Here, you’ll find our answers to some of our most frequently asked questions, on everything from training and nutrition basics to what to do if you miss a workout and how to get back on track.

If you miss a workout, you missed it. If you miss a meal, you missed it. Just get back on schedule, and please don’t let setbacks, or mistakes as you call them, stop you. We’ve all made mistakes in the past, and we’re all going to make mistakes in the future. Especially if we’re trying to do something new and challenging. The important thing to do is to resume your schedule and identify what in your planning allowed for the mistake to occur. Once that’s identified, fix it!

Nutritional products, such as EAS® ready-to-drink shakes and powders, are convenient and nutritious ways to help you get in your five to six small meals a day. The nutritional program of BODY FOR LIFE is so important because without proper nutrition, the exercise alone will not produce maximum results. EAS ready-to-drink shakes and powders provide high-quality protein, carbohydrates and important vitamins and minerals that you need when you’re trying to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. Plus, they taste great!

No. No purchase necessary to compete in the Challenge. If you do decide to use EAS products (including Myoplex and AdvantEDGE) during the challenge, please remember that Challenge participants announced as Champions will be reimbursed for EAS products purchased during their 12 weeks(up to a maximum of US $1,000) if they send in their receipts. For more information on the Challenge or EAS products please visit us at https://bodyforlife.com or www.eas.com, or call us at 1-800-297-9776.

The conventional view that fewer reps in each set equates to more muscle gain is a bit too simplistic. In reality, when one performs sets with very high weight and low reps, the main physiological change is a strengthening of neuromuscular pathways. In other words, high weight/low reps strengthen the brain’s ability to activate muscle. However, if we bump up the reps slightly while decreasing the weight as necessary, the muscle tissue will perform more total work, and thus more muscle growth will occur. However, if the reps are increased too high, the main effect will be an increase in muscle endurance.

Through research, it has been determined that the best range for hypertrophy (muscle gain) is roughly between 8-12 reps. As the reps are decreased from this range, the program will elicit greater strength gains. In contrast, more than 12 reps mainly allows for increases in muscular endurance. Since the majority of the BFL resistance-training program prescribes sets in the 8-12 repetition range, the main effect of the BFL program is an increase in lean body mass.

Occasional violations of your nutrition standards are probably not a big deal, but if you find yourself in these situations often, stick to what you know is good for you. Go ahead and ask for a healthy adaptation from the menu. Most restaurants are accustomed to dietary requests, especially lower fat options. Most restaurants should be able to steam or stir fry some vegetables and come up with a plain, lean version of meat, chicken or fish. Rather than trying to rework their menu to your needs, it can be helpful to have a few standard requests in mind. If you do just want a salad, then order the salad–"no bacon, no cheese, no croutons and separate olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the side, please."

Restaurant Tips:

Snack on fruit and drink water before you go out to eat to stop you from diving into the bread or from eating more. Order an appetizer instead of a huge entrée. Ask for a half-portion of the dish or divide your dinner in half and take the leftovers home. Find a restaurant with a lower-fat menu.

Go to a restaurant where the food selection is large so you can find something healthy. Ask how the food is prepared or request a special dish.

Make sure you stay hydrated. Keep your glass full of water and drink several glasses during your meal. It can help prevent you from eating too much. Look for healthy choices; order small portions. Skip sugary, carbonated beverages that are full of empty calories.

No. Many people can achieve fantastic results with careful meal planning and preparation. But nutrition products are an easy and convenient way to get the exact balance of nutrients that you need. You could spend the time to cook five to six whole-food meals each day, but with the hectic pace of our everyday lives, you may find that having a balanced, pre-prepared meal on hand can take the guesswork out of eating right. These quick and nutritious products can help you avoid cravings and maintain stable energy levels. Furthermore, they’re also a great way to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to recover from weight training exercise.

We recommend these sources of information: Body-for-LIFE® book, www.bodyforlife.com and for those participating in the United States, BFL Advisors (1-800-297-9776). The Body-for-LIFE® book is extremely comprehensive and easy to read. It will teach you how to build muscle and burn fat fast through an integrated approach to training and nutrition. Body-for-LIFE® also contains vitally important information on how to set goals and achieve them, as well as providing you with the opportunity to learn from others who have successfully completed the 12-week Program. Body-for-LIFE® is available at booksellers everywhere.

