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10 Tips from the Best of the Boards

By Denis Faye and Steve Edwards

On the ComputerAn old African proverb (not to mention Hillary Clinton) states, "It takes a village to raise a child." At Beachbody and Team Beachbody™ we like to say, "It takes a village to help you get results." Sure, you can go it alone, but it's so much easier when you have people backing you up with advice and encouragement. That's what our Message Boards are all about, helping you get greater results from everything ranging from Beachbody's fitness programs to your diet.

Since the Boards first launched in 2001, there have been hundreds of thousands of posts, many of them offering amazing counsel and insight. Here are a few current online sages in our village, along with some of the advice they've offered.

Not Good Food

•   Catman is a member with his own thread in the Maintaining Results forum. Here is one of our favorite postings:

Cat Principle #3 - Move TOWARDS GOOD

I have found for myself that if I concentrate on GOING TO the good foods, I don't have to concentrate on STAYING AWAY FROM the bad foods. Works the same with good people vs. bad people. You get your fill of the good and have no time/energy for the bad. And with activities . . . Reading, TV, etc.

"TOWARDS" is a DEFINITE DIRECTION, it has a DESTINATION, an AIM. "AWAY FROM" has no definite aim, it has an infinite number of (unfocused, indefinite, obscure) destinations.




•   Getfitwithlisa is an MDB coach who has been all over the Boards lately. Her main thread is in the Team Beachbody Club forum. Here's a good piece of advice:

HI Clean eaters!

When you improve your diet, it creates a ripple effect with those around you. You family eats better. Your friends are less likely to have that doughnut in front of you and will be inspired to bring a lunch to work instead of stopping at a fat food restaurant.

Your commitment to health makes a difference not just to you but with the people your love. Those of you with children know that the number one influence on a child's diet is the diet of their parents. By improving your intake, you can add years to your children's lives. What is more important than that? So keep throwing out those "Fruit" Loops and oddly colored kiddie drinks, people! I am so proud of you all for taking a stand against food porn!

Slim in 6®•   CJ is a sweeper—she goes through all the forums (except those staffed by us) and looks for stuff to answer—she's been doing it for years. She also shares a good thread with Michelle Howard and Slimnsas/Karen Henson called "The Three Musketeers of Beachbody" in the Slim in 6® forum.

Here's a cool motivational tool of hers: buying clothes she wants to look good in and working toward fitting into them:

Red BikiniI finally found a cute/sexy red bikini (string bottom) that I want to look great in. I did this same thing with a pair of leather pants that I bought on clearance. I was a size 18/20 when I bought them and they were a size 14. Well, they are slowly getting a little loose on me, but that's okay. I can still wear them and it feels great. So, I'm doing the same thing with the bikini. I want to be able to look great in it this coming June when we go on vacation. I have plenty of time, but I don't want to just lose the weight, I want to lose all the flab that will be left behind. I will definitely have a picture taken in it here as soon as possible so that I will have something to compare it with when I look absolutely smashing in it. It fits, but it's still a little snug so I'm still a work in progress, but I have to say I've come a long way because it's a large from the juniors section...lol.



•   Tamfish has also been a mainstay on the Boards for years. Here's some good recent advice from her regarding eating at summer picnics:

1. If you know you are going to an event or gathering, eat something before you go. Eat a balanced, small healthy meal before you leave the house. Or have a large apple in the car on the way there. Then you won't be so hungry and might not be so tempted.

2. If the food all looks good and is tempting -- allow yourself to sample a bite of everything. Just a bite! You'll feel satisfied.

3. Or you could allow yourself a small serving of your fave food there (that would be potato salad for me!) and then fill the rest of your plate with healthy things like, grilled chicken, veggies and dip, etc. Then you ate healthy AND you had a little treat. Not to bad, eh?

It can be done, it is just a matter of having the right mindset going in. Remember, too, that the main focus of these gatherings is to enjoy being with friends and family. The food is secondary to that, always.

