Viewing entries tagged
stress

How to Tell If You Are Burned Out and What to Do About It

How to Tell If You Are Burned Out and What to Do About It

Some stress is normal in everyday life, and sometimes even healthy, because it can push you to perform at your best. However, there’s also a tipping point where things can quickly become out of control. When the chaos gets to that level, you’re not just stressed, but burned out. If you suspect life is far too hectic lately and it’s having an adverse impact on your health, the information below could help you get answers and solutions.

3 Meditation Techniques for a Flexible Mind

3 Meditation Techniques for a Flexible Mind

Life is full of unpredictability. We frequently counter the unexpected. This often leads to stress and worry as we try to cope with a curveball from nowhere. How could we possibly make this better? So much can be changed by having a flexible mind. If we decide that we are willing to meet whatever comes, we can begin to, as they say, roll with the punches. It can be challenging to change one's mindset to live in such a way, but it is possible and it leads to a certain flexibility of the mind.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Yoga Practice

How to Get the Most Out of Your Yoga Practice

When stepping onto my yoga mat, I remind myself that this is a sacred place. One's mat is where all else ceases to exist. I begin my yoga practice by taking a deep inhale, as I do so, I focus on the air rushing into my lunges, I breathe in positive energy. On my exhale, I blow the air out through my lips and exhale all negative energy out of my body. I like to think of myself as a blank slate when I start my practice. Each day is a new beginning and a new way to mold yourself into the person you aim to be, I begin each day with an open mind and a grateful heart.

Why Ina finally feels proud of her body

Why Ina finally feels proud of her body

"I was unhappy with myself but [never considered] working out. [My friend] recommended PumpUp as a source of inspiration." When Ina joined PumpUp in the summer of 2014, she began to develop a more positive relationship with exercise. "My journey basically started when I [began] to use PumpUp," she confessed.

How To Tell If You’re Overtraining and What To Do About It

How To Tell If You’re Overtraining and What To Do About It

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Overtraining is real, ladies and gentlemen. From high performance athletes to the occasional runner, overtraining is a problem that many face—yet it remains undiagnosed. I know this because I have gone through several periods of overtraining myself. Only now, after several years of dedicated training, do I believe to have found the balance between pushing myself and overtraining. Being aware of overtraining, taking precautions towards avoiding it and correctly identifying as well as treating it cannot be emphasized enough.

What Is Overtraining?

To over train means to “train or cause to train too hard or for too long”. Training too hard is a danger for beginners, as they will often go harder than what their untrained body’s can handle. A friend of mine injured his calf muscle on a 5km run he did after having not exercised for years. This is a case of overtraining until injury. When I haven’t worked out for a while, I’ll go light on my first few sessions back. This ensures proper adaption and recovery towards the physical stressor.

Training too long refers to the excessive duration of a workout. Again, untrained individuals are more susceptible to this than novices as their bodies can handle less.

During the warm up phase of a workout, your body is rather stiff and your blood circulation isn’t optimal. Moreover, your full range of motion isn’t at its peak yet.

Once you’ve taken the first few deep breaths, the body is ready for performance. This is when the real workout begins. Your performance increases and then plateaus. After some time, your performance decreases and you slowly wind down your training.

While pushing past the exhaustion is a necessary component of productive training, you don’t want to overdo it. The danger of training too long is especially relevant to runners. At some point, your muscles become painfully sore and your heart is beating like crazy. You start losing focus and your technique decreases dramatically. You become susceptible to serious injuries and the impact on your joints increases. A classic example of training too long.

Working out too often is the third type of overtraining. While the workouts are well planned, you are training often and the body can’t recover fast enough. Personally, I have found this to be the type of overtraining I’m confronted with the most. If you’re training with a deadline in mind (i.e. competition), how do you train as much as possible without overtraining?

This is a tough question to answer without taking any markers or indicators into consider.

What is overtraining? How can you tell if you're overtraining? This infographic will help you to exercise smarter and work out better // The PumpUp Blog

How To Tell If You’re Overtraining

There are multiple ways to gauge your body’s condition. Here are a few good ones:

  1. Low Morning Heart Rate Variability (HRV)

My morning HRV is one of the few numbers I truly believe in and take into serious account. Heart rate variability refers to the space between your individual heartbeats. Contrary to popular belief, your heartbeat is consistently inconsistent. Your body is always making tiny adjustments towards its environment, which can be reflected by more or less unnoticeable changes in the time between heart beats, hence heart rate variability.

