Last-Minute Event Planning

Sunday, January 31, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

Panic. Your 20-year reunion is a month away and you're 10 pounds over your high school weight. You've always said that you weren't going to let age get to you but you just changed jobs, the kids are at that "special" age, and there just hasn't been time. oh dear, what to do?

Don't cancel your trip yet, you can still waltz into the party lookin' like Farrah or Magnum PI. In fact, you can make fairly significant changes with a solid month of self-discipline. Sure, it won't be easy. You're going to have to restrict your diet significantly and augment your daily exercise periods. It will cause you some stress, certainly, because you still have to work and the kids won't change for you. But think about how much less stress you'll have at that reunion as you speak with old friends, "Aging? Nah, don't even notice it."

The key to staying fit as you age is periodization. What, you say? Periodization is a term used by coaches and athletes. It's a term for cyclical training. You train a certain muscular system until it plateaus, then alter it, never doing the same series of workouts more than 30 days in a row.

Altering your workout can mean as little as increasing its intensity so that if you add weight or increase reps, that's fine. When you plateau you want to change, which is as soon as you stop improving or-better--when improvement becomes minimal.

As a working adult, not an athlete, your periodization will be different. You'll cycle your exercise periods between intense and maintenance. No matter how busy your schedule, you can probably dedicate certain blocks of the year to strict diet and exercise and others to maintenance. The periods of intense exercise can be very short, as little as three weeks, while the maintenance periods can be quite long. The key here is to get fit in the first place because the fitter you are, the less work it takes to maintain it.

So, for your first step, go for it and get ready for that reunion. After step 1, it will keep getting easier and easier if you keep with a program.

Get the Timing Right

Saturday, January 30, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

If you're considering a crash diet, you can instead time your workouts to drop weight fast. Generally, it's better to exercise when you feel best during the day rather than at a certain time. However, if short-term weight loss is all you're after, then when you workout during the day becomes important as well.

First, do a workout as soon as you wake up. Elevating your heart rate for 20-30 minutes first thing in the morning will give your metabolism a boost that lasts all day. From then on you will burn more calories no matter what you do. The down side to this is that your body has no blood sugar in the morning and exercise can feel more difficult. Do not expect to be setting personal records, just get it done. If you are getting better workouts than normal, it's a sign that something is wrong with your regular program because the body should respond better when it has had proper nutrition. However, things that kick in later in the day, like stress, can affect your workouts just as much as lack of blood sugar.

Next, in this environment, two short workouts are better than one long one. Again, this is not always true. You won't be able to keep the intensity as high so your workouts aren't as good. However, since you're looking for fast results, you are only looking to use calories, not to get as fit as you can (which is the goal of a program like Power 90®™).

An afternoon workout will burn up those carbs that you've ingested. Your protein for dinner will help your muscles recover and you'll be using stored body fat for energy the rest of the night.

Of note here is that your energy won't be increasing during this time, such as it may when you're training properly. You are in a negative calorie phase and you might feel a bit run down. However, this should end as soon as you go back to normal routines. Just look at it as an exercise phase for quicker weight loss.

By Team Beachbody

There are many trendy "crash diets" that seem to be in vogue at any given time. The reason for this is that so many people become overwhelmed when they think about the long-term commitment that it takes to have a fit and healthy body. Instead, they look for the quick fix that crash diets offer. Health experts often blast these diets, and for good reason. Most contain practices that you wouldn't want to work into your life-long daily habits.

On the other hand, regardless of possible perils, these diets will always be around and always be practiced. Some of them can work. You may lose a significant amount of weight in a short period of time. Sure, it may only be temporary but that doesn't outweigh the fact that you want to look good for, say, a fast approaching party or reunion.

Here are a few nutritional guidelines that, if you insist on crash dieting, will help you do it effectively and safely:
  1. Water, the great supplement. Your body is made up of primarily water and, while most crash diets involve a lot of dehydration (hence the reason you don't keep the weight off), drinking water at the right time can help curb your appetite. Drink two large glasses of water 30 minutes before every meal and you'll find yourself less hungry. This is the safest and one of the most effective diet "tricks" in the book!
  2. Alcohol, skip it. Many people would lose weight if they did nothing but stop drinking. Alcohol slows your metabolism. Any crash diet attempts to boost your metabolism. Beyond this fact, alcohol is high caloric and makes you hungry.
  3. Ditch the salt. Sodium causes your body to retain water outside of your cells, which is nothing short of "water weight," and exactly the kind of weight you want to dump.
  4. Ditto for sugar, which causes a blood-sugar spike, raising insulin levels and slowing your metabolism. Lose the sugar and the weight will follow.
  5. Take some nutritional supplements. Vitamins will make sure that you get most of the nutrients that you're leaving out so that your body continues to function normally. Take them right before a meal with another glass of water and they'll reduce your appetite even further, and mentally reduce the stress that you aren't getting enough nutrients (which, by the way, you still may not be).
Last time we talked about high-protein diets with trepidation. If ever, this is the time you want to try one. Don't consume any carbohydrates at night, only during the day when you will burn them straight off. This will help your body to use stored fat as fuel. It may also promote dehydration, which you will want for this type of thing, but you won't let it get dangerous because you will be consuming lots of water, right?

Lastly, do not crash diet for more than a couple of weeks - and a month is the absolute maximum to consider - and be careful with crash diets in combination with suddenly increased exercise levels. (That means all of you folks in the middle of Power 90® - trust the program and don't crash diet while you're on it.) If you return from your crash diet to a truly healthy diet and avoid bingeing (which can cause you to gain the weight right back in a matter of days), you may find a short interval of crash dieting to be effective.

By Team Beachbody

It's not how much you weigh, but how you look and how you feel that matters.

"Female athletes often feel they need to look a certain way to be an athlete. It took me years to realize that I am an athlete no matter what I look like. My body weight is irrelevant. I weigh more than a lot of guys on my team. In fact, they tease me all the time about being so muscular, but the added muscle and strength I gain from weight training is crucial to my success as an adventure racer. I went from weighing 125 pounds (25% body fat) and wearing a size 10 to 145 pounds (13% body fat) and a size 6."
-Cathy Sassin, adventure racer,
2nd place 1998 Raid Gauloises

This quote is echoing the new outlook about beauty and fitness for American women. The chain-smoking waif look is being replaced by the sculpted, athletic look. Take a look at the most photographed woman on the planet, Anna Kournikova, and you see well-defined legs, abs, back and arms.

And it's not only athletes proudly sporting chiseled physiques, it's now more common for models on the cover of standard fashion rags to have v-shaped backs and a defined musculature. What the scale tells us is becoming far less important than our body fat readings and how our clothes fit. After all, how many women wouldn't want to look like Gabriella Reese or Marion Jones, women who weigh in excess of 150 pounds?

The first thing that we, the newer, fit class of Americans needs to do is to stop looking at standard measurements of what is healthy. Muscle weighs much more than fat; something the American Medical Association is slow to work into its outdated charts for health. For example, the National Institute of Health's body weight guidelines are based on the Body Mass Index (BMI). Health professionals developed the BMI to help find people at risk for obesity-related diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. But because this scale doesn't take into account that people have more muscle mass than ever before, many athletes and even regular exercisers may show up on these charts as overweight.

The other thing we need to stop doing is obsessing about how much we weigh. Losing weight should not be the goal. Losing fat and increasing muscle tone should be. If you gain the same weight in muscle that you lose in fat, you will be slimmer and look better. Many women struggle with this because when they start exercising, they don't lose weight. And, even though they feel better, they can't believe that the program is working. Think of it this way, a pound of muscle (think of a rock) takes up much less space than a pound of fat (think of a nerf ball); so a tape measure will more accurately reflect changes in body composition than a scale.

If you want a healthy mentality, the bottom line to motivation is shape and health. How do you look? How do you feel? As you age, you lose approximately a pound of lean muscle mass per year. For this reason, adding muscle actually counteracts aging. So wear those new-found muscles with pride, because they are going to keep you looking great longer than any diet or cosmetic surgery will be able to.

