Awaken Your Body with Breakfast

Sunday, February 28, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Steve Edwards

We've all heard about the importance that breakfast plays in our diet. It's often referred to as "the most important meal of the day", yet rarely explained. For many of us, mornings start with a trip to the coffee maker before we even begin to contemplate what sounds good to eat. For a country that agrees on the importance of this meal to our health, breakfast menus across the board show anything but being healthy. Most trendy establishments are omelet parlors or pancake houses. Traditional American Breakfast is even worse: bacon and eggs. Just how healthy can we be if we start each morning with a cholesterol-laden gut bomb? The Starbucks "go getter" generation may opt for coffee and a muffin, which is only a slight improvement.

Phil Jones runs Power Kauai with Beachbody. It's a weeklong fitness retreat set in the tropical paradise of Hawaii. He is quick to point out that breakfast sets the tone for the entire day of this intensive program:

"The way you begin each day is vital," he says. "So at Power Kauai we always start with a tall glass of water."

While simple, it is also based on sound science. While sleeping, your body repairs itself from the prior day's ActiVit®. This takes both calories and energy -- not the same as while you're awake, but you've just gone probably 6 to 10 hours without any water and are dehydrated. A tall glass of water in the morning can have an immediate effect on how you feel and change your outlook on the day. (Even if you're one of those that has coffee as the top priority when you first get up, a glass of water first will actually help the coffee work better for you because caffeine likes a healthy hydrated body for full effect.)

During Power Kauai, guests then engage in some moderate cardiovascular ActiVit®. Even if it's only for 5 minutes, moving the body in the morning can benefit you for the rest of the day. A brisk walk or easy stretching session is all it takes to warm-up the body, literally, which lubricates your joints and tendons and makes the likelihood of injury from daily tasks much lower. Anything over 20 minutes also mobilizes the body's fat stores and teaches your body how to more efficiently use stored body fat as fuel. It's then time for your body to eat.

"We like to eat a lot of fruit early in the day," says Jones. "Your body needs fruit but because it is high in carbs and sugar we think it's best in the a.m., then we move towards more vegetables in the afternoon and evening." This makes sense as your body has fasted all night and your blood sugar stores are low. If you've done some exercise as well, your body will absorb these nutrients very quickly and you will be fueled up for whatever comes next.

"I felt so light and energized," said Lane, a Power Kauai client from Georgia.

Breakfast in Kauai, however, isn't solely fruit. It can also include whole grain cereals, whole grain pancakes, yogurt and usually some protein.

"We try and change it around a bit," says Jay Sklar, program leader and chef. "It doesn't have to always include a certain amount of protein because we can make up for that in other meals."

"It really depends on what we're doing," adds Jones. "We try and plan meals so that our clients will use the energy from each meal in their activities. Everyone remarks how they can actually feel their body using what they've eaten."

Whether you're in Hawaii or at home, eating this way shouldn't put a cramp into your lifestyle. In the morning, your body is naturally hungry but doesn't need a "traditional" breakfast to fuel up. In fact, the main consequence of the standard eggs, bacon, toast and hash brown meal is that it will bog you down and expand your stomach. If you eat light, healthy, and smart you'll find it easier to cope with the rest of your day.

Said Kayla, another client on a recent trip, "The food seemed so simple and easy to prepare, but it was surprisingly filling."

Here are a few tips to help your body awaken:
  1. Start each day with a glass of pure water. Along with a few minutes of stretching this can change your entire outlook on the day ahead.
  2. Fruit in the morning. No one disclaims the benefits of fruit. However, its high sugar content gives some concern to those worried about an insulin spike. In the morning, this spike will replenish your blood sugar that's low from a night of fasting.
  3. Eat some protein. Even if you've an active day ahead and don't want to be bogged down, eating 15-20% protein in your breakfast will help you perform better. On more sedentary days, this percentage should be even higher.
  4. Eat whole foods. Try to avoid things like spices and cooking oils in the morning. Concentrate on pure nutrition. In the morning, your body craves fuel and is less picky and sensitive to taste, so it's the easiest to keep meals completely healthy and natural.
  5. No enriched anything! As discussed above, carbs are fine in the morning. You're going to use some immediately and burn the rest off throughout the day. But keep these natural. Make breads, pancakes, and cereals all of the natural variety. Read the ingredients and avoid anything with enriched flour.

By Team Beachbody

If you want to get slim -- Debbie Siebers has created the revolutionary system that actually reshapes the body to be slimmer and leaner - In JUST SIX WEEKS!

It's Slim in 6®, the 6 week program for rapid weight loss and body slimming - and our test group proved that in six short weeks you can:
  • Lose up to 20 pounds
  • Lose up to 7 inches off your waist
  • Lose up to 7 inches off your hips
  • Lose up to 10 inches off your thighs
Exclusive offer to Beachbody subscribers! Slim in 6® includes everything you need to reshape your body in only 6 weeks.

Plus, we've extended the standard money back guarantee from 30 days up to a FULL SIX WEEK MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE! So you can complete the program start to finish. And if you don't get results like we achieved in the test group, return it for a full refund of the purchase price!

How slim do you want to be in six weeks?

The 5-Minute Morning Stretch

Friday, February 26, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

One of easiest steps we can take towards feeling better is a quick little stretch each morning. This daily warm-up does much more than just loosen you up, it helps you recover better from the previous day's toil and prepares your body for the day ahead. While you sleep your body repairs damaged muscle tissue, which will perform better if it's loosened up prior to use. Stretching in the morning is similar in importance to stretching after your workout. It will oxygenate your muscles and your brain, which adds a positive kick-start to your day.

You can begin this before you even get out of bed. Start by taking a few deep breaths, then raise your arms over your head, point your toes, and stretch out your body. Hold each position about 30 seconds. Alternately bring each arm over your head then drop your hand down to the opposite ear. Keep all of these movements slow and easy, don't try and really stretch out, just move. Next, lying on your back, slide your feet up, raising your knees. Drop your knees to one side, and then the other. Then pull your knees to your chest and give yourself a hug. Put one leg out straight while holding on to the other and bring your head outside of the knee, then switch legs. Take a few relaxing breathes and get out of bed.

Now lean your arms against a wall. Drop one leg back and press your heal towards the floor, stretching out the calves—switch legs. Finish up with a Sun Salutation. Standing with your feet on the floor, bend your knees (remember, it's morning and we aren't trying to maximize these stretches) and drop down onto your hands and get into downward dog (hands and feet both flat—or as flat as you can—with your body in an inverted V). Then move into upward dog (arms straight, back arched, looking slightly up, toes pointed with the tops of your feet on the ground). Then it's back to upward dog. Now walk your feet up towards the hands with the knees bent. Then straighten the knees and hang the arms in front of your body, stretching the hamstrings. Keep this easy and relaxed. Don't push or try and stretch beyond what seems easy. Then straighten the arms, keep your back straight, and bring your arms up over your head, clasping the hands lightly together at the top, looking up toward your hands. Take a few deep breathes, relax, and start your day.

Message Board Post of the Month

Thursday, February 25, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Tony Mestaz

I've tried to put to words my experience of last weekends Charity Run. I was so full of emotion Saturday. Of course I was excited, knowing I was going to meet the Beachbody gang and Tony Horton and Debbie Siebers. Tony's been in my living room for about 90 days now and the Power 90® Program has become a big part of my life. However all of that could not compare to why we were all there, The Charity for Breast and Ovarian Cancer. During one part of the event, Tony Horton put his hand on my shoulder and asked me if I didn't just think this was the most remarkable thing I had ever seen. I could tell by the look in his eyes he was also feeling the emotions of the 60,000 plus people that had come together that day. There were so many people wearing shirts with pictures of loved ones that had lost the battle - they were mothers and daughters and wives. I saw so many men walking with little kids and they were wearing shirts with a picture of mommy - a mommy that would be missed. I was truly touched. I was very proud to be on the Beachbody team.

The People at Beachbody were not what I expected, well maybe in some ways they were but in most not at all. I've learned that while being on Power 90® what made this program work over others was that Beachbody gave me the feeling they were right there with me for every drop of sweat and every push up. Celebrating with me every inch I lost and every smile I wore. The key for me was I was not alone. They also gave me all of you. You all make this program work and Beachbody goes to great length to keep it up and running 24 hours a day. The part of them I didn't expect was how real they are and how concerned they are for each and every one of us. As I talked about many of you they all but finished my sentences. They know you better than I do. They were so friendly and there was no sales pitch. They never told me what to say or how to act. They just glow as people. I got to meet people from the back office and just like all the others over and over again it was all about us - you and me and how we are doing and if we like the boards and how is this working for us. They are concern for our health and that we get fit the right way.