Low glycemic cereals are a great carbohydrate source, which are authorized for use on the nutrition portion of BODY FOR LIFE. Best choices would be fibrous, low-glycemic cereals such as oatmeal (long-cook), oat bran (cracked or raw), rice bran, and wheat bran. If you add milk to your cereal keep in mind that the milk contains calories and should be accounted for in the meal plan. To make a full BFL meal, cereal should be combined with a protein portion.

Depending on the type of low carb diet a person was following before, it is possible that the BFL program may include more carbohydrate. However, the level of carbohydrate on the BODY FOR LIFE program is specifically recommended to fuel the aerobic and strength training exercise regimen that is key to the success of its participants. In addition, the BODY FOR LIFE program puts more emphasis on improving body composition versus simply obtaining weight loss measured via the scale. The nutrition and exercise plans are designed to work together to either boost or at least maintain muscle mass and decrease body fat mass. While the person’s scale weight might decrease as much on the BFL plan versus lower carbohydrate meal plans, the positive changes in body composition on BODY FOR LIFE, both from muscle and fat, should give the person the results he or she desires in the mirror.

It depends on your goal. If your goal is to lose fat and gain muscle, we do not recommend eating before for at least an hour before your cardio workout, although some people find that eating half a nutrition bar or a piece of fruit gives them the energy they need to make it through an intense cardio workout. You’ll find out what works best for you. When it comes to post-workout nutrition, eating a nutrition shake or bar after a weight-training workout is very important for muscle recovery and muscle growth. After your cardio workout, you should try to consume a balanced whole-food meal or ready-to-drink shake or powder about an hour after you finish. If your goals are performance- or sport-specific, you might want to try our Myoplex® brand of products, which are geared toward the more serious athlete.

Essential Fatty Acids" consist of two primary fatty acids that your body cannot produce on its own - linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. These are also referred to as "omega-6" and "omega-3" fatty acids, respectively. These two acids are found in varying concentrations primarily in vegetable oils, and different oils contain varying amounts of the EFA’s. For example, flaxseed oil is particularly high in omega-3’s, whereas safflower oil is very high in omega-6’s. Most unsaturated fats will contain a little of both.

The functions of EFA’s are myriad; however there are a few specific functions that may impact bodybuilders and athletes in particular if they are deficient in these nutrients. EFA’s are needed for the formation of vital hormone-like substances called "prostaglandins." Prostaglandins serve in many capacities, and are integrally involved in the production of various muscle-building growth hormones. Some studies have suggested that supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids can further improve the ability of resistance training programs to improve body composition and strength in both young and older adults.

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Essential Fatty Acids: Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are fatty acids that the body cannot produce on its own. There are two major categories of these fats, called linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid, also known as "omega-6" and "omega-3" fatty acids, respectively. These two acids are found in varying concentrations in oils. For example, flaxseed oil is particularly high in omega-3’s, whereas safflower oil is very high in omega-6’s, although most unsaturated fats contain a little of both. The functions of EFAs are myriad; however there are a few specific functions that may impact bodybuilders and athletes in, especially in the case of a deficiency. EFAs are needed for the formation of vital hormone-like substances called "prostaglandins". Prostaglandins serve in many capacities, and are integrally involved in the production of various muscle-building growth hormones.

All protein is not created equal. High-quality proteins are complete, meaning they contain all the essential amino acids in levels to support human growth and development. Anything else is a lower quality protein. Animal sources such as fish, meat, poultry, eggs or dairy are complete proteins, whereas most plant sources (with the exception of soy) are incomplete.

Vegetarians following the BFL Program need to be more diligent in their meal planning to ensure they are consuming a quality portion of protein with each meal. In addition, special care must be taken when replacing authorized animal proteins, which contain no carbohydrates, with plant-derived proteins, which may contain significant amounts of carbohydrates. For example, a vegetarian following the BODY FOR LIFE Program might be tempted to exchange a chicken breast with a portion of lentils for protein and consume that with a vegetable and an authorized carbohydrate, such as baked potato, for a complete meal. However, this would not be an authorized meal because lentils, while containing some protein, contain too many carbohydrates to be eaten with a potato. More suitable replacements for the chicken breast would be nutritious, low-carbohydrate proteins such as a portion of low-fat cottage cheese or egg whites. Also, keep in mind that performance-nutrition shakes containing whey protein, such as Myoplex® or soy protein, such as AdvantEDGE Carb Control Shakes, may be good sources of protein for vegetarians. Vegetarians must be careful to consume a large variety of foods to get enough of all of the amino acids- the building blocks of protein. By doing this, however, you now run into the problem of too many starchy carbohydrates and too much fat. Not only do quality performance-nutrition shakes contain all of the essential amino acids, they taste great, mix easily and are low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