By Team Beachbody

Resistance training (weight training, exercise bands, etc.) is an often-overlooked key element to fitness. No offense to running, walking, and other cardiovascular endeavors, but if you were to do only one type of exercise, resistance training would be the most effective for keeping you healthy and fit.

Many women eschew weight training because they fear they'll become bulky. But you'll never get bulky from a few hours of weight training per week. Female bodybuilders spend years of intense training, coupled with special diets to look the way they do-and most can't gain as much muscle as they want by working out full time. Getting "muscle bound" is not a realistic possibility for most people trying to shape their figure.

What about your cardiovascular needs? It is true that to be healthy you need to exercise your heart. Resistant training takes care of this as well. Mind you, it's not the perfect training if your goal is to run a marathon, but if you want a healthy heart it can be achieved through resistance training. Consider this: when you do a set of weights, your heart rate increases to 70 to 90% of its max. When you rest in between sets, it should still never drop below 100—110 bpm. So essentially, a 45-minute resistance workout works your heart in an elevated state for 45 continuous minutes and burns more calories than 45 minutes of jogging.

However, the main benefit of resistance training comes when you analyze aging. As you age, your body loses its lean body mass. Resistance training builds muscle. For an extreme example, look at Jack LaLanne. He has weight trained his entire life. Now, at 87, his body age when measured by his musculature and fitness level is 29 years old—incredible!

The skeleton is a heavy machine, which relies on muscle to keep it erect. If you want to remain vital with good posture, keep your muscles toned so you can support and control the weight of your own bones.

Finally—muscle consumes energy. So the more toned and active your muscles, the more energy you consume. That translates to a more active metabolism. So by implementing resistance training in your routine, you are actually serving to improve your metabolism and burn more fat and calories.

By Team Beachbody

There always seems to be some fad diet that's popular. For the last few years that honor has gone to the "high-protein diet," also known under many other names. Essentially, it's a diet where you eat a high percentage of protein and fat, and put enormous restrictions on your carbohydrate intake. It is believed that this will cause your body to use its stored body fat as fuel because it doesn't have carbohydrates, the body's preferred fuel source.

How it works: If you don't eat carbohydrates (these diets usually call for keeping consumption under 100 grams per day-about 1 bagel) your body will not produce high levels of insulin and if you eat a lot of protein you will produce more glucagon. With your body's glucagons/insulin levels in balance, your body's blood-sugar levels are more constant and-supposedly-your body will increase its use of stored fat as fuel. It is also said that high carbohydrate diets cause your insulin levels to increase, in turn storing excess carbohydrates as fat, instead of using them as fuel.

Does it work? Bodybuilders have proven the effectiveness that this type of diet can have on one's appearance. Deprived of carbohydrates for long enough, your body will start using its fat stores for fuel. If you do it for too long, or under improper guidance, then you will start to use (catabolize) your body's musculature as well.

Is it safe? In a word: no. At least, it's not safe according to the American Heart Association. You can certainly live like this for some time (the body is incredibly resilient), but cutting carbohydrates out of your diet and eating excess protein for long periods of time is extremely taxing on bodily functions. One effect of this diet is ketosis, the process by which your body uses its fat stores as fuel. When this happens your body naturally sheds a lot of water. This dehydration can cause brain damage, among other side effects, because your brain uses carbohydrates as a fuel source as well. Every gram of glycogen (complex carbohydrates) is stored with almost three grams of water, so you can see how cutting carbs out of your diet might also promote weight loss through dehydration. Also, excess protein is very hard to digest and many bodybuilders have suffered from kidney malfunctions that have been credited to high-protein/low-carb diets.

If you do it, a high-protein/low-carb diet should only be done for short periods of time, and even then, only under supervision or strict control. And, if your body fat is already fairly low, you will find that you have no good energy source and quickly run out of energy, making exercise and even simple physical functions seem taxing.

Why are people getting results? Many people—mainly women—are swearing by results they've achieved with a "high-protein diet". Increased energy is the most common virtue associated with this diet, something that for the above reasons can't be true for very long. The most common explanation that people see some result is that they are not eating enough protein in their regular diet and the increased protein is actually just bringing them up to normal. You should be getting about 30% of your daily caloric intake from protein and most people don't come anywhere close to that.

The other common scenario is that some people increase their protein intake and (unknowingly) don't severely reduce their carbohydrate intake—so they're actually just eating a more balanced diet. It's not uncommon to see a recreational bodybuilder extolling the virtues of his "no carb" diet over beers (100 grams of carb per beer!). It is very common for those on "high-protein" diets to be unaware of what are actually carbohydrates: for example all alcohol, fruits, and some vegetables. While thinking they are just eating protein, they are actually consuming carbohydrates too, and their body benefits by the balance of food sources.

The bottom line: Your body needs carbohydrates for energy, and needs a proper balance to operate in a healthy manner. However, the more you exercise, the more carbs you need. A healthy diet for a sedentary individual should consist of around 30% protein, 30% fat, and 40% carbohydrates. The more athletic you are, the higher your carbohydrate percentage should be. An ultra-marathoner may want to eat as much as 60 -70% carbs because so much of their performance is dependent upon high levels of glycogen and simple sugars.

By Team Beachbody

To some, winter is the season of hibernation. Unfortunately, those are the people who will be frustrated that their swimsuits are tighter this year than last.

The truth is, now is the perfect time for you to start working to fulfill that promise you've always made to yourself: that THIS is the year for you to look your best in a bathing suit.

If you want to look great this summer, [not good, but GREAT!] now is the time to start because your body needs 90 days to really transform itself and get results that will last. Here is a quick breakdown on why it's better to start a program now than wait until summer's almost here.

First, you can lose a lot of weight in 30 days. People do it all the time. Women often go on crash diets to fit into a piece of clothing or look good on vacation. If you are motivated, you can do amazing things. Problem is, these body changes don't last. Studies have proven that crash diet results are easily reversible. The reason is that because you've lost the weight so fast, it is absurdly easy to put it back on. Your body isn't used to "thin" being its natural state. You must train it to do this. If you want to alter your body for keeps, you need to commit for 90 days. Once you hit that milestone, you will be amazed at how easy it is to maintain.

And starting now for 90 days means that you could be in prime condition for Memorial Day Weekend!

This is how it works:

The first 30 days are the toughest because you are changing your old routine. But because you are on a 90-day plan you don't need to be as drastic and the day to day is easier. You may see good results in the first month. However, even if you reach your target weight or desired fitness level, you shouldn't stop.

During the second month you will plateau a little. Your body gets better at its new routine and you need to learn how to tweak it to keep improvement coming. Because of this, month two will usually provide smaller gains. However, you are getting more used to the workouts and they are becoming easier. Your body is also getting used to a fitness lifestyle. So while you aren't getting mass improvement in how you look, you will make up for it in how you feel because your body is adjusting and getting ready for.

Month three. You are now used to your program and your body is poised for another blast of improvement like month one. So your body is now looking better than ever and feeling better than ever. But even more important is this: after three months of training you are now adjusted to this newly conditioned body and you will be able to keep it this way with relative ease. Your metabolism will have increased so that you are now used to being this new fit person. This means that your body will more easily filter out extra fats and junk foods. And because you are also used to exercising, your body will crave it. So working out now becomes something you desire, rather than something you have to do. This may sound unbelievable to you right at this second but it's true! The body can do some amazing things.

Supplements: Beware the Myths

Sunday, January 24, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

Here is some ammunition if you are thinking about supplementing your diet:

Selling supplements is a business. Ever wondered how there could be a new, super-supplement every year? Well, there isn't. Everyone is trying to find the next great supplement and there are many, many companies in the race. This creates a market where, if nothing new is happening, something new is manufactured. Stay away from brand-new products. Time will tell if they are for real.

