While we all can’t be Mister Fantastic from the Fantastic Four, think of your muscles like you would a rubber band—they are easy to stretch when warm, but cold ones break more easily. 
PumpUp member elizabethmaria points out from the literature that stretching after is “the most productive and safest time because the muscles are warm and pliable.” This will help to minimize stiffness, aches, and pains later on—helping you to recover faster and prevent injury. 
Jeremy Duvall from Men’s Fitness explains that muscles contract after exercise, leaving them in a shortened state after workouts. He elaborates, “Stretching helps to reset your body to a natural posture and position.”
However, dynamic warm-ups are still important before you exercise! Thank you annakowaleski for sharing us a pic of your post-run stretch and congrats elizabethmaria for answering “C” and winning the pump up swag challenge!
Be sure to follow PumpUp’s account on Facebook, Instagram, and the PumpUp app itself for more chances to cinch yourself some PumpUp tanks and bracelets!!

While we all can’t be Mister Fantastic from the Fantastic Four, think of your muscles like you would a rubber band—they are easy to stretch when warm, but cold ones break more easily.

PumpUp member elizabethmaria points out from the literature that stretching after is “the most productive and safest time because the muscles are warm and pliable.” This will help to minimize stiffness, aches, and pains later on—helping you to recover faster and prevent injury.

Jeremy Duvall from Men’s Fitness explains that muscles contract after exercise, leaving them in a shortened state after workouts. He elaborates, “Stretching helps to reset your body to a natural posture and position.”

However, dynamic warm-ups are still important before you exercise! Thank you annakowaleski for sharing us a pic of your post-run stretch and congrats elizabethmaria for answering “C” and winning the pump up swag challenge!

Be sure to follow PumpUp’s account on Facebook, Instagram, and the PumpUp app itself for more chances to cinch yourself some PumpUp tanks and bracelets!!

The PumpUp community is chock-full of inspiration, and we were absolutely impressed by your tips for fellow PumpUp members struggling with their health and fitness journeys. 

"Don’t compare your journey with someone else’s. You are doing this for YOU," emphasizes PumpUp member tinytigress. "You work towards your best shape, [as] everybody’s body shape is differentBecome the best version of YOU.” Her observation brings home an excellent point: that everybody’s progress in their own health and wellness journeys is something that is different for everybody, and something that cannot be gauged by a simple metric. 

Encouraging PumpUp member momma_j goads us to “Push through…you won’t regret a workout, you will regret not working out!" Making excuses for working out implies an unwillingness to challenge yourself—this shuts people out from progress that could be made. Instead, turn that won’t into a "will". 

What’s more, courtney23 has great advice for those struggling to maintain a healthy lifestyle outside of the gym, saying “Healthy eating is just as important, if not a little more important, than exercising. Remember, it’s not just what you do at the gym that counts, it’s what you do when you’re not there!”

Finally, goal-setting is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. PumpUp member anna_sofie underscores the value of having realistic goals, saying “Set small goals along the way. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is your body!" She instead encourages members to channel their energy towards something else. "Stop focusing on your looks […and] instead, focus on your mentality. It sounds cliche but you can do absolutely everything you want to if you set your mind straight," she says. "Have fun, be patient, and success will follow as a bonus"

Spotlight Series: Krystina P.

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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.”

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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!”

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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 @krystina.fit!

Sometimes transformations aren’t always about losing weight. 
That is why we are giving this #SpotlightSaturday to hannahgracee17 who has transformed into a healthier person. She says, “The picture on the left was taken about a year ago when I was at my lowest weight and I was suffering from an eating disorder. The picture on the right was taken a few months ago at a more healthy weight… I’m proud of myself for deciding to stay healthy every day.” We are proud of you too Hannah! Keep up the great work!

Sometimes transformations aren’t always about losing weight.

That is why we are giving this #SpotlightSaturday to hannahgracee17 who has transformed into a healthier person. She says, “The picture on the left was taken about a year ago when I was at my lowest weight and I was suffering from an eating disorder. The picture on the right was taken a few months ago at a more healthy weight… I’m proud of myself for deciding to stay healthy every day.” We are proud of you too Hannah! Keep up the great work!

