#16 Because You Asked
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What is the Best Time to Work Out?

Everyone wants to maximize their workout. One of the ways to do this is to try and workout when you will get maximal benefits. Morning, afternoon, evening ... before or after eating, what's the best time? With the holidays coming up, your routine is likely to get thrown off. Here are a few tips to help you plan ahead.

  1. Mornings - Morning workouts are good because they get you moving, elevate your metabolism and the endorphin rush can enhance your mood for the rest of the day. Even better, though, is that when you work out on an empty stomach your body will utilize stored fat as energy so you maximize fat loss. Every body is capable of this, but it can also be improved upon with training. The drawback is that your body's blood sugar is low in the mornings, which will make it tough to push your hardest. Therefore, moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise is a better choice in the mornings than hoping to achieve a high-intensity weight training routine.

  2. Afternoons and/or Evenings - This should be your peak time - although we all vary somewhat. Your blood sugar is high and you are not waning towards evening. This is the best time for achieving the highest-intensity workouts. If you've eaten properly, you will have some carbs in your system and be ready to rock. Without question, this is the best time for your most intense resistance sessions.

  3. Night - Many people's schedules don't allow time for exercise until everything else is finished. There is no real problem with this as far as your workout goes. You should be well fueled by this time, although perhaps a little tired if your day was busy. But working out right before bed can make it hard to get a good night's sleep, and sleep for recovery is often just as important as exercise. Something that can help you get to sleep is to take a long warm shower after exercise, get in some comfortable clothes (like sweats), and stretch for 5 or 10 minutes to calm down. Then, perhaps, relax with a cup of herbal tea. The ability to sleep after exercise can also be learned, so if this is your only window, you can make it work for you.

  4. With props to Nike, "Just do it!" - The bottom line is that anytime is good to workout. Unless you are injured or severely overtrained, the only error that you can make is to skip your workout because you missed the "maximizing window." Working out elevates your body's metabolism so that you will burn more calories. This process doesn't change when you work out at different times. The more intense the workout, the longer your metabolism stays elevated - so the calories keep burning off even after you've ejected the video!

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Fitness: How Often Can I Work My Abs?

One of the most commonly asked questions on the Beachbody Message Boards is how often can one work their abdominal muscles. It was long thought that the abs (as well as the forearms) could be worked everyday. The reason for this is that the muscles of your abdominal region contain a higher percentage of slow-twitch muscle fibers than your other muscles do. Slow-twitch muscle fiber is not as strong (or powerful) as fast-twitch muscle fiber, but it is slower to fatigue and also recovers quicker. For this reason, the theory that abs can be worked everyday went unchallenged for a long time, and even today you will hear trainers profess this.

However, the bottom line is that the abdominal muscles need rest to recover completely, just the same as any muscle group. While you won't get the same telltale signs that you will in other areas, what will happen is that you will plateau if you keep training the abs everyday. It is during rest where your body begins to repair this damaged tissue, and that's what helps you get muscle tone. Short-circuiting the recuperation process will not allow adequate time for your muscles to regenerate, ultimately impeding your progress. And you wouldn't want to put all that time and effort into something that wasn't doing you any good.

Just like the other muscle groups, abs respond best to high-intensity training, or quality over quantity. You should work them to exhaustion and then rest until they are nearly fully recovered when you can attack them again. In a routine like Power 90®, the most abs should be worked is four times a week. But this should only be in the early stages of a program, when they are just getting in shape and individual workouts are much less fatiguing. The concept of Slim Training®(tm) allows for training the abs every day - but only for 6 weeks. Once you are hammering away until "failure", you will never want to work them more than 3 times a week.

There are a couple of things to remember about ab training. One is that you want to make sure you continue to increase the intensity. Abs will respond fairly quickly and you can't settle into a comfortable routine if you expect results. You need to push well into your pain threshold if you expect major change. Learn to love the burn!

The other is that you will not ever have a washboard stomach if your body fat is 20% or more. Many people blast their abs to oblivion when what they really need to do is excuse themselves from the table. Good examples of this are the midsections of many pro-football linemen. They have ripped abs that can't be seen because they are covered with fat. Since sheer mass is important for their job security, they don't care about losing it in order to look chiseled. Strength and weight are paramount. But all the muscle in the world won't do much for your appearance if it's covered with fat.

