Get off the scale and lose weight

Ok, ladies!! Listen up!!! ūüĎāūüŹĽ

I hear too many of you focus just on the scale!! Heck, I used to be guilty of that too! ūüė≥ūüė≥

But here’s the reality, the scale is not telling us the whole story. We cannot tell how fit or healthy we truly are by the number it reflects. Have you ever weighed yourself multiple times in one day and actually believed that your weight fluctuated that quickly? Me too!

I remember when I would wake up in the morning, hop on the scale. Then I’d feel happy or sad, depending on the number that was reflected on the machine.

I’d go without eating as long as I could possibly handle, and then eat something “small” and “good” by making sure it was low-fat, low-carb, low-calorie and obviously low nutrition! And back to the scale once again, to see what the “damage” was. I mean, seriously? It was really that ridiculous…and I’m not even telling the whole story.

The point of this story is that too many of us live and breathe, eat and feel…based on a silly number that is not reflecting our “weight” only. There are so many fluctuations within our bodies on a given day and I actually used to believe that if the scale said I was “up” five pounds in the course of a day…I really did get upset that I¬†gained¬†5 lbs that day!

How could one person gain 5 lbs in one day? It’s just impossible. But haven’t you thought the same thing before too? And then what do we do? We decide we need to¬†get serious¬†and start a restrictive and temporary “diet” plan and exercise program to help us get back down to a number we can feel better about. This is not healthy and it is not living.

When I was 15 years old, I lost over 20 lbs with the Weight Watchers program and felt proud of myself for following a strict food plan and adding in some simple exercise, as I never did much in terms of activity before! (believe it or not) I remember standing in line every week to get weighed in.

Already a humiliating experience, I must say.

As I approached the scale, I would hand the employee my “weigh in card” and she would quickly glance at the previous week’s number to compare with the current weight. It was quite common for the weigher to look up at me in surprise and say, “You don’t LOOK like you weight that much!”

Was that comment supposed to make me feel better about myself? I mean, why would anyone say those words to a teenager, no less? I would ramble on how my body is denser than most and quickly deal with the awful experience of watching them write down my “new” number and add or subtract from last week’s number to tell me how “good” or how “bad” I had been.

I despise diets and I despise the scale. Look to be honest, I’ve always hid the number I weigh because I felt embarrassed by it. When you’re told, repeatedly that you don’t look to weigh as much as you weigh…what does that do to your psyche? It hurt each time just a little bit more.

Now I am proud of my number. I am proud of the work I do to take care of my health…not the number on the scale. I don’t even weigh myself unless I am curious and need to chart it every so often for my program results. I rely mostly on the feeling of my clothes, the measurements done monthly and my pictures to compare. That’s it. And you know what? It works!! I focus on my strengths; how much longer I could last in a workout; how many more reps I could complete; and so on. These are true successes…not that number.

The best tip? Get on a proven plan, eat right most days, get in a nutritional dense supplement, stop feeding your emotions, start taking control of your life and start living with passion!!

I used to be embarrassed to share my weight. Why??? Anyone could simply look at me and see what I look like…so why would ¬†number on a machine need to stay secret? Why do we protect the number on our driver’s license? Why would we care if that number changed over the years? It’s like we aren’t dealing with reality. Would knowing that number on the scale make me a better or less better person?

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I don’t think so and I know you don’t think so either.