When your body is healthy and thriving (not over trained), your HRV is higher. The body is able to handle stress and can react to its environment, which translates into an increase in heart rate variability. Vice versa, when your body is over trained and battered, your HRV is lower. Stress isn't dealt with optimally and you react poorly to your environment.

How does one know if their HRV is high or low? There are multiple ways of measuring it, but my favorite is simply using an app on my phone. “HRV4Training” is an app especially useful for beginners, as it analyzes the data and gives you simple advice. Instead of overwhelming the user with numbers, it provides one score and a sentence informing you about your score and whether or not you should workout during the day. All you have to do is hold your finger over the camera lens for it to measure your HRV.

If your morning HRV is low and you’ve been training hard, consider resting for the day. Take a few days off if your HRV is consistently low or getting lower on a daily basis.

  1. Chronically Tired

Find yourself yawning constantly and chugging coffee despite having slept well? Overtraining doesn’t only cause your body to be sore, it can also make you feel tired and decrease your mental performance. Listen to your body instead of trying to hide the signs of training too much by binging on caffeine. Take a day off or nap frequently.

 

  1. Poor Sleep Quality

Strangely enough, sleep quality tends to suffer when training too much.

One bad night of sleep shouldn't lead to you worrying about overtraining. However, if you have trouble sleeping for a few nights (and you usually sleep like a rock), consider resting.

Aside from your own perception, tracking your sleep is also useful for determining a decrease in sleep quality. You can track your sleep using simple tools such as the SleepCycle app or more expensive trackers such as Zeo tracker.

These trackers will monitor your sleep and give you a report in the morning to inform you about the quality of your sleep. Using the data and your own perception, you can determine whether or not you might be overtraining.

 

  1. Suboptimal Performance 

Declining performance is another great indicator of training too often. If you can’t reach your previous records, you aren’t resting enough in between workouts. If you find yourself tired and sore during the warm up, think twice about working out. Overtraining isn’t always the case when you're sore and not performing well, however it is an indicator one should take into account.

These are just four possible indicators of overtraining. To make use of them, track all four and then make a conclusion rather than only regarding one or two.

 

How To Deal With Overtraining – Simple Methods Of Recovery

If you’re overtraining or are on the verge of doing so, use these recovery tips to eliminate it.

  1. Rest

While there are ways to lower the demand for rest, you can’t avoid it. The body needs rest, period. Take 1-2 days off per week and don’t train more than twice a day. As a hobby athlete myself, I train around 3-4 times per week and find it is demanding enough.

  1. Nutrition

Eating healthy is paramount for recovery. Provide your body with an abundance of nutrients and lower inflammation by avoiding trans fats, added sugar and processed foods. Ensure proper micronutrient intake by eating a lot of vegetables, nuts, meats, fruits and other healthy, unprocessed natural foods. Don't forget to eat enough carbohydrates, fat and protein! Your body needs macronutrients for energy, recovery and overall health.

  1. Stretching And Massage

Stretch daily and after workouts to promote muscle recovery as well as to increase your full range of motion. Runners, weight lifters and other athletes tighten up due to the high demands on the body and thus underperform. Make time for stretching and you’ll not only recover faster, but also feel and perform better.

Massaging is another powerful recovery enhancer. Taking massages with trained professionals is mandatory for athletes. If you don’t have the time (or money) to take a hands-on massage once a week, spend more time on the foam roller.

Self-massage using a foam roller, tennis ball and/or golf ball is referred to as self-myofascial release. Myofascial release (MFR) is a great way to relax the muscle and improve blood circulation. Furthermore, MFR softens up soft tissue, thus allowing for more mobility. Check out this video for a foam roller routine .

  1. Good Sleep

When we talk about sleep, we usually refer to how long one should sleep. The quality of sleep is equally important however, if not more. Increase the quality of your sleep by following these protocols:

  • Pitch black room
  • No screens before bed (unless your using f.lux)
  • Take honey (or other form of simple sugars, such as berries or fruit) and magnesium before bed. The carbohydrates will help your body replenish during the night and the magnesium will relax you.
  • Consume protein before bed for muscle recovery

Aside from improving the quality of your time in bed, sleep 7-9 hours per night.

