Body Beast – Results and Recap

Another program finished, another round of “after pictures” and measurements. I’m pretty stoked, not gonna lie. This is the reward after every workout program…results. There is nothing quite like seeing the fruits of your labors. I usually just post a bunch of pictures on Facebook and call it a day, but I decided, this time, to do my “after recap” in the form of an article talking not just about my results, but the program itself.

So, I’ll dive right into my results (since that’s the best part!) then cover a little bit about Body Beast.

Results (only listing changed measurements):
Weight – 188 lbs (from 197.8)
Biceps – 15 in. (from 13.8!)
Waist – 32 in. (from 34)
Chest – 39 in. (from 40.8)
Thighs 23.5 in. (from 25.3)
Calves 17.5 in (from 18)

Neck and hips stayed the same, but I wasn’t really expecting any movement there – tough for those to get any smaller. Overall…wow! More fat was cut all over, and my biceps blew up! Now…before we delve into this…take a look at what those kind of changes look like when done by building muscle while at the same time cutting fat –

All I can say is…wow! A year makes a big difference, huh? So how about some from before and after just this program? (blue shorts are after, neon are before)

So, what happened?
I tried to eat in such a way that I would, essentially, be cutting and bulking at the same time – only adding lean mass (muscle) while at the same time burning fat. While it can be difficult to see some of the differences between before and after bodybeast (yellow/black and blue shorts) I think I can safely say…it worked! I leaned out a bit more, cut inches in some places and added inches in others (biceps), and I can see more tone and definition. Could I have added more muscle if I ate differently? Probably. But I was being careful. Having been so big before…I wanted to make sure I stayed on track and didn’t go back up. I’m not ready for TRUE bulking (which I’ll talk about in a later article). I couldn’t handle it mentally…I’d get unhappy really fast.

So What’s So Special About Body Beast?

Body Beast’s “thing” is it uses dynamic set training. Dynamic Set Training changes things up – you do several types of sets:
traditional “single sets” (eg. 10 reps x 3 sets)
“super sets” (two exercises back to back (eg. 10 reps incline bench then 10 reps incline fly = set 1)
“giant sets” (three exercises)
“drop sets” (final set is really two – 8 reps heavy weight immediately drop to 8 reps lighter weight)
“force sets” (5 sets of 5 reps back to back to back with ~5 sec rest in-between)

It forces your body to work harder, use more muscles, and get bigger. Sagi Kalev, the program’s creator and the big jacked guy in the video, says that if you do it right and eat right your body has no choice but to get bigger. I’m inclined to believe him, seeing my results. The program is split into three phases – Build, Bulk, and BEAST. Build gives you a foundation to work up from, Bulk packs on the muscle with heavy lifting focusing on a single muscle group, and Beast is sort of a combination, designed to help you lean out a bit, get some tone and see the definition you’ve been working for over the past couple of months.

Every workout program out there is all about getting slimmer, tighter, losing weight…if you want to gain weight, build muscle, and get BIG…Body Beast is for you. Next time I’m ready to bulk and get some serious muscle on…I will be coming back to Body Beast. It’s a monster!

So Now What?

Now it is time to put away the pre-workout, leave the iron on the rack, and go back to cardio-land. I’m beginning the serious endurance training for the Cape Cod Marathon Half. I’ll be doing a combination of running training, yoga and a new BeachBody Program – Focus T25 (from the creator of INSANITY). I’ll try to post some periodic updates to talk about how that program is.

Just remember – If I can do this, anyone can. That includes YOU.

Running on Rocket Fuel – Anatomy of a Power Song

So you’re running along, you’re doggin’ it, life sucks, and all of a sudden a song comes on that just hits you the right way. Your stride picks up, your breathing straightens out, there’s a bounce in your step and you’re running like you just got a power-up in a video game. Ladies and gentlemen – your playlist just gave you a Power Song! We’re back in this thing!

Wait…what?

The Falmouth Road Race is 8 days away
and I’m going on my last long run pre-race today…probably a 5 or 6 miler. I’m going through my music to make sure my playlist is up to date (there will be a playlist update article soon) and the thought struck me that there might be some people out there that don’t know what a Power Song is. Power Songs are like the secret weapon to success in the running / workout world (as far as I’m concerned)! I mean, aside from proper nutrition, stretching and hydration of course.

