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workout tips

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


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.

Plank it out


Do a plank (at any point today) and let us know with how long you held it for! Challenge a friend to do it! 

We aren’t talking about the planking photo-sensation that swept the nation a few years ago. We’re talking planks as a form of exercise. Ever wondered why fitness instructors urge you to engage in this simple, albeit potentially painful, movement?

Planks are static, isometric exercises that build strength. Specifically, standard and side planks will work your upper and lower abs, your obliques, and your lower back. They’ll also help to improve your posture by working your core muscles that stabilize your spine and hips. Finally, planks are said to relieve stress by stretching muscles that tend to stiffen throughout the day. 

Start on your knees if you’re a beginner and build up to lifting your knees off of the ground. As you practice plank every day, you’ll be able to increase the amount of time you hold the plank per rep. 

If you are doing a standard elbow plank, make sure your shoulders don’t reach past your elbows. Your arms should rest at a 90-degree angle

Refrain from sticking out your lower body (read: your butt) above your upper body. This will help to keep your plank straight. 

Keep your neck in a straight line with your body. Don’t crane your head up. Look down at your fists to help maintain a neutral neck position, never up. 

When you feel like you’re body is too sore to maintain proper form, remove yourself from plank position. 

How long can you hold your plank for?

Dislike Running? You Won't Anymore! (We Promise)

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

An active runner? A beginner? A runner-to-be? A runner-to-never-be? Regardless of how you describe yourself, I’m sure we agree that running has an unfairly bad reputation. It’s often reduced to a treadmill in a confined space. In our minds, running is the definition of ‘boring’! One foot in front of the other, to eternity and back. But running shouldn’t be mundane. Let’s see how…

(Photo : omghowgirl)

1.    Music is the solution to every problem!

Your grandparents may not grasp the idea of blocking your hearing by means of headphones and a blast of sound, but for the 21st century kid musical accompaniment is a must. Running is no exception. When you focus on your favourite song versus the fact you’re drenched in sweat and exhausted, you…forget that you’re drenched in sweat and exhausted! Create a playlist to at least cover your estimated jog duration. You should aim for upbeat songs, not devastating rock ballads. Don’t be fooled: I’m a rock chick but I can’t imagine myself pumping it up (see what I did there?) to Bon Jovi’s ‘Always’.

2. Changing Gears    

Due to its nature, running can become a tedious form of working out. This is particularly true when you discover a comfortable pace and settle for it. In this sense, upping the speed and / or length of your training is crucial. In addition - the changing gears part – you can modify your pace. Run fast for, say, three minutes and then lower your speed for three minutes. No hardcore interval training required; small adjustments make a difference. In this case, you’ll also benefit from a balanced music list. Harmonise your jogging with it.

3.  The oh-so-important scenery

Running is what we ought to complete in the gym before the real deal happens. Perhaps this is your error. Running needn’t be done in the gym with air being scarce and people killing themselves on the machines. Visit the local park. Is there a secluded area which can serve as your running ground? Running in the open is a life saver. Having a jog, whereby you connect with nature, is beneficial in numerous ways. And, hey, there’s plenty of oxygen to feed your cells! New locations are a distraction from your physical discomfort and lead to better results!

4. Empty your head   

Running is an effective stress-reliever. You can test this statement by fully concentrating on…you. Ditching technology isn’t half bad. We live in an extraordinarily hectic world and have to remind ourselves to breathe, embrace the moment and enjoy it. Free yourself of thoughts and simply run. Pay no attention to anything or anyone. Listen to your breathing and admire what you’re capable of! You’ll be surprised to feel extremely refreshed and worry-free after a run which is about you and you alone. Need to resolve an issue? By ridding yourself of mental effort, you’re likely to do so without even realising it!

5.  Buddy Up

For those afraid of solitary confinement, teaming up with a friend may be what you need. Unlike other sports – notably swimming - running provides you with the opportunity to socialise! Having a companion will transform running into a fun activity that you participate in together. Sometimes the best workouts are those that don’t resemble a workout in the slightest. It’s certainly worth attempting, especially if you lose motivation quickly, for it’ll awake your competition spirit. You’ll be discouraged from whining and quitting. Instead, you’ll be invested in burning calories, toning up your body and catching up on gossip! 

(Photo: Starling Fitness)

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! 


Ready to win some PumpUp swag (tank + bracelet) ? Just answer this question: How Much Water Should You Drink DURING A Workout?

a) Around 15 oz. every 15-20 mins
b) Around 8 oz. every 15-20 mins
c) Depends on how much you sweat
d) Only when you feel thirsty!

Comment with the correct answer and if you have Tumblr, follow us at for a chance to WIN! #PumpUpSwag #SaturdayChallenge #TeamPumpUp

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


(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.


(photo credit: mathiasmattu)