Emily Alvers

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    For more than 10 years, over 2 million people have successfully changed their bodies and lives by following the scientifically proven principles of Body-for-LIFE, a healthy lifestyle plan that helps you achieve and sustain your health & fitness goals.

    The Body-for-LIFE plan calls for eating more often (5-6 times per day) to increase metabolism and decrease fat storage and recommends daily, brief, progressive workouts with alternating cardio and strength training days.

    This page is here to answer questions specifically for those interested in learning more about the Body-for-LIFE program and challenge. If you aren't familiar with what it is, it is a 12 week transformation challenge that is hosted by the sports nutrition company EAS each year. Anyone can enter at any time. If you are looking to improve your physique and completely transform your life in the process, I encourage you to find out more HERE.

    Body-for-LIFE Support
    Q: I’m entering the BFL contest and need to look my best in the "after" photos I’m going to submit. Any tips to get the same golden tan look you have in your photos? Any other tips for the photos?
    Q: I completed a few BFL challenges years ago and had great results. The past couple of years I have tried to get motivated but keep falling back on old habits. What is the best piece of advice you could give to stay on track?
    Q: Besides getting into amazing condition, what was the next best thing that came from you becoming a BFL champ?
    Q: Did you take free days during your challenge and if so, how freely did you take them?
    Q: Did you really do Body-for-LIFE by the book or did you do something extra?
    Q: How has your diet changed since doing BFL?
    Q: Do you have any tips to get organized and stay on track during the full 12 weeks?
    A: Many people who do a BFL Challenge really are able to make it a lifestyle and maintain the same results for years afterwards with no problem. Then there are others, who for whatever reasons, either slip back into old patterns or maybe just don’t live the BFL lifestyle quite as strictly as they did during the time when they entered an official challenge in years past. The one thing I hear most is that, “I just felt the best I’ve ever felt in my life when I was really doing Body-for-LIFE by the book.”

    You've got to spice things up and do whatever it takes to get motivated again. One of the best ways you can motivate yourself is by helping others. You already know how to do this program, so why not find someone else to do it with you that you can show the ropes. Teaching someone else is extremely powerful. The other person will be looking to you for advice, so give yourself the positive pressure of being the one to set the example and lead the way. Other things like getting body fat testing and meeting with a trainer work for an extra kick in the pants too. Accountability comes in all forms, but find ways to make yourself accountable to someone other than yourself again.

    As far as eating goes, you already know that this is the largest part of the equation. You can work out all day, but if your eating isn't on track, then you're just throwing away a lot of that hard work. I'm willing to bet this is where you might be slacking. A few weeks in, people many times get overly confident and think they can just stop writing down their meals. Well, don't fall into that trap. Make the decision to write down every single meal you eat for the next 12 weeks. No complaining either. It takes a few extra minutes each day, but it's necessary if you want to get back on track and make this a successful challenge.

    You've got to work at making sure you are challenging yourself and trying new things. If you've gotten into a rut with your workouts and have stopped writing things down, get out the paper and pencil and make some new routines that you haven't ever done before. Even if it's just switching up exercises or doing the body parts in a different order, you might be surprised at how much a difference it can make in how your muscles feel the next day. Try new things! Feeling changes are what leads to seeing changes....and THAT is what is going to keep you motivated!

    So before you feel like you’ve lost that lovin' feeling for good, I encourage you to think about the things that made your prior BFL Challenge(s) a success in the first place. You need to just get back to the basics and follow the steps that anyone looking to be successful in a challenge should follow. Read the tips I've listed above for beginners and then go re-read the book! Then, think back to the day you finished your BFL Challenge after a full 12 weeks of doing the program. Anyone who’s done a full challenge knows exactly what I’m talking about here. Remember how invincible you felt, especially after you compared those before and after pictures side by side? Unstoppable right?!

    Well guess what… if you can commit to really get back on track, you can feel that way forever! Wouldn’t that be great? No more of this "up & down" nonsense.   No one expects you to be perfect, but there's no reason to just live a mediocre existence.

    You choose...waste more time floundering around and feeling like you could do more or make the choice to start over now, get organized, set a start and finish date, and do this program the way you know it's intended to be done. You know exactly what you need to do, and no one can do this for you. It's time to stop making excuses, go back to square one, and do it this time without letting anything get in your way!!!
    A: -Read the book! Many people think that browsing bodyforlife.com will be enough to learn about the program, but I highly recommend reading the entire book from beginning to end. It never fails...people who haven't read the book will be left with gaps and unanswered questions (all of which could have been answered just by reading the book). Plus, it's inspiring!

    -Write down your goals. You might think you can just do it in your head…not the case. Write out goals and make sure they are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time Driven). Post them somewhere that you can read them every single day.

