Who wants some sexy legs?

Ladies, as the weather starts to warm up and we head into Spring and then Summer; it’s time to start baring our legs again in shorts, capris and soon bathing suits!!!

Gasp!

We all want a great pair of legs and a nice booty, right? Of course! But the reality is that not everyone is willing to put in the work and the time to build them up. What’s that about? Well, for one, I don’t especially love training legs. They are hard work. They are the body’s strongest and most powerful muscles. They include your quads, your glutes (bootay!) and hamstrings…or everything the areas just below your waist line (another popular area to improve next!) but honestly, it takes some hard work to train them and then just try walking around when you’re sore from a new leg workout.

The struggle is super real. In fact, here is my recent selfie shot following a rigorous training day. 😉

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So just know that I get it. I know it sucks and I know we still want what we want, right? The truth is that strengthening those muscles in our lower bodies will not only get more attention in those jeans and warm weather attire, but it also helps to quicken those smaller waist lines and just better overall health at the same time.

Really?

Yes!! It’s like two birds!

Not to get too studious with you but there was  some research done and it was found that people who had the strongest legs also had the lowest amount of visceral fat…wait, what’s that, you say? It’s just the most dangerous kine of fat that wraps around your organs (ewwww) and increases your risks for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer. Do you even need another reason now to get those legs moving? Well, it can boost your brains functions and this is true even as you get older.

Winning!

So let’s get started on the basics and how to get some sculpted legs started today. Yes, today! Just stop putting it off for goodness sake! Here are some tips to get started and you’ll notice improvements in no time. (well, technically NO time means not any time so that isn’t correct but now I’m babbling)

Start with the basics: 

We all have heard that squats and deadlifts are the muscle building moves for our legs, right? But they are also truly difficult to master at first if you aren’t sure what proper form looks like. If your form is wrong, you may risk straining your joints and your back.

That’s just not worth it to start. So, if you are a true beginner, start with some less advanced moves that hit the same muscles, such as ball squats and lunges, step-ups and bodyweight squats. Once you become a pro with these moves, you can move on to weighted squats and deadlifts. Make sure to always keep your form tight (abs in, straight spine, chest lifted) and keep your reps within the 12-15 range. That’s the best rep range to improve the way your legs look. Start with a workout like this to ease into lower body training without strain:

 

Don’t Isolate Muscle Groups
What I mean here is to stop sitting and using those leg machines if you’re at the gym. Seriously, just stop. Unless you are focusing on injury rehab, you’re going to get a better workout doing the multi-joint (or compound) moves such as lunges and step-ups, because they target more than one muscle group at a time. The more muscle you work, the more muscle you’ll be building.

 

Finish Strong

Your legs are used to carrying you around all day, so you may have to work harder to tire them out than you do the muscles of your upper body. Try 12 walking lunges per leg, followed immediately by 30 seconds of squat jumps [lower yourself into a full squat, then jump as high as you can].

Other alternatives: Bodyweight squats paired with jumping lunges, step-ups paired with sprints outdoors or on a treadmill with a steep incline. Three sets of any one of those combinations, resting minimally between moves, will have your legs screaming!!!

Who’s ready to train some legs??

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Body Beast; Week 8

New day; new month and new week!

My journey to the Classics in July continues and today marks week 8. The workouts are seriously challenging and although I had not used the Body Beast supplements in their entirety when I completed the program a few years ago, they are calling my name this time around. It’s funny how I always “think” I know better but when the program is a proven plan; actually scientifically so, maybe I should drop me ego at the door and just trust. 

Today is Monday and all weight lifters and gym-goers know that means it must be CHEST day! Yes, on any given Monday, if you were to visit the gym, the bench press benches are always in use. You actually have to wait in line to get your turn under the bar. So why would Sagi change this plan? Yes, even on Body Beast; Monday means CHEST DAY.

Breakfast means that I am sticking to my “usual” of cooked oatmeal with some peanut butter and almond milk; plus egg whites and veggies with salsa. Coffee on the side. This seems to be my staple for month 2’s breakfasts. I’m a creature of habit so I know that I will keep this going until I’m completely SICK of it and then look into a new option. I’ve done breakfast pancakes before; among different omelet choices, but for now, this is making me happy and that is what it takes when kicking my body to the curb in these workouts.