Also, here's more sound summer picnic advice.

Working Out

•   JadX hasn't been around that long, but his advice is simple and elegant. He's also very good at using the search function to help people. Here's a sample of his advice:

It's true that for burning calories and fat, doing cardio in the morning is ideal.

But what's really the best time to workout depends on each person. Do them when it's best for you and you feel you can bring it. I feel myself working out pretty late at night, simply because that works for me.


•   Mysteriata is also good with the simple advice—she's also not afraid to admit her own hiccups. Here's a good bit of empathy from her:

I want sooooooooo bad to drop the pounds...and more importantly, the inches...and I get really upset and discouraged when I only lose a fraction of an inch or actually gain a little. But, we also should think of how much better our heart and lungs are working...how much stronger our muscles are getting...and other stuff that we can't see or feel (how many points did my cholesterol drop? What is my blood sugar after a meal compared to before P90?) With diet and exercise, we are ALWAYS improving ourselves, even though we are programmed to gauge success only by what the scale and measuring tape says.


•   Our professional staff also answers questions. This is mainly what you'll find in the Fitness, Nutrition, FAQ, and Mailbag Boards. These answers can get more technical but may also just cut through your misconceptions, like this recent advice from Denis about the "dreaded yoga."

. . . the thing about yoga is that it's the journey that matters. Unlike most workouts, where you need to have the form down to get the benefit and avoid injury, the whole point of yoga is to work towards perfect form at your own pace. So if you're stumbling like a fool through it, that's cool because you're learnin'. It'll happen.


•   The Mailbag Board is a series of articles that are answers to your questions about our weekly newsletters. Here's a recent example:


Read your article about hidden sugar. Just wondering what you should try to keep your sugar intake under in order to lose weight.


This question could not have a more variable answer. Sugar is a carbohydrate and we need carbs in our diet. They fuel both our body and brain far more efficiently than our other options, fats and proteins. In nature, sugar is found surrounded by other ingredients, generally fiber, when slows its absorption so that it behaves more like a complex carbohydrate.

We don't need ANY processed sugar in our diet but the amount of carbohydrates we need is directly related to how much exercise we do. The more active we are the more carbs we should eat because they are burned off. Fats and proteins are stored as body tissue. Carbs are only stored in small amounts in the liver and blood to be used as fuel. More exercise = more fuel.

The only place processed sugar has in our diet is as a sports food, where it can actually be more efficient that natural options. Unfortunately, it's often found in foods that are the opposite of sports foods.

And, if you'd like to read the original article, just click here.

Power 90®•   You'll also find our trainers when they aren't busy making new programs. Tony is particularly active in the 90X thread. Here's something from the Tony's Corner thread in the Power 90® forum.

Lock It In!

In my 11 keys to getting fit and staying that way for a lifetime, "The Plan" roles in at #7. I've always said that you can focus on Intensity & Variety, but if you don't know what you're doing and when, you're toast.

It amazes me that so many people (in these boards) wake up in the morning and don't know the exact time they're working out. We are pretty good at scheduling when to go to bed, and when to eat & when to watch our favorite show on the tube, but for some reason we're trying to fit the workout in whenever we can. The "fit it in whenever" philosophy might work short term, but never survives the long term. You can't have a fitness lifestyle if you don't have a long term plan.

WOWY is a tool to help you Lock It In. It creates accountability. The obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions. I schedule 6 workouts every week. I am accountable to the people I schedule them with.

Monday I take off. Tuesday I meet 4 guys at 5:00 PM for a weight workout. Wednesday I meet 1 to 3 people for cardio at 5:30 PM. Every other Wednesday I meet friends at 7:30 to rock climb. Thursday I do weights at 5:00 PM with the boys. Friday is cardio or leg/plyo day at 4:30 or 5:00 PM with 1 to 3 friends. Saturday is Yoga at 4:00 PM. I meet 2 to 4 friends at the yoga studio. It's Locked In!

