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13 Minutes a Day to a Leaner You

This 3-step routine will help you lean up, says Risa Sheppard, Master Pilates trainer. 
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

Do you want to lean out for summer, but don't have a lot of time to invest in exercise? All you need is 13 minutes a day, claims one expert. Risa Sheppard, Master Pilates trainer, creator of The Sheppard Method, explains that you can lean out and lengthen your body with a Pilates-inspired workout. "Losing weight is not just about cutting calories," she explains. "You must make a few changes in your fitness regimen." Here is her 3-step, 13-minute routine that will lean out your body.

The 3-Step Routine Takes Just 13 Minutes

Smart watch on the woman's hand

"It doesn't take much time to perform these 3 steps towards a leaner you. Just do this routine 13 minutes a day and it will leave you looking leaner and thinner," says Sheppard.

Even If the Scale Doesn't Change, You Will Lean Up

overweight woman on scale at home

She reminds that even if your scale stays the same, it will help you look leaner. "Muscle weighs more than fat, so just go by the way your clothes are fitting," she says, noting that you will find it easier to put on that pair of jeans "you couldn't fit into 3 months ago."

First, Check Your Alignment

Young attractive woman practicing yoga at home, standing in mountain exercise, Tadasana pose, working out, wearing white clothes, indoor full length, in the center of living room

Start by checking your body's alignment. "You should feel a plumb line from the floor through to the center of the body and reaching for the ceiling," she says. Pull your stomach into your spine and lift between the bottom of your rib cage and pelvis making it as "declumped" as possible. "Clumping your body always makes one look heavier," she says.

Now, Stretch the Spine

Sportswoman stretching arms and relaxing in a field after sport

"Once you get in body alignment we are going to stretch the spine and get it to move," she says, sharing a quote from Joseph Pilates: "You are as young as your spine is flexible."

Inhale and Exhale and Roll It Out

Young woman practicing breathing yoga pranayama outdoors in moss forest on background of waterfall. Unity with nature concept

Keeping feet and legs together, try and visualize that you have magnets all along your inner thighs holding them with strong engagement. "Slowly lower the chin to the chest and start to roll down as if you have a wall behind you," she says. "Slightly bend your knees and reach to the floor with your finger. Then, inhale and prepare to exhale as you roll or curl yourself one vertebrae at a time." Keep rolling 3 or 4 times. "Then, when you are straight and aligned, repeat about 2 or 3 times," she says.

Visualize This All Day


"Keep this image as you go about your day," Risa recommends. She adds that you should try to "declump" your waist area by always being aware of the lift from the center of the body. "Lengthen your neck in the same way. Make as much space from your ears to your neck. This makes you look taller, more confident, and improves your posture as well," she says.

Also, Do Ab Work


"Combining these movements with proper abdominal work will definitely keep you lean , tall, and confident throughout your day," Sheppard concludes.

💪🔥Body Booster: If you want to lean out, pay attention to your posture – especially in your waist area – all day long.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more