My “after workout” fuel is my Shakeology and in this phase, that means upping the protein by adding in a scoop of the Body Beast Beast Shake. Lunch is usually 2 or 3 hours later and consists of whatever lean protein I have on hand; chicken, tuna, egg whites, etc and veggies. I have an apple to curb my sweet tooth and sprinkle cinnamon on top. I used to scoop out some peanut butter but for all of you recovering addicts, you know that I need to minimize how many times I actually open that peanut butter jar. Who knew it was so habit forming?

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I have to say that I am loving the way this program is going so far. I see noticeable changes in my abs, arms and focusing on working my booty as much as possible with some extra cardio workouts 3 days per week. Today I’ll use the stair climber machine at the gym for 40 minutes at a steady pace. My joints need some tender loving care so I will not do any of the jumping style workouts that I’m used to in my circuit style cardio sweat sessions for a bit. This momma needs to be in the best shape (or at least walk upright across that stage) at the competition.

 

Who Wants ABS? (or maybe I should just ask who doesn’t to weed out the non-committed folks!) :)

IMG_0953This is for all the beautiful people who have been dreaming and wishing and hoping to one day have a sexy midsection! Is that YOU?? I am pretty sure it’s most of the population! LOL

When it comes to creating incredible abs, even the most effective workout programs can only bring you so far. That’s because you can’t get a flat, hard midsection without losing body fat. No matter how much effort you put into creating a six-pack, no one’s going to see it if it’s covered by a layer of flab.

Seriously, I know! I’ve worked out so intensely and so often that if this was a proven method, I’d have had a six pack for most of you reading this today! 😉  But, alas, foods are the KEY to getting those abs to POP!

If you’re following the dietary guidelines of a fitness program, you’ll automatically be eating the right foods to lose fat as you get in shape. But the following seven principles can give you an extra edge, and will help ensure that the effort you’re putting into your abs will bring you the results you want.

1. Get plenty of protein
Eating enough lean protein promotes fat loss and muscle gain, the two most important elements for developing great abs. It also helps keep you from getting hungry while you’re eating right. You don’t have to gobble down 12-ounce steaks—just eat a normal portion of lean meat, fish, low-fat dairy, or vegetarian protein with every meal, and make sure your snacks contain some protein, too. If you still have a hard time getting enough in your diet, a daily Shakeology shake can be a perfect addition.

By the way, protein is especially important in the morning, when a lot of people don’t get as much as they should. A protein-rich breakfast will help keep your blood sugar steady for hours, preventing the dips that can lead to cravings later in the day. (Try some low-fat chicken sausage, or an omelet with one whole egg and three egg whites, along with fruit or whole-grain toast.) Tell me how much protein do YOU get each day? I see and talk with so many women who DON’T bcuz they think it will “bulk” them up….

NOT! Get that protein in yo face asap! 😉

2.Reconsider your carbs.
Despite the popularity of low-carbohydrate diets, the average American meal is still too high in sugar and fast-burning starches to bring body fat down to ab-baring levels. It’s time to say goodbye to sweetened soda, ditch the Doritos, and save the cake for your birthday. DUH!  If your fitness plan calls for a sports drink before a long cardio workout, or a carb-and-protein recovery drink after resistance training, that’s fine. But the rest of the time, stick with foods that are on the low end of the glycemic index (refer to GlycemicIndex.com for more information)—these foods burn more slowly, so they won’t spike your blood sugar and insulin levels.

3. Have fun with fiber.
Something about the word “fiber” just doesn’t sound appetizing. But high-fiber foods can actually be quite delicious: fresh berries and other fruits, salads loaded with colorful produce, your favorite steamed vegetables or vegetable soup, stews or chili made with beans, chewy whole-grain breads and cereals…You get the picture. (These foods just happen to be loaded with nutrients as well.) High-fiber foods keep you fuller with fewer calories, and they help keep your digestive system working at its best—a double-whammy for getting rid of belly bulge. And “double-whammy” is such a fun word to use that I encourage you to try it out a few times this week!

4. Enjoy some yogurt.
Probiotics, the healthful bacteria found in yogurt and other fermented foods, have been proven to help reduce belly fat. In a recent study in Finland, new mothers who took probiotic supplements averaged smaller waist circumferences—and lower body fat in general—than those who didn’t take probiotic supplements. And while the topic is still controversial, studies have found that eating lots of calcium-rich dairy foods like yogurt may increase overall weight loss. It’s why I eat Greek yogurt and drink my Shakeology DAILY!!