Remember, there was a time when even steroids were thought to be safe. Ever since they have been off the market there have been attempts to find legal steroid derivatives that promise similar results without the side effects. Over the last 20 years there have been hundreds of different products, most of which have fallen out of the market because they don't work. Others, like GHB, do work but have side effects. In this case, the FDA banned GHB after a brief stint on the market in the early 90's. It is still readily available. While this drug promotes better sleep and does deliver some growth hormone release, it is also used as a recreational drug. Because it is a neurotransmitter, which alters your brain patterns, it can be very dangerous and has been linked to some deaths.

Less extreme cases involve many new age or "holistic" supplements. Most don't involve anything really dangerous like steroid derivatives. The problem is that most of these supplements are expensive and don't really do anything. So while they won't hurt you, you are just wasting your time and money and would be better off to just eat healthier. The most extreme case might be the food supplement Blue-Green Algae. It is promoted as having a wide variety of benefits, from increased energy to curing cancer (not kidding). Studies have linked it to both nausea and diarrhea and have not shown any benefit that can't be equaled with a decent diet. While not really dangerous, Blue-Green Algae is usually very expensive, as are many supplements, especially ones that promise to ward off or cure cancer!

However, supplementation that can truly make you healthier is a good thing for most people to some degree. This brings up the question of what to do, since there are so many options on the market. Here are a few guidelines to help you:
  1. Take a good multi-vitamin and multi-mineral everyday. If you don't have a perfect diet, this will help by making sure that you have enough of the basics which your body needs.
  2. Stick to time-tested supplements. If something has been on the market for 5 years or more, chances are it must have some benefit.
  3. Beware supplements with non-scientific claims such as "detoxification" because results are totally subjective.
  4. Do a little research. You can find information on practically any supplement. If you can't, that should be a red flag.
  5. Get help. Personal trainers and athletes usually know a lot about supplements and have often tried many. When getting advice from them, use the above criteria as well. Don't believe their hype about a new product if they have just started using it because they may be getting it for free to promote it. The Internet is a great source of real information about risks and benefits from supplements.
Hopefully you can use this information as a positive instead of getting scared off. Supplementation is a good thing and can greatly increase your health and fitness if done correctly. Certain supplements, like glucosamine sulfate and creatine monohydrate, have been proven safe and effective and there are many others. However, by using common sense and doing a little homework you can get the most out of your exercise program and also save a lot of money.

Editor's Note: Clearly, by taking our advice, we are recommending you use this same healthy caution even when it comes to considering the supplements distributed by Beachbody. Our goal is for you to achieve your ultimate health and fitness. The supplements created by Beachbody are formulated to be effective, healthy, and most important—time-tested safe. That's why we don't "push the envelope" with the latest craze just to get a piece of the action. Nonetheless, it's smart to always understand the benefits and risks of taking any ingestible you are considering.

Strangely enough, there aren't any really good web sites about supplements. Sometimes forums are helpful, but anyone can write anything there so you have to wade through yahoo-speak to try and find someone who knows what they are talking about. When in doubt, check out a bookstore or health food store for some non-biased guidance.

By Team Beachbody

Americans have been programmed in the "no pain, no gain" school, but achieving "pain" is no indicator that you are getting in shape. You needn't be doubled over and so sore that you can't raise your arms to wash your hair to know that your workout is getting results. On the other hand, if you are getting results, your body is experiencing some physiological changes so you should feel something you aren't used to.

Here are a few things to look for to see how your program is working for you:
  1. The "no pain, no gain" myth—This saying is, to put it simply, not true. There are times when you need to put your body through some pain, but it is not a gauge as to whether or not your program is working. The only time exercise should really hurt is when you are in a power-endurance phase and your body is building up massive amounts of lactic acid. Even for athletes, this represents a small percentage of the time they work out. Most exercise should not hurt. If it does, chances are that you have an injury. (Of course, if you've never exercised at all you may think everything hurts but that is just getting used to exercising. If it feels good when you're done, chances are the "hurt" did not do any damage.)
  2. Soreness—How sore should you be? A little sore, but not so sore that you can hardly move. If you find yourself getting too sore, back off a little on your next few workouts. Don't skip them, just allow yourself to go light. Soon your muscles will recover and you'll be energized to increase the intensity. Conversely, you should be a little sore. If you aren't, try increasing the intensity slightly. Think about this: your body is changing, and for the better. You have to feel something. Once you start to believe that this stiffness or heavy feeling means that you are getting leaner and more ripped, you may start to even crave the feeling. Also, soreness should decrease throughout a program. The longer you stay at it, the more used to it your body becomes.ould be clearer. If this is not the case, ask your trainer because this is why you are working out in the first place.
  3. Energy level and appetite—When you start a program, you usually go through a tough period where you are both sore and ravenously hungry. Don't worry, this won't last long. You are habitually hungry because you have both changed your diet and started working out. You may even feel tired for a couple of weeks, which is more mental than physiological. A couple of weeks into the program, your body will adjust and you should start to have more energy than you did when you started. Your body starts to adjust and becomes used to using stored body fat for fuel. You may even have trouble sleeping because your body will start to require less sleep. (If this is the case, try intensifying your workout, which almost always does the trick). If you are doing a program where your energy is not increasing after a few weeks, start asking questions because it is an indicator that something needs to change.ould be clearer. If this is not the case, ask your trainer because this is why you are working out in the first place.
  4. Sweating—it isn't a barometer on how your workout went. Like pain, many people feel that if they didn't sweat they didn't have a good workout. True enough, sweating is healthy and if you never sweat then you aren't exercising hard enough. However, you don't always need to be sweating buckets. Resistance training, especially if you are going light, doesn't necessarily build up much sweat and that doesn't mean you aren't getting benefits. So stay with your program, and beware of changing it so that you sweat more because this may actually cause you to over-train.ould be clearer. If this is not the case, ask your trainer because this is why you are working out in the first place.
  5. Changes may vary—Everybody is different and there are no hard and fast rules about how you should feel all of the time. This makes starting a program a little difficult because you can't just ask your friends on the same program how you should feel because you may be adjusting at a different rate. You have to learn how your body reacts, and this will take some time. For now, just concentrate on really listening to your body. There is one constant for everybody: you should start to feel good! After the initial adjustment period, everyone should start feeling better than they did when they started. You should have increased energy and your thoughts should be clearer. If this is not the case, ask your trainer because this is why you are working out in the first place.

Working Out at Home

Friday, January 22, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

It's dark when you leave for work and dark when you come home. It's raining, or snowing, and cold. The last thing you want to do is drive across town to the gym, where parking is sure to be a pain and there's always a line on your favorite machines.

Gyms can be great. They offer the latest in equipment, state-of-the-art classes, and fit, well-accessorized bodies for motivation. But in winter, that often isn't enough to counteract your desire to just go home and get warm and comfortable. That's why you need another option, a home gym.

This doesn't mean that you need the same equipment you're offered down at the local 24-Hour Fitness. It simply means that you need to create a space in your house where you are comfortable, and more importantly, used to working out.

Create a space in your home where you are comfortable moving and getting on the floor. You only need enough space to take two broad steps in each direction. Carpeted floors are great for stretching but an exercise mat will work if that's not an option. Since workout tapes offer easily accessed instruction and motivation, it's good to be able to set-up a television in your space, as is the ability to access your home stereo, in case you need to block out external noises such as kids or roommates.

You don't need to have any equipment, but a set of dumbbells or an exercise band will allow you more variable workout possibilities. You can get a good set of adjustable dumbbells up to 25lbs each (sufficient for about 90% of the population) for about $50 and exercise bands are even cheaper and have more resistance options then the five pound increments of weights.

Working out at home is great for many reasons. One of the best is that you save so much time. A 40-minute workout at home takes 40 minutes, where a comparable workout at the gym might take 3 hours when you consider driving time, parking, the locker room, waiting in line, etc.

But a home gym is not without its own problems: distractions. It's easy to come up with something-almost anything-that seems more important than working out. So, you need to treat your home gym time as if you are at the local club. The family needs to understand that this is your time to take care of yourself. And even on days when you're less than motivated to workout at home, you will find that once you get started you'll feel great, even if you only do half your routine. That's the best part about working out at home—the commitment in time is so little that even a set of sit-ups has benefits, but doesn't require a drive across town to get in gear.

