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Sophia Le is a PumpUp role model - PumpUp Spotlight Series

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Want to learn more about how PumpUp member @SophiaLe stays active? She’s a print model and a huge role model on PumpUp! Sophia has tons of great advice to share about exercising, eating healthy, and keeping herself motivated! 

Sophia joined the PumpUp community in May 2014 in search of a platform where she could share and discuss health and fitness with like-minded individuals. “I initially only had Instagram and I loved posting pictures of my workouts and the food I cook—but I’m so into it and wanted to post about it all the time,” explains Sophia. “It seemed like instagrammers got annoyed with all my health and fitness stuff,” she chuckles. This can be discouraging, particularly for those just beginning their wellness journeys. “I wanted to join PumpUp because everyone on there is just as into it as I am, and they don’t get annoyed with my posts,” she elaborates. “I also like seeing the cool workouts other people do, so I can learn new ones to try and new recipes to cook.”

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Due to the nature of her occupation as a model, it’s important for Sophia to remain active. “Some nights are intense workouts that are 2 hours long, and on other nights when I’m too tired, I’ll do a small workout for 20 or 30 minutes,” she says. Like many other PumpUp members, Sophia is a night owl. “I’ve always exercised at night and I see a lot of people on PumpUp doing home workouts like I do,” she tells us. “They have great results, it’s inspiring. It just shows that you can do it yourself without a trainer or some super expensive gym equipment.”

Balance and moderation are important for maintaining a healthy diet, and Sophia does this successfully by using simple tricks that don’t require big changes. “If I eat eggs, I’ll have just the egg whites. If I make a sandwich, I’ll use one piece of bread and make a half sandwich instead,” she explains. “Instead of regular whole milk, I’ll have soy or almond milk. I’m not gonna lie though, I have a lot of cheat meals. I just don’t splurge all day every day like I used to.” After all, PumpUp members strive for progress, not perfection, right?

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Sophia is as real as real can be. She explains that it’s easier to be healthy by making small changes because it relieves a lot of pressure. Drastic changes can be daunting and even overwhelming for beginners.  “Make 2 or 3 small substitutions to your diet using healthy choices,” she advises. “You’ll feel good about yourself and want to make more changes later on. When people put so much pressure on themselves to the point where they deprive themselves of everything, their cravings take over and it gets too hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle.” 

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Answers, rather than excuses, keep Sophia motivated. She likes to ask herself questions before making decisions about health and exercise. “‘Am I really too tired to work out for 10 minutes?’ or ‘How am I going to feel after that? Is it worth it?’ I don’t want to wake up the next day with the regret of eating something bad or not squeezing in a workout,” she shares.  She is also inspired by the determination of other PumpUp members to remain active and healthy, regardless of their circumstances. “When I see others on PumpUp who work full time, have kids, engagements with friends, and everything else, yet they still somehow find time to squeeze in a workout, it motivates me to work harder,” she confirms. “Sometimes it makes me realize that I make too many excuses,” Sophia chuckles.

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Favourite Snack

“When I feel like snacking (which is ALL THE TIME!), I try downing some water and waiting a few minutes to see if I still have the cravings. I read somewhere that your body often mistakes thirst for hunger, so I drink a ton of water. But when I do snack, one of favorites is Snap pea Crisps! They’re so good and so addicting. Tip: Put your snacks into a tiny bowl or plate, that way you don’t eat way too much! I never eat out of the bag. 

Motivational Mantra

"Did you do anything today that will move you one step closer to where you want to be tomorrow?" 

Favourite Exercise

“I love kettle bells! It’s easy to make up new exercises with them. Whatever muscle group I want to work on, I pick up my 20 lb. kettlebell and keep moving until I find a motion that works out the muscle in a new way.”

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Be inspired by Sophia and keep her motivated! Follow Sophia on PumpUp and on Instagram @SophiaLe!

Jurga is pretty much the most positive person ever — PumpUp Spotlight Series

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Jurga’s smile always lights up the PumpUp community and she’s very deserving of a grand and great PumpUp spotlight. She’s overcome a condition called PCOS and has tons of great advice for us.  If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail,” she says. Learn more about Jurga (@jurgast) down below!

Prior to joining PumpUp in May 2014, Jurga admits that she lacked community-based encouragement to help her pursue her goals. “I had no support on my fitness journey from anywhere. I wanted it and needed it so much,” she explains. Since then, it’s safe to say that she fits right into the PumpUp family. She’s an extremely positive force for many other members on the app.

When Jurga moved to the United States 2.5 years ago, she tells us that she had trouble adapting to a different lifestyle. “I gained weight instantly—reaching 133 lbs,” she divulges. “I was lost and didn’t know what to eat anymore. Even carrots weren’t the same.” Back home, Jurga reveals that she was a self-proclaimed ‘cardio junkie’, exercising on the elliptical, spinning classes, and different types of cardio except for running 4 times a week for 12 years straight. “It worked back then. But not anymore,” she says. On top of that, Jurga mentions that she also got Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a condition in which a female’s hormones are out of balance.

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After learning about her PCOS, Jurga changed the way that she leads her active lifestyle. She laid off on her cardio first. In January 2014, she began strength training with weights. The transformation was dramatic: she went from 26% body fat to 21%, from 28% muscle mass to 34.9%, and lost almost 10 pounds in the process as well as her PCOS. “All winter and half of spring I was bulking. Then I started cardio, all kinds of it,” she explains. “I most importantly developed a habit to workout. It’s like brushing my teeth now!”

Jurga loves high intensity interval training, elliptical workouts, and cycling. She recently began playing recreational basketball as well. All of this activity helps her physical and mental health. “All of my jobs before were sedentary,” Jurga says. “Now that I’m a student again, it’s even harder to be active. Workouts help a lot.” She’s just started to incorporate ab exercises—some of them from PumpUp—into her routine and is excited to see definition in her core.

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Growing up, Jurga ate healthy and all-organic homegrown foods. She highlights how this has helped her to maintain her present, and healthy eating habits. “I ate lots of veggies—I was almost vegetarian back then,” she recounts. “Now I’m eating meats and watching my protein intake carefully! I love it.”

She’s pumped up to work out bright and early in the mornings before her classes begin. “I love to do some biking, basketball, or running before college,” she gushes. After her courses, she frequently heads straight to the gym to perform heavy lifting routines. It isn’t easy to juggle a student schedule with a rigorous workout routine, but Jurga does it gracefully. “I plan my day carefully and try to stick to it,” she elaborates. 

For those looking to lead a more healthy and active lifestyle, Jurga urges to plan rather than procrastinate. “Start making simple changes. Don’t wait for Monday—planning is key,” she counsels. “If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.” Jurga also advises that different exercises and routines work best for different people and under different circumstances. “Be a detective. Try different things and find out what works for you,” she asserts. “[For example], low carb diets don’t work for everybody.”

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Biggest Motivation

“I’m weird but I don’t have any particular person whose image motivates me. I admire all hard working moms and dads who still find time to workout! Also, I’m inspired by all the dedicated people who don’t make excuses—they get their butts off the couch and move.”

Jurga’s clean eats

“I love greek yogurt or cottage cheese with strawberries! My favourite meal is grilled chicken with zucchini and mushrooms.”

Motivational Mantra

“A river cuts through the rock not because of its power, but its persistence.”

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More about Jurga

“I’m very positive person. I see only good everywhere. I’m Lithuanian! I was a social worker (that explains why I love people so much), and now I’m trying to get another specialty, majoring in dental hygiene. I love dogs and bunnies. Not a fan of cats.”

Follow Jurga on PumpUp and Instagram @jurgast