Product/Service Review

WHY EVERY WOMAN SHOULD TRY THE BODY BEAST PROGRAM

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.

Read More

WORKOUT ANYWHERE WITH THE RIP TRAINER


Free Shipping on all orders $150+

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!

Read More

FIXATE COOKBOOK REVIEW

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

Read More

LEBERT EQUALIZER BARS

I’ll admit, I love getting new fitness equipment – to use personally or with my Personal Training clients – the way some women love buying shoes.  Maybe it’s weird, but new and innovative ways to exercise are very exciting to me!  That being said, some fitness equipment designed for home use are downright ridiculous – I won’t list them, but let’s just say *cough* Shopping Channel *cough* has some products that make me laugh; I sometimes watch the sales pitches late at night for pure amusement.

The good news is, my latest addition, the Lebert Equalizer Bars is a serious piece of fitness equipment that can get you real results. Actually, it’s 2 peices, as the product comes with 2 bars that you can work in a variety of  ways. I put off purchasing this particular item for a while because I thought, really, what can this do that free weights/TRX Suspension/Rip Trainer/Resistance Bands, etc., can’t?

I was pleasantly surprised that you can do an entire body workout using this product.  Depending on the positioning of the bars and/or your body placement, you can make the exercises easy if you’re a beginner or more advanced if you are looking for a real challenge. But what I really love about them is they weigh about 8 lb. each and can easily be taken to the park for a fun outdoor workout, or stored out of sight when you are done using them.  The weight of the bars also makes them useful for some traditional weight training exercises – initially I thought it was a little strange to be using them for bicep curls or shoulder press, but I realized it worked the muscles in a unique way that I think people will find enjoyable

Check out this cool video showing several different ways you can use the bars:

Some of the exercises shown in the video can obviously only be done if you have more than one set of bars or in a group setting, but even when working out alone there is a tremendous variety in the movements you can do.  If you’ve been looking for a simple, inexpensive piece of home fitness equipment that won’t take up a lot of space, then this one is definitely for you.

Here are the Product Specifications:

As I mentioned Each Equalizer bar weighs about 8 pounds.  The bars come in 3 colors – yellow, pink or lime.  While I have a hard time using fitness equipment that is pink (shiny silver or black are my go-to fitness equipment colors), the yellow was the least girly of the 3 so I went with that.  But hey, if you want to go pink and matchy-matchy with your workout outfit, please be my guest – if you feel good, you will use it, right?

The dimensions are 28-1/2 inches high by 25 inches wide, although you can purchase the “Lebert Big Boy T-Legs” separately to make the bars a few inches taller if you are over 6 feet tall.  I am 5’10 and do not have an issue with them as is, but I can see if I was any taller I’d want that extra height.  It has been tested to support up to 400 pounds of body weight so this isn’t some flimsy piece of garbage that will break, even if you have a lot of weight to lose!  The Equalizers can easily be stacked together, taking up little storage space.

Package includes 2 Elebert equalizer barsqualizer Bars, a Beginner/Intermediate Workout DVD with Marc Lebert (the creator of the Lebert Bars, among other useful fitness products) and a laminated poster depicting proper form for some of the more popular exercises.

Click HERE to purchase or if you just want to learn more about what the Lebert Equalizer Bars can do for you.

 

Please note:

  • The links above, as many on this site, are affiliate links of which I receive a small commission from sales of certain items, but the price is the same for you.
  • If I post an affiliate link to a product, it is something that I personally use, support and would recommend without an affiliate link.
  • I have not been compensated in any way for review of this or any other product recommended on this site.
Read More

THE BEST NATURAL ORGANIC BEAUTY PRODUCTS

Beautiful young woman applying organic cosmetics to her skinI love beauty products as much as the next woman.  What I don’t love, though, are all the chemicals, preservatives and other garbage added to a majority of these products on the market.  We put so many toxins into our bodies on a daily basis through the food we eat, the beverages we consume, pollution, and electromagnetic frequencies, why add to that level of toxicity with the stuff we put ON our bodies?  There are so many awesome, natural brands out there these days that there is really no reason to spend a fortune on department store brands…..especially when most natural organic brands are a LOT less expensive and the results you get are the same – if not better – than their unhealthy counterparts. It takes time finding the products that work best for you. I recently saw an article where Miranda Kerr shares her favourite KORA Organics products in an interview, which I thought was extremely interesting and worth a read! I have found that when buying products like the ones I will discuss with you, it is important to take time out to read the reviews that other people have written about them. If you get google reviews coming up for the products you are looking at, it gives reassurance that the products you are looking at are real and you can start to find out about other peoples experiences.

Now…it’s time to ditch all those toxic skin, hair and body products and try these instead.  Here are my favorite natural product companies and why I love them so much*:

PACIFICA – While I have not tried their makeup or skincare, I absolutely LOVE their amazing smelling  perfumes and body washes.  You will not believe that these are all natural – until you realize you don’t have the blinding headache you get from the commercial stuff anymore.  You will also be thrilled with the low prices!