As a rule, you only need to train your abs twice per week and your entire ab-toning program should take only ten minutes to complete. If you train with proper intensity, this is all that is required to sufficiently tax your muscles. While this might not seem like a lot of time, your abs should be totally fatigued by the time you are finished training - and then it's on to burning the fat with cardio.

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Eating for Exercise

We have all heard about eating smaller and more frequent meals. It's simple in concept; you just space out a series of small snacks throughout the day. The trick comes with planning all this eating around exercising. Eating enough to sustain you through your workout, eating a post-workout snack, no eating 3 hours before bed, and trying to squeeze in breakfast, lunch, and dinner - it can become a logistical nightmare! Here we will address each of these issues to help you with your planning.

  1. Eating enough to sustain your workout - What to eat pre-workout should depend upon the type of workout that you plan on doing. high, moderate, or low intensity, cardio or resistance; it makes a difference. Here are some guidelines for eating before exercise:

    • Three or four hours before exercising, a large meal is fine (600 calories or more).
    • Two or three hours beforehand, a smaller meal is suitable (400 - 500 calories).
    • One or two hours before, a liquid meal is appropriate (300 - 400 calories).
    • With less than one hour, a small snack will do. (200 - 300 calories).
    • We recommend not eating for at least 45 minutes before a workout.

    You want to follow this for any moderate to high intensity workouts, whether they are cardio or resistance, because you will need some carbohydrates in your system if you want to perform your best.

    For low or low-moderate cardio workouts it is better to go on an empty stomach, so you will want to avoid eating for at least 3 hours beforehand. This will force your body to use its stored body fat as fuel. However, for low-to-moderate resistance workouts, you will want to fuel yourself if there is any chance that you'll do any sets to failure because if you try and push that far using fat stores you can "bonk." Bonking is what athletes refer to when they run out of blood sugar during a competition, and basically run out of energy. This is not a serious condition if you then slow down and eat something. But if you continue to push through a "bonk", you will risk serious injury.

    Also keep in mind that people tolerate foods differently, and the composition of the food matters. Fats stay in the stomach longest, followed by protein and high fiber carbohydrates, then low fiber complex carbohydrates, and finally simple sugars, which are absorbed fastest. Avoid sugary foods, including juice, an hour before exercise. The body absorbs the sugar in these foods quickly, and you may feel lightheaded and tired during your exercise as a result. If you feel you absolutely must have juice or some sugary snack before exercise, have it only five or ten minutes before you begin. This way, there isn't enough time for your body to secrete insulin (a hormone that lowers blood sugar and can cause fatiguing symptoms). Since everyone reacts a little differently, try various strategies to determine what helps you the most. No matter what, drink water before, during, and after exercise.

  2. The Post-Workout Snack - Within a one-hour window of finishing exercise, you want to take in some easily digestible carbohydrates and some protein. This varies depending on your size and the intensity of your session, but your body uses nutrients approximately four times better during this window so you won't want to miss it. What you'll want is between 40 and 60 grams of carbohydrates and 10 to 20 grams of protein, depending on your body weight and length of the session.

  3. No eating 3 hours before bed - This concept is simple. You don't need much fuel to sleep; don't eat so you can use your stored body fat. Any nighttime eating, especially carb consumption, will greatly add to your fat stores. Because you will use less fuel, nighttime calories are worth 40 - 50% more than calories consumed at breakfast and lunch. This becomes a problem for those who workout at night because they are hungry and should eat something. For these people we would recommend a small post-workout snack and nothing else. The trick is to consume enough to replenish your glycogen stores and no extra. For a one-hour intense workout, about 250 calories, with 45 grams of carbs and 14 grams of protein should be about perfect (more or less depending on the above variables).

  4. Breakfast - The "most important meal of the day" is still that. Any calories consumed will most likely get used up. Plus, a well-fueled body performs better; no matter the tasks it's asked to perform. For morning exercisers, this meal will also be a post-workout snack and should follow the same guidelines.

