Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Body for Life: What Is It? - WebMD

Body for Life: What Is It?

WebMD Expert Review

Body for Life is an intense exercise and nutrition program based on the premise that you're more likely to stick with a diet and workout if you see results quickly. Indeed, founder Bill Phillips makes this promise: Follow his program for 12 weeks and you'll have the best body you've ever had. The program is challenging. It involves training with weights for 45 minutes three days a week, then alternating with aerobic exercise for at least 20 minutes three days a week.
The diet involves eating six small meals each day for six days a week, drawing from a list of healthy foods such as lean meats, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and fish. Meals are a combination of lean protein and healthy carbohydrates “to speed up fat loss and maintain stable energy levels”, stated on the Body for Life web site. On the seventh day, you rest -- free to eat anything you want, no restrictions, and take a day off from the rigorous workout.
Open the best-selling Body for Life book and you'll see before-and-after photos of people who went from flab to fab. They don't just look slimmer. They look terrific. Their flat abs and chiseled muscles in the "after" photos are in stark contrast to the "before" pictures that look, well, like most of us. But remember, a healthy diet and strenuous exercise virtually every day is the key to this program. Odds are, your body would improve significantly with such workouts, even if you weren't also dieting.

The Body for Life web site provides a wealth of useful information including an active community, meal plans, shopping lists, training tools, member recipes, success stories, workout videos and the opportunity to join the 12-week Body for Life Challenge.

Body for Life: What You Can Eat

The good news is that with all the work Body for Life requires, you have to eat. Grazing, not gorging, six times a day is the key except for the one day a week when all rules are forgotten. Each meal consists of a fist-sized portion of protein -- lean meat, poultry, fish, egg whites, or cottage cheese -- and a fist-sized portion of healthy carbohydrates such as potatoes or brown rice. You must also eat at least two portions of vegetables, and drink 10 glasses of water each day. Nutritional supplements (available on the Body for Life website) and a tablespoon or two of healthy oil (such as flaxseed) are recommended to round out the diet.

The diet breaks down to about 40%-50% protein, the same for carbohydrates, and very little fat. The Institute of Medicine recommends 45-65% carbohydrates, 20-35% protein and 10-35% fat.

Body for Life provides this list of authorized foods to choose from:

•         Chicken breast
•         Turkey breast
•         Swordfish
•         Haddock
•         Orange roughy
•         Salmon
•         Tuna
•         Crab
•         Lobster
•         Top round or top sirloin steak
•         Lean ground beef
•         Buffalo
•         Egg whites
•         Lean ham
•         Low-fat cottage cheese

•         Baked potato
•         Sweet potato
•         Yam
•         Squash
•         Pumpkin
•         Steamed brown rice
•         Steamed wild rice
•         Pasta
•         Oatmeal
•         Barley
•         Beans
•         Corn
•         Strawberries
•         Melon
•         Apple
•         Orange
•         Fat-free yogurt
•         Whole-wheat bread

•         Broccoli
•         Asparagus
•         Lettuce
•         Carrot
•         Cauliflower
•         Green beans
•         Green pepper
•         Mushrooms
•         Spinach
•         Tomato
•         Peas
•         Brussels sprouts
•         Artichoke
•         Cabbage
•         Celery
•         Zucchini
•         Cucumber
•         Onion

Body for Life: How It Works

Just because the plan advocates a rigorous work out doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want. To be successful at weight loss, you need to eat fewer calories and burn more calories in exercise. Body for Life is based on simple guidelines of small meals of carbohydrate and protein six times a day, portion control, 10 glasses of water and dietary supplements.

Small meals tend to reduce the insulin response and by adding a lean protein source, it helps dieters feel more full and satisfied.
The foods on Body for Life's authorized list are healthier and lower in calories than most American favorites. By eating fist-sized portions, you're sure to consume fewer calories, even if you are eating six meals a day. The frequency of the small meals is designed to stabilize blood sugar, increase energy level and help dieters avoid binge eating from excess hunger.

Also, the intense weight lifting will build muscle, which can boost your metabolic rate.

Body for Life: What the Experts Say

Body for Life's program is effective if you follow it closely, but it may require too much exercise for most people. American Dietetic Association spokesperson and fitness trainer, Jim White, RD thinks it may be tough for beginners but doable for intermediate or advanced exercisers. “Body for Life recommends cardio three times per week for 20 minutes which is less than the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommendation of 30 minutes most days but the 46 minute weight training could be intense, especially for those who only do strength training twice weekly like the ACSM guidelines recommend.” He recommends checking with your physician before starting the program and warns everyone to proceed cautiously because rigorous fitness routines can lead to injuries.

White notes that the recent attention on the role of exercise and weight loss should not deter anyone from getting regular physical activity. “You may get faster results from trimming calories than exercise but nothing replaces the benefits of fitness from increased energy, confidence, stress relief and cardiovascular fitness” explains White.

Eating small meals can speed up your metabolism, curb your appetite, stabilize blood sugar and provide greater energy says White. “Eating healthy foods throughout the day is a great way to feel terrific while trimming calories and it also helps you use up the calories instead of storing them as fat which can happen when you overeat.”

But experts warn that eating small meals must be done carefully. University of Illinois protein researcher Donald Layman, PhD warns that “Lots of small meals usually leads to snacking on poor food choices.” Furthermore, the amount of protein needs to be at least 15 grams (roughly 2 eggs, 2 cups milk, 12 oz yogurt, 3-4 oz. meat, poultry or fish), otherwise it has no positive effects on body composition says Layman.

Body for Life: What the Experts Say

Experts disagree on the value of a diet that contains 40-50% of calories from protein which is higher than the science-based IOM recommendations of 20-35%. Layman notes there is no evidence that protein is harmful to healthy people at any level of intake. Generally, if you have normal kidney function, there should be no problem.

White prefers to keep the amount within the IOM recommendations. “When you overdose on protein you run the risk of taxing the kidneys, increasing calcium loss and dehydration” says White. “It is also a very expensive diet.”
White recommends eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats while reducing the amount of protein for a healthier diet more in line with Dietary Guideline recommendations.

Body for Life: Food for Thought

Six small meals a day can be a very good idea, as long as it fits into your lifestyle, you choose your meals carefully and aim for adequate lean or low fat protein at each meal.
If you love exercise, this plan is for you but don't expect to look like the "after" pictures in just 12 weeks, warn experts, achieving bodybuilder muscle physiques takes longer and more intensity than a 12 week basic program.

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