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WHY EVERY WOMAN SHOULD TRY THE BODY BEAST PROGRAM

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When the Beachbody Program Body Beast first came out at the end of 2012, I was extremely hesitant to try it as it seemed like it was designed solely for men, in particular men who just wanted to “get huge!”  Check out this original promo video and you’ll see why it took me a while to dive in.

This would definitely appeal to men and teenage boys everywhere, but many women have a fear of getting bulky muscles and try to avoid heavy weightlifting.  While women don’t have enough testosterone to get “huge,” I was still a little wary mostly due to the fact that the Body Beast guide booklet had no caloric intake equation specifically for women. If I used the calculations in the book I’d be consuming 2800 calories a day, about 800 more than I typically consume…..Yikes!  I also knew I’d either have to decrease the weights on the “leg day” workout or swap it out for another program because heavy weights with squats and lunges have always left me with huge quads, a look I personally don’t like.  (If that doesn’t happen to you or you like the look, then go for it!)

A program with weightlifting, very little cardio, and lots of food where the outcome is a toned, more defined body? A variety of workouts so you never get bored, all in less than an hour a day (sometimes just 35 minutes)?  This program was my dream…..if the workouts were doable and enjoyable, of course!

As it turns out, I really enjoyed the workouts and the training style of Sagi Kalev.  I know that some people don’t like his “musclehead” demeanor, or the fact that English is his second language (he’s Israeli), but honestly it didn’t bother me at all.   Sure, his humor is cheesy, and he seems to make fun of his workout buddies quite often, but who cares?  He knows his stuff, is an excellent motivator and he gets the job done.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM:

The complete program is 90 days.  Each day is divided into a different body part – the first 3 and the last 3 weeks are broken down by Chest/Triceps, Back/Biceps, Legs, Shoulders, and Cardio while the middle 6 weeks are each individual muscle group – Chest, Back, Legs, Arms and Shoulders.  Since you are working out 6 days a week but there are only 5 different workouts per week, the rest day changes each week.  I didn’t love this aspect of the program, since I’m used to taking a rest day the same day each week but, hey, nothing’s perfect.

There is an option for 2 bonus workouts, Tempo Back & Biceps and Tempo Chest & Triceps.  These are a great addition to the program, especially if you get bored easily and need more variety in your workouts.  The Body Beast workout calendar (see below) includes these workouts as an option to replace some of the Build Back & Bis and/or Build Chest & Tris workouts on the specified days.  The main difference between the workouts is the speed in which you perform each repetition – much slower in the Tempo workouts.  This requires more patience, though, so if you don’t like performing reps at a very slow pace then skip it.

beast calendar

There is an option for a somewhat different schedule, called “Lean Beast” which includes more cardio sessions in the rotation of workouts.  For women, I would only suggest Lean Beast if you have more than 15 lb. to lose, since you will definitely burn more calories at rest with more muscle and therefore lose weight, even on the “Huge Beast” schedule.

The workouts are as challenging as you make them based on the weight you lift, so lift as heavy as you can and keep track of your weights using either the Body Beast app (available with purchase of the program) or the BodyBeast Worksheets. You can take these sheets with you and workout at the gym, which makes it super convenient to stick to the program while traveling.  Sagi does a variety of training sets, such as Pyramid Sets – where the first set is lighter weight, second set is medium weight, third set is heaviest weight etc. and Giant Sets – where different exercises are done back to back.  Therefore, you definitely need a good variety of weights for this program.  Yes, I know it’s an initial investment, but when you think about all the gym membership dollars you would spend on per month, I guarantee that this won’t even come close.  While I personally have separate dumbbells ranging from 3 lb to 35 lb, it’s a lot more space saving, and economical, to get dumbbells like these, which is a favorite among home fitness users. They range from 3 – 24 lbs, in easy to adjust 3 lb. increments. I don’t love the design, since it’s can be tricky to use for some exercises but still doable.  If you are more advanced or the square shape bothers you, then these would be a better option, and they range from 5 – 50 lbs.

Other items to purchase for the best results with this program:

  • Easy Bar with Weight Plates  is used often in the program, but don’t worry if you don’t have the space for it or can’t afford it as there is a modifier who does all the exercises with dumbbells.
  • Weight Bench, an excellent addition to your home gym in general.  You can use a Stability Ball instead, along with the modifier in the program, if you don’t have or don’t want a weight bench.  I have done the program using both, and while I prefer the weight bench, it is definitely doable without it.
  • Pullup Bar with the Pullup Assist is a great way to get started doing pullups; alternatively you can use these well-made B-lines Resistance Bands which comes with a door attachment – just make sure you have a sturdy door frame to use it on!