  1. Cold Exposure

Ice baths, cold showers and winter temperatures are great ways of exposing your body to cold. Why do so? When your body is in a very cold environment, it retracts blood to the vital organs to ensure survival. Then, when you go back to normal temperatures, fresh blood is pumped back to the muscles. This fresh blood boosts the recovery of your muscles.

A cold shower is my favorite way of getting regular cold exposure. I’ll take a cold shower directly after my training, which will get rid of the lactic acid build up as well as refreshing my blood that is in my muscles.

 

I hope you enjoyed this article. For similar articles, please visit LifestyleApex. Follow me on Twitter @MoeHustler and like my Facebook page. Thanks!

Why Stress Is Preventing You From Getting the Fitness Results You Want

Why Stress Is Preventing You From Getting the Fitness Results You Want

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When you think of a good fitness routine, what comes to mind? It’s likely that your list would include regular exercise, eating healthy food, and maybe getting good sleep each night. Here’s another item to add: Making time to de-stress.

Almost everyone faces a little stress from time to time, but when that stress builds up or becomes chronic, it can be powerful enough to prevent fitness gains from happening altogether.

Here are 3 reasons why stress is preventing you from getting the fitness results you want, and then some practical techniques for de-stressing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7rNwPkJ2q4

1. Stress Increases Food Cravings

Stress increases food cravings gif // The PumpUp Blog

Oftentimes people struggle to lose weight and are perplexed as to why. They are doing everything “right” but still aren’t getting the results they want. Stress might be the culprit.

Have you heard of the “fight or flight” response? This is a survival mechanism that causes the body to produce adrenaline when faced with stress. Historically it was helpful when the stress was physical danger (like being attacked by a bear!), but today the response is triggered by much less-dangerous stress.

Stress from your job, school, or relationships can trigger adrenaline production. This is problematic because adrenaline is accompanied by cortisol, a hormone that causes hunger.

When stressed, your body will crave food even though the stressful event likely didn’t require much energy to deal with - You don’t burn calories stressing over a deadline at work like you would running away from an angry bear!

2. Stress Decreases Motivation

Stress decreases motivation // Sherlock gif - The PumpUp Blog

Think back to a time when you were really stressed out. Did you feel motivated to exercise? Were you compelled to cook a healthy meal for yourself?

Stressful situations often lead to feelings of being overwhelmed. Things in life seem too much to handle and it’s difficult to even consider doing something as simple as going for a quick jog.

This is one reason why exercise and healthy eating fall off track during stressful times. Your mind (and body) is focused on getting through that stress – Making healthy lifestyle choices gets put on the backburner.

3. Stress Reduces the Effectiveness of Your Workouts

Stress reduces the effectiveness of your workout // The PumpUp Blog

Some people see exercise as a way to deal with stress. Yes, it can be a good way to take your mind off other things happening in life, but exercise is actually just another form of stress. It’s a physical stress on your body.

That sounds like a bad thing, but it’s really not. Physically stressing your body is what allows you to make progress – You push a little further and get better as a result.

Unfortunately, when you are already dealing with other stressors in life, whether they are physical, emotional, or relational, your body has less capacity to deal with the stress of a workout.

Not only does your chance of injury increase during stressful times, but recovery from your workouts is also inhibiting due to less quality sleep. This means that you won’t get the same results from exercise that you would during less stressful times in life.

How to Fix Your Stress: Some Helpful Resources

It’s pretty clear that stress can have a huge impact on your ability to get and stay fit. What can you do about it?

One of the most important de-stressing techniques is simply taking a few minutes each day to relax. This will look different for different people, but it can include any activity that allows rest for your mind and body.

There are some really helpful online tools that can be used to practice stress-reducing relaxation. One is Calm, a quick meditation that you can do on your computer or phone. You choose the length and the style of relaxation and Calm does the rest.

Another great tool is called Do Nothing For 2 Minutes. This simple website “forces” you to stop working. How you spend that 2 minutes is up to you, but the idea is to take time to just relax, perhaps practice some deep breathing, and allow your stress to dissipate.

One other great resource is the 42 Ways to Live Stress-Free guide. This is a compilation of the best techniques and resources that you can use to beat the stress that creeps into various parts of your day.

