Viewing entries tagged
working out

4 Secrets to Looking Your Best While Working Out

4 Secrets to Looking Your Best While Working Out

While many people would love to look their best while working out, it doesn't always happen. More than ever– particularly when we see celebrities looking flawless in their workout gear– we aspire to be the best versions of ourselves, sweat or no sweat.  Here are some secrets to looking your best while working out.

Exercising with a Disability : Key Things to Consider

Exercising with a Disability : Key Things to Consider

If you suffer from a chronic condition that limits your mobility, you have certainly at some point felt unable to live life to the fullest. The more obvious limitations aside, the only thing that prevents you from being active and enjoying life as any other person are the limitations you impose on yourself, and the expectations you have of the phrase “live an active life”. Exercising is an activity where people with a disability feel like they are missing out on the most, but that is because we are shown what it looks like to be in full health and exercise. The truth is that there is a lot that you can do for yourself, disability or not.

5 Reasons To Get A Jump Start On Your Fitness Goals

5 Reasons To Get A Jump Start On Your Fitness Goals

The hardest part about doing anything is getting started. I have found this to be so true, especially when it comes to my fitness goals at the beginning of the year. Once I get started on my daily workout routine, I seem to be fine. But, the hard part is making that first step, and then staying motivated and committed to my fitness goals.

When you consider all the great benefits from working out and getting fit, you will be inspired to do workouts more and more often.

Finding Your Fit: Making Fitness Work For You

Finding Your Fit: Making Fitness Work For You

When you start considering a new fitness routine, it is easy to get overwhelmed with options: from at home routines and apps to finding the right gym for you. Finding your fit can make or break your relationship with exercise.

Why You Shouldn't Feel Guilty After Skipping A Workout

Why You Shouldn't Feel Guilty After Skipping A Workout

Do you sometimes feel guilty after skipping a workout?When I started my fitness journey 4 years ago, I used to feel guilty all the time whenever I missed a workout. I used to think that it wasn’t okay. The problem was my mindset.  Like a muscle, I needed to train it. This was harder than anything I've ever done in my life. 

I don’t let myself feel guilty anymore. If I decide to forego a workout, I don’t think of it as a bad thing. The phrases skipping or giving up have such a negative connotations to them. It’s not like you're completely giving up on eating healthy forever, anyway. When circumstances lead to skipping a workout, I accept it. This was my decision. My body wasn’t feeling it at the time. Listen to your body.

Working out in your dorm room : A Comprehensive Guide

Working out in your dorm room : A Comprehensive Guide

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Healthy minds and healthy bodies go together like avocado and every food on the planet. Make sure that running ‘late’ isn’t the only form of cardio that you get on a daily basis. The more you train your body, the easier it is to train your brain. Frequent exercise may be an effective way to alleviate depression, it may make you more resilient to stress, and and it’s even associated with higher academic achievement. Not one for the campus gym? Sweat it out elsewhere. Working out in a dorm room can be equally as effective, notwithstanding a few challenges:

Why working out in a dorm room is so difficult

Minimal Equipment

Most dorms probably won’t allow you to modify your room’s basic infrastructure, so forget about nailing a pull-up bar to your door. Whether you live in a shared space or not, equipment can cause a lot of clutter. In addition to having all of your textbooks, cue cards, laundry, and snacks lying around, you won’t have tons of room for much else.

Minimal Space

Dorm rooms are small. Tiny, even. Even without equipment, several dorm rooms bear greater semblance to tiny cupboards under the stairs. Average secondary bedroom sizes range anywhere from 100 to 200 square feet. Chances are that your living quarters are way smaller. This makes exercise difficult (but not impossible), as several forms of exercise require space. How ought you to do walking lunges when you’re barely able to walk more than 5 paces between your front door and your bed?

Noise

Older dorms tend to have older floors, which means that plyometric exercises won’t be friendly to your downstairs neighbors. You might need to take your roommate’s schedule into consideration as well— you’d be hard-pressed to find a roomie who will enjoy studying while listening to you groan about your fifth set of burpees.

