Body for Life: 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strength with Bill Phillips

By Bill Phillips
WebMD Live Events Transcript

Author and fitness expert Bill Phillips will be discussing straightforward information on how to enhance energy and performance and ultimately change one's life through exercise and fitness.

The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

Moderator: Bill, welcome to WebMD Live. If you would like to ask Bill a question, type /ask followed by the question (e.g. "/ask How are you?")

Phillips: I'm excited to be here. And, looking forward to talking about how all of our guests tonight can build their best body for life!

Moderator: Why did you write your book, Body for Life?

Phillips: I wrote the book Body For Life so everyone can, regardless of their previous knowledge about exercise, nutrition, and healthy living, could simply and easily understand how to build more muscle, gain energy, and lose fat. You see ... before Body For Life, I don't believe there was a really clear, concise program which involved strength training -- the best form of exercise, in my opinion -- on the market.

Moderator: How does your book approach weight loss?

Phillips: The Body For Life program takes a rather unique position on fitness in that we don't focus on losing weight as much as we do on gaining strength, gaining energy, gaining control ... my challenge with typical "weight loss programs" is that they are too "one dimensional." That is, they focus on losing, not on winning.

Moderator: Why is the Body-for-Life Program a 12-Week Program?

Phillips: I've been working with athletes and Hollywood celebrities for about 15 years now and I've tried three month programs, four month programs and even six months but I have found that three months/twelve weeks is a time frame which allows people to stay focused AND is enough time to see startling changes in terms of body fat and muscle definition and strength.

Moderator: How easy is your Body-for-Life program and does someone have to be very experienced to use your book?

Phillips: The "Body For Life" program isn't easy -- it's simple but it's a challenge. I think that's one of the reasons why people get so excited about it -- I'm convinced that we are more interested in things that are challenging than things that are easy. In fact, I think one of the reasons that we get bored and give up and give in on things like college is because it's just not challenging enough. The Body For Life program is very rewarding but, it really tests a person's character -- it tests their inner strength.

okiedocs_WebMD How did you happen on the Body For Life formula?

Phillips: That's a good question -- why is the Body-for-Life program so specific? Well, it's a program that has taken literally thousands of hours of research, experimentation and trial and error. The Body-for-Life program was actually created by thousands of people who all shared with me their success stories and the research of dozens of physiologists and scientists. The Body-for-Life program absolutely, positively cannot fail when it is followed properly. It is not the only program that works, but it is a program that works for everyone -- quite literally every healthy adult can achieve rewarding results with the Body-for-Life program.

NJDonna_WebMD Hi, Bill I am in my 7th week, I am feeling awesome, although I am trying to lose body fat, there are times after an intense weight training day I could use a little more food wise can I use the MyoPlex Deluxe  also? Thanks for a great program.

Phillips: Congratulations on your success -- if you've made it to the 7th week, you absolutely, positively will finish all 12! (usually, once you make it past the 4 week mark, you've achieved a breakthrough in your patterns of action and the program really starts to come together.)

Phillips: A recent study which we report in the next issue of "Muscle Media" sheds light on how important timing is of nutrient intake after exercise. This study offered substantial evidence that eating one hour after exercise is even more important than we originally believed. Interestingly enough, the study also showed that eating sooner than one hour after exercise not only slowed muscle recovery but also cut down on fat loss. The reason you might feel a little bit weak after exercise is because your body is pulling the energy it needs to fuel your metabolism from stored body fat. Of course, your body's preferred source of energy is from carbohydrates/glucose and the process of pulling energy from stored fat can result in a slightly "sluggish" feeling but it's very important to just "let it ride" and not eat for at least an hour after those workouts. After an hour, you can eat MyoPlex Deluxe or any quality protein and carbohydrate balanced meal. Don't forget to drink two tall glasses of water also!

