How Exercising Helped Emily Gain Confidence and Muscle

For Emily, healthy eating was a constant struggle. In 2012, Emily’s weight dropped to 119 lbs — but she did so only by restricting her diet. Exercise wasn’t part of the picture. “It wasn’t very healthy,” she revealed. “I wasn’t exercising. I didn’t do any exercise apart from walking to work each day.” It didn’t take long for Emily’s overall fitness to fall off track. By 2015, Emily weighed 135 lbs — again, due to her eating habits. “I would eat whatever my fiancé would bring home from work,” she explained. He’s a chef and would bring me enough macaroni cheese to feed three people, and I’d eat it all. I hate wasting food.  I'd get takeaway food maybe once a week, without even thinking too much about it."

One day, Emily noticed that her dresses were too tight. "I felt like everyone in [my] dance class looked better than I did and I had low confidence,” she remembered. “My twin sister was getting married and was losing weight to fit in her dress. I was a bridesmaid so I want to look my best.  I had also stopped taking anti depressants recently and wanted to look after myself to see if it made a difference, and it did!” She started by making small changes. From striving for 5-7 portions of fruits and vegetables per day, to home workouts, to dancing, Emily found a routine that ‘clicked’. "I logged my weight and my workouts: I knew what was working and what wasn’t,” she said. "At one point I was exercising 6 days a week but I've managed to cut down to 5 days."

Seeking support and accountability, Emily joined the PumpUp community in February 2016 . "I found that Instagram wasn't the best place for my fitness posts and the fitness app I was using closed down,” she said. "I use PumpUp to find like-minded individuals. [Most of the time], I exercise alone so it's great to have people who know what it's like to commit yourself to a healthy lifestyle and people who don't judge. I think my greatest fitness related achievement is getting my body fat down to 19.6%. I’m 121 lbs now."

Mentally, Emily always struggled with depression, but exercising alleviated her symptoms. “I think it’s the only reason I’m no longer medicated,” she shared. “Physically, I hurt my knee around a year ago and had to stop running. It hurt on a daily basis, no matter what I did. I got some advice and did some physio exercises and stuck to only certain activities like cycling. It was hard because I always envied the runners and was always worried about doing anything that would make it worse. I've stopped dancing as much as I used to and now I've been able to run again. I ran 6 miles last week, which is the most I've ran in years!"

Overall, dancing, boxing, and running have given Emily unparalleled confidence. “My biggest source of motivation is the old me, and the desire to better myself,” she insisted. "I'm always competing with myself. If I’m at the gym doing cardio, I want to be faster than my last run/cycle/row. I love doing better than I did yesterday. I always want to be stronger or faster. It challenges me."

Emily’s Diet

"I measure and count all the calories I eat. I have the same thing for breakfast everyday: fruit, yogurt and a protein bar. I prepare my own food so I know what I'm eating and how many calories. To keep my body fat low (currently 19.6%) I intermittently fast, so I only eat between the hours of 1pm and 11pm." 

Emilys Workout Routine

"I box 2 nights a week. I walk 1.8 miles to work and the same back. Another night, I will go to the gym and do cardio and weights or go to a modern jive class. Before boxing, I was dancing up to three nights a week. If the gym is closed, I work out with my weights at home."

Emilys Best Advice

“Start small. Make small changes that are manageable and build from them. I never ban food, because if I say I can't have something, I immediately want it.  Also, I'd advise finding something you love that doesn't feel like exercising. For me it was dancing, but it could be yoga or frisbee for another person."

More about Emily

"I always wear odd socks. Everyday. Life is too short to pair socks!"

Keep Emily pumped! Find her on the app @betterxtogether and send her positive comments.