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Complete Guide To Losing 20 Pounds In A Month

Complete Guide To Losing 20 Pounds In A Month

An important event is coming up in a month’s time. One that might require you to lose 20 pounds otherwise the dress or tuxedo you plan to wear will be close to impossible to put on. A glance in the mirror and it’s a confirmation that you had let loose the past couple of months gaining the unwanted blubber around the waist. Most of us have been here before. The need to shed those pounds which we didn’t realise we had gained is real and we have nothing more than a month’s time before the big day arrives.

The need to lose 20 pounds might seem like an unachievable feat only made possible by fitness gurus. But guess what? It is possible, but like what Rocky Balboa said to Johnson in the movie Creed, “You’ve got to work hard. If you don’t do that. I’m out”. You have to keep that end point in mind every second of every day, and you have to follow the plan that we are about to present forth to you below:

Week One: Prepare Your Mind and Getting Used to The Pain

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    This is an important first step to success and it is advisable not to skip it. With a piece of paper and pen, ask yourself why you need to lose those 20 pounds. Make sure the word “Why” gives you a big enough reason to do it. Just simply telling yourself “I want to look good” will not motivating enough as the reason has to be more specific. An example of a big enough reason will be “I want to look fit and good on John’s Wedding Day that Melissa (a long time crush) is going to notice my change”. Now, paste that piece of paper on the wall next to your bed so when you wake up, you will see it. Once you have established that, it’s time to get down to work.

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    You have to be ready to constantly increase your pain threshold when you go through a series of circuit trainings. According to scientists at McMaster University, circuit trainings of 6 days a week and a low calorie, high protein diet could be the holy grail of all weight loss programs. So if you plan to lose 20 pounds in a month’s time, get rid of high calorie foods and exercise 6 days a week. Get your mind ready for the pain.

    An example circuit training is like this:

    30 seconds rests in between sets:

    30 seconds of Burpees
    30 seconds of Mountain Climbers
    30 seconds of Push Ups
    30 seconds of Knee lifts on the spot
    30 seconds of Planking
    30 seconds of Bicycle Sit ups

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    Repeat for 3 sets.

    End with 20 minutes of slow-paced jogging.

    Week Two: Dieting

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      “Great Abs are made in the kitchen”. I’m sure many have heard this quote before and it is very true. This is the hardest step to adhere to because there are so much temptations around us in terms of convenience and cravings. But do note that short term gratifications will not make you a happy person in the long run. The rule of thumb for dieting is to get rid of high calorie foods such as white bread, ice-cream, potato chips, soft drinks and all the other processed foods that you know are not good for you in your refrigerator right now. Instead, stock up on high-protein foods such as lean meats, fish and green leafy vegetables. For the next few weeks, your aim will be to eat high protein and low calorie foods.

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      For a more accurate measurement of how much calories you need to cut down to shed 20 pounds, you will have to shed 500 calories per week to lose 1 pound per week, this is the general rule of thumb without any exercise.

      Week Three: Don’t Turn Down The Intensity

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        By now, circuit training exercises might be a little too mundane to you and there is a very high tendency to lower down the intensity a little. Some might even turn to low intensity exercises such as hot yoga which is a huge craze now. Many believe that hot yoga helps the body to “release toxins” but little do people know that there is a huge risk of getting heat exhaustion during hot yoga. So it is not advisable to be tempted to be swayed by low intensity workouts which you believe can help speed up the process of weight loss. The only sure way to lose weight is sheer determination and hard work.

        Week Four: Measure Your Progress

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          So you are finally used to eating clean and having six days of work out a week has become part of your lifestyle. Now, it is the time to reap what you sow. You may or may not have reached your goal but you will definitely see the results. However, do take note that you should not turn obsessive with your diet plan as it will be detrimental to your health. The rule of the game is to stay away from foods with high carbohydrates, eat foods with high protein and are wholesome and always challenge yourself to do more when exercising.

          Featured photo credit: Constantin Stanciu via shutterstock.com

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          Published on October 11, 2018

          7 Killer Upper Back Stretches to Reduce Pain and Boost Endurance

          7 Killer Upper Back Stretches to Reduce Pain and Boost Endurance

          Building and maintaining a strong upper back depends not only on strength-training, but stretching and nutrition as well. Stretching the upper back muscles, along with a healthy diet can help alleviate pain while improving endurance.

          Did you know that stretching your upper back builds endurance for sports, your job – which may require heavy lifting – and simple, everyday activities? Many people who exercise don’t recognize the importance of having a strong upper back, and often neglect this part of the body, focusing more on the lower back where injuries are more prone to occur.

          Upper back endurance is necessary for runners, hikers, golfers, tennis players, bowlers, cyclists; the list goes on and on. If saving time is important to you, you want to reduce chronic back pain, boost your energy levels, or you simply need ways to get through a day at the office while confined to a computer, you’ll begin to understand why the following upper back stretches and exercises are necessary.

          Here are seven stretches, combined with exercises, to help you maintain a strong upper back:

          1. Lat Pull-Downs

          By contracting and lengthening your latissimus dorsi muscles, trapezius, deltoids, rhomboids, teres major, along with the other muscles groups in and around your upper back, you are building muscle endurance and increasing mobility.

          Seated at a lat pull-down machine, select a weight stack that is comfortable. Remember, you’re not preparing for a bodybuilding competition, you just want to exercise the back, so heavy weight is unnecessary.