I had been with the camera crew away from the Beachbody booth when Tony Horton and Debbie Siebers arrived. Cort Howell, the producer, said Tony's at the booth. I actually wanted to run over just to get a peek at him. First of all, know that Tony does not claim to be anything or anyone special, just a man concerned about fitness. He is a hero to me though. When Cort said we'd head back over to the Beachbody booth I was nervous and totally excited. I darted back in that direction and could see a huge crowd gathered around them. In the middle of the crowd were Tony and Debbie. At first I didn't recognize Debbie; she is even more beautiful and full of life in person than she is on the TV. Tony has about a million times more energy than what we see of him. I wonder how they ever get those tapes made - It shows on their persons how much they love people. The camera guy asked me if I had met Tony yet. I told him no but I was excited to get to. When I got up the nerve to work my way through the crowd, I walked up to him and as I caught his attention he yelled out my name. I was shocked he knew who I was - even more proof to the fact that all Beachbody staff are involved in the Message Boards (I can't stress enough how important it is to use them if you have the chance). Tony reached out and gave me a big hug and again I was shocked, this guy felt like brick wall - Hey guys those muscles on TV are not Hollywood effect they are real - sheesh.

Over the next few hours I would be hugged, have my hand shook and smiled at over and over by the Beachbody staff. I met Carl and Jon, the founders - both really great guys and very concerned with health and fitness. I got to meet with Steve Edwards, our fitness advisor, and Joanne, who also gives advice on the boards. What awesome people -they all live what they preach.

IMPORTANT INFO - Because I was either with the camera crew or doing the run I was not able to carry my camera. All the pictures I have been able to share are because Steve and Joanne were willing to carry it for me and take pictures throughout the day. Please let them know how much we appreciate them. There were many staff members there that day also wanting to give time for such a worthy cause. I've often wondered where Beachbody gave their employees training. Having a big background in customer service, one company many people try to mimic is Disney, they are supposed to be tops when it comes to customer service and relations. Beachbody must have written their book. I can say this because I have called them several times and every time they've gone out of their way to take care of my needs. Do I sound like a commercial? I saw a post yesterday where someone made a comment about hook, line and sinker - What I know is this: Beachbody says if you follow their program they will transform your body. Well not only do they do that but they also transform your outlook on life. Those of you that know me also know I had pretty much given up on life. I was obese, my diabetes was raging and I was so overweight I could not even play with my kids without it causing lots of pain. Tony Horton and Beachbody have given me back my life, given me tons of energy, and now I just want to pay it forward.

I'm so proud to have been a part of Beachbody. The small amount of money it cost to get started was not even close to what they give back. Every penny I paid was an investment to my health, fitness, and future.

I'll post a few more pictures now - I love ya all.

Power On!
Tony M.

Fitness and Fundraising

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

As you may have noticed, at we're focused on giving you meaningful goals to help you focus on achieving a body transformation. Combining a charitable event with your fitness goals can be a great way to keep you motivated and put a little pressure on yourself to see a program through to the end.

Recently, Beachbody sponsored the Revlon Run/Walk for Women, an annual fundraising event that this year raised more than 3 million dollars for breast and ovarian cancer. With Tony Horton and Debbie Siebers there to warm-up the crowd, we were proud to be part of such an event, where more than 60,000 people gathered together to raise both money and awareness about cancer.

"I felt like a rock star," exclaimed Debbie Siebers about the experience. Looking across a sea of people mimicking Tony and Debbie's every move was a visual beyond verbal description - you had to see it.

"It was totally different than anything I'd been involved with before," said Debbie. "We were all there in order to help others, which created this amazing camaraderie."

"There is nothing better than being connected to something inherently good," added Tony. "To see so many people gathered together to raise money for Women's Cancers gave me a powerful feeling of hope. It was mind blowing to see throngs of people doing some Power 90® moves. Debbie and I felt truly honored to be part of such a special day - and it was great to see people combining their own fitness with a great cause.

"To be able to take part on such a scale was one of the highlights in our company's history. But these grand-scale events, while being the paragon of fundraising, are just a manifestation of what is, at heart, a very grass roots act, one of combining your own objective to raise money and elevate awareness for others that cannot do it alone.

Fitness events have become synonymous with charitable causes. Probably because most fitness endeavors have some physical "suffering" associated with them and those that can afford to be charitable prefer to channel their money to those whom they feel earn it. Since any race or competition has only one person that will cross the finish line first, this is a way that we can find our own challenge and a way to "win" the competition. Most are not world-class athletes and the desire to run a 10K or do a triathlon is a personal challenge. Fundraising is a way to heighten that challenge; to turn your event into your own personal Olympic Games. And it's also a great way to keep yourself motivated so that you don't give up on your own fitness objectives. You can easily parlay your personal quest into a philanthropic event. By tying a charitable event to your fitness goals, you add a "bigger than you" aspect that provides extra incentive to keep going during periods where you lose steam.

Where to start

It all starts with you. You must decide on something that you'd like to do, which isn't always easy. For someone that used to run, a marathon is a natural choice. However, if you've never run but think it sounds fun, perhaps a 5K would be more realistic. If you have rarely been off the couch, perhaps a 5K walk would be a considerable challenge. From triathlons, treks, bike rides, and bungee jumps, to sailing around the world or climbing Mt. Everest, there is really no limit to what you can attempt. But the key, at first - just like exercise - is that you have to start. Pick an athletic endeavor and then do some research about charitable events involving your sport. Or do the opposite, pick an issue or cause that you'd like to support, and then find an event that raises money for it.

Large events vs. Small ones

Events like the Revlon Run/Walk are a simple way to get your feet wet. The event is set up so that it's physically attainable to most anyone. Its fundraising strategy is firmly established. You simply sign-up and are given a list of what to do and ways to go about it. You know the event will go well and be inspiring. Large events like this are a "no-brainer" and a great place to start. Check out: for some large, celebrity-filled events. Most major cities will hold at least a few per year.

Small events, on the other hand, usually require more work from you, and their outcome and effectiveness is often in question. However, if you believe in the cause, then don't let this deter you. While not having a guarantee of success is scarier, it can also lead to greater rewards and the feeling that you've really made a difference. An excellent reference is, where you can search nonprofit organizations to find one that you'd like to support.

The other way to go is to start your own event. Most huge events started small, including the Revlon. At, Jason Mittman came up with his own challenge, did his own pr (with help from the web site), and was able to raise $30,000 for cancer in just three weeks. While Mittman did have a background in fundraising, his template was followed by Kenji Haroutunian, who raised $4,000 for the environmental organization, Friends of Joshua Tree, in spite of the fact that very few people had ever heard of it. Similarly, marathoner Hal Higdon has been fundraising individually for years. When he did 7 marathons to celebrate his 70th birthday he was able to raise an astonishing $700,000! Certainly, this type of fundraising presents the biggest challenge, since you are in charge of everything.

If you decide to start your own event, there are many different organizations to help you out. The obvious will give you some ideas but is mainly set up for corporate fundraising. Other similar organizations, like can provide useful information and a "jumping in" point. You will also want to check and as well. There are also many fitness-oriented companies that will provide help with events, like Jamba Juices' Banana Man . These are just a few of many examples. Once you get started you will see opportunities at every turn. Over the last decade, global fundraising for charitable causes has increased 100 fold. It benefits you, benefits others, is fun, challenging and rewarding; why not give it a shot?

By Team Beachbody

We've all visualized ourselves doing something successful. It's a process that we start as children when we dream of winning a gold medal or a spelling bee. But the act of visualization is much more than just daydreaming - It's a powerful performance tool that we can use to help us in our day to day lives, including getting the most from a fitness regimen like Power 90® or Slim in 6®.

Specifically, if you are struggling with swinging through your leg from the "plank" to the "runners pose" in the yoga phases of our programs, or having a hard time seeing how you could look when you truly "transform your body", you could use a little visualization to reinforce in the brain what the body is trying to achieve.

Visualization is not simply a process of thinking about something (although that is a decent start); it's an organized process of mentally working through weaknesses and seeing improvement in order to make progress.

Visualization is also referred to as "guided imagery", or the process of creating a scene in your mind of what you want to happen. An Olympic athlete will create images, like pictures or movies that recreate their best performances or envision desired outcomes so that imagery becomes a "normal" part of the psyche. While imagining these scenarios, the athlete actually imagines every detail and the way it feels to perform the way they want.

These images can be visual (images and pictures), kinesthetic (how the body may feel), or auditory (creating sound triggers to stimulate repetitive performance). Using the mind, an athlete can call up these images over and over, enhancing skills through repetition or rehearsal, similar to physical practice. With mental rehearsal, minds and bodies become trained to actually perform the skill imagined. A layperson would apply the exact same techniques to improve on push-ups, yoga positions, finishing a desired number of repetitions, or just about anything.

Such repeated imagery can build both mental experience and confidence in one's ability to perform certain skills or achieve a certain outcome.