From waking up in the morning to dealing with stressful relationships, this guide has something for every type of stress you may be dealing with.

Stress is going to happen – It’s part of life. But learning a few techniques to prevent that stress from becoming a chronic problem is key for your mental health and your body’s ability to make the fitness improvements you’re looking for.

About the Author

Dave Smith has been a professional fitness and weight-loss coach since 2001 and was chosen as “Canada’s Top Fitness Professional” in 2013.

He specializes in holistic weight-loss rooted in clean eating, daily movement, group accountability and on-going peer support. His motto is “Strive for progress, not perfection” and his goal is long-term change, not quick fixes.

You can learn more about his healthy living and weight-loss programs at makeyourbodywork.com.

Images (1), (2), and (3) via giphy. Cover photo via Etsy.

How I controlled my emotional eating and reached my goal weight - Lisa's PumpUp Success Story

How I controlled my emotional eating and reached my goal weight - Lisa's PumpUp Success Story

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Strength training can certainly be intimidating. Lisa didn't let that stop her from taking the initiative to enhance how she lived a healthy lifestyle. "I was looking for an app that would provide some structured workouts, especially for strength training," she revealed. "It's the area that I am the weakest in. I didn't really know what to do or how to plan my workouts. PumpUp had exactly what I needed." Though Lisa led a very physically active lifestyle prior to joining PumpUp, her eating habits held her back. She binged on copious amounts of fast food to sustain her after exhausting hours at work. She's constantly on her feet and is required to lift 50 lbs a day. "Exercise was touch and go, but not very consistent. I mostly did bodyweight exercises and running, or I'd throw in some exercise games on my XBox," she explained. "I would each Chick-Fil-A for lunch (with large fries) and I wouldn't have snacks throughout the day. By the time I ate dinner, I'd be starving and binged on fast food or pizza." 

Lisa stopped emotional eating with the help of PumpUp

Rather than opting for processed food, Lisa now maintains much more wholesome eating habits. "Since PumpUp, my lifestyle changed drastically," she professed. "As soon as I get home, I go upstairs and change into my workout gear. I run for at least a mile and do a PumpUp workout afterwards, or even additional weightlifting after that! I don't binge on fast food anymore, and I snack on fruits such as bananas, grapes, and berries." Lisa is sure to eat lots of lean protein, steamed veggies, fruit, and complex carbohydrates. "I no longer have wine after every dinner, except on occasion, and I also make time every day to spend time with my kids by doing something fun and active," she added. "Sometimes, I even have them work out with me!"

Since Lisa began her journey on PumpUp, she accomplished  more than she ever thought she was capable of. "I wanted to be healthy, fit, and happy with how I look and feel," she said. "I struggled for over two years and finally made the decision to eat right and exercise regularly. There are so many women on PumpUp who have inspired me to achieve more than I thought was possible." Making that decision was difficult, but not impossible. Lisa makes a conscious choice to live healthy every day. "With PumpUp, I reached my goal weight, I gained some muscle definition, and lost almost 3 dress sizes," she said excitedly. "I feel better physically. Eating healthy had a lot to do with it. On the days I slip, I notice a difference in how I feel. I hope that I encouraged others on PumpUp because they inspired me so much!"

Lisa stopped emotional eating with the help of PumpUp

Emotional eating no longer has as great of a hold on Lisa's life as it used to. "I've been dealing with severe depression since I was a teenager. Food was my comfort when I was sad, and also a way to celebrate when I was happy. Food was my answer to everything." Though Lisa faces a daily struggle with emotional eating, it gets easier thanks to the healthy routine that she adopted. "I ask myself if I'm actually hungry anytime I want to eat. I've been able to identify whether I'm eating based on my mood, and I hold back as best as I can," she elaborated. "There are still times that I slip, but I'm getting better and always get back on the wagon. PumpUp's community is amazing.  No negativity and everyone is so supportive.  It has been something  amazing in my life!  I really do love this app and the whole community!"

Lisa stopped emotional eating with the help of PumpUp

Biggest motivation

My biggest motivation right now is to be an example for my kids and not end up like my family. All the women in my family are extremely overweight and have various health problems. My mom had a heart attack a year ago and also found out she had cancer.  Thankfully, we caught the cancer early enough that she is now cancer free.  I don't want to grow old and not be able to do anything and feel horrible.  I want to be the old lady that still bowls and runs down the street, playing with my grandkids.

