Body for Life: What Is It?
Body for Life is an intense exercise and nutrition program based on the premise that you're more likely to stick with a diet and workout if you see results quickly. Indeed, founder Bill Phillips makes this promise: Follow his program for 12 weeks and you'll have the best body you've ever had. The program is challenging. It involves training with weights for 45 minutes three days a week, then alternating with aerobic exercise for at least 20 minutes three days a week.
The diet involves eating six small meals each day for six days a week, drawing from a list of healthy foods such as lean meats, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and fish. Meals are a combination of lean protein and healthy carbohydrates “to speed up fat loss and maintain stable energy levels”, stated on the Body for Life web site. On the seventh day, you rest -- free to eat anything you want, no restrictions, and take a day off from the rigorous workout.
Open the best-selling Body for Life book and you'll see before-and-after photos of people who went from flab to fab. They don't just look slimmer. They look terrific. Their flat abs and chiseled muscles in the "after" photos are in stark contrast to the "before" pictures that look, well, like most of us. But remember, a healthy diet and strenuous exercise virtually every day is the key to this program. Odds are, your body would improve significantly with such workouts, even if you weren't also dieting.
The Body for Life web site provides a wealth of useful information including an active community, meal plans, shopping lists, training tools, member recipes, success stories, workout videos and the opportunity to join the 12-week Body for Life Challenge.
Body for Life: What You Can Eat
The good news is that with all the work Body for Life requires, you have to eat. Grazing, not gorging, six times a day is the key except for the one day a week when all rules are forgotten. Each meal consists of a fist-sized portion of protein -- lean meat, poultry, fish, egg whites, or cottage cheese -- and a fist-sized portion of healthy carbohydrates such as potatoes or brown rice. You must also eat at least two portions of vegetables, and drink 10 glasses of water each day. Nutritional supplements (available on the Body for Life website) and a tablespoon or two of healthy oil (such as flaxseed) are recommended to round out the diet.
The diet breaks down to about 40%-50% protein, the same for carbohydrates, and very little fat. The Institute of Medicine recommends 45-65% carbohydrates, 20-35% protein and 10-35% fat.
Body for Life provides this list of authorized foods to choose from:
• Chicken breast
• Turkey breast
• Orange roughy
• Top round or top sirloin steak
• Lean ground beef
• Egg whites
• Lean ham
• Low-fat cottage cheese
• Baked potato
• Sweet potato
• Steamed brown rice
• Steamed wild rice
• Fat-free yogurt
• Whole-wheat bread
• Green beans
• Green pepper
• Brussels sprouts