    -Make a dream board or post goal pics wherever you feel you might need the reminder (on the fridge, bathroom mirror, in the car, in your wallet, in your home workout area).

    -Plan at least one week’s worth of meals before the beginning of each week and record what you eat daily. Some people get complacent with meal planning and stop writing down their meals over time. Before you know it, the snacking creeps in, the free meals become more numerous, and all of a sudden the pants aren’t fitting anymore. Make a plan, write it down, buy the ingredients, and stick to it!

    -Stop trying to change the program. You are going to hear all kinds of advice out there from people, including fitness professionals, who will recommend other types of workouts. Yes, there are many different types of workouts that work, but if you're trying to follow suit to the hundreds of thousands of others who've had amazing results with BFL and you truly want to do BFL, then do it as it's outlined in the book. Yes, this means NO extra cardio! I know it's hard to wrap your head around the fact that less is more, but just try it already! If you want to do a longer warm-up or cool-down, or a few extra minutes fine, but don't be doing HIIT longer than 30 minutes max. or doubling up cardio on the same days as strength training.

    -Find your motivation. Just like setting goals, finding your real reason for doing this is very important.  Looking good in shorts or a bathing suit is a start, but dig deeper. If you can accomplish your goals, what things in your life will improve? Who and what will benefit from you completing another challenge successfully? In what ways will this help you to become a better person, a better spouse, a better parent, or a better friend?

    -Be accountable to others. Tell people what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Set up body fat testing at 0,4,8, and 12 weeks and make appointments for the testing with a professional now. Schedule times in your calendar for a friend, spouse, or trainer to take your progress photos. Very powerful stuff here!

    -Set up a reward system for yourself with things that aren’t food related. Maybe you schedule a weekend getaway at the beach and book it now for the day you plan to complete your 12 week challenge. Go ahead and buy the bathing suit you want to wear now and hang it up where you can see it.

    The tips listed here are for structure, but in following these, remember that this isn't Body-for-12 Weeks...it's Body-for-LIFE! The structure will help you form good habits. You are working not only to transform your body, but also to solidify a good set of everyday lifestyle practices so that you can stay healthy over your lifetime.

    Whatever has gotten you off course up until now doesn’t matter anymore. If you want to make a change and do a challenge for the whole 12 weeks, you just need to commit to doing it. Practice overcoming any obstacles in your way, and make it a true lifestyle change. You can do this! You’ve got the tools, so use them!
    A: I used sunless tanning spray to get the tan for my "after" photos and still use it today for photo shoots. I like to use an at home airbrush spray to build a tan over a few nights’ time. My favorite: Neutrogena Micro Mist #3. It builds gradually and doesn’t streak, come off on clothes, or smell funny. If you want, you can opt to get a spray tan that is applied by a professional, but be specific with your expectations on the look you want to achieve. My advice would be to ask for something suitable for a bride-to-be/groom-to-be or take a picture of the shade you’d like with you. Using body oil in the shower the day of the shoot will give you an extra boost of hydration to show off muscle definition too.

    Try to get professional pics taken if you can. Take in example pictures of past champions who have won to show them the look you are going for. Even if you don't hire a pro, use a clean solid background and wear a simple solid suit or outfit. Practice posing (naturally not flexed) in the mirror ahead of time. Keep it PG...nothing too sexy.  Have fun with it,  and enjoy being in the best shape of your life in front of the camera!

    Q: I normally have breakfast around 8 and go to sleep around midnight. I have my 5th meal around 8 pm. I've been making myself a protein shake around 10 - 11 pm for my 6th meal. I actually look forward to it. Should I drop it or continue having it?

    A: This is a common question because of so much conflicting advice out there on this topic. There is no magic time of day when every person should stop eating. We all have different work schedules and lifestyles. For anyone doing this program, the most important thing to focus on is consuming 5-6 balanced meals space 2-3 hours apart. Each person needs to find a schedule that works for them and their own lifestyle. There's nothing wrong with you having a shake as your last meal. There's also nothing wrong with you consuming it at 10 or 11 pm and that close to your bedtime. It sounds like what you are doing is working for you, and as long as you're happy with your progress physically and it keeps you satisfied mentally,  keep doing it.

    Now with that said, if you aren't really hungry at that time, don't feel like you must have the shake either. If you feel like you aren't making enough progress now or in the future, then you might want to consider omitting that last meal or re-arranging the spacing of your meals to have it earlier. Another option would be to choose a shake with lower carbs/no carbs that close to bed.

