It was several years ago that I tried Body for Life lifestyle. The reason I write about it to you is that even though I no longer follow it, it’s one of those few diets and workout programmes that I really encourage people to try.
Body for Life is a 12 week diet and workout programme. Here’s how it works:
Body for Life diet
Body for Life programme requires some planning when it comes to your diet. The better you plan it, the better you will succeed. If you plan and execute it well, you will certainly not feel hungry as you will be eating 6 times a day. But if you are not prepared enough for this diet, you can forget about it straight away. You cannot do this diet without being ready to do the planning and preparing.
A single meal on this diet consists of:
- a portion of lean protein
- a portion of complex carbohydrates
A portion size is equivalent to the size of a deck of playing cards, the size of your closed fist or the palm of your hand.
You should eat six such meals a day.
In addition to this, you should have two portions of vegetables, one table spoon of unsaturated oil and 10 glasses of water a day.
You’ll find the complete food list on Body for Life website.
Once a week you’re allowed to have a free day from your diet – a cheat day if you will – when you can eat whatever you want.
That’s all you need to worry about. If you follow this together with your workout programme, you’ll see results. And that brings us to the workout.
Body for Life workout
You need to work out 6 days a week, around 30 minutes a day. So you do need to commit to this, but 30 minutes a day isn’t too bad. A gym membership is really handy, but you can do this at home as well if you have enough workout equipment (several sets of weights).
One week consists of six exercises:
- three intense weight training days (alternate between upper and lower body workout) and
- three 20 minute cardiovascular exercise days.
You should alternate weight-training and cardio workouts for six consecutive days and then rest on the seventh day.
The weight training programme is structured and as long as you follow the instructions carefully, you’ll notice how much stronger you’re becoming. I did this at home with free weights. It was a bit of a hassle to constantly change the weights between each set, but trust me, you will get results.
I did the cardiovascular exercise plan on an exercise bike at home. It is a very intense workout as you change the resistance every minute but 20 minutes go by so quickly and it’s great to walk straight to shower when you’re done.
What’s so great about Body for Life is that you really see your body change. I think what happened to me is I ate a bit too much on this diet – I mean I followed it quite religiously but perhaps my portion sizes were a bit too large. The result was that I only lost a few pounds during the 12 weeks (whereas a friend of mine who followed this with me lost over 20 pounds) but I saw some big changes in my body. By weeks 10 and 11 (remember, this is a 12 week programme) I’d wake up in the morning, stand in front of the mirror flexing my muscles and wondering if these changes were really happening to me. And I’m not saying that I was becoming really muscular or anything, it’s just that the changes were so obvious – I was gaining muscle or ”toning” my body and it was just fantastic. Now that is something, to achieve that in just a few months. I’d never experienced anything like that before (and haven’t since either!).
So I can really recommend this programme – not so much for weight loss even though that probably will happen to you as well but more than that – for changing your body. If you are quite happy with you weight but would like to change your body composition, gain more muscle and really ”tone” yourself, give this diet and workout programme a chance! Give it full 12 weeks though, don’t give up. Because time and time again I see people posting that they are on week 8 or 9 but see no results. Then all of a sudden on the very last weeks they see huge changes! “Progress, not perfection” is what I see written on Body for Life forums constantly, and that’s true. Keep going and you’ll see results.
Another good thing about Body for Life is that once you are determined and follow the programme, you feel really good about it, both physically and mentally. You don’t feel hungry as you eat 6 times a day. A friend of mine on the programme had usually really painful periods but she noticed less period pains on this programme. And also, the Body for Life forum is quite lively and encouraging so you’ll have plenty of support if you wish.
This lifestyle plan has quite a strong encouragement to using nutritional supplements such as nutrition bars and protein shakes. While I myself like to always eat ”real food” and don’t really encourage people to use these products, I understand that by using these supplements it makes it quite a lot easier to get in the 6 required meals a day. However, you should know that you do not need to use the supplements. It takes a lot of preparing and planning but it is possible to do this programme without the supplements.
If you are planning to take part in Body for Life challenge (a competition that takes place annually), you do need to use at least one EAS supplement that they market on their website.
Another thing that I’m not really sure about is the concept of a free day once a week. I mean, it’s good in the way that whenever you feel like ”cheating” on the diet, you just have to repeat to yourself that it’s ”just a few days and then I can have that piece of apple pie, and some chocolate, and an Indian takeaway, and…”. It would be impossible for me to follow a diet for 12 weeks without any chocolate!
However, I usually had my free day on Saturdays and I went to supermarket really excitedly already on Friday and bought all the things I planned to eat the next day. That turned out to be quite a lot. I’d put it all ready for me on the kitchen table on Friday night and felt like it was Christmas on Saturday morning. There was so much everything that I usually wasn’t able to eat it all on Saturday! So there would be something left for Sunday morning as well and I often felt it was really difficult to get back to the ”diet mode” on Sunday. So if I did this again, I’d probably have the free day on Sundays.
Should you buy the Body for Life book?
While the book is quite good, you do not need it to follow this programme. There’s plenty of information about this programme on their Body for Life website, even a bit too much as you might have to search a bit for the most relevant information. However, if you prefer to find all the information you need in a book form, you can easily purchase it at Amazon or Body for Life website.
Give this one a go if you want to change your body!
The two images above are affiliate links to Amazon. So if you click on the link and then buy something on Amazon, I will get a small percentage of what you pay. The price of products are naturally the same to you, I’ll just get this small fee.