COFFEE, TEA, OR TURBOFIRE®? #499 04/11/12

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The Latté Lowdown: 10 Things to Like and Not Like About Coffee

By Steve Edwards

Depending on how you interpret statistics, coffee is the most consumed beverage in the world. Together with its brethren, tea, only soda measures up in a popularity contest. Because they all contain caffeine, they're often lumped together in one group, which is a pity because they couldn't be further apart. Both coffee and tea are natural tonics steeped in lore and tradition. Soda, on the other hand, has nothing natural about it. It's a purely man-made concoction designed to elicit a drug-like response and cravings.

Coffee Beans

Coffee and tea may often be referred to as "drugs," but that is a misnomer. They are natural herbal elixirs, more akin to echinacea than ibuprofen. A quick search of the National Institute of Health's database shows 8,617 studies on coffee alone and 25,164 on caffeine as of the time of writing this article. The overwhelming majority of these studies are positive. Humans have been drinking coffee for longer than recorded history, and research confirms that it has very few downsides. Soda, on the other hand, has only been around a few generations, and the first long-term studies on it have just started to appear. The appalling results link both regular and diet sodas to myriad diseases and decreased life span. So, to repeat: In no way should these beverages ever be related.

Just because coffee has tradition and science on its side doesn't mean you should have a 64-ounce trucker's mug permanently attached to your wrist. As with all "healthy" foods, supplements, tonics, or herbs; common sense—if not downright restraint—should be employed with use. Let's take a look at 10 things to like and not like about coffee.