Three Phases of Visualization
There are three main steps that lead to complete attitude enhancement. The first is "Tary Relaxation", which teaches you to achieve the ideal balance of energy and relaxation. Next, "active visualization" to create positive expectations, to master certain techniques and tactics, and to improve confidence. Finally, "attitude enhancement" is where you're able to mold positive thoughts, feelings, and emotions into an unstoppable mindset. This has an almost instantaneous and involuntary effect on the muscles and organs of the body.

How It's Done
Here are six steps to help you begin to visualize like the pros:
  • Visualize from your "minds eye" or as you would see the scenario you desire.
  • Visualize with as many of your senses as possible. Try to re-create as many feelings and muscular stimuli with each visualization as you can.How will you look? How will it feel? What will you hear? Etc.
  • Visualize as many times during the day as possible, when you get up, before training, after training and always before you fall asleep.
  • Visualize all the various situations that you will be facing. See challenges and opportunities.
  • Visualize those situations that are the most difficult for you. It is important that the images you create are as perfect as possible. Include as much of the physical feeling of doing these techniques as you can. Here's where you get to perform like a pro!
  • Repeat each image in your mind as many times as possible. Utilize every opportunity to reinforce neuromuscular patterning.
This technique is proven. It's what you see athletes doing before they compete. It's what dancers do before they take the stage. It's what achievers do before they set out to tackle their next challenge.

By Team Beachbody

A Family Fitness Affair

I am not a "fitness enthusiast", but I know it's imperative in order to maintain my quality of life. That is probably part of's success, because the programs we create have to work for people like me who aren't in love with working out, but are in love with what they get from it.

I'm noticing though, that a predisposition to exercise might be something you can learn, which is noteworthy in the age of alarming child obesity statistics.

I got the idea when I heard that, as an infant, Tiger Woods used to watch his father swing a golf club for hours at a time. Golf became second nature to him! So after I heard that, I started popping in Power 90® with my two year old, Ava, in the room and sure enough she started doing the workout along with me (and no, she can not swing her leg through to runner's pose.) Of course I don't expect her to go four rounds of circuit with me, but she does see that fitness requires work and commitment for me. I'm betting that the time we spend together will make the choice to exercise a regular part of her day rather than the "necessary evil" it has become for many of us late starters.

A great example of the benefits of making fitness a family affair are our newest winners, Robert "Captain Bob" Mast and his three kids, Robby, age 13; Tanya, age 17; and Christina, age 10. Not only are they all more fit from working out regularly, but also they had the benefit of family support when the going got rough. Likewise, fitness became something they could share as a family and actually helped them have a common bond. How many families do you know that share more than the primetime TV schedule? It's an awesome example of creating meaningful family time, and they are an inspiration because it took a lot to achieve their results.

Clearly, there are enough good reasons to exercise regularly to justify the effort. But for me, a session or so doing "fast feet" and "hook upper cut" with my daughter is the one that gets me off the couch.

Fast Start Formula

Sunday, February 21, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

Feel refreshed, invigorated, and lose five pounds (or more) in two days - or your money back.

Choose Chocolate or Vanilla, then just follow Fast Start for two daysand you will experience:
  1. A cleansing of your body and your mind.
  2. A natural boost of energy.
  3. The incredible sense of being slim and in control of your body.
  4. A decrease in unhealthy cravings.

Have you EVER let your body stop breaking down food? Have you EVER given it a break, so your natural calorie consumption machine could get "caught up" with the food in the pipeline and actually start burning off the calories you've already stored?

How Does It Work?

The Fast Start Formula (Chocolate or Vanilla) is a fortified drink, which provides you with essential nutrients while giving your body a break from the rigors of digestion. It was scientifically formulated by nutrition and diet expert, Tim Avila, so that in just 2 days you will cleanse your body and lose weight - but more important, your body will be ready to access stored fat from exercise like never before!

Drink Fast Start Formula instead of food for two days. Afterwards you will feel thin, refreshed, and cleansed. Your skin will even look more radiant because you've stopped taxing the body for just a couple of days. Even if you use Fast Start for just a day, or for a couple of meals, this exercise of discipline can have a dramatic effect on breaking the cycle of unhealthy eating.

Now is the time to do it - clean your system out, and start burning off the flab you hate!

Why Fast?

Saturday, February 20, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

With the launch of our Fast Start Formula, we've been seeing a lot of discussion on the message boards about fasting, mainly on its effects, benefits, and dangers. Here is a brief overview on fasting, how it can improve your life, and some things to look out for:

Fasting is one of the oldest therapies in medicine and its recorded practice dates back thousands of years. Many doctors of ancient times and many of the oldest healing systems have recommended it as an integral method of healing and prevention. Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, believed fasting enabled the body to heal itself. Paracelsus, another famous healer wrote, "Fasting is the greatest remedy, the physician within." Ayurvedic medicine, the world's oldest healing system, has long advocated fasting as a major therapy.

Many chronic conditions have used fasting as an effective treatment, including allergies, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, depression, diabetes, headaches, heart disease, high cholesterol, low blood sugar, digestive disorders, mental illness, and obesity. It is thought to be beneficial as a preventative measure to increase overall health, vitality, and resistance to disease. And, of course, it's also used as a method of mental and spiritual rejuvenation.

The principal is simple. When the intake of food is temporarily stopped, many systems of the body are given a break from the hard work of digestion. The extra energy gives the body the chance to heal and restore itself, plus burning stored calories gets rid of toxic substances stored in the body. Fasting is said to be particularly useful therapy for Americans because of their lifestyle, which subjects them to heavy diets, overeating, and constant exposure to food additives and chemicals. Some alternative practitioners have gone so far as to estimate that the average American is carrying 5-10 pounds of toxic substances in their bodies, for which fasting is the quickest and most effective means of removal.

Many physiological changes occur in the body during fasting. Your body turns to stored fat for energy. However, the brain, which has high fuel requirements, still needs glucose (sugars converted from glycogen). To obtain glucose for the brain, the body finds two sources of fuel - ketosis and muscle. The body does begin to break down muscle tissue during the second day of the fast. But to fuel the brain, the body would need to burn over a pound of muscle a day, so the body has developed another fitness-friendly way to create energy that saves important muscle mass: the protein-sparing process called ketosis. In ketosis, the liver converts stored fat into ketones, which can be used by the brain, muscles, and heart as energy.

By definition, anytime that you don't eat you are fasting; hence the word "breakfast". Most therapeutic fasts last from one day to three weeks. Juice or liquid fasts are not traditional but are now more common because many of the desired results are achieved without as much stress on the body (see Fast Start Formula below). We recommend a fast of one or two days to get the benefits of the discipline without creating havoc with your metabolism. Medical supervision is recommended for any fast over three days. Most alternative medicine practitioners, such as homeopaths, naturopathic doctors, and ayurvedic doctors, can supervise and monitor patients during fasts. But any fast should be entered and exited with care.

To enter a fast, the diet should be gradually lightened over a few days. First, heavy foods such as meats and dairy products should be eliminated for a day or two. Grains, nuts, and beans should then be reduced for several days. The day before a fast, only easily digested foods like fruits, light salads, and soups should be eaten. Likewise, these should be ended gradually also, going from lighter to heavier foods progressively. The diet after a fast should emphasize fresh, wholesome foods. Fasters should particularly take care not to overeat when they complete a fast.

Fasting is not appropriate for everyone and, in some cases, could be harmful. Those with health conditions should always have medical support during fasting. Plenty of water should be consumed by fasters since dehydration can occur. Saunas and sweating therapies are sometimes recommended to assist detoxification, but should be used carefully, if not sparingly. Those fasting should significantly slow down their lifestyles. Taking time off work is helpful, or at least reducing the workload or fasting on a weekend. Fasters should also get plenty of rest. Exercise should be kept light, such as walking and gentle stretching.

By Team Beachbody

"What to do if you miss some days? There have been a lot of message board posts recently by people beating themselves up for missing a workout day or two, and then wondering if they should "start over" from day one or quit.

I can't be more serious when I say (no, when I plead), "DON'T QUIT!" If you feel like quitting, think back to why you started the program in the first place - and tap into that same motivation to stay with the program, no matter how far "off the wagon" you might have fallen.

While the preference is to complete the program in succession, life is just not that predictable. Stuff happens, and you need to give yourself the room to "live" at the same time you are working on any in-home boot camp. When Jon and I were first developing Power 90® with Tony, we missed a few days (because, for instance, my wife had a baby). And even the launch of Slim in 6®™ hit a snag with the events of September 11th. But rather than start everything over, we stayed true to the core concept and simply added a day to the end for any day we missed - and so can you. The key for us was we never lost faith that consistency was still going to have a dramatic body-changing effect. (And it did!)
So, if you miss a day or a week or even two in a row for some reason, you might consider starting over, or extending the program for some time to make it up. The most important thing of all is; Don't give up. Keep going. Don't let yourself down!

