9 weeks down, 3 to go!
Not going to lie – I was really intimidated by this program. It’s packed full of testosterone and Sagi – “the Beast” – can be overwhelmingly cheesy at times…but you learn to love him after just a couple workouts. The amount of food required to support a heavy lifting routine is also very different than other Beachbody programs like 21 Day Fix, Hammer & Chisel, and Shift Shop. For people like me who love meal plans like Shift Shop that cut the carbs, the Body Beast meal plan is daunting. For example, the containers I needed to eat during the Build/Bulk phases were:
4 red (protein), 5 green (vegetables), 5 purple (fruit), 1 blue (healthy fat), 1 orange (seeds/dressings), 4 tsp (oils/nut butters), and (drumroll please) – 9 yellows (carbs).
At the start of Body Beast, I weighed in at 171lbs. During these last 8 weeks, I’ve been focusing on perfecting my form, increasing my weights, and – yes – consuming enough calories to facilitate muscule growth. In the weightlifting world, this is often referred to as “bulking,” and it does involve some weight gain. In preparation for the program, we heard a lot about “fluff” – a.k.a. seeing the number on the scale go up instead of down, which is a scary thought when you’re used to kicking your own ass in order to see that number go down.
However, gaining weight does not necessarily mean gaining fat. While a pound of muscle and a pound of fat weight the same, muscle takes up less space than fat. During these first 8 weeks of Body Beast, I have gained 7lbs. I’m now hovering right around 178lbs. However, I’ve lost five inches and my pant size has remained the same, so I’m not concerned with the number on the scale right now.
I will say that during the first two weeks on Body Beast I relied heavily on bread and grains to check off my yellow containers (all nine of them). After completing 2 rounds of Shift Shop, I can tell you that my body likes a limited or grain-free diet. So I decided to experiment to see how limiting grains affects my progress/performance. I reduced the amount of breads/pastas I was consuming, and focused on eating from the ‘top of the food lists.’ That means I ate a lot of potatoes, berries, leafy greens (like spinach), broccoli, and eggs. My weight didn’t drop, but I did feel less bloated and I would say I had more energy.
Time for some honesty. If you’re anything like me, having so many yellow containers in your meal plan will cause 2 things to happen:
- You will use the number of yellows to justify way too many treat swaps.
- You will get so sick of potatoes that by the end of the bulk phase you won’t even want to look at a potato.
So yes, maybe I wouldn’t have gained 7lbs if I had truly cut out all alcohol/chocolate from my diet…but life is about balance, and Body Beast is a long program (12 weeks!). I don’t know if I would have been able to stick with it if I didn’t allow myself some wiggle room for having a glass of wine or a couple pieces of chocolate every once in a while. That being said, I didn’t skip a single workout and have been consistently increasing my weights – I am so much stronger than I was at the start of this program! Here’s just a quick peek at my weight diary, showing the weights that I’ve been using for the different workouts:
You can see that I’ve actually gone down on my weights this week – that’s because I’ve been focusing a lot more on form over weight. I want to avoid injury!
Now we have moved on to the “Beast” phase of Body Beast. We’ve been referring to this as the “Lean” phase. Supposedly this is where we will all magically lean out, lose weight, and become chiseled superstars. In order to facilitate this, the meal plan has changed – now I’m eating the following containers every day:
3 green, 3 purple, 2 yellow, 1 blue, 1 orange, 6 red, 2 tsp
You can see that we’ve cut carbs and increased protein. I’m only one day into this phase…but I already feel different. Eating so much protein makes me feel so full! I ate dinner at 8:30 and still wasn’t very hungry!
The pictures below show how my body has changed from the summer (when I was doing Shift Shop) to now, after 8 weeks of Body Beast. I’m looking forward to leaning out and seeing more changes over the next four weeks!
Your fitmiss in progress –