Body Beast- Home Stretch

I am in the Beast Phase of Body Beast, which means I can almost see the finish line. I am eager to finish the program for a number of reasons.

First, I am excited to see the changes my body has undergone from this program. I know for an absolute fact that I am bigger and stronger thanks to this program. I am lifting more weight now that I was in week 1, and have seen gains in literally every routine.

Second, I am excited to start something new. Insanity: The Asylum Vol. 2 will be released soon, and I am looking forward to giving it a shot. I will have full Body Beast before and after results up at the end of October.

Anyone looking to join a group of people killing it with Asylum Vol. 2, send me an email ( or message me on Facebook. We have a dedicated group of workout nuts who are going to be crushing Asylum 2 together. There is nothing like the support and motivation of tackling an at-home workout with a group of people online.

Body Beast has been good, but I am ready for something new. Once again, this is why I love Beachbody. The diversity in programs that are available means I never get bored with what I am doing.

And just a quick programming update. I will have a full Shakeology update up soon, along with available samples. I started a new job last week (more on this later as well) and things have been a bit crazy. During all of this professional transition, the one thing that has been consistent has been my diet and exercise.  



Getting Started

Monday marked the beginning of another 90 day journey for me.Last week was the end of my P90X2/Asylum hybrid. I didn’t take official “Day 90” pictures because we were in Cape Cod, but as you can see from the pictures in that post, the results were good. This is off topic, but I forgot to mention it in the Cape Cod post earlier this week. I we camped on an electric site, so I brought my blender, Shakeology, and three tubs of protein (which apparently was an issue for Danielle, and Avi when one fell on her head in the car). I had about two scoops of Greenberry Shakeology in a Tupperware container. After the third night in a row of raccoons stealing our bread, I put everything away before bed, except my small Tupperware of Shakeology. There are now a couple of super healthy raccoons running around Provincetown.

Back to the point of this post. On Monday I started Body Beast, which is a new program from BeachBody, the makers of P90X, Insanity etc. Body Beast focuses on building muscle and is more of a straight weight lifting program than Insanity or P90X2. It is somewhat similar to P90X, but I am finding it to be way more challenging. With the start of the new program (which I will have a week 1 review of up later this week) I got thinking about some of the things that go into getting started and what I have learned over the course of the last 18 months about doing at-home workout programs. These are, in my opinion, the keys to being successful with any 60 or 90 day at home workout.

Set your goals

What are you hoping to accomplish? When I first started P90X, my goal was just to get through it. I didn’t have a clear goal in mind. I was hoping to get down from 235 to 225 (a goal that I surpassed). I think that because I didn’t have a clearly defined goal, my results were less than they could have been. If you are looking to lose fat, gain muscle, get in better shape, dunk a basketball, or whatever, you have to clearly define it if you are to know how to go about doing it. It is very difficult to cut body fat and build muscle simultaneously. My suggestion is to focus on fat loss first, then when your body fat percentage is where you want it, adjust your diet to build muscle and run at a calorie surplus.

Set your nutritional goals

If losing fat is your goal, then you have to run a calorie deficit. You can use any number of online tools to calculate your body’s daily caloric needs. Once you know what your body needs in a day, you can decide what you are going to put into it each day. I suggest using the Fat Shredder diets listed under the Diet tabs at the top of this page. Get set up with MyFitnessPal, or a similar food tracking app. I got lazy with tracking my food this summer. Starting this week, I am tracking everything again. I am eating 2000 calories a day, 40% Protein, 40% Carbs, 20% Fat. MyFitnessPal does all the math for me, and also includes a pie chart to help me know where I am at for the day. If you are not tracking your food, you are not going to be honest with yourself about what you are consuming, and you are not going to be able to reach your goals. Period. It is in my opinion the greatest key to my success. One of the first questions I get asked is “did you follow the diet guide”, and the answer is yes, I follow the diet guide. But instead of trying to calculate it all myself, as the diet guides would have me do, I let the app and website do it for me.

