- Eating five to six small meals a day seems like a lot. Won’t I gain weight?
- Do I have to use EAS products to officially compete in the Body-for-LIFE Challenge?
- Where can I find quality nutrition products besides Body-for-LIFE nutrition bars and ready-to-drink shakes?
- Do I need to eat nutrition bars and shakes while following the Body-for-LIFE program?
- How can I successfully complete the Body-for-LIFE Program and make my body transform like so many people have? Why can’t I eat right for more than a couple weeks at a time without blowing it?
- Why should I use nutritional supplements?
- Instead of taking the Myoplex Lite, may I take the regular Myoplex and just split it in half?
- How do I set goals?
- I have been doing Atkins but I am about to switch to Body-for-LIFE. Am I going to gain weight?
- I would like to accept the Challenge, but I don’t know much about nutrition and training, where can I learn more?
- Can I have cereal on the BFL program?
- I have tried so many diets and they all have failed, so why is this program going to work for me?
- I’ve heard a lot about EFA’s, and how they are important for several different bodily functions. What functions, and why are they “essential?”
- What if I make a mistake and miss a workout? Or a meal?
- Do I need to eat something before I work out and after?
- What is CLA, and how does it function?
- What if I’m a vegetarian? What kind of adjustments would I make to the Body-for-LIFE Program?
- My confidence levels are more volatile than the stock market. What tips can you give me to help keep my confidence steady and strong?
- Should I stretch after my workouts? They say that the muscles tighten if you don’t.
- I have lost four inches from my belly, but I want to lose even more. Should I increase my cardio or cut back the size of my meals?
- I have tried getting into shape for the last few years, but it seems that every time I begin, something, or somebody gets in the way and I get off-track and lose my focus. I know that I need to lose weight and regain my health, but how do I keep going and not let anything get in my way?
- I began working out intensely about six weeks ago, and I am really enjoying it. I have begun to see many positive changes and I’m gaining more confidence in my life. I do however find that between my workouts, my job and my family, I’m always on the go. I fear burning out and going back to my old, unhealthy self. What should I do to help avoid this from happening to me?
- I’ve started the Body-for-LIFE Program and I’m seeing great results! Sometimes my old desires of eating junk food and lying around watching TV creep into my mind. What can I do to keep these thoughts out of my mind and not give in?
- I’m proud to say that I’ve successfully completed the 12-week Body-for-LIFE Program. I not only feel proud, I look better than I have in 10 years, but I still have room for improvement. What would you suggest for someone who’s finished the Program?
- I like to get outdoors and exercise, so can I substitute walking, hiking or biking for my cardio?
- What is the best repetition range for building muscle?
- Is it possible to do the Body-for-LIFE Program while competing or training for a marathon or long-distance triathlon?
- What is meant by the term Basal Metabolic Rate?
- On certain training days such as when I do back and biceps together, sometimes it is difficult to hold onto the bar because of forearm fatigue. Is there anything I can do to correct this?
- I have had a cold the past couple of days and was wondering if it is a good idea to still exercise?
- Is it ok to train a muscle that is still sore from the previous workout?
- What can I do to prevent muscle cramping?
- I’m currently training for a marathon, but I’d like to do the Body-for-LIFE Program simultaneously. How can I merge the two?
- Which is more beneficial: machines or free-weight exercises?
- I’ve always done sit-ups. Why aren’t they recommended?
- I am a runner and prefer not to do lower body training. Is that a problem?
- Shouldn’t I do my lat pulls with a palms-up grip to get a different angle on the muscle?
- I do lat pulls behind the neck because I can use more weight. What’s wrong with that?
- Aren’t open-chain exercises like leg extensions dangerous to your knees?
- I was told that upright rows were really bad for your shoulders. Why do you recommend them?
- Aren’t triceps pushdowns good for developing the triceps?
- May I train abdominals every day on the Body-for-LIFE Program?
- I’ve heard the terms "concentric and eccentric contractions." What do these mean?
- I am training for a half-marathon this summer. Can I do the Body-for-LIFE program to help me get ready for it?
Q: My confidence levels are more volatile than the stock market. What tips can you give me to help keep my confidence steady and strong?
A: To achieve your goals, it’s vitally important that you protect your confidence. One way to do that is to forget about the whole concept of perfection. It doesn’t exist.
You see, perfection is an illusion, and if your objective is to achieve perfection in any aspect of your program, you may end up with a sense of deficiency and uncertainty, which is not what you want.
If you don’t strongly believe in what you’re doing—if you cannot overcome feelings of self-doubt—it doesn’t matter how much accurate information about training and nutrition you have. Without confidence, you won’t be able to stay on course.
Think of the athlete who’s having a great game until he makes a mistake. He throws an interception that is returned by the opposing team for a touchdown; he misses a critical free throw; he strikes out in a key situation. In a matter of seconds, he can plummet from extreme confidence to uncertainty and ineffectiveness.
If he doesn’t know how to get his confidence back, he’ll fall into a slump. He’ll lose his energy. He’ll stop playing to win, and instead, he will begin playing “not to lose.”
Athletes aren’t the only ones who need to maintain a strong sense of confidence in order to excel. Actors, artists, businessmen—all of us—we’re at our best only when we’re operating from a confident Power Mindset. Take virtually all successful people, extract their sense of certainty, and you’ll strip them of everything else that has put them where they are—their talent, their drive, their energy, their judgment, their insight.
On the other hand, if you take people who are struggling—who are uncertain of themselves—and give them a healthy dose of confidence, their lives will turn inside out for the better, and fast. And that’s what happens when you focus on progress. Even when you don’t get everything “just right,” you’ll still feel strong. You’ll still maintain your confidence and momentum.
One of the surefire ways to stay on track is to measure your progress often. I also recommend that you evaluate your success every four weeks by having your photo taken and your body composition measured. This will help you maintain your momentum and stay on course.
Q: Should I stretch after my workouts? They say that the muscles tighten if you don’t.
