Tag Archives: Beachbody

“People Ask Me If I’m a Model!”

August4-AdamK

Meet Adam K.! He participated in The Beachbody Challenge and won the $500 Daily Prize for August 4!

Tell us about your life before you started the program. How did you feel about yourself and your body?
I was using the Beachbody workout programs and having really great success. However, I had some injuries from sports that forced me to stop working out. I had a hernia surgery, tore my groin muscle, strained an oblique muscle, and tore the tendon that connects from your knee to your pelvic bone. Because of this, I wasn’t even allowed to stretch for 7.5 months due to the recovery process. Over that time, I stopped eating healthy as well. I became a couch potato, shut myself out from everyone, and became depressed. I’d never experienced anything like this before. I didn’t feel good about myself at all. I could hardly help out at home because of my restrictions. It made life very hard.

What inspired you to change your life and begin your transformation journey?
I took a look in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw. I was also a wrestling coach and I’m a Beachbody Coach. I knew that people were counting on me to help them. Most importantly, my family was counting on me. So, while I wasn’t cleared to workout yet, I started drinking my Shakeology for the next 2.5 months to kick start my health. Then once I was cleared to workout, I completed one round of Body Beast to get to where I am today. Sagi is amazing. Between him, Shakeology and my Coach, my life is forever changed.

What in particular did you like about the program you chose?
The thing I liked about Shakeology is that with Shakeology I not only received help in weight loss, but I gained overall health benefits. I felt like I had more energy. With Body Beast, what I liked most about that is it’s an intense weight lifting program. A program that I can do at  home and not need $10,000 worth of equipment to get results.

Describe the results you achieved with your Beachbody program. Which achievements are you proud of?*
I have my life back. My wife and kids are the most important thing in my life. I’m able to do even the small things again with my girls, such as play games with them or run around with them. Being able to pick them up and not be worn out from it is a great feeling. On top of that, I lost a total of 10″ around my hips and waist. I lost 12% body fat and 20 pounds! I gained a total of 19 inches between my neck, shoulders, chest, arms, and legs.

How has your life changed since completing your Beachbody program?
Shakeology and Body Beast have completely changed my life. Because of the success I’ve had using these, I entered my very first ever physique competition and had a blast! I never thought I would do one in my life. Always thought they were cool. I’ve also had people asking me if I’m a model. When I tell them I’m not, they generally ask me why not?! The other cool part is my friends and family have taken notice of my new look. They continue to ask me what I’m doing to gain so much success in my health and fitness. My goal is to help as many people as I can with their health and fitness. It has changed my life and made me a better person. I want to do everything I can for the next person.

from Beachbody Blogs

7 Moves for a Flatter Stomach

woman with flat stomach lying on blanket

Spring is finally here! The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and clothing appears to be getting . . . smaller. While the warmer weather and the reemergence of the sun make for happier brains, they make it harder for you to hide that muffin top underneath sweaters and jackets.

Unfortunately, your stomach is often one of the first places you gain weight and one of the last places you’ll lose it. Belly fat is not only bad for the beach; it’s downright dangerous. A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension revealed that “A larger waist measurement predicts the development of high blood pressure, regardless of total body fat.” Other studies have found that visceral stomach fat (versus the subcutaneous fat that you can pinch) is linked to higher total cholesterol, insulin resistance, colorectal cancer, and diabetes. It’s time to get serious about losing the spare tire around your waist—not only for aesthetic reasons, but also for your long-term health. And with just a few more weeks until beach season is here, there’s no better time to start shredding that fat so that you can reveal a flat, defined, sexy stomach.

A healthy diet—full of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats (like avocado and olive oil)—is critical to getting a flat stomach. Ever heard the phrase “your abs are made in the kitchen”? It’s true. This, coupled with the Harvard Women’s Health Watch recommendation of at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity a day, is the key to getting a flat tummy.