By Team Beachbody

Most of us are aware that supplements can enhance our diet and help us get more out of an exercise program. This is true, of course, but there is another reason that sticking to a strict supplementation regime can enhance your workouts: motivation.

Taking supplements is the easiest way to keep your program on track, since all you have to do is swallow a few pills and, at most, mix up a shake. Once you begin to take the time and effort to supplement your diet-which is very easy and painless-you have given yourself a good reason not to slack off on the next workout.

Why? Because you realize that you are going through the trouble to give your body extra energy and recovery powers and your brain starts to believe that you need to workout. It's the easiest way in the world to become regimented because you can just do it. There is no pain, no suffering, just a slight alteration in your daily schedule.

Consider this: Why do so many athletes come back stronger after an injury? The reason is that it becomes imperative that they regiment themselves. Rehab requires discipline, so their training becomes more disciplined than it was previous to the injury. The necessity of discipline makes them work out more efficiently. The injury forced them to train the right way or re-injure themselves, so it became a serendipitous motivator.

Getting injured is a drastic way to force yourself to workout, but starting a regimented supplementation program is easy and starts your brain working in a similar pattern: "I took my supplements, that means I am behaving in a healthy way, that means I need to exercise today." You might be very surprised to see just how easily the rest of that pattern follows suit.

Set a Vacation Goal

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

There is no better motivator in life than having a vivid goal that you can shoot for. If you really want to put your motivation into turbo-drive, you need to do more than just set a goal—you need to visualize it!

Wanting to lose 20 pounds is a great goal, but seeing yourself putting on a bathing suit and feeling good about yourself walking down the beach 20 pounds thinner is the kind of visualization you need to make your goal work for you.

Timing your objectives with a special event like a wedding, reunion or vacation can help you stay dedicated to getting results.

Since this is the travel issue, we recommend setting a goal 30 to 90 days out from a vacation. Buy a new (smaller) bathing suit and hang it in your bedroom or bathroom as a reminder. Record your departure date in your planner. Write down your weight-loss and fitness goals, and include what program you intend to follow to achieve them in time for your vacation deadline. Every day, visualize yourself in that swimsuit and follow your plan. The results will follow.

Taking these steps locks your brain into the expectation of success. When the day for departure on your exotic beach vacation arrives you will see the magic of having real goals. Instead of an open-ended fitness plan, you've got an end in sight and the will to achieve your results.

And if an exotic beach vacation is your goal, make sure to check out the hot deals at the brand new Beachbody Discount Travel Club exclusively for members.

Fighting Jet Lag

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

Jet lag is the inability of the body to adjust to the change of circadian rhythms when one feels tired, fuzzy and generally fatigued, sometimes accompanied by dull headaches. Symptoms are especially severe for those traveling west to east and minimal for those flying north to south.
    Here is how you can fight it:
  1. To reset your biological clock for a wide time change, stay up 24+ hours and go to sleep at the normal time of your destination.
  2. Once at your destination, do not take a nap until it is the normal time to go to sleep in that region.
  3. The next morning, go for a half-hour walk in the bright morning sunlight.
  4. Carbohydrates make you sleepy and protein will keep you awake. Eat more carbohydrate meals for two days prior to the trip and more protein meals on the day of departure and arrival.
  5. Do not eat right before you go to sleep; when you do eat, have a light dinner.
  6. Avoid alcohol and caffeine-based beverages on the plane; substitute by drinking a lot of water. (And we do mean a lot.)
  7. Change your watch to your destination time zone as soon as you get on the plane.
  8. Most flights are run according to the time at the departure point, not the destination. If you need to sleep according to the light/dark cycle of your destination, remember to take along eye shades and ear plugs.
Fight Germs Lingering from the Flight

With flight delays, narrow seats and less-than-gourmet meals, flying can be a hassle. And it's cold season to boot. So how can you stay healthy when surrounded by sneezing, coughing passengers?

First, drink water. That will help your body cope with the onslaught of cabin germs.
    Paying extra attention to hygiene en route can make a big difference. Here are simple and smart suggestions from the experts:
  1. Wash your hands and face frequently.
  2. Avoid touching magazines, using the airplane pillows and blankets or touching your neighbor's drinking cup.
  3. Again, drink lots of water.
  4. Relax as much as possible during your flight. Stress increases the risk of catching a cold.
  5. Some people take a dose of echinacea before, during and after the flight to help the body maintain its immune system.
Taking these simple steps could make the difference between staying healthy and getting sick.

Exercise While Traveling

Monday, January 18, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

Staying fit and finding time to exercise while traveling seems a challenge, but it's actually easier than you might think.

First, find out what types of facilities are at your destination. Based on this you can decide what activities will work with your schedule and give some variety to your workout routines. If your hotel does not have a workout facility or pool, you can either ask hotel personnel for recommendations or check the Yellow Pages for a nearby gym.

If swimming is going to be your activity, you've got to pack for it. If you're going to treat yourself to the high-priced fitness center in town, make sure you pack your workout shoes and workout clothes. If you like to pack light, you'll need to make an exception here. You need to have your clothes if you're going to do the work.

You can also work with your own body's weight right in your room. Hotel calisthenics can be performed by running in place, doing push-ups, ab work and other activities. If nothing else, put on your jogging shoes and run or speed walk outside your hotel.

If you're really ambitious, pack exercise bands to provide an incredibly effective workout on the road. Adding variety to your workout is great for cross training and injury prevention. It also helps you to keep motivated by making it fun to try new activities.

Another way to make the most of your trip is to discuss your desire with your hosts. Perhaps they play tennis and you would all enjoy the activity.

By Team Beachbody

Trips can sometimes be the hardest when it comes to maintaining your goals. Use these tips from the American Dietetic Association and you can maintain healthy eating while you travel.
  1. Avoid the quick junk by filling plastic bags with fruit and vegetable finger foods. Nibble all you want, and stay on track!
  2. Take other handy nonperishable foods like crackers, peanut butter, raisins, small boxes of ready-to-eat cereal, pretzels and plain popcorn in case you want some crunch at snack time.
  3. If you're driving, stock an insulated cooler with healthy perishables including deli sandwiches, yogurt and cheese. Keep your raw vegetables in the cooler so they stay crisp and tasty. That's how you avoid the convenience store sweets and the fast-food drive-thru.

Smart Restaurant Dining

Saturday, January 16, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

Smart restaurant dining starts with planning. As enjoyable and delicious as dining out can be, you don't want to set yourself back a week by eating too much or the wrong kinds of foods. You can make your dining experience enjoyable and healthy if you follow these simple steps:
  • Don't arrive at the restaurant with a ravenous hunger—you'll end up finishing the bread basket before your order reaches you.
  • Have a light snack, such as yogurt and fruit, in the late afternoon so you're in control of your hunger.
  • If you do have the bread, keep it to one roll or slice, and don't dip into the oil or butter.
  • Choose a nutritious dish, which can be just as delicious as fatty, creamy choices.
  • THE Beachbody SECRET WEAPON: Order half portions or share a full portion with a friend. It works every time! You'll enjoy the food, but won't overeat.
  • When your plate hits the table, create the portion size that is right for you. Immediately send the balance to be wrapped as leftovers.
  • Enjoy an after-meal walk for half an hour so you process the food before sleep.
How to Order Smart

Order a salad with light or fat-free dressing (on the side) as a first course to keep your mouth busy.

Look for a Lean Entree:

Seafood and skinless chicken breast are typically the leanest of the lean. Be careful to avoid entrees prepared with butter, cheese and cream sauces. Look for grilled or baked seafood or chicken or beef kabobs since these dishes typically will help you minimize your calories and fat.

If you are craving beef, order sirloin steak or petite filet mignon rather than fatty prime rib. Stir-fried entrees are also a good choice because they usually have more veggies than beef.