A: Who are “they”? There is so much confusion in the wide world of exercise that I’m still trying to figure out who “they” are. Seriously! The Body-for-LIFE Training Program does incorporate a stretching component during the exercise. When the strength-training routines are followed, with the proper form, it increases the flexibility of the joints and muscles. I think there are a lot more things people are missing when it comes to their workouts than a random stretch after they’re done. For example, I believe many people could get better results if they consume a protein- and carbohydrate-balanced meal or nutrition shake one hour after their workout.
Q: I have lost four inches from my belly, but I want to lose even more. Should I increase my cardio or cut back the size of my meals?
A: Congratulations on your impressive progress! What I would recommend is you stick with what has worked for you so far. It is so disappointing to see people who have made remarkable improvements change their approach for no logical reason. I do not believe that more aerobic exercise is the answer! How do we know that more rest and recovery is not what is called for? You wouldn’t believe the number of people I’ve gotten into disagreements with because I knew what they needed was more rest and recovery, yet they were convinced that more work is what they required. Please, do not rely on trial and error—do not take what I’m saying here lightly. If you’ve reached the point where you feel like you need to do more exercise, remember that we stimulate the muscle-building and fat-burning process with brief, intense exercise. The “magic” occurs during rest.
Q: I have tried getting into shape for the last few years, but it seems that every time I begin, something, or somebody gets in the way and I get off-track and lose my focus. I know that I need to lose weight and regain my health, but how do I keep going and not let anything get in my way?
A: Your question is one that I often hear. Please don’t feel that you are alone, or that you’ll never regain your health—you will. Many people have encountered a variety of obstacles along their journey to a successful transformation.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that life has numerous challenges in store for each of us, some expected, some unexpected. Some are merely “speed bumps,” and others are like a brick wall. Overcoming adversity, even transforming it into positive energy, is one of the most important skills you’ll have the opportunity to develop during your transformation journey.
The mindset you use (or decide not to use) to face your life’s challenges has a powerful impact on your experience of life, the development of your character and courage, as well as your self-image and self-esteem. Through the process of completing the 12-week Body-for-LIFE Program, you’ll learn invaluable skills and undergo a great deal of training that will help you not only face but overcome your life’s challenges! Literally and metaphorically, through Body-for-LIFE, you will learn to overcome resistance, improve your ability to creatively solve problems, and discover courage and character, which, like a muscle, become stronger through proper training.
Along with changing your mindset, another powerful, yet simple tool to combating unforeseen challenges is through the power of planning. You see, when you sit down and make plans for when you’re going to work out, what you’re going to eat, when you’re going to eat, as well as decide what goals you’re going to achieve each day, you’re not only making a list of things you will do, you’re making a list of things you won’t do.
For example, let’s say your friends invite you out for pizza and beer and it’s not your free day, you have to just flat out say no. Saying no to people does not mean pushing them away or isolating yourself. It means that you’re making changes for the better—changing your priorities, changing your habits, and changing your life.
Realize that when you say no to your friends, you are also saying yes. You’re saying yes to taking another step forward to looking and feeling better; you’re saying yes to building your self-discipline, increasing your self-esteem, strengthening your will power, and gaining control of your life!
So, when adversity strikes, whether it’s a minor setback or a major obstacle, it is vitally important to dig in your heels and not give up. When times get tough, remind yourself of your reasons for wanting to transform and regain your energy health. Remember that you promised yourself you would succeed, no matter what! Ask yourself, “What lesson can I learn from this experience that will make me a better person?” And ask, “How can I turn this negative into something positive?” Answer those questions, and you’ll find renewed hope and determination to succeed!
“Remind yourself of your reasons for wanting to transform and regain your energy health.”
Q: I began working out intensely about six weeks ago, and I am really enjoying it. I have begun to see many positive changes and I’m gaining more confidence in my life. I do however find that between my workouts, my job and my family, I’m always on the go. I fear burning out and going back to my old, unhealthy self. What should I do to help avoid this from happening to me?
A: The pursuit of worthy goals requires hard work, persistence and intense focus. There’s no doubt about it. However, one of the important lessons I’ve learned over the years is that sometimes a little “extra nothing” can go a long way.
By that I mean don’t underestimate the importance of rest and relaxation. A certain amount of “down time,” or free time, helps renew energy, clear the mind and heal the body. That’s why one day out of every seven, on the Body-for-LIFE Program, I encourage you to take a break. Eat whatever you want, don’t exercise, don’t plan, don’t record anything in your journal. Just flat out take the day off from anything Body-for-LIFE-related.
And certainly don’t feel guilty about doing some extra nothing. It’s part of the process of making progress and succeeding. So enjoy your free days—you’ve earned them!
Q: I’ve started the Body-for-LIFE Program and I’m seeing great results! Sometimes my old desires of eating junk food and lying around watching TV creep into my mind. What can I do to keep these thoughts out of my mind and not give in?
A: First, let’s talk a little basic physics—getting an object at rest to begin moving requires far more energy than it does to keep it moving. Think of a rocket: 90 percent of the energy is spent on the initial thrust—on getting the blasted thing into the air. The remaining 10 percent is all that’s needed to keep it going.
In a way, the same applies to transforming our bodies—it’s the act of getting started that is, by far, the most challenging stage of the process. Since you are in your fourth week of your Body-for-LIFE Program, you are experiencing considerable momentum and you are in a position to make an extraordinary transformation.
It is understandable that sometimes during your Program you may feel as if you’re having a tug of war between your old self and your new self. It’s not easy to make the type of changes in your life that you’ve decided to make. In your moments of decision, when you feel like eating ice cream at night or lying in bed in the morning instead of getting up to work out, ask yourself, “Who do I want to be today: the old me or the new me?” Your body and life are being shaped by these moment-to-moment decisions.
It’s those decisions that brought you to where you were at the beginning of your Body-for-LIFE Challenge—fat, tired and unhappy. And if you fall back into your previous lifestyle and continue to make decisions the old way, you’re going to continue to produce the same results.