5. Don’t forget to eat.
Tempted to lower your daily calorie count by skipping meals? Don’t. Seriously, I cannot tell you how many women tell me that they don’t know why they aren’t losing weight; since they only eat maybe 1 time a day!!! EXCUSE MOI??????

Going hungry can raise your levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol, which research has found can increase belly fat even in otherwise thin women. And eating too infrequently can lower your metabolism and energy levels, while increasing the chance that you’ll get too hungry and decide to chuck your meal plan entirely. If you’re eating the right foods, regular meals and snacks will keep your body fueled while you’re working toward that strong core. You MUST eat!!! It’s the ONLY way! 😉

6. Drink more fluids. Hydration is important when you’re on a fitness plan, but drinking plenty of water has particular benefits for your midsection. It helps keep your stomach full, so you don’t overeat, and it helps flush out excess sodium to prevent belly bloating. (Eating more potassium-rich foods, such as tomatoes and bananas, will also help in this area.) Plain ol’ H20 can’t be beat, but you can also switch it up with flavored waters, iced tea, and anything else you like to drink that isn’t full of sweeteners. How much do you need? The old rule of 8 glasses a day is a good start, but everyone is different: drink more if you’re exercising or it’s hot out, and drink less if you’re running to the bathroom every 5 minutes.  I will challenge you to drink the recommended amount for fit individuals; 1/2 your body weight in ounces!! So for someone who is 150 lbs; they would need to drink at least 75 oz of water every day! Or a gallon if you are really up to the challenge!

7. …With two exceptions.
It’s time to cut down on those mood-altering substances, coffee and alcohol. Too much caffeine raises your cortisol levels and can impair your sleep, which can lower the production of fitness-promoting hormones. Meanwhile, the proverbial “beer belly” isn’t just the result of extra calories—alcohol actually makes it more difficult for your body to metabolize carbs and fat. Booze also stimulates your appetite and lowers your inhibitions, which can lead to bingeing. The best road to flat abs is no alcohol at all, but if you really like a drink now and then, just have one at a time (and no more than a few a week), and stay away from higher-calorie beers and sugary mixed drinks. Something to seriously consider especially over the weekends, am I right or am I right? (you are SO smart! lol)

If you add these rules to your fitness plan, you’re sure to see faster improvements in your midsection. Of course, there’s an added bonus to eating this way: it’ll keep you healthier, too. That may not be as big an inducement as great abs, but that’s just  for free.

Do you need an added incentive? I have a BUSY MOM’S support group starting first of the month and welcome you to message me today for info on joining. You can succeed and have time for your family AND save money along the way! All thrown in for extra bonus!! 😉

Email me at: http://www.spazzykay@gmail.com

So You Want Flat ABS???

So you want a SIX PACK? Or you want a flat tummy? Or you are tired of hiding your belly due to the layers of skin; muffin top; etc that embarrass you.

Here are some top mistakes most people make when it comes to flat abs. Thank you to Bodybuilding.com and the info from by Slyvon Blanco on the following article’s tips.

“Below are 10 of the biggest ab training mistakes I see people make. I could say I “always” see people make them, because that’s how people talk about abs, but that’s not technically accurate. I mean, everybody has to blink sometimes, and every once in a while I have to go get a drink of water. But aside from that, yeah, it’s pretty much constant.

But if you can minimize—or completely eliminate—these mistakes, you might just see your abs pop out sooner than planned. 😉

AB MISTAKE 1: FORGETTING ABOUT COMPOUND EXERCISES

If you strictly perform isolation ab exercises, you’re making a huge mistake. Compound movements like deadliftssquats, and overhead presses engage every inch of your core. Don’t forget to include them in your training program.  Remember that your core is worked with every move you do so don’t just isolate it to the same, simple ab moves.

AB MISTAKE 2: DOING AB EXERCISES FIRST

Your abs are part of your core area, which helps stabilize your body. (see above) If you fatigue them early in your workout, you will have a hard time doing other ab-intensive exercises like squats.

And just so we’re clear, the role that your core plays in squats is to protect your spine, so you want them to have a full tank at that point. Save your ab training for the end.