Watch the Alcohol:

Alcohol contains extra calories that you may not want or need, so go light on cocktails. Drinking too much before you eat can also numb your willpower—so have fun, but be careful.

Finishing with Dessert:

You don't have to have dessert when you eat at a restaurant. When you do partake, consider splitting a dessert with your dining partner or partners. Also consider eating a sorbet or sherbet; either will satisfy your sweet tooth for a fraction of the calories of the cheesecake. Choosing wisely is not that hard and you still feel in control and on track.

Taking One Step at a Time

Friday, January 15, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

According to behavior researcher James Prochaska, Ph.D., successful change has a number of stages. In your own attempt to change your behavior in an effort to lose weight or get in shape, a slow and steady pace may get you there faster than trying to change overnight, and will create a more lasting result.

Most people know what they need to do to live a healthier life (eat better, get more exercise, improve flexibility/posture, etc.), so why aren't they successfully changing their behavior to make better lifestyle choices?

According to Dr. Prochaska, successful lifestyle change evolves through 5 stages.

For a lifestyle change, the internal dialogue a person might go through to successfully change includes:
  1. Pre-contemplation: "My body feels fine, but I sometimes wonder if I could get a 6-pack stomach like I see in magazines."
  2. Contemplation: "I think it would feel good to have flatter abs, but I'm not ready to invest any time to try something yet, especially if it means the possibility of failure."
  3. Preparation: "I'm talking to people to see what they do to 'tighten up' their abs and considering options. I'm starting to do crunches at home or the gym, but I'm not quite sure what to do to commit to the goal. But I am starting to be motivated by my progress."
  4. Action: "I'm working my abs in a complete routine with the goal to have them completely transformed within 60 days. I can already feel how much stronger my back and stomach are."
  5. Maintenance: "I take a few minutes a few times a week to maintain my flat stomach because it makes me feel good about myself, plus it makes all other activities that much more enjoyable because of my core strength in my abs."
Since action, or "acting out" the new behavior, doesn't come until the fourth stage, there's a lot of groundwork to be done before change is implemented. That's why successful change usually doesn't happen overnight. It's essential to develop what Dr. Prochaska calls "motivational readiness to change."

His advice is simple: Take small steps toward the goal. Let long-term change be a gradual process, and if you have a vision of where you want to go those small steps will get you there with less upheaval than a big jump. The results, such as feeling better about yourself, will last.

The Elusive 6-Pack Stomach

Thursday, January 14, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

The hottest area of interest when it comes to fitness is narrowing the waistline, flattening the stomach, and achieving that elusive "6-pack" look for the beach.

Guess what? You can do it, but you need to attack it from two angles.

1. From the inside out.Your abs are muscles, hidden below whatever pizza, pasta and desserts you've been enjoying. So as long as you approach them in your fitness routine like any other muscle group (chest, arms, legs, etc.) they will respond and both tone up and get more defined.

Walk around any fitness center and you will be amazed at how little people understand about working the abdominals. They'll knock out 10 repetitions on this contraption, then do a few crunches, then get right back on the weight bench or treadmill thinking they've attacked the entire abdominal plate. But they've only scratched the surface.

Because of the way the body uses leverage to lift (or bend) at the waist, to get a great ab workout you need to focus on each area of the abs in a specific sequence so the body can't focus on just one section of the muscles and ignore, say, the obliques, or the lower abs. We call that Sectional Progression(TM), and all it means is that you want to thoroughly challenge each section for a burst of reps, then move onto the next until you've exhausted the area. Follow that advice each time you work out, and you will see amazing results in weeks.

Avoid contraptions that promise a 3-minute shortcut. The abs need repetition to tone and define, again, just like any muscle group. We've found that with between 6 and 7 minutes of rapid reps you can get a thorough ab routine out of the way. Anything more and you're probably going to get lesser results for the time, and add strain to your back. It's not necessary.

Here are the five moves we recommend:
  1. Basic Crunch: hands locked behind head, elbows wide, eyes up, keep your chin off your chest. Knees bent, feet on the floor. (10-20 reps.) Don't pull on the neck—keep your chin off your chest!
  2. Oblique Crunch: drop your knees to one side and continue to do crunches to the side—focus on the oblique. Repeat on the other side. (10-20 reps.)
  3. Bicycles: keep hands behind head, lift feet off floor (straight legs), then pull one knee up to the opposite elbow. You don't have to touch the knee to the elbow to be successful, and again, don't pull on your neck! (10-20 reps.)
  4. Hip Rocks: keep arms behind head, bring your feet together, knees spread as you try to touch the bottoms of your feet together. Rock your feet up and then down to touch the floor, keeping your knees wide for the entire movement. (10-20 reps.)
  5. Superman Crunch: legs straight up in the air toward the ceiling. Hands together at the thumbs as if you're Superman flying through the air. Reach up toward your toes, touch them if possible, but touching not required. It's a small motion that works the upper and mid section of the abs. (10-20 reps.)
2. From the outside in.We sound like a broken record, but to see those beautiful ab muscles that everyone has, you have to trim the outer padding. That means controlling caloric intake so you gradually reduce those inches. As you start to see the combination of caloric control and ab work result in defined abs (in about 2-3 weeks) it starts to get easier. For most, in less than 60 days you can have that 6-pack you've dreamed about.

And there is no better feeling than slipping into a bathing suit when your abs look defined and flat. All you have to do is the Beachbody one-two punch. Work the abs properly, and trim off the outer layer of padding.

Tip: The price of the machine has nothing to do with its effect on your abs. Remember football great Herschel Walker? He was featured in Sports Illustrated with the perfect set of abs—accomplished through a well-rounded routine of ab crunches to hit the entire abdominal area.

For a complete ab routine in just 7 minutes a day, consider Beachbody's "GREAT ABS GUARANTEED!"

Dinner: More is Not Better

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

If you want to whittle down that layer of fat hiding your great-looking, 6-pack stomach, then more is not better when it comes to dinner.

While it's always smart to carefully monitor portions, many weight-loss experts are now saying it's a good idea to eat your largest meal in the morning and your smallest meal for dinner. This will help you burn more of the calories you eat throughout the day when your body needs them, rather than store them as fat to be used later. This doesn't mean you can't have an enjoyable and sumptuous meal; you just have to be aware that you might want to shift higher calorie consumption to earlier in the day so you can burn it up before you go to sleep.

If you are used to steak, hamburgers, or fried chicken with mashed potatoes, these calorie-dense foods should be limited as much as possible. But based on the latest meal recommendations, you might want to adopt a dinner meal pattern that will help you get and stay trimmer, as well as improve your health, by choosing lighter fare like salads, vegetables, and portion-controlled amounts of carbohydrates (like pasta) and fats (found densely in meats and sauces).

The perfect dinner plan is light and flavorful. Soups, salads and seafood can be low-calorie foods to eat if prepared correctly. There are also hundreds of pre-packaged frozen meals that can be combined with fresh fruits and salads that are easy to prepare, which can help you enjoy your meal while eating light and smart.

Tip: The key to making any meal (especially dinner) taste better and more enjoyable is to use lemon, spices, herbs and flavored liquids. For example, add chicken bouillon to brown rice, lemon juice to cooked vegetables. It can make a big difference, helping you to enjoy a meal that will also leave you feeling great about not compromising your weight-loss (and abdomen-exposing!) goals.

STOP for 30 Minutes Every Week!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

Do you ever take the time to stop and think? I don't mean while you are in a line or driving your car, but actually scheduling 30 minutes for time alone.

In today's rush-rush world, running faster and faster will not get you where you want to go any more quickly. If you take this personal time for yourself, at least once per week, spend it in a quiet place—a walk in the woods, the park, a break in a favorite chair, or anywhere that is quiet and peaceful. You will be surprised and amazed at what this time alone can do for your soul and your personal results.

During this break, think about where you have been and where you want to go. Write down your observations, thoughts and ideas. Turn off your cell phone, beeper and TV. This is your personal thinking time. For this to really work, you need absolutely no interruptions. Take 30 minutes this week and give it a try.