If seeing a flat stomach comes down to reducing your body fat through healthy diet and exercise, then why bother doing ab-specific exercises? One good reason is that “ab exercises” also strengthen your core, and a strong core can improve your posture and make you less prone to injury. Another is that the abs—like your biceps—are muscles. They’re comprised of 6 different muscles: the transverse abdominal that wraps around your torso, the internal and external obliques (one of each on each side), and the rectus abdominis (see the diagram). The rectus abdominis is the “six-pack” muscle. But strengthening all of them is important. Doing exercises that target these will strengthen them so they appear defined when your body fat percentage is low enough for them to be visible. With that in mind, here are 7 of my favorite ab-sculpting moves.

  1. Training Camps from TurboFire: Chalene Johnson leads this fan favorite. Start in a seated position on the floor with your heels on the ground and toes facing 45 degrees toward the sky. Lean back until you feel your abdominals engage. Twist toward your right side, lean back, and touch your right elbow to the ground. Engage your abdominals, sit up, and repeat the move on the other side. This is an oblique killer and will help you create those little “fingerlike” muscles on your sides.
  2. Sprinting: Remember when you used to sprint around the playground as a kid? Those short, explosive bursts of energy do wonders for your midsection. Think back to the Summer Olympics when the sprinters were waiting on the starting line for the 100-meter dash. Every single one had a six-pack. Sprinting is an anaerobic activity that targets almost every muscle in your body, and especially the abdominals. When you have to quickly drive your knees up while staying in an upright position, you’re forced to use your core. Just make sure that you’re well warmed-up before going full bore.
  3. Fifer Scissors from P90X: This move from Tony Horton hurts so good. Lie flat on your back with one straight leg extended so that it is perpendicular to the floor. The other straight leg should hover just off the ground. Switch legs every 10 seconds and don’t let either leg touch the ground.
    Note: If you find that your back is coming up off the ground or if it starts to hurt, place your hands underneath your lower back.
  4. Stability Ball Roll-Outs: This is a real core burner! Start with your knees on the ground and a stability ball in front of you on the floor. Place your hands and wrists on the top of the stability ball and slowly roll the ball out in front of you. Keep your arms straight while rolling out the ball and keep your back straight. If your back starts to sway or if your butt drops, you’ve gone too far. Slowly roll back in.
  5. Tuck Jumps from INSANITY: And you probably thought jumping was only for your legs! This tummy tamer gets your heart rate up, works your entire body, and tones abs all in one. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Drive your arms up into the sky and lift your knees to your elbows. Like with sprinting, you’ll want to be fully warmed-up before trying this exercise.
  6. Stability Ball Knee to Chest: Place your hands on the ground and the tops of your feet on the stability ball so that you are in a push-up/plank position. With your core engaged (good luck trying this without it engaged!), bring your knees to your chest and then move them back out to a plank position. Do not let your back sway or your butt drop.
  7. Hip-Up from Body Beast: Spot-burning fat through exercise is impossible. But this exercise will help strengthen the lower half of your rectus abdominis muscle. Lie flat on your back with your feet flexed toward the sky and your hands at your sides. Engage your stomach, lift your hips up, and drive your feet straight up. Lower your hips back down to the ground in a slow, controlled motion.

For extra support in achieving that toned stomach, follow these 5 gut-busting tips:

1. Ditch the refined sugar! It may look good and taste good, but refined carbohydrates and sugars wreak havoc on your midsection. It’s OK to have a treat once in a while, but try to keep these waistline killers to a minimum.

2. Stand up straight: The more you slouch, the more your stomach pooches. According to WebMD, you should “align your ears over your shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over knees, and knees over ankles. Keep the fronts of the shoulders open like a shirt on a hanger. Draw your navel to your spine and keep your weight even on the balls and heels.” This posture will help you look much leaner and, over time, this isometric contraction of your abs will help strengthen them.

3. HIIT Training: Engage in High Intensity Interval Training (also known as HIIT) and you can see more results in less time! This type of exercise, done in short bursts with brief recovery periods between sets, can help spike your metabolism so you burn calories for hours after you’re done working out.

