Bucks friends inspire others to lead healthy lifestyle

Annamarie Galante and Molly Hughes have written the Ebook ‘Create Your Aura,’ which boasts 120 workouts and 50 nutritious recipes

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

A perfect pair: Warrington natives and University of Pittsburgh juniors Annamarie Galante (left) and Molly Hughes wrote the Ebook Create Your Aura, which features 120 workouts and 40 recipes to help readers lead a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Source: Create Your Aura

Throughout middle and early high school at Central Bucks South, Warrington natives Molly Hughes and Annamarie Galante shared a passion for fitness. However, that passion was doing more harm than good to their health.

“It was more of being insecure, wanting to be skinny and doing things to fit image as many girls at that young age struggle with,” said Hughes.

For several years, Galante battled with an eating disorder, while Hughes’s poor body image impacted her social skills and confidence.

“At first, we were working out for the wrong reasons,” Hughes said. “I think through Annamarie’s recovery and the help that she got, and for me just maturing and realizing that I have much more to offer than what I look like, I started to stop looking at working out and eating healthy as a way to get skinner, but more of how to take care of my body. How can I live longer? What is this doing for me beyond just looks-wise?”

By the time the friends got to college, both attending the University of Pittsburgh, they had figured out how to lead a balanced lifestyle. Rather than exercising and eating to be skinny, they were working to be healthy. Hughes and Galante held the “Body Image” position for their sorority, Tri Delta, and soon found themselves sharing fitness tips with their sisters.

With requests for advice flooding in, Galante suggested last winter break they create a shareable Google Doc, on which they listed every workout and recipe they had.

“We realized that we had hundreds and hundreds of pages of content,” Hughes said, explaining how they thought it would just be a quick project.

After realizing they had something much bigger on their hands, something they could even sell for a low cost, Hughes and Galante decided to turn their massive list into an Ebook. The two worked tirelessly for nearly a year, and on Sept. 1, Create Your Aura was released online, boasting 120 workouts and 40 recipes that readers can pick and choose from to meet their goals.

According to Hughes, the content in Create Your Aura was based on the trial and error she and Galante experienced in their own health journeys. For example, Hughes discovered an interest in running, while Galante found joy in weightlifting.

“What we stress in our book is that it is about finding workouts that you love, because if you don’t love the workouts you’re doing, if you don’t love the foods you’re eating, then you’re not going to stick to it,” Hughes said.

Create Your Aura provides readers with samples of what a typical week would look like for both Galante and Hughes, though they’re encouraged to experiment. The purpose of the book, stressed Hughes, is to help people find out what they enjoy. The 120 workouts include lifting, chest and triceps, back and biceps, shoulders, legs, hip and plyo.

“We actually purposely structured it so it’s not a specific 12-week guide where they tell you what to do each day,” Hughes said. “Those are great and I have followed them in the past and I liked them, but we have found that sometimes when you start a guide, if you don’t like the workouts, then you’re just done. You give up.”

Hughes and Galante also share on Instagram (@create_your_aura) sample days of eating. The recipes in Create Your Aura feature healthy options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and desserts.

“My favorite thing is to make desserts,” Hughes said. “So how can I take this typical dessert and add more nutritious value so I can have it more often?”

For the girls, a healthy lifestyle is all about balance, something they had to learn for themselves over the years. Rather than working out to lose weight, the juniors now utilize exercise as a stress reliever for their difficult majors — Galante is studying marketing with a minor in French, while Hughes is majoring in information science with a minor in computer science.

As far as their relationship with food, they’ve said goodbye to crash diets and no longer feel poorly if they treat themselves once in a while.

“Annamarie and I, we go out, we get pizza at two in the morning and it’s fine. You’re making your memories,” Hughes said. “But we help people find that balance between living a healthy lifestyle and also not being afraid to indulge and live their lives and not miss out on an experience.”

Though Create Your Aura was naturally geared toward younger college women, Hughes explained how any gender and age can benefit from it.

“The exercises are very intense. So guys, if they buy it and do the exercises, I guarantee you it’s going to kick their butts,” Hughes said.

Currently, their mission is to spread the message to middle schoolers that there’s more to life than being skinny. Next year, Hughes and Galante hope to speak about their experiences at local schools, and potentially coach a small group of their Instagram followers.

“I feel like that’s where a lot of that self-image starts,” Hughes said. “Young girls aren’t as mature yet to realize their self-worth and they get kind of caught up in the image and social media.”

As Hughes and Galante revel in the early success of their book, they want readers to know that they’re not like the buff fitness gurus often idolized on Instagram.

“We are just like them,” Hughes said of their readers. “We’ve been there and we still have bad days where our body image isn’t the best. We’re trying to relate to our customers. We’re typical college students that are just trying to help people live their best lives.” ••

Create Your Aura is available for purchase at create-your-aura.com

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com