TIP: Start a journal and record a summary of your weekly sessions. Once in a while, for personal insight, review what you have written. Many successful people schedule a regular appointment on Sunday nights to think, reflect on the previous week, and plan the week ahead.

By Team Beachbody

Exercises that develop muscular strength and endurance have an important role in any fitness program for men and women. The fact is, people with good muscle tone look better and burn more fat (even while resting) than people with less. If you want to look and feel better, you need to start and maintain a productive strength training program.

To build muscle strength and improve tone, you must exercise against resistance: that is, use your muscles to exert a force against a countering force. Free weights, exercise machines, or even your own body weight can provide resistance. You need to work major muscle groups that include shoulders, chest, arms, abs and legs.

Men usually want size and strength and women generally seek tone without bulk, so men choose resistance to achieve 8-12 repetitions for each exercise, and women should choose resistance with which they can achieve 12-20 reps.

General wisdom suggests strength training every other day, to give your muscles time to recover. And when getting started on a toning/strengthening workout, be extra careful to start slowly. Soreness is a result of overworking muscles the first few times you work out. While we're not afraid of a little challenge, we don't advocate starting at your maximum potential.

Note: is developing a 90-day in-home boot camp called Power 90®(tm) that is being tested in a clinical trial. The program will be described at later this week. But if you can't wait until then, here's what we suggest you do to add muscle and increase muscle tone!
  • Stretch
  • 3 sets of push-ups, with arms wide for first set, then in regular shoulder- width position, then close to body
  • 3 sets of back movements such as pull-ups, behind-the-back pull-downs, etc.
  • 3 sets of shoulder movements such as military press and shoulder raises
  • 3 sets of bicep movements like regular curls and open-arm (wide) curls
  • 3 sets of tricep movements such as chair dips, tricep kickbacks, and close-arm push-ups
  • 3 sets of leg/butt moves such as squats or lunges
  • Finish with abs
  • Cool down to avoid build-up of lactic acid that will make you sore (repeat Stretch or just make sure to generally stretch the shoulders, back and legs)
With all of these moves, you need to be very careful not to strain your back, or your knee and shoulder joints. Our suggestions are guidelines that need to be carefully considered before you try them, especially if you have any physical situation that causes you discomfort.

By Team Beachbody

If you want to eat a satisfying and energizing lunch, you need to eat food that is low in fat and refined carbs. Here are some great food ideas that can help you feel full and energized:
  • Bean/vegetable/whole grain casserole
  • Vegetarian chili
  • Brown/wild rice or whole grains
  • Fruit salad with low-fat cottage cheese
  • Veggie burger w/lots of tomatoes, onions, lettuce, easy on the saucy toppings
  • Green salad or raw vegetables w/fat-free or low-fat dressing
  • Baked potato w/salsa
  • Tuna fish (water-packed) w/fat-free mayonnaise
  • Turkey Wrap (see recipe below)
  • Bean burrito (hold the sour cream)
  • Whole wheat pita with fresh veggies, beans and fat-free dressing
  • 3-bean salad
  • Nonfat yogurt
TIP: One of the best strategies for eating a healthy, filling and energizing lunch is to pack your own and take it to work with you. That way you're in control and not a victim of last-minute office ideas. ("Who else wants pizza?") You'll also save time and money. Pre-plan and pack for great results.

By Team Beachbody

This is probably not the first time you've heard that you should begin each day with a good low-fat, high-fiber breakfast. If you skip this meal you will be setting yourself up for an appetite that is harder to control later in the day.

Even if you feel you can make it to lunch without eating, don't! Keeping yourself from getting hungry by keeping your body fed with small meals is one of the keys to healthy weight management. A great breakfast food is cold or hot cereal with fresh fruit. Try Cheerios, Raisin Bran, oatmeal or any cereal that has at least 3 grams of fiber and little or no fat. Make sure to keep an eye on how much you serve—you might be in the habit of pouring a big bowl of cereal when a smaller amount would do.

To add real flavor to your bowl, try adding:
  • Raisins
  • Dates
  • Blueberries, strawberries or blackberries (fresh or frozen)
  • Sliced bananas
  • Fresh melon
  • Touch of brown sugar or honey
If you are adding milk, be sure to use fat-free milk. Since whole milk contains 150 calories per 1-cup serving and fat-free milk contains only 80 calories, you will slash almost half the amount of calories by making this one simple change.

Stay away from butter, margarine, muffins, bagels and low-fiber bread. These foods are loaded with empty calories that won't fill you. In the event you are on the run and a bagel or muffin is the only option, eating half the serving (half a bagel with a light spread, or half a muffin) will keep you on track.

Eat a healthy breakfast from now on and watch your energy soar as you move closer to your healthy goals.

Tip: Instead of drinking juice, eat the fruit. You will add 3 to 5 grams of fiber per serving, which will help you curb your appetite naturally. If you do drink juice, remember that even juice adds to your daily calorie count, so you should keep an eye on the serving size.

By Team Beachbody

The healthiest breakfast is whole grain cereal. If you're trying to lose weight or just need a lot of energy, your best bet is a hot cooked cereal of whole grains, such as oat groats, barley, wheat berries or oatmeal.

If you prefer cold cereal, you need to check the list of ingredients carefully. The FIRST ingredient should be a whole grain.

Once you've eliminated all the brands made with refined grains, check for added sugars (you want little or none) and fiber (you want a lot).

The fiber content listed on the nutrition label can be confusing because it's based on serving size, and very light cereals (such as puffed wheat) show very little fiber per serving, but an acceptable amount when you adjust for weight. Cereals made from bran (whole grains with the outer covering removed) will have higher fiber content than cereals made from whole grains (which have the "germ" and starchy parts of the grains as well as the fiber), but they can be harder to digest.

Recommended: Cereals made from whole grains (little or no added sugars).
  • Cheerios—General Mills
  • Chex, Wheat—General Mills
  • Grape Nuts—Post
  • Healthy Choice Toasted Brown Sugar Squares—Kellogg's
  • Just Right with Fruit & Nuts—Kellogg's
  • Kashi—Kashi Company
  • Mini-Wheats, Raisin Squares—Kellogg's
  • Muesli—Familia
  • Nutri-Grain, Golden Wheat—Kellogg's
  • Oatmeal Crisp—General Mills
  • Oatmeal Squares—Quaker
  • Organic Healthy Fiber Multigrain Flakes—Health Valley
  • Puffed Wheat—Quaker
  • Shredded Wheat—Post
  • Total, Whole Grain—General Mills
  • Wheaties, Crispy 'n' Raisins—General Mills
Recommended: All-bran or high-bran cereals (little or no added sugars).
  • 100% Bran—Post
  • All Bran, bran buds—Kellogg's
  • Bran Flakes—Post
  • Chex, Multi-Bran—General Mills
  • Complete Wheat Bran Flakes—Kellogg's
  • Complete Oat Bran Flakes—Kellogg's
  • Fiber 7 Flakes—Health Valley
  • Fiber One—General Mills
  • Oat Bran—Quaker
  • Oat Bran Flakes—Health Valley
  • Oat Bran Flakes with Raisins—Health Valley
  • Organic Bran with Raisins—Health Valley
  • Raisin Bran—Kellogg's
  • Raisin Bran Flakes—Health Valley
  • Raisin Bran, Whole Grain Wheat—Post
  • Total, Raisin Bran—General Mills

By Team Beachbody

Exercise or any activity that increases your heart rate for 10 minutes or more and leaves you breathing heavily is called aerobic exercise. Aerobic means "with oxygen" and to get its benefits you must increase your heart rate by at least 20 beats per minute over your resting rate. (Take your pulse when your body is at rest to get this number.)

Many enjoyable sports—including tennis, baseball, golf, volleyball and weight-lifting—are beneficial but not usually truly aerobic, since they don't keep you moving vigorously enough for a prolonged period. On the other hand, fast walking, cycling, running, jogging, rollerblading, ice skating, rowing, aerobic dancing and kick-boxing programs provide incredible aerobic benefits when performed vigorously.

