21 Day Fix Extreme Challenge Pack Sale!!


21 Day Fix EXTREME

Now there’s a program that makes losing weight so simple and easy to follow, you’ll never have to diet again! Introducing 21 Day Fix Extreme.


What Is 21 Day Fix Extreme?

The original 21 Day Fix® was designed to make losing weight so simple . . . you never had to diet again. That’s why it became America’s #1 home fitness and nutrition program.

Now, Autumn Calabrese has created 21 Day Fix EXTREME, to get you seriously shredded in the shortest time possible. This breakthrough 21-day fitness and nutrition program combines simple portion control, clean eating, and extreme 30-minute workouts to help you finally get the lean, defined hardbody you’ve always wanted.

What makes 21 Day Fix EXTREME incredibly effective and unique?

You get seven EXTREME 30-minute workouts, one for each day of the week— so your mind never gets bored, and your body never adapts. The workouts feature a unique blend of steady-state aerobics, resistance training, and explosive power moves that target every muscle in the body—to help you get shredded fast.

For your nutrition, you’ll not only be practicing portion control—you’ll be eating ONLY clean foods. No treats. No cheats. No excuses. Plus, you’ll get Autumn’s all-new 21 Day Fix EXTREME recipes to help you achieve your very best results.

No other program has you eating this well and working this hard. But if you want a lean six-pack, cut arms, ripped shoulders, and toned legs . . . you have to take it up a notch. It’s going to take guts, intensity, and drive. But, it’s only 21 days.

You can do this.

Autumn Calabrese Is Your Personal Trainer

Autumn Calabrese is a celebrity fitness trainer, busy mom, and national-level bikini competitor. As creator of 21 Day Fix—the best-selling Beachbody® fitness program of 2014—this rising star in the fitness community has made a name for herself by helping people lose weight and get the bodies they’ve always wanted through simple portion control and working out consistently.

Holding personal training certificates from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA), she knows exactly what her clients need to eat and how they need to work out to achieve their best results. Autumn is the fitness specialist for ModernMom.com; she has appeared on the cover of Oxygen magazine; and her workouts have been featured in C magazine, LA Parent, The Palisadian- Post, and Daily Candy, as well as on TV shows like Home & Family.


Don’t Make a New Year’s Resolution. Make a #REALsolution.

This year we’re asking you NOT to make a New Year’s resolution. You read that correctly–DON’T make a resolution. They don’t work. Plain and simple. Take a look at the definition of resolution:

Definition of resolution

See the inherent problem? It’s vague, it’s ambiguous, and there’s nothing to sink your teeth into. It’s just a decision, not a plan of action.

More than 70% of people who make resolutions don’t keep them, and more than 40% never even start! Things don’t magically change on January 1st. You don’t suddenly become a different person, one who can stick to a diet or exercise program, if you never have in the past.

That’s why this year, we’re asking you to skip the resolution, and make a #REALsolution.

Follow this simple 4-step process to create a #REALsolution that will set you up for success all year long.

Step 1:
Set a clear, attainable goal. Think of exactly what you want to achieve, and be specific. Instead of, “I want to lose weight,” decide that, “I will lose 10 pounds by April 5.” Instead of “I want to eat clean,” decide that, “I will eat 7 servings of fruits and vegetables each day and I will try one new healthy recipe each week.”

Step 2:
Make a solid plan for achieving your goal. Choose a fitness program or nutrition plan to help you get there. Or, commit to using a program you already own and visit our YouTube channel for motivation and mini-workouts from Tony Horton and Autumn Calabrese.

Step 3:
Download this accountability contract. Sign it. Post it somewhere you will see it every day. Snap a photo of the contract and post it on Instagram. Make sure to tag #REALsolution and @beachbodyhq. We’ll pick 5 winners to win a program of your choice, one each week from December 26–February 1.

Step 4:
If you’re not already part of a Challenge Group, join our #REALsolution Challenge Group on Facebook where you can check in daily, get encouragement, and stay accountable.


21 Day Fix Challenge Pack Promotion:












insanity max


When you’ve reached your goal, repeat this 4-step process again to continue to improve!

Here are examples of what your accountability contract might look like:

REALsolution contract using 21 Day Fix.


REALsolution contract for NYC marathon


30 minutes. INSANE results.

10 Ways to Avoid Injury When Resistance Training

10 Ways to Avoid Injury When Resistance Training



You may have noticed at your local gym that weight lifting is becoming tres a la mode among the spandex and sweatband set. Unfortunately, this upswing in resistance training also means an upswing in injuries. An article in the New York Times recently reviewed a study of weight lifting injuries over an 18-year period, which showed there were almost one million Americans who visited an emergency room, injured, as the result of weight lifting. Ninety percent of those injuries were attributed to free weights. While women were more likely to drop the weights, resulting in fractures, men were more apt to create strains or sprains. Either way, as fantastic as it is that people are realizing how much they can alter their bodies with a couple of dumbbells, it makes you feel like a dumbbell when you drop one on your foot.

So let’s look at 10 ways to avoid upping your insurance premium while still obtaining the physique of your dreams:

1. Warm up. Yes, you’ve heard “warm up before exercising” since junior-high PE class, although most of us looked at it as a way for lazy instructors to burn up class time. But are we really aware of the benefits of warming up before resistance training? Increased muscle and body temperature reduces the risk of strains and sprains, and also allows the muscle to contract more forcefully. Warming up creates less overall stress on the heart and activates your body’s natural cooling system, a.k.a. sweat, to prevent overheating. Warming up creates greater range of motion around a joint and helps us get mentally prepared for the task at hand. So take 5 minutes, jump on a treadmill, and give your muscles a chance to wake up.