Beachbody recommends that you take their Performance Line of supplements for Body Beast but I did not do so.  They are a good quality line of products but being sensitive to some of the ingredients, and as a Holistic Nutritionist with access to more affordable supplements, I chose to get my own comparable items.   I did, however, have Beachbody’s Chocolate Vegan Shakeology*every day – my go-to treat with amazing health benefits!

The main difficulty I found with this program, but at the same time a huge pro, is the amount of food you get to eat.  Your body needs this number of calories in order to get strong, lean muscles if you are a woman, or much larger muscles if you are a man.  Since the original calculations were designed for men to get bigger, Sagi came out with an easier, updated version for you ladies out there (also useful for anyone who has a hard time figuring out the original calculation) to make sure you get the exact number of calories you need, with 2 options, based on whether you’d like to get more muscular or get leaner.

Calculate your calorie intake by downloading this Book-of-Beast-Calculator

Once you have this number, simply go to the guide that comes with your program to see how it’s broken down into portions.  It took me some time to get this right, since I had been using Autumn Calebrese’s Portion Control Containers for a while as recommended by some of the other Beachbody Programs and this system is very different.  Just be patient with yourself and you’ll get it in no time.

I found the easiest way to track my food intake was to put my allotted servings on a sheet of paper, photocopy it weekly, and cross each item off as I went along (details are in the booklet as to specifically what amount and type of food equals a serving size).  For the first 2 months, at the 2000 calorie level, mine looked like this, just to give you an idea:

PROTEIN    PROT    PROT    PROT    PROT    PROT    PROT    PROT    PROT

FRUIT/CARB LIQ       FRUIT/CL      FRUIT/CL      FRUIT/CL     FRUIT/CL

LEG/PR LIQ     LEG/PR LIQ

CARB      CARB        CARB      CARB       CARB

VEG/BAL LIQ    VEG/BAL LIQ     VEG/BAL LIQ       VEG/BAL LIQ

FAT        FAT       FAT      FAT

AFTER WORKOUT SHAKE (since I did not use Beachbody’s Base Shake or Fuel Shot, I made my own based on the nutrition content of those products): 330 cal, 23 gr carbs, 58 gr protein

I hope this encourages some of the ladies out there to try this program. I am very happy with the results as I got stronger doing this program and see a lot more overall muscle definition.  Let me know if you have any questions about this program and I would be happy to assist you.  Order the Body Beast program HERE, or the Body Beast Challenge Pack, which comes with a 1 month supply of Shakeology* at a significant savings.  By ordering through this website, you also get ME as your FREE coach to answer any questions you have while doing the program and to help you succeed.  As an added bonus, you get Lucky 7, another Body Beast full-body workout DVD, FREE! happy

*For my orthodox Jewish followers, please note: Shakeology has 2 vegan options – the others are made with whey protein– but it is NOT certified Kosher.  Please consult with your local Rabbi if you have any questions regarding consuming this product for health purposes.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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WORKOUT ANYWHERE WITH THE RIP TRAINER

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rip trainer

Me, on the beach in Miami, with the TRX Rip Trainer attached to a fence, getting an awesome workout.

There are so many fitness gadgets on the market, sometimes it’s really difficult to keep up.  I find many of them are silly or a waste of time but there are a few tried and true pieces of fitness equipment that won’t cost a fortune and have the ability to give you a full body workout.  In the case of TRX, they first came out with the Suspension Trainer and it has had incredible success because it was different than any other fitness equipment on the market at the time.  Years later, I still prefer the TRX over other suspension trainers that came after it; something about its design and the sheer number of exercise videos TRX puts out to show you how to use their equipment keeps me from switching to another brand or type of suspension trainer.  I use it for variety, as a replacement for chin ups, core strength, and really great flexibility training – not to mention, my clients love it as well.  One young client of mine remarked that she feels “like a badass” when she uses the TRX because “it’s just so cool!” I have to say, I totally get it.

When TRX came out with the Rip Trainer, it took a while until I purchased it, because I thought what could this do that other equipment I have can’t replicate? When I finally caved (if you read my blog, you know I can’t resist cool fitness equipment! winking ), I quickly discovered that not only is it a great exercise tool on it’s own that adds a unique type of training you really won’t find with anything else, but it can also be combined with the suspension trainer to get a full body workout in all planes of motion.  Simply by hanging one near the other, you can alternate between varying exercises for cardio, strength, martial arts type movements, core and flexibility training all in one!

Here are some details about the Rip Trainer from the TRX website: The Rip Trainer allows users to engage in unlimited movements which, when performed properly, enhance fluidity and range of motion and decrease the risk of injury. Whether used for high speed striking movements or slow speed strength and stability exercises, the Rip Trainer is the perfect training tool for elite level athletes, fitness enthusiasts and even people wanting to exercise for the first time.

Life and sport require that we be able to both control and produce rotational force. Rip Training utilizes the same asymmetrical loading we encounter every day. Whether you’re carrying groceries, picking up your child, throwing a ball, or performing athletic movements such as swimming, running, and biking, your body is always producing rotation or controlling externally-induced rotation.