4. Sleep: Getting the right amount of shut-eye can help you get the flat tummy of your dreams. When you skimp on shut-eye, your body undergoes physiological stress, which causes your body to store fat. Strive to get 8 or more hours every single night. Scientific American reports that “even short-term, partial sleep deprivation could pave the way for weight gain and other negative metabolic consequences.”

5. Reduce Stress: Stress can be good or bad depending on how we deal with it. We need stress to change and progress, but too much of it can cause our bodies to enter a “fight-or-flight” biochemical process. According to WebMD, this makes “our bodies store fuel, slow down metabolism, and dump out chemicals [such as the stress hormone cortisol] which are more likely to cause . . . obesity in the abdominal region.” When we’re stressed, we also tend to reach for comfort foods. If you lower your stress levels (through time management, yoga, meditation), you won’t need to self-medicate with food and your hormone levels will be much healthier.

From Beachbody Blog


PiYo DEFINE YOURSELF

Ask the Expert: How Can I Bulk Up?

Ask the Expert: How Can I Bulk Up?

Ask the Expert: How Can I Bulk Up?

By Steve Edwards from Beachbody Newsletter

Most of us want to lose weight, but what about those who want to get bigger? Skinny folks, trainers, and bodybuilders alike all know that, truth be told, getting big is hard. Over the years, some of the most frustrated clients I’ve ever worked with were those who were trying to put on mass.

Muscle Man


Getting big is hard, but it’s not impossible. Here’s how you do it.

“You See Something, You Eat It.”

This was one of the first lines I heard a bodybuilder utter about how he got so big. I’ve heard it repeated time and time again by those looking to gain. For sure, if you want to gain weight, you’ve got to eat more than you’re used to. But, now that we know more about performance eating and nutrient timing, the best way to increase your bulk isn’t to spend all afternoon gorging yourself at Arnold’s All-You-Can-Eat Buffet. Instead, by centering your diet around healthy, calorically-dense foods, you can get big without putting on the excess fat you see many bodybuilders carrying when they’re in the offseason.

Nutrient Timing

MealOne of the easiest ways to get your body used to eating more than you’re comfortable with is to take advantage of the times of the day when it’s easier for your body to digest and utilize nutrients. I’ve broken your day into five basic periods of time. If your day doesn’t fit this exact model, focus on the concepts and adjust as necessary.

1. Pre-Preworkout. Don’t confuse this with the “preworkout” supplements you take right before training. In this context, I’m referring to all the hours of the day before you work out. To give you energy for your training session, focus on eating carbs (for energy) and protein (to maximize amino acid availability). Keep the amount of fat you ingest relatively low, as excess dietary fat will sit in your digestive tract and hinder your workout.

2. Intraworkout. These are supplements you take immediately before or during your workout that help you train harder. I’m not including food here because you should be eating plenty during the rest of the day, so you shouldn’t worry about running out of blood sugar and muscle glycogen during your training sessions unless they are longer than 90 minutes.

The exception is simple carbs (or sugars) which are the foundation of most preworkout supplements because they absorb quickly, transporting the targeted nutrients I’m about to discuss.

What those targeted nutrients should be is a matter of debate and personal preference. Many people like caffeine and other stimulants prior to training. While the science around them is mainly solid, the effects vary, so start slow to see what works for you.

Nitric oxide, or NO, boosters are also popular. The science validating them is decent—and getting better—but keep in mind their role is to help you train harder. They Protein Shake with Workout Gloveswon’t make you big. Your tests should be straightforward. If they improve your workouts then they are good. If not, you’re wasting money. Pretty simple.

Then there’s creatine, still one of the best supplements around for training. Generally, I recommend it postworkout, but you may prefer to take it during your workout as well. That’s fine. A personal trial is always recommended but this supplement’s been on the market for 30 years, under great scrutiny, and is still shining bright. Current research still shows that good old creatine monohydrate is the form that’s still the most effective.