My goal for Body Beast is to gain some muscle mass while continuing to cut body fat. So I upped my calories a bit (from 1900-2000) so that my body will have the fuel it needs to build muscle. I am not looking to get huge, so I am not eating to get huge. The diet is the key to the results.

Take Day 1 pictures

I famously skipped this step in my first round of P90X, which is why I have to resort to using the pictures from Cape Cod in 2008. Those are the closest approximation to how I looked last March that I have. I think I got camera shy because of how I looked. It does make for a cool comparison shot between then and now. You don’t have to show anyone but yourself, but you will want a record of your progress.

Select the program that works for you

I use BeachBody programs because they have worked really well for me. If TapouT XT is your thing do it. If you are looking for cardio and want to cut fat, Insanity is awesome for it. If you want to improve sports performance, Insanity: The Asylum is fantastic. Everyone pretty much knows what P90X is. I love it, it works. P90X2 takes P90X to a whole new level. Each program offers something different. I have done them all, and each is great in its own way. If you have done one and are ready for something new, there are great hybrid schedules available at

Make yourself accountable

When I started P90X, I signed up for a free account with Team BeachBody, went to the message boards, and found a group of people who all started P90X around the same day as me. It was awesome to have people to talk to every day that were experiencing the same things I was. Because it is anonymous, I didn’t feel stupid sharing the challenges I was facing. It was through this group that I learned about TeamRIPPED. If you are interested in something like this, you can follow the Join My Team link on the right side of this site and I can connect you with any number of TeamRIPPED Facebook groups. I am currently in two Facebook groups, one for veterans of X2/Asylum, and one for people currently doing Body Beast. The awesome part of the Body Beast group is that Sagi Kalev, the Tony Horton of Body Beast is a member of the group and posts advice and support. By signing up for a Team Beachbody account, you will have access to the message boards, which is where I built my foundation of knowledge.

Decide what supplements you are going to use

I have used a ton of different supplements. I like to try new things and get bored with the same thing after a while. One supplement that I take every day is Shakeology. I believe in the hype. The stuff is amazing and is the foundation of my daily nutrition. I also take a pre-workout almost every day. I take BeachBody’s Energy and Endurance right now for a pre-workout. I am also a huge fan of post-workout drinks. My favorite to date is Results and Recovery formula. If you are going to workout hard every day, you are most likely going to need to supplement your diet in order to maximize your results. I didn’t start using all of these things at once. I tried one, then added another until I found a combination that I found to work.

Stick with it

My first week of P90X, I missed two workouts because I was so sore I couldn’t move. I doubled up workouts at the end of my first week to catch up and didn’t miss another workout for 90 days. There are going to be times when it gets tough. Things are going to come up that get in the way. You are going to get sick, your kids are going to get sick. My suggestion is to keep pushing play. Once you build up momentum, it only takes a day or two to undo it. Stick with it. The results will be there in the end if you stick with the diet and exercise. If you cheat by skipping workouts or eating like crap on the weekends, you will not have the same level of success. Period.

I am excited to see what the next 90 days will bring. If you are interested in getting connected with the message boards, or any of the TeamRIPPED Facebook groups to support you through your journey, let me know.


I took the picture on the left four years ago in Cape Cod when Avi was 11 months old. I was weighing somewhere around 225. The picture on the right is me and Avi (she turned 5 two weeks ago) on the same beach four years later. I weigh 184 and am in the best shape of my entire life. I didn’t look like this in high school. I didn’t look like this in college. I look like this because I followed the steps I listed above and pushed play every day.

P90X2- Put It in the Books

I just finished my last workout of my first round of P90X2 (oh yes, there will be more to come).

I completed PAP Upper this morning. I absolutely wasted and would be in need of a Recovery week if I wasn’t finishing today. I will have a more complete review of the program up soon, but I wanted to share some of my instant reaction.

First off, now that I am done. I would like to send a sincere thank you to Tony Horton and all of the people who worked so hard to put this program together. In my opinion, this is THE most complete at-home workout that has ever been created. From the nutrition, to the workout guides, online support, social media support and of course the workouts themselves. There is nothing like this out there and it is a clear demonstration of the evolution of at-home programs. This program is a massive step forward for Beachbody and the perfect next-step for people who have completed either P90x or Insanity.