2. Use your thumbs. What gives us greater dexterity than most animals on the planet? Yes, it’s our opposable thumbs. And yet, a great number of people do not include this strongest of digits in their weight lifting routines. It’s similar to the way the British upper class sips their tea, only no one needs their pinky to stabilize a teacup. Without your thumb, your fingers cannot create a complete circle, which in turn means a dumbbell could go flying. So stop trying to look pristine and actually grip the weight with all five digits.

3. Get by with a little help from your friend. Asking for help in the gym, or even from someone you live with, is often as painful as asking for directions on a road trip. Yes, you want to appear like the superman or superwoman who’s strong enough to handle it alone, but sometimes a spotter can make all the difference between success and a squished pinky toe. They don’t need to spend all day with you, and in fact, you can politely thank them and offer to return the favor if needed, while simultaneously walking away. But asking for 30 seconds of their time could save you a lot more time in an emergency room.


4. Record your progress. If you’ve done P90X, Tony has drilled into your head the importance of recording your weights and repetitions, every time you work out. This is extremely important not only to create consistent change in your physique, but also as a safety measure to keep you from overdoing it. Since most of us cannot remember our mother’s phone number, how do we expect to recall every single weight of dumbbell we used over the last several days, weeks, or months? And if we aren’t sure where we left off, how are we to know where we are going? It’s pretty common for someone to confuse the number, try to go too heavy, and end up knocking themselves in the head with a dumbbell. (At least I would like to think it common, since I once gave myself a concussion.) Start where you left off, and make small increases according to your workout plan.

5. Have lighter weights/bands available. Yes, you can use those 20-pound dumbbells for bicep curls, and yes, you can get through 6 repetitions very effectively. But as your form starts to fail, an injury is more likely to occur. So, as opposed to throwing in the towel and watching that TurboFire video from your couch like it’s an episode of One Life to Live, have lighter weights or resistance bands available to continue your set. Or consider investing in dialing weights like the Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells, where making the weight lighter or heavier is one click away. Whatever the case, do not assume that one pair of dumbbells is going to be enough to work your entire body safely.

6. Consistently check your range of motion and momentum. It’s really easy to go a little bit farther than we should, which can cause all kinds of problems. This is the original intention for mirrors lining the walls of gymnasiums. Yes, it was actually to check your form, and not just to stare at your big, beautiful biceps. But since most of us don’t have mirrors lining our living rooms, make sure you are using the appropriate range of motion for every exercise you do. In other words, don’t let your elbows go beneath you in a chest press, don’t let your knees go out over your toes in a squat, and don’t hyperextend your back in a lat pull. Should you be unaware of the proper range of motion for an exercise, ask for some assistance.

7. Slow down, Turbo. Be slow and controlled about every movement. This is not an exercise in momentum. And although there are amazing cardiovascular benefits to weightlifting, it’s not like you are trying to sprint around the track with a vampire bat chasing you. You can keep a good pace without letting momentum take over. Not only is it much safer, but much more beneficial to your overall progress.


8. Accessorize appropriately. This isn’t a suggestion to wear a rhinestone weight lifting belt—although that’d be kind of cool—but to use some basic innovations in resistance training equipment in order to stay safe. Weight lifting gloves can be an inexpensive and invaluable tool in helping maintain grip on free weights, barbells, and pull-up bars. Tony Horton’s PowerStands can take strain off wrists, forearms, and elbows when doing push-ups. The P90X Chin-Up Bar can change your grip to accommodate a more comfortable or versatile pull-up. Bowflex SelectTech dumbbells can take strain off your upper extremities and back by only requiring you to use one set of dumbbells to do everything, and not bending over to pick up 10 different sets. A plyometrics mat can take strain off your knees, ankles, and hips by creating extra cushion while jumping. And using a Beachbody Balance Ball or Squishy Ball to assist in core work can make your spine more comfortable, while working your abs. Using the right tools can sometimes make a huge difference in results—and safety.

9. Assume the position. One of the most horrifying things to observe as a fitness professional is how people actually get into position with their dumbbells. Lying down to do a bench press and reaching down with your arm behind you to pick up 30 pounds is way too common—and dangerous. Or how about the diving forward, as if you were entering a pool, to pick up dumbbells for a set of squats? From my perspective, watching that is scarier than Friday the 13th falling on Halloween. So to avoid strains as the result of bad pick-ups, use the following rules:

  1. When picking up dumbbells for a standing exercise, try to start with them on a rack or chair at waist height. If they are already on the floor, pick them up one at a time, with bent knees, and put them someplace higher.
  2. When using dumbbells for a seated exercise, or lying-down exercise, put one on each knee to begin. As you lean back, lift each knee one at a time to help you get the weight into place.
  3. If you are using dumbbells for a prone or kneeling-on-one-knee exercise, make sure the weight is already within arm’s reach and maintain a flat spine as you lift it up.

10. Clean up after yourself. Not to sound like your nagging mother, but don’t be a slob, even in your own home. Many injuries happen as the result of someone tripping over that weight or medicine ball someone left lying on the floor. As my mother used to say, it takes just as long to put it where it belongs as to throw it on the floor. We know this isn’t really true, but if it keeps you from slamming into the ground, a couple extra seconds is worth it.