  1. CoffeeCoffee can keep you awake. This can be the desired effect, but if it hampers your ability to sleep when you want to, give it a miss. While coffee has all kinds of cool benefits, none of those are as beneficial as sleep. During the various stages of sleep, our body releases many powerful regenerative hormones, making it the greatest natural performance aid around. Furthermore, a 17-year-old study out of England, featuring 10,000 participants, showed those who cut their sleep from seven hours a night to five or less faced a 1.7-fold increased risk in mortality from all causes and more than double the risk of cardiovascular death. Sleep first. Then, consider a cup of java.
  2. "Insert your favorite flavor"-accino doesn't make it coffee. For millennia, coffee was consumed in small cups and, perhaps, enhanced by a touch of sugar or milk. Only since the Starbucks® revolution, has it been possible to order what was formerly a cup o' Joe and have it delivered as something that was formerly a milkshake. The majority of most coffee house menus are filled with items that aren't really coffee, but rather coffee-spiked dessert. Coffee and tea have zero calories. A spoonful of sugar and dash of milk contain around 40 calories. The average drink at Starbucks contains 300 empty calories or more, turning most people's conception of coffee into something closer to soda. So before ordering your next Choco-Vanilla-accino-Frappé, consider that even one soda a day greatly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
  3. It's a magic elixir. And now for some good news. A 20-year-old study that followed some 84,000 women and 44,000 men concluded that coffee had a bevy of benefits. Published in the May 2, 2006, issue of Circulation, the study concluded that drinking coffee isn't harmful to cardiovascular health, as had been long assumed, and may even be beneficial. From Harvard Health, "The latest research has not only confirmed that moderate coffee consumption doesn't cause harm, it's also uncovered possible benefits. Studies show that the risk for type 2 diabetes is lower among regular coffee drinkers than among those who don't drink it. Also, coffee may reduce the risk of developing gallstones, discourage the development of colon cancer, improve cognitive function, reduce the risk of liver damage in people at high risk for liver disease, and reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease. Coffee has also been shown to improve endurance performance in long-duration physical activities." Need I say more? I'm just getting started . . .
  4. Coffee and StethoscopeCoffee can reduce the pain of exercise. An article published in the April 2009 edition of the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism shows that coffee can kill some of the pain associated with rigorous exercise. "Caffeine works on a system in the brain and spinal cord (the adenosine neuromodulatory system) that is heavily involved in pain processing," said Robert Motl, kinesiology and community health professor at University of Illinois. These results seemed constant whether or not the subjects were habitual caffeine drinkers. So much for the knock on caffeinated pre-workout supplements!
  5. You're less likely to get type 2 diabetes. It's not all about caffeine. A slew of studies report that coffee lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes. The July 6, 2005, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at data from many of them and concluded that their findings were, indeed, true. One of those, from the February 2006 issue of Diabetes Care, found that decaf lowers the risk of diabetes as well, suggesting that something other than caffeine is likely responsible.
  6. It can increase your sports performance. This probably isn't too surprising since, for many years, caffeine was on the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned substance list. Coffee increases many processes in the body that can lead to better performance. Among its ergogenic (performance enhancing) benefits are better mental focus, increased ability to use fat as fuel (which spares your glycogen stores), and increased ability to release calcium stored in the muscle, leading to greater power output, not to mention the one I referenced in number four. And you don't need a trucker's mug to do it. Studies at the Australian Institute of Sport report that athletes get the full caffeine effect with as little as 1 milligram of caffeine per kilogram of body weight, or about 1 cup of coffee for an average human.
  7. Coffee Beans, Coffee Cup,and Sugar CubesCoffee makes you smart. A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in August 2006 followed 676 healthy, older men from Finland, the Netherlands, and Italy for 10 years and measured their cognitive function. Those who drank coffee had lower rates of age-related cognitive decline than those who didn't, with maximum protection seen in men who drank 3 cups of coffee a day.
  8. You're less likely to get prostate cancer. Men are advised to have regular prostate cancer testing done once they hit the not-so-ripe-old-age of 40. Turns out, coffee is one of your greatest allies in the fight against it, especially when you drink a lot of it. A 2006 study conducted on 50,000 men over a 20-year period concluded that those who drank coffee were 60 percent less likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer. And here's where tea drinkers might listen up too. "Caffeine in coffee doesn't seem to be the link, since the same reduction was seen for consumption of decaffeinated coffee," stated Kathryn Wilson, a research fellow in epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. "It has something to do with insulin and glucose metabolism. A number of studies have found that coffee is (also) associated with a reduced risk of diabetes." It's also worth noting that 6 cups a day seemed like the magic number, as that's where the risks were lowest. A follow-up in 2011 has further confirmed this study.
  9. Six is the magic number for cancer. In 2007, almost 94,000 women participated in a study that found that those who drank caffeinated coffee daily had a 10 percent lower risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer, while those who drank 6 or more cups daily had an almost 40 percent reduction in risk. This time, caffeine seems like the key, as researchers were able to uncover the mechanism by which caffeine helps lower the risk. Caffeine molecules were already known to behave as a natural sunscreen, but they also found the stimulant to have a positive effect on DNA.
  10. Group of People Having CoffeeCoffee reduces your chance of having a stroke. I raise your six and give you eight. A 2008 study of more than 26,000 male smokers in Finland found that the men who drank 8 or more cups of coffee a day had a 23 percent lower risk of having a stroke than the men who drank little or no coffee. Other reports suggest the effect applies to healthy nonsmokers, too. This was backed by researchers at UCLA and USC who examined data on coffee consumption and stroke prevalence among more than 9,000 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. At a 2009 conference, they reported that the likelihood of having a stroke was highest among people who didn't drink coffee and lowest among those who drank the most coffee: 5 percent of people who drank 1 or 2 cups a day suffered strokes, whereas 2.9 percent of people who drank 6 or more cups suffered strokes. So much for moderation.

Turns out there's a good reason coffee is not just popular to drink but has an almost cult-like following; it makes life better. And it seems that we knew it long before we could prove it. Just like the British and their beloved tea, coffee is a part of our culture and our history. From literature, to art, to music, and cinema, life wouldn't be the same without a steaming hot cup of Good Morning America®.

In closing, I'd like to leave you with a few pearls of wisdom from one of coffee's most outspoken fans—artist, musician, and film director David Lynch. "I'm gonna let you in on a little secret. Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don't plan it, don't wait for it, just . . . let it happen. Could be a new shirt at the men's store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot, black coffee." —Special Agent Dale Cooper, Twin Peaks.