Favourite workout routine on PumpUp

I really can't pick a favorite!! I generally like to do full body workouts on PumpUp but I do love how you can customize what you want to do everyday!!  I can say though that I enjoy trying new routines to challenge myself, I get bored with too much repetition!

Lisa stopped emotional eating with the help of PumpUp

More about Lisa

I grew up moving a lot, 23 times in fact.  I had to switch schools over 10 times so I learned to adapt.  I was born in the south but moved to Las Vegas when I was 11.  Absolutely loved it out there and ended up joining the  U.S. Navy at 17.  I was stationed in San Diego and spent time in Florida as well.  I was an aviation electrician and worked on the S3-B Viking.  Lots of good times while serving!  I met my husband at my first squadron and we married young (I was 20) and our first child came along later that year (I was 21).  We have been together for 12 years now and have 2 beautiful children.  I love to read, I'm kind of a movie buff, and have had a pet deer that I named Bambi.

Keep Lisa pumped on the app @tinker_fit! Have questions for Lisa? Are you struggling with emotional eating? Let her know in the comments below!

5 ways to stay sane during hectic situations

5 ways to stay sane during hectic situations

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Between work and school and family, right now, I’m drowning. I have so much to do in the next month in order to prepare for post-university life. Yet, I keep pushing my work to the side to play on my phone or watch TV or to do anything imaginable that isn’t work. It’s been so bad that last week, my heart was racing for about 5 days due to anxiety and stress. How am I supposed to cope with all that’s going on? In my head, it seems easy to just buckle down, get the work done, and then relax. But in application, it takes a lot more energy. So I’m going to do something a little different for this post. This week I’m going to list my top 5 ways to stay sane in hectic situations.

Plan your work and work your plan

Make a plan and stick to it

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I don’t know about you, but I’m a visual person. It helps me get things done if I write things out in the form of calendars, to do lists, and even step-by-step tasks. It may seem like extra work but by writing things down, I’m seeing just how much needs to get done and how it needs to get done.

Take a deep breath

Breathe

(Image via Dundee Runners)

During those times when my heart races with stress, I like to take some really deep breaths and clear my mind. If possible, I also try to listen to some nature sounds like the forest or, my favorite, ocean waves on Spotify or YouTube. By focusing my mind on breathing and the nature sounds, I’m able to clear my head for a second and create a blank slate to do more work.

Imagine the satisfaction

Do a happy dance. You deserve it

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Visualize how great you'll feel once your work is complete. One thing that also helps me is envisioning myself completing the tasks at hand. Seeing the pure joy on my stress-free face makes me want to work towards that even more.

Ask for help

Don't be afraid to reach out for help

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Nothing in this world is accomplished alone and we are not super humans. Ask for help if you are unable to complete a task. It may be hard to let someone down or place a burden on another but, chances are, that person is agreeing to help you because they care about you very much.

Take time to make yourself happy

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I cannot stress this last point enough. No matter what you do in hectic times, it’s important to remember your own happiness. Carve out some times for breaks in which you do something you love to do like baking, watching TV or, in my case, singing your heart out to your favorite songs.

I hope you can use some of these tips in your own life to stay sane in the busier times in of your life.

This is a post by PumpUp member @ohmyitschels. Check out Chelsie’s YouTube page here

4 Easy Ways to Stay Healthy on a Crazy Schedule | Healthy living 101

4 Easy Ways to Stay Healthy on a Crazy Schedule | Healthy living 101

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1) Plan your meals Plan your meals and make sure that your fridge is stocked with healthy options

Bulk shop, cook and prep on the weekend so that at least your breakfast and lunches for the week are ready to go. Having the fridge stocked with healthy options that are available for you to just grab and hurtle out the door will ensure that you stay on track! Put aside 1-2 hours on the weekend to get this together and you will be so happy you did!

2) Pack your lunches

Plan your meals in advance if you know that you're going to have a busy week.

Not only does this save time and money but it's also hands-down the healthiest way to eat! You cooked it, so you know exactly what is in it. While this is a bit more work up-front, after the first week of adjusting to this new routine it will become second nature!