What this means, is that you will get functionally stronger, the way our bodies were meant to work!

Check out this cool video that shows you many of the different ways to use the Rip Trainer:

To order your TRX Rip Trainer, click HERE. Want to purchase one but don’t know how to use it? Book a session with me (remote or in Boca Raton, Florida) and let me teach you the most effective ways to workout using your new equipment.  If you already own one, would love to hear your comments below!

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GET RID OF CELLULITE WITH PURE ESSENTIAL OILS

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herbs-and-essential-oilsThink it’s impossible to get rid of cellulite – the lumpy, bumpy skin most women have on the back of our legs?  Think again! I had cellulite for years and being tall and thin made no difference.  When I first noticed it, I hated it but really didn’t know what to do about it, other than try all the expensive creams and lotions on the market.  Every time a new one was advertised, I was convinced it was “the one” to get rid of my cellulite for good.

Once I became knowledgeable about health, fitness and wellness and learned that a clean diet and exercise, specifically building up the muscles of the hamstrings and glutes played an important role in combating cellulite, I began a strict regimen and waited patiently for all my detoxifying and clean eating efforts to pay off.  But as you may have already realized, cellulite is very stubborn!  I also used this product from Weleda since it is a natural, non-toxic product.  Although the cellulite did improve, it was simply not enough to decrease my self-consciousness about it.  If you have mild cellulite, it is an excellent product to try, but if you are like me, you’ll need something stronger.

That’s where my very own Anti-Cellulite Cream comes in.  After trying many different formulas from recipes I found online and tweaking it to have the consistency and scent that I liked, using only once a day within a matter of a few weeks I noticed a dramatic change.  Over time it has continued to improve, and while not perfect, it is definitely to the extent that I am finally happy with the results and much better than the previous options and expensive creams.  This cream is made of 100% pure essential oils, organic coconut oil, and organic beeswax.  It smells great, feels great and I love using it after I shower.  Massage the cream into legs, thighs and anywhere you have cellulite once or twice a day.  Note that due the coconut oil it contains, it can take a few minutes to fully absorb into the skin so be mindful of that if using in the morning before getting dressed.

Skin Brushing first is very helpful as well and will greatly improve results.   Let me know in the comments how it worked out for you!

 

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FIXATE COOKBOOK REVIEW

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This cookbook was created and designed by Autumn Calebrese, best known for her Beachbody Programs, 21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme and soon to be released The Master’s Hammer and Chisel.  The cookbook was created to be helpful to those doing the 21 Day Fix programs and has become very popular so I decided to go ahead and purchase it to see what all the fuss is about! Although I am a Beachbody coach, I don’t automatically endorse everything that comes from them (shocking, I know) so after making quite a few of the recipes from the book, I thought I’d write a review and share my opinion. Read on for the Good, the Bad and the Verdict:

FIXATE-book-cover

THE GOOD:

  • There are 101 recipes in the book with options for vegan, vegetarian, paleo-friendly and gluten free diets.  All are clearly labelled at the top of the page with either V, VG, PF, GF or a combination thereof.
  • The cookbook has a neat layout, nice design, and beautiful pictures of each completed recipe.
  • The recipes are easy to make and will appeal to anyone looking to eat healthy.  Recipes like Chicken Noodle Soup, Easy Pizza, Raspberry Filled Cookie Bites, and Mexican Taco Meat aren’t likely to scare away people who have never been “healthy” eaters.
  • Simple but extremely useful kitchen tips for those who are new to making healthier food choices.
  • Fantastic Sauces and Dressings Section.
  • Container measurements so you can easily incorporate the recipes into the 21 Day Fix program, as well as complete nutritional information if you are doing your own thing.
  • The beginning of the book has some interesting personal info about Autumn, and while normally I might find this annoying in a cookbook, I found it rather interesting and fun to read.  Autumn is a genuine and likable person, who is never condescending or holier than thou in her wording and approach to healthy eating.
  • Autumn quickly corrected any Nutritional information mistakes found in the book with this updated list in .pdf format.

 

THE BAD:

  • I wasn’t too happy to see recipes that had dairy and soy as part of the ingredient list.  That being said, there weren’t a lot of them and dairy ingredients can always be substituted with non-dairy ones.  On page 22, Autumn explains why she included these ingredients in her cookbook.
  • Several recipes in the book include her grandmas homemade tomato sauce (page 81) to be made from scratch.  The truth is, any organic tomato sauce brand will do and be less of a hassle.  The recipe itself was fine, but not so extraordinary that it needed to be included as part of a few recipes.
  • Some recipes are too simple, to the point of being ridiculous.  Tuna salad scooped into a tomato, Poached egg on a slice of toast with a layer of steamed asparagus or Spreading hummus on a sliced cucumber and rolling it up with sliced red peppers …… Do we really need instructions on how to make any of that?  I suppose if you’ve never stepped foot into a kitchen or really can’t think outside the box, those recipes will be helpful but I felt it was completely unnecessary.