 

Why working out in a dorm room is possible

General Pointers : getting started

Working out in your dorm room : a checklist of basic pointers to get you started // The PumpUp Blog

Schedule your workout time

Your time is precious. There will always be one more chapter to push through, one more paragraph to write, and one more meeting or conference to attend. Don’t put exercise on the back-burner. Working out every single day might not be realistic for you, so set a target for yourself (a number of minutes of exercise each week). Carve out a few time slots for exercise, write them in your calendar with pen, and set a phone alarm for yourself so that you don’t forget. Treat each workout as a deadline or an important meeting that you scheduled with yourself: bosses don’t cancel.

Change your mindset

Try not to associate exercise with the same kind of dread that you reserve for chores like taking out the garbage or cleaning out your toilet bowl. View your workout as an act of self-care. It’s difficult to exercise when it’s something that you have to do or should be doing, but it’s easy when it’s something that you want to do or get to be doing.

Invest in light pieces of equipment

A pair of dumbbells and a kettlebell can go a long way as far as dorm room workouts are concerned. Provided that you don’t drop them on the floor like an anvil in a Warner Bros. cartoon, free weights will help you to gradually build strength with relative ease and silence. You may want to get a yoga mat, too. It’s portable, collapsable, and it will prove useful for stress-relieving stretches and pilates moves. When your muscles are really sore, it's useful to have a mini foam roller to diffuse tension and stimulate blood flow to the areas where you feeling pain.

Get creative with furniture and household objects

Turn heavy textbooks and dictionaries into substitutes for weights. They’re especially handy when you’re doing weighted squats or deadlifts. Load your books into heavy-duty shopping bags when you need to do bicep curls. Large water bottles are also great alternatives to free weights (and they’ll remind you to hydrate once you’re finished with them). Flat and stable surfaces like desk chairs, stools, and coffee tables can be used for tricep dips, step-ups, and raised push-ups.

Land softly and quietly

You don’t have to avoid jumping exercises altogether when you’re working out in a dorm room. The softer you land your jumps, the less stress you place on your joints, bones, ligaments and tendons. You’ll prevent injury in the long term while improving your body control, power, strength, and speed.

 

Dorm Room Workout Resources

Printable workout circuits

3 move no-equipment leg and butt workout from the PumpUp Blog: High knee runs, squat reach and jumps, and one-legged reach and jumps. Do 10 reps of each exercise for 3 sets.

If you want to keep distractions and noise to a minimum, printable circuits are the way to go. You can have them on-hand when you’re doing offline studying- making these workouts ideal for quick and efficient study breaks.  Tons of printable resources are available on Pinterest: ranging from workouts you can do with a paper towel, to 4-move HIIT exercises. For more structure, opt for printable programs similar to Aussie trainer Kayla Itsines’s Bikini Body Guide.

Workout DVDs and free YouTube workout videos

When you have more time to spare, borrow from sections of workout DVDs like P90X, or look for bodyweight workout videos on YouTube. Make ‘at-home workouts’, ‘ apartment workouts’ and ‘dorm room workouts’ part of your search strategy if you’re looking for quieter exercises that maximize space. Pilates & yoga videos and workouts for your abs will make the least amount of noise and they’re perfect for tight living quarters.

Health and fitness mobile apps

Best health and fitness apps for dorm room workouts // The PumpUp Blog

Your favourite dorm room workout might reside in your pocket. Nike Training Club has over 100 workouts designed by the brand’s trainers and sponsored pro athletes, SworkIt creates no-equipment workouts that can be adjusted to fit your schedule, 7 Minute Workout puts together a circuit of 12 effective do-anywhere bodyweight exercises, and PumpUp lets you discover and share user-generated workouts created by its 3 million-member community.

