on 18 March 2003
The best thing about this book is the way it is packaged as a 12 week course. This gives you a challenge and a goal. It makes you think about what you want, how you are going to get it and what has gone wrong before. The motivational stories may make UK readers cringe a little but I'm sure they will also have a positive effect too.
The main weakness is that you could (if you could be bothered to work it out for yourself) get the same results without the quirky diet regimen. If you have been a couch potato for a while like me and piled on a few pounds then of course suddenly doing 3 sets of aerobic and 3 intense sets of weight-training a week is going to make a big difference over 3 months. It is doubtful whether you really need to be eating 6 meals of carbohydrate and protein to achieve excellent results and I suspect, given that most of the world operates on 3 meals a day, that being the odd one out will be difficult for a lot of people. Each meal is one "portion" of protein, one or carbohydrate & as much low-carb veg as you like. This could typically be a skinless chicken breast & a baked potato which amounts to c.300 calories, add to this a tablespoon of flavoring, be that salad dressing or sauce etc and some vegetables that adds up to c.2000 cals a day which for a flabby guy doing a load of exercise is sensible. I've found that eating these 6 meals a day is a fair bit MORE calories than I'd normally eat but given the huge increase in exercise I'm sure it won't do any harm. Also, I've always eaten a balanced diet and I'm sure that the advice on nutrition will be much more useful to others who eat crisps and Coke all day.
Most of the diet advice is fairly sound. It's not dangerous zero carbs nonsense like the Atkins diet but the pushing touse his own-brand meal-replacement shakes is neither necessary nor particularly healthy - I think we are all coming to understand that natural foods are greater than the sum of their tehcnical nutrient breakdowns and are, in the long run, the only really heathy option. Having said that, this doesn't render the course irrelevant.
There is plenty of support information, groups and sites on the web for this plan which is an added bonus and can only help keep one motivated.
Like all these books, you are partially sold on a silver bullet effect - that somehow a certain combination of foods and exercises and maybe supplements will have a synergistic effect and have amazing results. I don't believe this to be true but that souldn't put you off. If you are currently not already fit and lean then in following the program you will lose fat, gain muscle, be fitter and feel better - this is a certainty as you will be exercising a lot & eating pretty well. It's no miracle but you don't need one anyway.
I'm following this course with some changes to the eating plan to fit in with my life and it has had the effect of motivating me to get up, exercise and plan my eating. I've been getting more and more unhappy about my weight increase and general laziness and this book has tipped my into action.
on 4 March 2003
My gym workouts seemed to be going nowhere, so I invested in this book to try and structure my approach and speed up my progress.
One of the reasons I chose this book above others was the complimentary reviews here on Amazon. But, may I point out that while some of the reviews award five stars and rave about the book, it's not until you get to the end of the review that the author suddenly admits that he or she is 'about to embark on his [Bill's] plan'. Or, 'I know that when I complete the 12 week course, I'll have the kind of body you see in all the mags or on Baywatch'. Until you've actually tried sticking to the program, you'll never know how hard it is, however motivated you may feel at the offset.
So, in short, from someone who has tried to follow the plan all the way through - i.e. me, I can honestly say that the book is highly inspirational and motivational, but I found the strict diet regime very hard to follow.
The book's focus revolves around the belief that you can 'Change your mind - Change your body - Change your life'. I.e. empowering yourself to change your body will have a knock-on effect and could change your life. It is easy to understand and very clearly written, and I felt motivated and inspired after reading it.
Having applied Bill's 'intensity' method to my workouts, my workout times became more effective and shorter, and after just a couple of weeks my personal levels increased significantly. I actually felt like I'd done a harder workout after just twenty minutes than when I'd previously spent over an hour in the gym.
However, I failed because I found it impossible to stick to the diet. For example, I do not class a mixture of non-fat yogurt and cottage cheese as an evening meal. Nor can I eat pasta with no sauce, no butter and no cheese - but just a squeeze of lemon over it. I realise diets mean some sort of sacrifice, but this was beyond my personal limit.
My other complaint is Bill's habit of extolling the virtues of his company's own nutrition drink, Myoplex, which is extremely expensive. Also, I did not want to start taking supplements.
In summary, the book is worth buying for motivating you and guiding you towards a more effective fitness routine. But unless you have huge amounts of self discipline and will power, you are unlikely to resemble the 'before' and 'after' photos adorning the inside covers after twelve weeks.
on 12 July 2010
I have read all the reviews given here on this book, and I feel very sorry for the people who couldn't gain benefit from it. It's clear from reading some of the reviews that some people didn't understand the entire programme, which may be why they didn't feel it worked for them. For example, the 'eat anything' day is a whole day, not one meal - I had mine from 1pm on Saturday to 1pm on Sunday because that suited my lifestyle and it made the deprivation of the other days seem more manageable.
My sister recommmended this book to me after losing three and a half stone with it (which she has kept off, btw) and we agree that the programme is by no means easy, but then why would it be?? If we do end up looking like one of those 'before' photos in the book, it isn't likely to be easy to change our dreadful eating habits and general lazy lifestyle, but it's the only way to lose weight and re-invent oneself physically.