Don’t forget to pack snacks too, you never know when the munchies will hit. Apples, bananas, cut up veggies or trail mix are the perfect portable snacks!

3) Break out the Crock Pot

Crock pots help you save time and eat healthy when you're on a time constraint

Image c/o Juan Calderon

Whether you are single or feeding an army of children, the slow cooker is a lifesaver! You can prep all of the ingredients the night before, pop them in on your way out the door in the morning and viola! You come home to a perfectly cooked meal. It’s so easy, I like to start with onions and root veggies on the bottom, then a nice piece of grass-fed meat, or some beans, some broth or diced tomatoes! The best part is that you'll have lots of leftovers.

4) Lean on Liquid Meals

Green juice is the way to go if you're pressed on time. Juice from the Village Juicery works like a charm.

Not so keen on green juice? Experiment with it first. Try either a warm blended soup or a smoothie to start your day off, and see how you feel. Many of us aren’t hungry when we wake up and that's because it takes awhile for your digestive system to warm up. Starting off with a liquid meal is a great way to ease into the day. You can pre-make soups and stockpile them in your freezer or blend up a smoothie with some protein powder, berries and greens for a nutrient-dense breakfast that’s easy to digest. Liquid meals require less prep and cleanup but are just as satisfying and healthy as your traditional breakfast options.

I hope these tips and tricks help you to stay healthy when time is tight!

I am launching my online video course next month!! Its called ‘Healthy Living 101’, and you can see a sneak peek HERE. Subscribe to be the first to know and get a FREE Snack-Sized Cookbook.

Meal Prep Tips for busy schedules

If you want more inspiration and healthy recipes, follow me on social media and check out my blog. I post daily goodies on InstagramTwitter and Facebook!

This is a post by Gillian B. Follow her on PumpUp @gillianb and connect with her on Facebook for more tips about health, wellness, and holistic living.

4 ways to stay on track when you're stressed out to the max

4 ways to stay on track when you're stressed out to the max

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As the end of the school year rolls around, I know we all can’t help thinking about the quickly approaching summer months. I know how easy it is to start slacking off and getting distracted by the thoughts of relaxation and warm sunshine. We are in the final stretch!! Time to find some motivation in all aspects of life and stay on track to finish the year out successfully! Here are my top tips for staying on top of your health and school work!…

1. Plan AHEAD!

My favorite way to stay organized is to write everything down. Making a list and crossing things off can be extremely effective in not only staying on top of your work, but also finding a personal sense of accomplishment when you complete things. Also, if you know you are going to be studying at the library all day–bring snacks! Eating “brain food” like fruits and veggies is the perfect way to stay energized during long hours of studying.

Plan ahead by writing everything down - 4 tips to stay on track, even when you're stressed out from the PumpUp Blog

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2. Give yourself a BREAK!

Make time for YOU on a daily basis. Whether you take 30 minutes to exercise, watch a TV show, or take a nap, breaks are necessary for your brain, your body, and your sanity! Never feel guilty for taking time for yourself. :)

Give yourself a break - 4 ways to stay on track even when you're stressed out

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3. Surround yourself with MOTIVATION!

Studying in a an environment with little distraction will help keep you focused. If you like studying in a group, find other students who like to do it too! Find what works for you and what inspires you and you will absolutely be on the road to success!

Surround yourself with motivation - 4 tips to stay on track, even when you're stressed out | PumpUp Blog

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4. Stay POSITIVE!

One of the best pieces of advice my parents ever gave me is “You don’t have to be the best, you just have to do your best.” It is so important to remember this in all aspects of life– don’t compare yourself to others. You are your own biggest competitor! Challenge yourself to be a better version of YOU every single day. That’s all you can ask of yourself!

Remember that there is LIGHT at the end of the tunnel! Summer is right around the corner! Working hard until then will make your time off even more enjoyable, I promise.

Stay positive - 4 tips to stay on track, even when you're stressed out | PumpUp Blog

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These tips to stay on track, even when you're stressed out were written by Ashley Hampton (PumpUp:@rawincollege), a college student looking to spread the power of the raw vegan lifestyle through her positive posts and vibrant photos. Check out her blog.

4 tips to stay on track and be healthy, even when you're stressed out. Plan ahead, take breaks, immerse yourself in a motivating environment, and stay positive. Learn more from the PumpUp Blog at blog.pumpup.com