B vitamins, amino acids, beta alanine, carnitine, et. al. are all popular preworkout ingredients with varying amounts of science showing effectiveness. Again, you need to make the call but keep in mind, as is the case with nitric oxide, these things are only working if your workouts are better. They are therefore very easy to test.

3. Postworkout. Here things start to get cool, as strategic recovery is where you can easily put away a lot of calories. First, you’ll want to drink a low-calorie post-exercise drink within 30 minutes of training. It should contain at least two parts carbs to one part protein and not exceed 250 calories. Your body can only process around 200 to 300 calories in a given hour, and excess calories will slow down the process of restoring your muscle glycogen, an absolute no-no if you want to see muscle growth and recover quickly.

This is also a great time to take more creatine and other targeted supplements because your insulin is spiking and you will utilize those nutrients very efficiently.

One hour after your workout you should eat again. Now is a great time for a high-protein, high-fat smoothie that contains an insane number of calories and tons of nutrients. If you trained hard—and you’d better—your muscles will still be starving for nutrients and these calories should go down easy. This “starvation window” is something you’ll learn to greatly appreciate.

4. Evening Meal. This should be the inverse of breakfast (and possibly lunch if you didn’t train until later in the day). It should contain fewer carbs, mostly in the form of veggies, and much more fat and protein. Don’t eschew carbs altogether, just scale the meal, keeping in mind that you eat carbs for energy and you’re not going to be very active until the next day.

5. Before Bed. Recent studies have confirmed that the classic bodybuilder routine of consuming protein prior to bed can raise amino acid activity during sleep. If you’re a big guy (190 pounds or more), 40 grams of protein, preferably a slow protein (like casein), right before bed can help you recover faster than normal.

Even with a perfect strategy, eating more than your body wants is hard work. That was the hardest challenge for all of our Body Beast® test group participants. But you really only have to do it once. Once your body is big, and used to being big, your caloric needs will level off to more manageable numbers.

Training

Man Working OutWhen getting big is your ultimate goal, time under tension should be the focus of every workout that’s not recovery oriented. Time under tension is the amount of time your muscles are contracted during the workout. You want that amount of time to be as long as possible. This means slowing down your reps and focusing on form and muscle contraction. Time, not reps, is the key to training to get big. We only use reps for convenience. So the number of reps you target should be based on the speed you do them (for example, 5 slow reps might take just as long as 20 fast reps). For hypertrophy, or muscle growth, you want each set to include ideally around 1 minute of contraction.

Failure is essential. Time under tension only works if you are pushing yourself to the limit.You must add weight as you get stronger. If you never fail on a set then your workout was too easy. Add as much weight as you can safely handle. Every rep. Every set. Every workout.

There are too many strategies for targeting time under tension to go into here but you can tweak any weight-training workout to achieve it. This will be much easier to do if you are following a traditional weight-training program, like P90X® or ChaLEAN Extreme®. In the Beachbody lineup, Body Beast is, by far, the best training program for gaining mass since it’s designed specifically for that purpose.

It’s also vital to note that your body only has so much energy to expend and you need to strategize how it should be engaged. Adding a lot of cardio training or outside activity hurts your ability to get big because you are, essentially, wasting energy that could be used to add more weight to your time under tension goals. Every supporting workout that you do during a mass-gaining phase should be to aid recovery or reduce chances of injury. Anything else is taking your eye off of the prize.

Sleep

Finally, don’t forget about sleep. It’s the best recovery aid there is. The perfect bulking scenario would have you sleeping whenever you weren’t training and eating. While impractical, you should consider this the ideal and try to get as much shut-eye as you can handle. Can’t sleep? Try these tips to get some rest.

Related Articles
“Mr. Big Stuff: A Q&A with Body Beast’s Sagi Kalev”
“The Big Cheat: 5 Reasons to Say NO to Steroids”
“Muscles in a Tub: A Beachbody® Creatine FAQ”

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