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WHY EVERY WOMAN SHOULD TRY THE BODY BEAST PROGRAM

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When the Beachbody Program Body Beast first came out at the end of 2012, I was extremely hesitant to try it as it seemed like it was designed solely for men, in particular men who just wanted to “get huge!”  Check out this original promo video and you’ll see why it took me a while to dive in.

This would definitely appeal to men and teenage boys everywhere, but many women have a fear of getting bulky muscles and try to avoid heavy weightlifting.  While women don’t have enough testosterone to get “huge,” I was still a little wary mostly due to the fact that the Body Beast guide booklet had no caloric intake equation specifically for women. If I used the calculations in the book I’d be consuming 2800 calories a day, about 800 more than I typically consume…..Yikes!  I also knew I’d either have to decrease the weights on the “leg day” workout or swap it out for another program because heavy weights with squats and lunges have always left me with huge quads, a look I personally don’t like.  (If that doesn’t happen to you or you like the look, then go for it!)

After realizing the success that so many women were having with the program and learning how much they loved it, Beachbody corrected the error of their marketing ways and added some of the women to a newer promo video:

A program with weightlifting, very little cardio, and lots of food where the outcome is a toned, more defined body? A variety of workouts so you never get bored, all in less than an hour a day (sometimes just 35 minutes)?  This program was my dream…..if the workouts were doable and enjoyable, of course!

As it turns out, I really enjoyed the workouts and the training style of Sagi Kalev.  I know that some people don’t like his “musclehead” demeanor, or the fact that English is his second language (he’s Israeli), but honestly it didn’t bother me at all.   Sure, his humor is cheesy, and he seems to make fun of his workout buddies quite often, but who cares?  He knows his stuff, is an excellent motivator and he gets the job done.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM:

The complete program is 90 days.  Each day is divided into a different body part – the first 3 and the last 3 weeks are broken down by Chest/Triceps, Back/Biceps, Legs, Shoulders, and Cardio while the middle 6 weeks are each individual muscle group – Chest, Back, Legs, Arms and Shoulders.  Since you are working out 6 days a week but there are only 5 different workouts per week, the rest day changes each week.  I didn’t love this aspect of the program, since I’m used to taking a rest day the same day each week but, hey, nothing’s perfect.

There is an option for 2 bonus workouts, Tempo Back & Biceps and Tempo Chest & Triceps.  These are a great addition to the program, especially if you get bored easily and need more variety in your workouts.  The Body Beast workout calendar (see below) includes these workouts as an option to replace some of the Build Back & Bis and/or Build Chest & Tris workouts on the specified days.  The main difference between the workouts is the speed in which you perform each repetition – much slower in the Tempo workouts.  This requires more patience, though, so if you don’t like performing reps at a very slow pace then skip it.

beast calendar

There is an option for a somewhat different schedule, called “Lean Beast” which includes more cardio sessions in the rotation of workouts.  For women, I would only suggest Lean Beast if you have more than 15 lb. to lose, since you will definitely burn more calories at rest with more muscle and therefore lose weight, even on the “Huge Beast” schedule.

The workouts are as challenging as you make them based on the weight you lift, so lift as heavy as you can and keep track of your weights using either the Body Beast app (available with purchase of the program) or the BodyBeast Worksheets. You can take these sheets with you and workout at the gym, which makes it super convenient to stick to the program while traveling.  Sagi does a variety of training sets, such as Pyramid Sets – where the first set is lighter weight, second set is medium weight, third set is heaviest weight etc. and Giant Sets – where different exercises are done back to back.  Therefore, you definitely need a good variety of weights for this program.  Yes, I know it’s an initial investment, but when you think about all the gym membership dollars you would spend on per month, I guarantee that this won’t even come close.  While I personally have separate dumbbells ranging from 3 lb to 35 lb, it’s a lot more space saving, and economical, to get dumbbells like these, which is a favorite among home fitness users:

They range from 3 – 24 lbs, in easy to adjust 3 lb. increments.  If you are more advanced, the PowerBlock Elite Set Dumbell, 50-Pound (pair) would be a better option, as it ranges from 5 – 50 lbs.

Other items to purchase for the best results with this program:

  • Easy Bar with Weight Plates  is used often in the program, but don’t worry if you don’t have the space for it or can’t afford it as there is a modifier who does all the exercises with dumbbells.
  • Weight Bench, an excellent addition to your home gym in general.  You can use a Stability Ball instead, along with the modifier in the program, if you don’t have or don’t want a weight bench.  I have done the program using both, and while I prefer the weight bench, it is definitely doable without it.
  • Pullup Bar with the Pullup Assist is a great way to get started doing pullups; alternatively you can use these well-made B-lines Resistance Bands which comes with a door attachment – just make sure you have a sturdy door frame to use it on!

