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10 Simple Ways To Fix Your Posture In 15 Minutes

10 Simple Ways To Fix Your Posture In 15 Minutes

Years ago a good friend of mine was a Navy rescue diver (AIRR – aviation rescue swimmer). He still maintains a military posture without even thinking about it. He has had people he doesn’t know come up and ask him what branch he served in. They can tell by his stance and posture that he was in the military. For years I have had this unscientific theory that if I keep my back straight and my head above my shoulders I won’t get a curved spine. I think we all know there are many reasons to maintain a good posture.

According to Livestrong.com, “Proper posture is important for a number of reasons, including that it places your body in an alignment where the stress on supporting ligaments, tendons and muscles is limited. Poor posture can lead to discomfort and injury.”

We all lead busy, active lives and are looking for ways to simplify wherever we can. Here are ten simple ways to fix your posture.

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1. Look in the mirror

An article from Today Health & Wellness suggests looking in a mirror and seeing if your palms are facing your thighs with your thumbs pointing ahead. If so, this indicates good posture. Also, if you pull your head back and move your shoulders down and back, it might feel like you are sticking your chest out, but you are fixing your posture.

2. Strengthen your core

According to the article 6 Easy Workout Moves That Can Help Improve Your Posture, “Exercises that strengthen your core are especially important in encouraging good posture. These muscles move the torso by flexing, extending, or rotating your spine.”

You may already have your own favorite exercises to strengthen your core, but the next few points might offer new ideas for you.

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3. Try Yoga

One of my favorite online instructors is Yoga with Adriene. Try this very effective, feel good, short yoga workout Yoga At Your Desk. It’s only six minutes and so beneficial. An added bonus is that the video is only instrumental with words written on the screen. So, hopefully you won’t be bothering any coworkers.

4. Get your squats in

Harvard Health Publications offers these steps on how to do squats correctly. 1) Knees, hips, and toes are pointed forward. 2) Buttocks stay above knee level. 3) Knees aren’t extending beyond toes. 4) Chest is lifted, and shoulders are down and back. 5) Back is neutral, not arched. 6) Feet and knees are pointing straight ahead. 7) Shoulders, hips, and knees are even. 8) Abdominal muscles are pulled in.

5. Do your planks

Sit ups and crunches are out and planks are in. The same article from Harvard Health Publications offers these instructions for effective planks. 1) Abdominal muscles are tight. 2) Shoulders are aligned directly over the elbows. 3) Body is properly aligned so that neck and spine are neutral. Gaze looking down at the floor. 4) Shoulders are down and back. 5) Only toes, forearms, and hands are touching the floor.

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6. Give pilates a try

There are all kinds of videos and articles out there about pilates. I found this short video Beginner Pilates Exercises: Roll UpIt’s a good place to start.

7. Check your vertical line

Whether you are sitting or standing, check your body’s vertical line. Are your ears, shoulders, and hips aligned? Is your body in a vertical line? Check this every time you think of it, and your body will thank you.

8. Check in with your attitude

When we are in a good mood and feeling confident, we have a tendency to stand tall and proud. When we are having one of those days when things seem hard and are mental outlook isn’t so hot, we have a tendency to slump. Our hunched over shoulders tell the world our story, or at least what kind of day we are having.

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9. The old balloon trick

Most of us probably remember being told this: Pretend there is a sting coming out of the middle of the top of your head with a balloon attached to it. Visualize it pulling your head up. This helps you stand up tall and correct your posture.

10. Get up and move

When we sit for any period of time, our bodies relax and are posture does too. Very quickly our shoulders can become slumped and our backs curved. Set a timer on your watch or get a fitness gadget. (I love my fitbit!) Get moving every 15-30 minutes. Moving will get your muscles in action and hopefully your mind as well, reminding you to employ one of the ideas listed above.

Good Luck!