What defines you? If you think for a minute it’s about the scale, we need to have another conversation. and for the record, I weigh 150 lbs…

But I’ve heard I don’t look it ūüėČ

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The Big Cheat: 5 Reasons to Say NO to Steroids

The Big Cheat: 5 Reasons to Say NO to Steroids

Dave Slagle

 

The release of Body Beast‚ĄĘ has many of us thinking big, literally. And that vision can’t possibly be conjured in this day and age without thinking of one big, dirty word: steroids. In this society of instant gratification, we’re all looking for that “magic pill” that will help us achieve our dreams overnight. Who doesn’t want to lose fat, add muscle, and get into shape pronto?
Man Taking Steroids
Many people believe steroids are just such an elixir. Well, they’re not. While it is true that steroids can work, we believe they should be avoided. Unless you live in a cave, you know that major athletes in almost every sport have all been caught abusing steroids, and consequently been stripped of their athletic honors. The reason for this is, unless you have a medical prescription, they’re illegal. Steroids can be dangerous if abused and when you buy them from Joe Ripped at your local gym, you just don’t know what you’re getting.

In the context of this article, the word “steroids” is actually a colloquialism for a group of PEDs (performance enhancing drugs). It covers a broad range, from pain-masking corticosteroids to synthetic hormones that stimulate testosterone, to blood boosters that alter how your blood carries oxygen, to bizarre substances that trigger a myriad of physiological responses.

While this might all sound great, there’s a catch. Unlike food supplements that work through the body’s natural pathways, steroids are hard drugs. This means that they force processes on your body, which causes natural responses that can lead to trouble. Even under medical supervision they are tricky to use, and without it, you’re starting a battle between nature and medicine inside your body that you have little control of.

If you’re not already convinced, let’s take a deeper look at 5 reasons to say NO to steroids.

  1. Dumbbell and SteroidsSteroids abuse can cause serious health problems.¬†Steroids can cause hormone imbalances that lead to depression and irritability, joint problems, muscle tears, and much more. They can also cause gender and age-specific damage. Men commonly suffer from shrunken testicles, premature baldness, and glandular gynecomastia (man boobs). Women often suffer from a deepened voice, growth of facial hair, baldness, cessation of menstrual cycle, infertility, and other unwanted side effects. Teenagers may suffer the gender-related side effects listed above, as well as stunted growth due to accelerated puberty and premature skeletal maturation.More recent studies have linked anabolic steroid abuse to an increased risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and altered brain chemistry, which could lead to drug addiction. The real scary part is that since new steroids come to market regularly, many of the side effects aren’t well-known. The average life span of wrestlers and NFL¬ģ¬†linemen‚ÄĒtwo professions anecdotally linked with long-term steroid abuse‚ÄĒis around 50 years. Based on lore alone, the dangers of steroid abuse clearly outweigh potential benefits.
  2. Steroids are illegal.¬†Ever since the passing of the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 1990, steroids have been federally classified as controlled substances that may be prescribed for the treatment of diseases or other recognized medical conditions. Provisions were added to the Anabolic Steroid Control Act in 2004 to change the definition of anabolic steroids and make them a Schedule III narcotic. Using steroids without a legitimate medical condition is considered abuse. Illegal possession of anabolic steroids is punishable by unlimited fines and years in prison. But it’s not all bad. At least you’ll have an hour in the yard every day to pump iron, as long as you stay out of solitary.
  3. Black market steroids may be counterfeits, or worse, lethal.¬†The risks are high enough when you know exactly what you’re taking; rolling the dice with black-market steroids is a game of Russian roulette. Sure, your buddy Alexi may bench 700 pounds, but do you really want to trust him as your doctor?If you’re thinking of obtaining your steroids illegally, consider this: A study released in 2009 by the Boston Medical Center analyzed the findings of 217 studies that looked at the chemical makeup of black-market steroids and found that 30% of the drugs labeled as steroids¬†did not contain steroids.

    Of those that did, only 44% contained the amount touted on the label. And 20% included heavy metals such as tin, lead, and arsenic. Heavy metal poisoning can result in cancer, vertigo, and all kinds of other fun stuff. Click here to find out how much fun arsenic poisoning can be!