To create different results, you have to take a different approach. It’s not easy to stand up to yourself, but you can do it! And, if you were to stop now, you would lose the momentum you’ve created up to this point and you would have to start all over again. I don’t want you to have to go through that, and I know you don’t either.
So please, hang in there! Keep the momentum going and the energy flowing!
Q: I’m proud to say that I’ve successfully completed the 12-week Body-for-LIFE Program. I not only feel proud, I look better than I have in 10 years, but I still have room for improvement. What would you suggest for someone who’s finished the Program?
A: More people are discovering that when they end one 12-week Body-for-LIFE Program what feels right is for them to begin again, to set new goals, and to continue their journey. Remember, the Body-for-LIFE Program is a lifestyle! It’s a gateway to a new, healthier, high-energy style of living. The last day of the 12-week Program is actually both the finish and a starting point. People have completed two, even three or four Body-for-LIFE programs back to back, and they are continuing to make progress. As long as you keep reaching for higher and higher High Points, and as long as you keep setting new goals, you will continue to improve. You may not have as much fat to lose, and you may not have as much of a difference in your before and after photos with each Program, but the changes will occur.
Every time you complete the Body-for-LIFE Program, you’ll gain more insight about how to become stronger and healthier, and how to achieve the goals you set. Planning and recording your workouts, nutrition and Body-for-LIFE mindset are the most important exercises you can do to continue your journey of success.
Q: I like to get outdoors and exercise, so can I substitute walking, hiking or biking for my cardio?
A: Yes! Walking and hiking can provide as intense a workout as you want. By maintaining good form and a brisk pace you can achieve the heart rate level (60 percent to 80 percent of maximum) that is ideal for fat burning. Increase your intensity with hills and walking and hiking become even more effective. If you want to shed fat, burn more calories, develop a strong heart and lungs, then bicycling is it. Biking also shapes and tones your legs better than any other form of cardio exercise. So get outside, enjoy the weather and burn fat!
Q: What is the best repetition range for building muscle?
A: The conventional view that fewer reps in each set equates to more muscle gain is a bit too simplistic. In reality, when one performs sets with very high weight and low reps, the main physiological change is a strengthening of neuromuscular pathways. In other words, high weight/low reps strengthen the brain’s ability to activate muscle. However, if we bump up the reps slightly while decreasing the weight as necessary, the muscle tissue will perform more total work, and thus more muscle growth will occur. However, if the reps are increased too high, the main effect will be an increase in muscle endurance.
Through research, it has been determined that the best range for hypertrophy (muscle gain) is roughly between 8-12 reps. As the reps are decreased from this range, the program will elicit greater strength gains will less size. In contrast, more than 12 reps mainly allows for increases in muscular endurance. Since the majority of the BFL resistance-training program prescribes sets in the 8-12 repetition range, the main effect of the BFL program is an increase in lean body mass.
Q: Is it possible to do the Body-for-LIFE Program while competing or training for a marathon or long-distance triathlon?
A: To lose fat, it is necessary to create a calorie deficit, whereby one expends more calories than are ingested. However, when training for an ultra-endurance event, you are subjecting your body to a high degree of stress, for which adequate calories are required just to recover. If a reduced-calorie diet is introduced at the same time, the result is usually the catabolism of muscle; a common problem for endurance athletes anyway. Since muscle is active tissue, the more muscle one maintains, the faster their metabolic rate. Conversely, losses in lean body mass decrease metabolic rate. It is not hard to imagine that the practice of losing lean body mass (thus slowing metabolic rate) while eating a lot of calories is incompatible with losing fat.
The best approach for losing fat while maintaining endurance performance is to cycle your training into periodization cycles. For example, in the off season, try a program geared towards losing fat and increasing lean mass, such as the Body-for-LIFE Program, and perform sport-specific training (and sport-specific nutrition) programs preseason and during the season.
Q: What is meant by the term Basal Metabolic Rate?
A: Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) or basal metabolism represents the minimal energy expended to keep a resting, awake body alive. This requires about 60-70% of the total energy use by the body. The processes involved include maintaining a heartbeat, respiration, temperature and other functions. It does not include energy used for physical activity or digesting foods. Basal metabolism accounts for roughly 1 kcalorie/kilogram (2.2 lbs.)/hour. We use the term ’roughly," due to the fact that the amount of energy used for basal metabolism depends primarily upon lean body mass.
Metabolic Rate : This refers to the rate you convert energy stores into working energy in the body. In other words, it’s how fast your “whole system” runs. The metabolic rate is controlled by a number of factors, including: muscle mass (the greater your muscle mass, the greater your metabolic rate), caloric intake, exercise, and use of stimulant or depressant chemicals.
Q: On certain training days such as when I do back and biceps together, sometimes it is difficult to hold onto the bar because of forearm fatigue. Is there anything I can do to correct this?
A: Forearm strength is often a limiting factor, especially when handling heavy weights vertically such as pullups or deadlift. Chalk, sticky pads, or weightlifting straps can help with handling the load when necessary, however, as a rule of thumb, it is best to work through this discomfort since these very activities are some of the best exercises for developing the forearms and building grip strength. On the contrary, straps and chalk should always be used when 1.) your ability to hold the weight compromises the safety of the movement, or 2.) lack of grip strength limits your ability to strengthen/develop the target muscle effectively.
Muscle Fatigue : This is the failure of a muscle to continue to perform work, caused by muscle ATP depletion. Lactic-acid buildup also plays a role in muscle fatigue. Some natural supplements marketed to athletes have the ability to postpone muscle fatigue, thus increasing the work potential of the muscle—one of the most potent is creatine, which increases the availability of ATP, which is used for energy.
From renowned trainer Mike Ryan: "When an exercise is performed in a rapid motion, oftentimes the muscle is not adequately trained. Therefore, it is not being fatigued into growth. So obviously, you do not want to use momentum to perform a lift. If you feel you’re relying too much on momentum, put your ego aside, smarten up and decrease the weight."