Yanoula_WebMD How do I know that I am working hard enough when I do my cardio? Also, when you come to my house to congratulate me as a champ, can I give you a kiss?:)

Phillips: The key to the training for life experience is to reach higher and higher levels of intensity during your workouts. Remember, it's not how long you workout that produces the stimulus for fat loss and muscle growth, it's how hard you push yourself. Now, how do you know if you're working hard enough? Well, what I suggest is that you ask yourself when you're doing your workouts, "If Bill were here, standing right next to me, and encouraging me to work at the highest intensity that I could possible produce, could I look him in the eye and honestly say, 'Yes'?" It's really a question that you have to answer from the heart -- from that place where you know the truth -- that place where you and only you know the truth! If that place tells you that you could be giving it more -- that you could be pushing yourself harder -- then you'll know the answer -- you'll know if you're working out hard enough. By the way, every person who wins the Body-for-Life challenge can give me all the kisses they want! :-) (smiles)

julieh1_WebMD Bill, I am in my 4th week of the Body-for-Life program and I absolutely LOVE it! I would like to know if you are going to be on any more talk shows in the near future?

Phillips: We've been having a lot of fun sharing the Body-for-Life message -- the most recent show we taped is the Montel Williams show which will air within the next two weeks. After that, we'll most likely have some of our champions on Donnie & Marie. Remember, you can visit to find out when these shows will air.

exmlb_WebMD Hi Bill. I finished round 7 last year and want to put on some mass now, but if I do portions it seems to not be enough calories.

Phillips: Congratulations for finishing round 7! What I suggest is that you add an additional portion of carbohydrates to three of your six daily meals now that you've achieved the level of body fat that you are shooting for. The additional energy that is required to build muscle mass can be supplied by the three additional carbohydrate portions. Also, don't forget that supplements like Creatine and HMB have been scientifically shown to increase the muscle building effects of exercise. If you'd like more information on those supplements, be sure to visit

Surfsup40_WebMD I am on my 3rd 12 week challenge and have just a little more fat to lose. I've heard that that last bit of fat is the hardest to lose. Any tips?

Phillips: Congratulations on your success, Surf! I hear that there's a really bright, energetic and strong woman in Hawaii who is experiencing extraordinary results with the Body-for-Life program. She's also on her third 12 week program and what I would tell her is to stay the course -- keep doing what has allowed her to make such incredible progress so far. (A little prayer now and then doesn't hurt.)

javana3_WebMD Bill, I have a crazy schedule, and sometimes I have to do my aerobic activity in the morning, sometimes in the evening. Does this negatively affect the program?

Phillips: One of the keys to losing body fat is to perform aerobic exercise after an overnight fast. But, the next best thing is to perform aerobic exercise in the afternoon or evening after not eating for 3 hours. Now, because the Body-for-Life program requires 6 meals a day, it's hard to find 3 hours without food late in the day but, it's still possible. What I recommend is eating every two hours in the morning and then every 3 - 3 1/2 hours in the afternoon. Also, remember that whenever you exercise, you should celebrate the fact that you just accomplished something good for your mind, body, and energy -- something 9 out of 10 people in this hectic world decided to neglect that day. Celebrate your progress -- celebrate your determination -- celebrate each and every victory no matter how small it might seem.

simply_Ryan_WebMD I have more energy, I smile more, and most important, I like myself better. What kind of challenge is this. The only hard part was deciding to change. My only question is, how can I (if I can) tweak the program to gain more muscle mass without putting a hole in my pocket?

Phillips: Congratulations on making the decision to make a change. You're right -- that IS the hardest part! Now, in terms of gaining more muscle size and strength, without investing in supplements which can get a little expensive, I would suggest what I recommended to our previous guest which is to increase the carbohydrate portion in 3 of the meals you eat each day. Aside from that, keep increasing your weight in the strength training program and from there, be patient -- those muscles will grow if you stimulate them in your workouts and you feed them properly!

dollydagger_WebMD I'm on my 8th week of my first round. Is it ok to have my last meal right before bed or should I eat earlier? I have a MyoPlex Lite shake.

