BFL Basics - Revisited

  • Hello everyone, my name is Charlie, and I wanted to create a thread to revisit the basics. It is the basics which make BFL a lifestyle that anyone can follow.

    Most have the book, so the food list is simple and most know it. So i am not going to repost the food list. It's here on the site as well.


    After looking and reading on the forums for months, I always see a lot of the same info posted. Eat one gram of protein per lb of lean mass, or bodyweight. Then I see threads popping up about how many grams per meal, and then people weighing their chicken in ounces. I have even see people go to such drastic measures as measuring all food including vegetables in grams! This just isn't necessary. Bill Phillips purposely avoided even the most generic remarks of eating 1 gram of protein per lb of weight, because it creates confusion. It creates questions, and it can make you over analyze and take your focus off of what it needs to be on. Then some champions even have listed meal plans where they eat only 5 times a day. Some people like Lorenzo Calderon ate 7. Then you have Scott Lapierre who only ate green beans for carbs. You see so many people doing so many different variations, it can make you wonder what to do .

    So in review, Let's do this!

    1. Eat a portion of protein the size of YOUR palm.

    2. Eat a portion of carbs the size of YOUR clenched fist.

    3. Add 1 tbsp unsaturated oil daily OR 3 portions of salmon weekly

    4. Add vegetables to AT LEAST 2 meals

    5. Drink 8-10 glasses of water 

    6. Eat 6 meals a day, every 2-3 hours

    7. On your FREE DAY eat whatever you want


    This is all on memory, I believe I covered everything for the nutrition. 

    Don't worry about how many grams of protein you need to get in a day, or how many ounces in each meal. 

    Same with carbs, use your judgement. It's all about your fist! :)

    Using the palm/fist method you will get enough protein for your body to achieve the results you are looking for. 

    You will be able to shed body fat, gain lean muscle and reach your goals.

    I speak from experience. I went from 335 lbs to 208 lbs in 18 months without ever weighing or measuring food and by following the simple rules above.

    We all know the rules, yet often times we focus on the little details when in reality it just is not necessary to do so. 

    BFL plan is set out perfectly. No need to question it or to try to add to it.

    Now let's get to it!

    Charlie Wigington Jr

    2011 Body for life Champion.

  • Charlie,

    Thank you for posting this! In conjunction to the proper diet and exercise regime please don't forget to add EAS supplementation to reach your goal.

  • You can reach your goal without EAS supplementation. Bill even states that you can reach your goals eating 6 whole food meals a day, but if time does not allow, meal replacements are a good choice.

  • Amen.  Amen.  Amen!

    It's not necessarily easy, but it is simple!

    It seems we can make it so complicated, tweaking everything to death.  And just because a 'champion' did this or that, doesn't mean everyone has to or even that the particular 'tweak' will work for someone else.  We all adjust (just not the basics) to fit our bodies and life, but we need to trust the program.  It works.

    Don't you love it when people say, "I followed the program exactly and I don't know why it didn't work," and then you find out, they don't do HIIT, rearrange the entire workout, eat only 4 meals or so, eating low-carb and don't drink water?  Where's the exact?  Not that I want to dump on anyone, no way!  I have my faults enough believe me.  (My tweak is light Miracle Whip...just enought to stick.  Yeah, yeah, I know....)  It's like you said, stick to the basics and the program will work.

    And I absolutely love your 'title'!!!!  Now that's faith in the program!  And what extraordinary results you've had.  Job well done!  Best wishes and Happy Thanksgiving.

    "Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out." - Robert Collier

  • bumping this because there is yet another thread asking about macro ratios.

  • Charlie,

    I stumbled on this website after reading a blog from a wedding post. I am getting married and need a little help. I have about 6 months and hoping to lose about 45 lbs. I heard great things about this plan but I can't seem to find the actual guidelines/workout plans etc. Where can I find the guidelines/food list for the plan?  Please help me.

  • Great post Charlie. In a "house" as big as this place, information can be misleading to the newbies that is for sure. Thank you for posting this.

  • Bride2B go to the library tab at the top.  Lots of great information and tools


  • Ok. Here is the routine.

    Weight training is done A-B-A style, upper/lower split.

    High Intensity Interval Cardio is done on non consecutive days.