If you’ve spent any time with P90X or ChaLEAN Extreme, you know the transformative power of resistance training. And with a bit of preparation and thoughtfulness, it can be an injury-free endeavor as well. Just remember that getting injured will derail your training faster than a visit to Hometown Buffet. It’s worth a little extra energy to avoid it.

Carbs: A Love Story

CarbsNosh On

You’d be hard-pressed to find a woman watching her weight who doesn’t think that carbs are evil. Between diet books like Grain Brain, Wheat Belly, and Cavewomen Don’t Get Fat, it’s no wonder we’re not only terrified of croissants, we’re also pretty sure we shouldn’t be eating whole wheat anything either. But here’s a secret the authors of those best sellers don’t want you to know: You need carbs. In fact, eliminating them could harm your health and make you miss out on one of the most effective ways to stay slim. “Carbs should make up the majority of your diet, especially if you’re active,” says Kelly Pritchett, PhD, RD, a sports dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. We cut through the confusion so you can welcome back carbs with open (sculpted) arms.

What Are Carbs, Exactly?

They’re nutrients that break down into glucose, your body’s primary source of energy, and tons of foods contain them. “Carbs get a bad rap, but we need them to keep our brain working and our heart pumping,” says Tanya Zuckerbrot, RD, the author of The Miracle Carb Diet.

Not all carbs are created equal, however. Naturally occurring sugars like fructose in fruit and lactose in dairy, sugars that are added to foods, and refined grains such as white rice are broken down quickly by your body. That means they provide almost-instant energy, but it doesn’t last. And unless they’re bundled with other nutrients, like the fiber in an apple or the protein in yogurt, they’re basically empty calories. Other carbs, such as those found in whole grains, vegetables and legumes, take longer to digest, so you get a steadier supply of energy.

“Carbohydrate-rich foods like bread can be very high in calories,” Pritchett says. “But many foods that contain carbs, such as fruits and vegetables, are low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals.” Others fall somewhere in between: Whole grains contain a lot of nutrients and calories, while low-fat dairy has a medium amount of both. The bottom line: Cut down on added sugar and refined grains and consider all other carbs fair game.

If Carbs Are So Great, Why Is Everyone on a Low-Carb Diet?

Well, it’s easy to overdo it on certain carbs. When you eat any type of carb, your body releases insulin to help you regulate an increase in blood sugar. But your system processes refined carbs so quickly that your blood sugar may dip, setting off an “eat more” signal in your brain.

The problem is, cutting out all carbs can hamper your weight-loss efforts, especially if you’re active. “They’re our primary energy source during exercise, and we can’t get to the same level of intensity if we’re carb depleted,” Pritchett says. She recommends getting 45 to 65 percent of your calories from carbs, depending on how much cardio you do (aerobic activity requires more carbs than Pilates, for example). “You need 130 grams a day just for your brain to function, and active women should aim for between 200 and 300 grams,” she explains.

Skimp on carbs and you’ll also miss out on important nutrients, Zuckerbrot says. “Many of the vitamins and minerals we need come from fruits and vegetables, so cutting these out can lead to deficiencies.” And your mood could suffer, too: A yearlong study found that people on a low-carb diet reported feeling angrier and more depressed than those on a low-fat diet did.

Carbs: Decoded

Why Do I Crave Carbs When I’m Tired or Sad?

They provide the quickest blood sugar boost, and your brain knows that, says Wendy Bazilian, RD, a coauthor of The SuperFoodsRx Diet. They also help your body produce the hormone serotonin, which balances your emotions and gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling (hey, macaroni and cheese is called comfort food for a reason).

The good news: Just because it’s a craving doesn’t mean it’s bad. “High-fiber carbs can help increase serotonin without wrecking your diet,” Zuckerbrot says. Add healthy fats and protein and they’ll keep your blood sugar steady too.

Should I Eat Carbs Before My Workout?

To kill it at the gym, yes. Bazilian suggests eating half a piece of whole-grain toast or half a banana 45 to 60 minutes before your workout. “The idea is to provide your body with easily digestible energy far enough in advance that your workout isn’t interrupted by the digestion process,” she says. (There’s no need to nosh if you’re exercising for less than 60 minutes within a couple of hours after a meal and don’t feel hungry.)

If you have a marathon or triathlon coming up, carb loading can help you store extra fuel and fluid in your muscles, explains Kim Larson, RD, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. But don’t pig out on pasta the night before or you’ll feel weighed down during the main event. “You want to increase your carbohydrate intake by up to 100 grams a day — about an extra three servings — starting three days before the big event,” Larson says.

Could I Become Addicted to Carbs?

It’s possible. Recent research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that study subjects who drank a super-sugary milk shake showed increased activity in their nucleus accumbens, the “pleasure center” in the brain that regulates reward and addiction, four hours afterward. In other words, eating the wrong kind of carbs can become a vicious cycle, Bazilian explains, because your body gets a rush and then crashes, leaving you craving a fix.

Breaking the cycle can be hard, but it’s definitely not impossible. Instead of trying to cut out treats entirely (as if!), combine something sweet, like dark chocolate chips or dried apricots, with something containing healthy protein and fats — think roasted almonds or Greek yogurt — to balance the sugar and slow digestion.

And while the occasional handful of pretzels or side of steamed white rice won’t hurt you, make most of your grains whole.