AB MISTAKE 3: THINKING YOU CAN OUT-CRUNCH YOUR DIET

The secret to visible abs is no secret at all: Lower your body fat percentage. This doesn’t happen by doing hundreds of reps of ab exercises—nor thousands, nor millions. You can train your abs all you want, but if your diet isn’t in check, you’ll never see that six-pack.  (this could easily be placed as #1 as far as I’m concerned!)

AB MISTAKE 4: HAVING A FULL WORKOUT JUST FOR ABS

All you need is 15 minutes. If you’re already doing compound exercises like squats and deadlifts, one or two ab exercises for 2-3 sets each at the end of your workout is sufficient.

“YOU CAN TRAIN YOUR ABS ALL YOU WANT, BUT IF YOUR DIET ISN’T IN CHECK, YOU’LL NEVER SEE THAT SIX-PACK.”

AB MISTAKE 5: TRAINING THEM EVERY DAY

“But Arnold worked the abs every day!” Save it. Abs are just like any other muscle in your body. That means they need time to recover. When they get worked hard, a couple of days’ reprieve is necessary, in my opinion.

If you can crunch yourself into submission one day and then wake up the next morning ready for more, take it as proof that crunches aren’t actually working your abs as hard as they should be.

Try a harder movement and tell me if you’re up for repeating it tomorrow.

AB MISTAKE 6: ONLY DOING CRUNCHES

I heard the question you just screamed “So what’s better than a crunch, maaan?” There are dozens of exercises that are much more effective than the traditional crunch.

In fact, the traditional crunch is one of the least effective ab exercises you can do. And just because you can’t perform these other movements for hundreds of reps doesn’t mean they’re not effective. Trust me, this one is:

PIKE ROLL-OUT ON A FITNESS BALL
WATCH THE VIDEO – 01:56

 

AB MISTAKE 7: NOT FOCUSING ON FORM

Again, abs are just like any other muscle in your body. So why are you writhing around like you’re on fire to work them, when you’re a stickler for form on your squats and presses? Focus on form and make sure your abs engage in every rep.

When you start doing more advanced and effective ab movements like the pike roll-out, you’ll discover that they’re pretty much impossible to perform sloppily.  Also, try taking a Pilates class and see how effective those moves are and how fast you burn out and need a break. Working effectively and focusing on form and CRUUUUUUUNCHING the core will only get you the results sooner.

AB MISTAKE 8: FORGETTING ABOUT YOUR LOWER BACK

The core has a front and a side, but it has a back, too. A lot of people neglect the lower back muscles (erector spinae), so make sure to train them just as you would with every other muscle.

If you want to have a strong core, treat your lower back like your abs. Train it hard and smart, and you’ll feel as strong as you look.

AB MISTAKE 9: ONLY WORKING IN ONE ANGLE

Your obliques, transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, and erector spinae are all part of your core, but they’re different muscles with fibers running in all manner of directions. You must train them in more than just one angle.

Complex, difficult movements like windshield wipers can work the whole team at the same time, but if you’re not there yet, don’t take it as an excuse to revert back to middle-school-crunch tests.

Seated twists (spinal rotation), hyperextensions (spinal extension), side bends (lateral spinal flexion), and planks (isometric/stabilization) are all movements that target your core in more comprehensive ways than the typical crunch (spinal flexion).

AB MISTAKE 10: USING INFOMERCIAL AB GIZMOS

 

AB CIRCLE PRO COMMERCIAL – AS SEEN ON TV
WATCH THE VIDEO – 03:18

Seriously? That thing brings you about as close as possible to kicking your own ass. And if you really think that wiggling from side to side is enough to make you lose 10 pounds in two weeks, you’ve got the kick coming!”

Here’s Kathy again….

So, there you have it!! The 10 top mistakes you may be making in working harder than you should on getting the abs you want. Now, women, wouldn’t you want to know about how your hormones are wreaking havoc on your goals now too? Stay tuned…

and so it begins….again!

DAY 1!!

Today starts my journey to my next fitness challenge.  WBFF stage!

I’m super scared and super determined to train harder than ever before.  My recent issues with hormone shifts and body not responding as quickly as before has thrown my focus into a spiraling mess.