Q: I have had a cold the past couple of days and was wondering if it is a good idea to still exercise?
A: You may think it is a good idea not to engage in vigorous exercise when you have the sniffles. However, a new study suggests that if you are well enough to get out of bed, you are probably well enough to get a workout. Researchers at Ball State University in Indiana found that exercising does not delay recovery or worsen symptoms of the common cold. In the study, 34 moderately fit folks, ages 18-29, were assigned to an exercising group, while 16 additional people of similar age and fitness level were assigned to a non-exercising group. Then both groups were inoculated with a virus to produce upper respiratory illness. The exercising group worked out at 70% of maximum heart rate for 40 minutes per day*, every other day. Researchers collected used facial tissues and administered symptom questionnaires every 12 hours to gauge the progress of the illness and its symptoms. After ten days, analyses of symptoms were similar between the exercising and non-exercising groups. So while you may feel like scaling down your routine if you are feeling under the weather, there seems to be no reason to skip it altogether.
*Note – This study focused on cardiovascular training – weight training involves much higher levels of oxidative stress, and as such would likely compromise immune function. As such, stick with cardiovascular training in these instances.
Q: Is it ok to train a muscle that is still sore from the previous workout?
A: No! Soreness is a sign of muscle-fiber damage. If you do not allow the damage to heal, you will not make progress. Over time, you may even sustain an injury. The best progress occurs when you allow full recovery between workouts, not by seeing how hard and often you can punish your body.
Q: What can I do to prevent muscle cramping?
A: Muscle cramping occurs when a muscle continues to contract, and cannot seem to "let go". The painful sensation one feels is caused by muscle fatigue, and waste products like lactic acid that build up in the muscle. Although the cause of muscle cramps is not entirely understood, a number of factors seem to be involved, including hydration level, electrolyte balance, training history, and chronically tight muscles.
1. Training history seems to be the most important factor. Exercise beyond an accustomed limit (longer duration, or intensity) will often bring on muscle cramps. However, through regular training, one tends to experience muscle cramps less frequently.
2. Make sure that you are drinking enough water – 10 glasses of water daily (at least 10 oz. each), or if you care to be more precise, 0.6oz/water/lb. of bodyweight. Increase this amount if you consume caffeine. For each cup of coffee, tea, or soda you take in, please be sure to add an additional 10 oz glass of water for each.
3. Through sweating (especially in a hot environment), one tends to lose electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Normally these are replaced in the diet. However, prolonged exercise (longer than 1 hour) in hot environments may create a need for mineral replenishment. Try adding a bit of salt to your foods, and take a multivitamin/mineral supplement and see if this makes a difference.
4. Lastly, tight muscles are best addressed by stretching before and after every workout. Stretching allows more nutrients, blood, etc. into the muscle, and allows you to dispose of waste materials more easily due to increased blood flow.
NEWS: Creatine may help with muscle inflammation and soreness in endurance sports.
A study out of Brazil has shown that creatine supplementation reduced cell damage and inflammation after an intense 30km race. This lends support to prior research that states creatine may be useful to many types of athletes—not just bodybuilders. Read study summary.
The effect of creatine supplementation upon inflammatory and muscle soreness markers after a 30km race.
Santos RV, Bassit RA, Caperuto EC, Costa Rosa LF.
Laboratory of Metabolism, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
We have evaluated the effect of a creatine supplementation protocol upon inflammatory and muscle soreness markers: creatine kinase (CK), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) after running 30km. Runners with previously experience in running marathons, with their personal best between 2.5-3h were supplemented for 5 days prior to the 30km race with 4 doses of 5g of creatine and 15g of maltodextrine per day while the control group received the same amount of maltodextrine. Pre-race blood samples were collected immediately before running the 30km, and 24h after the end of the test (the post-race samples). After the test, athletes from the control group presented an increase in plasma CK (4.4-fold), LDH (43%), PGE(2) 6.6-fold) and TNF-alpha (2.34-fold) concentrations, indicating a high level of cell injury and inflammation. Creatine supplementation attenuated the changes observed for CK (by 19%), PGE(2) and TNF-alpha (by 60.9% and 33.7%, respectively, p<0.05) and abolished the increase in LDH plasma concentration observed after running 30km, The athletes did not present any side effects such as cramping, dehydration or diarrhea, neither during the period of supplementation, nor during the 30km race. All the athletes finished the race in a time equivalent to their personal best +/- 5.8%. These results indicate that creatine supplementation reduced cell damage and inflammation after an exhaustive intense race.
Q: I’m currently training for a marathon, but I’d like to do the Body-for-LIFE Program simultaneously. How can I merge the two?
A: This is a good question, and the answer is... it’ll be very difficult to do so. When you’re training for a marathon, you’re subjecting your body to incredible stress, and your body will need every resource it has just to recover from those grueling runs. If you introduce a high intensity resistance training program in addition to the running (such as the BFL), you’re going to be subjecting your body to more stress than it can realistically recover from, and there’s a very real possibility of your body breaking down in one way or another. If you wish to incorporate resistance training into your running regimen, stay with moderate weight and high reps, and do not take the muscle to failure. Nutritionally, when you’re running long distances several days a week, your caloric needs will be much higher than those listed in the BFL nutrition regimen. Typical caloric loads for a marathon runner vary anywhere from 15-20 X body weight/day, with at least 60 percent of their total caloric intake coming from carbohydrates. The Body-for-LIFE nutrition method is not compatible to those individuals set upon doing a marathon, as it will not provide near enough calories for recovery or to maintain energy levels. The best answer is to choose one and focus all of your attention on that program, and pick up the other at a later date.
Q: Which is more beneficial: machines or free-weight exercises?