And while there are deadlines built into these programs, the real benefits go much farther than the kind of shape you can get into in 6 or 12 weeks. You are adding to the quality of your life. You are teaching your kids, your friends, your co-workers that being fit is not optional - it's a necessity! And not only will you live longer, you will enjoy those extra years more because you will remain active longer.

The benefits go on and on - and the only way to get them is to stay with it - to NOT GIVE UP. That is the one and only secret to getting results. So if you miss a day... congratulations - you proved you're human. The key to making these programs work is to make sure that as soon as possible, you take the initiative to push "play", and "poof", you're back on track and the results will keep coming.

By Team Beachbody

Hit a plateau?

Target each muscle group for a day at the same time you lose fat with the new "Power Shaping" technique!

If you want to focus your muscle toning effort on your abs, your thighs, or your upper body, and burn fat at the same time, there's a new training technique to try called "Power Shaping".

Power Shaping is a unique training strategy that combines some bodybuilding techniques with body sculpting/fat burning techniques to create a one-step, super time efficient program.

A Power Shaping workout targets a certain muscle group with the aim of toning muscle while burning fat. It differs from regular routines in that your heart rate increases to a fat-burning target zone and remains there for the duration of the workout - at the same time you are toning a specific targeted area. From day to day you can cycle each muscle group, just the same as any traditional program, yet each day you also add a fat-burning cardiovascular session to your workout as well.

For example, standard ab routines work the underlying muscle group to help you achieve the famous "six-pack" look, but they usually do little to burn off the fatty layer covering the abdominal region. A Power Shaping ab routine combines those exercises with at least 20 minutes of aerobic moves (which also target the ab region) to burn off stored fat, so you can see those well defined abs you worked so hard for. That way you accomplish two things at once - more progress, less time.

If you want to focus your efforts on your thighs, a Power Shaping thigh routine again, calls for at least 20 minutes of aerobic activity to burn off fat while you tone/tighten the leg muscles with targeted resistance training. This creates a leaner, more toned look - and again, it's faster than working the muscles separately and then exercising to burn fat.

Achieving bodybuilder type results with Power Shaping is not likely, because keeping your heart rate elevated can affect the intensity potential for each individual resistance set. However, the cardiovascular benefits of each session will be just as good as any other cardio workout. That's why this new Power Shaping technique can be one of the most time efficient workouts available for anyone looking for a combination of muscle growth and fat loss.

By Team Beachbody

Beachbody has created a new technique for slimming the body, called "Slim Training®", which is the basis for a new program called Slim in 6® - but it's something you can create on your own as well. While Slim Training® is not a revolutionary fitness concept altogether, it is the first time it has been tested andorganized into a system to work for everyone.

Slim Training® combines many elements from traditional fitness programs into one routine that specifically targets all of your energy systems in order to slim down your body. If you have ever done basic training in the military or completed a pre-season "hell week" for a sport, chances are that you have done a similar type of program. What makes Slim Training® unique is that instead of being targeted at a sport or performance-related goal, this program is designed to target the way you look and feel!

Sound science: Slim Training® is, for the most part, sound science. For six weeks, six days a week, each session you should warm-up, stretch out, work out all of your muscle groups, and your cardiovascular system, then warm down. The 6-week program starts at an easy pace and increases in intensity over time until you peak around the sixth week. Then you should take a break for rest and recovery.

Revolutionary science: Slim Training® differs from most techniques in that you work all of your muscle groups every day for 6 consecutive days. This is in stark contrast to what most professionals say is optimum. The reason it works is that each workout doesn't totally max each muscle group. While the overall workouts should be intense, you shouldn't overload each muscle group to the point where it needs the standard 48 hours for recovery.

If you decide to use Slim in 6® to get the results of the Slim Training® technique, the program's "coach" and creator, Debbie Siebers (also of "Thin Thighs Guaranteed!™") is there to make certain that you don't overdo it. If you decide to construct a Slim Training®™ routine of your own for six weeks - for instance combining the Sculpt and Sweat tapes of Power 90® into one daily "Slim Session", each workout should tax your system enough so that you can ensure strength gains and maximize your body's fat burning capabilities WITHOUT OVERTRAINING. Use low weight and high repetition resistance training. This allows for only very slight muscle hypertrophy (growth), which is offset by the body's fat loss over the course of the 6 week program. The result is a slimmer, fitter you.

Important: If you decide to turn your current program into a Slim Training® program: If you are working your body to its maximum right now and try this, you could overload your body and "overtrain". Overtraining can lead to compromised progress, injuries, and eventually illness. When you workout hard (like in Power 90®), your body breaks down. You need to wait for it to recover to train again. That's how you get stronger. But if you work out too soon, then you will actually reduce your strength and weaken your body's systems. You must exercise caution not to overdo it if you decide to put your own Slim Training® program together!

Overtraining is why the time between resistance workouts should normally vary from a day to as many as 6 or 7 days, depending upon individual recuperative ability, size and type of muscle, efficient use of supplements, diet, rest and other restorative techniques, and the severity of the overload.

Six to seven days for recovery is for severe overload only and is in the realm of the serious athlete. "Normal" gym type workouts will not generate this much "microtrauma" to your system.

Overload is what we call intensity of the workout, with intensity meaning purely resistance training. Meaning simply that for Slim Training®, the amount of weight that you push around should be reduced. You don't want to attempt to lift your maximum weight. If you ever fail at less than 12-15 reps, then lighten the load. You can recover quickly from daily aerobic exercise but resistance training (heavy weights, plyometrics, etc) will hammer you if you attempt to do it to the max each day. This doesn't mean that you don't work hard. It just means that you need to re-set your gauges for the purposes of Slim Training®. Don't attempt to lift the same weights you were lifting when you were resting a day or more between sessions. That would be a recipe for overtraining. But if you can make yourself re-adjust and go backwards (hard for some), then you can turn your current program into a Slim Training® program and expect results.

Finally, remember that Slim Training® was designed to only last 6 weeks. It can be a taxing program. You should back off once you peak and give yourself some time to recover while you get ready to blast away at your next program.

So if you want to change your body shape from say, a pear shape to a V shape, you'll find this Slim Training® technique is a great tool for you when utilized correctly!

By Team Beachbody

Every now and then research unlocks an amazing fitness solution with natural ingredients that have always been available. Here we analyze two completely natural supplements that, when taken together, are known to be very potent for regulating the metabolism, increasing energy, and promoting fat loss while maintaining muscle mass. While both supplements are readily available at health food stores and online, only lately have we really learned most of their benefits.

And what's even more exciting is; a recent study at the fitness lab showed that when combined with a proper diet and exercise, a supplement consisting of Green tea and Sodium Pyruvate can accelerate the body's weight loss by almost 29%!

Here is a brief rundown of what we learned about these two ingredients:

Green Tea: According to tea expert Dr. John Weisburger, tea in any form is probably the number one thing that you can add to your diet to ward off illness. While this is certain to ruffle some feathers in the health field, so many studies have come out showing tremendous benefits from tea that it's impossible to say his statement isn't at least arguable.

A growing body of evidence suggests that regular consumption of green tea can reduce the incidence of a variety of cancers. Green tea might also help prevent heart disease and liver disease. Both black and green tea are made from the same plant, but more of the original substances endure in the less-processed green form. Green tea contains high levels of substances called polyphenols, known to possess strong antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antitumorigenic, and even antibiotic properties.

Green Tea appears to speed up calorie burning, including those calories stored in the body as fat. Researchers have studied the effects of Green Tea on subjects to find the number of calories used was measurably higher for participants taking Green Tea extract than for those taking simple caffeine or nothing. The research also has found evidence that people taking Green Tea extract used more fat calories than those taking a placebo. This ingredient has been the subject of many clinical trials. In these trials and on a daily basis, Green Tea is one of the safest and most validated ingredients in the supplement arena. Green Tea has been demonstrated to safely increase human metabolism, as well as provide excellent antioxidant activity. Both of these properties make it an indispensable part of a weight management and exercise program.

Note: Even though there is caffeine present in Green Tea, it still can act as a "calming agent". In fact, many people drink Green Tea before bed for that very reason!

Here follows some research summaries from more recent publications:

University of Iowa researchers found that tea may be a powerful cancer fighter, according to a study published in the July 1996 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology. The study of more than 35,000 postmenopausal women showed that those who drank at least two cups of tea a day were 40% less likely to develop urinary tract cancer and 68% less likely to develop cancer in the digestive tract than women who did not drink tea.

