Sunday, April 17, 2011

Body for Life

I gained 45 pounds with my first daughter and 50 pounds with my 2nd. Yes, I know what your thinking, "the baby only comes out weighing 7 or so pounds. I was heavy. When I was pregnant, I found great comfort in putting butter on most everything and I ate a lot. While this may have been fine to me while I was pregnant, it wasn't so much once the baby came out.

Picture of me and my Grandfather in law when I was a few months pregnant with my 2nd daughter

Picture of me and my first daughter having just delivered my 2nd

After the birth of my 2nd daughter in 2003, I heard of the Body for Life program. My sister in law, Julie was doing it. I decided to give it a try. Since I had a c-section, I did wait 3 months to begin the program.

The Body for life program is a 12 week challenge and it's very simple. You eat 6 small meals per day, do an aerobic activity for 20 minutes, 3 times a week and weight training 3 times a week. You get one day of freedom, which means no exercising and you can eat whatever you want. For further reading, click on the link

You can buy the Body for Life book or check out the book from the library.

What I like about Body for Life is that you don't have to buy anything. It really is just about changing your eating habits and changing what you eat.

The following information is taken directly from the Body for Life website.

Official Body-for-LIFE Cardio-Training Plan

Cardio workouts are indispensable to an effective training program and general good health. By definition, cardio workouts can be any exercise—jogging, running, biking, swimming, elliptical machine, stairs, even jumping rope—that raises and maintains your heart rate over a predetermined amount of time. By doing so, you strengthen your heart and lungs and lower your resting heart rate, which means that over time the same effort that produced a 10-minute mile will produce a 9-minute mile. Cardio workouts burn fat. And cardio fitness is what gives you endurance and the ability to persist in sports and in life.

The Benefits of Cardio

  • Increases metabolic rate
  • Increases growth hormone secretion
  • Reduces stress levels
  • Increases blood flow to the brain increasing alertness
  • Improve cholesterol levels
  • Improves digestion
  • Boosts immune-system function

20-Minute Aerobics Solution™ — The Official Body-for-LIFE Cardio Plan

Cardio-Training Plan
  1. Warm up the first 2 minutes at Intensity Level 5
  2. Minutes 2-3 move from Intensity Level 5 to 6
  3. Minutes 4-5, 6-10 and 11-14 work your way from Intensity Level 6 to Level 9, maintain for one minute.
  4. Minutes 15-19 work your way from Intensity Level 6 to Level 10 (High Point at Level 10), maintain for one minute.
  5. Minute 20 cool down to Intensity Level 5 for one minute.
Alternate weight-training and cardio workouts for six consecutive days and rest on the seventh day.

I always liked the cardio part of the workouts. When I first started out, I walked up and down my stairs, gradually moved to the treadmill, just walking and slowly worked up to running. 

Official Body-for-LIFE Weight-Training Plan

  • Weight train intensely, three times per week on alternating days with aerobic exercise three times per week. Make sure to hit your "high points" during your workout.
  • Alternate training the major muscles of the upper and lower body.
  • Perform two exercises for each major muscle group of the upper body.
  • Select one exercise and conduct five sets with it, starting with a set of 12 reps, then increasing the weight and doing 10 reps, adding more weight and doing 8 reps, adding more weight for 6 reps. Then reduce the weight and do 12 reps. Immediately perform another set of 12 reps for that muscle group using the second selected exercise.
  • For each muscle group, rest for one minute between the first four sets. Then complete the final two sets with no rest in between, wait two minutes before moving on to your next muscle group, complete this pattern five times for the upper body training experience and four times for the lower body training experience.
  • Always plan your training before hand.
  • Record all your weightlifting exercised in a journal indicating the exercise selected and weight lifted.

Daily Training Guide

Download the Exercise Guide
Day 1 Upper Body Training Chest/Shoulders/Triceps/Back/Biceps
Day 2 Cardiovascular Workout
Day 3 Lower Body and Abs Training Quads/Hamstrings/Calves/Abdominals
Day 4 Cardiovascular Workout
Day 5 Upper Body Training Chest/Shoulders/Triceps/Back/Biceps
Day 6 Cardiovascular Workout
Day 7 Rest

Upper Body


Choose Exercise from List

  • Barbell Bench Presses
  • Barbell Incline Presses
  • Dumbbell Bench Presses
  • Dumbbell Incline Presses
  • Dumbbell Flyes
  • Cable Crossovers
  • Repetitions: x12, 10, x8, x6, x12, x12


Choose Exercise from List

  • Pull-Ups
  • Wide-Grip Lat Pulldowns
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Rows
  • Seated Cable Rows
  • Back Extensions
  • Straight Arm Pulldowns
  • Repetitions: x12, 10, x8, x6, x12, x12


Choose Exercise from List

  • Seated Dumbbell Presses
  • Front Raises
  • Lateral Raises
  • Reverse Flyes
  • Upright Cable Rows
  • Upright Barbell Rows
  • Repetitions: x12, 10, x8, x6, x12, x12