Bonus exercise 'hacks' for your dorm

In addition to your scheduled dorm room workouts, pair static and dynamic exercises with everyday tasks:

  • Plank while you read textbooks or papers
  • Do tricep dips while you’re watching (or re-watching) recorded lectures
  • Wall-sit while you memorize cue cards or facts
  • Do as many burpees as you can whenever you finish reading a chapter or write a page of your paper
  • Squat while you brush your teeth, brush your hair, or if you’re in between chores
  • Take the stairs as often as you can
  • Do calf raises whenever you’re waiting in line

Working out in a dorm room is tricky, but it isn't mission: impossible. Share your best dorm room workout tips in the comments below!

 

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!

Abs might be made in the kitchen, but you still need to exercise

This is a post 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

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Whenever people ask me about the importance of exercise, I always respond with “abs are made in the kitchen!”. Your diet is the #1 most important factor in the way your body looks and feels! Your body is ultimately a reflection of what you put into it, plain and simple. 

I know that it can be difficult to get motivated to get out and be active on some days—what I want to stress the most to you is that it is not necessary to buy an expensive gym membership or work out every day of the week to stay fit. In today’s world, we have endless resources at our disposal. For example, there are customizable workouts on the pumpupapp and various free videos on the web that will target that “problem” area you have been wanting to tone up. Trust me, just type in “leg workout” and I guarantee thousands will pop up for you to choose from. In my opinion, exercise should not feel like a chore. 

You shouldn’t go to the gym if you dread it—you need to find something that is truly enjoyable for you! You can take a 30 minute power walk outside with a friend, you can bike ride, you can take a dance class, you can go for a swim…your options are truly endless!! Never get down on yourself for skipping a day either; mental and physical health go hand in hand so if you need a day to relax in bed and watch TV, that’s okay!!

Exercise will not only aid you in achieving your fitness and weight loss goals, but it will also give you a personal sense of well being and accomplishment on a regular basis. Some people love to work out for two hours every day at the gym—that’s just not for me. I like to go to the gym for about 30 minutes when I am in the mood. Exercising has become a form of stress relief for me—I used to be a dancer and that was my “outlet” and my daily exercise. 

Now, as a busy college student, it is reasonable to fit in 30 minutes of some kind of exercise at least 3 to 5 times a week without feeling like it is a burden on my schedule. When you are eating a plant-based diet, you do not have to constantly worry about getting an intense workout in every day.

Here are just a few more reasons why you should incorporate exercising into your lifestyle!

  1. Weight control: adding exercise to your life can be as simple as parking your car far away when you go out, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and standing when you could be sitting
  2. Health benefits: fight some of the most prevalent diseases by moving your body! (it is scientifically proven that exercise lowers your risk of heart and lung disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and even the common cold)
  3. Improved mood! Exercise stimulates various brain chemicals that will undeniably leave you feeling happier and more relaxed—endorphins commonly boost self-esteem and confidence!
  4. Better sleep: Regular exercise will most likely help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep! (**Just don’t exercise right before you go to sleep or you may be too energized to rest and recover!)

Check out Ashley’s blog for more tips, and follow her on the pumpupapp @rawincollege.

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10 yoga poses worth learning more about

In the words of the late Vincent Van Gogh, “The best way to know life is to love many things.” This is why we loved all of your yoga poses on the pumpupapp. Check out our photo diary chronicling some of our favourite photos down below.

Bow Pose

@iyarbo’s bow pose wins our #MyResolution prize from our yoga pose challenge! The bow pose helps to elongate the front of your body. Not only does this position strengthen your back muscles, it helps to circulate blood and oxygen to your core.

Dancer’s Pose

@latasia_lovely and @gillianmicah’s pose symbolizes cosmic energy. It’s a fun pose that allows the practitioner to make their balance and focus more acute by focusing on one leg at a time. It stretches the thighs and shoulders and opens up the chest and lungs. Yoga has been crucial for @gillianmicah’s recovery from an eating disorder: "It helps relieve stress and calm your body down. I would highly suggest it regularly."

Inversions

pameladiazfc's forearm stand and elivkaa's handstand are both excellent examples of yoga inversions. Practicing yoga encourages us to “shake it off”, if you will: to break from habit or routine. Inversions are yoga's way of dramatically increasing blood and oxygen flow to our upper extremities. This reportedly accentuates mental concentration, cognitive functioning, and memory. If you’re stressed out over exams, assignments, or particularly a heavy workload, take a gander at inversions. 