Your Daily Bread

So what does the right amount of carbohydrates look like? Use this sample menu as a guide. It adds up to nearly 215 grams of carbs, about the ideal amount for an active woman who’s taking in 1,800 calories a day.

Breakfast (43g carbs): Whole wheat English muffin with 1 slice Swiss cheese and 1 egg scrambled with 1 cup spinach + 1/2 grapefruit

Lunch (72g carbs): Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with lettuce, tomato, avocado, and cucumber + 6 ounces low-fat yogurt with 1/2 small peach, diced

Snack (15g carbs): Apple + low-fat string cheese


Dinner (51g carbs): 2 fish tacos made with corn tortillas, shredded cabbage and mango salsa + small side black beans

Dessert (32g carbs): 1/2 cup light ice cream with 1/2 cup sliced strawberries

It’s All Good — Really

No carb is off-limits, but some are better than others. Here’s how much of each type you should be eating daily.

Starches and Whole Grains: 6 servings

  • 1/2 cup corn or peas
  • 1 potato
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas or lentils
  • 1/2 cup brown rice or whole-grain pasta
  • 1 slice whole wheat bread


Vegetables: 3 to 5 servings

  • 1/2 cup broccoli
  • 1 cup leafy greens
  • 12 baby carrots


Fruit: 3 to 4 servings

  • 1 apple
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup berries


Dairy: 2 to 3 servings

  • 1 cup low-fat yogurt
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 1/2 ounces reduced-fat cheddar


Refined grains: no more than 2 servings (count toward your starches)

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 flour tortilla
  • 1 plain bagel


Treats: no more than 1 serving

  • 2 squares dark chocolate
  • 1 small cookie

How to Reduce Body Fat Percentage

The guidelines for how to reduce body fat percentage aren’t complicated.

It’s certainly not necessary to starve yourself to reduce body fat or spend hours every day sweating your body fat off at the gym.

But, in order to reduce body fat percentage numbers permanently you’ll have to make some lifestyle changes and learn some healthy new habits.

And if you put your mind to it, you’ll be the proud new owner of a brand new body in just a few short months. The twelve steps below are the best ways to reduce body fat. Just take it one step at a time to reach your destination.


How to Reduce Body Fat Percentage in 12 Steps

1.  Build more muscle. One of the best ways to reduce body fat is weight training. As you increase lean muscle mass you burn more calories.

2.  Eat for great health. When you eat for great health you’re making sure to have the necessary energy to exercise and enjoy your life.

3.  Avoid refined carbs. Sugar and other refined carbohydrates, zap your energy, ruin your health and contribute to excess body fat. Stick with whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and other high fiber food.

4.  Enjoy your protein. To make sure you reduce fat and not muscle when losing weight, it’s essential to get enough protein. Use low calorie high protein shakes for mini meals. And have fun adding fruit or flavorings.

5.  Drink more water. As you up your water intake to at least 8 glasses a day, the less hungry and more refreshed you’ll feel.

6.  Increase activity. If you’re eating less calories, low impact physical activity, like walking, swimming and yoga for at least 30 minutes a day, burns fat, builds a strong lean body and helps boost metabolism activity.

7.  Know your calories. When we eat unconsciously, calories start adding up. Make sure you’re not storing up more than you burn for energy.

8.  Have 4-6 mini meals. Instead of 3 big meals a day, go for 4 to 6 small meals. It helps increase metabolism and burn extra calories.

9.   Eat more veggies. Most plain vegetables are so low in calories and so high in fiber content that it’s almost like you’ve eaten no calories at all.

10.  Eliminate sodas. Sodas are bad for your health and add unnecessary calories. Learn to love drinking pure, clean, calorie-free water.

11.  Enjoy other pleasures. Whenever possible, indulge in simple healthy activities that you enjoy (besides eating). Make a list and have fun.

12.  Get much stronger. Strength training improves flexibility, increases fitness, strengthens joints and bones, builds muscle and helps reduce fat.

Now that you know how to reduce body fat percentage, the rest is up to you. Just add one step at a time and increase your pace slow and easy.

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10 Popular Diet Tips to Ignore

people working out on treadmills

If you’ve ever tried to lose a few pounds, you’ve probably been inundated with diet tips. But take them all with a grain of salt—some advice may sound legit but can actually derail your diet. Here are 10 tips you don’t want to follow.

BAD ADVICE: Choose fat-free or sugar-free foods
BETTER ADVICE: Don’t believe the hype. “They usually use fat and sodium to replace sugar, and sugar to replace fat—or chemicals to replace both,” says Denis Faye, Beachbody’s nutrition expert. And Rania Batayneh, MPH, a nutritionist and author of the upcoming book, The 1:1:1 Diet, adds, “Removing fat from a food makes it less satiating, so you ultimately may end up eating more.” Stick with the original versions, and watch your portions or better yet, eat more unprocessed foods.

BAD ADVICE: No cheating ever!
BETTER ADVICE: Relax your diet rules, and you’ll be more likely to stick it out long-term. “If 80% of your diet is tight, then 20% can be a party,” Faye says. “It keeps you from getting stressed—and stress is a huge obstacle in weight loss.” Just plan your splurges ahead of time so you’re not giving in to every temptation that crosses your plate.

BAD ADVICE: Stop snacking.
BETTER ADVICE: Choose snacks that offer a balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats—like apples with peanut butter, or carrots with hummus. “A healthy snack can help maintain steady blood sugar levels, which keeps your appetite in check and your energy stable,” Batayneh says. Skipping a snack can cause your blood sugar to dip, leaving you moody and famished—and more likely to overeat at mealtime.