What to try:

  • Hawaiin Ruby Roll-on Perfume for a delicious, fruity scent.  Don’t blame me if you look weird sniffing your wrist all day.
  • Kona Coffee Body Scrub – the scrub you will literally want to eat in the shower, it smells like the best coffee you ever had!

WELEDA – For those of you who love moisturizing body washes and body creams, this one is for you.  Rich smelling, lathering body washes and lightly scented creams feel and smell amazing.  Weleda also has some of the best skincare products for babies.

What to try:

  • Skin Food for ultra dry skin on knees, elbows and hands; has a light citrus scent.
  • Arnica Oil for massaging in to tired, achy muscles; take it with you when you get a professional massage and tell them to use this instead!  Sounds weird, but I do it all the time and even got a massage therapist to start using it in his practice.
  • Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash for baby – a little more expensive than Johnson’s, but SO much better.

ANDALOU – Beauty products with 70% organic ingredients, I especially love their facial skincare products.  Very inexpensive, this product line is great for teens or those on a budget.

What to try:

  • BioActive 8 Berry Fruit Enzyme Mask – Who doesn’t want to smell like a bowl of berries while relaxing with a facial mask?
  • Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask – this one stings a little but in a good way because you know it’s working! It makes a tired face glow, so if you’re a Mom like me you might want to have a few of these on hand. happy
  • Chia and Omega Scrub – my husband’s favorite facial scrub, he keeps accusing me of using it up, but I’m partial to my Yum scrub (see below) so I’m innocent, I swear!

NATURES GATE – Another company with a long list of natural products, I really enjoy their shampoos and conditioners.  Some of them do not smell all that great, so definitely try before you purchase but the ones listed below are excellent and do not have that problem.

What to try:

  • Lemon and Clary Sage Volumizing Shampoo is fantastic for very fine hair and/or hair that lacks volume.  I use this on my youngest daughter who has fine hair and have really noticed a difference.
  • Pomegranate Sunflower Hair Defense Shampoo and Conditioner is excellent for color-treated hair.
  • Aloe Vera Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner is perfect for thick hair or normal hair that gets washed often.

YUM – For real beauty aficionados, this gourmet organic skin care line is simply put, the best that money can buy.  I love the high quality look, feel and results you get with these products.  Note: for customized recommendations and excellent pricing, purchase this line directly from Rina Deutch, my esthetician at Eizeh Yofi.

What to try:

  • Adzuki Blueberry Exfoliant, as I mentioned earlier in the post, is my all-time favorite facial scrub (I mean “exfoliant”, pardon me! winking ) Your face will feel smooth as silk from this product.
  • Bilberry Leaf Matte Moisterizer is excellent for normal to oily skin – just the right amount of moisture, without the shine or the weird “too matte” effect.
  • 23 Karat Intensive Eye Treatment does double duty as treatment for lines and dryness as well as having a subtle sheen that wakes up tired eyes.  Yep, I’ll need a case of this, please. tongue

HUGO NATURALS – This company makes their products with with 100% natural ingredients and no toxic chemicals whatsoever.

What to try:

  • Grapefruit Liquid Hand Soap – Wash your hands effectively but gently, without any harsh chemicals or strong detergents that dry them out.
  • Vanilla & Sweet Orange Shower Gel – a subtle scent with a rich lather, you won’t miss those chemical body washes.

UNDA – Not quite a beauty products line, Unda is the company behind many formulas used for Biotherapeutic Drainage.  However, I included them in this list as they have several beauty products I could not live without.  Note: Unda products can be purchased HERE.

What to try:

  • Homeofresh Chlorophyll Toothpaste – while I’m generally not a fan of the taste of non-commercial toothpastes, this one is the best by far with a refreshing flavor that mimics mint.  This toothpaste was designed for people taking Homeopathic remedies as mint can be an antidote for some, but it is widely used in Europe due to its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and ability to halt tooth decay with it’s natural plant extracts.  Personally I alternate this with regular toothpaste to get the best of both worlds.
  • Calendula Cream contains Calendula, an ingredient known to heal skin conditions and promote tissue repair.  This product is water soluble and can be used anywhere on the body.
  • Cicatrican cream is a natural alternative to antibiotic creams such as Polysporin.  Made with botanicals, it can safely be used as often as needed on all types of  cuts, burns, insect bites and minor skin infections.

GODDESS GARDEN – the best organic, all natural sunscreens for babies, kids and adults; protects from sunburn without the addition of toxic chemicals.

What to try:

  • Sunny Face Natural Facial Sunscreen – finally, a facial sunscreen that doesn’t feel icky or smell weird.
  • Sunny Kids Natural Spray Sunscreen – stop chasing the kids around to rub sunscreen on them and just spray them while they’re arguing with you that they don’t need it – yes, they still have to rub it in, but they’ll have no choice once you got it all over them.  You’re welcome happy

There you have my top natural organic beauty picks but keep in mind that there are many many more organic, plant based beauty product companies out there.  I’d love to hear about any brands or specific products that you have tried and what you thought of them!

Read More