Partner Poses

@minimimi26’s resolution for the year is to incorporate yoga into her fitness routine. She only just began to practice this year! Having a workout buddy helps to keep her accountable. Similarly, @beckydirsch has been using the benefits of partner yoga to help perfect her inversions and balance.

Side Angle Pose

@ramo5678’s side angle pose is perfect if you are sedentary for most of the day (office chair and library desk-dwellers, we’re talking to you). This pose will open up your chest, lungs, spine, and shoulders while strengthening your lower half. It will help to prepare your stabilizing muscles to perform more advanced poses.

Crow pose

@linds_3’s crow pose is something of a feat. She’s been working on it for awhile and gleefully shared the progress that she made since August 2014. "I could barely get my toes off the floor in the summer, but now I can hold it for a second and my technique is much better!," she exclaimed. "I can see strength in my arms and shoulders. I had no idea I had improved on this pose so much! That is why it is so important to keep track of your progress."

Lotus Pose

@bangerz10’s meditative position helps to calm the mind. Do this if you need a break! It’s a perfect pose for reflection. You’ll be able to align your intentions with your actions the more you meditate.

Check out our full #MyResolution photo challenge here

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Make 2015 the best year of your life! To help you start January off on a healthy foot we’re excited to introduce the #MyResolution photo-a-day challenge!

Each day this month, share a photo for the daily theme (see photo) and make sure to use the hashtag #MyResolution to have your photo entered in the challenge.

You can win #PumpUpSwag every day this month for participating - with a grand prize for those who complete the whole challenge!

Side bonus - include your personal resolution as a hashtag to connect with other like-minded members who are striving to achieve the same goal as you. We’re all in this together! 

Reblog this photo if you’re doing the challenge. Check out full descriptions of our January 2014 photo-a-day challenge down below.

Day 1: Set resolution - Create a post about your resolution or ultimate goal list for 2015. How will you achieve it? Are your goals specific and measurable? 

Day 2: In my fridge- Is your fridge neatly organized and full of wholesome food, or is it a jungle overflowing hidden science projects? We want to know what you’ll be eating this year to stay healthy!

Day 3: Plank- Plank it out anywhere and everywhere. Bonus points for taking a photo of a creative plank! Have you been tracking your plank progress? How long can  you hold it for?

Day 4: Workout buddy- Do you have a person who’s keeping you pumped up and accountable for the rest of the year? Tag and post a photo of you and your workout buddy doing your favourite exercise move together!

Day 5: Favourite quality- Who said that the new year always has to be about giving something up? Think about a quality you never want to change about yourself— what’s already working for you, what makes you happiest. Write it down on a piece of paper and share a photo of it!

Day 6: Transformation- Whether you’re at the very beginning, in the middle, or nearing the end of one of your goals, share a transformation photo! We love all ‘before’, ‘after’, and ‘during’ photos! Use this photo as a marker of your progress at the end of the month.

Day 7: Lunge- Lunge it out! Add a little jump when you switch between legs to make this a killer plyometric move! greatistteam has an awesome article about lunge variations that you can try for this photo challenge.

Day 8: Realistic goal - We’ve already set our ultimate resolutions, so what’s a realistic, short term goal that you want to accomplish this week? Whether it’s reaching new personal record, working up to a new yoga pose, or maxing out your mileage during a run, let us know if you have a very specific goal that you’d love to accomplish this week!

Day 9: Try a new ingredient- Cooking may be scary, but hey: Gordon Ramsay will (hopefully, never) be standing over your shoulder, critiquing about your culinary expertise. We dare you to incorporate a new ingredient in one of your meals today, and snap a photo about how you did it & felt about it. You may just surprise yourself!

Day 10: Tuck jump- The tuck jump is a fun and tricky plyometric move to capture in a photo. We’d love to see you try! Start in a standing position, knees slightly bent. Hold your hands in front of you at chest height, dip down into a quarter squat, and immediately explode upward as high as you can. Drive your knees toward your chest, attempting to touch them to the palms of your hands. Land softly!