The good news is, you can! However, in order to succeed, you’re going to have to change your patterns of action—your daily habits. And to change those habits, you have to change the way you’re thinking. And to change your thinking, you may need to change the way you’re communicating with yourself and others. And one of the best ways to do that is to change the questions you’re asking. Let us explain...

Over the years, we’ve learned that it’s hard to give the right answer to the wrong question. You see, when you ask things like, "Why can’t I succeed?" you need to stop right there and reframe the question. Otherwise, you answer yourself with something like, "Because I don’t have what it takes." To receive the right answer, you have to ask the right question. If you want empowering answers, ask empowering questions. For example, your question could be transformed to, "How can I achieve success like so many others have?" Make no mistake; this is not merely an issue of semantics. There’s a subconscious meaning and message behind the way we communicate with others, and most importantly, ourselves. When you ask, "How can I succeed?" your mind is likely to answer, "Do what they did! Work hard, follow a proven plan, and have faith!" See the difference?

One more thing, within the next 24 hours, please take out a piece of paper and a pen and write down your question, "How can I succeed?" and write it down 10 times. This simple exercise may very well help you become more conscious and aware of how you’re communicating with yourself and what questions you’re asking and answering. This, in turn, can help empower your mindset and your success!

Forearm strength is often a limiting factor, especially when handling heavy weights vertically such as pull-ups or deadlift. Chalk, sticky pads, or weightlifting straps can help with handling the load when necessary, however, as a rule of thumb, it is best to work through some discomfort since these very activities are some of the best exercises for developing the forearms and building grip strength. On the contrary, straps and chalk should always be used when 1.) Your ability to hold the weight compromises the safety of the movement, or 2.) Lack of grip strength limits your ability to strengthen/develop the target muscle effectively.

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Muscle Fatigue: This is the failure of a muscle to continue to perform work, caused by muscle ATP depletion. Exercise-induced acid buildup also plays a role in muscle fatigue. Some natural supplements marketed to athletes have the ability to postpone muscle fatigue, thus increasing the work potential of the muscle—one of the most potent is creatine, which as creatine phosphate in the body can help replenish ATP needed for energy.

From renowned trainer Mike Ryan: "When an exercise is performed in a rapid motion, oftentimes the muscle is not adequately trained. Therefore, it is not being fatigued into growth. So obviously, you do not want to use momentum to perform a lift. If you feel you’re relying too much on momentum, put your ego aside, smarten up and decrease the weight."

No! Soreness is a sign of muscle-fiber damage. If you do not allow the damage to heal, you will not make progress. Over time, you may even sustain an injury. The best progress occurs when you allow full recovery between workouts, not by seeing how hard and often you can punish your body.

Congratulations on your impressive progress! What we would recommend is you stick with what has worked for you so far. It is so disappointing to see people who have made remarkable improvements change their approach for no logical reason. We do not believe that more aerobic exercise is the answer! How do we know that more rest and recovery is not what is called for? You wouldn’t believe the number of people we’ve gotten into disagreements with because we knew what they needed was more rest and recovery, yet they were convinced that more work is what they required. Please, do not rely on trial and error—do not take what we're saying here lightly. If you’ve reached the point where you feel like you need to do more exercise, remember that we stimulate the muscle-building and fat-burning process with brief, intense exercise. The "magic" occurs during rest.

More people are discovering that when they end one 12-week BODY FOR LIFE Program what feels right is for them to begin again, to set new goals, and to continue their journey. Remember, BODY FOR LIFE is a lifestyle! It’s a gateway to a new, healthier, high-energy style of living. The last day of the 12-week Program is actually both the finish and a starting point. People have completed two, even three or four BFL programs back to back, and they are continuing to make progress. As long as you keep reaching for higher and higher High Points, and as long as you keep setting new goals, you will continue to improve. You may not have as much fat to lose, and you may not have as much of a difference in your before and after photos with each Program, but the changes will occur.