          Grab the wide bar above your head, palms down, and using a wide grip, pull the bar down to your chest and contract your upper back muscles.

          Keep your head up, looking at the bar. This also helps keep your spine straight and provides a clearance so that the bar doesn’t hit your face. Slowly return the bar to the top and repeat for 15 reps. Do three to four sets.

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          Here’s the correct technique by Denice Moberg:

          2. Indoor Rowing

          If upright exercises like walking on the treadmill or running outdoors bore you, you can strengthen your core using a rowing machine. Not only will you chisel your back, but the elongation of the upper back during the stroke motion creates a good stretch.

          First, select a tension that is challenging but not a struggle. Make sure that your feet are securely placed in the machine’s foot straps, nice and tight to prevent the feet from moving while rowing.

          Next, slide yourself in the rowing saddle forward toward the row bar and pull the bar toward the mid-section of your trunk area, which is the finish. Pulling the bar, bring your elbows beyond your back while contracting your upper muscles and rear shoulders.

          Your back should be straight with a slight angle of around 100 degrees. Do not hunch.

          During the catch, your legs should be at a 90 degree angle while locking out your arms completely. As a stretching exercise, repeat this motion for five minutes.

          Here’s how you can do it:

          3. Side Plank Rotation

          If you’re short on time, floor exercises such as planks strengthen your core and can be done at home or during your lunch break at work. They can be done in 30 to 60 second increments.

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          There are a few plank variations:

          The low-position forearm plank in which your body weight is supported by your elbows; the straight-arm plank, which is a high-position plank; side plank in which your body is turned to one side and supported by one straightened arm; the stability-ball plank which is more challenging for your trunk; and the plank that gives you a good stretch is the side plank rotation.

          To begin the side plank rotation, begin in the high plank position. Slowly turn your body to one side while stacking one foot on top of the other. Extend the opposite arm toward the ceiling and as you lower your arm, reaching underneath your body and rotating your trunk.

          Done properly, you will feel the stretch along your rhomboids and shoulders. Repeat the rotation – reaching and tucking – 10 times. Switch sides.

          Here’s a Side Plank Rotation demonstrated by Train Aggressive:

          4. Yoga Stretches

          A good way to incorporate breathing with stretching and gain flexibility in your core is Kundalini yoga – an intense yoga practice – gets your blood flowing and works wonders for the spine and posture.

          The “Cat-Cow” pose is a great upper back warm-up, and when combined with the “Breath Of Fire”[1] or “fast breathing,” energy is sent through the entire body which stimulates the flow of cell activity and increases lung capacity.

          On all fours, arms straight and directly below your shoulders, and knees directly below your hips, hunch your back, inhaling as you tuck your head into your chest, then exhale while arching your back and raise your head toward to sky.

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          The rapid inhaling and exhaling in this exercise is known as the “Breath Of Fire,” as mentioned above. Increase the pace of both the “Cat-Cow” and “Breath Of Fire” and repeat this movement for up to five minutes.

          This is how to do a Cat-Cow pose for energy:

          5. Side Bends

          This is a simple stretch to elongate the space between your ribs and increase range of motion, which helps achieve flexibility in the abdominals, spine, and lateral core.

          Seated or standing with your back straight, raise your arms above your head and firmly hold your wrist. Gently pull your trunk to one side and hold for 20 to 30 seconds. When finished, repeat on opposite side.

          Note: If standing, keep your feet shoulder width apart, if seated keep your feet flat on the floor.

          Let’s take a look at how to do a standing side bend:

          6. Pole Stretch

          By creating opposing force and pulling on a stationary object, you are stretching your lats. The upper sides of your back. Here, you are performing a static stretch which is a stretch held beyond its normal range.

          Find a pole, mounted gym apparatus, or other floor-affixed object and, while standing, pull on the object with slightly bent knees and back flat at a 45-degree angle.

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          Continue to pull while extending your arms, feeling the stretch in your lats and rhomboid muscles. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat if needed.

          7. Shoulder Blade Stretch

          The shoulder blades are connected to the rhomboid muscles in the upper back. Sudden, quick movements like pulling a heavy object or even tossing a near-weightless object overhead, like a tennis ball during a serve, can strain the unstretched muscles between your shoulder blades, causing spasms.

          Here’s how to avoid muscle strain:

          Standing tall with feet shoulder width apart, gently pull your elbow across your chest, just beneath your chin, and hold for 15 seconds. If you do not feel immediate relief, try lowering or raising the elbow and perform the stretch again. Different angles can make a big difference.

          There you have it – Seven upper back stretches and exercises to reduce pain and improve endurance. But while upper back stretches are important, a diet rich in antioxidants is equally key.

          Bonus Tip: Getting a Diet Rich in Antioxidants

          Antioxidants, also known as “Super Foods,” prevent the build up of free radicals in your body and control oxidative stress. These free radicals are toxins that get in the way of endurance, flexibility, and cause inflammation, among other fitness obstacles.

          How do you incorporate antioxidants into your diet? Here are some common foods and beverages rich in antioxidants:

          A good combination of quick and easy targeted cardiovascular exercises, static stretches, range-of-motion stretches, and yoga poses can increase upper back endurance and boost your energy levels, making your activities – both sedentary and active – manageable and fun.

          Once you begin to incorporate these methods of relief into your routine, you will begin to walk taller, run farther, and hike longer!

          Featured photo credit: Geert Pieters via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1]Yogapedia: Breath of Fire

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