I’m done with all of that and moving right along.  I find that I do best when I give myself a “finish line” and push to meet my goals.  What did that consist of today?  Let me tell you;

I began my day with my eating plan and it was a good day to do so.  Protein Pancakes for me!! Super happy girl for sure! (and I’m already dreading the no carb days later down the road and trying to stay focused on the here and now)

The meals were actually pretty AWESOME….and then I went to the gym.

I’m never one for doing a half-assed workout but OMG!! This was just insane.  Legs circuit training from HELL! I ended up on the floor; gasping for air during the final 3 sets of the workout.  1 1/2 hours in and I was finally done.

Dripping sweat.

Barely dragging my wringed out body out of the gym.

Good news: one of the trainers wished me well on my way out the door and said, “You train INTENSE!!!”

Made me smile.

I did have to stop and get some groceries to finish the day’s meals off right.  Then I figured I would get in a cardio session in the cycle class tonight.  Wasn’t as good as other ones but it got the job done.

I’m done.

For today, anyway!

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Choose Your “HARD”


It’s HARD to keep up with your goals, I know. I get it.

If it feels as if things have been a struggle lately, I just wanted to let you know that I do understand.

Yesterday , I made another trip to the grocery store (as my kids seem to be eating us out of house and home these days! Seriously!!)  As the young man scanned my food items he made a comment regarding how healthy I eat.  I took another quick look at the items on the conveyer belt; fruits, veggies, eggs, Greek yogurt, water bottles, almond butter; to name a few), my modest reply was “I try”. (honestly, every waking moment is filled with thoughts and plans of the next meal, workout, sleep, etc.)

He shared that he doesn’t have time to eat right and indulges in quite a bit of candy and unhealthy food options.  He also stated that stress can keep him from making any changes.

I proceed to share how eating right and exercise go hand in hand in making life more simple.  Planned foods, workouts to increase energy and lessens missed work due to sick days.  This was followed by a list of “buts” – I’m a student.  I have loans.  I’m on a fixed budget, I work long hours….

But wait, I can help! 😉

With a reassuring smile I share that I get it, I am also a very busy business owner, I have 3 children, work long hours, have endless lists to conquer each day of the week and yet, I am still able to fit in my daily workouts and healthy meals; even if it’s just 10-15 minutes on certain days.

I saw a glimpse of hope and humor in his eyes and he asked; “But what kind of exercise do you do and what do you eat every day?”

I quickly explain that short bursts of strength training mixed in with some cardio moves can be done anywhere and with either body weight or some basic dumbbells.  I also have access to dozens of workout programs, nutritional products and support that can bust through most excuses that get in the way of success.  

It’s at this time in our conversation that I hear a woman standing in line behind me interrupt with her quite popular opinion:

She very loudly announces that it’s just not that easy.  She explains how losing weight costs a lot of money and it just doesn’t always work –

She continues to explain that she’s “tried everything” and her weight has remained unchanged, and if anything, she’s only gained more weight.

It was difficult to not look at the food items she was buying that day; and many were packaged and processed choices.   

I gave the young cashier one more reassuring smile, wanting to spend more time giving him tips on what he can do while at the same time just wanting to remove myself from the negativity of the confrontational woman behind me.

As I left the store, I had a feeling of heaviness and disappointment.

I knew that I had been instantly judged by someone who only saw my current physical appearance and only heard me share one small piece of advice for results.

The truth of the matter is that you have to work super hard at this EVERY single day!!! I too, have to work and I too, sometimes still struggle!  

What I’ve learned hasn’t been an overnight fix, but has taken over 20 years of battling and learning and growing.  I made the decision that this is more important to me than just giving up and giving excuses.  Who cares about our excuses anyway? The only people who do; are the same ones who have settled for the same excuses and enjoy complaining about all the reasons why it won’t/can’t work. 

I struggled on and off before I had ever started on my fitness and health journey.  I focused on how the scale wouldn’t budge; day after day.  I focused on how I would have unbearable food cravings that would sabotage my efforts of cutting back on calories.  It seemed as though NOTHING was ever going to change!

The reality was that progress was DEFINITELY happening.  It was just happening much slower than I wanted it to happen.  In our instant gratification lives, we expect change to happen tomorrow.  We want to be the fittest and thinnest person immediately.  But once I realized it wasn’t going to happen as fast as I wanted, I also decided that what I was doing WAS working in smaller ways.  The key was to keep doing the daily habits and it would show up in a BIG way soon enough!  Time would pass regardless, so why waste valuable time feeling miserable?