Beachbody recommends that you take their Performance Line of supplements for Body Beast but I did not do so.  They are a good quality line of products but being sensitive to some of the ingredients, and as a Holistic Nutritionist with access to more affordable supplements, I chose to get my own comparable items.   I did, however, have Beachbody’s Chocolate Vegan Shakeology*every day – my go-to treat with amazing health benefits!

The main difficulty I found with this program, but at the same time a huge pro, is the amount of food you get to eat.  Your body needs this number of calories in order to get strong, lean muscles if you are a woman, or much larger muscles if you are a man.  Since the original calculations were designed for men to get bigger, Sagi came out with an easier, updated version for you ladies out there (also useful for anyone who has a hard time figuring out the original calculation) to make sure you get the exact number of calories you need, with 2 options, based on whether you’d like to get more muscular or get leaner.

Calculate your calorie intake by downloading this Book-of-Beast-Calculator

Once you have this number, simply go to the guide that comes with your program to see how it’s broken down into portions.  It took me some time to get this right, since I had been using Autumn Calebrese’s Portion Control Containers for a while as recommended by some of the other Beachbody Programs and this system is very different.  Just be patient with yourself and you’ll get it in no time.

I found the easiest way to track my food intake was to put my allotted servings on a sheet of paper, photocopy it weekly, and cross each item off as I went along (details are in the booklet as to specifically what amount and type of food equals a serving size).  For the first 2 months, at the 2000 calorie level, mine looked like this, just to give you an idea:

PROTEIN    PROT    PROT    PROT    PROT    PROT    PROT    PROT    PROT

FRUIT/CARB LIQ       FRUIT/CL      FRUIT/CL      FRUIT/CL     FRUIT/CL

LEG/PR LIQ     LEG/PR LIQ

CARB      CARB        CARB      CARB       CARB

VEG/BAL LIQ    VEG/BAL LIQ     VEG/BAL LIQ       VEG/BAL LIQ

FAT        FAT       FAT      FAT

AFTER WORKOUT SHAKE (since I did not use Beachbody’s Base Shake or Fuel Shot, I made my own based on the nutrition content of those products): 330 cal, 23 gr carbs, 58 gr protein

I hope this encourages some of the ladies out there to try this program. I am very happy with the results as I got stronger doing this program and see a lot more overall muscle definition.  Let me know if you have any questions about this program and I would be happy to assist you.  Order the Body Beast program HERE, or the Body Beast Challenge Pack, which comes with a 1 month supply of Shakeology* at a significant savings.  By ordering through this website, you also get ME as your FREE coach to answer any questions you have while doing the program and to help you succeed.  As an added bonus, you get Lucky 7, another Body Beast full-body workout DVD, FREE! happy

*For my orthodox Jewish followers, please note: Shakeology has 2 vegan options – the others are made with whey protein– but it is NOT certified Kosher.  Please consult with your local Rabbi if you have any questions regarding consuming this product for health purposes.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

 

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PRODUCT FOCUS: CACEE NAIL POLISH

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Today I want to talk to you about my new favorite nail polish brand – Cacee Nail Polish, specifically the BFE – Best Friend Ever – group of nail colors.  As always, I am not being compensated in any way to write this blog post; I just like to share good, non-toxic or mostly non-toxic quality beauty products when I happen to find them.  For a little bit of background on me with regards to nail polish, I love having my nails done, although most of the time I do it myself as you can see by my Pinterest board called Pretty Nails  (most of the pics there are of my own nails).  Up until a few years ago when several nail polish companies reformulated their polish to remove DBP, Toluene, or Formaldehyde, I used any brand, based on whether or not I liked the color.  Although I wanted to use non-toxic nail polish because the toxins in nail polish unfortunately DO enter into your body where they cause hormone disruption, the ones I purchased from health food stores that I had tried in the past either had really dull colors and/or didn’t stay on my nails long enough to make it worth waiting for it to dry.  Every time I tried a brand of “natural” nail polish, I either threw it out or gave it to my daughters who are too young to care about how long the polishes last or how shiny they were.   It came to a point where I simply had to find a compromise and use quality nail polish free of at least the 3 major toxins mentioned above (#threefree) or if I got lucky, free of 5 toxins (#fivefree) which, along with the above ingredients, also exclude camphor and formaldehyde.