  • Abel, Ernest L et al. "Daily coffee consumption and prevalence of nonmelanoma skin cancer in Caucasian women." European journal of cancer prevention the official journal of the European Cancer Prevention Organisation ECP 16.5 (2007) : 446-452.
  • Conis, E. April 10, 2011. Coffee Studies Should Warm Your Heart. Los Angeles Times.
  • Ferrie, Jane E et al. "A Prospective Study of Change in Sleep Duration: Associations with Mortality in the Whitehall II Cohort." Sleep (Rochester) 30.12 (2007) : 1659-1666.
  • Hu, F B et al. "Coffee consumption and coronary heart disease in men and women: a prospective cohort study." Circulation 113.7169 (2006) : 1341-1345.
  • Gliottoni, Rachael C et al. "Effect of caffeine on quadriceps muscle pain during acute cycling exercise in low versus high caffeine consumers." International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 19.2 (2009) : 150-161.
  • Tarnopolsky, Mark A. "Effect of caffeine on the neuromuscular system—potential as an ergogenic aid." Applied physiology nutrition and metabolism Physiologie appliquee nutrition et metabolisme 33.6 (2008) : 1284-1289.
  • Van Dam, Rob M, and Frank B Hu. "Coffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review." Jama The Journal Of The American Medical Association 294.1 (2005) : 97-104.
  • Vasanti S. Malik, SCD, Barry M. Popkin, PHD et al. "Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Risk of Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes." Diabetes Care November 2010; 33(11): 2477-2483.
  • Wilson, K M et al. "Coffee Consumption and Prostate Cancer Risk and Progression in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study." JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2011) : djr151-.

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Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Check the Team Beachbody Chat Room for the next impromptu video chat. Or, if you just can't wait, log onto the Information & Education section of the Team Beachbody Message Boards for questions, answers, and scintillating conversation.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at We may even answer your question right here, for all the world to see!

And if you'd like to know more about Beachbody Director of Results Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration. You can also read a more scientific (not to mention snarky) take on many of the topics we discuss here at The Real Fitness Nerd blog.

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Hot Cups o' Love: Top 10 Herbal Teas to Warm You Up All Year Round

By Sarah Stevenson

Winter may be winding down, but that that doesn't mean we're done with chilly weather for the year. Some days, the only thing that can warm me up is a hot bath, but when that isn't an option, I go for plan B—a nice, hot cup of herbal tea. It warms me up in no time at all.

Assorted Herbal Teas

Herbal teas have long been popular in the East as homeopathic natural remedies. Here in the West, they've generally been considered either "alternative" medicine or just caffeine-free alternatives to coffee and traditional tea. Now, they're beginning to grow in mainstream popularity thanks to a growing body of research telling us that a hot cup of herbal tea can support liver function, help speed weight loss, help enhance/stabilize moods, help lower blood pressure, and a host of other great things, including keeping me warm when my mother is visiting and won't get out of the bathroom.

Here are a few of my favorites.