Aerobic exercise is key to losing weight, because your calorie burn rate is higher for each minute of exercise than with non-aerobic (or "anaerobic") exercises.

One of the most popular and beneficial aerobic exercise programs today is kick-boxing, which combines calorie burning, strength training, and self-defense benefits of repeated martial-arts moves (such as Tai Chi, Judo, etc.) It's as if you're getting 3 workouts at one time. Be careful starting this type of workout, as it can be challenging to muscles and joints while you learn the moves.

Tae Bo is a popular and challenging routine that has been promoted heavily on television, offered to viewers for $60. Feedback on this program is that it is excellent, although somewhat difficult if you are unfamiliar with the moves. Beachbody created the Tai-Fit Total Body Workout with a Basics program to help our members get the benefits of a Tae Bo type of workout for under $20.

Adding to Lose

Wednesday, January 06, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

For any diet to work, you must burn more calories than you consume until you hit your desired weight. That's the simple, proven secret. So how do you do that?

Find your calorie "bogey": If you are of average height and activity level, you can calculate the approximate number of calories you burn per day by adding a zero to your weight and then adding the following based on your activity level: 300 calories if you are not very active all day (executive at desk), 500 if you are moderately active (sales clerk), and 1,000 calories if you are very active (construction worker, waiter/waitress, etc.). That number is the approximate number of calories you burn each day. That's your "bogey".

With the abundance of tasty and calorie-rich foods available, it does not take a lot of food to meet your bogey. Remember that any extra calories you do not use or block will be stored as body fat. Every 3,500 calories stored by your body is equal to 1 pound, more or less, on your scale (and on your thighs!) Some foods are very calorie—dense; they include butter, eggs, breads, cookies, crackers, chips and mayonnaise. You have to severely limit how much you eat of these foods, since you can reach your daily calorie limit much faster when you eat them.

Other foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans are low in calories. They have the added benefit of nature's best appetite suppressant—fiber. These foods, in fact, are so low in fat and high in fiber that you will fill up before you eat too much.

The Healthiest Diet

The healthiest diet is a diet that is based on eating lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. As opposed to a short-term fix, our plan is a lifestyle approach that you can maintain easily for the rest of your life.

You will want to aim for the following targets:
  1. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans.
  2. Don't eat too much fat. Try to limit it to 30 to 40 grams each day.Use a fat blocker like Fatban® if you expect to exceed this amount.
  3. Eat 30 grams or more of fiber each day.
  4. Limit all foods made from refined flour, as well as all low-fiber foods. This is the biggest pitfall you need to watch out for. If you eat low-fat and do not restrict foods that contain white flour, you will NOT lose weight!
  5. Go to bed hungry! Do your best not to eat 3 hours before you go to sleep, and that way you will actually burn off stored fat while you sleep, versus putting on weight from the food you've just eaten.
Take these simple steps, and you will feel a rustling deep inside that will provide the fuel of motivation.

We recommend 2 or 3 servings of seafood per week. Seafood provides protein, vitamins and minerals. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids that help to prevent clotting, the last step in a heart attack. Here is a great recipe that is perfect for summer lunch or dinner. It has lots of healthy ingredients that can help you get Beachbody slim!

By Team Beachbody

Exercise helps you burn calories and convert fat to muscle. Adding exercise to your life will make you feel and look better by giving you stronger muscles and a trim body.

Your body's main source of energy is calories. Calories provide your body with the fuel it needs to perform basic life functions. About one-third of these calories are used for energy, another one-third to produce heat. . . and the rest? Your body converts and stores them as fat! If you want to lose weight you must burn these excess calories before they turn into fat. The key is to not only limit calories but to also burn them with regular exercise.

All physical movement requires your body to use calories. Each time you walk, nod your head, make a fist or even blink, calories are being burned. Burning additional calories throughout the day is as simple as becoming more active. This can involve anything from shaking your hips to walking your dog. Forget the myth that exercise must be done in a gym. Exercise and calorie-burning can be done anywhere: in a car seat, at a desk, in a kitchen. The idea is to start finding little ways to integrate movement and physical activity into your daily routine. If you want to lose weight permanently and get healthy, you must activate your lifestyle.

Finding Motivation

Monday, January 04, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

Contrary to what we are taught, motivation is a very personal thing. No one can motivate you to do anything that you really don't want to do. This is why most diets and fitness programs fail. After a while, if you are doing something you don't want to do, you will quit. To successfully motivate yourself we recommend that you:
  1. Get a journal or notebook and write what you would like to be. Make a long list if you like. You would be surprised at how many successful people have such a "dream list."
  2. Find a picture of yourself that you are proud of (don't worry about how old it is), and look into your younger eyes. Can you see a glimmer of enthusiasm, hope and expectation?
  3. Look for inspiring stories that you can relate to, that you understand, and that can make you want to take action.
  4. Find others who are doing the things you want to do and try to spend more time with them. Do you admire people who are walking, running, rollerblading, painting? If so, go to where they are and watch, listen, and even engage them in conversation if you can.
  5. Try to routinely write in your journal.
Take these simple steps, and you will feel a rustling deep inside that will provide the fuel of motivation.

New Years Resolution, Part II

Sunday, January 03, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

Don't quit, even if you've already blown your resolution!

Statistics show that most of us have already given up our New Year's Resolution. While this statistic sounds rather sad, it's mainly because most of us set our expectations too high and made unrealistic resolutions. Another common reason for failure is that people set themselves up to fail by making it so hard that they fail early on, and thus eliminate all that excess pressure. Purposely making a resolution you are sure that you'd quit on is, well... never mind, certainly none of us would do such a thing!

Back to us, the forthright folks that made a sound attempt to better ourselves only to have it fall apart less than a twelfth of the way through the year. Don't despair; there are still 11 months to go! And there's no rule that says you can't "reset" your resolution on February 1st! Here are a few tips to help you continue on:
  1. Remember rule number 5 from last month. Your ultimate goal is to improve yourself. There is no failure here unless you plain flat give up completely! If you didn't improve as much as you originally wanted, that's not failure, its improvement—just at a more realistic pace that works for you. Don't give up!
  2. Tailor your original resolution. Don't quit on your resolution, instead change it. Don't worry that you may be cheating because to really cheat would be to stop. You've had a month to assess the feasibility of the original plan, now you can tailor it to be more realistic.
  3. Form a group. Chances are that you have some friends in the same boat. Remember that there is strength in numbers. Get your friends together and come up with a joint plan. Then you can support each other. It's always easier to get off your butt when someone else is there to motivate you. They push you on days you don't feel like working out and you can do the same for them.
  4. Cut yourself some slack. No one is motivated all the time. Even the best athletes go through stages when they are unmotivated and slack off on their workouts. Having a bad day, week, or even month is not a good reason to stop. In fact, fighting through these down times are often the most rewarding experiences in retrospect. The best news is that once you start to get in shape and lose weight, it's much easier to rebound from a slip than it is to start from scratch again next year.
  5. Winners try again. Every success story has a background of stumbles and missteps. Truly, the only difference between getting in shape is how you respond to those stumbles, because they happen to everyone. So whether you slip for a day, a week, or a month, plan your attack, and get back on it. You've only lost the fight when you quit. And every time you don't quit, you win. So go for it—and remember how good it feels each time you workout, and how good it makes you feel about yourself!

Quality, Not Quantity

Saturday, January 02, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

If you spend enough time exercising you will get fit, and that's where the old adage of more is better comes from. Once upon a time, fitness trainers would point housewives toward the weight machines and tell them to exercise for two hours. Did they get results? Of course they did. Was this an efficient way to work out? Of course it wasn't.

Today's client is much more picky about time and efficiency, and has the right to be. Sports science has made tremendous strides over the last two decades and now clients are learning to expect excellent gains with relatively little time invested.