I Think I Can!!

 

 

 

I struggled to reach a higher level of fitness to be my very best to compete in my first fitness competition at the age of 40 – and now I’m almost 42 and still reaching and growing and changing in so many ways.

The amount of discipline and hard work were intense at times and SOOO out of my comfort zones! I felt at times that I was in a separate, more lonely world.

Not everyone understands the level of intensity when training for a competition of any kind.  The reality is that it doesn’t have to be THIS extreme!

Once I had accomplished my goal of competing, the thought crossed my mind to keep going. But honestly, my mind and body were a little bit “broken”.  I felt that my sanity needed me to take it back to a more “natural” state again and settled into my life without constant training, preparing, resting and repeating.

I began to struggle due to the depletion that had been done and reverted to some overly fun “treats” that lasted a bit longer than they should have.

Needless to say, I started to put my weight back on (and quite quickly this time around) and found out I had gained 20 lbs in a short amount of time!  It was time to get serious again and in a balanced and healthy “non-competitive” mode.

This has been my mindset ever since and has stuck with me until now.  I must say it’s humbling to admit that I have my own struggles – as a coach/trainer, since I should be the example- BUT I realized that by sharing with others that I have my own issues, I become more relatable.  I now enjoy sharing my weaknesses and how I have worked to overcome them; and still succeed regardless of regular challenges and struggles.

What I’m trying to say is that I understand that it can be hard.

I get that putting yourself out there to make a change is seriously frightening.

We don’t want to let our trainer/family/friend/etc down.

I know that putting money down to make the necessary changes can feel uncomfortable.

I also want you to know that I also have my ups and downs and scary moments.  The difference is that I just do it anyway.  Take a deep breath and jump in with both feet.  The hardest step is to start.  Once you get started and push past the discomfort , you notice a shift.  It’s gradual and it may take a little time before you realize it’s happened; but it DOES come.  You WILL surprise yourself if you push forward no matter what.

Having support only keeps you moving with more confidence and helps keep you focused on the goal.  I have shared all of this with you today to show you that yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s scary…but that goes for any goal you choose in life. 

The important word in all of this is “CHOICE”.  We all have them.  

“You must make a Choice, to take a Chance or your life will never Change.” 

Own the fact that your results and where you are today, are a direct impact of the choices you have made up to this point.  No excuses or denying it will change this fact.

The beauty of it all, is that you get to choose your “HARD”….

Which will it be?

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The Surprising Benefits Weight Lifting Can Have for Women

The Surprising Benefits Weight Lifting Can Have for Women

By Collette DeBenedetto

As a former female bodybuilder, I’ve always loved the weight room. It’s my sanctuary—my place to strengthen and build the muscular temple of my dreams. Getting physically stronger makes me mentally stronger—and the aesthetic benefits aren’t too shabby either.
Female Bodybuilder
But the thought of having a “bodybuilder” physique, complete with massive biceps and bulky thighs, sends many women running straight for the elliptical, which is sad considering how beneficial a proper lifting regime can be. In this article, I’ll address the concerns you might have about weight lifting and help you answer whether or not Body Beast is the right program for you.

Q. Can women do Body Beast?

Female BodybuilderA. Absolutely. Body Beast is designed to promote muscle growth with limited cardio. That doesn’t mean you won’t burn calories or reduce your body fat. The program uses a technique called Dynamic Set Training that maximizes your muscular pump, caloric burn, and testosterone-filled hormonal cascades in order to create rapid changes in your body composition, whether you are male or female.

Q. How does a woman benefit from weight lifting?

A. As you age, you lose muscle mass. Through weight lifting, you can help offset this and increase your bone density. Women who lift weights during their teen and young adult years benefit as adults. Stronger muscles and denser bones make walking up stairs, carrying the groceries, and lifting your children easier. But that’s not all. When you weight train properly, you can improve your balance and build muscles that protect your joints, which helps ward off injury.

Weight training also has a positive effect on disease control and prevention. According to the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes can experience “improved insulin sensitivity, improved glucose tolerance . . . and a lower risk for heart disease.” To see results, they recommend strength training at least 2 to 3 times a week.