One lucky Member is going win some awesome PumpUp Swag to rep at home & at the gym. It’s trivia question time folks! 
 
When is the best time to stretch? 
a) Never. Stretching is pointless. 
b) Before your workout so you can warm-up your muscles of course. 
c) After, to make sure that you give your muscles a break. 
d) 2 days later so you can stretch when you are getting sore. 
 
Like this pic and comment for a chance to win #PumpUpSwag. Pic Credit: @noel_corrin.
One lucky Member is going win some awesome PumpUp Swag to rep at home & at the gym. It’s trivia question time folks! 
 
When is the best time to stretch? 
a) Never. Stretching is pointless. 
b) Before your workout so you can warm-up your muscles of course. 
c) After, to make sure that you give your muscles a break. 
d) 2 days later so you can stretch when you are getting sore. 
 
Like this pic and comment for a chance to win #PumpUpSwag. Pic Credit: @noel_corrin.
It’s Friday (YAY!) and we have some #FridayFitnessFunFacts for you! 
 
1. You burn more calories sleeping than you so watching TV. 
2. You have 640 muscles in your body. 
3. 1 can of pop contains 10 Tsp. of sugar, say no to soda people! 
4. Men who workout with a female partner are shown to lift heavier weights and get better results. 
5. Olive oil can help in lowering cholesterol levels and decreasing the risk of heart complications! 
 
Hope you enjoyed our 5 #FridayFitnessFunFacts today!
It’s Friday (YAY!) and we have some #FridayFitnessFunFacts for you! 
 
1. You burn more calories sleeping than you so watching TV. 
2. You have 640 muscles in your body. 
3. 1 can of pop contains 10 Tsp. of sugar, say no to soda people! 
4. Men who workout with a female partner are shown to lift heavier weights and get better results. 
5. Olive oil can help in lowering cholesterol levels and decreasing the risk of heart complications! 
 
Hope you enjoyed our 5 #FridayFitnessFunFacts today!

"You Are So Pretty For Someone Your Size."

Today on the blog we have guest blogger, The Fitness Blondie who has heard this one to many times, “You are so pretty for someone your size.” She recounts her own personal story and struggles with weight and image issues, and wants to bring awareness to the size of health. Keep reading for more on how she is breaking the fitness mold!
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Hello everyone, my name is Liz Taylor. I write a blog called “Fitness Blondie”. Today I am thrilled to be able to guest post for PumpUp. I thought an appropriate post would be to acknowledge the different sizes and shapes of health and fitness. 

Typically I try to shy around from writing posts that eulogize one female body type over the other. I am a curvy, muscular woman; and I love my curves, however, they do not make me more of a woman than someone who has a thin body type with small assets. I loathe the popular quote “real women have curves”. It is discriminatory and dividing. If you have a vagina, you are a real woman. Real women are not determined by their body type or shape. 
 
What I do want, is to bring awareness to the size of health. The world sometimes has a misconstrued standard on what a “fit and healthy” person— specifically women should look like. 
 
I have received some pretty heartbreaking comments about my looks over the course of my lifetime; which at 25 years old may not seem like a lot, but it has been a chaotic journey. I grew up as an ugly duckling that no one ever gave a second thought or glance. I finally started to change when I was 16 years old. I was still not thin or small by any standards, but I was healthy. I was in the weight room at school lifting weights with the guys, I ran track, and was a cheerleader. 
 
When I graduated high school, and began college while still working part-time, my weight ballooned to it’s highest. Below are some of the comments I received from my family, friends, and complete strangers. I can recite a few of them verbatim. One never forgets something like this: 

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"If I had a face like yours, I would wire my mouth shut to prevent me to from eating."
 
A family member of mine was showing some of my photography pictures [like the one above; I like to pose and take “artistic” like pictures sometimes for fun] to her friends. One of her friends made the comment:
"Who cares if she has the face of a model? She is fat so none of it matters".
 
"You are so pretty… for someone who is your size."

"Can you imagine what you would look like if you did not have all of your weight holding you back?"
 
"She is actually really pretty to be a big girl"
 
It was never fun to hear comments like that. Some of the comments I knew were malicious; but sometimes it would be hard to decipher the intent: to be kind or passive aggressive? Nonetheless, I did not dwell on them. 
 