A: The majority of your workouts should be composed of free-weight exercises. Here’s why:
--Compared to machines, free-weight movements often require more skill. For example, it is more difficult to balance the weights, and to coordinate muscles when performing free-weight exercises. Although this may sound like a disadvantage, it is actually a benefit. Since free-weight exercises necessitate lifting weights in free space, exercising with free-weights typically leads to muscle strength that is more applicable to everyday activities. For example, with regular training using free-weights, one may notice that taking out the trash is easier, mowing the lawn takes less effort, or it may take less time to shovel snow off the driveway.
--Greater muscle-strength balance achieved with free-weights helps in preventing injuries. Free-weight training results in increased muscle strength not only in the large “target” muscle, it also strengthens the small muscles used for balance, or “stabilization”. This means that muscle strength tends to be more “balanced” between muscle groups. In contrast, typically machines work only large muscle groups, while neglecting the “stabilizer muscles” since the machine itself stabilizes the weight for you. People who exclusively train with machines often are able to lift a lot of weight, but are not able to effectively stabilize the load due to weak stabilizer muscles. This muscle imbalance does not occur when one uses free-weights with good form. Just like a chain that is only as strong as its weakest link, the body is only as injury-resistant as its weakest stabilizer muscle. Again, stronger “weakest links” = fewer injuries.
--In general, the resistance elicited by free-weights tends to mirror strengths and weakness of the body throughout the exercise, leading to greater gains in muscle mass and strength. Muscle strength is “dynamic”. That is, muscles tend to be stronger at different points throughout the movement (at different joint angles). As an illustration, think of the leg extension exercise. Does it seem to get easier or harder as the leg is extended? Muscle strength is dynamic for a variety of reasons including the degree of muscle stretch, leverage of the tendon at different joint angles, and the leverage of gravity as the body is moved throughout space. The difficulty of a movement at different points can be measured quantitatively. A graph of these measurements is called a “movement strength curve”. As a generalization, free-weight exercises typically mimic human strength curves more effectively than machines, leading to greater gains in strength and mass. As an example, in a barbell biceps curl, when the arm is extended it has little leverage and strength. Correspondingly, the barbell does not “pull” on the biceps with a lot of force because the barbell does not have a lot of leverage on the elbow joint. Conversely, halfway through the curl (when the forearm is parallel to the ground), the barbell has a lot of leverage, and “pulls” forcefully on the biceps. Fortunately, the biceps are strongest in this position because the muscles are at an optimal length, and the biceps tendon has the greatest amount of leverage. In this way, the muscle is worked consistently throughout the movement, resulting in better results. Keep in mind that a great physique is rarely built using only free-weights or only machines. A combination of the two is always a good choice. However, sticking with the free-weights for the majority of your workouts may yield better results.
Try integrating more free-weight work into your workouts, if you haven’t already. Free weights are preferred over machines because they allow the stimulation of certain supporting muscle groups when training. Stimulating these stabilizer and synergistic muscles will allow you to get stronger, and ultimately build more muscle faster.
Q: I’ve always done sit-ups. Why aren’t they recommended?
A: A full sit-up primarily engages the hip flexors, not the abdominals. During a sit-up, the hip flexors are doing most of the work and the abs act as stabilizers. Other movements, like the crunch, may focus more on the abdominals as a primary mover and therefore give better results for abdominal strength and definition.
Q: I am a runner and prefer not to do lower body training. Is that a problem?
A: The quads are generally stronger than the hamstrings. Many sports, like running, emphasize the quads but do not stress the hamstrings enough. As a result, further imbalance is created and the hamstrings are put at risk for injury. This may result in a reduced ability to push off or sprint effectively.
Q: Shouldn’t I do my lat pulls with a palms-up grip to get a different angle on the muscle?
A: Elbow flexion is a part of the movement of a lat pull. The biceps, a primary mover for elbow flexion, have a mechanical advantage when the palms are up as opposed to down. So, when doing lat pulls in this manner, an athlete can use more weight without recruiting more latissimus dorsi fibers.
Q: I do lat pulls behind the neck because I can use more weight. What’s wrong with that?
A: Behind the neck Lat Pull Downs may be damaging to the shoulder joint. When executing the movement in that manner, you must lean forward with the trunk and put stress on the shoulder joint with external rotation and horizontal abduction. This is a weak position for the shoulder. The increased weight is likely due to the involvement of the trunk and hip flexors.
>Q: Aren’t open-chain exercises like leg extensions dangerous to your knees?
A: When lifters with healthy knees perform leg extensions with proper form, they do not pose a significant risk. While closed-chain exercises (e.g., squats) may have more functional applications than open-chain exercises, open chain exercises may help experienced lifters to isolate the quadriceps for increased mass.
Q: I was told that upright rows were really bad for your shoulders. Why do you recommend them?
A: Upright rows are a great exercise for developing the shoulders when done with proper form. It’s important to avoid bringing your arms past shoulder level during the movement. Done incorrectly, upright rows can result in damage to the connective tissue in the shoulder region. When the forearms are rotated downward and the elbows are raised above the shoulders, the upper arm bone and the shoulder blade may pinch the supraspinatus (shoulder) tendon and long head of the biceps.
Q: Aren’t triceps pushdowns good for developing the triceps?
A: The triceps pushdown is a great movement for developing the lateral and short head of the triceps. Athletes looking to fully develop the triceps should include movements that place the arm in an overhead position to engage the long head of the triceps.
Q: May I train abdominals every day on the Body-for-LIFE Program?
A: No. If you’re following the Body-for-Life Program, it’s not OK to train abs more frequently than is outlined in the book. Keep in mind, your abdominals are just like any other muscle group in your body, therefore, you should approach training them as you would any other muscle group. By training your abs too often, you’re taking time and energy away from training the rest of your body. In addition, you’re not giving your abs enough time to recover. Remember, your muscles develop when you’re resting from your workouts, not during the actual workouts themselves. If you feel your midsection is not getting enough of a workout, maybe it’s time to turn up the intensity a few notches. For instance, when doing crunches, focus on slowly returning to the floor. Letting yourself fall back down during the lowering phase of a crunch means your abs are getting only half a workout.
