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Not Losing Weight? Listen Up!

Not Losing Weight? Listen Up!


    You’ve been watching what you eat for weeks, but you can’t seem to get the scale to budge.

    To rev up your metabolism and get the process started of losing weight, you might want to take a better look at what you’re putting in your mouth.

    SEE ALSO: The Top 10 iPhone Apps for Losing Weight and Getting in Shape

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    But it’s not all about the food.

    Let’s dive in and help you shed those unwanted pounds…shall we?

    It’s time to get clean

    While we’ve all been told to check the labels, foods that require labels are processed, and processed foods can be poison to a diet plan. While low-fat granola bars and fuel-packed protein bars might have their place in an emergency (like hiking the Appalachian Trail, where there’s not a salad bar in sight), in the real world eating “clean” is the way to go.

    That means eating foods as close to their natural state as possible is the best for losing weight – fresh fruits and veggies, lean meats and healthy fats. Keep the empty calories of processed foods out of the shopping cart. Instead, opt for foods in their natural state and not in a wrapper.

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    Get Off the Couch

    Are you a couch potato, crashing after a day of work with a marathon session of your favorite TV show rather than a walk around the block?

    The key to successful weight loss is torching more calories than you take in, so couch potatoes will have a tougher time dropping pounds.That’s not to say you need to channel your inner Arnold Schwarzenegger…hmmm, bad example, to successfully lose weight. You just need to recognize that exercise is a great way to burn extra calories and will help you have a better shot at seeing the numbers on the scale drop.

    Take a walk, head to the park for a game of Frisbee or revisit your childhood and tune up that bike so you can hit the road for a burst of cardio your body will appreciate. The biggest perk is that the added activity will likely lead you to try new forms of exercise, and could inspire you to hit the gym to bust some weightlifting moves that will give your metabolism an added boost.

    Keep Your Cool

    Living on the edge with high stress levels and a constant anxiety can wreak havoc on even the best of diets and your process of losing weight.

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    Stress results in a flood of cortisol rushing through your system, an age-old response that began in the cave man era, when our bodies warned us of life-threatening dangers with the flight-or-flight response we now know as stress. The thing is, we now see rush-hour traffic and cranky co-workers in the same way as deadly cougar attacks, and we’re not fleeing the scene to reap the benefits of the response.

    Those elevated cortisol levels lead to attacks on muscles, reduced insulin resistance, and the storage of unwanted fat (just in case that cougar blocks our path to the grocery store for a few weeks).

    Try to find a little more Zen in your life, through yoga, meditation or massages might do the trick.

    Time Your Meals

    An effective way to build the healthy eating habit is to time your meals. Predetermined the day before exactly what time you will be eating. Schedule them roughly four hours apart. So for example; 8am, noon, 4pm, and 8pm would be your meal times for the day. This will keep you metabolism running high, blood sugar stable so your body can stay primed for buying stored fat as fuel, and satisfied to stave off any cravings. Prepare meals ahead of time so that you are ready to roll.

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    Dieting is Outdated

    Really what it all comes down to is lifestyle changes — and seeing a healthy lifestyle as a choice that makes living an adventure.

    If you eat right, you have the energy to head to the hills for a hike, hop on the mountain bike and tackle that challenging new trail or take the dog for a walk around a bigger block. And that opens the door for the life you want to live, not a life you only have the energy to dream about.

    It’s just a matter of making slow, easy-to-manage changes that reflect a new found attention to a healthy way of living, like trading water for soda or a more nutrient-packed veggie place of mashed potatoes.

    (Photo credit: Mature Woman on Scale via Shutterstock)

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    Justin Miller

    Healthy Lifestyle Architect

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    Last Updated on August 15, 2018

    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

    Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

    Video Summary

    Why is it important to train up our core strength?

    There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

    This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

    Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

    In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

    One Exercise, multiple benefits

    There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

    By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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    When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

    Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

    In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

    What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

    What will happen when you start doing planks every day

      1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

      Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

      • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
      • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
      • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
      • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

      2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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        Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

        Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

        3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

          Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

          4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

            Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

            A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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            A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

            On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

            5. You’ll improve overall balance

              Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

              6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                  Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                  How to hold a plank position

                  1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                  2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                  3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                  4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                  5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                  6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                  7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                  Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                  Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                    How to improve your plank time gradually

                    1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                    2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                    3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                    Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                    Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                    You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                    • Prolapse
                    • After prolapse surgery
                    • Pelvic pain conditions
                    • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                    • Previous childbirth
                    • Overweight

                    Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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