Other scientists have found that the powerful antioxidants in tea also may help reduce the risk of heart disease. In one study, researchers found that women age 55 or older, who drank as little as a cup or two of tea a day, were 54% less likely to have severe atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart attack or stroke, than those who did not. The more tea they drank, the less their risk, according to a study published in the Oct. 11, 1999, issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. That could be because the antioxidants work by preventing "bad" (LDL, low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol from promoting the plaque buildup that clogs arteries. And by preventing atherosclerosis, tea antioxidants can help the arteries supply nourishing blood to the heart and the rest of the body.

Pyruvate: Pyruvate occurs naturally in the body and is an end product of the metabolism of sugar or starch. Although pyruvate is also found in a variety of foods, most of them contain less than 25 mg per serving. Foods high in pyruvate include certain fruits and vegetables - most notably, red apples contain 450 mg - certain cheeses, dark beer (80 mg per 12 ounces) and red wine (75 mg per 6 ounces).

A surprising discovery was made with pyruvate by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. They showed that dietary supplementation with pyruvate increased fat loss by up to 48% and minimized the associated loss of body protein! This is unusual because fat loss during dietary restriction virtually always occurs with a corresponding and substantial loss of muscle (body protein).

Pyruvate has also been shown to increase endurance (by up to 20%) in some studies, making it even more attractive for athletes. Anyone who has gone on a diet knows that it's hard to maintain the stamina necessary to get super-intense workouts once you cut back on calories.

Two human studies conducted by premier pyruvate researcher Ronald Stanko, MD, from the Gastroenterology and Clinical Nutrition Division at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, found that supplementation with pyruvate along with another three-carbon molecule, dihydroxyacetone (DHA), for seven days significantly increased muscular endurance in both the arms and legs by 20%. Stanko's results on fat loss are even more phenomenal. Two well-controlled studies found that pyruvate had a significant impact not only on weight loss but, more important, on fat loss. The most recent study found that when obese female subjects were given pyruvate for three weeks, they lost 37% more weight (13 pounds vs. 9.5 pounds) and 48% more fat (8.8 pounds vs. 5.9 pounds). In practical terms, this 48% increase in fat loss translated into a loss of nearly an extra pound of body fat a week!

Additionally, Dr. Frank Greenway, an endocrinologist at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, focused a study on the effects of nutrition in obesity. Greenway states pyruvate is "a normal constituent of human metabolism, so its safety should be high." He added that "pyruvate decreases cholesterol in a high-fat diet, has important antioxidant activity and seems to improve cardiac function."

At, we don't advocate any supplement alone to promote weight loss. So we did a study to see what the effectiveness of these two ingredients would be in a group that was exercising regularly. The results confirmed our suspicions: While both groups lost significant pounds and inches, the group that took the combination of Green tea and Sodium Pyruvate lost nearly 29% more weight in the six week study than the group that took no supplements.

Post of the Month

Monday, February 15, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

"This forum and taking your pictures on day 1, day 30, 60 and 90 are all ways to help you stick with the program. I am one of those people that would NOT exercise because I just "didn't have time." When I ordered Power 90®, it took me 4 months to get the gumption just to get the tape in the machine. That was 45 days ago. I have lost 12 lbs since that day, and a total of 6 inches!! Check out the whole site -- look at people's before and after pics (mine are there, too) and hopefully that will motivate you to stick with it. People are getting real results and feeling so much better for it! You'll make friends through this program and we are all here to help you. Sure you'll have rough days, but STICK WITH IT. Do what you can do, take it one day at a time, and you'll do great!! Good Luck!! And let me know how you are doing.

from the "Beachbody Motivator Forum" at the Message Boards

Get in the Arena!

Sunday, February 14, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

"It is not the critic that counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles. Or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement. And at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." -- President Theodore Roosevelt, "The Man in the Arena" Paris, 1910

As we head towards 2002, we can't help but reminisce about what a wild 2001 it was: a chaotic Presidential election, a crashing economy and, of course, September 11th. It was a year more volatile than anything since the 60's: a year that permanently altered the course of modern civilization. A year marked with enormous loss; ghastly tragedy; but, also, that has come to a close with a glimmer of hope for the future. Our planet's future: a feeling that all this, in the end, will have been for a reason. That perhaps this action will bring the world more together, to become more tolerant of each other, more understanding, more compassionate. And if this succeeds in unifying the planet, in opening impassable borders, in less hatred, less violence, and more freedom, then perhaps history will re-write the effects of the barbaric actions of 2001. Perhaps instead of being remembered as the year the world fell apart, it can become the year the world finally learned to stand together.

Joseph Campbell talks about how in saving yourself you save the world. How each of us, in our own daily existence, be it ever so insignificant, plays a major role in the shaping of our planet, our society, and our future. At, it has been such a year. In the midst of all the tragedy, we have seen much triumph; people that have overcome long odds to change their lives; to re-shape, not only their bodies, but their minds, their lives and the lives of others around them.

A little more than one year ago we launched Power 90®. It's been less than a year since we have launched the message boards. To see the transformation and effect that one exercise program and a public forum can have on a group of people has been something far beyond what we dreamed possible. To see our fellow members commit to changing their lives has been inspirational. To see their success; to see their failures, to see them get up, and get right back into the fight for self-improvement has been an incredible experience. We wanted all along to give people an easy and cost-effective way to find the shape they once had or had always wanted, and to discover the benefits that fitness has to offer. But what we have seen is so far beyond individuals doing some exercise and watching what they eat.

We've seen people change their habits for good, for the better. Not only in the way they look, but the way they feel and act as well. Sure, we have many folks that have been able to get into the shape they were in high school or college. But we've also had people who were suffering from serious illnesses get well, injured people gain movement they'd thought they had lost forever, obese folks actually get thin, and others who had never exercised in their lives find out that there is a whole new world of possibility when they take care of their body.

It's been a wonderful journey, and it's only just beginning. For 2002, it will be business as usual for us, trying to help folks realize that everyday is an opportunity for even greater achievement. We'll provide the support so there is only one thing standing in your way; you.

Now is the time to take that step, to realize your dreams, to get yourself into the arena.

To help you into the New Year, we have gathered some inspirational work from some of the greatest leaders of the world. And where did we find this talent pool? From you, our fellow members. You are the ones that make this program work; and that is what makes this newsletter so meaningful. Thank you for taking a little journey with us. And keep it up. Our best is yet to come " because so is yours!

Eating for Exercise

Saturday, February 13, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

We have all heard about eating smaller and more frequent meals. It's simple in concept; you just space out a series of small snacks throughout the day. The trick comes with planning all this eating around exercising. Eating enough to sustain you through your workout, eating a post-workout snack, no eating 3 hours before bed, and trying to squeeze in breakfast, lunch, and dinner - it can become a logistical nightmare! Here we will address each of these issues to help you with your planning.
  1. Eating enough to sustain your workout - What to eat pre-workout should depend upon the type of workout that you plan on doing. high, moderate, or low intensity, cardio or resistance; it makes a difference. Here are some guidelines for eating before exercise:
    • Three or four hours before exercising, a large meal is fine (600 calories or more).
    • Two or three hours beforehand, a smaller meal is suitable (400 - 500 calories).
    • One or two hours before, a liquid meal is appropriate (300 - 400 calories).
    • With less than one hour, a small snack will do. (200 - 300 calories).
    • We recommend not eating for at least 45 minutes before a workout.
    You want to follow this for any moderate to high intensity workouts, whether they are cardio or resistance, because you will need some carbohydrates in your system if you want to perform your best. For low or low-moderate cardio workouts it is better to go on an empty stomach, so you will want to avoid eating for at least 3 hours beforehand. This will force your body to use its stored body fat as fuel. However, for low-to-moderate resistance workouts, you will want to fuel yourself if there is any chance that you'll do any sets to failure because if you try and push that far using fat stores you can "bonk." Bonking is what athletes refer to when they run out of blood sugar during a competition, and basically run out of energy. This is not a serious condition if you then slow down and eat something. But if you continue to push through a "bonk", you will risk serious injury. Also keep in mind that people tolerate foods differently, and the composition of the food matters. Fats stay in the stomach longest, followed by protein and high fiber carbohydrates, then low fiber complex carbohydrates, and finally simple sugars, which are absorbed fastest. Avoid sugary foods, including juice, an hour before exercise. The body absorbs the sugar in these foods quickly, and you may feel lightheaded and tired during your exercise as a result. If you feel you absolutely must have juice or some sugary snack before exercise, have it only five or ten minutes before you begin. This way, there isn't enough time for your body to secrete insulin (a hormone that lowers blood sugar and can cause fatiguing symptoms). Since everyone reacts a little differently, try various strategies to determine what helps you the most. No matter what, drink water before, during, and after exercise.
  2. The Post-Workout Snack - Within a one-hour window of finishing exercise, you want to take in some easily digestible carbohydrates and some protein. This varies depending on your size and the intensity of your session, but your body uses nutrients approximately four times better during this window so you won't want to miss it. What you'll want is between 40 and 60 grams of carbohydrates and 10 to 20 grams of protein, depending on your body weight and length of the session.
  3. No eating 3 hours before bed - This concept is simple. You don't need much fuel to sleep; don't eat so you can use your stored body fat. Any nighttime eating, especially carb consumption, will greatly add to your fat stores. Because you will use less fuel, nighttime calories are worth 40 - 50% more than calories consumed at breakfast and lunch. This becomes a problem for those who workout at night because they are hungry and should eat something. For these people we would recommend a small post-workout snack and nothing else. The trick is to consume enough to replenish your glycogen stores and no extra. For a one-hour intense workout, about 250 calories, with 45 grams of carbs and 14 grams of protein should be about perfect (more or less depending on the above variables).
  4. Breakfast - The "most important meal of the day" is still that. Any calories consumed will most likely get used up. Plus, a well-fueled body performs better; no matter the tasks it's asked to perform. For morning exercisers, this meal will also be a post-workout snack and should follow the same guidelines.
  5. Lunch - This meal should depend entirely on your afternoon schedule. Heavy carbs should only be consumed if your workout is still ahead. If it's 4 more hours at the office, try to make lunch high in protein and get your carbs from veggies instead of starches.
  6. Dinner - Dinner's a tough one because in America, it is traditionally our big meal. The earlier you eat dinner the better (or rather, the further from bedtime). Like we stated before, calories consumed at night are worth up to 40 - 50% more than those consumed earlier in the day. For this reason, dinner should be as light as you can tolerate it. Also, because carbohydrates not burned up are stored by the body as fat, you should not consume too many unless you plan on exercising that evening.