Phillips: I usually end up eating my 6th meal which is most often a MyoPlex shake, about a half hour before I go to bed and, depending on what kind of night it is (I won't go into details) that turns out to be about an hour to an hour and a half before I go to sleep. :-) (smiles)

bev19_WebMD Bill: I'm stuck at a plateau and it's driving me crazy! Any suggestions on how to move past the plateau? I'm really hitting the weights and cardio hard but can't seem to budge body fat wise. This is my 2nd round, having completed Round 7 last year.

Phillips: Congratulations on finishing a 12 week program last year. What you can do, starting right now, to break the plateau is to make a decision and write a positive statement that you are no longer going to accept the plateau. For example, the most important thing you can do when you can see that your progress has come to a halt is to convince yourself -- I mean really, really convince yourself -- that your progress has not come to a halt. Remember that the Body-for-Life program is an inside out approach. If on the inside you truly believe that you're stuck, you will create that reality. And, if on the inside you believe that you are making progress and moving forward in the direction of your goal, you will create that reality. So, what I would suggest is that you take out a piece of paper and a pen and write these words down, "Today I am making more progress. I am burning fat, gaining muscle, gaining energy and improving my life. By this time tomorrow, I will be leaner, stronger, and more powerful." Read that statement in the morning and then again at night along with your 12 week goals. Believe it or not, that is THE most important thing you can do to break a plateau.

simply_Ryan_WebMD Bill, thanks to you, myself and tens of thousands of people all over the planet have improved their lives. You know what effect (inside and out) you have had on us, what have we done for you?

Phillips: What have you done for me? Good heavens! Where can I start .... Well, you and all of the other great people who have supported the Body-for-Life mission have already raised over $2 million dollars for the Make-A-Wish Foundation; helped grant the wishes of over 5,000 children and their families who face some of the most difficult days you and I could ever imagine. And, not only have you and the other supporters of my work helped with that, you and the 77,311 others who've completed the program have become inspirational role models -- leaders in your families, in the work place, and in your communities ... you've inspired more people than you probably even know -- and, of course you've inspired me. Thank you, thank you!

karinfrost_WebMD A bit ago you mentioned that some of the Champions will be on the Donny & Marie show. I happen to work on the same studio lot and as I am doing the current Challenge, would love to see the show and meet them. Is there a date for the taping? No date as of this time. But, watch for show ticket information if and when we decide to do that show.

keltin_WebMD What is the single most common theme in past champions that has been their guiding light in their success?

Phillips: Boy is that a great question! What is it about those grand champions -- that people like Porter Freeman, and Lynne and Jeff and Mary Queen and Tom and all the others ... that have allowed them to achieve such incredible breakthroughs not only in their bodies, but in their lives? I would have to say the answer is FAITH. An absolute belief that they were on the right path -- that they were absolutely, positively going to achieve their 12 week goals -- and absolute faith that they were doing the right thing and that their hard work would produce rewarding, exciting, and inspiring results. Now that I think about it ... that is exactly what they have in common ... they had so little doubt and so much faith. That's what makes all of them so special.

epicycle_WebMD Would it help for someone that is severely overweight to change the cardio part of the program at all? I know it may effect muscle growth but I want to maximize fat loss. I am currently taking BetaGen, Myoplex, and PhenFree. .... Thanks for the motivation!!!

Phillips: That's a good question but please, please, please pay very careful attention to the answer -- remember that the Body-for-Life program works because it helps build muscle. And, remember, muscle is the metabolic furnace that will burn more fat than exercise. Without muscle, we not only don't have any physical strength, but the metabolism moves along like traffic on the 405 freeway in California. You need more muscle to burn more fat. Building muscle is a long-term solution to being overly fat.

LS2000_WebMD is 3 20 min. aerobic sessions a week really enough to lose fat?