  4. Man Taking SteroidsHealthy, regulated supplements can increase strength and muscle mass similar to steroids without the dangerous side effects.¬†Let’s make one thing clear. Supplements and steroids are two entirely different things. Supplements are largely nutrient-based substances intended to enhance your body’s health and well-being. Steroids are drugs designed to alter your body’s processes.Supplements such as creatine, arginine, and beta alanine are just a few of the nutrients scientifically proven to improve strength, recovery, and lean-muscle gains. While they aren’t the magic pill that steroids might be, they have been tested rigorously and are completely safe when manufactured responsibly. Reputable companies such as Beachbody¬ģ¬†make sure that their supplements are manufactured in facilities registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), that adhere to current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) and are certified by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Natural Products Association (NPA).

    Protein supplementation and postexercise carbs: Protein mixtures for recovery are another safe way to build mass. Numerous studies support this, including a 2008 McMaster University study demonstrating that drinking whey protein pre- and postworkout increased muscle density and strength especially when combined with a safe, effective mass-building program to build both your health and strength.

  5. You don’t need to use anabolic steroids to gain muscle and lose fat.¬†This is something Beachbody has proven time and time again. Practically anyone can improve their health and build their physique by improving their diet and increasing exercise intensity. Are you ready to challenge yourself and pack on some serious muscle? Body Beast is an extreme training and nutrition program designed to build muscle fast without resorting to the abuse of dangerous, illegal steroids. There is plenty of scientific evidence that even people with poor genetics can achieve good health, an excellent physique, and greater athletic performance through smart training, solid nutrition, and strategic use of supplements.

Resources:

  • Glover, E.I., Phillips, S.M. (2010). Resistance exercise and appropriate nutrition to counteract muscle wasting and promote muscle hypertrophy. Curr. Opin. Clin. Nutr. Metab. Care. 13(6): 630-634, 2010.
  • Kanayama, G., Brower, K. J., Wood, R. I., Hudson, J. I., & Pope, H. G. (2010). Treatment of anabolic-androgenic steroid dependence: Emerging evidence and its implications.¬†Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 109(1-3), 6-13. Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
  • Luijkx, T., Velthuis, B.K., Backx, F.J., Buckens, C.F., Prakken, N.H., Rienks, R., Mali, W.P., Cramer, M.J. (2012).¬†Anabolic androgenic steroid use is associated with ventricular dysfunction on cardiac MRI in strength trained athletes.¬†Int J Cardiol. 2012 Mar 27.
  • Phillips, S.M. (2011). The science of muscle hypertrophy: making dietary protein count. Proc. Nutr. Soc. 70(1): 100-103, 2011.
  • Ritsch, M., & Musshoff, F. (2000). Dangers and risks of black market anabolic steroid abuse in sports‚ÄĒgas chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses.¬†Sportverletzung Sportschaden Organ der Gesellschaft fur OrthopadischTraumatologische Sportmedizin.
  • West, D.W., Burd, N.A., et al. (2010). Human exercise-mediated skeletal muscle hypertrophy is an intrinsic process. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 42(9): 1371-1375, 2010.

Day 1….and so, it begins!

I’ve been really excited to start this new program and I have decided to blog about my journey. Why? For a variety of reasons; #1 being that I need to stay on track cuz you will all be holding me accountable!! I’ll be going on a cruise at the end of March and need to get myself feeling “fitter” for that ūüėČ

Another big reason, is that this program is lead by a bikini competitor, Autumn Calabrese and her diet and workout styles are close to what I’m used to when getting great results. How better can I share this with you, than by doing it myself and documenting the journey each day for just 21 days. (that’s what I can tell myself if I feel like “cheating” along the way!)

