Challenge Guide

This week-by-week guide to the Body-for-LIFE Challenge will give you the advice and motivation you need to make it through a full 12-week Challenge.

  • Week 1

    The First Step toward Health
    Congratulations and welcome to the Body-for-LIFE® Challenge. Not only have you declared an end to poor health, you have joined the largest, most successful Body-for-LIFE® transformation group in the world! You did it! You took the first step and now it is time to achieve your goals in the next 84 days. All of the 100 previous Body-for-LIFE® Champions did two things in order to create their best body. They entered the Challenge and they completed it. You are halfway there.

    I am not going to tell you it will all be easy—it won't. I am not going to tell you that the craving for unhealthy food will go away. It doesn't and probably never will. What I will tell you and do promise you is this: now that you have entered the Challenge, follow the Body-for-LIFE® program to the letter, enjoy your free-day and stick to the program. The 84 days will end and the improvement in your health and body will be a direct result of the effort you apply. There are 10 other Champions that will send you an e-mail as the weeks go by. Each of them started the Challenge, followed the program and sent in their completed Challenge packet. Their transformation and mine were the direct results of the effort applied. Now it's your turn.

    On my wall is a quote. "Winning is not normal and those who constantly win follow an ‘abnormal’ path. The discipline, dedication and sacrifices are incomprehensible to those thousands standing outside, looking in, who are capable of joining the winning team, yet unwilling to pay the price of admission. Winners win in a fair effort, on a level playing field; because they deserve to win... they willingly pay their dues in full, time after time, after time."

    I don't know who wrote this quote, but I think they nailed it. Now it’s your chance to prove those words right. If you are on the outside looking in—capable of joining the winners circle—you are looking in the right direction. You entered the Challenge. Now do the work. You can. You will. I believe in you. Do it!

    G. Porter Freeman
    1997 Co-Grand Champion

    P.S. In 1997 I called on my coach Eric Shrieves repeatedly for advice, direction and support. Now you have all of EAS® to call on. Our number is 1-800 297-9776. Eric was there for me and we will be here for you. Call us if you need us.

  • Week 2

    Congratulations on making the decision to make a change and making it through your first week. Now, welcome to Week 2!

    You are very motivated and excited for what is ahead—as you should be! There are great things that can happen to you from this! I think Week 2, however, is where we are still getting all our "ducks in a row." We are just coming out of the starting blocks. It’s too soon to see any big change—for most of us anyway. Patience is the key here!

    If you find you are somewhat stumbling around in your workout, and feel a little self-conscious, that is okay! I know how it feels to be "lost," in the gym. I know it can be intimidating, but you are going to be okay. Put those blinders on and don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. And, NO, not all eyes are on you—even though it feels like everyone is watching. It takes several weeks to really settle in with the workout. You have probably figured out what you thought was a 9 or 10 last week, was really just a 5 or 6. Intensity is so important in achieving the results you desire, but to get those results, we have got to hit a true 10 consistently.

    I think it is so important to constantly remind ourselves of what brought you here in the first place. What was the straw that broke the camel’s back? What made you take action, now? In Week 2 it is fresh in our minds. Program those thoughts and visuals away because trust me, you will need them in week 6.

    Week 2 is when we realize how important planning is. Perhaps you have been reminded just what can happen when we do not take time to get our meals planned out accordingly. Oh boy, the temptations! You may even be wondering just how you are going to make it 12 weeks. YOU WILL make it, you have no choice. This is non-negotiable.

    Stay focused, face your fears and commit to finishing your challenge. You will never regret this journey. I wish you much success and happiness.

    Dream big,
    Kelly Adair

  • Week 3

    Hi, my name is Charles Damiano and I am the 2004 Grand Master Body-for-LIFE® Champion. I am honored to share my story and experience in helping you get through the Challenge. I have entered the Body-for-LIFE® Challenge three times previous to winning the Challenge in 2004. I entered in 1997, 1998 and again in 1999, where I placed in the top 10 in my age group. I do not preach through theory, but from experience when I share with you what to expect from week 3 of the Body-for-LIFE® Challenge.

    For me the 2004 Challenge was just that, the biggest Challenge of them all for me to complete. With three young children, Jessica 10, Brandon 9 and Aidan only 2 at the time, working full time as the Executive Vice President of one of New York City’s largest health club chains and part time at night on my entrepreneurial internet business I knew that completing the Challenge was going to be all about planning, determination and persistence. I am a big believer in goal setting and planning and have run my life and business with the philosophy that “IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN, YOU PLAN TO FAIL”.