Day 11: Obliques- Work those obliques! They’re stabilizing muscles that run along the sides of your abdomen! What’s your favourite move for your obliques?

Day 12: Inspiring quote- Write out or post a photo of a quote that motivates you all day, every day. Let it all out, PumpUp is a judgement-free, inspiration-friendly zone! How did you apply this to your day?

Day 13: Fave transformation- Repost a photo of your favourite transformation from somebody else, be they a PumpUp member or a friend/family member! Keep them pumped!

Day 14: Wall sit- Brace yourselves. Wall-sits are coming. Here’s how to do them. See how long you can do it for and share a photo of yourself performing the exercise! Bonus? Challenge somebody else to do a wall-sit with you and see who can hold it for longer!

Day 15: RewardWe’re almost halfway through the photo-challenge! Give yourself a pat on the back and treat yo’ self to a smart reward. Why are rewards important? They shape behaviour: your goals will become habits and they’ll help you to maintain a positive attitude. Share a photo of a tangible and meaningful way that you’re rewarding yourself today!

Day 16: Eat the rainbow- No, this isn’t an excuse to eat Skittles. “Eating the rainbow” is a simple and visual way of reminding us that a variety of fruits, vegetables, and colour in our diet will help us to attain our necessary vitamin and mineral intake.  It’s a good indicator (but not a be all and end all rule) for eating healthily in general, as certain colours of food indicate an abundance of specific nutrients. Make a healthy and colourful meal today and share a photo about it!

Day 17: Squat- When in doubt, squat it out! Share a photo of you performing an awesome squat variation, and see how many you can do with proper form in one go! Here’s a post with inspiration for different types of squats that you can do! 

Day 18: In my gym bag- It’s our most trusted companion on our busiest days, and essential for morning gym-goers. Packing a well-stocked gym bag is, well, an art. We wanna know what your essentials are!

Day 19: Keeps me on track- What are you using to track your progress and to measure what you’ve accomplished so far? Whether it’s a personal journal, sticky notes, or a mantra that repeat to yourself every morning, share a photo of something that’s keeping you on track to achieve your resolutions and goals!

Day 20: Workout gear- When we wear new workout gear or exercise in our favourite workout clothes, we kinda feel like Power Rangers (RIGHT? right). Post a photo of you in clothes that make you feel invincible, almost as if you have the eye of a tiger.   

Day 21: Triceps- Get jiggy with it by being arm jiggle-free! Show us a photo of your tricep progress, or of you doing a move that sculpts the muscle group in the back of your arms. 

Day 22: Food journal- Keep a journal to track whatever you ate or drank today, and either post a photo of your journal or share your reflections about it. This one simple act instantly increases your awareness about the quality and quantity of what you eat. It’ll also help to identify why you are eating, and whether you can cut down on triggers that lead to mindless munching. 

Day 23: Protein- On this Foodie Friday, share a photo of healthy protein that you incorporated into your meals! Nuts, legumes, lean meat that is low in saturated fat: anything! The world is your oyster.

Day 24: Yoga pose- Namaste, PumpUp! Share a photo of you doing your favourite pose, or of one that you’re excited to build up to. Which muscle groups did you work during your pose? 

Day 25: Smoothie- We’re smooth sailing today with wonderful smoothies that pack a healthy, nutrient-filled punch! What kind of smoothie did you drink or make today? Include the recipe! 

Day 26: Give advice- What’s the best piece of advice that you can give about leading a healthy and active lifestyle? Help your PumpUp fam out by sharing a photo with a tidbit of advice in the caption, and comment on any post from somebody asking for help! As Oscar Wilde was quoted saying, “The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never any use to oneself.” 

Day 27: Progress- Progress is progress, no matter how small! Share a photo about any kind of progress you made between now and the first #TransformationTuesday photo we encouraged you to post this month. Congratulations on anything and everything that you’ve achieved so far!

