Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A new Body Beast program by Sagi Kalev & BeachBody

My impressions from reading Body Beast manual

I'd like you to know that BeachBody recently released a new program, called Body Beast (here it is on Facebook and on Google+.) This is a bodybuilder-style workout, its purpose for men to get maximum muscle mass / strength / physique. As it well known, women react on exercises differently due to different hormone levels, so the same bodybuilder programs don't get bulky, but rather fit and ripped (unless steroids are taken.)
Program is designed by Sagi Kalev, "The former two-time "Mr. Israel" and fitnessmodel, bodybuilding title-holder, and nutritionist and resident of Dallas, Texas, immigrated to the United States in 1993 to pursue bodybuilding and modeling" – says Wikipedia.
I'm going to try this program by myself, although I'm not sure if / when I would delve into it completely. I have too many workouts I'm doing and love.
Still, if any of you become interested, want more information or decide to buy Body Beast, please let me know. I'm still a BB coach...

A few words from what I read in Body Beast manual (got it yesterday):
1. It seems to be a real no-bluff bodybuilding program written by real man. Not a crap like Les Mills Pump.
2. A good thing is that BB did not bundle Body Beast program with set of hardware, because of that Body Beast is cheap. You'll need to choose what hardware and where you will buy; as usually BB has almost everything.
You will need a set of dumbbells (resistance bands are acceptable but a not so good substitute), you'd better have an EZ Curl barbell (they are cheap on Amazon), you'd better have an inclined weightlifting bench (I don't have space for it at home... idk... maybe I do ;-)  ).  A "step" bench from LM Pump might work as a substitute and using a stability ball instead of a bench is suggested as an initial option. Still, ideally you'd have a weightlifting bench and squat stand...
Pull-up bar is necessary / highly recommended, but that's not a problem.
3. 6 days per week for one hour a day is too much.
3.1 This is especially true for older athletes. Many credible sources explain that with age training sessions should be abbreviated. Read this book by Brooks Kubik, for example.
3.2 6-days per week one hour per day schedule of P90X and Body Beast may be good for younger people who just start with a fitness and are not participating in other programs. Experienced people - like us - often are already doing many other things, basically have their own routine. For example, I'm not going to stop GMB gymnastic rings training, nor kettlebells and clubbells, nor body-weight exercises, nor running, biking and swimming, nor rock climbing.  But that's OK: I would just need to pick what I really need from Body Beast, do it less often and selectively.
4. While Sagi Kalev is a real man, who knows what he is doing, it seems to be that Beachbody added its usual questionable marketing like "Dynamic Set Training™, a sports science breakthrough", "Muscle Confusion" (all these things are known and not invented by BB), and "Training to the point of Failure" (an outdated concept - most trainers now say that a workout should be stopped, while a trainee still able to perform)
5. BeachBody offers a new line of supplements along with Body Beast. While they might be good, and while taking supplements makes sense (I'm doing that), often you can find better and cheaper analogs on Amazon.

Note, that if you’re looking more into strength gaining rather than physique, Maximum Strength book by Eric Cressey might be a better and cheaper option.

Another recently released BB program is Tai Cheng workout (on Googel+) - a variant of Tai Chi taught by Dr. Mark Cheng.

An Update of 6/28/2012: My impressions from a very first workout, called “Chest and Tris”

  1. Positives
    a) A was pleasantly surprised by Sagi Kalev’s style, clear, intelligent, and not “pushy” at all – unlike crazy BB BB commercial I saw before.
    b) Sagi Kalev and his buddies are actually working. It’s just like P90X or Chalean, and unlike flashy LM Pump trainers which just pretend they’re doing a workout.
    c) On-screen table shows timing and necessary repetitions for a current exercise.
    d) Exercises are great and difficult.
  2. Negatives
    a) Although warm-up and cool-down are present and seem to be designed to target areas specific for a current workout, they are very abbreviated. Nothing like what Tony Horton provides in P90X. Just a couple of minutes each. Clearly not enough. Older trainee – beware! If you don’t want injuries, you have to do additional warm-ups and cool-downs. There are many great resources on the web. I suggest you to look at my YouTube list and assemble something from it – whatever suites you. My personal preference is a warm-up showed by famous kettlebell trainer Mike Mahler, I do it every day. Also, there are excellent warm-up and cool-down routines included by CST guru Scott Sonnon and his numerous trainers. Finally, here are two superb and original warm-up programs offered by real pros, doctors and weight-lifters: Magnificent Mobility and Inside-Out: The Ultimate Upper Body Warm-up.
    For cool-downs use static stretches from yoga routines.
    b) On the first workout, one guy (I think his name was Sean, he is a white guy) showed how to substitute inclined bench with a stability ball. Looks like it isn’t a good idea; when performing declined pushups, he couldn’t keep his lumbar area straight and had it arched down (anterior pelvic tilt). That’s how pushups shouldn’t be done, an easy way to injure your lower back.
  3. Equipment notes
    a) I bought a cheap standard (diameter 1”)  EZ-Curl barbell in addition to a straight barbell I got with LM Pump. But for the first Body Beast workout it is not needed. You’ll only need a comprehensive set of heavy dumbbells.
    b) I don’t have a weight-lifting bench at home and tried to use step-bench which came with LM Pump as a horizontal bench and a stability ball instead of an inclined bench. Both turned out to be very inconvenient. That’s not a way to go, if you want to do BB most effectively, a weight-lifting bench is a must. It would be nice (but not necessary) to have a bench with a barbell stand, and there is a perfect foldable one on Amazon - Best Fitness BFOB10 Olympic Bench, but sadly a commenter said, it only suitable for barbells 6'” + long…
  4. Conclusion
    A very good workout overall. Pretty damn hard.
    If you successfully completed P90X before (or Chalean Extreme, for that matter) you should be up to the task. If you’re not I a best shape, I’s suggest to start from something not so demanding… from P90X or Chalean.
    Be sure to watch videos before actually following along. Its system may be not as easy from the beginning, until you get it. Good luck!