Phillips: Remember that the exercise sessions which are a part of the Body-for-Life program are "fat stimulators" and the exercise should not be longer than what is outlined in the book or you could have the opposite effect of what you're looking for. What you're trying to do with your exercise sessions is "rev up fat loss". Don't measure an exercise session by how much energy/calories you burned up during the workout -- measure the success of an exercise session by how much fat loss and muscle growth was stimulated during the workout. There's a big difference between working out hard and working out smart. Smart workouts focus on quality, not quantity.

karinfrost_WebMD Bill, when is the best time to take Beta Gen? Before working out or after...I'm on the lean and tone stack.

Phillips: I would take that supplement with your meals. One of the best times to take Beta Gen is in your post-workout meal which, remember, should be one hour after your workout. Remember, even though we don't have a lot of time to talk about supplements here, you can learn more about them at That's

simply_Ryan_WebMD Bill, I love Myoplex. I thought it would be gross like other nutrition drinks I've had, but no. In fact I crave it. . . all flavors, it is just that good. Can I substitute one of my other meals with a fourth Myoplex?

Phillips: Good heavens -- this is turning out to be a supplement commercial night! I sometimes use 4 MyoPlex shakes a day, especially when I'm traveling. I wouldn't use any more than 4, though, as you can't overlook the fact that quality whole foods like chicken, potatoes, and vegetables are very important. Now please, no more supplement questions tonight. :-) (smiles)

shelleeh_WebMD How important is it to eat 6 meals every day? By the time I eat 5 meals I'm stuffed!

Phillips: I realize it is difficult to get in all 6 meals and I know what you mean about being full after the 5th meal. Isn't it interesting that we can lose fat without going hungry? What I would suggest is that you be sure to not over-consume protein or carbohydrates in any of your meals -- make sure that the portion size is no bigger than the palm of your hand.

FyreEyez_Lycos Can I eat TOO many Vegetables? Since changing my life, I've come to love veggies. For my dinner, I have a portion of Protein, a portion of Carbs, and A LOT of veggies. It looks a lot in the pan, but isn't very calorically dense I'd think. Am I slowing my progress?

Phillips: Good for you! Broccoli, asparagus, any variety of lettuce, spinach, and so on ... eat all you want, nature will grow more!

karinfrost_WebMD Any suggestions for getting rid of that dreaded lower tummy pooch? It won't go away no matter how many crunches I do!

Phillips: Stay with the program -- that area will firm up but it is oftentimes the last area to really develop tone. Doing more crunches usually doesn't work. Stick with the program -- the nutrition, the whole body exercise, and also the mindset techniques and you will succeed!

dollydagger_WebMD Bill, I ride horseback 2-3 times a week. Does doing sports impact BFL? Too much cardio or energy expenditure for muscle growth?

Phillips: That's another good question -- there are a lot of people following the Body-for-Life program who are involved in some vigorous recreational activities like skiing, tennis, rollerblading, etc.. What I would suggest is that you enjoy those activities and still do the exact amount of exercise outlined in the Body-for-Life program.

Moderator: Thank you for joining us today, but unfortunately we are almost out of time...

Phillips: I think most of the recreational activities that people participate in are not as intense as the exercise outlined in the Body-for-Life system and therefore will not interfere with recovery. Typically, "active rest" enhances recovery and stimulates the mind.

okiedocs_WebMD I can't wait to see the next Success Stories videos, when will it be available?

Phillips: We worked on the last edits of the "Body-for-Life Success Stories, Vol. 2" video today. It's a very inspiring and exciting show. I think you'll really like it! The champions which are featured in the program are extraordinary people. I'll share information on when that video will be done being duplicated and packaged as well as how you can get a free copy of it on Also, remember that the last day that you can accept this round of the "Body-for-Life Challenge" is March 13th. You can find more information about that event on our website as well. And, with that, I'm afraid we're out of time tonight friends. I look forward to sharing more insight and information with you in the future -- until then, take care of yourself and those you love.

Moderator: Bill, thank you for joining us. Please join us again on Monday at 1 p.m. EST in the Mind Matters Auditorium when we discuss "Mind Over Matter" with Dr. Joy Browne.

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