Like most advances in the fitness world, this knowledge has trickled down from the sports world. Athletes once trained following the "more is better" principal as well. Inspired by films like Rocky, some world-class athletes would pound away for 8 to 12 hours a day—especially those in endurance ssports, such as triathletes. It was once thought that the amount of time one put into training was directly linked to results.

And it was the triathletes that finally tore this idea apart. Agingtriathletes whose bodies were breaking down due to the overuse and abuse from hours of training needed to cut back their total mileage. They began experimenting with shorter, higher-intensity workouts-once thought to only be effective for power-based sports. What they found was that not only could they workout less and keep up, but they could WORKOUT LESS AND IMPROVE. One such athlete, Mark Allen, spent his 20's as a good competitor, but was never "great". Then in his 30's, he cut his training volume nearly in half and became the best triathlete the world had ever seen.

Our 90-day body transformation program is based on this same knowledge. You can make enormous improvements in your fitness level and only spend 45 minutes a day working out. Whether you follow our recommendations in Power 90®, or follow your own workout regime, there are four simple rules to get better results in less time:
  1. Progressive Training: Each workout should build upon the last, and have variety. If you repeat the same workout over and over your body becomes very proficient at it, and the benefits decline. Adding variety to your workouts, even slightly, will give you better results. By combining power yoga, cardio, abs, and strength training, Power 90® provides variety, and ups the ante by taking you through four phases of intensity, keeping you out of your comfort zone to provide maximum gains for 90 days. You can do the same thing in a gym or with a trainer if you keep track of your routine.
  2. Resistance training: Resistance training for every body part will change the shape of your body quicker than one single exercise. For example, if you ran every day but never lifted weights, your body would respond slower for two reasons: One is that you would fail to work all of your muscles, which not only makes you stronger but increases your basic metabolic rate so you burn off more fat. And two, doing the same activity day in and day out allows your body to get very efficient at that one thing. This means that the five-mile run you did on day one will be of almost no fitness use to you by day 30, if that's all you're doing. Resistance training is critical if you want to improve your overall fitness and change the shape of you body.
  3. Rest: Your body only gets stronger while at rest. Power 90® varies your program so that you work one aspect of your fitness (like cardio, or muscle strength) while the other is recovering. Don't fall into the trap of training seven days a week (overtraining)—and always give your body the chance to recover. It's better to have a program that doesn't risk overtraining in the first place.
  4. Nutrition & Supplementation: Sports science has made tremendous advancements over the last decade. Now, by learning not just What to eat but When to eat, you can get better results in less time. For example, something as simple as having 100 grams of simple sugars (such as a glass of grape juice) within 30 minutes after working out can make a 50% difference in your body's recovery rate. And there have been breakthroughs in safe, natural supplementation which are sold over the counter and allowed at all levels of competition. With a little research with your goals in mind, you can improve your results by using supplements that have been tested to be effective. The Power 90® program uses the latest information in sports nutrition to help men build muscle and trim fat, and to help women tone muscle and trim fat—efficiently.
Make Your New Year's Resolution Stick

As the New Year rolls around, many of us will embark on a journey to self-improvement with the declaration of a New Year's Resolution. Unfortunately, surveys say that most of us will not see our resolution through. So you ask, "how can I make a New Years Resolution that will stick?"
  1. Make a resolution that suits your personality. Are you someone that likes to do things gradually, or are you a more extreme type that prefers to go cold turkey? Assess your strengths and base your resolution on you. Don't be swayed be peer pressure to try something just because your friends are doing it.
  2. Allow for some failures. This is probably the most important step. The easiest way to give up on your resolution is by making it nearly impossible, like "I'm going to work out every day this year." Once you miss a day, you've blown your challenge. To not allow any slippage gives you an easy way out of your commitment.
  3. Make an attainable goal. Declaring the impossible is another way to give yourself an out. Don't say "I'm going to run a 3-hour marathon" when you've never run 10 miles, because it allows you to quit once you realize you set your sights too high.
  4. Stick to your plan. Don't give up. If you've set a reasonable goal you can make it, but we all lose heart from time to time. Throughout an entire year you're bound to go through a bad stretch or two. Just hang in there and get through it. Even if you barely have the motivation to get out of bed, keep going. Fighting through the bad times makes the good times all the easier. Like Nietzche said, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." And like we say at Beachbody: "If it didn't take commitment, everyone would look good in a swimsuit."
  5. Remember the ultimate goal. All you are really trying to do is improve yourself, right? Keeping this in mind is a good way to keep going even if you slip on the original goal. Because what is failure anyway? You still improve, just not as fast as you had planned—and that's not really a failure at all.

By Team Beachbody

In some ways, changing your diet is similar to making a successful resolution in that it's conceptual at first. Your long-range goal should just be to eat well. As your healthy eating behavior becomes a habit, you will find the other intangibles (such as weight loss, energy gained, etc.) falling into place. The easiest way to accomplish this is a gradual transition from food choices that don't help to food choices that do. By making this transition gradually over six weeks, we've found it to be the easiest diet program ever recommended.

Working in a 6-week cycle, you can train (or trick, if you will) your body into craving more nutritious foods. This cycle is easier if you're exercising because your body will crave the proper nutrients to re-build its broken down tissue.

Week 1
Eliminate the junk from your diet. That's it, just junk; no potato chips, candy, ice cream, etc. Other than this you may eat whatever you like... and here's the kicker: you may cheat on this twice, and that means for TWO WHOLE DAYS YOU CAN EAT WHATEVER YOU LIKE AND STILL SUCCEED!

Week 2
No eating for 3-hours before you go to bed. That way your body can go to sleep in fat-burning mode, rather than in calorie-storing mode. Plus each week carries over, so you still cannot have junk, except for the 2 days when you may cheat and eat whenever and whatever you like.

Week 3
Eat 5 to 6 small meals a day. If you make yourself do this, the size will control itself because you won't ever get ravenously hungry. Try to keep each meal balanced as close to 30% protein, 40% carbohydrates, and 30% fat as you can—and try and eat for what you will be doing for the next three hours (If you're working out, eat more, sitting at a desk, eat less)... Still no junk food, and still no eating three hours before bedtime. You may cheat on two days.

Week 4
Eliminate fast food and alcohol. This can be hard for many of us because we now have to plan our meals, but hey, it's only for a couple weeks. People tend to forget that alcohol has calories, and it also slows your metabolism. Cheat ONLY ONE DAY this week.

Week 5
Eat whole foods. This means that you eliminate any processed foods from your diet, such as bread, most salad dressings, almost all cereal, luncheon meats, cheese, anything with preservatives, and most everything served in restaurants. What you can eat are whole foods such as fruit, raw or steamed vegetables, meat (sans any type of sauce), natural grain rice, poached eggs, etc. It shouldn't be terribly hard since your eating habits have been slowly changing. Still, it's a hard week because it will feel like dieting. Try not to cheat, but you may if you find yourself getting ravenous—just keep your blowout to a minimum.

Week 6
Eat healthy. Eat whatever you want, following the general rules we've followed for the last five weeks. You may be surprised to find yourself craving something healthy instead of a candy bar or pint of Ben & Jerry's. You should now be better at listening to your body because it will tell you what it needs to eat, as opposed to what you're used to eating—especially if you're working out. Keep a couple of cheating days, allowing yourself to give in to occasional indulgences. Just try not to overdo it.

Now take some time off and don't think about dieting. Have your eating habits changed? Most likely they have. You may find that your body feels transformed and that you've shed some fat! More importantly, because you have gradually changed your lifestyle, your body is likely to maintain this change, without a lot of effort on your part.

You should now know enough about yourself to tweak the next 6-week plan to suit you. However, keep the cheating days. They are important, and not just because they allow you to have fun. Whenever you are restricting your caloric intake, your metabolism wants to slow down because it thinks that you are starving. By "cheating" a couple of days a week, you actually trick your metabolism to stay higher, so you lose more fat.

Since cheating is allowed, we're actually encouraging you with a rather decadent recipe that can help in transition to eliminating junk food from your diet. Its nutritional content is similar to a Power Bar, making it a better before-exercise than before-bed type of treat.