Campus Spotlight: Q and A GetUpGetHealthy
By Jessie Garten
As seniors at the University of Maryland, Ava Saunders and Emma Rabinowitz took their hobbies and interest for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and made something of it. Aside from being Communications and Psychology majors, they launched the Instagram handle GetUpGetHealthy as a platform for anyone to find go-to healthy recipes, fitness tips and lifestyle advice. With over 2.8k followers, the two college girls provide a space for people to make eating and living healthy fun and enjoyable.
MM: What inspired you to start GetUpGetHealthy?
Emma: It’s actually a funny story. We were in the car driving home from Soul Cycle one day (something we do a lot), and looked at each other and thought should we make a food account? At first we laughed about it and were spitting out ideas of what little phrases or sayings could represent what we wanted a potential Instagram to look like. After a few hours of joking around we landed on ‘Get Up Get Healthy’ and it immediately stuck! Now it’s almost like our claim to fame - it’s crazy what something we started for pure fun and enjoyment has turned into.
Ava: Our friends also kind of pushed us to finally bite the bullet and actually start Get Up. We were living in our sorority house at the time and it became a running joke between all the girls that Emma and I always managed to create the most delicious looking healthy meals - it was so cute that our friends noticed and we loved when they would ask us questions or for help with what to order and eat! If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t have realized that the things we were doing could actually help and inspire others.
MM: What tips would you recommend to college students to maintain a healthy lifestyle?
Emma: Something I would recommend to a college student wanting to maintain a healthy lifestyle would first be to always have a stocked fridge. Something we have learned is that eating healthy does not have to be expensive, and it does not have to be boring. You know what foods you like and it doesn't have to be complicated to make something that's both nutritious and delicious. A tip we love to use when we do our weekly grocery run is buy a bunch of our favorite basics like fruits and veggies, different types of carbs, proteins, and healthy fats to then use in a rotation of different meals - and remember that maintaining a healthy lifestyle shouldn’t be daunting or stressful!!
Ava: I totally agree with Emma - I think a lot of people assume that in order to eat nutrient dense meals there has to be some elaborate recipe that goes with it, which is so not the case. Planning in advance is also key, and we’re not talking intense meal prep, but knowing that you have quick and easy options for on-the-go is essential. We always like to have protein bars, pieces of fruit like apples or oranges, individual bags of popcorn or nuts, hard boiled eggs, etc. on hand to take with us to class so that we have healthy options when we’re out of the house. On the other hand, we’ve learned throughout these last few years that maintaining a healthy lifestyle also includes eating pizza at 2am with your friends - it’s truly all about balance.
MM: Which are your favorite healthy and creative recipes you have developed?
Emma: My first recipe of ours that I love is our 5 minute granola. This one is on constant repeat in our breakfast rotations. We both love it so much because we can add in whatever toppings to the batch that we want to change it up. Sometimes I do white chocolate chips, different cereals crushed in, chia seeds, and then maybe the next time i'll switch it up and do some dark chocolate and cinnamon. It is so filling, just the right amount of sweetness and perfect in a yogurt bowl with some berries or even just plain as a snack. My other favorite recipe is our chicken parm. We use the breaded chicken as a base for so many different recipe variations which is why we make it so often!! We do chicken nuggets, buffalo chicken, barbeque chicken, it can literally be whatever flavor you’re craving at the time - so good.
Ava: Not even just saying this - literally every recipe of ours is so delish!!! We really only post the things that we eat all the time because we never get sick of our classic dishes. Em and I both have the BIGGEST sweet tooth and our favorite dessert ever is our Double Chocolate Mug Cake recipe. It tastes like the most decadent chocolatey lava cake ever - top with lots of whipped cream and it’s heaven on earth. Another favorite is our Banana Oat Blender Pancakes. It’s such an easy recipe especially for college students because all you do is throw everything in a blender and that’s it - makes for an easy clean up too! The banana gives the yummiest natural sweetness and they keep you full for so long with lots of protein and natural fiber.
(Link recipe posts)
MM: What do you think is the most difficult part of running an Instagram platform?