 

THE VERDICT:

Fixate is not a cookbook with recipes that will make you “ooh” and “aah” over all the amazing food but what it does have is healthy, doable and tasty recipes with a clear indication of portions per recipe using Autumn’s 21 Day Fix Food Containers.  Incidentally, if you don’t want to do the fitness program, but are interested in the cookbook, you can purchase the containers separately HERE.

Overall, I would say for the $20 it’s a worthwhile purchase, especially if you are following the program and need new ideas.  On the other hand, if you are an experienced healthy eater it might not be worth it for you.

Recipes I particularly enjoy and make often are the: Quinoa and bean salad (page 63), Toasted kale salad (page 69), Banana oat pancakes (page 95), Vegetable egg cups (page 119), Italian meatballs (page 153), Turkey sloppy joes (page 171), Zuchinni chips (page 203) and Chocolate chip cookies (page 211).  I haven’t made nearly all the recipes, so I am sure there will more to add to the list at a later date.  Share below what you like or dislike about the cookbook; I would love to read your comments and opinions. happy

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HOLISTIC NUTRITION AND SUPPLEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS

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“I have been getting these headaches lately, what can I take?” Or, “I don’t know why, but my stomach has been bothering me lately I need a supplement to fix it.”  These are a couple of examples of the questions I get asked on a daily basis.  Many people are under the assumption that a Holistic Nutritionist can offer a quick fix to their health problem or a band-aid solution to whatever ails them.  Then again, maybe I should feel honored that people believe I can cure them on the spot!  Unfortunately, it’s usually not as easy as that.  You see, while there are a number of supplements and remedies that can offer quick relief of symptoms, typically the issue has been going on for a while and we need to uncover the cause of the problem in order to find a long-term solution .

When you go the Doctor, his or her main job is to get you out of your discomfort or pain and to make sure you don’t have a serious illness.  A Holistic Nutritionist works in a completely different manner.  Of course, we also want to make sure you don’t have a serious illness, but since we are not trained to determine that, (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked to “diagnose” things) it is always best to consult with your Medical Doctor if you are concerned about a persistent symptom.  On the other hand, if you have had the same symptom(s) for years OR you have already received a diagnosis of your condition, that’s where we come in.  For example, your Doctor may tell you that you have gastric reflux or chronic migraine headaches or high cholesterol, and he/she will want to give you prescription medicine to take every time your “issue” comes up, or even daily to prevent the problem in the first place.  Unfortunately, too often those medicines simply block the problem from surfacing and don’t really “fix” anything; many times, they actually make the problem worse in the long run, or cause new health issues to emerge, as in the case of antacids, corticosteroids, blood pressure lowering medication and others.

medicine-side-effects

So why are so many people tempted to go this route?  Usually because (a) it will get them out of their discomfort quickly, which is certainly understandable so I’m not diminishing that fact; and (b) for some reason I’ve never been able to understand, they are terrified of not listening to the Doctor or trying a healthier alternative before resorting to harmful prescription medications.

Unlike some others in my field, I’m not opposed to Doctors or medicine when required.  Obviously, if you have a raging infection and need antibiotics right away, or are in a tremendous amount of pain or you simply don’t feel comfortable with natural medicine, then you should absolutely follow the treatment plan your Doctor provides.  The issue I have is that more often than not, unnecessary medications or repeated antibiotics are prescribed for chronic health issues when a much simpler treatment plan will correct the imbalance with time.  And that’s the important part: the process can take a while, since it took time for your body to get so out of whack in the first place!  It involves changing your lifestyle, your diet, determining which foods you might be sensitive or allergic to, finding the type and level of toxicities in your environment and the food your ingesting as well as dealing with any emotional factors or hormonal problems that may be contributing to your problem.  This, along with the appropriate vitamins and supplements – which often need to be reviewed and updated every month to ensure progression towards better health – generally takes a lot longer than the the quick fix pill your doctor will provide.  Eventually you will feel better, have more energy and not get the symptoms making you feel like crap in the first place, but it certainly won’t be overnight.

All that being said, in acute mild illnesses or discomfort, such as a cold or sore throat, sinusitis, acute digestive upset, stress due to a particular event, etc., herbal, homeopathic redmedies and essential oils can provide fantastic quick relief in most cases without suppressing the bodies natural functions the way OTC medications do, but when those very same colds or sore throats are chronic, the underlying cause has to be dealt with.

I hope this helps clear up your understanding of Holistic Nutrition and Natural medicine.  Contact me HERE  and I will be happy to help you any way I can. happy

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