It was not until I received similar comments this year, that they effected to me.
 
The first was in February: 
 
It was a Saturday afternoon, it was warm, and Kelly and I were on the way to the “Spring Home and Garden Show”. I felt confident; I was 3 months into my weight loss journey, had lost over 20 pounds, and was wearing a pair of white capris that had not fit in a long time. I was so happy that they fit, that I remember dancing around to Kelleigh Bannen’s new single “Famous” in my living room before I left. 
 
On the way to show, we stopped at a gas station so I could get gas and Kelly a coffee. I walked into the gas station once I finished pumping gas to find Kelly. As we were waiting in line to pay, a woman walks up to me and says “You know how to dress your body well. You’re bigger, but you have good style.”.

I said nothing. I was so taken back that I just stood there. She continued; “I mean you are really pretty and I like the fact that even though you aren’t skinny, you dress yourself well”. 


I finally muttered a “thank you” then ran out of the gas station. Kelly was behind me; her face almost as red as mine. Being the best friend she is, she assured me that it was a compliment and that the woman just did not know how to properly deliver what she was trying to say.


I understood that, but it still hurt. It had been a long time since someone had made a comment like that; at least to my face. It just caught me so off guard. The first thing this woman noticed was my size. I had felt so confident and been working so hard; whether the comment was meant in a positive way or not, it hurt. 


The second instance was in May: 
 
It was not a good weekend. My plans had fallen through that I paid a lot of money for, and I felt like nothing was going right. My girlfriend Alexis stepped in and saved the weekend though. She and I decided to spend the day together. I had gotten new clothes the night before and was excited to wear them out. 

For the first time in years, I was going to wear shorts. I wore black shorts with a really pretty white blouse, black and white wedge heels, and a black and white necklace. I am no fashionista, but this outfit made me confident. I thought I did a good job (for someone like me).


Alexis and I went to the movies then out for dinner and drinks. Once we finished, I realized I needed to go by the grocery store for something. As I was walking through an aisle, two women approached me. One of the women put her hand in front of me and moved it up and down. She smiled and said “Honey this works”. I laughed and asked what she meant. She said “You have curves and you dress them well. You look great. Your looks really suits you”. 


I smiled and told her thank you. This did not hurt like the other one did. I felt more confident in myself. The only thing that really “irritated” me, is that once again, my body was brought into it. Why is it not enough to say “I think you’re pretty”, “I think you dress well”,  or “I like your outfit today”.


The most recent comments were written over features I have had online about my blog and/or my weight loss journey.

They were from women thanking the author or company for featuring a woman that was not small or skinny. For featuring a woman that gave them hope… that showed it’s plausible to be healthy, but not have to be thin. 


Then I understood the comments; everything came together. 


Like I said, I have received comments similar to this most of my adult life. I did not understand the stigma that had to come along with them: why could someone not just say they liked my hair, makeup, outfit, that I am pretty, etc…. why did people sound so shocked to see that because a woman was not thin, she could still dress her body nicely and look attractive?


Years ago and even earlier this year, I would get so upset and talk to my mom about these comments. Her reply was always “maybe you need to break the mold and boundaries. Maybe you are meant to inspire and break stereotypes. Embrace your body’s makeup; do not let this defeat you”. I shrugged her attempts at consoling me off since she was not telling me how awful people were and how sorry she felt for me. I would pretend to agree and think to myself, “I will be thin one day, I’ll show them”. 
Now I understand what my mom was trying to say. Now I understand what other people were trying to say. 


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Health and fitness have many different shapes and sizes. A person does not have to look like who you see in magazines, TV shows, and/or fitness competitions to be healthy. I may not look like some of the fitness bloggers out there, but I am now in great shape.


Since I have lost a significant amount of weight thus far, I have closely monitored my health. In November of 2013, per my doctor at my annual physical, I was rapidly approaching ”morbid obesity”. I had put on so much weight; and at the rate I was gaining, I was only a few months away from 300 pounds. The triglycerides in my blood were abnormally high, but I was fortunate enough to not be at risk for diabetes, however I had to make an immediate change. 