Day one started off on President’s Day and the kids were home from school. Okay, so I got up a bit earlier to get some things done before everyone woke up and then I had invited my young nieces over to bake and decorate some butter cookies together. I had promised them that I would after they enjoyed my last batch a few months back; and if I am anything, I am someone who stays true to her word! ūüėČ

I had my breakfast of 2 eggs and a green container of spinach, sauteed in cooking spray. (not as “clean” with the spray but I am working as well as I can some days!) ¬†I also enjoyed a cup of coffee with nothing but a few drops of liquid Stevia….now THAT’S clean! ūüėČ

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My workouts are usually at least 60-90 minutes in the gym and take a lot of time out of my days. Since I knew I was busy, I figured I’d “just” do the workout from 21 DF and “make up for it” tomorrow with an extra cardio session on the stair climber. (yea, I thought I was all that and would find these 30 minute workouts a little bit “beneath” my level of fitness!)

Lo and behold, that 30 minutes kicked my ASS!! (yes, I know I swore but it was that freaking tough!) The funny part of it was (cuz we always have to look at the humor in everything), I don’t have my weights at the moment, (they are in storage in another country….yes, funny NOT!) so I had to improvise and decided that I’d use my resistance bands.

Nope.

This workout used weights while moving your feet a LOT and there was no possible way to put my foot on the bands to hold them down. I would have slammed my face with the bands and that is never funny!!!

So, I quickly perused through the garage cabinets and came up with a huge juice filled bottle and also a ginormous olive oil bottle…filled and sealed with good ol’ olive oil (and it’s CLEAN too…so score again!) I kind of chuckled at how this would be a super “easy” workout with no weights and a stupid improvisation of oil filled bottles.

NOT

About 15 minutes in, I was frantically checking how much time was left per each interval. HOLY COW!! That workout used every major muscle group in my body and had me adding cardio training intervals in between….HIIT to the max! lol ¬†By the end of the workout, I was sooo happy it was “only” 30 minutes. No more laughing from me. This workout is legit. (sidenote: there is a modifier participant in the workouts who is always doing low-impact at all times in case you cannot do high impact moves). You’re welcome ūüėČ

Now, onto my meals. The containers are cute and fun and my daughter must think so too cuz she decided to start the program with me. What???? ¬†Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m super proud that my soon to be 18 year old wants to follow my lead but she is uber tiny and I am really making it clear that she does not need to lose weight. She allowed me to breathe a sigh of relief when she said, “I know. I just really want to do it for the workouts and to learn what portion control is.” (beaming mommy right here!!)

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After my workout, I enjoyed a fun recipe of Shakeology and went on to mix up the batch of cookies for the girls before they came over. As they arrived, I had set them up to start rolling out and cutting the cookie dough into the cute shapes to bake. At the same time, my daughter informs me she is hungry and “what do I eat and how do I figure out the containers?”

Really? Not so beaming right now! lol

We each enjoyed a spinach/salmon salad with flax seeds sprinkled on top. Mine, a bit more hurried and frantic than her’s; as I had was “reminded” by the niece’s to help them flatten the dough out more. As a pick me up snack an hour or so after lunch, I enjoyed a purple container of strawberries. They were fresh and super sweet! yayyyyy!

Then, we had to frost those million cookies!! UGH….

This is about the time my body started to feel tired due to the new eating style and the workout I had pushed through earlier, not to mention the early morning chores that already wore me out!

Ya, I know I’m complaining but it’s my blog and I can do what I want to!

Regardless of any mess of frosting smears, food color stains, cookie crumbs, and piles of dishes and pans; we made it happen. The cookies were done and the biggest accomplishment of all for me?

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I didn’t “sample” the cookie dough, the cookies or the frosted creations!!! I didn’t even CRAVE any of it! Yes, I know it’s just “day 1” but that’s exciting to me.

Dinner was hilarious as the family watched my daughter and I, measure out our barbecued chicken, brown rice and salad; plus a small blue container of avocados! But it was a lot of food and I was satisfied.

For my snack, I was still allowed a small apple, a whole wheat wrap (or tortilla) and 2 teaspoons of peanut butter. Now, I sit here, sipping my raspberry herbal tea and writing out my day with pride of accomplishment.

Aren’t you just super excited for day #2?