I had to set my alarm for 6am to get to the gym before work, but by golly, it has been worth it. I have been on Bill's plan for six weeks, and I could see a change in my shape and my fitness level within one week of starting it. I did buy some of his protein bars to use as snacks when I was caught out on the road with work, and they made a very convenient way of taking in some protein in a perfectly balanced form.
I bought them online and in boxes which made them roughly the same price each as a regular bar of chocolate from the petrol station but without all the unwanted characteristics. I'm not a lover of protein shakes but they are a great recovery meal after training, and I'm lucky that I love fish so a can of mackerel fillets in tomato sauce does me fine as elevenses. Granted, my breath smells like my cat's at the moment, but who cares? I can wear my best jeans again.
Clearly, in order to stick to the plan it helps if you like grilled chicken and salad (I do), but a reviewer complaining that they can't stick to a diet plan that offers yoghurt and cottage cheese as an evening meal merely shows a lack of imagination and determination. If you don't like it for dinner, shift the meals around and have it as one of your snacks, or substitute something else!! The point is, you have to up your protein intake to support the intense training sessions, and the more you make that change and the more strictly you work out according to the plan, the better your results will be.
I have already dropped a size off my hips, and my arms and legs are firmer and stronger. I feel great and I look the biz, all thanks to following the structured advice in this book. Come on, you one- and two-star reviewers, what's not to like??!!
on 9 January 2006
I have read some of the other reviews on here and felt it only fare I share mine. I bought this book after hearing about it form a collegue. I read it and felt empowered and after a few weeks decided to give it a go. I was sceptical about the photos and even more sceptical about the plugs for eas products. Anyway I followed the book to the letter. It lays it out in such a way that it easy to eat correctly and train right. I started off at 14st 2 pounds with 26% body fat. I followed the regime stricklty and am now 12st 5 pounds with 8.5% body fat. I nolonger suffer with indegestion and have taught my mind and body to eat correctly. This book has changed my life and I would and in fact do recommend it to everyone.
on 16 May 2008
I have just finished the 12 weeks program and I have to say it did change my life. I did not want to write a review until I finished the 12 weeks because I wanted to see for myself if this book was enough on its own to carry you through the entire 12 week program
Let me try to explain the confusion with the reviews about this book because I think I understand it now. If you are a couch potato and don't do any exercise, or if you are a reasonably active person and do a lot of cardio work(running, tennis, squash, etc) yet you are not seeing any results, then this book is for you. I was actually watching my fat content go up and up even though I was doing 5k runs every morning. I never had a structured approach to weight/resistance training, and I always considered free weights especially as a bodybuilder's thing. I was wrong, and this book has great details for starting with weights for getting leaner (and not bulking up). I would say this program would work for women as well. If you are an intermediate to advanced weight lifter/body builder then this book is not for you because you will already know everything already, because Bill advocates a standard split body training program and a slightly below maintenance calorie diet. This is standard stuff that body builders have been using that for ages. For a beginner though, or for someone who has been mainly doing a cardio based sport, and as your metabolism changes with ages, I think this book will get you started on the right track. Saying that though it will not give you everything you need to know! It is a very easy ready and if you are eager to get started, then you can read the entire book in two/three days and end up in the gym with a working plan. I personally started seeing results from about week 3. I was never hungry and I could tell I was getting much stronger and much better balanced playing my sport (squash), which is excellent. I did Plateau however around week7,8,9! And I was getting very frustrated. I was still losing dimensions, clothes felt bigger and I could tell I was getting leaner, but the scale, and fat monitor didn't show it. I also came across Tom Venuto's Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle eBook which offered much more detail but took a long time to read. I highly recommend Venuto's eBook as a follow up to the BFL book, program because it will help you through the plateau which I'm sure you will get. It will offer you plenty of options to work on. I think I passed my plateau now, and I'm seeing weight, and body fat drop again very consistently. I'm still using the BFL training program though, the only think I changed after 12 weeks was to extend my cardio to 30 mins from 20 and keep the interval training except stay at about 80% for the last 10 min, then do the 100% and warm down. That gave me better results. With regard to the supplement issue, it is not a secret the Bill owns (or part owns) the EAS (The company that sells Myoplex) I tried it and I like some flavours, and I didn't like others. I also tried products from other companies and liked/disliked them. I would say try as much as possible to see what you like and don't like and keep a diary with the ones you like because there will be few. Recently I started adding Milk and Fruit to protein shakes to get better taste and better calorie balance. This morning I could see the top of my abs!!! Not bad with starting with 30% Body fat twelve weeks ago.
To conclude, to lose body fat you need to consider motivation, diet, and workout plan. If you already have a program that is keeping you lean then this book is not for you. On the other hand if you are not seeing the fat come down even with good cardio work then I think you need to consider this book as well as Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle by Tom Venuto.
on 17 June 1999
For those who have already read 'Muscle Media,' this will NOT be earth-shattering new information. But for those just starting out and who want to learn how you can make a serious difference in your health and fitness, I think it's a great resource.