Q. Will I become huge and burly?

A. No. Women simply don’t have enough testosterone to build bulk like men do. If you’re worried about bulking, focus on how many calories you’re eating. That includes calories from protein. Contrary to another fitness myth, excess dietary protein is stored as fat. Unless you’re supplementing your diet with a testosterone-enhancing hormone cocktail and overeating, it’s almost impossible for a woman to get bulky.

Q. Can I use it as a weight loss program?

A. Body Beast is designed to increase muscle mass. Almost every workout targets muscular hypertrophy (growth). It is not a weight loss program. However, if you use Body Beast in conjunction with a cardio-focused weight loss program such as INSANITY®, TurboFire®, or INSANITY: THE ASYLUM®, you can easily lose weight. Combining a cardio-centric program with a muscle-building program is an ideal way to build a rock-hard body and a strong athletic foundation.

Q. What is the difference between the Huge and the Lean Beast?

A. There are two different Beast training schedules: Huge and Lean, both of which come in the Body Beast kit. If you are solely focused on getting big, follow the Huge Beast schedule. It focuses on building muscle with heavy weights and little cardio. If you choose the Lean Beast schedule, you’ll do more cardio and spend additional time shredding in the third phase of the program, the Beast phase.

Q. Why would a women need testosterone?

A. A woman’s body produces testosterone, just not at the level of a man’s. Testosterone strengthens the libido, provides a sense of well-being, and improves muscle tone. The training in Body Beast increases your testosterone levels so that you benefit from all of the above. Beachbody® does not recommend taking synthetic forms of testosterone as these can shut down your natural testosterone production.

Q. Do I have to eat all that food?

A. If you don’t want to gain mass, use a caloric calculator from a different Beachbody program: P90X®, P90X2®, INSANITY/THE ASYLUM, TurboFire, etc. After you’ve calculated your caloric content, use the portions and recipes in the Body Beast guidebook. The Beast nutritional supplements will also work in your favor as long as you time them correctly (see the answer to the next question).

If you’re looking to be a Huge Beast, stick with the Body Beast guidebook and supplements. Some women want to gain as much mass as possible, and the crux of becoming an Amazon is eating enough.

When I was bodybuilding, I wanted to add muscle to all areas of my body. I did, but I also found that I was dropping clothing sizes as I trained. My plan was similar to the Beast plan in that I ate multiple times of day and my meals were composed of complex carbohydrates, protein, and vegetables. The Beast supplements were not around when I was bodybuilding, but I did supplement with protein bars and protein shakes to help my muscles grow.

Q. Do I have to take supplements? Will they make me too big?

Fuel ShotA. If you want to gain muscle and get big, it helps to add a little something extra to your diet. Body Beast offers four supplements to help boost your performance, your recovery, and your results: Fuel Shot, Hardcore Base Shake, M.A.X. Creatine, and Super Suma. They can work for women as well as men.

Fuel Shot and Hardcore Base Shake contain a mixture of protein and electrolytes as well as carbohydrates to restore glycogen. If you are following a nutrition guide from another program, you probably won’t need to supplement with these unless you’re trying to gain mass or you’re a vegetarian. In the case of the latter, I recommend supplementing with Hardcore Base Shake protein to ensure you’re getting enough protein.

M.A.X. Creatine isn’t necessary for women looking to lose weight, but it is a great supplement if you want to increase your strength gains for short burst and explosive activities. When I’ve supplemented with creatine in the past, I’ve bloated a bit. This is a common side effect. If you’re not comfortable with the extra bloat, cut back on the supplement.

Suma, also known as Brazilian ginseng, is an adaptogen that, according to the Tropical Plant Database, “increases the body’s resistance to adverse influences.” It also normalizes the cardiovascular system, the central nervous system, and acts as an immunostimulant. If you’re a competitive athlete, suma may be on your banned substance list, so please check with your governing body before taking this supplement. Otherwise, it is completely healthy for both men and women to take.

While not all women will be interested in Body Beast, if done correctly, it can add effectiveness to almost any exercise program. But if you’re someone who has always envied Xena’s physique, Body Beast might just be the program to release your inner warrior princess.

Resources:

    • Benton, D., & Donohoe, R. (2011). The influence of creatine supplementation on the cognitive functioning of vegetarians and omnivores. The British journal of nutrition, 105(7), 1100-1105. Department of Psychology, University of Swansea, Swansea, Wales, UK.