    With that in mind I began to map out my plan for the first four weeks of the Challenge. Hopefully by now you all did the same and put your 12-week health-related goals in writing. Mine was to lose 15 pounds of body fat and gain 10 pounds of muscle. You must also decide and plan where you will be working out and what time of the day you will be training. I decided to work out in the morning and do my cardio workout at home and my weight training workout at one of the health clubs that I supervised—all before going to work.

    So, begin planning now, by asking yourself when will you be getting in your workouts? Is it going to be in the morning, afternoon or after work? And once you decide, remember to honor your self promise and stick with it! Planning my meals was also essential for my success and will be to yours as well. So the night before, I would always get my Myoplex® bars and ready-to-drink shakes together and throw them in my work bag. You must decide and plan in advance what meals you would also eat on the run while at work and when.

    What you can look forward to in week three is your body and mind getting use to the workouts; the eating schedule and you have worked some of the challenges out of your daily routine. Since it takes 21 days to form a habit, the BFL program by the end of week three should be getting easier and more fun to follow since it is now becoming a new healthy habit for you to look forward to. Physically, your energy level should be improving, you should be feeling stronger on your weight training days and your body should slightly begin to show signs of improvement in reduced body fat and improved muscle tone.

    Remember, you still have nine weeks to go and results may be slow at first but you have to stick with your game plan, hold your goal before you, keep believing in yourself and visualize yourself completing the challenge and looking and feeling your best. With each passing week you will be one step closer to a new and healthy you! You will get through the Challenge and when you do you, will feel like a new person—vibrant, healthy and alive! I know I did! Week 3 is helping your body get acclimated to the BFL program, your routine and what’s to follow. I wish you the best of luck on your exciting BFL journey. Go for it!
     

  • Week 4

    Well now, look who is on Week Four!

    Way to go Body-for-LIFE® Friend! You have completed 28 days of what I call the finest fitness and nutrition program on the planet! I am Rena Reese, a 2004 Body-for-LIFE® Grand Champion and I am thrilled for you that you have made it to this point. Chances are now overwhelmingly in your favor that you will make it to day 84—and beyond—since the first month is truly the hardest! Creating new habits, fighting off old patterns of action and replacing them with healthful alternatives takes strength, determination, planning and intention. You should be proud!

    This month you have done so much more than eat six balanced meals and perform cardio and weight training. You have made a promise to yourself and kept it. That can only help to build self-esteem. You’re probably showing up more confident and energetic at work and in your daily interactions. In addition, unconsciously, you are training people new ways to treat you too. It is possible that you have had a friend/coworker/partner/family member call you obsessed. (Great, that means you are doing Body-for-LIFE® with passion!) It is also possible that you have inspired some of those very same people to participate and take on the Challenge for themselves. You are making a case for the notion that it is perfectly okay to take care of yourself! It is not selfish, but rather it is responsible. Wonderful!

    When you stick with this program for the first month, your esteem increases. When you see that you have kept this promise to yourself, your momentum increases. If you snap a photo of yourself at week four, you will notice that which may not be observable in your daily step out of the shower. It is a marker in your 12-week journey that confirms that what you are doing is making a difference!  During the first 28 days of my Challenge in January 2004, I was so focused and determined.

    Before Body-for-LIFE® I must have gotten something out of being the “mommy/martyr" “Poor mom has no time to take care of herself….” “Poor Rena. She’s out of shape because she puts her family first..."

    All of that stinkin' thinkin' got me what? FAT! But, after four weeks of Body-for-LIFE® I had lost 16 pounds of fat and that was while I was really enjoying my free days! My first free day I ate Chex Mix and Oreos for breakfast—and that was likely the healthiest part of the day! By my fourth free day, I forgot it was my free day until the afternoon! That is how powerful repeating new patterns of actions can be. My great food choices had become automatic. My family and I benefited from my newfound energy and level of happiness.

    One of the most important things you can do for yourself now as you begin week five is set up supports to carry you through your Challenge. The ones that helped me the most were the Body-for-LIFE® Web site, connecting with past champions and other Body-for-LIFEers via email, my journal/log and taking a gander at my before pics!

    But, the most powerful tool I used to support my sticking to the program was the creation of a home video. I got the idea when I saw a TV program which explained how a man documented his baby’s growth. Each day he laid out a black cloth and laid his baby down and took a short clip of footage. Each day he would repeat this process and he did so until the child turned two. When showed start to finish, the video was like time-lapse photography of a flower opening. The child changed ever so slightly but he did change.

