide-legged forward bend with hands on hips

 

daily yoga for runners triangle pose

Triangle pose (right and left)

daily yoga for runners pigeon pose

 

One legged pigeon pose (right and left)

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Warrior Pose II (right and left)

For more instructions on how to do these poses, check out Daily Yoga's Yoga for runners series and share about your routine on PumpUp! How do you warm up and cool down before and after your runs? Let us know in the comments below!