Body for Life

ImageWhen fitness guru Bill Phillips created his Body For Life program, he likely never dreamed in a million years that his 12-week plan for mental and physical transformation would turn into a movement that has reshaped millions of people's bodies.

The striking BEFORE and AFTER photos speak volumes - they are evidence that the transition from gluttonous to gorgeous can be accomplished with Phillip's rigorous plan. If you are up for the challenge, you even have the opportunity to compete in the annual Body For Life challenge, which gives up to $1 million to the most drastic body makeover. The principal couldn't be more simplistic -- eat less and burn more through exercise.

It is crucial to remember that Body For Life isn't for the faint at heart. If you are not into an aggressive fitness program, this isn't the plan for you. Exercise is a huge component when following Body For Life. You will weight train intensely on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for no more than 46 minutes. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, you'll perform 20 minutes of aerobic exercise, first thing in the morning before you eat.

You'll alternate training of the major muscles between the upper and lower body. The first week, you will train the upper body on Monday, lower body on Wednesday and upper body on Friday. The second week, you'll train the lower body on Monday, the upper body on Wednesday and the lower body on Friday.

You will perform two exercises for each major muscle group of the upper body, which includes chest, shoulders, back, triceps and biceps. For the lower body work the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. Train the abs after the lower body.

ImageThere are also specific guidelines for how many sets to perform, how long to rest, weight load and other factors. In order to achieve maximum results, it is important to adhere to the program as closely as possible. By building more muscle, you'll be increasing your metabolic rate. Therefore, the body will burn more calories even when the body is at rest.

As for the nutrition principles, Phillips also weighs in with his suggestions. Eat six meals a day, one every two to three hours. All meals should have a portion of protein and carbohydrates. Add a serving of vegetables to at least two meals. Watch portion sizes.

Also, be sure to eat one tablespoon of unsaturated oil daily or three portions of salmon a week. Drink at least 10 cups of water a day. To ensure you're getting optimal levels of required nutrients, consume performance-nutrition shake and follow the regimen of dietary supplements.

In addition, Phillips recommends consuming a tablespoon of safflower, flaxseed, sesame or canola oil each day to give necessary Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids. The diet breaks down to about 40%-50% protein, the same for carbohydrates, and very little fat.