You can love what you're doing & eat like a star, but if you don't plan those workouts (a month in advance) you won't go far.

Lock It In!

T. Hortonhead

Bike Race

•   Finally, let's talk about our Special Interest and Motivation forum. This is where you find the kind of subjects where you were sure you were the only one with a given problem. From thyroid issues and depression to things such as "couch potato to marathon man," you're likely to find most any situation. It's also home to one of our most amazing threads, the 100 Pound Pioneers. These are folks with 100 pounds or more to lose. Many of these members have gone on to not just lose weight but to run marathons and complete triathlons. Here's the beginning of a post about member G-Mama's quest to finish a triathlon. It's too long to post here, but follow the link below to read the rest. She's even posted pictures!

Where do I begin? Mercy, I guess I'll begin with Race Day and forget all the mental prep I did the week before. Needless to say you were all with me! I wrote Pioneer Powah on my palm it washed off during the swim but there was a faint outline that I kept staring at when I needed the extra humph! Bella, thank you so much for your kind and uplifting words! It is amazing what inspiration you all are! Neil, once again, knowing that you took time out of your busy schedule to come see me throw up, totally made the day more special!

Race night I slept like the dead!

Bike RaceRace morning I was so jittery I thought about Prom Night! My mom gave me a valium on Prom night because I was so jittery! I'm still mad at her for that! (Oh you want to hear about the race).

So I get up around 3:45 and shower! I slick my hair back in a pony tail because I am way too nervous to put them in French braids. My hands kept slipping! I kept asking myself was I tough enough? I kept telling myself I was crazy to attempt doing this! I kept getting dressed! I woke my son up around 4:30 and he got ready to go. I checked my TRI bag for the hundredth time! Then we stopped by the hotel's breakfast area and I got a bowlful of cheerios minus the milk.

We drove to the Dairyland Parking lot. Parked and were halfway to the buses when my son said, "Where's your helmet?" OMG, my helmet! He ran back to the car to get it. Breathe Sylvia breathe! . . .

Denis Faye

Steve Edwards If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, just email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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Recipe Tips for the Lazy Chef

By Joe Wilkes

Empty SinkSeveral months ago I wrote an article on One-Pot Meals, with some cooking tips for people like me who wanted to contain the kitchen mess to one pot. After the article ran, I was inundated with comments from readers and friends who asked, "Who are you, Martha Stewart? Why wash even one pot?" And sure enough, there are many ways you can make yourself three hot meals a day without dirtying even one pot. All you need is a little ingenuity and a stark phobia of the kitchen sink.

Dishes! Foiled again!

Salmon DinnerThis is one of the greatest inventions ever for the lazy chef. There are a wide variety of recipes you can make using what I call "packet cuisine." One of my fast foil favorites is super easy and mess-free. Take a piece of your favorite fish (I'm a big salmon fan). Using a large sheet of foil, place the fish in the center, and pull up the sides of the foil to make a bowl. Then, add some lemon juice, fresh dill, scallions, salt, pepper, and a splash of olive oil, and seal up the foil. Bake the fish packet in the oven at 350° for about 15 to 20 minutes, and you'll have a perfectly steamed piece of fish, with no dishes to wash! I know what you're thinking: "Sounds good. But won't I be up all night washing the knife and cutting board I used to chop the scallions and dill?" Not if you use one of modern man's handiest implements—the scissors! In the interest of hygiene, these should be a dedicated pair of scissors for food, not the ones you cut your hair with. But make sure to cut the scallions and dill or any other favorite herb over the fish, and voilà, flavor without the fuss!

You can use the packet technique to cook chicken breasts (they'll take longer to cook than fish), and if you don't want them to be mushy, you can unwrap them after they've cooked through and toss them into the broiler pan (on a sheet of foil of course—no point in having to scrub the broiler pan!) to brown them. Pieces of lean beef and pork can go right into the broiler pan on a piece of foil. Make sure you preheat the broiler first. Five minutes on each side should you give you a nice medium-rare steak. Also, you can save cleanup time on your ovenware by lining it with foil before you cook. When you're done cooking, pitch the foil, and the ovenware is clean!

