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!)
After realizing the success that so many women were having with the program and learning how much they loved it, Beachbody corrected the error of their marketing ways and added some of the women to a newer promo video:
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.
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. If you are more advanced, the PowerBlock Elite Set Dumbell, 50-Pound (pair) would be a better option, as it ranges 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!
*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.