Since that checkup, I changed my life drastically. I dropped a ton of body fat, added a lot of lean muscle, strengthened my cardiovascular system, corrected my view of food… and in a sense, made over my life; not just my body. I had my blood drawn again last month at an RLS checkup appointment, and I have corrected my health 100%. All levels are not just normal, they are great, and I’m in nearly perfect health, even though I still have about 25 more pounds that I personally want to lose. 


I do not know who developed this standard that one must feel they have to follow; but I would like to break it. I may not be thin and small, but I am solid, curvy, muscular, and in great health. I can hike mountains, do single armed bicep curls with 17.5 pound dumbbells for 3 sets of 15 repetitions all the while ensuring my form is perfect. I can leg press 270 pounds comfortably and for just as many repetitions, but I do not fit the mold whatsoever as skinny or thin. The truth be told, no matter how much weight I lose, those words will never be accurate adjectives to describe my looks. Well,I suppose I could be if I wanted to stop lifting weights, boxing, and force myself to follow a strict nutrition plan; but I know what that would lead me to mentally; and it would not in anyway be beneficial. 


I am more than happy to show the world that you can be curvy, thick, muscular, and most of all healthy. (
I would also like to add that the opposite could be true. A person could be genetically just very small and be mistaken for anorexic or bulimic; yet they’re perfectly healthy. I just did not write on the subject because I do not have direct experience. That is part of the reason why I was hesitant to write this post; because I know it must be just as disconcerting for people to think you are sick and need help, when you don’t). To me, healthy living is all about balance. I enjoy “bad” foods at times, and enjoy clean foods most of the time. I stay active, get plenty of rest, and most of all I have found a happy median when it comes to fitness and maintaining great health.

I overcame binging on foods, stuffing myself with junk until I was sick— an all out addiction to food, and depression to this point. I may not fit a typical mold that one may expect, but I am healthy and fit. I do not hold myself to unrealistic standards either— and if you are, and that is what is preventing you from even starting a weight loss journey, let it go. I know that feeling all too well. I would see the women on the fitness magazines and think “My God, look at me. I will never get to where they are”. Those thoughts would prevent me from even trying. 
You have to specifically learn your body and know yourself before you can find what will work for you. That is precisely what I had to do and 63 pounds lighter, it worked. For me personally, it is important for me to keep this median that I have, because if my diet were to become too strict, it would undoubtedly pull me back into those awful eating habits.

Throughout my recent journey and now understanding those comments, I can for once in my life say I love who I am. My imperfections, my genetic build, the strength that I have had to exude. My only hope for whomever is reading this is that you can find it within to love yourself, too. Please love who you are. Love yourself for your strength, for your work ethic, for your drive, for your family values, for your artistic ability. Your body and looks should never define your worth. I hated myself for so long, and it is such a miserable way to live. I hated every single atom of my physical makeup. I chastised every imperfection I had and let it tear me apart. 

Now I embrace them: I have a gap in my teeth, the upper part of stomach holds no fat and because of that, my lower stomach carries it all. It would make me cringe the way my lower stomach would stick out.  It looked especially awful in bathing suits. My butt is abnormally large for my body ratio— and before school in the mornings, when I was young, I would stare at my body in the mirror in the living room tugging, pulling, ensuring my shirt was big and baggy enough to cover it so it would not stick out as much. Now I love it. I have lines on my forehead, and deep smile lines around my eyes. My face is very red without makeup. I have imperfections and now I embrace and accept them, because they make me who I am. This is who I am supposed to be. 

 
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I may not be the standard picture for fitness. I may not be what someone ever aspires to be, but one by one, I am going to keep “surprising” people until this standard of health and beauty is finally broken. I am finally content with that. 


My blog and my story is about being healthy and happy; they are the same thing. A healthy mind brings a healthy body. And if there is one thing I have learned, it is that a weight loss journey is more about a person’s mind than their body. The first step to change your life is to love who you are. I wish I had learned this a lot sooner. 
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Check out Liz and her blog at http://fitnessblondie.blogspot.ca/ and be sure to give her a follow on IG at FitnessBlondieL! Liz is an amazing motivation and inspiration to us at PumpUp, keep up the amazing work! :) 
#QuestionOfTheDay time folks, and it’s a good one. We want to know what your best tip to someone else looking for advice on their fitness and health journey is? Maybe it is something motivational or a tip that helps you? Whatever it is comment with your advice on living a healthier and fitter life! #TeamPumpUp Thanks to PumpUp Member sammysaid for this rad pic!