Ava: Obviously we absolutely love our platform and are so grateful to be able to use it to positively influence people, but the reality is that we still are two girls in college that have full lives and other priorities on top of this account. Sometimes it’s hard to balance the two, and sometimes we feel guilty for not sharing as much as other accounts who are able to post more frequently and commit full time to this community. There’s definitely moments where we’ll be out with friends and not want to take out our phones and just be present in the moment - and when that happens we do what we feel is right in the moment. I think for both of us we’ve just accepted that our account is what we make of it, and our followers will appreciate whatever content we can produce, even if it may not be as consistent as others.
Emma: The health and fitness world of instagram is something that we joined only a little under two years ago and it has truly introduced us to so many people we look up to and who inspire us daily. With that being said sometimes it can be a crowded space with everyone constantly sharing new recipes, their daily workouts, and life. I think this is where the challenge comes in for us of creating original and creative content for our followers as we really work towards the goal of posting things we know will be engaging and helpful to them. This is where Ava and I really work together to bounce ideas off each other and feed off of both of our visions to come up with new and exciting posts.
MM: What is your go-to workout and how do you hold yourself accountable?
Emma: Working out is so much more enjoyable when you have a best friend to do it with and motivate you. Ava and I are constantly going to workout classes together, going to the gym in our apartment building or even just going on a long walk around campus to catch-up and talk about our days. One of my go-to’s is soul cycle. I love the atmosphere (the mental aspect of it is unmatched to any other workout class I've tried) as well as the physical side of it - I feel like I can really push myself in ways I didn't know I could. One of my other favorite workouts is the peloton app. Being a busy college student is stressful in itself so what I love about this platform is how much variety it offers. If I sleep in and want to get in some quick light movement I can schedule a 10 minute arm workout and 5 minute abs class for when I get back. But on the other side of that they also have bootcamps and running workouts that could be up to an hour long. Working out should be something that you enjoy and shouldn't feel like an added task to your day, so find whatever it is that makes you happy and feel good.
Ava: Soul Cycle for sure will always have a special place in my heart, especially when it comes to Emma and I because it really is our thing that we do together now. But it can get expensive and I’m a firm believer that exercise should not be something that has to be a financial burden at all. One of my all time favorite workouts that Emma and I discovered while in quarantine is via @rachel_fitness on Instagram. She is a Barry’s Bootcamp instructor based out of Miami, and does free 30 minute workouts on her Instagram page every Monday-Friday. Not only is she like having a personal trainer in your living room, but she is so inspiring, motivating, and her workouts have made me so much stronger. Obviously I’m so lucky to have someone like Emma who will always motivate me when I’m not feeling up for a workout, but I think that the best way I hold myself accountable is in the way that I view exercise now. For so long, working out was a chore that I “had” to do to burn a certain amount of calories. Once I ditched that mindset and learned to listen to the kind of movement my body wanted, I actually began to crave the workout more because the after feeling is truly unbeatable.
MM: If you had one word of advice to give to your followers, what would it be?
Emma: I wish someone told me this years ago because I think it has taken both Ava and I a very long time to get to the mindset we are both in today when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. It is so important to understand that every person and every body is different. What works for one person does not mean it will work for you as well. You have to find what fits you and your needs best. Life can be hard and it is too short to sit there and stress about how many calories are in the one slice of pizza. If you want the pizza, eat the pizza and just because you ate it doesn't mean you need to workout extra hard and extra long tomorrow to burn it off.
Ava: I think this kind of goes along with what Emma said, but a phrase that I saw on another Instagram account that has really stuck with me ever since I came across it is “Your weight is the least interesting thing about you”. I wish there was someone who would’ve ingrained that into my brain a few years ago, because diet culture can really do a number on college students, especially girls. But it really is so true - the people who love and care about you aren’t friends with you because of the number you weigh on a scale, but because of the person you are and the way you treat others. No one judges you harder than you judge yourself, so always remember to be kind and cut yourself some slack. At the end of the day, you have to be your own best advocate.