  5. Lunch - This meal should depend entirely on your afternoon schedule. Heavy carbs should only be consumed if your workout is still ahead. If it's 4 more hours at the office, try to make lunch high in protein and get your carbs from veggies instead of starches.

  6. Dinner - Dinner's a tough one because in America, it is traditionally our big meal. The earlier you eat dinner the better (or rather, the further from bedtime). Like we stated before, calories consumed at night are worth up to 40 - 50% more than those consumed earlier in the day. For this reason, dinner should be as light as you can tolerate it. Also, because carbohydrates not burned up are stored by the body as fat, you should not consume too many unless you plan on exercising that evening.

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Healthy Recipe

Recipe: Chicken Tetrazzini

* Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray
* 4 oz angel hair pasta cooked al-dente
* 8 ounces skinless chicken breast cut into cubes
* 1 tbspn onion powder
* 1 tbspn light soy sauce
* 1/4 tspn ground pepper
* 1/2 tspn of oregano
* 1/2 tspn of paprika
* 1/4 pound chopped mushrooms

* Spray a large non-stick cooking pan with PAM

Combine chicken, onions and oregano into pan and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes.

Remove chicken and add remaining ingredients to pan with 1/2 cup of water and cook for five minutes over medium heat.

Pour back in chicken mixture and sauté until slightly brown

Per Serving:

Nutritional Information: Makes 1 serving:

571 calories 21% fat 39% protein

Share your recipes with the rest of the Beachbody.com community at the message boards.

Visit the Beachbody Boards!

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Get Incredible Abs with "Great Abs Guaranteed!" featuring trainer Tony Horton!

It's the video that started it all for Beachbody.com and Tony Horton! If you want abs that will turn heads, and you don't want to have to spend hours at the gym to get them, then you want the "Great Abs Guaranteed!" video.

This routine uses Sectional Progression(TM), so you get a complete ab workout in the comfort of your home in under 7 minutes. (That's right -- 7 minutes!)

Includes Tony Horton's great step-by-step instruction through each movement, plus an onscreen countdown clock so you know how long you have to go through each move. It's available through Beachbody.com for just $19.95 plus shipping and handling.

You'll also receive three additional routines FREE! You'll get Tony's Great Arms Guaranteed!, Great Stretch Guaranteed!, plus Debbie Sieber's Great Buns Guaranteed!, free on one video with your order.

Sold separately, these four workouts would cost almost $80. But you get all four routines for just $19.95 plus shipping and handling, only at Beachbody.com.

Great Abs comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you don't see great results in the mirror, send the videos back for a refund, no questions asked.

For more information on Great Abs Guaranteed!, click here...

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Congratulations to Our October $200 Winner, Kate Billingmeier!

Kate writes:
"I just wanted to thank you for a great program. After giving birth to my first son, I was unable to attempt to get my body back right away. I hope my before and after can help someone out there stuck in a rut after having a baby."

Click here to see Kate's incredible before and afters!

You Can Win $200!

Send us your success story and you could get published in the next issue of The Beachbody Newsletter. Click here to find out how!

Beachbody.com soccer sponsorship a huge success!

Congratulations to the Golden Eagles of Glendale/La Crescenta AYSO, team 777 of the age 5-6 league who finished their 2001 soccer season 7-2-1. Special recognition goes to Andrew Harris, son of Beachbody.com's Robin Malone. Andrew scored the final goal of the season in their 6-2 romp over the Green Geckos.

Post of the Month

Did you know access to the Beachbody.com community message boards is free? Get motivation, support, plus answers to your fitness and weight loss questions from the Beachbody.com advisors! Plus find out what other members are doing to get great results. Here's an example of the kind of inspiration you can find:

From the "Goal for the day 2" thread

"OK, FOLKS! THIS IS IT! After some bad injuries 5 years ago which came with a near-death scare, I put on lots of weight and the only shape I was in was ROUND! I was using a cane to walk 1-1/2 years ago! That's right, I had to use a cane to walk... which consisted of house to car to office to car to house... PERIOD. My ex left me for a younger stud-muffin at that time and life was not looking fun.