Q: I’ve heard the terms "concentric and eccentric contractions." What do these mean?
A: A concentric contraction occurs during the lifting phase of an exercise, when the muscle shortens or contracts. For example, when you lift the weight in a bench press, pressing it from your chest to the lock-out position, that is the concentric, or "positive," phase of the exercise. An eccentric contraction occurs during the lowering phase of an exercise, when the muscle lengthens. For example, lowering the weight to your chest during the bench press is the eccentric or "negative," portion of the exercise.
Q: I am training for a half-marathon this summer. Can I do the Body-for-LIFE program to help me get ready for it?
A: A: Endurance athletes tend to have a much higher training volume than is suggested in the Body-for-LIFE program (BFL). Both the duration and frequency of their cardio training is increased. This puts a premium on recovery to keep training quality high day after day and therefore additional demands on your nutritional program. To be successful, your caloric intake must be sufficient to complete a high volume of training. Simply eating more or bigger BFL meals may not suffice. The protein intake suggested in the program may be fine without increasing it. The carbohydrate and fat intake is likely to be inadequate, though. To structure a program that is adequate for decreasing body fat while endurance training, it may be best to consult books and magazines that are specific to your sport (running, biking, cross-country skiing). They should have fat loss programs that account for the specific demands of your training.
Eccentric Contraction : In practice, an eccentric muscle contraction typically occurs during the "lowering" phase of an exercise, such as when a weight is moving in the same direction as gravity. More formally, an eccentric muscle contraction occurs when the resistance about a joint is greater than the muscular force that opposes the movement. The result is a lengthening of the muscle or muscle group, even though the muscle (or muscle group) is contracting, or exerting force. Eccentric exercises, or "negatives" are thought to be responsible for much of the muscle breakdown and subsequent muscle soreness that occurs due to resistance exercise.
Q: Eating five to six small meals a day seems like a lot. Won’t I gain weight?
A: This is a popular misconception—that to lose fat and get lean, you have to eat less frequently and adhere to the traditional “three square meal” philosophy. Research has shown that nothing could be further from the truth.
There is a variety of metabolic explanations for why this pattern of eating is so effective for fat loss. First, small frequent meals (SFMs) tend to stabilize both blood sugar and insulin levels throughout the day. When blood sugar levels spike, fat storage is strongly promoted because blood sugar must be kept under very tight control by the body. And if glycogen reserves are full, blood sugar must be stored as fat. These spikes will also cause an overproduction of insulin, usually leading to a rebound hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) effect a few hours after your meal. This can instigate hunger and cravings, cause your energy levels to crash and may slow your metabolism.
In contrast, keeping your blood sugar levels moderate and consistent smoothes out energy levels, keeps insulin levels more constant and helps keep your metabolism humming. When you eat six nutritious, smaller meals a day, the food is more efficiently absorbed and processed by your body than the “three squares” most Americans eat each day. You’ll be creating a metabolic environment that supports healthy fat loss and muscle gains.
Q: Do I have to use EAS products to officially compete in the Body-for-LIFE Challenge?
A: Yes. You must use at least one EAS product during your Challenge. EAS product lines include Body-for-LIFE, Myoplex, HP and AdvantEdge. Please remember that Challenge participants announced as Champions will be reimbursed for EAS products purchased during their 12 weeks if they send in their receipts.
Q: Where can I find quality nutrition products besides Body-for-LIFE nutrition bars and ready-to-drink shakes?
A: You can visit www.eas.com to find all the information you need (and a full line of nutritional products) to help meet your fitness goals.
Q: Do I need to eat nutrition bars and shakes while following the Body-for-LIFE program?
A: No. Many people can achieve fantastic results with careful meal planning and preparation. But nutrition shakes and bars are an easy and convenient way to get the exact balance of nutrients that you need. You could spend the time to cook five to six whole-food meals each day, but with the hectic pace of our everyday lives, you may find that having a balanced, pre-prepared meal on hand can take the guesswork out of eating right. These quick and nutritious bars and shakes can help you avoid cravings and maintain stable energy levels. Furthermore, they’re also a great way to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to recover from weight training exercise.
Q: How can I successfully complete the Body-for-LIFE Program and make my body transform like so many people have? Why can’t I eat right for more than a couple weeks at a time without blowing it?
A: The good news is, you can! However, in order to succeed, you’re going to have to change your patterns of action—your daily habits. And to change those habits, you have to change the way you’re thinking. And to change your thinking, you may need to change the way you’re communicating with yourself and others. And one of the best ways to do that is to change the questions you’re asking. Let me explain...
Over the years, I’ve learned that it’s hard to give the right answer to the wrong question. You see, when you ask things like, “Why can’t I succeed?” you need to stop right there and reframe the question. Otherwise, you answer yourself with something like, “Because I don’t have what it takes.”
To receive the right answer, you have to ask the right question. If you want empowering answers, ask empowering questions. For example, your question could be transformed to, “How can I achieve success like so many others have?”
Make no mistake, this is not merely an issue of semantics. There’s a subconscious meaning and message behind the way we communicate with others, and most importantly, ourselves. When you ask, “How can I succeed?” your mind is likely to answer, “Do what they did! Work hard, follow a proven plan, and have faith!” See the difference?
One more thing, within the next 24 hours, please take out a piece of paper and a pen and write down your question, “How can I succeed?” and write it down 10 times. This simple exercise may very well help you become more conscious and aware of how you’re communicating with yourself and what questions you’re asking and answering. This, in turn, can help empower your mindset and your success!
Q: Why should I use nutritional supplements?
A: Nutritional products, such as Body-for-LIFE nutrition bars and ready-to-drink shakes, are convenient and nutritious ways to help you get in your five to six small meals a day. The nutritional program of Body-for-LIFE is so important because without proper nutrition, the exercise will not produce maximum results. Body-for-LIFE nutrition bars and ready-to-drink shakes provide the exact amounts of high-quality protein, energy-rich carbohydrates and important vitamins and minerals that you need when you’re trying to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. Plus, they taste great!