  1. Chamomile tea. Chamomile is an ingredient in all my favorite sleepy-time teas. It's known for its calming, anxiety-reducing effects. In January 2005, the American Chemical Society conducted a study in which participants were required to drink 5 cups of chamomile tea for a period of 2 weeks. Research found an increase in chemicals responsible for immune system functioning, reduced menstrual cramping and muscles spasms, and mild sedation/calming effects. The researchers reported, "Levels of both hippurate and glycine (the chemicals responsible for the positive effects from drinking the tea) remained elevated for up to two weeks after the study participants stopped drinking the tea, indicating that the compounds may remain active for quite some time." As of February 2011, chamomile is approved by the German regulatory agency for herbs for treating various health conditions and for use in medicinal baths for alleviating skin irritations.
  2. Oolong teaOolong tea. Oolong tea is one of the healthiest teas you can ingest. It contains antioxidant properties that help fight against the production of free radicals in our systems. Free radicals are found everywhere in the foods we eat and even in the air we breathe and the sun that warms us. Kenichi Yanagimoto conducted a comparative study in 2003 in which he compared antioxidant activities of green tea, oolong tea, and black tea. He found green tea to be the most potent antioxidant (100 percent blocker of oxidants when drank for 40 days), followed by oolong tea (50 percent blocker of oxidants when drank for only 15 days), and black tea showing very low levels of antioxidant properties. It's also been reported to help with weight loss by increasing your metabolism, burning fat, and blocking fat absorption. In a 2004 study posted in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Dr. Yang found that drinking green and oolong tea for at least a year reduces high blood pressure. Regular drinkers are 46 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure if they drink one to two half cups a day. They are 65 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure if they drink more than 2 cups a day.
  3. Green teaGreen tea. Nothing gives me a clean boost of energy like green tea. Have a hot cup in the winter or have it over ice to cool you down in the summertime. As mentioned above, it's a powerful antioxidant. Research suggests green tea can aid in cancer prevention and decrease blood clotting, strokes, heart attacks, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and other aging-related disorders. The health benefits related with consuming green tea have also been validated in animal studies.
  4. Lemon grass tea. This herbal tea has a very fresh, citrus taste to it. It is known in some Eastern medicines for removing toxins, bacteria, and fungi from your liver, kidneys, pancreas, bladder, and digestive system. With a clean system, your skin will improve, indigestion will decrease, and your immune system will be oh-so-happy. Just talking about this tea makes me want to brew a cup. It's easy to make. If you have fresh leaves, you just pour 2 cups of water over 1/4 cup of lemon grass leaves, bring to a boil, and let it simmer for 2 or 3 minutes. If you have dried leaves, pour boiling water over about 2 teaspoons of leaves, and let it steep for 5 minutes.
  5. Ginger root teaGinger root tea. This sassy, spicy tea has been passed down through the ages to cure conditions such as arthritis, diarrhea, and nausea. Ginger root tea does an amazing job at getting rid of nausea. Vomiting and nausea are symptoms of indigestion, and this tea is responsible for aiding in the secretion of digestive juices that help control stomach acid and relax your abdominal muscles. Because of its spicy properties, this is a great tea for colds. It causes you to sweat, which helps break a fever, and it also helps you detoxify pathogens. Spicy tea also helps clear out your sinuses so you can breathe easy. Ginger tea also aids with digestion by helping break down proteins in foods that may cause gas.
  6. Passion flower teaPassion flower tea. For generations, Native American tribes have used this tea for its sedating effect to calm the nerves. Traditional medical practitioners are also admitting this tea's powers to lower blood pressure and act as a natural pain killer. Passion flower tea calms muscle tension and twitching without affecting your heart or clouding your mind like pharmaceutical drugs. Both the dried leaves and stems of the flower contain the health benefits. Infuse 1 tablespoon of dried herbs in 1 cup of boiling water. Let the mixture steep for about 10 minutes. Rely on this tea anytime you need a restful sleep or relief from pain.
  7. Peppermint tea. This tea can be made from dried or fresh peppermint leaves, which are very simple to grow organically in your own backyard. Peppermint tea is known for its healing properties with your digestive system. It is a carminativean agent that dispels gas and bloating in the digestive system, and an antispasmodic, which means it helps relieve intestinal cramps related to an upset stomach. Its expectorant properties help your body clear mucus when you have a head cold. It also has the aromatherapy benefit of helping to relieve headaches and induce a restful sleep.
  8. Rooibos teaRooibos tea (red bush tea). Pronounced roy-boss, this tea got its name for its green leaves that turn red when oxidized. It contains polyphenols that serve as anti-inflammatory and anti-viral agents. It also has sedative effects similar to chamomile, so it is very helpful for those who suffer from insomnia. It contains calcium, manganese, and fluoride to help build strong teeth and bones. Current research suggests that the tea has anti-aging qualities. At Japan's Iwate University, researchers looked at rooibos' ability to protect against damage to the central nervous system caused by aging. Young female rats were allowed to drink their fill of rooibos tea for 21 months. They were then compared to rats that drank only water. The scientists searched for signs of lipid peroxidation—cell damage caused by free radicals—in the two groups. There was indeed a sign in the water-fed, but not the rooibos-fed rats.
  9. Mulberry tea. This tea has a really delicious, fruity taste. Mulberry tea is filled with nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium. It aids in weight loss because it's a diuretic, so it helps cleanse your body of toxins, and it also has the ability to block sugars from entering the blood stream. In a study published in the May 2007 issue of Diabetes Care journal, mulberry leaf was found to reduce glucose levels in rats and subjects with type 2 diabetes. The tea contains antioxidants that help build the immune system and reduce bad cholesterol.
  10. Licorice teaLicorice tea. Licorice is a perennial herb indigenous to Greece, Italy, Spain, Syria, Iraq, and southern China. It is one of my very favorite teas, especially when I'm not feeling well. It has a very sweet, almost syrupy taste to it. It can be used as a cough syrup, just add a little honey to thicken it and it coats your throat just like an over-the-counter cold remedy. It can also be used to sooth ulcers and stomachaches due to digestive problems. In one study, licorice root extract was used to treat 100 patients with stomach ulcers (of which 86 had not improved from conventional medication) for 6 weeks. Ninety percent of patients improved; ulcers totally disappeared in 22 of these patients.

So, now you know. Tea has many healing properties: the ability to wake you up, calm you down, warm you up, and thin you out. Why wouldn't you drink it? Now you have 10 great herbal teas to choose from.