I searched the internet and I really couldn’t find much about “Power Songs”, which was disappointing. So, I suppose we’ll start with the obvious question…

What IS a Power Song?

A power song pumps. you. UP. You can be slowing down, losing steam, feeling like you want to stop – it’s just TOO much…and then a Power Song comes on and you feel recharged. Refueled. Ready to take ON THE WORLD. A Power Song doesn’t just bring you a second wind – it brings you a HURRICANE. If you’re already cruising along? You cruise along harder. Faster. Stronger. Each step is effortless. Each rep is lighter than the last. A power song is like Super Mario’s Invincibility Star. Every time a power song comes on I feel as amped up as the Powerthirst video, or the guy in the Old Spice commercials.

Seriously, it’s tough to put a hard definition on it, but basically a Power Song is like a turbo-shot of GO. And it will get you through the worst parts of your workout or run like you just started out and will leave you feeling fresh as a daisy. The beat is perfect, you sync up just right, you get your stride right, you get pumped up and super-motivated and you just go. It’s a great feeling. So, naturally, you’d like to know how to find the most awesome power song out there right?

You can’t.

Sorry, Charlie. That’s not how it works. You can’t force a Power Song – you can’t choose it. It chooses you. I know, it sounds strange, but it’s true…it just happens. You’ll be listening to the radio and just start jamming out, feeling everything I just talked about. You can be at the gym and it comes on. You might even have thrown one in your own playlist and not even have realized it. But when it hits you, you’ll know. It can be from any genre, it can be any length. It can literally be ANY song…and it’s different for everyone. SOMEHOW, one of my fiancee’s power songs is 160 BPM – Selena Gomez – Come And Get It. I can’t understand it. But it works for her. That’s just how it is. My FAVORITE power song right now is 154 BPM – The Fratellis – Chelsea Dagger. Every single time I hear that song I get amped up and want to run.

That doesn’t always happen.

There are some songs that I love that WERE Power Songs but just don’t get me as amped up as they used to. They’re still great to run to and work well on my playlist, but they somehow just aren’t Power Songs anymore. Sometimes it works for me, sometimes it’s just a regular running song. Go figure. While I do try to load myself up with songs that have Power Song potential…

You can’t just make a playlist entirely of power songs

Really, it won’t end well. Either you’ll stop getting amped up to many of them, as happened to me, or EVEN WORSE – you’ll gas yourself (run yourself out of gas). The whole point of a Power Song is that it amps you up and puts you into overdrive…but you can’t run like that for your entire run! Maybe if you’re on a 5K you can, but anything more than that you’ll regret it. 

So, keep your ears open and give a listen – you might be surprised what songs you find yourself air-drumming or dancing in the car to. When you feel that adrenaline hit – write it down or Shazaam it and put it in your playlist! Give it a go, and if it works out as well as you think, congratulations – you just permanently increased your playlist by 1. And climbed a mountain later on.

Defeating Demotivators #1 – The Fear Monster

In the spirit of “Motivational Monday” I want to take a moment to touch on something I was talking about with a fitness friend at work over the last couple of days. It’s actually a loose end I need to tie up from the last couple of articles I wrote. In The “I Don’t Feel Like It” Syndrome I talked about people who just won’t get off the couch, can’t/won’t get motivated to work out in the first place, and never take that all-important first step. In Why Workouts Fail #1 – The Napoleon Complex (my favorite article so far) I talk about people who take the leap, try going to the gym or working out and run into a big issue that drives them away.

Ok…what about the people in the middle?

The people who aren’t entirely opposed to working out, but haven’t taken that step yet? Who haven’t braved the gym, the home-gym, the pavement, trail, pool, whatever? Or tried and gave up? If these people aren’t against it…and they might have some motivation to do it…why haven’t they gotten to it yet?

Fear. Fear can stop the most powerful locomotive in its tracks. Fear is, I think, one of the biggest demotivators out there. Fear of what, though? Fear of failing. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of embarassment. Fear of disappointing yourself or others. Fear of doing it wrong. Fear of the unknown.

