Most women I know are hesitant to lift weights. So, I think the majority of them just stop listening when they ask what I’ve been doing and I say Body Beast. Lol! Maybe they do continue to listen, but it seems like it may be more out of courtesy than interest. In all honesty I probably wouldn’t have committed to lifting heavy weights for 90 days the way that I did if it weren’t for my previous experience and success with weight training in P90X and P90X2. Just looking at the advertisements and images in the Book of Beast – it is clearly a program marketed toward men. So, I bought it for Frank – knowing he would either love it or hate it – and that I would probably get some enjoyment out of it. Frank and I both ended up loving it – and after the majority of the workouts we are silent…looking at each other like “How in the world do I feel this torn up after a 35 minute workout!” Sagi Kalev, the trainer behind Body Beast, has been a bodybuilder since the age of 16 and built the program around his years of personal trial and error, as well as his degree in physical education and nutrition. I had no idea how following the Lean Beast schedule would affect my body – but I was too curious not to give it a chance!
The training schedule was intense – which is this programs biggest pro and con, in my opinion. It is a huge pro because I can say that lifting heavy following the schedule left me as sore as I’ve been from any workout in my fitness journey so far. Absolutely pumped up! The muscle building was amazing – so much so that I had to modify the maintenance nutrition plan I’d been following for the past 6 months – and I upped both my carb and fat intake. That has been a real treat. I have welcomed back more whole grains, legumes, and natural peanut butter. More avocado and nuts! I’ve been in heaven…and my body NEEDED it! I have a story for another time (about how I knew I needed it), but it would be too much of an aside for this article.
The con of Body Beast: the intense training schedule. “Kimberly, how can the biggest pro also be the con?” Good question. If it weren’t for my fitness history – this program could have easily led me to over-training certain muscle groups. P90X2 really helped me tune into what my body needs from me, how to maintain proper form through all sorts of movements, how to safely maneuver heavy weights…without all of that – the speed of the reps and sets in the workouts could lead to serious injury. The biggest problem I had with the Lean Beast training schedule was the back-to-back Bulk: Back / Bulk: Shoulders workouts. Even when focusing on your movements to be sure you are isolating the right muscle group in the workouts you will often work the back and shoulders together. So, Frank and I modified the schedule a little bit along the way – just trying to listen to our bodies. It did the trick, because we were both pleased with our progress and results from the program. I could gush for many paragraphs about Frank’s build – but I won’t embarrass him with my glowing review of his results just yet. My results, which I got without using the Body Beast supplements, led to me gaining about 7 pounds of muscle. My body fat is 0.5% less than when I started, which is wild. I’ve really noticed a difference in how sculpted my shoulders and forearms are…and I think my calves also. I should have used a tape measure in addition to my body fat calipers to track my changes…hind sight! So much of this program is about fueling your body properly, because when you are doing so much weight lifting (and subsequently less cardio) it is much easier to pack on fluffy pounds. I was pleased to have gained a little bit, without gaining fat, as I aspired to. It really speaks volumes about how much I’ve learned about my body over the last 2 years. This machine loves to lift weights.
I also love that I have some catch phrases from Sagi…to add to my arsenal of Tony-isms, Shaun T-isms, and Chalene-isms. When I am super pumped up after a great upper body workout – like Bulk: Arms, for example – I no longer ask Frank if he would like tickets to the Gun Show. It is the Cannon Show. 🙂 I also like that Sagi points out that it is a privilege and blessing to be able to complete such challenging workouts. They aren’t easy – but the mental and physical reward is great.
If you have questions about Body Beast – please let me know. These workouts will become a staple in Hybrids that Frank and I dream up in the future. I’m sure I’ll have more reflections on this as time passes – but I wanted to get some of this out of my brain and into an article while it is all fresh. Tonight’s workout was Chalene Extreme – Lean Circuit 2. Quite the change from lifting with Sagi, yet just as enjoyable as I remember. I love that I have the confidence to lift heavier than I did before…Chalene would be proud.
All the best,