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Amazing Changes Don’t Just “Happen”

You may start reading this post and think that an imposter has taken over. ¬†Not so. ¬†Just thought I’d be “real” with you today about how today started and what I do about it anyway.

I like to push “happiness” over “complaining”. I like to look at the sunny side of life and okay with people saying I live in “la-la” land….I’d take that land over “negative knob”.

But in any case, sometimes even the sparkiest of people have blips. ¬†Yes, it happens. ¬†Are you surprised? ¬†You shouldn’t be.

What you should be surprised at, is how often it can creep up on us.  Do we blurt it out to the world?  Of course not!! We find a rebalance and move on, no matter what!!!  

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So, why am I sharing this with you today? ¬†Simply because it’s real. ¬†I’m human; just like you. ¬†I have feelings, emotions, hormones, stresses, crappy days, etc…just like you. ¬†What is the difference? ¬†Not getting caught up in the negativity; like many people do. ¬†I woke up this morning feeling bloated, tired, cranky and just not that¬†happy.¬†I noticed it in my mood, the way I carried myself and how I interacted with my family today. ¬†I noticed it in my self-talk. ¬†I started to¬†seep¬†in it. ¬†UH-OH! ¬†But guess what? ¬†I “slapped” myself out of it and rebooted myself again. ¬†It takes time and practice to perfect, but it can be your best medicine of your life!

Will you know about it? ¬†Not usually, but today I thought I’d be honest and share. ¬†I’ll also share what I plan to do about it. ¬†Maybe another person would dwell in this “place” and just start complaining about how unfair life is; how they never get a break; how stress is just too overwhelming for¬†them¬†(cuz it obviously is singling THEM out! ha); how they should just stop trying since the changes that they are working on changing are ¬†not even making a difference.

And that last sentence/thought is the most damaging thought you can have.

When you get to the point of “giving up”; that is usually the point that will make or break your results. ¬†Have you noticed that you seem to get “stuck” in the same areas; time and time again? ¬†Like a weight plateau, for instance. ¬†You start a new diet or workout and your body starts dropping weight and inches and you feel great and then one day; BAM…it all comes to a screeching halt.

What happened?  Is it NOT working anymore?  NO!!!!  YOU are not working anymore. But what do most people do at this point? Give up.

How sad. ¬†It’s only your body’s safety mechanism due to it’s “set point”. ¬†It is comfortable here and instead of continuing to drop; it goes into protection mode so that you don’t starve to death. ¬†(which isn’t really happening but what does your body know, anyway? lol)

It’s at these times (and doesn’t only relate to weight loss; any changes you are trying to make and get stuck at) that we need to persevere. ¬†Think of a huge wall that you can’t go around. The only way to move forward is to climb over or crush through it. ¬†What are you going to do? ¬†Stop and go back home?

That may sound ridiculous but it’s what you do if you give up.

Here’s another analogy: (thank you, Mustafa!)…

Imagine you are driving in your car and happily humming along on the highway to your destination. ¬†All systems are “go” and you are singing along to your favorite song on the radio. ¬†All of a sudden, you see a car stopped in the middle of the road ahead and it’s hazard lights are blinking. ¬†Uh oh!! ¬†What do you do? ¬†Options are: ¬†slow down and stop behind the car; waiting for it to go again. ¬†OR: ¬†move to the left or the right of it and go around the car. ¬†OR: ¬†Step on the gas and go OVER the car.

Which did you choose?

In terms of your goals above, if you stop trying to change, you are literally “parking” yourself behind that car and waiting for some magical fairy to come and grant your wish of moving that car. ¬†What are your other options? (take note that you have more than one option to move forward) ¬†Obviously our car scenario has us going left, right or OVER the car but in terms of your goals, map out a plan of action to get un-stuck!!! ¬†Yes, it really IS that simple to do.

But it’s also simple NOT to do. ¬†What will you choose today?

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If You’re Happy and You Know It!

Happy Wednesday to you!!