    By the way, you should really be getting a full 8 hours of sleep each night, so try to make that happen!
    A: I still practice BFL eating pretty regularly on most days. I still combine lean proteins, complex carbs, and healthy fats in my meals and eat every 3 hours most days of the week.  I will say that I am not as strict as I was during my BFL Challenge. I allow myself to enjoy wine or dessert with dinner or in social settings and I have free meals outside of just one day per week if I want to. Weekdays are usually closer to a strict Body-for-LIFE eating schedule and Friday evening- Sunday I relax a little more. * Note: Sticking to a strict eating schedule is definitely necessary for anyone looking to transform their body, but once you reach your goal, it becomes easier to maintain, and you have the option to relax a little.

    Doing BFL really helped me break free from the all or nothing mentality I had my whole life leading up to doing it. That is what is so great about making this a true lifestyle. Doing the program helped me get to a low enough body fat% that my metabolism increased, so I can enjoy things more freely now and stay healthy and in shape. It also helped me modify my eating behaviors, so now I can have some ice cream without feeling the need to eat the entire 1/2 gallon in one sitting.  There are also some weeks when I don't even feel like having a free meal. I'll go a few weeks or longer without any free meals sometimes...it just depends on my mood. I'm a Gemini, so it changes a lot!

    Q: Do you still do the BFL workouts?
    A: Sometimes, but not all the time. I am always changing up my workouts to include various forms of strength training, but I'm actually back to doing the BFL pyramid training right now. I still do 3 days of strength training and make sure to hit all major muscle groups each week.

    As far as cardio goes, I still do HIIT regularly. I also enjoy running, so if there is a day when I feel like going for a longer moderate run, I will still make my other 2 cardio workouts that week HIIT sessions.

    I usually still alternate cardio days with strength training days and work out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. It works for me!
    A: Yes, I did it exactly as it's outlined in the book...no extra cardio...no extra weights....no restricting food. The last couple weeks I tightened up my eating even more and replaced things like brown rice and sweet potatoes at dinner with extra large portions of fibrous green veggies as my carbohydrate source. However I never "cut carbs". The amount of vegetables I was eating at dinner was equal to that of eating rice or another complex carb. 

    When I started the program, I had a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that 20 minutes of cardio 3 times a week would be enough, but I really wanted to see if it would work, so I made a conscious decision to do it exactly as it is outlined in the book. I was tempted many times to try to "tweak the program", but I'm thankful that I didn't, because now I know it really does work!
    A: It helped me re-shape the way I think about so many things. Transforming my body helped me improve my confidence ten fold, and now I can try anything without the fear of failure holding me back. It gave me the confidence to go after anything I want to achieve.  I feel like I was put on this earth to help others find happiness through health and fitness, and winning Body-for-LIFE was the catalyst to many opportunities which have helped me broaden my ability to reach and help others through personal training, nutrition coaching, fitness modeling, and motivational speaking.

    Even if I hadn't won Body-for-LIFE, just doing the program was still a huge catalyst to change in my life. Anyone who transforms their body will undoubtedly experience changes on the inside. I feel like I've gained more patience and have a completely different attitude about life. It helped me conquer a pretty severe addiction to sugar which had me trapped in a viscous cycle for years. I've finally found a balance in life that I never had prior and have overcome the all or nothing mentality....finally! I now know that I truly am living my best life possible and being the person that God always intended me to be.

    A: Yes, I took free days, but never went crazy enough to undo my progress. I never ate fried food, drive-thru, or pizza. I used my free day to take a break from drinking as much water and eating on a schedule. I would eat mostly authorized foods, just in larger portions, and would enjoy a couple treats that I'd been craving during the week. So this is what a typical free day would look like...

    Meal 1: Egg sandwich (whole grain english muffin, 2 eggs, low fat shredded cheese, turkey bacon) + orange juice

    Meal 2: Salad buffet (huge salad loaded with veggies, beans, legumes, fat free vinaigrette) + whole wheat bread + bowl of lentil soup topped with shredded cheese + low-fat vanilla ice cream and brownie sundae with caramel & nuts

    Meal 3: 12 in. sub on wheat (roasted chicken breast, no cheese, mustard only, loaded with veggies) + 2 white chocolate macadamia nut cookies + diet soda

    Half-way through my challenge at week 6,  I had a birthday and took a trip to Vegas where I drank champagne on more than one occasion and had a couple extra free meals. Outside of that weekend, I never drank alcohol at all, even on free days.

    I always tell people, if you aren't making the progress you'd like, then your free day is one of the first places you should look. It's intended to help you stay sane and also give your metabolism a little boost and help your body resist going into a slowed metabolic state. However, it doesn't take thousands of extra calories to do that...a few hundred extra once a week does the trick.

    Q: What supplements did you use during your challenge:
    A: I used EAS AdvantEDGE Ready-to-Drink shakes, Myoplex Carb Control Ready-to-Drink shakes, EAS AdvantEDGE protein bars,  Muscle Armor, and Thermodynamx. Thermodynamx has since been discontinued, and Muscle Armor is now sold under the name Pro Science Armor.


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