By Team Beachbody

One of the most commonly asked questions on the Beachbody Message Boards is how often can one work their abdominal muscles. It was long thought that the abs (as well as the forearms) could be worked everyday. The reason for this is that the muscles of your abdominal region contain a higher percentage of slow-twitch muscle fibers than your other muscles do. Slow-twitch muscle fiber is not as strong (or powerful) as fast-twitch muscle fiber, but it is slower to fatigue and also recovers quicker. For this reason, the theory that abs can be worked everyday went unchallenged for a long time, and even today you will hear trainers profess this.

However, the bottom line is that the abdominal muscles need rest to recover completely, just the same as any muscle group. While you won't get the same telltale signs that you will in other areas, what will happen is that you will plateau if you keep training the abs everyday. It is during rest where your body begins to repair this damaged tissue, and that's what helps you get muscle tone. Short-circuiting the recuperation process will not allow adequate time for your muscles to regenerate, ultimately impeding your progress. And you wouldn't want to put all that time and effort into something that wasn't doing you any good.

Just like the other muscle groups, abs respond best to high-intensity training, or quality over quantity. You should work them to exhaustion and then rest until they are nearly fully recovered when you can attack them again. In a routine like Power 90®, the most abs should be worked is four times a week. But this should only be in the early stages of a program, when they are just getting in shape and individual workouts are much less fatiguing. The concept of Slim Training®(tm) allows for training the abs every day - but only for 6 weeks. Once you are hammering away until "failure", you will never want to work them more than 3 times a week.

There are a couple of things to remember about ab training. One is that you want to make sure you continue to increase the intensity. Abs will respond fairly quickly and you can't settle into a comfortable routine if you expect results. You need to push well into your pain threshold if you expect major change. Learn to love the burn!

The other is that you will not ever have a washboard stomach if your body fat is 20% or more. Many people blast their abs to oblivion when what they really need to do is excuse themselves from the table. Good examples of this are the midsections of many pro-football linemen. They have ripped abs that can't be seen because they are covered with fat. Since sheer mass is important for their job security, they don't care about losing it in order to look chiseled. Strength and weight are paramount. But all the muscle in the world won't do much for your appearance if it's covered with fat.

As a rule, you only need to train your abs twice per week and your entire ab-toning program should take only ten minutes to complete. If you train with proper intensity, this is all that is required to sufficiently tax your muscles. While this might not seem like a lot of time, your abs should be totally fatigued by the time you are finished training - and then it's on to burning the fat with cardio.

What is the Best Time to Work Out?

Thursday, February 11, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

Everyone wants to maximize their workout. One of the ways to do this is to try and workout when you will get maximal benefits. Morning, afternoon, evening ... before or after eating, what's the best time? With the holidays coming up, your routine is likely to get thrown off. Here are a few tips to help you plan ahead.
  1. Mornings - Morning workouts are good because they get you moving, elevate your metabolism and the endorphin rush can enhance your mood for the rest of the day. Even better, though, is that when you work out on an empty stomach your body will utilize stored fat as energy so you maximize fat loss. Every body is capable of this, but it can also be improved upon with training. The drawback is that your body's blood sugar is low in the mornings, which will make it tough to push your hardest. Therefore, moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise is a better choice in the mornings than hoping to achieve a high-intensity weight training routine.
  2. Afternoons and/or Evenings - This should be your peak time - although we all vary somewhat. Your blood sugar is high and you are not waning towards evening. This is the best time for achieving the highest-intensity workouts. If you've eaten properly, you will have some carbs in your system and be ready to rock. Without question, this is the best time for your most intense resistance sessions.
  3. Night - Many people's schedules don't allow time for exercise until everything else is finished. There is no real problem with this as far as your workout goes. You should be well fueled by this time, although perhaps a little tired if your day was busy. But working out right before bed can make it hard to get a good night's sleep, and sleep for recovery is often just as important as exercise. Something that can help you get to sleep is to take a long warm shower after exercise, get in some comfortable clothes (like sweats), and stretch for 5 or 10 minutes to calm down. Then, perhaps, relax with a cup of herbal tea. The ability to sleep after exercise can also be learned, so if this is your only window, you can make it work for you.
  4. With props to Nike, "Just do it!" - The bottom line is that anytime is good to workout. Unless you are injured or severely overtrained, the only error that you can make is to skip your workout because you missed the "maximizing window." Working out elevates your body's metabolism so that you will burn more calories. This process doesn't change when you work out at different times. The more intense the workout, the longer your metabolism stays elevated - so the calories keep burning off even after you've ejected the video!

Eating for Comfort

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

It's always there -- food as quick comfort. It's especially challenging during stressful periods when many of us turn to our comfort foods: ice cream, pie, cookies, and many other tasty treats that make us "feel better." Studies have shown that "comfort eating" occurs during stressful times even to those that are not active or trying to lose weight. For those on diets, it can often be worse.

The main reasons are probably emotional but there is some physical reality to the madness as well. Carbohydrate-rich foods increase levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin can minimize stress levels. Since many dieters are on low-carbohydrate diets to begin with, this can be an overwhelming emotional response. While there is nothing wrong with an occasional treat, especially one that relaxes you, giving in to this behavior can lead to more serious disorders such as binge eating, obesity, and malnutrition. Learning to recognize what is happening is the first and most important step because it happens to nearly everyone, even fitness expert and celebrity Denise Austin:

"Sometimes I'm an emotional eater, too, and when I get the urge to overeat, I combat it by going for a 10-minute walk around the block or drinking half a glass of grapefruit juice, which helps curb my appetite. I also recommend not eating while talking on the phone, since it's easy to consume a huge number of calories without realizing it while you're chatting away! Another tip to head off unplanned binges: Always brush your teeth after you eat. It makes finishing [a meal] feel final. Plus, food doesn't taste as good after you've brushed!"
    Here are a few more tips to help you face the urge to eat for comfort:
  1. Plan your meals. By planning what you are going to eat each week ahead of time, you avoid the chance of eating whatever is around, when thoughts will automatically turn to comfort food. Shop early and keep the fridge stocked with healthy options. Not only will you feel guilty going off your plan, but the feeling that you'll be wasting food should also help.
  2. Shop on a full stomach. It's easier to fill your cart with healthy foods if your not craving anything during the time when you are shopping. Go to the store just after eating. You'll shop smarter and be burning off calories as well.
  3. Keep a food diary. There is almost no better way to avoid eating unhealthy food than knowing that you're going to have to record it later. It's easy to eat and forget, but a much more conscious act when you know that you're going to be confronted with it again and again each time you look at what you've been eating.
  4. Don't eat while you watch TV. Much like talking on the phone, this turns eating into an unconscious act. Not only do you get less enjoyment out of eating, but also the calories can stack up in a hurry.
  5. Think about how what you are eating will make you feel once you've eaten it. A chocolate sundae may taste great going down, but most of us could probably live without the bloated feeling we get afterward. Comfort foods tend to be starchy, sugary, and high in fat, not the best combo to get that light and healthy feeling. A few seconds to ponder the consequences can do wonders for your resolve.