I was at my local nail salon recently (Rio Nails in Boca Raton, if you are interested – ask for Stephanie or Duke, they are both great!) and couldn’t decide on a color so my husband, who was with me at the time, picked out this one, called Amanda (all of Cacee’s polishes are girls’ first names, how cute is that?), and handed it to me:

I was very impressed with his choice, but even more impressed that it lasted almost an entire week! For me, that’s really something since most nail polish doesn’t last long on my nails.  I had never heard of Cacee nail polish before, but after that experience, and learning that most of their BFE nail polish is #fivefree, I proceeded to buy it in many different colors – all of which look great!

Check out their instagram account, for some nail color inspiration and let me know in the comments if you have tried Cacee brand and what your thoughts are on the product line. Below are my favorite colors – click on any of the photos to order through Amazon for the best prices happy

 

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WORKOUT ANYWHERE WITH THE RIP TRAINER

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rip trainer

Me, on the beach in Miami, with the TRX Rip Trainer attached to a fence, getting an awesome workout.

There are so many fitness gadgets on the market, sometimes it’s really difficult to keep up.  I find many of them are silly or a waste of time but there are a few tried and true pieces of fitness equipment that won’t cost a fortune and have the ability to give you a full body workout.  In the case of TRX, they first came out with the Suspension Trainer and it has had incredible success because it was different than any other fitness equipment on the market at the time.  Years later, I still prefer the TRX over other suspension trainers that came after it; something about its design and the sheer number of exercise videos TRX puts out to show you how to use their equipment keeps me from switching to another brand or type of suspension trainer.  I use it for variety, as a replacement for chin ups, core strength, and really great flexibility training – not to mention, my clients love it as well.  One young client of mine remarked that she feels “like a badass” when she uses the TRX because “it’s just so cool!” I have to say, I totally get it.

When TRX came out with the Rip Trainer, it took a while until I purchased it, because I thought what could this do that other equipment I have can’t replicate? When I finally caved (if you read my blog, you know I can’t resist cool fitness equipment! winking ), I quickly discovered that not only is it a great exercise tool on it’s own that adds a unique type of training you really won’t find with anything else, but it can also be combined with the suspension trainer to get a full body workout in all planes of motion.  Simply by hanging one near the other, you can alternate between varying exercises for cardio, strength, martial arts type movements, core and flexibility training all in one!

Here are some details about the Rip Trainer from the TRX website: The Rip Trainer allows users to engage in unlimited movements which, when performed properly, enhance fluidity and range of motion and decrease the risk of injury. Whether used for high speed striking movements or slow speed strength and stability exercises, the Rip Trainer is the perfect training tool for elite level athletes, fitness enthusiasts and even people wanting to exercise for the first time.

Life and sport require that we be able to both control and produce rotational force. Rip Training utilizes the same asymmetrical loading we encounter every day. Whether you’re carrying groceries, picking up your child, throwing a ball, or performing athletic movements such as swimming, running, and biking, your body is always producing rotation or controlling externally-induced rotation.

What this means, is that you will get functionally stronger, the way our bodies were meant to work!

Check out this cool video that shows you many of the different ways to use the Rip Trainer:

To order your TRX Rip Trainer, click HERE. Want to purchase one but don’t know how to use it? Book a session with me (remote or in Boca Raton, Florida) and let me teach you the most effective ways to workout using your new equipment.  If you already own one, would love to hear your comments below!

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GET RID OF CELLULITE WITH PURE ESSENTIAL OILS

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herbs-and-essential-oilsThink it’s impossible to get rid of cellulite – the lumpy, bumpy skin most women have on the back of our legs?  Think again! I had cellulite for years and being tall and thin made no difference.  When I first noticed it, I hated it but really didn’t know what to do about it, other than try all the expensive creams and lotions on the market.  Every time a new one was advertised, I was convinced it was “the one” to get rid of my cellulite for good.

Once I became knowledgeable about health, fitness and wellness and learned that a clean diet and exercise played an important role in combating cellulite, I began a strict regimen and waited patiently for all my detoxifying and clean eating efforts to pay off.  I also used a product from Weleda called Birch Cellulite Oil since it is a natural, non-toxic product.  Although the cellulite did improve, it was not enough to decrease my self-consciousness about it.  If you have mild cellulite, Weleda Birch oil is an excellent product to try, but if you are like me, you’ll need something stronger.