Q: Instead of taking the Myoplex Lite, may I take the regular Myoplex and just split it in half?
A: You could do so, but it’s not going to give you what you’re looking for in a meal. Nor would it necessarily be your best option for achieving particular goals. Each variety of our Myoplex is formulated for specific goals, and they’re put together with the idea that 1 package = 1 meal. That’s how the vitamin and nutritional components are set up, and that’s when the supplement will be the most effective. So if you’re seeking loss of body fat and muscle tone (most women), try the Myoplex Lite. Your nutritional plans will be much more complete, and your chances of reaching your goals will be significantly increased.
Meal-Replacement Powders (MRPs) : These are a category of supplements which contain protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and other key nutrients which are used to replace a regular-food meal for purposes of weight loss, weight gain, or increasing dietary nutrient intake. These supplements may also be referred to as “total-nutrition products,” “engineered foods,” or “superfoods.”
Q: How do I set goals?
A: Transform your dreams into goals and write them down. Create a list of goals and hang the list on your fridge and look at it every morning and every night before bed. Set goals that are ambitious yet attainable. Here are some other goal-setting ideas from the EAS’ Sports Nutrition Review book.
Goal Setting—What works, what doesn’t
Gary Ryan Blair, founder of The GoalsGuy Learning Systems, Inc., says the most important characteristics of a good goal are that it is specific, measurable and time bound. Saying you want to get in shape is not specific or measurable or time-bound. What does “in shape” mean? How do you know when you’re there? How do you measure being “in shape”? And when do you plan to do this? It’s much more motivating to say, “I will lose two inches off my waist in the next three months.” That you can measure. That creates a sense of urgency.
Here are more examples of bad goals made good:
Instead of: I’m going to start working out.
Say this: I’m going to walk for 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of next week.
Instead of: I want to get stronger.
Say this: I will increase my bench press max from 175 pounds to 200 pounds in the next three months.
Blair recommends creating an additional mid-term goal and several weekly or bi-weekly goals leading up to it. Once you’ve successfully reached your mid-point, start again with weekly or bi-weekly goals until you achieve your vision. Break the time up in whatever chunks work best for you, but the whole idea is to look at the process in specific, manageable steps and celebrate your achievements along the way.
Here’s an example of a vision, a mid-term and a short-term goal.
Vision: Within the next six months, I will lose 20 pounds and 3 inches off my waist.
Mid-term Goal: At the end of 12 weeks, I will have lost 10 pounds and 1 ½ inches off my waist.
Short-term Goal: I will lose at least 1 pound this week by walking three days for a minimum of 30 minutes each and limiting my fast food intake to two days.
As you can see from the above example, your short-term goals are the ones that contain the actual behaviors you’ll change or the steps you’ll take to get where you want to go.
Q: I have been doing Atkins but I am about to switch to Body-for-LIFE. Am I going to gain weight?
A: A: During the Induction phase on a low-carb diet, most of the weight loss is water and muscle glycogen (stored carbohydrate). There is very little (if any) fat loss. Once you have depleted your body’s supplies of water and glycogen, you cannot lose much more of them. Also, the dehydration and energy drain that accompanies this period make it difficult to train with any intensity. Consequently, weight loss is at a standstill. The only way to lose much more weight on this type of program is continue to follow it to the point that your body begins to burn muscle tissue for fuel. This loss of muscle tissue will be reflected on a scale as a loss of weight. The loss of muscle, water, and stored carbohydrate will be reflected on a measure of body fat as an increase in body fat percentage. Needless to say, we do not find this approach consistent with the typical goals of our consumers which include losing body fat and maintaining (or gaining) muscle mass.
Once you switch over to a nutrition program that encourages nutritional balance (like the Body-for-LIFE program), you increase your muscle glycogen and improve your body’s ability to remain hydrated. On the scale, this will appear as an increase in weight. It is, in fact, an increase in lean mass (like muscle) not fat. Many people are afraid of this weight gain anyway, so they do not eat enough. Not only does this keep their weight down but it keeps their energy levels down, too. It also reduces their chances of burning fat effectively because they do not have adequate muscle mass. Then they eat less and train more without ever giving their bodies the fuel they need to accomplish their goals.
Q: I would like to accept the Challenge, but I don’t know much about nutrition and training, where can I learn more?
A: We recommend these sources of information: Body-for-LIFE by Bill Phillips, www.bodyforlife.com The Body-for-LIFE book is extremely comprehensive and easy to read. It will teach you how to build muscle and burn fat fast through an integrated approach to training and nutrition. Body-for-LIFE also contains vitally important information on how to set goals and achieve them, as well as providing you with the opportunity to learn from others who have successfully completed the 12-week Program. Body-for-LIFE is available at booksellers everywhere.
Q: Can I have cereal on the BFL program?
A: Low glycemic cereals are a great carbohydrate source, which are authorized for use on the nutrition portion of Body-for-LIFE. Best choices would be fibrous, low-glycemic cereals such as oatmeal (long-cook), oat bran (cracked or raw), rice bran, wheat bran, Muesli, or All-Bran (all varieties). If you add milk to your cereal keep in mind that the milk contains calories and should be used in moderation. To make a full Body-for-LIFE meal, cereal should be combined with a protein portion.
Q: I have tried so many diets and they all have failed, so why is this program going to work for me?
A: Body-for-LIFE is more than just another diet program—it’s a new way of living a healthy life. Body-for-LIFE is not about deprivation or giving up any one food group. Your meals feature a great-tasting balance of carbohydrates, protein and essential fats, including bread, pasta, potatoes, fruits and vegetables. Best of all, Body-for-LIFE suggests that you take a FREE day every week, where you get to eat whatever you want! The Body-for-LIFE program consist of eating five to six small, balanced meals every two to three hours to keep your metabolism humming, three quick 45-minute weight-training workouts three times a week and three fast, intense 20-minute cardio sessions each week. Once you get started on this journey, it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever imagine reverting to your old ways. You’ll literally be a different person with a new mindset. As you make progress and meet your goals, set new goals and move forward again. This is program is a way of life, not a temporary quick fix.