Every time you complete the BFL program, you’ll gain more insight about how to become stronger and healthier, and how to achieve the goals you set. Planning and recording your workouts, nutrition and the BODY FOR LIFE mindset are the most important exercises you can do to continue your journey of success.

The majority of your workouts should be composed of free-weight exercises. Here’s why:

Compared to machines, free-weight movements often require more skill. For example, it is more difficult to balance the weights, and to coordinate muscles when performing free-weight exercises. Although this may sound like a disadvantage, it is actually a benefit. Since free-weight exercises necessitate lifting weights in free space, exercising with free-weights typically leads to muscle strength that is more applicable to everyday activities. For example, with regular training using free-weights, one may notice that taking out the trash is easier, mowing the lawn takes less effort, or it may take less time to shovel snow off the driveway.

Greater muscle-strength balance achieved with free-weights helps in preventing injuries. Free-weight training results in increased muscle strength not only in the large "target" muscle, it also strengthens the small muscles used for balance, or "stabilization". This means that muscle strength tends to be more "balanced" between muscle groups. In contrast, typically machines work only large muscle groups, while neglecting the "stabilizer muscles" since the machine itself stabilizes the weight for you. People who exclusively train with machines often are able to lift a lot of weight, but are not able to effectively stabilize the load due to weak stabilizer muscles. This muscle imbalance does not occur when one uses free-weights with good form. Just like a chain that is only as strong as its weakest link, the body is only as injury-resistant as its weakest stabilizer muscle. Again, stronger "weakest links" = fewer injuries.

In general, the resistance elicited by free-weights tends to mirror strengths and weakness of the body throughout the exercise, leading to greater gains in muscle mass and strength. Muscle strength is "dynamic". That is, muscles tend to be stronger at different points throughout the movement.

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Try integrating more free-weight work into your workouts, if you haven’t already. Free weights are preferred over machines because they allow the stimulation of certain supporting muscle groups when training. Stimulating these stabilizer and synergistic muscles will allow you to get stronger, and ultimately build more muscle faster.

The quads are generally stronger than the hamstrings. Many sports, like running, emphasize the quads but do not stress the hamstrings enough. As a result, further imbalance is created and the hamstrings are put at risk for injury. This may result in a reduced ability to push off or sprint effectively.

Transform your dreams into goals and write them down. Create a list of goals and hang the list on your fridge and look at it every morning and every night before bed. Set goals that are ambitious yet attainable.

Goal Setting—What works, what doesn’t

The most important characteristics of a good goal are that it is specific, measurable and time bound. Saying you want to get in shape is not specific or measurable or time-bound. What does "in shape" mean? How do you know when you’re there? How do you measure being "in shape"? And when do you plan to do this? It’s much more motivating to say, "I will lose two inches off my waist in the next three months." That you can measure. That creates a sense of urgency.

Here are more examples of bad goals made good:

Instead of: I’m going to start working out.
Say this: I’m going to walk for 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of next week.

Instead of: I want to get stronger.
Say this: I will increase my bench press max from 175 pounds to 200 pounds in the next three months.

We recommend creating an additional mid-term goal and several weekly or bi-weekly goals leading up to it. Once you’ve successfully reached your mid-point, start again with weekly or bi-weekly goals until you achieve your vision. Break the time up in whatever chunks work best for you, but the whole idea is to look at the process in specific, manageable steps and celebrate your achievements along the way.

Here’s an example of a vision, a mid-term and a short-term goal:

Vision: Within the next six months, I will lose 20 pounds and 3 inches off my waist.
Mid-term Goal: At the end of 12 weeks, I will have lost 10 pounds and 1 ½ inches off my waist.
Short-term Goal: I will lose at least 1 pound per week.

To achieve your goals, it’s vitally important that you protect your confidence. One way to do that is to forget about the whole concept of perfection. It doesn’t exist.

You see, perfection is an illusion, and if your objective is to achieve perfection in any aspect of your program, you may end up with a sense of deficiency and uncertainty, which is not what you want. If you don’t strongly believe in what you’re doing—if you cannot overcome feelings of self-doubt—it doesn’t matter how much accurate information about training and nutrition you have. Without confidence, you won’t be able to stay on course.

