Tag Archives: weight training

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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10 SUPPLEMENTS TO HELP BUILD LEAN MUSCLE

Lean muscleSome people can literally look at a free weight and get beautifully sculped and defined muscles.  Others, like myself, can lift a lot heavier weight than we seem on first glance and yet the muscle growth and definition takes a longer time and a lot more hard work.  Mind you, I’m not talking about the muscle-bound women found in bodybuilding magazines, (sorry, but ew), rather the lean and defined muscular look like the girl shown at right.

So, how does one put on lean muscle?  Well, with commitment to the right exercise program  you CAN change the shape of your body but there are also a number of supplements that can help get you there. These supplements can be used to boost energy levels. That being said, if you aren’t eating a clean, healthy diet (no chemicals, additives, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, refined sugars, GMOs, etc), then don’t waste your money ordering a truckload of supplements because all it will do is add further stress to an already exhausted liver.  Once you are committed to these lifestyle changes, then adding some of the following supplements is the next logical step.  While these are not the only beneficial supplements for weight training by any means, they are simply the ones I either personally use and/or have recommended to my clients with good results (in no particular order):

1. BCAAs: Branched Chain Amino Acids are 3 amino acids (isoleucine, leucine and valine) that may help you have increased energy during your workouts.  They are also involved in creating new muscle tissue and can help protect your muscles from the catabolic (muscle breakdown) effect of dieting.

Preferred brand: The powder form from AOR, which has no other ingredients; It tastes a little bitter on it’s own though, so I recommend adding a tsp of TruviaDosage: 1 scoop with water before and/or after your workout.

2. CLA: An omega 6 fatty acid, Conjugated Linoleic Acid is different than other omega-6 fats in that it supports fat loss while promoting muscle growth and strength.

Preferred brand:  Genestra  Dosage: Take 1 cap  3x/day with meals.

3. B-Complex: B-vitamins help your body derive energy from the food you eat and helps get oxygen to muscle tissue.  Certain B vitamins also help the body use the protein you’re eating to help build muscle properly.

Preferred brand: While many professional brands make good quality B-complex formulas, I like Orti B from Genestra  Dosage: 1 capsule/day with a meal, but there are plenty of other protein products that you can get yourself.

4. Magnesium: Without Magnesium the body cannot produce adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP). ATP transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism and is critically important in building lean muscle.  If you have muscle or joint pain or spasms, magnesium may help to relax your muscles and ease the aches. Additionally, magnesium helps to block excess calcium from depositing in your muscles.  I recommend Magnesium Bisglycinate since it’s readily absorbable and easier on the digestive system than other forms.

Preferred Brand: CanPrev.  Dosage: 1 – 2 capsules/day.

5. Matcha Tea: While you can take Green Tea Extract in supplement form, I prefer to drink it in my tea! Green tea extract contains EGCG – epigallocatechen gallate – which helps muscle recovery after intense workouts, and increases metabolic rate and fat burning.  To learn more about matcha tea and how to make the perfect latte to replace your morning coffee, click HERE.

Preferred Brand: DoMatcha  Dosage: 2 cups/day

6. Bovine Colostrum:  Yep, that’s exactly what it sounds like but it’s not as weird as you might think! Colostrum is the initial type of breast milk mothers produce during pregnancy and for several days after giving birth.  It has high levels of protein, fat-soluble vitamins, minerals and antibodies called immunoglobulins. (The molecular structure of colostrum from cows is identical to human colostrum).  Several studies suggest that colostrum supplements may improve exercise performance and increase lean body mass, especially during periods of high-intensity training and recovery from high-intensity training.

Preferred brand: SurThrival, which is not de-fatted like other brands, is verified 6 Hour Colostrum, tested to be free from herbicides, antibiotics and hormones, and taken only after baby calves have had their share.  You can purchase SurThrival Colostrum HEREDosage: 3 capsules, 2x/day on an empty stomach.

7. Vitamin C:  Vitamin C fights free radicals created by weight training, reduces cortisol production (cortisol breaks down muscle tissue and tends to promote extra abdominal fat storage), and helps decrease muscle soreness.

Preferred brand: AOR – Vitamin C with Bioflavanoids  Dosage: 1 capsule/day with a meal.

8. L- Glutamine: An amino acid, L-glutamine has many benefits including improved muscular recovery, lower levels of muscular pain, and reduced risk of muscle breakdown.  Additionally, it’s very beneficial for intestinal health, so you will be able to utilize all the nutrients you eat in your diet, which in turn helps build lean muscle.

Preferred brand: AOR  Dosage: 1 capsule, 2x/day.

9. Coconut Oil:  Coconut oil improves endurance and athletic performance, promotes fat burning, and maintains muscle mass.  What this means is that it is one of the best ways to get lean AND ripped.  Many people are afraid of the fat content in coconut oil but I assure you it’s very different than other types of fat.  Learn more about the benefits of coconut oil HERE.

Preferred brand:  Spectrum Naturals – Coconut Oil Unrefined  Dosage:  1 teaspoon, 1 – 3 times per day, preferably before and after your workout.

10. Whey protein: Due to its complete protein content, Whey protein, derived from cow’s milk, helps increase muscle mass while decreasing body fat.  It also helps enhance exercise performance and protect against free radicals.  While there are many brands and types of whey protein, one thing is certain: steer clear of brands made with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and Aculfame K.  There is also some debate as to whether it is better to use Whey protein in concentrate or isolate form – each have pros and cons.  For example, whey concentrates contain high amounts of lactose, which many people are sensitive to, however they contain more health promoting compounds.  Isolates, on the other hand, are more rapidly absorbed and contain higher amounts of protein.

Preferred brand:  (Kosher-certified)  Integrated Supplements; For those who do not require Kosher certification, I prefer the comprehensive combination of healthy ingredients in Shakeology (they have 2 vegan options as well which contain plant-based proteins instead of whey if you are sensitive/allergic to whey protein and want to help build lean muscle).  Dosage: 1 serving per day.

[Note: unless indicated otherwise with a website or Amazon affiliate link, items discussed above are available for purchase in our Online Dispensary.  If you sign up for our monthly newsletters, you will receive 15% off all available supplements.]

Have you tried any of the above items? I’d love to hear your feedback on the supplements that worked for you and the ones you felt were a waste of time or money.

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