    So, I decided that this would be a powerful way to document my transformation. I set up my video camera on a tripod and my daughter Meg filmed me in the same swimsuit each day for a few seconds. For me the effect was powerful. I would watch the footage which began with my before picture up to the present day of the Challenge I was in. It motivated me. On the weeks that I felt like I had reached a plateau, I could see that the scale may not be changing but what was happening to my body could not be denied. I realized every day mattered. Every workout mattered; every meal contributed to the metamorphosis that was unfolding on my videotape. If you cannot videotape yourself each day, a weekly photo could serve the same purpose.

    We have all heard that “nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.” Before Body-for-LIFE® I didn’t know if that was true or not because I had never been thin. I’d like to re-write that to reflect the Body-for-LIFE® experience. Unauthorized foods and skipped workouts are no substitute for the energy, power and high you get from being fit and in control. Yes that is a mouthful and profoundly true. Now, I don’t want to be thin. The word thin conjures up an image of a frail, weak person with no muscles to speak of. That is not the look we Body-for-LIFEers are going for. Stay the course and you will be lean, strong, and toned. As your body changes, your size will change. In addition, muscles will emerge where there were none or where there were once layers of fat. This will make you want to wake up, workout and eat right. Frankly, I became excited to go to sleep each night and then wake up to see that something magical happened during the night. Each night, it did.

    I have been going to my gym four to five times a week for over two years and I can honestly say that most people look exactly the same as they did when I first lugged my chubby self in there in January 2004. Now, looking the same is great if you already are fit and fabulous. If you are not fit and not getting fit, it seems then that the goal is to not get any less unfit. What kind of goal is that?

    So, know that what you do today counts towards achieving your ultimate goals. Know that the workout you engage in, food you eat and thoughts you think today matter!

    I wish for you fine health, abundant energy, confidence and perseverance as you continue this path! Know that when you submit your packet, the team of judges will review your packet giving it the time, respect and attention it would get if you were a judge's friend, sister, brother, or parent. The team at Body-for-LIFE® are so invested in your success and health that they have literally made it their job to aid you in your success!

    Now, go eat, work out and get fit for the remaining eight weeks of your Challenge and FOR LIFE!

    All my best,
    Rena Reese

    "Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least."
              ---Goethe
     

  • Week 5

    Hi,

    I’m Dr. Jeffry Life. I was a Body-for-LIFE® Grand Champion in 1998. I’m so excited to be talking to you during this, the second half of your Challenge!

    For me, week five was when I first realized that all of my work was really paying off—big time! My physique was beginning to take shape, my body fat was disappearing on a daily basis, my strength and endurance were increasing daily and my nutrition and exercise programs had become an integral part of my very being. Getting up at 5 a.m. and riding my exercise bicycle while watching music DVDs had become completely painless and actually something I looked forward to (something I continue to do almost daily eight years later). Going to the gym was now fun and challenging and people began to compliment me about how good I looked. I knew I was going to be a champion regardless of whether I won or didn’t win the contest.

    I think that week five is really where it all falls together for most people. It’s at this point that individuals chose to make this their lifestyle for the rest of their lives. The Body-for-LIFE® Program, in reality, is not about finishing a 12-week program; it’s all about using these 12 weeks to launch yourself into a lifetime of healthy eating, exercise and behavior that will add years of quality to your life. It was week five when I realized this and I will never forget it for as long as I live.

    Best wishes,
    Jeffry S. Life, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Week 6

    Hey there!

    My name is Mariah Yu. I was named Female Grand Master Champion in the 2004 Body-for-LIFE® Challenge. While most of you may not know me personally, I think I know what you might be going through!

    By this time, some of you may be seeing more results than others, while some of you might be a bit frustrated by a lack of progress. The last month is when you should see the most dramatic changes in your body. Why? I'm not exactly sure, but I think it's because by this time, you should have worked out all the kinks in your schedule, figured out how to hit your 10s and you are hopefully more motivated than ever to see the end of the challenge all the way through!

    It can be really hard to balance everyday life with a change in lifestyle—here are some useful things to think about that helped me through my 12 weeks.

    Stop each day and think. Think about what excites you. Use it to inspire what you do for the rest of this challenge and the rest of your life. It is the only way each of us can really reach our goals in life and find what makes us truly happy. If you are slowly drifting back to bad habits, put a stop to them before you feel like you can't turn back.

    Become aware of yourself. Sounds silly, I know! But I have found that many people I talk to don't pay attention to the things that will make them succeed. If you know you are not being as strict on your eating or your exercise—figure out why. I have found that if I skip a meal in the morning, it can create a snowball effect that makes me super hungry all day! Also, I know the people at my workplace that can tempt me with fast food, Girl Scout cookies and other things I love and I know I need to make them aware of how they need to support my lifestyle or I will have to stay away from them! Being aware of your weaknesses allows you to take steps to avoid them.

