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How Melanie Regained Control Over Her Life

How Melanie Regained Control Over Her Life

"I didn’t have self-control and I didn’t care about the lifestyle I was living. My lifestyle has changed so much - lifting has changed much more than my body. I am so much happier."

What Happened When Mary Stopped Relying on the Scale

What Happened When Mary Stopped Relying on the Scale

Now that Mary does resistance training, she weighs more and feels better about her body. “I weigh 135 lbs and I love every bit of muscle that I put on,” she insisted. “I am lifting at least 5 days a week and I run 2 times a week. With PumpUp, I get up every morning to get my workout in and I post it."

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." 

Are Chucks good for lifting?

Are Chucks good for lifting?


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

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.

Toning doesn't exist

This is a post by Rachel Carpenter (@bothgirl). Check out her blog for her daily workouts!

So your fitness goal is to “tone up”.

I think what you meant to say is that you want to increase your muscle size and lower your body-fat percentage so that you appear to have more muscle definition. 

Cameron Diaz isn’t “toned”. She has developed her muscles and eats a clean diet for a low body-fat percentage so that those muscles can actually be seen.


You see - there is no such thing as toning, and I’m going to explain to you why.

I hear from one girl after another, telling me that they “don’t want to get big”that they “just wants to tone”.

This has always frustrated me, because I know that a musclecan only get bigger or smaller. It’s not a shape shifter. Unfortunately, the media has marketed the toning myth to us for quite some time – but it’s not too late to get educated on the facts. 

Shall we have a short lesson in anatomy?

  • Our muscles are anatomically confined to the space between our joints and our bones.
  • They cannot get longer; they have a starting point and an ending point.
  • Between those two points the muscle can only grow bigger or smaller. It can’t change its shape.

The “toned” look that most people are hoping for is actually a result of an increase in muscle size paired with a lowering of body fat percentage so that you can more easily see the muscles. In order to get that look you need to:

  1. Build up muscle (through strength training)
  2. Lose the fat around the muscle (through a clean diet) 

The misconception surrounding toning beings with the myth that doing light weight and high reps will result in lower body fat and increased muscle. This is essentially cardio, and all this really means is that it’s going to take you a heck of a lot longer to grow that muscle that you want to see. This is also why so many people struggle to see progress. 

The biggest offenders of this “toning” fad are the barre or ballet type classes, as well as Pilates. Don’t get me wrong, there are benefits to both of these types of exercises, but they claim to give you “long, lean muscles”, which is anatomically impossible.

By participating in these types of exercises, with the hope of “toning”, you’re just building your muscles more slowly than you would if you were strength training with heavier weights. You might achieve other benefits, but this is the hard way to get a lower body fat percentage.

I’d love to stop hearing the word “toned” – and I’d love to see a lot more women in the weight room. Don’t take my word for it. Find someone, like Cameron Diaz, who you want to look like and find out what they are doing. Chances are, they aren’t “toning” or practicing magical spells to get those results.  Remember to avoid the fads and stick to the facts…and don’t be afraid of heavy weights.

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. 


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…


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.


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


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.

Spotlight Series: Krystina P.

pumpup app spotlight

Today’s spotlight beams brightly upon PumpUp member Krystina P., who cultivated her love for lifting with the help of PumpUp.  As a newcomer to the world of weights, Krystina was galvanized to join the PumpUp community in order to learn proper form and technique. “I was in need of something to show me how to do certain lifts because I had no previous experience,” explains Krystina. “I have accomplished so much using the PumpUp fitness app. Really! I started off not knowing how to do any kind of weight lifting exercise and now I find myself doing exercises that some would call advanced!” Intrigued by how this PumpUp member did it? Read on to learn about how Krystina ‘lifted’ her way to achieving her fitness goals!

Already a fairly active runner prior to joining PumpUp, Krystina felt that learning how to lift would add an extra dimension of satisfaction to her workouts. “I didn’t know how or where to start,” Krystina expressed. “PumpUp’s pictures and descriptions taught me from the get go and really showed me which lifts work [which specific parts] of your body.”


Weightlifting fuels the fire in her workouts, as Krystina admits with a grin that, “As far as exercise [goes], I like to lift weights. No—I love to lift weights. I section off my days to work various parts of my body and rotate through them. I also do some cardio but I admit I have been slacking a bit on it!”

She has impressively integrated at least 5 visits to the gym per week into her busy summer work schedule. “These days I’ve been working between 30 and 40 hours a week before school starts up, so it’s been quite the challenge to make it to the gym!” admits Krystina. “[It’s] challenging when I’m working outside in the heat on top of the gym. I manage to get it done though! I didn’t think [that it] could be but I’ve learned it IS possible!”

Krystina was able to transform her weight lifting ambitions into reality with few inhibitions, particularly when she started out as a beginner. “I love that PumpUp shows you how to do the workouts as well as give descriptions as to what you’re working (as far as muscle) and what level it is,” elaborated Krystina. “This helped me out quite a bit when I first started learning how to lift weights. It helped win my gym confidence too! Now I can walk into any gym and know exactly what I need to do or what variations I can do.”


Her streak of confidence is as unwavering as her resolve to reach peak fitness and form, as she hopes to take her healthy active lifestyle to the next level through competitions . “For now I’m going to keep learning as much as I can but in the long run I would really like to train for a bikini competition!” says Krystina.  “I’ve been interested in them for almost a year now but with my last year of college it could be tricky so we shall see!

Key to Krystina’s success is a mindset that does not overwhelmingly compare her personal progress with that of others. “Not everyone is in the same stage of their journey,” Krystina emphasizes. “Be proud of who YOU are and the changes you see in YOUR body! And remember that for everything there is a first time and whether you’re on day 1 or day 100, you’re doing it and that’s all that matters!”



Biggest Inspiration

It may be a tad cliche but my biggest inspiration is my boyfriend Ryan :) He has known me from the start of my journey and has been nothing but encouraging and supportive. He’s a baseball player and has been training for years so I know I can always go to him for help with lifting. It’s super contagious and now we’ve even starting lifting together!! For the past three months we have been able to workout together at least once a week. He pushes me and forces me to recognize that I’m stronger than I think.

Motivational Mantra

“If you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful”

ET (or Eric Thomas) is the best motivational speaker. He really engages you and strikes a chord in you to get moving and get motivated. I would recommend him to anyone looking to find some motivation or inspiration or for simple entertainment! Go check him out!

Routine routine on PumpUp

My favorite workout is anything involving legs! The lower body pump is especially great because it has a lot of squat variations and dead lift variations. 

Softie for sports

I’m a born and raised Dodgers fan and Royals fan, Sporting KC fan, KC Chiefs fan, and KU Jayhawks fan. I absolutely love them all! I kick butt in my fantasy football leagues and so far I’m first in one of my fantasy baseball leagues! 


Want to keep tabs on Krystina as she achieves her health and fitness goals? Follow her on PumpUp @krysfit and on Instagram!