I have also been struck by the number of people who attack Bill Phillips and the book as a vehicle for promoting EAS and supplementation, to the point where I wonder if they've even READ the book. If anything, I was surprised at how LITTLE information on supplementation is included; I thought it needed more, not less. I only recall 3 or 4 pages that touch on the subject, but I really consider supplementation to be an invaluable asset. Having started a form of Bill Phillip's routine 4 months ago, I've lost thirty-five pounds on the scale WHILE ALSO DOUBLING MOST OF THE WEIGHT'S I'M LIFTING! And I think a lot of that had to do with the addition of supplements like creatine and HMB. Also, you don't have to spend $500 a month on supplements - I spent about $60 a month by being smart about it, not trying to take every product on the market, and shopping around.
And if you have ANY interest in getting into shape, get the 'Body of Work' video. It's not a how-to, but it was the inspiration that got me off the couch, into the gym, and healthier than I've been in perhaps my whole life.
on 18 January 2003
Of the fitness books I've bought so far (and there have been more than one!), this certainly tops the list. The weights routines are no-nonsense, straightforward and VERY intense, the aerobic routines more effective than anything I've tried before. I commend Bill on his upbeat and positive-thinking style of coaching by proxy, and look forward to comparing my photos to those at the start of the "journey".
But don't let the cover photos carry you away. For people not used to weights, it takes some time to get used to a weights routine, to know how to perform the exercises correctly and when to notch up the weight. A beneficial addition would have been a separate exercise section for those who don't have access to both home equipment AND gym equipment, because as it stands, the choice is limited (I had to buy other weight-training books for alternatives). Also, I have a major problem with him not advocating stretching and warmup beforehand - at best, this can lead to misleading results, such as the straight-leg deadlift, whose hamstring "burn" was merely a lack of flexibility.
Foodwise, the definition of a "portion" could probably be better clarified for different food types - a fist-sized piece of chicken and a fistful of broccoli are rather different in filling capability (AND cost)!!
For aspiring abs folks, 12 weeks, in my experience, is not sufficient to lose sufficient fat and build sufficient muscle in that stubborn zone to make the 6-pack visible - i.e., to transform a spare tyre into a washboard - so don't put a wager on changing a bag of potatoes into an iron gut!
Lastly, have you noticed that all the people on the covers have acquired deep tans since the "Before" pictures, and the guys have removed their body hair and oiled up? All appearance-enhancing measures! I wonder what other enhancing measures have been used, aside from external motivation....!
To summarise, I would recommend this book to others, but don't start dreaming too wildly based on what you see on the covers. It has earned the four stars for its effectiveness and straightforward approach, but loses a star for the excessive hype. It's no harm to dream when embarking on a body-improvement programme, but make use of commonsense and LOTS of patience and keep your eyes open!
on 14 May 2003
The information in this book is spot on. I am a keen sportsman and know a lot about nutrition and exercise. I have been weight training for years and after reading this books, my gains were fantastic.
With regards to some of the comment above, I think they are misleading. In the book there are pictures of people who have taken the challenge and have has simply fantastic transformations, from beer belly to six pack, literally.
These results really, and I mean really are possible, but it all come down to your dedication.
To ge a "hard" body you have to train "hard" and eat well.
Most people don't have the dedication to train to the levels required for the amazing transformation, but if you stick to the eating plan (you don't even need to be 100% strict with it) and do some kind of exercise, you will see great improvements.
All experts will tell you that eating 6 small meals a day a far far beneficial to eating 3 large meals.
As for using his own supplements, yes he does mention them, but he never says you won't achieve results without them. It just makes the program that bit easier. But by all means by the same supplements from other companies if they are cheaper.
This way of eating isn't a diet, it is an easy, healthier way of living.
My final word about this book is : You get out of it what you put into it.
on 28 July 2000
Despite the number of probably disillusioned and undisciplined reviewers of this book who rate it so low, if you are a complete novice to weight training this is a good, cheap, uncomplicated and comprehensive start and most importantly it can motivate you. Unless you're a pessimist, but how many pessimists ever achieved anything? Ignore the commerciality because the fundamentals are there and can't be faulted. This is 'a' way to make the radical change in your body and life and Bill Phillips didn't invent it but he believes in it. Be fit by other means sure but if you want the physique that shows just how strong a mental attitude you have and that you can achieve big things give it a try. The book contains simple, very simple advice on what and how much to eat and equally simple routines to work out effectively by. If you don't believe anything that doesn't take a degree in nuclear physics to understand or is backed up by 10 zillion medical studies, give up now and save yourself a ton of confusion and dissapointment. Great book, give it a try!
on 8 July 1999
People, people wake up. Bill Phillips is out to do nothing but to make money and push his supplements on you. There is NOTHING amazing in this book except the same rhetoric you'll find in his "no holds barred" sections of Muscle Media, a magazine that I do like. But this book is seriously nothing but a big advertisement with a few simple exercises in it. Don't belive the hype. You CAN lose weight WITHOUT supplements these days. Think about it, before all these supplements people still looked good and lost weight right? You DONT need supplements and you DONT need this book. All it takes is old-fashion hard work. Put in the work and the results will come.