Choose Exercise from List

  • Alternate Dumbbell Curls
  • Barbell Curls
  • Preacher Curls
  • Concentration Curls
  • Cable Curls
  • Hammer Curls
  • Repetitions: x12, 10, x8, x6, x12, x12


Choose Exercise from List

  • Seated Triceps Presses
  • Lying Triceps Presses
  • Triceps Kickbacks
  • Triceps Pushdowns
  • Cable Extensions
  • Bench Dips
  • Repetitions: x12, 10, x8, x6, x12, x12

Lower Body


Choose Exercise from List

  • Barbell Squats
  • Leg Presses
  • Leg Extensions
  • Repetitions: x12, 10, x8, x6, x12, x12


Choose Exercise from List

  • Dumbbell Lunges
  • Straight-Leg Deadlifts
  • Lying Leg Curls
  • Repetitions: x12, 10, x8, x6, x12, x12


Choose Exercise from List

  • Seated Calf Raises
  • Standing Heel Raises
  • Repetitions: x12, 10, x8, x6, x12, x12


Choose Exercise from List

  • Floor Crunches
  • Oblique Floor Crunches
  • Decline Crunches
  • Decline Oblique
  • Hanging Knee Raises
  • Reverse Crunches
  • Cable Crunches
  • Cable Oblique Crunches
  • Repetitions: x12, 10, x8, x6, x12, x12
Click here to learn about the Body-for-LIFE Cardio-Training Plan

So what do you eat during these meals? Anything healthy, but smaller, portion sized. When I was doing it, I always heard that protein, carbohydrate, fruit and vegetable should be the size of your fist and no more and that is what I went by. I did get rid of the butter, used more pam, sometimes olive oil, for example. The Body for life website is full of recipes and meal ideas and there is even a Body for life recipe book. Below is a sample weekly meal plan. It says to eat a Myoplex shake for in between meals. Costco was selling this, not sure if they are still, but they have a lot of protein shake mix.

Sample Weekly Meal Plan

Eat more often

Research indicates that eating smaller meals more frequently (about every three hours) supports metabolism and helps maintain energy.

Six egg-white omelet, 1/2 cup (dry measure) oatmeal, prepared with water Myoplex® Nutrition Shake Grilled fresh tuna with broccoli and roasted new potatoes Myoplex®Nutrition bar Eye of round steak with sweet potato and green beans Cottage cheese with blueberries
Breakfast wrap (low-fat sausage, scrambled egg whites, low-fat cheese, salsa, whole wheat tortilla) Myoplex® Ready-to-Drink Teriyaki salmon with cooked spinach and brown rice Myoplex® Nutrition Shake Pork tenderloin with asparagus and baked potato Cottage cheese with strawberries
Egg-white pancakes (six egg whites, 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/2 T whole grain pancake mix, mix in blender), serve with sugarless fruit spread Myoplex® Nutrition Shake Chicken fajita wraps (grilled chicken breast, grilled vegetables and a whole wheat wrap) Myoplex® Ready-to-Drink Sushi made with brown rice, seaweed salad Green salad with cottage cheese
Scrambled egg whites, one slice whole wheat toast Myoplex® Ready-to-Drink Southwest chicken salad (chicken, lettuce, brown rice, black beans, tomatoes, onions, avocado) Myoplex®Nutrition bar Tofu-vegetable stir fry with brown rice Cottage cheese and grapes
Six egg-white omelet, oatmeal Myoplex®Nutrition Bar Turkey burger on whole wheat bun with lettuce and tomato Myoplex® Ready-to-Drink Grilled salmon with cucumber-dill dressing, green salad and baked potato Cottage cheese with an apple
Egg-white pancakes (see Day 3); sugarless fruit spread Myoplex® Nutrition Shake Chili (made with lean ground turkey, kidney beans, salsa), green salad Myoplex®Nutrition Bar Rosemary chicken with mushroom gravy, snap peas and whole wheat pasta Cottage cheese and yogurt

Replace this... with this
whole milk skim (0%), low-fat (1%), reduced fat (2%)
cheese reduced fat cheese
pasta with white (cheese) sauce pasta with marinara (vegetable) sauce
bacon or sausage Canadian bacon or lean ham
eggs egg whites or egg substitutes
white bread whole-wheat
mayonnaise reduce calorie, fat-free or mustard
regular salad dressings reduced fat/calorie dressings
guacamole salsa
creamed soups broth-based soups
butter, oil or shortening non-stick cooking spray, applesauce or prune puree

Body for life has a great community. You can chat with other people who are going through the exact same thing that you are.
So how did I do? Well in the 12 weeks, I lost 20 pounds. The running as most of you know stuck and I am now training for my 2nd 50 mile ultramarathon and I feel great. I still eat very healthy, and still have the Eating for Life recipe book and often use it.
Here are my transformation photos;
Before in 2003

After in 2003  
Photo of me now

The program works, I swear by it. At least check it out.


  1. I love it Jeannie! it really small changes that make a great difference. I also put 55 lbs and i was almost tipping 60 with my second pregnancy, both i lost it all right away by eating less and skipping, You know the people that say that after giving birth they wear their old jeans home? that was not me, i had to work hard to loose the weight.

  2. Wow.. what a hottie... well done.


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