Q: I’ve heard a lot about EFA’s, and how they are important for several different bodily functions. What functions, and why are they “essential?”
A: “Essential Fatty Acids” consist of two primary fatty acids that your body cannot produce on its own - linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. These are also referred to as “omega-6” and “omega-3” fatty acids, respectively. These two acids are found in varying concentrations primarily in vegetable oils, and different oils contain varying amounts of the EFA’s. For example, flaxseed oil is particularly high in omega-3’s, whereas safflower oil is very high in omega-6’s. Most unsaturated fats will contain a little of both, and we have a very strong mix in our Structured EFA’s supplement. The functions of EFA’s are myriad, however there are a few specific functions that may impact bodybuilders and athletes in particular if they are deficient in these nutrients. EFA’s are needed for the formation of vital hormone-like substances called “prostaglandins.” Prostaglandins serve in many capacities, and are integrally involved in the production of various muscle-building growth hormones. They may also speed the rate at which your body burns fat and glucose (blood sugar) by increasing your metabolic rate. Essentially, if your daily diet is deficient in EFA’s, it may slow your gains in lean mass, slow your metabolism, impair your body’s ability to recover after a workout, and impact your efficiency in burning fat.
Q: What if I make a mistake and miss a workout? Or a meal?
A: If you miss a workout, you missed it. If you miss a meal, you missed it. Just get back on schedule, and please don’t let setbacks, or mistakes as you call them, stop you. We’ve all made mistakes in the past, and we’re all going to make mistakes in the future. Especially if we’re trying to do something new and challenging. The important thing to do is to resume your schedule and identify what in your planning allowed for the mistake to occur. Once that’s identified, fix it!
Q: Do I need to eat something before I work out and after?
A: It depends on your goal. If your goal is to lose fat and gain muscle, we do not recommend eating before for at least an hour before your cardio workout, although some people find that eating half a nutrition bar or a piece of fruit gives them the energy they need to make it through an intense cardio workout. You’ll find out what works best for you. When it comes to post-workout nutrition, eating a nutrition shake or bar after a weight-training workout is very important for muscle recovery and muscle growth. After your cardio workout, you should try to consume a balanced whole-food meal or nutrition bar or shake about an hour after you finish. If your goals are performance- or sport-specific, you might want to try our Myoplex brand of products, which are geared toward the more serious athlete.
Q: What is CLA, and how does it function?
A: CLA stands for ‘Conjugated Linoleic Acid.’ This is a modified form of the essential omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is another of the fatty acid compounds known as essential due to the fact that your body cannot synthesize them; they must be obtained through your diet and/or supplementation. CLA has been shown to have a host of beneficial effects when at least 3,000 mg/day are taken in.
CLA has been shown in studies to be an anti-carcinogen, to reduce catabolism (muscle breakdown), to enhance growth, and to improve blood lipid profiles. More recent clinical research has also shown CLA as a positive factor in supporting metabolism and body composition. Essentially, when taken in at the levels recorded above, CLA may aid an individual in increasing lean muscle mass, blocking fat storage, releasing and burning more fat from stores in the body, and enhancing overall strength. As such, if you are serious about adding lean mass and/or losing bodyfat, CLA would be an excellent addition to your daily regimen.
CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) : CLA stands for conjugated linoleic acid. It's a naturally occurring omega-6 fatty acid in a number of foods. Fatty acids are the building blocks that make up fat, in sort of the same way amino acids are the molecules that make up a protein. Examples of other fatty acids include linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. Due to the unique chemical structure of CLA (two double bonds separated by one single bond) compared to regular linoleic acid, CLA functions quite differently from regular linoleic acid (the kind found in sunflower oil or safflower oil). Specifically, CLA may help with reducing bodyfat, increasing lean body mass, promoting immune function, preventing muscle wasting, and may have antioxidant qualities. CLA is found in relatively large quantities in some foods like dairy products, beef and veal, and even turkey. The average person probably gets up to one gram a day just by eating regular foods. The trouble is, you'd probably have to eat more meat or more cheese than you ever dreamed of to get enough CLA to see any beneficial effects. For instance, cheeses have an average of between 2.9 mg and 7.1 mg of CLA per gram of fat. You'd have to eat cheese on the order of several pounds a day to get anywhere near the three-gram dosage that appears to be beneficial to humans. It makes more sense to consume CLA supplements that contain a high concentration of this unique fatty acid.
Q: What if I’m a vegetarian? What kind of adjustments would I make to the Body-for-LIFE Program?
A: Vegetarians following the Body-for-LIFE Program need to be more diligent in their meal planning to ensure they are consuming a quality portion of protein with each meal. In addition, special care must be taken when replacing authorized animal proteins, which contain no carbohydrates, with plant-derived proteins, which may contain significant amounts of carbohydrates. For example, a vegetarian following the Body-for-LIFE Program might be tempted to exchange a chicken breast with a portion of lentils for protein and consume that with a vegetable and an authorized carbohydrate, such as baked potato, for a complete meal. However, this would not be an authorized meal because lentils, while containing some protein, contain far too many carbohydrates to be eaten with a potato. More suitable replacements for the chicken breast would be nutritious, low-carbohydrate proteins such as a portion of low-fat cottage cheese or egg whites. Also, keep in mind that performance-nutrition shakes containing whey protein, such as Myoplex, may be one of the best sources of protein for vegetarians. Vegetarians must be careful to consume a large variety of foods to get enough of all of the amino acids- the building blocks of protein. By doing this, however, you now run into the problem of too many starchy carbohydrates and too much fat. Not only do quality performance-nutrition shakes contain all of the essential amino acids, they taste great, mix easily and are low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium.