Thinking of starting the BFL Challenge on Monday...

  • I am a 25 year old female; VERY out of shape and am considering starting BFL.  I would really appreciate any tips that you "old hands" have to give.  I am a mother of two, work full time and volunteer with the PTA at my sons school.  I need ideas on how to make the 6 meals a day without spending enormous amounts of time in the kitchen.  I recently joined a gym, seems like the aerobics is pretty self explanatory, but honestly have no experience whatsoever in the weight training area; any tips there would be appreciated.  Thanks in advance for any tips you may have.

  • I'll speak to the food planning part.  So much of the basics for BFL can be made quickly in bulk and used for your meals and also as part of your family meals if they are not going to be eating the same as you.

    Once a week I cook up a storm, baked chicken chests and grilled lean beef, I cut up my portions and add them assembly line to a bunch of plastic containers I got from the dollar store.  I make up a big batch of brown rice or whole grain pasta and add one portion to each container.  I will then add some kind of seasoning (salsa, low sugar/no fat pasta sauce, lemon/garlic/pepper etc.) to the meat portion.  Last step is to stuff the rest of the container with veggies put on the lids and throw them in the fridge.

    Depending on what your kids eat, these would be good for them too.

    I usually make extra chicken chests and can quickly slice some up and put them in a whole wheat tortilla with some lettuce and dijon mustard for wraps.  The lettuce is not enough for a veggie for me so I just nuke some frozen broccoli while cutting up my chicken.

    I'm not a tuna eater, but lots of folks like it

    Protein pancakes can be made for the week and put in the fridge or freezer then microwaved when needed.

    One portion of cottage cheese and a fruit are a quick to make meal.

    I am fortunate that I don't mind eating similar meals for a whole week.  The benefit is that everything is cooked and can be packed quickly for on-the-go if needed.

    Here is a picture of some meals I made.

    And here are some BFL pocket sandwiches I made with homemade whole wheat bread dough.  They didn't take long to make and I had a quick meal.  I stuffed mine with lean ham, cottage cheese and mustard.

  • Hooray!!  I honestly believe this will be a wonderful decision for you, as it affects not only you, but your children. They will see you caring and taking care of your body and will learn from your example. Also, this will give you the energy needed to keep up with them!!

    As for meals, what I have recently found is freezing pre made meals is the best!! Every weekend, I now plan my weeks meals (every lunch, dinner and snack) and make up a shopping list of the things I will need. Yes, planning takes a LONG time, but in the end, I am saving much more time because I'm not moping around the house wondering what I'm going to eat.

    Then, I make meals, toss them into a plastic container and freeze it. Sometimes I even put a piece of tape on it and write on there what day of the week I need it for and whether it is a snack or lunch, etc...

    So this week I have decided to eat Chicken Pita Pizzas and ground turkey *** with rice for my main dinners and chicken pita sandwiches and turkey burgers for my main lunches.  I go to the store and buy ground turkey, whole wheat pitas, chicken *** and turkey burgers. I also make sure to have things on hand like cottage cheese and fruit for my snacks.

    After a looong response, I have one more suggestion that really helps me- the Body For Life Journal. It has a section for you to plan your meals, workouts and goals for every day of your challenge. It is my best friend right now  :) YOu can find them on ebay for about $15.

    Good luck to you!!

    We are here for you!!

    Stacy Lynn

  • Congrats on your decision!  Preparation is key!

    James and Stacey did a great job covering food.

    I'll touch on the Gym part:

    When I started I haven't been to the gym in over 20 years.  Wasn't sure about all the excercises, where all the equipment is etc. etc.  The key to this is to stop by the Gym (if possible) before you begin to get familiarized with the various equipment and how to go about the routine.

    What has helped me is to carry a 3x5 notecard so I know what's the next activity, what weights to use and get to them quickly.

    To be efficient in this program, it's to minimize the down time.  Although it says 46 minutes for the workout, in the beginning it's hard to achieve that because you are still getting situated.

    Don't get discouraged and don't let anyone intimidate you.  The majority of the people there are all trying to improve themselves and usually are in there own zone.

    Good luck and don't forget to write your initial letter to yourself.  This helps in weeks 4-8 where it gets tough and you wonder why you are doing this.  That letter keeps you motivated.

    Go Kimmie!

    ~Marqui D. C1W8D53

  • Thank you James for the ideas of where to find tuperware; I will need it.  Stacey, I have started to plan my meals for the first week.  Do either of you know if it is possible to stay within a certain grocery budget?  Marqui, that makes me feel much better knowing I am not the only one at the gym looking around with a confused look on my face!!  I see that you mention an initial letter to yourself.  I do not recall reading about that in the book.....  Please elaborate as I would like to do this the "right" way.  One last thing, am I starting at the right time to take part in the challenge?  My official start date is Monday May 3.

  • Kimmy,

    If you go to the challenge tab on this site, you can see the challenge dates.  Looks like you will be in Round 3 with a start date no later than 6/30/10, and a finish date no later than 9/22/10.

    James, Marqui, and Stacy gave great advice.  

    For ideas about exercises, use the original BFL book, but also go to for more exercises.  They have a ton of them on there with videos.  They categorize them into dumbbells, machines, etc.  It is a great site.

    Go to the EMBARRASSED - JOURNALING thread where Marqui gave great suggestions about using an index card during your workout.

    Some cheap, quick meals:  You will probably want to find an RTD (ready to drink) that you like, that is not expensive.  We have COSTCO (a wholesaler), where I can get Muscle Milk Lites for a little over a dollar a piece.  They are low in carb, so add a handful of strawberries, or an apple, and that is a meal.

    COSTCO sells CHOBANI greek yogurts, 12 for $11.49.  Add one tablespoon of low carb protein powder and VOILA there is another meal.  

    Remember that most women need approximately 20gms carbs and 20gms protein per meal, six meals per day.  For things like shakes, yogurt, and cottage cheese, where you don't use the palm/fist method, use the label to determine how much you need, and whether you need to add a fruit/carb to make a complete meal.  

    Cottage cheese is great, and many use it as a daily staple.  It is one of the best things you can have as your sixth meal, right before bed, because it is made of casein protein, which is digested

    S-L-O-W-L-Y.  This is good at night, because then your body doesn't start breaking down precious muscle while "fasting" at night.  I read that greek yogurt is also casein protein.

    Do HIIT cardio in a fasted state, and wait one whole hour before eating, to maximize fat burn.

    For weight training, eat within 30 minutes after the workout to feed the muscles.  Whey protein is the best to consume then, because it is digested quickly, and your muscles will use it immediately, for repair and building.  Many do a whey shake 30 min. after weights.

    Just some thoughts off the top of my head!  Maybe more than you were asking, but you will need this information and more, to succeed.  You are getting off on the right foot by asking questions now.  GOOD LUCK!  and continue to ask questions as they arise.  As you can see, many of us love BFL, and want to help others succeed.



  • Hi again Kimmy,

    I am unemployed and I am watching every penny.  I spend much less money on food now than I did before BFL.  Because I am cooking for myself, I never bought larger packages of meat before.  Now I can get the larger packages that are priced lower per lb.  The same is true of the frozen veggies I get.

    Some folks like the already prepared shakes and those might be awesome if you can afford it.  I can't.  My protein shakes are the bulk bags of protein I get from costco or Walmart.  

    I realize that you have a whole family to feed, that is why I suggest that the main parts of your meals (your protein/carb/veggies) be repurposed for them.  Maybe they get a sauce that you don't use, or cheese or whatever.  

    One more say that you currently volunteer with PTA at your kids' school.  If it becomes too much of a time or stress issue, consider taking a temporary break from that so that you can focus on yourself for a bit.  Just don't give yourself any room for excuses to not follow through on what you have planned.

  • Here's how to do the cardio (aerobics) as suggested with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).  It's nothing like you've done before. :-)  The video shows using a treadmill but the same guidline applies for any cardio equipment you would use in the gym.  There is a 4 DVD set you can order right here on this website.

    Here's a site I use to pick weight training exercises.  It has video and photos on how to do the exercises and provide several avenues on what to use (i.e., barbells, dumbells, body weight, etc.)

    As for planning, I usually pick half a day where I sit down and read the posts and/or respond, usually Sunday.  It helps me reflect on the week and look forward to the next week.  It helps me not get too crazy with free day.  :-)  I also take that time to prepare chicken or other proteins needing prep for the week.  I use the Birdseye Steamfresh brown rice and veggies during the week.  They are quick and easy to use for my meals.

    Hope this helps.

    Love you some you...PERSEVERE!