That’s where my very own Anti-Cellulite Cream comes in.  After trying many different formulas and perfecting the best recipe, using only once a day within a matter of a few weeks I noticed a dramatic change and over time it has continued to improve to the extent that I am finally happy with the results.  The cream smells great, feels great and I love using it after I shower.

I initially used Aura Cacia essential oils in my formula, but have since been using only DoTerra oils after the discovery that they are the only brand Dr. Josh Axe, who has one of the top 10 most visited natural health websites in the world, uses and recommends.  DoTerra oils have a stronger scent and seem to be a much higher quality than the less expensive brands, which sometimes gave me a headache.  As a side note, many of DoTerra oils can also be taken internally, while most other brands do not have that qualification.  For more on DoTerra oils and how they are sourced and manufactured, check out their website HERE.

I have had several clients ask me to make the cream for them since they didn’t have the time or patience or desire to invest in the ingredients needed to make this blend.  So I have made it easily accessible to you, available in my online store (US shipping only), for only $29! Why not give it a try today, you’ll be glad you did!

Massage the cream into legs, thighs and anywhere you have cellulite once or twice a day. Skin Brushing first is very helpful as well and will greatly improve results.   Let me know in the comments how it worked out for you.

 

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HIGHEST QUALITY FISH AND OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS

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We all know that salmon is good for you and for your heart.  This is because salmon contains high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, which are essential to human life and support optimal health in key organs, systems, and life stages*:

  • Aging
  • Vision
  • Metabolism
  • Inflammation
  • Cardiovascular
  • Fetal development
  • Skin, hair, and nails
  • Joints and movement
  • Cognition (thinking), attention, mood, and memory

The only problem is, most salmon – especially at your local grocery store –  is farm raised.  This means that the fish are fed a diet that contains high levels of contaminants which actually cause a lowering of the salmon’s Omega-3 levels, in addition to the threat of mercury, PCBs, and other toxins.

If that doesn’t sound disturbing enough for you, consider this: Farm raised salmon become so unnatural looking that fish farmers often inject them with an orange-colored dye to make them look like “real” salmon.  They can literally choose from a color wheel, similar to what you would find at a paint store, to decide how orange they want the fish to look.  Ew.

In 2004, the Los Angeles Times reported a study that “focused on commercially raised salmon in both the Atlantic and Pacific. It found roughly 10 times more PCBs, dioxins, and pesticide residues in farmed salmon than in the wild variety.”

Finding unpolluted sources of salmon is becoming more and more difficult; that’s why I’m happy to tell you about Vital Choice, a company that is not only committed to providing consumers with high quality wild fish and other organic foods, but also manufactures what many Nutrition experts believe to be the highest quality fish oil available on the market in the form of pure wild caught Alaskan salmon oil.

Lets take a look and see why I recommend Vital Choice Salmon Oil over other brands.  It is:

  • Gluten-free
  • Made with fish gelatin capsules
  • Virgin, whole, natural, unrefined
  • Purity and potency certified by NSF
  • Pure Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Oil
  • Certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
  • 600mg omega-3s per serving (with 240mg EPA + 220mg DHA)
  • Contains no artificial preservatives, color, dairy, starch, wheat, yeast, sugar, or soy

Their whole, unrefined, certified-pure virgin Omega-3 Sockeye Salmon Oil is extracted from wild Alaskan sockeye within hours of harvest. The brilliant orange color, which you won’t find in other Salmon Oil supplements, comes from astaxanthin: a potent antioxidant pigment that wild sockeye acquire by eating krill and other zooplankton.

Standard Omega-3 supplements contain oils from different types of fish which vary widely purity and fat composition. The oils have to undergo chemical refinement to ensure their safety and to consistently provide predictable levels and ratios of omega-3 EPA and DHA. In contrast, because it comes from extraordinarily pure fish, Vital Choice Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Oil does not need to undergo chemical refining.  This is not to say that other fish oil brands are “bad.” There are excellent brands of different types of fish oil on the market; I simply believe that its whole-food attributes make Vital Choice Salmon Oil a rare and powerfully health-promoting omega-3 supplement.  It’s also the one I now personally use on a daily basis  and hope you will consider it to benefit your health as well!

You can purchase Vitality Choice products HERE.  While as of now they only ship their food products to the US, their specialized supplements can be shipped to Canada as well.

Please note:  The links above, as many on this site, are affiliate links of which I receive a small commission from sales of certain items, but the price is the same for you. If I post an affiliate link to a product, it is something that I personally use, support and would recommend without an affiliate link and I have not been compensated in any way for review of this or any other product recommended on this site.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

 

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