    Be a detective. If you are not seeing the results you expect to see, ask someone who is! Call the EAS® hotline at 1-800-297-9776 and make little changes each week to see what makes the most impact on your results. If you are bored with doing the 20-minute cardio on the bike, try the treadmill or use a heart rate monitor to see if you can be working out a little harder than you might think. Learning how your body works is a lifelong process; don't expect it to come without a little detective work! Body-for-LIFE® can work for everyone if you know how to apply it to your own body.

    Plan ahead. I know, we are all super busy! A simple thing as buying portable plastic food containers can be the obstacle that prevents you from bringing healthy food to work! Go buy them. Plan your meals in advance as much as possible, because it puts you in control. Without proper planning, you are leaving many things up to chance—why not take control of where you're going instead of letting life control you!

    Well, that's it for now. Stay focused and start to figure out what you're going to wear for your after photos! I can't wait to see what you all have accomplished!

    Your Body-for-LIFE® buddy,
    Mariah Yu

  • Week 7

    Conquering the “Mini” Challenges

    Hi, I’m Deana Langham, now a 63-years-young grandmother who was fortunate enough to be one of the 15 finalists in 2005. I understand that you are at the point where you may be experiencing “challenges” within your Challenge and I would like to share how I dealt with some of my mini-challenges.

    As I got leaner and added more muscle, I found that my hunger would spike on the days I did my leg workout, so I would do what I call, “Stoking the Furnace”. Here’s how:

    Meals 2 and 5 I added an extra ounce of protein
    Meals 3 and 4 I added a protein muffin
    Meal 6 I added half an Myoplex® bar

    This would up my calories with good fuel and convince my body that I was not about to deprive it. The end result was that my energy level and metabolism would both get a boost.

    I didn’t take free days, but I did take free meals. Remember, Body-for-LIFE® is not a diet and exercise program, rather a way of living a lifestyle that yields tremendous dividends and rewards. Make it fun and pleasurable to all your senses! Above all else, please, please, please when you feel discouraged or you hit a plateau, call the wonderful people at EAS®. Never ever think that your stumbling blocks are trivial—ask for guidance! The people at EAS® are your road map for this incredible journey you are on. You are worthy of reaching “Your Own Personal Best”. Good luck and God bless!

    If you have questions please call EAS at 1-800-297-9776.
     

  • Week 8

    Shoot for the Moon

    Now you have the hang of the 12-week transformation. You should be noticing your pants fitting a little looser or your shirts not as snug. Meals should be easier to coordinate and the workouts will be more intense. You have four weeks to go and a lot will happen in this time.

    Week 8 is when I think your metabolism and muscles are just getting into sync with the work you have displayed for the previous weeks. This means that over the next four weeks you will have the biggest fat loss and the best muscle gain. There is no time to slack off; you are in the final stage of the best time of your life. Live the next four weeks in great focus to the body and mind you have worked so hard for.

    Remember your goals you made at the beginning of your Challenge; this is when you should really be pushing to achieve them. Make sure that you are holding yourself accountable and conquer the mountain you are climbing. Pushing your limits helps in all aspects of your life, from work to family to even Body-for-LIFE®. I always say, “Shoot for the moon and if you don’t succeed, you still fall with the stars.” Something is better than nothing, but EVERYTHING is better than something. Go get it, you deserve it!

    Your Body-for-LIFE® Brother,
    Kenny Fernandez
    Top 15 Finalist 2005 Body-for-LIFE® Challenge

  • Week 9

    Hello,

    I am Cheryl Rasmussen, Body-for-LIFE® 2002 Grand Champion. Congratulations for reaching week 9!

    This might be a good week to think about how far you have come. You set a goal to make it to 12 weeks and now you are only a few weeks away from realizing that goal. It was at this point in my Challenge where I knew I had changed my life forever. Not only would I make it to 12 weeks, but now I had the strength, energy and determination to really make a change for the rest of my life. I had an amazing amount of energy, renewed self-esteem and absolute results!

    When I had accepted the Challenge in 2002, I was working full time and was a new mom to a 4-month-old baby boy. I was also commuting one hour each day to get to work. The only way for me to make Body-for-LIFE® work for me was to wake up at 5:00 a.m. to get my workout done before my baby woke up. It was really tough, but after the first month of struggle, it became easier and before I knew it, I was where you are now.

    I am sure that there are certain roadblocks that may make it difficult to keep on track with your Challenge, but know that you are not alone and it can be done!

    Good luck with your Body-for-LIFE® Challenge. Give these last three weeks everything you have got!

