Tag Archives: home fitness

WHY EVERY WOMAN SHOULD TRY THE BODY BEAST PROGRAM

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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PRELIMINARY REVIEW OF P90X3


weight, Rebecca Lazar - PRELIMINARY REVIEW OF P90X3

As some of you know (in other words, friends, family and the 5 people who read this blog tongue ), I did P90X in 2009 and had great results….and also got pretty injured after the second round through the program. You can read more about that sob story HERE. This time, I’m back doing P90X3  – with some modifications and a lot more knowledge on how to protect myself from injury, thanks in part to my chiropractor/muscle pain guru (more about him and his back pain program in an upcoming post) – and definitely back to loving all that is Tony Horton.

For those of you who have never heard of P90X or the new P90X3 (this is for a friend of mine; let’s not embarrass her and just post her initials. In bold: K.G.), here is the official trailer:

The hubby and I started the program a week ago and we thought 30 minutes a day HAD to be easier than the one-hour-plus daily workouts of the original.  Said hubby actually never finished P90X because it simply took too much of his time, so this seemed like a good option.  What we both discovered though, is that less time does not mean less intense.   So today, on my 9th day since starting the program, I give you my preliminary review of P90X3 with a list of pros and cons:

PROS:

  • Shorter workouts: Seriously, who doesn’t have 30 minutes a day to workout?
  • Modifications: Anyone can do these workouts; with all the modifications that are provided you can work at your own pace up to the maximum intensity.
  • Minimal equipment required: A few dumbbells, a Chin-Up/Pull-Up Bar or Resistance Bands, good crosstrainer shoes, a plyo and/or Yoga Mat and some tape for Agility X.  Note: many of these items are available directly from Beachbody – simply click the picture at the top of this post.
  • No more 90 minute Yoga X torture, P90X3 Yoga is actually enjoyable:  Coming from someone who is bored to tears by Yoga – sorry, yoga-lovers!
  • Tony and his corny sense of humor:  This may be a PRO or a CON, depending whether or not you like Tony Horton, but I do, and his silliness makes me laugh and keeps me working hard.
  • Easier nutrition guide and program: As a Nutritionist, I have to say I am very impressed with the time and effort that was put in to this program; it is similar to the way I teach my clients to eat and it is laid out in a simple, easy to understand format.  I’m happy to see,  unlike other so-called Nutrition programs, that absolutely NO artificial crap is allowed!

CONS:

  • Too many pushups for my liking:  Yes, pushups are a terrific overall body exercise.  However, for people with rounded shoulders/bad posture (ahem, that would me moi), pushups simply make this problem worse.   It shortens the muscles of the pec wall, thereby further rounding the shoulders, unless a LOT of stretching to counteract this issue is done on a daily basis.  I’ve personally had to swap out a lot of the pushups for my own upper body strengthening moves using the TRX or free weights.  For most people, however, this shouldn’t be an issue.  If you are 5’10”  with a giraffe-like neck like I am, then I feel your pain.  Literally.
  • Not enough stretching at the end of the workouts: You definitely need more recovery time to prevent injury and I find myself stretching for a good 10-15 minutes more after the workouts are done.
  • 2 minute warning at the start of EACH workout DVD:  This may not seem like a big deal, but when you can’t click on the menu button or fast forward the warning EVERY single day, it gets kind of annoying.  I mean, we get it, this program is not for people who just got off their couch yesterday and it may kill you and beachbody is not responsible, bla bla bla.  But every workout?

OVERALL:

Although I have had to modify some of the exercises in the program to make it safer for my personal neck/upper back issues, I still highly recommend this program…..so far.  Whether or not I continue to feel that way in the upcoming weeks remains to be seen, but I am pretty dedicated, as is my brother and sister-in-law who started the program the same time we did.  It’s nice to have a What’sApp group text going where we all bitch and complain about how hard a workout is or how much we crave a pizza.   As I write this, my forearms hurt, my lats hurt, my glutes hurt….but all in a good way, thank G-d.

I’ve also become a Beachbody Coach to help others who are doing any of the Beachbody fitness programs. Of course, I’m still available as a Personal Trainer if these type of home workouts are not your thing!

By the way, there is a P90X2 (in case you were wondering), but since I haven’t done it, I figured for the purpose of this blog post we can just pretend it doesn’t exist. winking

Wishing everyone a happy, Healthy and Fit New Year! happy

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