By Team Beachbody

It seems that no matter how much resolve and motivation we start a program with, at some point there comes a day where working out just isn't on the top rung of priorities. It keeps being pushed aside and pretty soon it's 10 pm and the dishes aren't even done. No time for the 1-hour workout that was scheduled, but maybe time to squeeze in 10 minutes of something. But is there a point to even trying?

Let's start with a definitive answer as whether or not to embark on your 10-minute journey: as Nike would say, "just do it."

Even if your workout is unplanned and unorganized, you will absolutely benefit by elevating your heart rate - even if it's just for 10 minutes. While this may not have much overall fitness benefit, 10 minutes is plenty long for your body to elevate its metabolism instead of staying in couch potato mode.

As far as interfering with your planned workout, treat a quickie workout day as a "skipped" day and get back to your total body workout schedule the next day. And if you're focusing on getting results in a specific area, like the abs or thighs, focusing ten minutes on that area is a far better alternative to doing nothing at all. What you can't get credit for, however, is substantial calorie expenditure - so watch what you eat on those "quickie" days.
    Here are a few tips for quickies:
  1. Since going to the gym should be out of the question with time constraints, you will want to do something that doesn't require any travel, set-up, or even make you sweat too much. Here's where Great Abs Guaranteed! and The Ab Ripper tapes come in handy; Warm up by marching in place as the video gets started. Do the tape, then stretch as it rewinds. Abdominal muscles have a higher percentage of red (or slow twitch) muscle fibers than the rest of the body and can be worked more often, so they are a good choice for filler workouts.
  2. Here's a quickie program for Power 90® people: 1 minute of march-in-place to warm up, followed by 2 minutes of lunges, 2 minutes of squats, 2 minutes of push-ups, 1 minute of dips, and 2 minutes of stretching. This will provide a quick little pump.
  3. If you know that you're going to have a busy day, try to plan ahead. You want to elevate your heart rate, but not sweat too much. Try walking briskly to each destination that day; up the stairs to work, out to lunch, to the next meeting, etc. This will require enough planning to make sure you've got proper footwear for the day. If you have some other down time, use it to stretch. Brisk walking on pavement can make your muscles tight, but a few minutes of sporadic stretching can do wonders.
  4. STRETCH. Even doing nothing but light stretching can greatly improve a missed day. If you're so frazzled that you just want to plop in front of the tube, get down on the floor and stretch. Slow and easy stretching can turn a wasted night watching "Survivor" into a great recovery day.
  5. Do something, anything, and see how it goes. co-founder Jon Congdon summed this up best when he said, "There are so many days when I just don't want to workout. So I make a deal with myself to do just 10 minutes because I can always find that much time. Once I'm 10 minutes in, I usually feel so much better that I just keep going."

By Team Beachbody

Carbohydrates have been getting a bad rap lately. They are what the body desires for fuel and what makes it run the most efficiently. Unfortunately, when improperly consumed, they can lower the body's metabolism and lead to the risk of either malnourishment or weight gain. Here is a quick rundown on what carbohydrates do, where you find them, and how to get the most out of their consumption.

Carbohydrates are a chemical compound of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. Common forms are starches, sugars, cellulose, and gums. They are more readily used by the body for energy than fats and proteins. They can be classified as "simple" or "complex."

Fiber is mainly an indigestible complex carbohydrate that makes up plant cell walls.

Complex carbs are found in whole grains, vegetables, nuts, some fruits and legumes. Incidentally, alcohol breaks down in your body as simple sugar. Most of your carbohydrate consumption should come in the form of complex carbs. Sugar, the most common simple carbohydrate, should be avoided in most cases.

When you consume carbs, your digestive system converts them to blood sugar (also known as glucose), which is stored in your muscle cells and liver. Your brain operates with the help of glucose in your blood as energy. When your training is intense, glucose stored within your muscles provides most of the energy for muscle movement. But when your body has all the energy it needs to store for muscle movement, the remaining carbs are stored as fat! YES... FAT!

As you can see, the key is learning how to take in just enough carbohydrates and not too many. This can be tricky business.

An athlete that needs to perform at a high-intensity output will obviously need more carbohydrates than a couch potato. But even sedentary people need some carbs. Your body burns carbohydrates all the time. When it doesn't have them, it turns to stored body fat. Now, this may sound like a good thing (and usually is!), but you should not force your body to do this always. It is not efficient and you will never get a maximum performance out of your body - and remember, this includes brain activity! The process of using stored body fat for energy is called ketosis and can be dangerous over prolonged periods. However, it can also be trained to where your body gets efficient at using stored body fat for energy, and that means exercising on an empty stomach at moderate intensity, but not moderate in duration.

In general, recommends that your diet be close to 30% protein, 30% fat, and 40% carbohydrates. There are various theories about this ratio, most notably the research of Nobel Prize winner Dr. Barry Sears of "The Zone." But at the same time, some people with extremely high activity levels can consume carbs with no body fat consequence. (Bicyclist Lance Armstrong consumes around 80% carbs during events like the Tour de France and his body fat stays at 3%!) Experiment and see what works for you. A good way to start would be to cut way down on carbs and then slowly start adding more until you find the perfect energy point for you - with few highs and lows, but also no sustained lows.

Once you figure out the amount of carbs your body processes well, you will be able to gauge your diet decisions so that you do not eat so many carbs that you store them as fat, but so few that you are not getting enough energy for brain function.

Getting Enough Protein

Saturday, February 06, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

One of the biggest adjustments that most Power 90® users have to make is increasing the amount and percentage of protein in their diet. While this adjustment is particularly difficult for vegetarians, it seems to be creating a lot of discussion on the messages boards from our subscribers.

As your body builds muscle, its need for protein increases. Studies show widely varying results on just how much protein is necessary. Endurance athletes will often only consume 10 - 15% of their daily caloric needs from protein while bodybuilders sometimes subscribe to a 1-gram per pound of body weight regiment. We think that most Power 90® users should shoot for getting around 30% of their daily calories from protein.

Primary sources for protein are meat, fish and dairy products. Vegetarians' primary sources are legumes and "meat substitutes" made from wheat products.

For meat eaters, red meat and poultry have plenty of protein, but are also very high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Fish (except shellfish) has approximately 50% less fat and cholesterol and is an excellent source of essential fatty acids, and therefore a better choice for daily protein consumption.

Dairy products are the savior to many a vegetarian. However, only egg proteins are "rated" as high as animal-source proteins. For this reason, it is tougher to get good muscle resynthesis if you get most of your protein from milk products.

People trying to increase lean muscle mass without eating more animal protein can run into another problem because the primary sources of options (legumes, tofu, etc) all have fairly high percentages of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates work against their goal.

A simple means of assuring that you get enough protein is to take supplemental protein. Most of what you will find on the market is either soy or whey. In analyzing these sources, you will see how you can tell which would suit your lifestyle best.

According to Hammer Nutrition's founder, Dr. William Misner in the Journal of Endurance:

"For muscle resynthesis after intense interval sessions or strength workouts, WHEY Protein Concentrates with a glutamine-enhanced profile is the top bioactive protein. However, aerobic metabolism and cardiovascular development during endurance base-training will benefit most from SOY Protein Isolates, which provides a remarkable amino acid and isoflavone profile for enhancing endurance performance outcome."

What this means is that whey protein is more effective for recovery from heavy resistance (or weight) training while soy protein is a better alternative for endurance sports. Therefore, the best way to ensure that you are getting enough protein for the job would be to supplement with whey protein on high-intensity resistance days and soy on your more endurance-oriented cardiovascular days.

The Importance of Rest

Friday, February 05, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

Have you ever heard the phrase: your body only gets stronger while at rest?

If we gauge the answer based on questions that have been circulating on the message boards, chances are you haven't. Now, sure, if you never exercise then worrying about rest is not nearly so important. But because we spend most of the time motivating each other to exercise more and harder, perhaps it hasn't been emphasized just how important it is for your body to rest if it is going to get stronger.

When you exercise, your muscles contract over and over. You also put stress on your joints, tendons, and ligaments. All of these actions cause microtrauma, which means-more or less-very small injuries. This resistance that you have put yourself through causes your brain to rebuild the body stronger than it was before. And this process takes time.