BAD ADVICE: Don’t eat fruit—it’s full of sugar.
BETTER ADVICE: Let fruit satisfy your sweet tooth. “Yes, fresh produce is full of sugar and carbs,” Faye says. “But sugar itself is not the enemy. Fruit is packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals; it’s also rich in fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar. I’ve never met a human being who got fat because of bananas.” When you’re craving sugar, there’s no debate that a handful of grapes is healthier than a hot fudge sundae.

BAD ADVICE: If it’s organic, it’s good for you.
BETTER ADVICE: According to the USDA, organic food is produced without antibiotics, growth hormones, conventional pesticides, and synthetic ingredients.1 The problem is that many people assume organic foods are all low in calories, too, which isn’t necessarily true. Don’t get us wrong—we’d rather eat food that doesn’t resemble a science experiment. But, Faye cautions, “You need to use common sense. If it’s bad for you with conventional ingredients, it’s still bad for you when it’s organic.” A cookie is a cookie, no matter how all-natural it is.

BAD ADVICE: Calories in, calories out—it doesn’t matter what you eat.
BETTER ADVICE: What you’re eating matters. Compare a 100-calorie candy bar to 100 calories of avocado—the latter is packed with nutrients and has healthy fats and fiber to keep you full. Or compare 50 calories of spinach (about seven cups) to 50 calories of ice cream (about two tablespoons). To feel full when you’re cutting calories, look for foods loaded with water and fiber, like veggies or broth-based soups. Plus, “Hormones have a huge impact on our health. Junk food can trigger bad hormonal responses that, over time, can lead to all kinds of problems, including weight gain,” Faye says. Occasionally, someone will pop up in the news claiming they lost a ton of weight while eating nothing but Subway, Starbucks, or Snickers bars—but don’t put too much stock in those success stories. “When you go that route, you’re not educating yourself,” Faye says. “It’s like the teach-a-man-to-fish adage. If you give someone a gimmicky diet, they might lose weight for now; but provide them with knowledge, and they can be healthy for life.”

BAD ADVICE: Try XYZ Extreme Diet—it works for everyone!
BETTER ADVICE: Find a plan that works for you. Gender, age, genetics, metabolism, and lifestyle can all play a role in weight loss—so even if a fad diet has worked for others, that doesn’t mean you’ll get the same results. “There’s no single diet that works for everyone; our biochemical needs are different,” Faye says. Talk to a dietitian or nutrition consultant to find a long-term eating strategy that is tailor-fit to you.

BAD ADVICE: When in doubt, order the salad.
BETTER ADVICE: Choose your greens wisely. Leafy greens and vegetables may be virtuous, but not if they’re slathered in creamy dressing and topped with bacon, candied nuts, croutons, deli meats, or cheese. “Fatty fixings can add hundreds of calories to your meal, and sometimes contain more calories than that juicy burger!” Batayneh says. Salad can be a healthy choice, but order dressing on the side and limit the add-ons.

BAD ADVICE: Don’t exercise—it’ll only make you hungrier.
BETTER ADVICE: Get moving—an hour-long workout isn’t going to make you suck down calories like Michael Phelps. “Exercise isn’t just for losing weight—it improves your cardiovascular health and strengthens your bones,” Faye says. You might feel hungrier while recovering from a grueling workout, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to pack on pounds. “As long as you’re eating clean, your body is amazing at self-regulating,” Faye adds. “It should crave the calories you need to fuel your workouts, not to get fat.”

BAD ADVICE: Treat yourself for a job well done!
BETTER ADVICE: Rethink your reward system. After an intense workout, you may feel like you’ve earned a cocktail or cupcake. But splurging after every workout can quickly undo all your hard work. If you’ve been good all week, go ahead and grab a guilt-free beer on Friday. But, Faye says, “Don’t let every workout become a Pavlovian thing where you need to eat cake afterwards.” After all, the best reward for a killer workout is getting one step closer to the body you want.

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Weight training for women

Weight training is the perfect way to boost your metabolism and torch fat, so it’s no wonder strong is the new slim


Thanks to the success of female athletes like Jessica Ennis and Victoria Pendleton taking the Olympic Games by storm back at the London Games in 2012, we’re seeing a huge rise in women taking to the weights room in order to sculpt a strong and lean physique. If you’re new to lifting weights, though, we’re here to help, and we’ve enlisted the expertise of powerlifter Evelyn Stevenson, too.

‘Powerlifting is great for women as it encourages them to weight train correctly, using the three compound lifts to build overall strength,’ says Evelyn, who works as a personal trainer when she’s not competing. ‘It allows us to gain tone yet still keep a feminine appearance by reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass, which is a good thing – a pound of muscle alone burns nine calories a day while fat only burns two.’

Slim and strong The great thing about powerlifting is that the moves target every muscle group, including the core. There are no specific abdominal exercises, but each move switches on your core and uses your abs to accompany the major muscle groups, teaching them to work in conjunction with the rest of the body. Because this is how you use your body in everyday life, it’s a far more useful way to train your abs than isolating your mid-section.
Training all your muscle groups helps to rev up your fat burn, not just while you work out but for hours later, too, thanks to its effect on your metabolism. ‘As well as getting you in shape, powerlifting increases skeletal strength and helps to reduce the risk of osteoporosis,’ adds Evelyn.