Fear can be one of the toughest demotivators to beat. Especially if someone doesn’t have friends or family around them who are “into” fitness. Unfortunately, unless those people have a big life-altering event or a breaking point like I had (see My Story) that fear can be so paralyzing and show-stopping that they just never leave the safety of “not trying”. I would go so far as to say that over time, those people can start to suffer from The “I Don’t Feel Like It” Syndrome, forgetting the curiosity or motivation they had in the first place and losing it entirely to fear. It’s tough to get past the fear when you’re on your own little island and there’s noone around to help you ease into fitness. If you ARE a fitness type, be on the lookout for these people. How do you tell who these people are, though?

For one, they’re not already a fitness freak. They don’t work out, they probably don’t eat “right” (but might try to or make half-efforts), and for all intents and purposes they closely resemble the people suffering from The “I Don’t Feel Like It” Syndrome in all areas except their attitude towards fitness.
Though, I will say, that doesn’t necessarily mean they haven’t, at some point, attempted to do it on their own. Remember that part where Joey Howyadoin shows up and offers a spot (IDFLI Syndrome)? Where I’d say “Yeah, that was just a warm-up set, let’s DO this!”, someone suffering from this demotivator would probably say “Actually, that was my last set, I’m all wrapped up. Thanks though!” while they’re thinking sweet Lord, get me OUT of here! 

Aaaand that was probably the last time they set foot in anything resembling a gym.

The biggest tell, though, is that they’re curious. They’ll poke their head in while you’re working out. They’ll ask you questions about your workout for the day or the program you’re doing. They’ll make little comments that could be a conversation starter. In some form or fashion, they come to you. This is very important – as mentioned before…you just can’t force someone to get fit…they have to want it…and if they’re curious, any traumatic workout attempt they might have had in the past is far enough out of their memory that now they’re open to it.

So how do I help this person defeat the demotivator?

GENTLY. First off, yes – they’re open to it, and that’s incredibly important, but don’t forget…the demotivator we’re trying to beat is FEAR. I feel silly saying it but please don’t forget that you can…well…scare them away if you’re too aggressive. I know, seems obvious, right? What you might think is easy beans might be momentously challenging for them, so keep that in mind as you try to help them, and think of super-easy ways to ease them in.

Considering that they either have never worked out before or tried something and got scared away you might need to help them figure out what exactly works best for them.  

PRO-TIP: Something is better than nothing.

You might be a little disappointed when they seem like they’re trying something that doesn’t, to you, seem like a “real” workout – but again…what YOU think is easy and a waste of time might be super-challenging for them. ***Go at their pace*** There is no faster way to lose them to the fear than to go beyond their comfort zone. Too fast too soon is a recipe for disaster. I did this exact process with my mom – I started by working out and setting the example. She saw my transformation as it was happening and was there as my story was unfolding, so she was proud of me and wanted to see how I was doing it. I eased her in with Tony Horton’s 10 Minute Trainer. Literally 10 minute workouts. Over time, she started working in Cardio X from P90X (a 40 minute relatively easy cardio routine), and not too long after that she took on P90X in its entirety and was talking about doing Les Mills COMBAT with me and my fiancee. For your fitness-fearing friend or family member it may be running that does it for them – start with walking. It may be biking – start with a couple miles. Whatever it is (and I can’t say it enough) ease them into it.

This may be a slow process. STICK WITH IT!

What’s going to be SUPER IMPORTANT with these people is to keep them surrounded by positive images, encouragement and support. If they’re fighting against fear, its not going to be easy for them, and they’re going to need continued support until they finally break past the wall and get confident. It could very well be the case that not only do they need a cheerleader on the sidelines, but they need a teammate right there next to them on gameday. If they need a workout partner…be that partner or maybe find one for them. My fiancee was side by side with me throughout four workout programs and 103 lbs – it DEFINITELY helps. Everyone has something that will help them break through the fear barrier – whatever it is, help them find it and make sure they understand that there’s nothing in their way.

At the end of the day it will all be worth it. Don’t worry – given time and support, they can and will get there.