The nuclear option

MicrowaveOf course, the microwave oven has transformed the lazy cook movement more than any other appliance. You can make a variation of almost any dish with just a few ingredients, a paper plate and some plastic wrap. (Some may question whether using paper products is the most environmentally friendly option, and it's true that a dish is better for the trees than a paper plate. But you're not using water to wash the paper plate or sending dishwashing detergent into the wastewater supply. Plus, the paper plate is recyclable, so you're not a complete jerk if you use paper.) My friend swears by Minute Rice Surprise. Stock up on rice. There are a bunch of microwaveable rice products on the market that work well—though we would recommend using brown rice or wild rice, so you get more fiber. First, prepare the rice according to the package instructions, then search your refrigerator for any condiments or leftovers that would go well with the rice (that's the surprise!). Salsa or hot sauce is a great addition to Minute Rice Surprise. Also consider using nonfat cheese, sour cream, or yogurt; any leftover turkey, chicken, or lunch meat; tuna; soy sauce; or your favorite spices. This is also a great way to use up any leftover fresh vegetables, or add some frozen, thawed vegetables to the mix. Frozen vegetables are another great base for a yummy microwave dish. I'm partial to nuking some Brussels sprouts and topping them with a little Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar for a tasty snack or side dish.

Containers to contain the mess

Cottage Cheese ContainerSure, we were brought up to believe that eating straight from the container or drinking straight from the milk carton was disgusting, but it can also be a very practical way of dining in. For example, I usually buy 16-ounce containers of nonfat cottage cheese. For my first serving, I usually empty half the container into a bowl (which I later have to wash—boooo!); doctor it up with my favorite salsas, hot sauces, or spices; and then eat. The only thing better is the second time I whip up my spicy cottage cheese mixture—in the container! Yes, you heard right. I mix it up and eat it right out of the container and then throw the container in the recycling bin! No fuss, no muss—just a high-protein low-calorie snack or meal! This technique also works great with yogurt and other similarly packaged items. Also, if you can bear doing a big load of dishes once a week, you can do what I do and cook up a big pot of healthy something or other and dispense the leftovers into recyclable plastic containers for later dishwashing-free consumption.

The plate IS the food

TortillaWhy do the dishes when you can eat the dishes? There are plenty of whole-wheat breadstuffs that have enough structural integrity that you can use them for cooking and serving. Try a mini-pizza on a whole-wheat pizza shell, a whole-wheat tortilla, an English muffin, or a lavash. A little tomato sauce, your favorite veggies, and some nonfat or low-fat mozzarella and you're good to go. Or you could make a run for the border. A friend of mine gave me this easy burrito-making tip. She spreads some nonfat refried beans and nonfat cheese on a whole-wheat tortilla and sticks it in her toaster oven until the beans are warm and the cheese is melted. Then she adds a little salsa, nonfat sour cream, black olives, and some scissor-chopped scallions to top, and enjoys a healthy vegetarian meal, with no cleanup!

Joe Wilkes If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, just email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Test Your Microwave Food IQ!

By Joe Wilkes

Rank these microwave foods in calories from lowest to highest.

  1. Popcorn80 calories (3 grams of fat): Orville Redenbacher Natural Light Popcorn (3 cups).

  2. 250 calories (5 grams of fat): Lean Cuisine Spaghetti with Meatballs.

  3. Cup Noodles296 calories (14 grams of fat): Nissin Ramen Cup Noodles, chicken flavor (1 container).

  4. 348 calories (9 grams of fat): Bean and cheese burrito.

  5. 367 calories (18 grams of fat!): Pepperoni Hot Pocket (1 pocket).

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, just email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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