Featured photo credit: Flannel Zen/Zach Dischner via flickr.com

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Tomi Rues

Adjunct college teacher, notebook/journal designer, author

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Published on September 21, 2018

How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss?

How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss?

“Can I look like you in 3 months?”

The teenager stared at me, waiting eagerly for a response. It’s a normal day as a certified fitness coach and yet again, I had to grab some flying feet and put them down on the ground of reality again.

“If I would be able to reach this body in 3 months, you think it would’ve taken me 5 years?” I responded smilingly.

In the same moment I tapped the teenager on the shoulder and we both went to the training floor together. Fast forward to today, he eventually reached his dream body. But it took him a little bit longer than 3 months.

In this article, I want to give you a broad overview and answer to the commonly asked question: how long does it take to build muscle and increase fat loss?

Your biggest enemy for building muscle and fat loss

I remember when I joined my first gym years back. After two weeks of continuous training, I saw absolutely no difference in the mirror.

I googled “2 weeks body transformation” and was frustrated by seeing all these pictures by savvy marketers.

We human beings have evolved to seek instant gratification. We can’t wait for things to happen tomorrow. We want them today or even better, yesterday.

It doesn’t matter if we talk about business or our fitness results. If we truly want to make a long-lasting change, we have to delay our innate need to crave gratification instantly and focus on the big picture.

In the book called Grit by Angela Duckworth, a predictor for future success in children was the so called ‘Marshmallow Test’.

The Marshmallow Test works this way. Children are basically given two options:

  1. Eat the marshmallow in front of them right now.
  2. Wait 10 minutes without eating the first marshmallow and get a second marshmallow to eat on top.

This is an insane test of willpower and the ability to delay gratification for an even bigger payoff, as a 10-year old school child. If the child already mastered that crucial skill at such a young age, it was a strong predictor for future success.

We all have to learn how to delay gratification better. Most people overestimate what they can do in one month, but totally underestimate what they can do in 10 years.

What you really need to build muscle fast

Your ground zero

It all matters on which point we start off. Because the reality is:

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Everyone has to start somewhere.

A former Olympic athlete will have an easier time building muscles and losing fat than an avid couch potato. There are mainly two reasons for this:

  • The pre-selected genetic blueprint of the athlete.
  • Work ethic of a professional.

While countless of variables play a role in influencing your success in the gym, it all can be traced back to those crucial points. And the saying still holds merit:

Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard. — Tim Notke

A mentor of mine told me years ago that you can succeed in life if you just don’t give up.

You can have average skills, average genetics and average work ethic. As long as you keep improving on your craft, you will succeed.

Not immediately – but definitely and finally.

Setting the right expectations

I’m great at setting unrealistic goals and having the wrong expectations. I wanted to have 100,000 subscribers on my Youtube Channel and at the end of my first year when I started, back in 2015, I ended up with 30.

This is an embarrassing story, but I hope it gets one point across:

Your goals need to be realistic if you can’t deal with the setbacks of not reaching them.

Ending up with 30 subscribers even after pulling frequent all-nighters to get this endeavor rolling was soul-crushing. I contemplated throwing in the towel.

With the right support from my network and discipline, I managed to keep going. The channel has now grown 100-fold in those 3 years.

To find out what is realistic, consider the next timeline.

The muscle growth timeline

Here’s what results you can expect if your main goal is building lean tissue mass. Warning: Genuine muscle growth without performance enhancing drugs takes a long time.

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Of course these time periods can vary individually depending on your genetic blueprint and work-ethic. You might see results sooner, or maybe even later.

The time frame is set to training 2-3 times per week (continuously!).

Pro tip: Ask a friend or hire a coach to boost your progress tremendously.

This is what happens when you decide to join a gym, out of my experience training hundreds of clients:

Month 1-3

Eat – Sleep – Gym – Repeat.

Your motivation is at your peak at this point. You will tell your friends and family about your new workout regime. You will notice slight differences in your appearance, which are mainly nonexistent.