Today I wanted to share with you the whole concept of being where you are today.  Are you happy with your current financial, fitness, relationship, time-management, stress, etc levels?  Why or why not?

I have to say that I’m a recovering “blamer” to many of these areas. ¬†For example, when I wasn’t happy with my fitness or weight; I’d simply blame it on something or someone else. ¬†“I don’t have the time to workout like I want.” ¬†“My kids take all of my time.” ¬†“I don’t have a private cook or money to buy all the pre-cooked foods to follow a specific plan.”

Whatevs.

Excuses are just that; excuses. ¬†Nothing more and nothing less. ¬†They should actually be changed to “blah blah blah blah blah.”…because it accomplishes the same result.

NOTHING!!!!!

Did you know that you are exactly where you are today; who you are today and with your current situations you are with today because of the choices and habits you’ve made up to this point?

The first time I read that piece of information, I pretty much threw a fit.  Seriously.  MY FAULT???  How dare you blame ME!

But in all honesty, once I got over feeling blamed, I realized it was completely true!

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So, what to do?  I guess after you come to the realization that this is true for you too (many times, peeps NEVER get past this and linger in unhappy mode all their lives!), the choice is up to you on which path to take.

The current path that is making your unhappy and not taking responsibility…

 

or the path to change it up and make things happen. ¬†Now, granted, a few changes won’t be that apparent in a few days or weeks time, but keep it up and that will compound to making HUGE changes over time. ¬†Trust me, consistency does pay off. ¬†If you keep plugging away (kinda like the tortoise and snail do); you’ll always reach your destination. ¬†But, if you hurry up and get frustrated then stop and go into another direction; time after time, you will NEVER get anywhere!!!

Am I right; or am I right?  Bingo!!!

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Everything Happens for a Reason…

What  a day.

Do you ever wake up and want to just throw the covers over your head and go back to sleep; or at least, hide from the day?

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Well, that’s how today started and for most of the day; I felt as though I should have done just that.

But I woke up and got straight to my tasks, workouts, and more. Feeling a bit tired; I decided to take it easier and this thought made me feel better…

For awhile…

Then, I checked my bank statements and noticed some charges that I didn’t recognize. ¬†In looking a bit more closely, I noticed they were three separate charges; from the same company; on the same day; with different amounts.

Huh?

I checked the company name and looked at their website..it turned out to be a survey page.

Uh-oh…

Scrambling, I called the bank and asked about it and they went through the usual questions to find out if I had indeed authorized these payments and forgot…but after some questions and answers, it was clear that this was fraud.

Yes, the fun of that issue.  I went into the bank branch and found out all the steps I must take but good news overall; it will be reimbursed and we will file a claim.

I also had some minor technicalities with some work and management issues but I said what needed to be said and moved on.

Why did I still want to just hide from the world?  Why do we struggle?  It sucks, it hurts and we have to find the strength to carry on.

Then we overcome and become better.  Kind of like when you break down muscles and they rebuild stronger and larger than before.

So instead of chalking today up to a “terrible” and “difficult” day; I am now going to stand tall and know that I overcame and will only be better tomorrow.

What issues are you currently dealing with? ¬†Is there anything you can do to change the circumstances or the outcomes? ¬†If so, do it. ¬†If not, let it go. ¬†Don’t waste time allowing the negativity to suck you in and into the downward spiral. ¬†Decide to push agains the current and come out better. ¬†You will shine and others will look to you when they need strength.

Now, where’s my blankie and cocoa?

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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‚ÄĒmy place to strengthen and build the muscular temple of my dreams. Getting physically stronger makes me mentally stronger‚ÄĒand the aesthetic benefits aren’t too shabby either.
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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‚ĄĘ¬†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‚ĄĘ¬†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¬ģ, TurboFire¬ģ, or INSANITY: THE ASYLUM¬ģ, 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¬ģ¬†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¬ģ, P90X2¬ģ, 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.