    Wishing you all best,
    Cheryl

  • Week 10

    Hi, I’m Aaron Ferguson — the 2005 $1 Million Body-for-LIFE® Champion.

    With the finish line in sight, it’s such an important time to stay disciplined. (Or in some cases start to implement it)—not from the perspective of falling off the wagon, but from the angle of not overdoing it in your last few weeks.

    One of the Pitfalls of the "homestretch" is that we start to look and feel great, or perhaps we're a little disappointed in where we're at, so we make the decision to accelerate the process to either see how far we can take it or to make up for lost time. If these thoughts start to creep into your cerebrum, then let me warn you now: TROUBLE'S A-BREWING!

    The last thing you want to do is put yourself in a position where an injury could occur by deviating from the path or "experimenting a little" to speed things up a bit. It ain't going to happen.

    Remember, this program is about creating a sustainable healthy lifestyle. So this is a great point to take stock of the efforts you've made up until now, looking at both of these factors: what you've already done really well, plus any areas in which you can improve. Then incorporate your findings into the final few weeks.

    Here are some areas I tried to work on as my countdown began:

    My spacing between meals become a little askew, so I prepared more meals on Sunday night, making sure I was ready for any unforeseen events in the coming week.
    I started to sacrifice my form in an attempt to lift heavier weights—so I made sure I would lift the maximum weight I could as long as my form was spot on (If it started to wane, I would drop the weight)

    My time in between sets started to increase well beyond the minute stipulated. (I needed a drink or I had to get more weights or someone is on MY machine, blah, blah, blah—so I made sure I was prepared for all my sets before I started my exercise including a backup plan.

    Remember this is all a learning experience and you’re still trying to work out what the best system of growth is for you. So keep learning from your experiences and love the fact that you’re actually working towards maximizing your potential as a human being.

    Best of Health,
    Aaron Ferguson

  • Week 11

    Hello! I’m Ken Young, 2004 Body-for-LIFE® Grand Champion.

    As you begin week 11, you now have to start thinking about the LIFE part of Body-for-LIFE®. You have worked very hard to get to this point. You are either doing it because you want to change your life, maybe you have a wedding or big family get-together and just want to show up looking great. Regardless, the official 12-week program is nearly done.

    I remember back in spring of 2004 when I finished my official 12 weeks, I felt a little down. You may be asking why. I know I got great results which ultimately lead to me being named a 2004 Grand Champion. But what happened was I had guidance through week 12; the book walked me through my transformation. I was not sure how I would be able to maintain the intensity basically forever!

    What I decided was that I needed to come up with annual goals. I would enter road races and hope to finish them. Once I did a few, I was placing very high so I readjusted my goals! I have since moved on to road cycling and have joined a team. Whatever it is you decide to do, you have to do something! You are now in the best shape of your life and you need to continue to challenge yourself!

    Many people ask me if I still do Body-for-LIFE® and the answer is no. However, I still eat completely clean and live a totally healthy life! Body-for-LIFE® gave me my health back and now I have decided to keep stepping it up a notch!

    As you finish your Challenge, decide what it is you are going to do next and if nothing else, at least start at week one and go through another 12 weeks until you figure out what to do next to challenge yourself!

    All the Best,
    Ken Young

  • Week 12


    Congratulations—you did it! The 12 weeks are over but your Body-for-LIFE® is just starting. Think about how quick the 84 days went by. Another 84 days will go by and then another. My hope is that you do not go back to the unhealthy life that you knew 3 months ago. You did this and now you can do anything. You certainly have earned the right to better health, more energy, a better attitude and a sense of confidence that comes with a difficult job well done. You are a true Champion.

    I have always seen the 12-week Body-for-LIFE® Challenge as a springboard to newfound freedom and a loss of fear. No more fear of failure. You can continue to improve and make preparations for the mountain you always wanted to climb. You can begin working on your first 5K run. You can embrace all the physical activities that were waiting for you to get off the couch. You have paid the price of admission to get in the game. What is it that you wanted to do but never had the energy? What activity have you put off for years because you were out of shape? Go do them! You can. You will.

    We have so many Champions who did the Challenge two or three or four or endless times. Dave Wendell comes to mind. He and several others have never stopped doing Body-for-LIFE®. You don't have to, either. Don't you feel better today? Don't you want to go on feeling better? Isn't this an amazing day in your Life? The good news is this feeling does NOT have to stop. It can get better and better and better. Take a few days off, go enjoy the new you. Then start another 12 weeks or another 12 months or another 12 years of healthy, active, successful living. You didn't have to prove anything to the world, but you did have something to prove to yourself—and you have. Welcome to the Finishers Club, you earned it. I am honored to be associated with you.

    Porter Freeman