Who doesn't want to better their health? I know I do - well, at least I say that I do. The problem is that it can be SO MUCH WORK to commit to a strenuous exercise and diet plan. Personally, I find that smaller changes towards a healthier lifestyle allow me to assimilate to the exercise and diet plan much better. When you ease into something, allowing yourself to progress over time, the changes are much more gradual and soon enough you find yourself living a much healthier lifestyle.
My name is Beau and I am a student at the University of Toronto majoring in Human Biology. I am not a fitness instructor, nor do I claim to be, but I study human biology and have previously gone through my own substantial weight loss - so I have interest on the topic. I have done intense personal training before, and to be honest it was expensive and time consuming. The results were great but once I wasn't pressured to go to the gym for my sessions I fell off the band wagon. Then, to make matters worse, I got such a bad infection in my leg last summer that I was literally unable to exercise. I didn't listen to my doctor at first, and continued exercising which made the infection worse. So for months I was sedentary. And here I am now, struggling to get back into my routine.
SO, What changes can I make towards a healthier lifestyle? My ultimate goal is to be a Calvin Klein Model - okay not really - but I genuinely do wish to become healthier and more physically fit. However, working at a desk all day doesn't necessarily promote being physically active; and when I'm done work I I feel drained of energy and stiff. If I can optimize my time so that I can fit periodic exercises in throughout the day then things would be a whole lot easier.
My plan is to follow the suggested exercise plan outlined in the Posture Medic booklet. Since I am still fairly active - I try to workout at least once a week and I love walks/hikes - I will be following the Active exercise plan in the Posture Medic booklet. With the Posture Medic I have all I need to get my healthier lifestyle on track - the ability to stretch, strengthen and stabilize. I can wear the Posture Medic while I am at my desk to prevent myself from slouching. Who doesn't want better posture? I will also take 5 min intervals throughout the day to strengthen and stretch. By breaking my exercises into smaller intervals throughout the day I am hoping to maximize efficiency and minimize laziness.
The great thing about the exercise plans is that all the details are laid out in front of you; all you have to do is follow it! There are three phases: stretch, strengthen and stabilize. For the first week: to stretch I will be doing 5-10 (probably 10) reps of the 3 stretches explained in the Posture Medic booklet and I will do these 5 times per day; to strengthen I will be doing 20 reps of the 3 strengthening exercises from the booklet and I will do this 3 times per day; finally to stabilize I will wear the posture medic for 20-30 minutes and I will repeat this 2-3 times per day . IT'S THAT SIMPLE - now, who's with me to pursue a healthier lifestyle?! Let's get this plan going. The plan is incredibly easy to understand and follow - if I can do it, anyone can! Let the exercise plan commence!!!
So I am almost done week one! I keep looking around for cheering crowds and champagne showers to acknowledge my hard work but mostly I am proud of myself. To be completely honest, it was difficult doing the full 20 reps for strengthening the first couple of days. I was astonished by the amount of resistance there is in the Posture Medic! My arms were pretty sore after the third day of the plan. I started this exercise plan thinking it would be an easy workout, but I really do feel the burn by the end of my reps. I've learnt to do everything in moderation - while muscular burning can be good, you always have to know your limits and work within them. I pushed through my first couple of days and slowly but surely the exercises started becoming easier - I barely shake near the end of my strengthening reps anymore!
I LOVE the stretches, specifically the Lat Stretch - it feels amazing at the end of a long day as it flexes all the muscles that were inactive while sitting at my desk. I know it's only been a week but I feel my strength and flexibility improving - and, of course, my posture.
Continuing into my second week I will be slightly altering my reps for each of the three phases: Stretch, Strengthen and Stabilize. I will now be doing 10 reps of each stretch outlined in the booklet 5 times a day; For strengthening I will be increasing to 20-30 reps of each exercise 4 times a day; and to stabilize I will be wearing the posture medic for 20-30 minutes 5 times a day. Looking forward I have good feeling about this plan - I am already feeling an improvement and I welcome any changes for the better.
So my progress has reached a bit of a plateau - tis that time of year and I am sick. Despite my best efforts - maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly - I have inevitably succumbed to the joy of winter sickness. It's hard to maintain enthusiasm when you can barely stay awake, but since the workouts are so quick and simple I have still been able to moderately exercise. As I mentioned last week, working within your limits is the best way to assure that you don't over-work or hurt yourself. Since I have a considerable decrease in energy I have altered the number of reps I do each time I work out within the constraints of my current physical ability. That being said I still push myself when I know I am able too, but I know my limits and have been staying within them.
Since I'm sick I have focused more on the stretching and stabilizing and less on the strengthening. I have been also adding some deep stretch yoga into my routine as well, to assist with better stretching and a milder form of strengthening. I have actually noticed a difference in my yogi abilities since I have been using the Posture Medic. My posture has improved and as a result I have a better plank pose - as well as my general strength and ability to maintain different poses. Looking forward I plan to add more reps as I start to feel better. Once I am feeling up to it I will return to the suggested week 2 reps outlined in the Posture Medic Booklet, since I have had a slight decrease in my progress this week.
I am sick and I don't want to think - let alone write; I've lost my mind in viral pathogenesis. Keeping up with my exercises has been at the bottom of my list of things to do. From working, to school and being more lethargic than usual I can barely resist the urge to just curl up in my bed. The good thing with the Posture Medic plan is that the sets are very quick so I can fit them into my day, even if I don't feel up for it. Rest assured, I am still not back to the regular suggested reps. I am staying well within my physical limits because I don't want to get any more sick.