Don’t fight the power A nice side effect to building your muscles? Supreme confidence. ‘As a woman, I find powerlifting so empowering,’ Evelyn says. ‘Being strong makes everyday life easier, too. It also makes the weights room seem a little less intimidating! I feel confident knowing I can train with a structure and understanding of my goals – something that powerlifting taught me.’
When you notice yourself getting stronger, you might also start to care less about the number on the scales, and more about the number on the weights. Measuring your progress this way can really feel like a huge achievement. ‘You don’t have to train solely for your one rep max, but you can use powerlifting to structure you gym workout and inspire a long-term goal of increasing strength,’ says Evelyn.

How to do it Olympic barbells used for powerlifting in a gym are usually 20kg, but you can often find adjustable bars that weigh much less if these are too heavy for you. Gradually increase the weight you lift until you can manage the barbell. Make one of the powerlifts – that’s either the squat, bench press or deadlift – your main move in each workout, using as heavy a weight as you can while maintaining good form. Then you can perform the remaining moves with slightly less resistance to make up the rest of your workout. Three workouts a week will target your whole body, burning fat and strengthening both your muscles and bones.

Your powerlifting workout Try these workouts by Evelyn Stevenson to kick off your new body. Separate your powerlifting workouts into three weekly sessions consisting of five different moves, including your main powerlifting move. These should challenge you, but not prove impossible to complete. Finish performing every set of each move before moving onto another exercise. Take 60 to 90 seconds’ rest between each set.

Weight Lifting Program for Women Click HereLes Mills Pump


Day 1 Main lift: squat (as heavy as possible with good form)
Plus, the following moves at around 70% of the maximum weight you’d usually manage:
Bench press
Straight-leg deadlift
Barbell row

Day 2 Main lift: bench press (as heavy as possible with good form)
Plus, the following moves at around 70% of the maximum weight you’d usually manage:
Overhead press
Straight-leg deadlift

Day 3 Main lift: deadlift (as heavy as possible with good form)
Plus, the following moves at around 70% of the maximum weight you’d usually manage:
Bench press
Barbell row
Overhead pressDSC02412_pp_pe

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How to Look Like Your Favorite Action Hero


Summer is synonymous with looking great, but not just because it’s beach/pool/fire escape season. It’s also blockbuster season. All summer long, we’ll admire the hyperbolically pumped, precision-chiseled, ragingly vascular physiques of the leading men and women that will dominate the silver screen.

When it comes to getting you off the couch, there’s no better motivation than these action heroes. The wrathful abs of Gerard Butler, the hard core of Angelina Jolie, and the trim build of Chris Pine are worthy fitness goals within reach, if you’re willing to work for them. Keep in mind that the actors have the luxury of dedicated trainers, a personal chef, and have the time and resources to workout whenever, wherever, and however they please.

Read on to find out what’s involved if you want to achieve the look of your favorite action hero. Don’t forget to thank us during your Oscars acceptance speech.


Hugh JackmanHugh Jackman, The Wolverine

Workout: Jackman followed a 12-week program divided into halves, the first for bulking and the second for cutting. Phase 1 involved three sets each of regular and close-grip bench presses, incline flies, dips, and push-ups, using an 8-6-4 rep structure at the maximum weight necessary to reach failure. Phase 2 featured the same routine, using lower weights and higher reps, but was followed with cardio training on the treadmill (10 sprints of 50 meters separated by 30-second rests) and rowing intervals (2 kilometers in 7 minutes).

Diet: Phase 1: 6,000 high-protein calories per day consisting of chicken, turkey, fish and vegetables, with snacks of nuts, seeds, and berries, and pre- and postworkout supplementation. Denis Faye, Beachbody’s Nutrition and Wellness Expert, also recommends working in some red meat for a more primal diet befitting the character: “Red meat was vilified for a long time, but current research shows that grass-fed beef without steroids or additives is a healthy, nutritious option.” In Phase 2, Jackman observed the same diet but cut his calories by 1,500 per day.

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Katee Sackhoff, Riddick

Workout: According to Sackhoff, her regimen changes depending on the role, but always involves intense weight work interspersed with cardio, Pilates, or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) consisting of an 11-minute workout in which 15-second sprints are followed by 15 seconds of walking.

Diet: Sackhoff’s athletic frame allows for less disciplined eating, which Sackhoff herself admits. Says Faye, “Your body lives in a cycle of reduction and oxidation. When you drink and eat badly, the oxidation part can get out of control. To fight it, you need antioxidants.” These could include vitamins A (eggs, lean meats), C (citrus fruits, berries), E (leafy vegetables, nuts), and K (leafy vegetables, nuts), and all colors of phytonutrients (nonessential components like quercetin, found in fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and teas). Aesthetically, these nutrients are especially important for women, says Faye, “because right or wrong, men are more socially allowed to grow leathery as they age.” It’s true. Mickey Rourke’s rider forbids antioxidants.



Henry Cavill, Man of Steel

Workout: Cavill underwent intense weight training capped by a practice advocated by Mark Twight, called the Tail Pipe. The method combines exercise and recovery by using a series of breaths after each of four weight exercises—in this case goblet squats, kettlebell swings, squat thrusts, and jumping jacks—before immediately beginning the next one, for a total of 100 reps. “When you’re done,” Twight explains, “it feels like you’ve been sucking on the tail pipe of a car.” Total time: 2-1/2 sucking hours a day.