Day 28: Stretch- Lest we forget to stretch! You’re almost at the finish line of the photo challenge, so stretch it out. Minimize the risk of injury by stretching often! Active warm-ups and consistent, stretch-abundant cool downs can help to increase your flexibility and range of motion. Do a killer workout, and stop, drop, and stretch after! 

Day 29: #TBT- Share a throwback photo of where you were one year ago, or a photo that captures a point in your life that reflects the very beginning of your health and wellness journey. What great changes have you made since then? 

Day 30: Flex- It’s time to flex those muscles and be proud of what you’ve accomplished! Show us a flex friday photo of you getting pumped in the place that you love the most. Why does it keep you motivated? 

Day 31: What’s next- You’re FINISHED the photo challenge! Let’s do the Y.M.C.A., the Macarena, the harlem shake. Let’s get pumped for the rest of the year and the rest of your life. What’s in store for you? 

Exercising alone: the pros and cons

Guest post by Siya Natseva. Follow Siya on her blog, PumpUp (@cinnamonontop), and Instagram/Tumblr cinnamonontop8.

While the notion that there’s a wrong way to keep fit is foolish and you shouldn’t let anyone tell you otherwise, people differ in their approach to exercise. Some are loners, quite content to be active on their own. Others thrive in a collaborative environment (this is not a job application, I swear). Personally, I am a recluse and prefer going it alone! As such, I’ll brief you on its advantages and disadvantages. Will you switch teams, or will you stick with your original choice? Let’s find out!

Pros

  • When you choose to exercise alone, you don’t depend on anyone but yourself. With people’s individual schedules in the equation, it may be difficult to arrange a workout session convenient for you and your companion. Going it alone gives you the opportunity to be your own boss. If you fail to plan ahead, you’ll fail at your workout. With no one to point the finger at, you’ll learn to manage your day better. A few failed attempts and you’ll be a pro at handling your chores in a way that allows you to exercise regularly, at a suitable for you time.

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(Source: Tumblr)

  • Friends often decide to team up for the completion of their fitness goals, only to discover that their objectives are either incompatible, or their mate’s pace is acutely different. Are you a yogi and is your pal training to be a boxing champion?To avoid disappointment, enquire about your acquaintance’s ambitions and their progress. Alternatively, you can concentrate on you and train at your own pace. You shouldn’t have to slow down or play catch-up. Buddying up shouldn’t be a competition. Without the added stress of ‘Am I too good? / Am I good enough?’, you’ll achieve your projected ends easily.

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(Source: Tumblr)

  • Company may be your free ticket to Distraction Land! If you’re a chatter box, and / or so is your partner, your dedicated gym time may turn into a coffee break. In contrast, being alone automatically eliminates the possibility of distractions.  A random chat with a fellow gym junkie is fine and can’t be compared to a full-fledged conversation about a mate’s relationship status on FB. Being aware of how long you can train for pushes you to think wisely about your programme. Thus, you’re effective and efficient.

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(Source: giphy)

Cons

  • The prospect of pumping iron - or whatever your session may consist of – unaccompanied may, on the one hand, be intimidating. On the other, it probably sounds awfully boring to some. If you’re a person who needs consistent breaks for a high-five and a few encouraging words, you should perhaps steer away from the hermit-like character of working out by yourself. Boredom is the worst thing you could associate exercise with, because you’ll be giving up in no time. Keep it fun!

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(Source: Buzzfeed)

  • Have you reached a plateau in your fitness routine? If so, exercising on your own may not be the best option for you either, since you’re facing the risk of quitting. I’m not suggesting fierce competition, but witnessing another’s progress and dedication may inject some much needed inspiration. If you lose your drive, despite having seen results, you may be tempted to throw everything out of the window. With someone next to you, those terrible thoughts will evaporate!

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(Source: babble.com)

  • Linked to our previous point is the determination to actually improve. We PumpUps are a greedy bunch! With us, there’s always the wish to be better, faster and stronger. Some may handle this well without external assistance, but others may be at a loss. With companion – preferably somebody slightly more advanced – you’re guaranteed to reach higher!