You will experience immense strength gains on your training because your body finally realizes how to use its muscles properly.

Month 3-6

This is the time period where most people break. You will be going to the gym consistently, yet the results won’t come just now. It’s the big dip in the whole process.

Your goal in this phase is to build a habit around your gym visits. You will most likely discontinue to have the all-in mentality as in the first 3 months. You will seek sustainability. Breaking news: It will still be hard.

But in the end it’s all worth it. Trust me.

Month 6-12

“I’ve seen a new vein in my arm!”

The guy came up to me excited. This is the time where the normal person starts to see considerable results in his training.

An old friend will talk to him and see a difference in his body shape. Suddenly, his old t-shirt gets too thin. The frequent gym-goer feels amazing.

Month 12- 24

Fitness is a trojan horse. While you might think frequent training will only change your body shape, your character will be impacted too.

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Your friends and family will notice. You’re more confident, assertive and more happy with your self-image. You feel confident and sure in your abilities because you have achieved what you set out to do.

Breaking news:

You will still not be satisfied. And that’s a good thing. But don’t forget to enjoy the fruits of your labour.

They haven’t come easy.

Month 24+

“That’s what works for me!”

If you’ve been going frequently and consistently (twice every week for 2 years), you can pat yourself on the shoulders.

If you’ve done most things correctly and with a certified coach, you will reach the goal shape at this point. But this is also the point where it can get frustrating.

Further results will come painstakingly slow at this stage. You increasingly have to work on your weaknesses and constantly alter your training to see further results. Be it applying different repetitions, intensity, workout duration, speed or machines.

A lot of people will not see results after this stage because the benefits are not worth the work for them. We have to realize that what got us here, will not get us to the next level.

The fat loss timeline

If you’re trying to lose fat, I have 2 pieces of news for you:

  1. It will come faster. Fat loss has a shorter timeline.
  2. It will be exactly as hard as building muscles, if not harder.

Here’s what you can expect if you’re starting to lose weight. Here again: Proper guidance can speed up the process.

Month 1

“I’ve lost 10kg in the first week!”

Your results will come fast. Too fast.

You will feel exhausted. Most of your weight that you lose will be water. This is the big dip in the whole weight loss process.

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The shocking news: Most people stop their diet in the first month.

Month 2-3

You will reconsider your dieting strategy and opt for more sustainability. You will reintroduce “bad foods” in your diet that you’ve most likely blocked out in the first two weeks or month.

Because balance (and not quitting your diet) is more important to you at this stage than seeing rapid weight loss. Your life quality will increase at this stage.

Month 6-12

At this time frame, you have probably lost more than 10kg. The majority of the people looking to lose weight will be satisfied with their results and shocked by how much of a difference it makes in their appearance.

You will feel more confident, more energized and more self-assured. You would’ve never guessed that you could make it, that you could finally lose your weight – yet you did!

And everyone will notice. “What happened to you?!” – your friends will ask you jealously. Old crushes of you will suddenly initiate contact again just to know what you’re “up to this weekend”.

The fat loss after this stage will come slowly if you haven’t been obese to start with. The goal at this stage is to have created a rock-solid habit out of your gym and eating patterns.

Then you don’t have to worry about the Yo-Yo effect.

Conclusion

“You changed my life!”

The same teenager took me aside at a Monday evening. He had his first date the weekend prior. Apparently it went well.

In the whole time frame we worked together, he built up more than 10 kilograms of muscles. It took him more than 2 years. Yet I’m sure if you’d ask him today, he would tell you that it was all worth it.

Focus on the things that you can control. Losing fat or building muscles might be an overwhelming task to start out with. We have to delay our innate need for instant gratification and focus on the things that we can control.

Changing our genetic blueprint or the responses our muscles have to the training stimulus is not in our hands. But training at least 2 times per week, eating the right foods and setting the right goals and expectations is.

Featured photo credit: Arthur Edelman via unsplash.com

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