#QuestionOfTheDay time folks, and it’s a good one. We want to know what your best tip to someone else looking for advice on their fitness and health journey is? Maybe it is something motivational or a tip that helps you? Whatever it is comment with your advice on living a healthier and fitter life! #TeamPumpUp Thanks to PumpUp Member sammysaid for this rad pic!

Spotlight Series: Leah D.

Today’s spotlight shines upon PumpUp member Leah, who shares how one simple New Year’s resolution motivated her to achieve her fitness goals with the help of the PumpUp community. She began to use PumpUp to lose weight, to gain confidence, and to inspire others who see her posts. Leah is a PumpUp member to watch out for—she packs an extra punch with her signature pink boxing gloves! Keep on reading to learn about her fitness journey.

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Leah joined the PumpUp family in January 2014 after learning about the app from Kate Sullivan, one of her fitness idols.  Prior to PumpUp, regular rounds of volleyball kept her in shape until she decided to take up golf, a much less physical sport. “I found myself splurging more in my diet and only exercising once a week, if even,” admits Leah.

She incorporated PumpUp as part of a solution to her weight loss resolution, and now finds herself exercising almost three times a week and eating with more mindfulness over the portion size and content of her meals. “I unfortunately love food too much to ever successfully diet, [and] tried a no-carb diet that lasted about a week,” Leah says. “Rather than cutting out all the foots I know I shouldn’t be eating, I cut down my portions, especially of the very sugary stuff.”

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Leah’s biggest inspiration comes from her mother and her good friend Nick. “They work so hard and look so incredible now. What’s more, they’re both always there to whip me back into shape when I start lacking,” gushes Leah. “[Though] I must say, Jen Selter’s butt is [also] quite the motivation!” 

The PumpUp community is an additional source of inspiration for her. “It really is incredible to see so many people come together and support each other,” says Leah. “It’s a place I feel comfortable posting a picture with frizzy hair, no makeup or looking a little bigger than usual because I know that everyone on there wont chastise me for it. I love it and love all the people!”

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Leah’s Favourites

Fave Food:I absolutely LOVE fish. Just about any kind! A grilled grouper fillet with a little bit of butter and lemon is so simple yet so satisfying.”

Fun Fact: “I can mimic the noise a dolphin makes!”

Most Motivating Mantra: ” ‘I don’t sweat for pounds or inches or dress sizes. I sweat to make my outside match my inside.’ I find this quote so relevant to me because I am a pretty good person. I’m good in school, I do my best to be kind to everyone and I know what it feels like to be disregarded just because of how I look on the inside. People often wouldn’t take the time to get to know me just because they saw a bit too much fat on the outside.”

#1 Exercise: “My absolute favourite exercise is boxing! I joined my club, Title Boxing, in April after I realized I could no longer zipper my dream prom dress. With just 2 1/2 weeks before my prom, I lost about 5 pounds and ended up wining Princess at the dance. Ever since then I’ve become increasingly good at the sport and do it just about every day with my pretty pink gloves.”

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More about Leah

Like rungs on a ladder, smaller, achievable goals are the secrets to Leah’s success. “Many people, including myself before, would only be proud [to] finally reach [an] excessive goal that would take a long period of time to complete,” Leah says. “Instead, be proud that you went for that run, that you chose the salad over the burger, or that you lost a pound. It’s the little things that count. And when you begin to appreciate those little things, you will become even more motivated to keep reaching those tiny goals until you do reach where you ultimately wish to be.” 

Leah’s fitness journey is one that is pragmatic and results-driven. She says, “It certainly isn’t easy. You will feel like giving up sometimes, but when you start seeing improvements you begin to feel like it’s all worth it.”

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Follow Leah on PumpUp @doogiebear to be inspired and to watch her achieve her fitness and health goals.