Diet: All that work required 5,000 high-protein calories a day during the bulking phase, but a diet should be more balanced in this case, according to Faye. “You want to be big and strong, but you want agility and flexibility too. So I’d go with a clean, balanced Zone diet (30/40/30 fat/carbs/protein) and regulate calories as needed. Wanna get bigger? Add calories. Smaller? Subtract. Whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meats (fish, chicken, eggs) form the basis of the plan, and “because he’s from Smallville, there’s gonna be some dairy in there.”


Channing Tatum

Channing Tatum, White House Down

Workout: Tatum has been associated at some point with just about every workout under the sun. He followed a strict three-days-on, one-day-off cycle of high-intensity, full-body circuits (e.g., jump squats, dead lifts, sit-ups) at 30 minutes apiece for his role in Fighting, then went with a three-hour daily program for the lead in Magic Mike. It’s reasonable to assume that he borrowed from each for his latest turn opposite Jamie Foxx, reportedly favoring dumbbells, medicine balls, kettlebells, and jump rope over machine work.

Diet: Tatum’s been linked with just about every known diet, too, including a low-fat, high-protein diet for Fighting and a gluten- and dairy-free diet for Magic Mike. In either case, his admitted hatred of fruits and vegetables adds difficulty to the already lofty dietary task of maintaining such a high-performance physique. Put bluntly, “He looks like he could get fat by accident,” observes Faye. A diet like Tatum’s should be “ultra-clean—no fried stuff. Most people can eat 80/20 good/bad foods, but he’s got to go 100 percent” while training, emphasizing the steamed vegetables he loathes and keeping sauces and added sugar to a minimum.

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Ryan Gosling, Only God Forgives

Workout: A reluctant participant in mass building, Gosling happily submitted to two hours a day of Muay Thai martial arts training for his upcoming movie, set in Thailand. For Place Beyond the Pines, director Derek Cianfrance is quoted as crediting Gosling with having gained 40 pounds of muscle. While the filmmaker’s muscle math might be off, the combination of weight training and fight activity helps Gosling negotiate bulk and balance.

Diet: His fight trainer put him on a traditional Thai regimen of fish, green vegetables, and rice, which aligns with Faye’s recommendations for someone of Gosling’s build and disposition. “He seems like someone who’s going to eat whatever the hell he wants,” Faye speculates. “So at least eat the best of the worst—get educated on what’s healthiest on fast food menus; if you’re gonna go to a bar, hard alcohol with soda water is the least caloric of all drinks.” He says intake should be balanced, not high-protein, keeping carb content to the whole-grain variety with lots of fruits.



Alexa Vega, Machete Kills

Alexa VegaWorkout: Vega’s regiment is a cocktail of spin class, TNT boot camp, and Pilates 4 times a week.

Diet: Faye notes that Vega’s curvy, so while she’ll want to make sure she consumes enough carbs to do all the HIIT and cardio work in her program, “this is not a body that requires intense, crazy training.” Because she’s more dimensional than, say, Angelina Jolie, her calorie deficit won’t be as severe. Eat lean meats and protein, raw vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains—general smart eating 101. And her look is relatively attainable, as Faye states, “A Jolie or Sackhoff body takes work. A Vega body takes common sense.”

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Idris Elba, Pacific Rim

Workout: A natural athlete, Elba actually doesn’t have to kill himself to maintain his rangy frame. When allowed by a lax filmmaker or bout of momentary unemployment, he most enjoys Muay Thai. A few rounds with a speed bag to cycle through the various kicks and combos are followed by some sparring and leg raises. Otherwise, Elba initiates a workout wherever he can in the form of a 45-minute jog, 100-rep round of push-ups and sit-ups, or swimming.

Diet: “You don’t hit that age (41) and look like that and not eat well,” ventures Faye. Rather than angling for a Spartan physique or photo shoot (shirtless pics of the British actor are rare), for Elba it’s about longevity. “Moderation—he likely never jacks up his calories super-high, keeping them between 2,000 and 3,000 with good carbs like quinoa, beans, and brown rice. Any runner, cycler, or swimmer is going to consume those things to keep glycogen and blood sugar ready at all times.”


Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man 3

Workout: RDJ already stays exceptionally fit by practicing Wing Chun, a close-quarters Chinese martial art. But it takes more meat to fill out the Mark XLII armor, which means trading his normal emphasis on cardio for increased weight work—squats, presses, lunges, and dead lifts for his lower body, and pull-ups, dips, military and bench presses, rows, push-ups, and kettlebells for the upper. Periodization optimizes performance and mass, alternating high weight and low reps with low weight and high reps during workouts of alternating length.

Diet: The Tony Stark workout requires 5,000 calories a day, with feedings every three hours at a 30/30/40 ratio of fat, protein, and carbs. The dietary challenges here are as much psychological as physical. “His workout is a version of CrossFit, but even wackier because that helps keep him interested, so with diet, it’s got to be the same.” That means lots of different meats and different-colored fruits and vegetables that represent the phytonutrient rainbow. The net result: 25 pounds of added muscle.


Chris Pine, Star Trek Into Darkness

Workout: To prepare Pine for one of this summer’s most anticipated movies, trainer Michael Vale committed him to three days of weight-resistance-training workouts alternating with three days of HIIT cardio circuits over two months.

Diet: Nutritional rules here are similar to Elba’s, only with slightly fewer calories. “Something that’s going to fight off stress,” suggests Faye, “so a lot of organic stuff.” Here, he invokes the Confucian saying hara hachi bu—loosely translated as “eat until you’re 80% full”—to emphasize moderation. His projected energy ratios: 50/25/25 carbs, fat, and protein, respectively. “If you’re a cardio-based athlete, that’s what you do.”


