Friday, December 29, 2006

Body for Life

My husband and I decided to accept the Body-for-LIFE challenge on December 1st. We are near to completing our first month and I feel safely in stride and ready to post about our experience thus far. For those not familiar with Body-for-LIFE, feel free to check out the website here for more information.

The author Bill Phillips has developed an organized, detailed fitness/nutrition guide broken down into specific workouts/meals over a 12- week "challenge" period. My husband and I have both read his book and refer to the website almost daily. We appreciate the simplicity of the plan: eat more often (small, nutritious portions) and exercise daily. He encourages 6 small meals a day with portions no bigger than the palm of your hand. At each of the 6 meals, you should have a balance of protein, healthy (low glycemic index) carb, and fruit or veggie. We work out 6 days a week, resting on the 7th and alternating between aerobic and weight training days.

I am feeling really good this week. The first three weeks left me sore as anything and more tired than before. My body ached all over after every workout. But this week, the 4th, I feel stronger, more alert, energetic and with a more elevated mood. I have gone down two jean sizes and tonight when I stepped on the scale at the gym, I was 6 pounds lighter. The fun thing about the program is that it is about converting fat to muscle. It's not based around weight loss so much as healthy body mass. Muscle takes up less room than fat, but is heavier. So even at the beginning when I had gone down a jean size (in inches) I hadn't lost more than 2 pounds. It's strange how the body works. I recently learned that it takes 3 calories to feed fat, but 25 to feed muscle. So just by replacing fat with muscle, my body will use more energy and burn more fat. I also just learned that women tend to see the most dramatic results around week 7. All the ground-laying, muscle-building work starts to pay off and maintainable body changes are more evident.

It definitely helps to be working at this challenge together. We have had a couple of "I just don't wanna" days. And it's been great to have close-proximity moral support and to laugh at eachother when we hobble around with sore muscles after a workout. So far, we haven't missed a day yet!

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