    Don't ever do weights and cardio on same days, this is high intensity and will require all of your energy.

    The plan works, don't try to recreate something else.

    So week 1 will look like this

    Mon - Upper

    Tue - Cardio

    Wed - Lower

    Thur - Cardio

    Fri - Upper

    Sat - Cardio

    Sun - Off

    Week 2 will look like this

    Mon - Lower

    Tue - Cardio

    Wed - Upper

    Thu - Cardio

    Fri - Lower

    Sat - Cardio

    Sun - Off

    And it keep flip flopping, or repeating.

    I don't know your background for working out, but most of the reactions I get when showing people how to follow this schedule, is "You're working out 6 times a week?!?!?!"

    Well Upper Body is the longer of the workouts, around 45 minutes, Lower I get done in about 38 min and Cardio is 20 minutes. All in All for the entire week I am in the gym LESS than 4 hours. So don't be initimidated or think it's too much, cause it's not. It does work.

    Now the weights. It is a half pyramid set, with a drop set, and superset. I'm just being analytical, don't worry if that sounds like gibberish to you.

    So you work your chest on Upper Body day,

    12 reps ( this is warmup set)

    10 reps

    8 reps

    6 reps( no rest)

    12 reps(no rest)

    12 reps ( different exercise)

    Ok so the first 3 sets of 12, 10 and 8, you will take 1 minute of rest between sets. Once you complete the 6 reps there is no rest. You then choose a lighter weight( this is the drop set) and go for 12 reps. Then no rest and you choose a different exercise for the same muscle. So if you were doing dumbbell bench press, on your last set you would do 12 reps on incline bench press, dumbbell flyes, etc.

    In short, a pyramid is designed to increase intensity. As the reps decrease, the weight increases.

    It's all about pushing yourself to be your best every workout.

    Is there magic in this half pyramid training? Nope. But it does work. You could do 2 exercises for each muscle group of 3 sets of 8 and still have incredible results as long as you are pushing yourself beyond your limits and always striving to be your best. No magic in any sets, the magic is in the intensity and consistency.

    I hope this was simple to understand, if not, ask away.


  • Also, Bride2Be, there is a Body for Life book by Bill Phillips. You can get it used ultra-cheap at or check your local library. It's a great resource and every time I read it I pick up something new. Be sure to get the original book, the one for women (by a different author) is not as helpful.

    Best wishes with the wedding. I'm sure you will be beautiful.

    Want it. Plan it. Do it.

  • Thank You so much!!!

    The information has been very helpful!!

    I plan to start my challenge on Monday, giving me time to go to the grocery and check out some of the gyms (My membership expired on 11/22 & I was not very happy with the equipment there!)

    Ya'll have a great weekend and I'll fill ya in on my progress =)

  • Hey Charlie,

    I thought I'd add some of Bill Phillips thoughts from the Success Journal, Day 11

    "Have faith in what you see."

    I am often asked questions about the Program, such as:  "Why do 20 minutes of aerobics instead of 15?  Why not do 5 reps instead of 6 on your heaviest set?  Why eat 6 meals a day instead of 5?  Can a person like me succeed at this?  Isn't it impossible to change so much so fast?"  By far and away, the vast majority of these questions can be answered with just two words:  "Have faith."  Not blind faith; just the opposite.  Have faith in what you see!  The dozens of success stories you'll read about in this book represent literally hundreds of thousands of people who have achieved extraordinary results.  And, by and large, they followed the Body-for-LIFE Program to the letter.  The Program, as it's designed, works.  That is a fact.  I highly encourage you to have faith, not just in me, but in the other people who have successfully completed the Program.  And, most important of all, have faith in yourself.  You will succeed when you give yourself the opportunity.  I promise."

    I apologize for any typing errors!

    Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out. - Robert collier

  • I am all for keeping it basic and simple too. I was strickly "by the book" and has great results. I would not modify, tweak, or make things more complex. If you are new to BFL just follow what the book says for 12 weeks and do not give up, give in, or change it. After 12 weeks just keeping going and use what you learn to make it "for life"


    “"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out..." - Robert J. Collier”

  • hi charlie

    what were your results for your first challenge?how much did you pig out during your freedays during this challenge