Here are a few rules to live by:
  1. More is not better - Many of us start exercising and it feels so good we just want to do it all of the time. We keep getting letters from people that want to know if they will get better results from doing both a cardio and a strength-training routine everyday. This will not work because you want ample time to recover after a strength-training workout before you tear your muscles down again.
  2. Working out makes you weaker, rest/recovery makes you stronger - At the end of a workout you are weaker than when you started. As you rest, you grow strong. For a period of rest you will keep getting stronger, after which you will gradually lose strength. The trick here is to workout again just as you peak. This is why it's important not to overtrain. Overtraining means simply that you are exercising too intensely or frequently for your body to recover.
  3. You need to sleep! - Overtraining can also be caused by lack of sleep. Now, and this is an important distinction, your body will require more sleep before it can learn to require less sleep. When you start an exercise program, your muscles are torn down in a state that they are not used to. To counteract this you need to get effective sleep, meaning REM sleep. People have written in saying they expect to be fitter and require less sleep and Power 90® is causing the opposite reaction. Well, this is normal at first and it is important that you realize this and try to plan for it. More sleep early on will bring faster results. Once you get used to the program, you will have more energy and require less sleep. But this state needs to be earned. (Editor's note: This incredible stuff is researched and contributed by Steve Edwards. Steve is one of's message board fitness advisors and author of the majority of our newsletters. We are very lucky to have his expertise on our team. Now excuse me while I go take a nap.)
  4. The post-workout meal - Next to breakfast, this is your most important meal of the day! You have a window of opportunity after you finish your workout of about 1 hour in which your body will absorb nutrients as much as 4 times better than at any other time during the day! This is a huge benefit that you should really take advantage of. The reason for this is that your body's glycogen stores (blood sugar) are low and need replenishing quickly. For this reason you want to get some sugar during this time-the only time of day that you need sugar! For this meal you should try to get 20 to 30 grams of sugar and about 60 to 100 grams of carbohydrates total. You should also get 10 - 20 grams of protein (this is variable based on body weight and intensity of exercise). There are many supplements made for this meal, but an easy substitute would be a bowl of cereal with skim or soy milk and a banana (for the sugar). Making sure that you eat during this wind

By Team Beachbody

The message boards have been full of misunderstandings on the difference between strength and endurance, especially when it comes to weight loss. The Power 90® program combines workouts that target these two energy systems concurrently, which is why it's such an effective weight loss (or fat loss, to be more specific) program.

What is strength? Strength can be defined as the application of muscular force in any endeavor, such as to a barbell, a ball, or to the ground. Strength training is the use of resistance (weights, etc.) to build maximum muscle force. Within strength training there is "hypertrophy," or muscle growth, and motor-unit recruitment, which is called power or strength training. The latter is very important for athletes because having ultimate use of their muscles is paramount. People more interested in body shape vs. strength are primarily interested in the effects of toning and growth (hypertrophy), because they are not as concerned with how (relatively) powerful or strong they are.

Endurance can be defined as the body's capacity to continue a physical performance over a period of time. Within this realm, we find both aerobic endurance and anaerobic endurance. Anaerobic endurance is, like power, extremely important to the performance of many athletes. But again, from a civilian point of view, most of us are primarily concerned with aerobic endurance, or the ability of our bodies to use oxygen efficiently for low-intensity prolonged activity.

Now that we have this straight, we should be able to understand some of the logistics behind fitness programs like Power 90®, where you alternate "Sculpt" days for strength training and "Sweat" days for endurance training. The reason that a body transformation program alternates both types of training is that for overall body fitness, it is best to focus on one benefit, while also maximizing calories burned. Since we are not as concerned with ultimate performance as we are with body transformation, combining some strength training and endurance training during the same cycle can make sense.

We get two questions on a consistent basis regarding Power 90®. The first is people who want to know why their heart rate is not peaking on "Sweat" days like it does on "Sculpt" days. Many people feel that a "Sweat" routine isn't hard enough if their heart isn't racing. When in fact, it isn't supposed to. "Sweat" is an aerobic day. Your heart rate should stay well under your lactate threshold (the level where lactic acid builds up - this term is unimportant but it's when you get "pumped"). "Sweat" should be a moderate-intensity day (this doesn't mean easy because the movements can still be hard) where your body can learn to utilize its stored body fat as fuel. That's why it is best if you don't eat for 3 hours prior to "Sweat" workouts! "Sculpt" days are much higher in intensity. You want to add resistance so that you "fail" at certain reps on these days. Because this failure comes during a max output, your heart should really race during parts of this workout and slow down during the transition periods. Because you can't push your body to its limit without fuel, it is now recommended to eat a "fuel" food (complex carbs) 1-2 hours before a "Sculpt" day workout.

The second question we get is on whether or not to add more strength training or more cardio to the program. A lot of this depends upon your background and how quickly you can recover. Remember that more is not always better. It's easy to overtrain yourself - you will do a lot of work for less progress. It is almost assured that you wouldn't want to add any more weight training to Power 90®. If you do the "Sculpt" tapes at high enough intensity, then you will need the off days to recover. If you add anything, it could be some cardio. Since it is lower intensity, the better shape you are in, the more your body can handle with less rest. However, the most time efficient thing to do would be to concentrate on eating properly; then you won't have the need for so much extra exercise. As we say in all our materials, you need to gauge what you can handle, and pace yourself so that you complete the 90-day program.

Make Your Workout Work for You

Thursday, February 04, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

While the majority of our customers are interested in weight loss, we have been getting a lot of inquiries on how to gain muscle mass while doing Power 90®. Everyone that does the program can expect changes in lean muscle mass, but the muscle they gain is usually far offset by the fat they lose.

Here we compare various techniques to help you gain weight versus what you should do to slim down:

Weight Gain: Increase protein intake. You can't build muscle without their "building blocks," amino acids. The latest studies in applied physiology show that you need to consume nearly a gram of protein per pound of body weight per day to significantly increase muscle size. To give you an idea, a 4 oz steak has approximately 35 grams of protein.

Weight Loss: While you should still (most of us anyway) increase the percentage of protein in your diet, you don't want to eat massive portions. Max out at around 30% of your daily caloric needs, which means that you'll probably never get anywhere close to a gram per pound of bodyweight.

WG: Eat a pre-workout meal. Forget our normal recommendation to workout on an empty stomach - that's to put the body to work burning stored fat as fuel. Carbohydrates are the body's chosen (and most efficient) fuel source. 60 - 100 grams of complex carbs about an hour before you workout should allow you to push much harder and finish off that extra rep. That'll build muscle!

WL: Skip this meal. Try to not eat within 2 to 3 hours before working out. If you workout on an empty stomach, your body will be forced to utilize stored body fat for fuel--its second choice.

WG: Do fewer reps with more weight. Adjust your weight so that you start failing earlier during the resistance exercises. Try and fail between 8 and 10 repetitions. Once you hit 10 at one weight, adjust the weight so that you can only do 6 and keep in there until you are back up to 10.

WL: More reps, less weight. Go until you hit at least 15, then drop down to 10 reps and work back up.

WG: Eat a post-workout meal, then do it again. Within 15 to 45 minutes of finishing your workout, eat a snack or shake that has some simple sugar (for immediate glycogen replacement) and about 20 - 30 grams of protein and 60 - 80 grams of carbohydrates. Then 2 hours later, eat a high-protein meal.

WL: Follow the same pattern, but on a much smaller scale. Still eat the post-workout snack. This is your most important meal of the day because your body absorbs nutrients up to four times better during this window! Get 10 - 20 grams of protein with 30 - 50 grams of carbohydrates. Make your next meal high in protein, but light in overall calories.

WG: Take creatine and amino acid supplements. If you're open to supplementation, take creatine monohydrate both 15 minutes before and 15 minutes after your workout. Take this in a drink sweetened with a non-acid substance such as fruit juice (not orange or grapefruit) or Gatorade (don't drink too much because it's high in sodium, which you only need in high dosages when sweating profusely). Take amino acid supplements or a protein drink without carbohydrates before bed. Again, this breaks that Power 90® rule of going to bed on an empty stomach, but your body repairs itself while sleeping and you want to assure that you have the nutrients for it to repair itself as quickly as possible.

WL: Men, take smaller portions of creatine and only on your weight training days. Women, Performance Formula or Amino acid supplementation can still be effective, but not so necessary unless you can't get all of your daily protein requirement from your diet.

WG: Sleep more. Anyone doing an intense exercise program will benefit from more sleep, but when trying to increase size it becomes even more essential. You only grow and recover while sleeping. The harder you workout, the more muscle fiber breakdown you incur. The more sleep you get, the faster your muscles will grow.

WL: Sleep as much as necessary. Since you aren't in grow-mode, this will vary. The same principles are at work and you will most likely need more sleep early on in the program. As it progresses, you may find that you have more energy and can sleep less. Since you are leaner than you once were, your body probably requires less sleep and this is a good thing.

WG: Workout whenever you feel strongest during the day. Hammering out that one last rep now becomes important because this is where the big gains are made. It's therefore important to get the most out of each workout. Later in the day, your blood sugar is higher and you can probably exercise harder.

WL: Intensity still matters, but doing the entire workout is more important than maxing out each set. Morning workouts can boost your metabolism for the day and help promote weight loss. Also, a split routine, where you do a little in the AM and more later in the day can be effective because you need less recovery time when you aren't working out as intensely.