  • Matsuyama T, Tanaka Y, Kamimaki I, Nagao T, Tokimitsu I. Catechin safely improved higher levels of fatness, blood pressure, and cholesterol in children. Obesity 2008; 16(6):1338–1348.
  • Zaveri NT. Green tea and its polyphenolic catechins: Medicinal uses in cancer and noncancer applications. Life Sciences 2006; 78(18):2073–2080.
  • Leite JR, Seabra Mde L, Maluf E, et al. (July 1986). "Pharmacology of lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus Stapf). III. Assessment of eventual toxic, hypnotic and anxiolytic effects on humans".
  • American Chemical Society (2005, January 4). Chamomile Tea: New Evidence Supports Health.
  • German chamomile. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Accessed at on May 8, 2009.
  • Kenichi Yanagimoto, Hirotomo Ochi, Kwang-Geun Lee, and Takayuki Shibamoto (2003). Antioxidative Activities of Volatile Extracts from Green Tea, Oolong Tea, and Black Tea. J. Agric. Food Chem., 51 (25), 7396 -7401.
  • Yang YC et all (2004). The protective effect of habitual tea consumption on hypertension. Archives of Internal Medicine 164:1534-1540.
  • Inanami O, Asanuma T, Inukai N, Jin T, Shimokawa S, Kasai N, Nakano M, Sato F, Kuwabara M. The suppression of age-related accumulation of lipid peroxides in rat brain by administration of Rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis). Neurosci Lett. 1995 Aug 18;196(1-2):85-8.
  • GENG Yanyan,WANG Yuefei (Department of Tea Science,Zhejiang University,Hangzhou 310029,China); Review on anti-diabetic effect and its mechanisms of tea polyphenols(TP)[J];Journal of Tea;2007-01
  • Tominaga Y, Nakagawa K, Mae T, et al. Licorice flavonoid oil reduces total body fat an visceral fat in overweight subjects: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Obesity Research & Clinical Practice. 2009;3(3).
  • Borrelli F, Izzo AA. The plant kingdom as a source of anti-ulcer remedies. [Review]. Phytother Res. 2000;14(8):581-591.

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Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Check the Team Beachbody Chat Room for the next impromptu video chat. Or, if you just can't wait, log onto the Information & Education section of the Team Beachbody Message Boards for questions, answers, and scintillating conversation.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at We may even answer your question right here, for all the world to see!

And if you'd like to know more about Beachbody Director of Results Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration. You can also read a more scientific (not to mention snarky) take on many of the topics we discuss here at The Real Fitness Nerd blog.

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The Science Behind TurboFire®

By Steve Edwards

Whenever you have completed one workout program successfully, it's always hard to decide what to do next. When you keep coming up with hits like creator Chalene Johnson does—first Turbo Jam®, then ChaLEAN Extreme®—it can seem like an especially daunting task. But when Johnson's Fat Blaster workout (part of the Turbo Jam® Fat Burning Elite program) became a serendipitous hit, we knew it was time for Chalene to take things to the next level. That's how the idea for TurboFire® was born. The goal was to create a next-level fitness program that could be done by anyone and was easy to follow. Here's how we did it.


What is HIIT?

HIITTurboFire is based around a concept called High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT. HIIT has been somewhat popular since the '90s, when a study suggested that you could burn up to nine times more body fat using short but very high-intensity intervals than you could using old-school steady-state aerobic training. HIIT's popularity had been cultish, mainly because HIIT training had two perceived negatives associated with it. First, it's hard; as in full-bore, maxed-out, cross-eyed hard. (The Tabata study from '96 forced subjects to 170 percent of VO2 max, or the maximum capacity for the body to transport and use oxygen during incremental exercise.) Second, it can only be effective when done in short cycles. But Chalene was intrigued with HIIT's time-efficient structure, which promised great results, so we decided to see if we could create a training program based around it.

The AfterBurn Effect

Tara C.'s 'Before' and 'After' PhotosOur decision to focus on HIIT wasn't based on just one study. Additional studies have showed similar results, using variations of the HIIT protocol. A 2001 study concluded that HIIT training increases the resting metabolic rate (RMR) for the 24 hours following a workout due to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, which explains how a short interval workout can have a longer-lasting effect on body composition change than a much longer cardio session.