So while I ease back into the plan let's take a moment to talk diet. Yes, diet - the dreaded word. I have a different opinion then most when it comes to "diets". I see healthy changes as lifestyle adjustments. I would love to give up and just eat Krispy Kreme for days, but I don't - why? Because I used to be extremely overweight and never will I EVER return to those unhealthy habits. Plus, you are what you eat! So eating bad food makes you feel - drum roll please... - bad. When I made the decision over four years ago to go vegan I never expected to feel such a difference in my health. The point I am at now, even when I am sick and less active than I was a year ago, far surpasses where I used to be. I was unhealthy, I overate and I had little concept of what our food actually contains.
Making a change for the better is a personal choice. It seems so simple but it's actually harder than most people understand. Everyone loves conformity - we go out with friends and we splurge on bad food together. Once you break from that social eating pattern there is a noticeable draw back from others. We like to eat bad food together because we don't feel as bad if our friends are doing it too. If all my friends are eating ribs and little vegan me is sitting on the other side of the table eating a salad and seeds there is bound to be some tension - and jokes. Noted - I don't care what others eat because I have experienced too much hostility from others simply because I am vegan- but it seems like eating poorly has just become a rite of passage now-a-days. Let's break that pattern. We don't need convenience food and if we like to eat together let's make it healthy foods that are natural and don't have chemicals which in concentrated forms are fatal . Eating and living a healthier lifestyle is simple if you can make the transition personally as well as socially. Be the person who chooses to better their self and inspires others too as well. Because at the end of the day, it's all up to you to make a change for the better.
I am FINALLY starting to feel better! As my energy levels increase I have been getting back into the Posture Medic workout plan, increasing both my reps and intensity. This sudden, and well needed, burst of energy has inspired me to add more to my workout. I am still following the week two suggested reps for stretching, strengthening and stabilizing, since I was slacking a bit when I was sick and not meeting the full reps. Due to the unscheduled delay in my training I decided to extend my fitness plan for 2 more weeks! I have also, added some strength training to my workout routine to compliment the Posture Medic plan and better my results.
I want to increase my muscle mass and physical endurance, but in a natural way - I don't like taking any supplements (queue vegan joke). Using the Posture Medic for a couple weeks has improve my strength so when I added more intense strength training the transition was easier - because trust me by the end of your sets you'd be surprised how much resistance there is in the Posture Medic and how effective the workout is.
I have added weight training to my routine. I do 3 sets, with 15 reps in each set, of dead lifts, bicep-curls and pushups. I have also added 100 jumping jacks, which I do once a day at the end of my last set. It is important to note that proper form and posture is key when weight training - in fact, with any form of exercise. Making sure you have proper form not only gives you better results but it also assures that you don't injure yourself. For the following week I will be continuing my week 2 workout plan as described in the Posture Medic booklet; Next week I will slowly transition into week 3. Moving forward I am just happy to be feeling better and getting back into my exercise plan, because I was feeling way too inactive for way too long.
I finally started week 3 of the Posture Medic exercise plan!! I have to say I feel like I have a lot more energy - and that's not just the Ginseng in my Booster Juice! I have noticed a major improvement in my strength. The resistance in the Posture Medic band makes for a surprisingly intense strengthening exercise. By using the Posture Medic I maintained and improved my strength enough to easily transition back into my more intense training exercises. I have added in addition to the dead lifts and bicep curls, squat presses and some simple exercises with my dumbbells.
In week 3 of the plan, to stretch I did 10 reps of each stretch exercise and to stabilize I wore the Posture Medic for 30 minutes. I repeated this 5 times a day. I have also added some yoga in a couple times a week to offer a more intense stretch for my back and hips (where I seem to carry most tension). Moving forward I will be doing 30-50 reps of each exercise and I will repeat this 5 times a day. I am making noticeable improvement in reaching my goal of becoming more physically fit as well as increasing both my strength and endurance. Being on this plan has been a bit more of a process that I had originally thought - since I was sick and couldn't fully keep up with it for 2 weeks. However, even in the small amount of time I have been using the Posture Medic my progress has actually inspired one of my co-workers, Aleks, to start the exercise plan as well!! This week she will be starting week 1 and she can't wait to join me on the mission to better health!
It is the last week of my Posture Medic plan - and blog! - And all I keep hearing incessantly in my head is "Why do all good things come to an end" by Nelly Furtado. Okay, maybe not, but I do feel the changes that have occurred in my body over the last couple of weeks. My posture has definitely improved. I feel the difference in my height, my back muscles hurt less and overall I just feel stronger and leaner. The Posture Medic exercise plan has allowed me to build up my strength so that I was able to easily transition into a more strenuous weight training routine. This exercise plan has improved my endurance, strength and stamina and helped me get back into a regular exercise routine and maintain better health.
I am in Week 4 of the plan; this is the toughest part but what does not kill us makes us stronger (and have better posture). The only difference between week 3 and 4 is an increase of strengthening exercises to 50 reps. For stretching you still do 10 reps, 5 times a day and wear the Posture Medic for 30 minutes, 5 times a day to stabilize. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the amount of resistance in the Posture Medic makes for a surprisingly intense workout. Doing all 50 reps is not something I would have been able to do without working up to it. The Posture Medic has allowed me to greatly improve both strength and posture, all with one simple device and with the help of the suggested exercise plan.
I am very happy with my overall results from the Posture Medic exercise plan. Obviously I still do not look like a body builder but the plan has definitely improved my flexibility, strength and posture. I could not have asked for anything more, I got the motivation and results I needed to easily transition back into my exercise routine. I will definitely continue using my Posture Medic once I am done with the plan. I will use the general exercise tips given in the booklet and integrate them into my daily exercise routine. This is, however, the end of my Posture Medic Blog. I have had fun ranting and raving but it's time for me to get back to work and working out. So here I find myself, nostalgic of where I was when I began this journey and happy of where I am now - "Why do all good blog's come to an end?" - Beauy Furtado.