"I enjoy reading all of your determination, grit and perseverance, but fer-cryin-out-loud! If I can do this, there is absolutely NO excuse for anyone else. As previously mentioned, I'm still not "there" yet, but WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES! It took me a while of forcing myself to simply take a long walk to get "fit" enough to contemplate doing anything more strenuous. Then I returned to Martial Arts with a tentative attempt to do more... Then for my birthday (last March-April), my youngest sister (who had the program but hadn't really gotten too far into it yet) gave me P90! Ninety days later and I was a brand new active person! FOLKS, I started off REALLY bad! I have yet to see a picture of anyone that was even CLOSE to as bad as I was... I recently completed my SECOND 90 days... And, NO... I was not perfect. I missed days. I had to take a week off because of surgery once. I hit the doldrums that we've all read about... But, THIS IS A LIFE CHANGE!

"You can ALL DO THIS! It is the greatest gift I've ever gotten in my life and I could never thank Tony Horton enough for saving my life... Yes, you read that right... this saved my (once miserable) life! This has been the best summer I've ever lived in 40+ years! And every day that comes along just makes me look that much more forward to the NEXT one for the first time ever!"

Posted By: Panther

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New Dates Added for Power Kauai!

In Hawaii "Ala ke Kino" means to 'awaken the body,' and that's just what one-week of Beachbody.com's Power Kauai fitness vacation will do for you. We've extended new dates for 2002! If you are interested in cleansing your system and literally stripping away up to and over ten pounds of fat in one intensive, life-changing week of hikes, yoga, and healthy eating, all set in the tropical paradise of Hanalei Bay.

Thirteen Winners Selected for Power 90® Shoot in Hawaii!

We would like to thank all of you who sent in your photos and success stories for our Power 90® Hawaii Contest! We had a very difficult time choosing because you all deserve to win after the dramatic changes you have made in your life and to your bodies! Please note that you are all still eligible to win upcoming prizes and giveaways...so if you only sent in your Day 30 photos, keep it up and get us those Day 90 afters. They could be worth cash and prizes!

These thirteen winners and their guests won an all-expenses paid vacation to Hawaii to workout with trainer Tony Horton, to relax, and to appear in the next Power 90® TV show!

Cindie Andrews - Lost 40 lbs., 25 inches, and 6 dress sizes!

Doug Couch - Lost 40 lbs.!

Doug and Tammie Fitzgerald - Doug lost 33 lbs. and 17 inches; Tammie lost 16 lbs. and 15 inches!

Doug Dragan - Lost 15 lbs. and 3 inches from his waist!

Jill McKinney - Lost 18 lbs. and 10 inches!

Jeffrey and Karla Budz - Jeffrey lost 42 1/2 lbs. and 25 inches total; Karla lost 4 lbs. and 4 1/2 inches from her waist!

Ann Priester - Lost 37 lbs.!

Jim Smith - Lost 20 lbs.!

Kenneth Ubben, M.D. - Lost 15 lbs. and lowered blood pressure from 140/100 to 115/75 with no medication!

Bill Young - Lost 22 lbs. and 5 inches from his waist!

Lori Brown - Lost 13 lbs. and 5 inches from her waist!

Click here to see these winners' remarkable photos and success stories!

And don't forget, we're giving away cash to a new winner every month. No purchase necessary -- this contest is about body transformation and living a healthy, balanced life. Send us your photos and you could win next!

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Fundraising for the September 11th Fund

Beachbody.com is currently donating $1.00 to the September 11th Fund for every unit of Power 90® sold.

At the same time, we are the organizing sponsor of a fundraiser in Los Angeles entitled "Art Heals," where artwork inspired by the events of September 11th will be sold in a silent auction on October 9th. Pieces are being donated by many noteworthy artists and celebrities such as Tracy Effinger, Sylvester Stallone, Sela Ward, Bob Saget, Lesley Anne Warren, Elizabeth Berkley, Maria Bello, and many other generous people.

We are also contemplating a day of Power 90® cardio/abs workouts at the Beachbody.com fitness lab in Santa Monica with trainer Tony Horton for a minimum donation of $25 per person. For more information, send an email to Beachbodyusa@aol.com.

100% of the proceeds of these Activit®ies go to the September 11th Fund, a fund created by the United Way and the New York Community Trust to help respond to the immediate and longer-term needs of the victims, their families, and communities affected by the events of September 11th.

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