Angelina Jolie, Tomb Raider

Workout: To train for the role of Lara Croft, producers subjected Jolie to 2-1/2 months of weight training, kickboxing, and yoga. An obsessive personality, Jolie responded well to the extremes demanded of her by her training, and she gained the same weight as Lara’s giant braid, or roughly four pounds.

Diet: Faye says, “You can’t be that perpetually skinny and not be chronically undereating.” Therefore, he stresses the importance of supplementation when eating at a calorie deficit to get necessary vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids. “If you’re not getting those and you’re exercising, you’re going to tear yourself up,” which is why, in addition to five meals a day, trainers administered Jolie vitamins, teas, and protein shakes. “You really need to make sure you’re supplementing B vitamins,” Faye continues. “I deal with heavy people who are trying to diet, when eating a tiny amount of calories, they’re just lethargic. Give them B vitamins and they’re like, ‘Woo hoo!’”

10 Advanced Weight Training Tips

weight-training-for-weight-lossOnce you reach a certain level of expertise in training with weights, and some decent results like more muscle, greater strength, or reduced body fat, chances are you will want to know how to progress, and what techniques will make you even more successful. Here are 10 tips to get you going.

1. Set reasonable goals. This may seem obvious, but not to everyone. Chances are you will make good progress as a beginner if you work hard, but as you progress, it sometimes seems the harder you work, the fewer the gains — and that is most likely true. The number one rule of progression to more advanced levels is that small gains are the norm, and that persistence over time can accumulate these small gains into something substantial.

Make a note of your progress so that you know exactly what your progression rate is, whether strength, muscle, or body fat.

2. Improve your diet and nutrition. If you can find improvement in your diet, do it now. Reduce the extra fat and refined carbohydrates and the fatty pastries, refined sugars, colas, biscuits, cakes, sweets and junk foods. Try to eat fresh food and keep packaged and processed food to a minimum. Eat clean.

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3. Lift long and hard. To put on muscle and lose fat you need to overload the muscles to promote muscle growth, and to expend sufficient energy to contribute to fat loss. This means exercising all muscle groups at least twice each week and preferably three times a week. See the Basic Muscle program for an example.

As you progress, try to fit in another session, making it 3 or 4 sessions each week if you feel your constitution can take the extra training. You should be exercising to failure or thereabouts, at 12 repetitions for 3 sets for the set number of exercises in the program. You may need to adjust the weight load upward to account for strength gains.

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4. Lift heavy and short. If you want to get strong, you need to train somewhat differently to that which optimizes muscle. Strength means training the neuromuscular system, which is different to the hypertrophy of muscle tissue for big muscle gains. There are, of course, cross benefits with either type of training.

For strength, use programs similar to 5 sets of 5 repetitions with heavy weights and plenty of rest between sets, and even between lifts if you need it. You could even swap the training protocols between muscle and strength on alternate months.

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5. Lift light and long. If you think muscle endurance is for you, you should keep the load light to moderate and push the repetitions up over 20 or more. Don’t make it too light, though, or it will be a waste of time. This type of training is good for upper body strength endurance. CrossFit style hang-clean-press and thrusters work well here.

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6. Time your refueling. Meal timing according to exercise intensity and workout duration is a crucial aspects of any exercise regimen, and weight training is no exception.

  • Take some sports drink with carbohydrate if you exercise for more than an hour at moderate to high intensity. Protein is not necessary at this time.
  • Within 30 minutes after a solid workout, eat or drink at least 20 grams of protein with at least the same amount of carbohydrate and more if the workout has been of long duration and high in intensity and includes cardio. Resume normal meals.
  • Don’t skimp on carbohydrate if you train hard for 4 or more days each week. You need it to protect your muscle protein from breakdown and to replace glycogen stores.


7. Cycle your workouts. Every 6 weeks take an easy week where you do about half your normal training, or full training at half the intensity. This provides a ‘window’ in which the body can replenish itself and build even stronger. The principle of weight training and muscle and strength building is progressive overload, muscle damage, repair, neuromuscular tuning, and new growth. Give this process a chance to occur.


8. Include cardio. Aerobic exercise is good for your health, burns calories and fat and can even assist in muscle growth. Keep it to less than 45 minutes a session at low to moderate intensity and it won’t cause a problem for muscle growth, sometimes know as the ‘interference effect’. In fact, a good cardio session can help exhaust the muscles of glycogen (glucose) and give you an even greater anabolic ‘rush’ when insulin, a muscle building hormone, is called upon to rebuild tissue with new growth factors, protein and glucose. See When to Do Cardio: Before or After Weights.

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9. Change intensity. The body responds to variation in intensity and volume. If weight loss is your goal, try an advanced bootcamp program. If muscle building and fitness is your goal and you’re a bit stale, then switch from 3 sets of 12 reps to 4 sets of eight reps, or try supersets, pyramids or drop sets where you alter the weights and reps up or down for each set. See Weight Training 101 for all options.


10. Rest, relax, sleep and don’t overtrain. Stress hormones like adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol can play havoc with muscle development and fat loss. Being stressed produces a catabolic or ‘breaking down’ internal body environment which leads to muscle degradation, in some cases fat accumulation, immune system dysfunction and susceptibility to infection. Overtraining can create a similar internal environment. Rest and grow strong.