We termed this phenomenon the AfterBurn Effect and began assembling a series of workouts that could maximize HIIT across many training platforms. Increases in post-exercise oxygen consumption are not unique to HIIT. No other style of training has HIIT's peak numbers, but they can be done for longer periods of time. There is science behind the saying, "For every action, there is a reaction." All that intense HIIT training comes at a cost; the body breaks down quickly and it can't be sustained for very long.

Numerous studies were on the same page in showing that fitness gains made with HIIT training begin to plateau sometime after the third week. Therefore, the key to creating a fitness program using the HIIT modality required us to figure out how to either get the body to recover for another round of HIIT training as quickly as possible, or look at other training modalities that could work in conjunction with HIIT that also yielded results.

The Periodizational Approach

In basic terms, periodizational training means finding a way to alter training over time to maximize results; sort of like basic cross-training, but with a more well-defined plan. If you're familiar with Beachbody's fitness programs, you've seen this before. All our programs have a schedule that changes over time. The two factors that control how much change occurs are time and intensity. Essentially, over time everyone should alter their approach to training, and the fitter you are, the more your approach needs to change, to continually cause something called the adaptation response. For those of you who've done P90X®, the TurboFire schedule should look familiar.

But TurboFire, as Chalene says, "is not P90X for girls." It's a HIIT-focused training program, where all the other training is designed to prepare you to get the best results possible during your HIIT training phases. And while both P90X and TurboFire have a somewhat complex periodizational structure, their schedules are quite different. TurboFire combines both of the philosophies you'll hear Chalene espouse in her other programs, Turbo Jam and ChaLEAN Extreme.

Muscle Burns Fat®

The tagline from ChaLEAN Extreme, Muscle Burns Fat, doesn't get chucked out the window just because we created some HIIT routines. The physiological principle of adding muscle to your frame increases your metabolism and leads to changes in body composition is valid, and you'll find that resistance work is a major component of TurboFire.

In ChaLEAN Extreme, you'll often hear Chalene say you should do resistance training three times per week for the rest of your life. It's not just talk, and TurboFire holds you to it. In fact, in an homage to the P90X tagline, Muscle Confusion™, as part of the TurboFire program, you'll receive a schedule for a hybrid program that combines ChaLEAN Extreme and TurboFire. When you combine the two programs, you get a periodizational schedule that'll keep challenging your body's adaptation response for nearly a year!

Advanced Cardio Conditioning

TurboFire® WorkoutTurboFire, in fact, is not as much of a HIIT program as it is a Chalene program. Her workouts are unique, and TurboFire is very much an extension of her first Beachbody® program, Turbo Jam, which was a home version of her health club training class, Turbo Kick. She termed her first vision of TurboFire "the next level of Turbo Kick," and that's pretty much what we've got here. The program has the look and feel of being in an exercise class at the gym—Chalene's preferred environment.

Chalene likes the class environment because "it's fun and provides motivation." But there's more than fun at the root of her classes. Cardio is an umbrella term that covers a lot of different styles of training, from easy aerobic to intense HIIT. No matter where, between these extremes your workout falls, you're going to be targeting different human energy systems that have different physiological benefits. For the TurboFire system, Chalene created different cardio classes to make sure each of these energy systems were being targeted, to achieve an effect she calls Cardio Confusion, a play on words referencing P90X's Muscle Confusion.

Cardio Confusion is more than a slogan. The cardio phases of the TurboFire program combine different styles of interval training with recovery-oriented aerobic training to create a steady growth curve in your fitness levels. This accelerates your body's ability to get ready for your next round of HIIT, but it also takes advantage of the AfterBurn Effect by targeting different energy systems.


Targeted recovery is not a by-product of TurboFire, but an essential part of the program. That you only get stronger at rest is a gym cliché that, as many do, holds a lot of truth. Active recovery helps your body grow strong much more quickly than rest alone. All high-level training programs work better if they contain targeted rest and recovery phases. During these periods, you target the body's aerobic system and stabilizer muscles, and use techniques that stretch out overworked muscle fibers and heal connective tissue microtrauma.

A program for one. A program for all.

It's often difficult to find one fitness program that would work for everyone, and it's generally not best to recommend that everyone do the same program, rather than steering each person toward the program that best fits their needs. Reality, though, has taught us that people often want to do what inspires them, whether it fits their ability level or not. Beachbody's high-level programs P90X and INSANITY® are meant to be "graduate" programs only; each comes with a fitness test that, if you can't complete it, recommends you do a lower-level program first, instead. While our beginning-level customers should pay attention to this advice, and would usually get better results with an easier program, we've learned that they don't always do what we recommend.