The focus of the program is on improving athleticism, core strength and overall health. In this regard it was wildly successful for me. Like I stated in an earlier post, I didn’t gain a ton of muscle mass, or lose a ton of fat in the last three months. I will have a final weigh-in, body fat percentage and before and after pictures up in the near future. I do think that for a lot of people (former athletes, weekend warriors, people looking to improve their overall health etc.) this program will offer everything that they are looking for. It is really hard, but equally rewarding.

I do believe the #1 reason why I have been successful using P90X, Insanity and now P90X2 is because I have stuck with the plan. For the first six months or so, I didn’t follow the nutrition guide, I thought I was eating well enough. When I started tracking my food using MyFitnessPal I realized I wasn’t. I have followed a fairly strict 1900 calorie diet for the entire duration of P90X2 (I started January 16th). The first question I get from people interested in trying one of these programs is always “did you follow the diet guide?” I am going to start just saying “yes”. Because, really I am. It is too complicated to say, no, I didn’t, but I created my own 1900 calorie diet, where I ate 240 grams of Protein, 160 grams of Carbs and 35 grams of Fat every day etc… People don’t want to have to eat well. We live in an instant gratification society and people want to get skinny and stuff their face with McDonald’s at the same time. I know, because I live across the street from one, and every morning when I am sipping on my Shakeology after working my ass of for 60 minutes, there is a line of cars waiting at the drive thru, and I can guarantee that a majority of those people are unhappy with the way that they look and feel (sorry to get off on a tangent). But this is hard work. Losing 55 pounds in a year was hard work. Getting my ass out of bed, every morning at 5 am is hard work. Eating well, every single day is hard work. Making sacrifices so I can afford Shakeology is hard work. But I am proud as damn hell about my results and I will continue to make those same hard choices every time.

The second key reason for my success has been making a calendar and sticking with it. Prior to starting X2, I planned out what routine I was going to do, every day from January to April. That way, at 5 am when I am still half asleep and have zero motivation to get started (which happens) there is no guess-work, there is no room for me to say “I’m freakin’ tired, I’m gonna skip Plyo today and just do Recovery”. I made a plan with my food, and by doing so there was no room for mistakes. I made a plan with the workouts, and by doing so, there was no room for laziness. I cannot tell you how many people I know that have gym memberships, or own P90X, or Insanity, and don’t use them. I am sure they have their reasons. I owned P90X for almost three years before I pushed play and stuck with it for the full 90 days. I kept telling myself I was too tired, I had a baby, I had work, I had school, a house, and on and on and on. I had really valid reasons to not do it. But at the end of the day, when I finally said enough was enough, those reasons sound ridiculously flimsy to me now. Looking back, my only regret is not starting sooner.

The third key has been Shakeology. I get a lot of eye rolling when I talk about, and frankly I don’t care. Yes, I spend $100 dollars a month on a bag of powder. And I feel as good as I have in my entire life, do you? I have more energy, I am less hungry, I just feel better. In January I quit my job of four years, and started a new, more stressful one. I am working harder, on my feet all day, busting my ass in the classroom and I feel better than I did at the old job, where I hung out in my office and talked about sports all day. In my mind, this is not a coincidence. It is because I start every day with the healthiest drink on the planet. Do I wish it were less expensive, of course I do. But it is not. It is a choice I have made and I realize that it is not a choice for everyone.

I didn’t really plan to write all of that, but as I get thinking about it, it starts spilling out. I became a Beachbody coach to help motivate people (and I know I have) and sometimes part of that is saying things people are not going to want to hear.

I will post my before and after pictures as soon as I can get them taken. I am ordering more samples of Shakeology and will send them to anyone interested on my dime. I have all three samples available. If you have any questions about P90X, Insanity, P90X2, Shakeology, Results and Recovery Formula or Energy and Endurance (Beachbody’s pre-workout drink), please do not hesitate to ask.

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