Think of the athlete who’s having a great game until he makes a mistake. He throws an interception that is returned by the opposing team for a touchdown; he misses a critical free throw; he strikes out in a key situation. In a matter of seconds, he can plummet from extreme confidence to uncertainty and ineffectiveness.

If he doesn’t know how to get his confidence back, he’ll fall into a slump. He’ll lose his energy. He’ll stop playing to win, and instead, he will begin playing "not to lose."

Athletes aren’t the only ones who need to maintain a strong sense of confidence in order to excel. Actors, artists, businessmen—all of us—we’re at our best only when we’re operating from a confident Power Mindset. Take virtually all successful people, extract their sense of certainty, and you’ll strip them of everything else that has put them where they are—their talent, their drive, their energy, their judgment, their insight.

On the other hand, if you take people who are struggling—who are uncertain of themselves—and give them a healthy dose of confidence, their lives will turn inside out for the better, and fast. And that’s what happens when you focus on progress. Even when you don’t get everything "just right," you’ll still feel strong. You’ll still maintain your confidence and momentum.

You may think it is a good idea not to engage in vigorous exercise when you have the sniffles. However, a new study suggests that if you are well enough to get out of bed, you are probably well enough to get a workout. Researchers at Ball State University in Indiana found that exercising does not delay recovery or worsen symptoms of the common cold. In the study, 34 moderately fit folks, ages 18-29, were assigned to an exercising group, while 16 additional people of similar age and fitness level were assigned to a non-exercising group. Then both groups were inoculated with a virus to produce upper respiratory illness. The exercising group worked out at 70% of maximum heart rate for 40 minutes per day*, every other day. Researchers collected used facial tissues and administered symptom questionnaires every 12 hours to gauge the progress of the illness and its symptoms. After ten days, analyses of symptoms were similar between the exercising and non-exercising groups. So while you may feel like scaling down your routine if you are feeling under the weather, there seems to be no reason to skip it altogether.

*Note – This study focused on cardiovascular training – weight training involves much higher levels of oxidative stress, and as such would likely compromise immune function. As such, stick with cardiovascular training in these instances.

When lifters with healthy knees perform leg extensions with proper form, they do not pose a significant risk. While closed-chain exercises (e.g., squats) may have more functional applications than open-chain exercises, open chain exercises may help experienced lifters to isolate the quadriceps for increased mass.

BODY FOR LIFE is more than just another diet program—it’s a new way of living a healthy life. BFL is not about deprivation or giving up any one food group. Your meals feature a great-tasting balance of carbohydrates, protein and essential fats, including bread, pasta, potatoes, fruits and vegetables. Best of all, BODY FOR LIFE suggests that you take a FREE day every week, where you get to eat whatever you want! The BFL program consist of eating five to six small, balanced meals every two to three hours, three quick 45-minute weight-training workouts three times a week and three fast, intense 20-minute cardio sessions each week. Once you get started on this journey, you’ll literally be a different person with a new mindset. As you make progress and meet your goals, set new goals and move forward again. This program is a way of life, not a temporary quick fix.

The pursuit of worthy goals requires hard work, persistence and intense focus. There’s no doubt about it. However, one of the important lessons we’ve learned over the years is that sometimes a little "extra nothing" can go a long way.

By that we mean don’t underestimate the importance of rest and relaxation. A certain amount of "down time," or free time, helps renew energy, clear the mind and heal the body. That’s why one day out of every seven, on the BODY FOR LIFE program, we encourage you to take a break. Eat whatever you want, don’t exercise, don’t plan, and don’t record anything in your journal. Just flat out take the day off from anything BFL-related.

And certainly don’t feel guilty about doing some extra nothing. It’s part of the process of making progress and succeeding. So enjoy your free days—you’ve earned them!

The core principals of BODY FOR LIFE are weight training and aerobic exercise performed with intensity, in concert with balanced nutrition and several small meals a day—and together they form a practical promise of success for most people. This plan and the FAQ are for guidance only. For specific, personalized answers please consult your physician or health care provider. Our BFL Advisors are always available to answer questions at 1-800-297-9776 or through our contact us page.