With TurboFire, however, we've done our best to allow nearly anyone to attempt the program safely. In fact, we included a 2-month preparatory schedule for anyone who thinks they may not be ready for the rigors of HIIT training. Not only that, every move in the program comes with a modified version that almost anyone should be able to follow. Furthermore, Chalene recognized that some men can be rhythm-challenged, so she purposely made the choreography a lot easier to follow than it is in Turbo Jam and her health club classes.


The final element of the program is diet, another element where TurboFire has evolved beyond other Beachbody programs. TurboFire has gone in the opposite direction from P90X, which has a phased eating plan that some of our customers have found to be complex. Instead, TurboFire's diet has expanded on the Beachbody Step-by-Step Nutrition Guide and tried to give you a variety of different ways to alter your eating habits, with the same end purpose as our other plans—a balanced diet that fuels exercise recovery.

Essentially, the entire TurboFire program has a singular focus: that getting fit can be fun, and that eating healthy doesn't need to be a complex task. And while there's a lot of science behind what you'll see as you follow along, our goal was to make it as simple as the original Beachbody tagline: Just Push Play.


  • Coffee, V.G. and J.A. Hawley. The molecular bases of training adaptation. Sports Med. 37:737-763, 2007.
  • Gibala, Martin J; Jonathan P. Little, Martin van Essen, Geoffrey P. Wilkin, Kirsten A. Burgomaster, Adeel Safdar, Sandeep Raha and Mark A. Tarnopolsky (September 15 2006). "Short-term sprint interval versus traditional endurance training: similar initial adaptations in human skeletal muscle and exercise performance". J Physiol 575 (3): 901-911.
  • King, Jeffrey W. A Comparison of the Effects of Interval Training vs. Continuous Training on Weight Loss and Body Composition in Obese Pre-Menopausal Women: A thesis presented to the faculty of the Department of Physical Education, Exercise, and Sports Sciences, East Tennessee State University; 2001.
  • Little, Jonathan P; Adeel S. Safdar, Geoffrey P. Wilkin, Mark A. Tarnopolsky, and Martin J. Gibala (2009). "A practical model of low-volume high-intensity interval training induces mitochondrial biogenesis in human skeletal muscle: potential mechanisms". J Physiol.
  • Melby, C., C. Scholl, G. Edwards, and R. Bullough. Effect of acute resistance exercise on postexercise energy expenditure and resting metabolic rate. J. Appl. Physiol. 75:1847-1853, 1993.
  • Tabata I, K. Nishimura, M. Kouzaki, et al. (1996). "Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max". Med Sci Sports Exerc 28 (10): 1327-30.
  • Tremblay, A J. Després, C. Leblanc, C.L. Craig, B. Ferris, T. Stephens, and C. Bouchard. Effect of intensity of physical activity on body fatness and fat distribution. Am J. Clin. Nutr. 51:153-157, 1990.
  • Tremblay, A J, A Simoneau, C Bouchard (1994). "Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism". Metab. Clin. Exp. 43 (7): 814-8.

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Tara C. Success Story: TurboFire®

Tara lost 49 pounds in 90 days with TurboFire! Check out her AMAZING Success Story.

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Recipe: Coffee Spice Rub

(Makes 2 servings)

Coffee Spice Rub

If you thought coffee was just for pepping people up, think again. It turns out that it's also a great way to wake up your meat! Admittedly, that sounds a bit weird, but it's true. This flavorful rub is perfect for lean beef, chicken, or fish. So ditch those chemically, sugary, overly-salty packaged rubs and try this healthy, low-calorie option today!

  • 2 tsp. fine ground espresso coffee
  • 2 tsp. raw coconut sugar crystals or palm sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  1. Combine coffee, coconut sugar, oregano, paprika, cumin, mustard, coriander, salt, and cayenne pepper in small bowl; mix well.
  2. Store in airtight container for later use. Rub is sufficient for 1-1/2 pounds of meat.
  3. To use, rub all over meat; let rest for a few minutes and grill to desired doneness.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 0 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Sugar Protein
11 0 g 0 g 10 mg 134 mg 2 g 0 g 2 g 0 g

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at

P90X® and P90X2® Portion Information

Nutritional Information: (per serving)

Zero portions! This one's a freebie!

Fat Vegetables
0 0

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