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(Source: Wikia)

ABOUT SIYA

Howdy, PumpUps!

My name is Siya. I’m 27 years young, with a passion for a healthy lifestyle, including a love for nutritious food and an active routine. Having struggled with my weight for years, it would be incredibly rewarding to me to support others and inspire them to prioritise their health instead of their appearance. I’m currently working out at home and can relate to those on a tight budget. An aspiring blogger and writer, I’ve recently started a blog where I share simple recipes and exercises, and promote a positive body image. I welcome advice from like-minded fitness enthusiasts, for I believe one can never know enough. Hit me up and let’s ace this! 

Don't wake up, #flawless? Mourn the morning workout no more!

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(photo credit: mathiasmattu)

Starting your morning with a workout may not be such a bad idea, especially if you tend to feel too exhausted to exercise after a long day at the office or at school. Early-bird cardio will help to jump-start your metabolism, allowing you to burn calories all day long when you are eating, instead when you are lying rock-solid on your mattress at night.

Rather than struggling through a workout in a flurry of blood, sweat, and tears to compensate for poorer food choices, exercising in the morning will give you the mindset to refuel your body with the energy and nutrients it needs.

As a morning exerciser, you will encounter fewer scheduling conflicts with chores or spontaneous activities that await you in the afternoon. Consequently, you will find yourself exercising more consistently and with fewer distractions. An extra bonus: you’ll be more likely to avoid crowded gyms or sidewalks and be motivated to have a more consistent sleep schedule.

Not a morning person? Neither are most of us. Really. Luckily, we have a few tips up our sleeves to transform you into an excuse executioner. You’ll master the morning workout in no time.

Near, far, wherever they are… the more alarms, the better

Having multiple alarms can effectively prevent you from sleeping in, especially if you make it a point to program them on different devices. This means you will be setting alarms on your phone in addition to your clock. You should also try placing your alarm(s) on the other side of the room. Once you’re standing, you’ll be hard-pressed to crawl back to your bed and wake up to silence your alarm again.

Lay everything out the night before

Packing your gym equipment in advance before you go to sleep will make your morning hustle much easier. Some even sleep in their exercise clothes the night before so that they wake up running-ready.

Sleep early to wake up early

Waking up in the morning is not going to be a walk in the park if you fall asleep at 2 A.M. Dedicate yourself to falling asleep earlier than you’re used to, if you can afford it.

Find a workout buddy

Social pressure can be a strong motivator to get up early. Whether you join a morning running group, sign up for a spin class at a nearby gym, or have a friend to text or call you in the morning, having a committed schedule and common exercise goal with another person will make you feel better about waking up and lower your attrition rate.

The struggle to work out in the morning is real, but worth it.

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(photo credit: mathiasmattu)

Cure your Exam Fitness Drought!

With assignments to complete and exams to study for, exam season can be a very stressful time; staying healthy and in-shape becomes more difficult. The hardest part is finding the time to go to the gym while you have so much other work to do. Here are a couple tips to staying in shape during exam season!

1. Sleep: It all starts with a good night’s sleep. When you sleep well, you have more energy to be more productive with your studies, WHICH THEN gives you more time to exercise!

2. Eat Healthy: No matter how busy you get with exams, you need to eat. Take 5 minutes in the morning and pack your food for that 12 hour study session. If you eat healthy, you’ll feel better and avoid putting on those extra pounds from snack breaks.

3. Work Out: I know, I know - easier said than done during exam season… but there are many quick n’ easy ways to get active without ever leaving your bedroom! Here are some examples of exercises which can be done in little to no time to keep you active during exam season.

  • Push- Ups: Simple, but effective in targeting your entire upper body and core.
  • Body-Weight Squats: Try doing 100 of these and you’ll feel a great burn.
  • Plank: A great ab exercise - make it more fun by competing with a friend for time.
  • Burpees: Excellent way to get your heart rate up and use your full body.

All of these exercises can be done multiple times a day to stay in shape during exam season without having to leave your bedroom!

Let us know how you plan on staying fit and healthy during this exam season!