If you like to keep up to date with the last DVD workout offerings from Beach Body then you’ve no doubt heard of Body Beast. At its core it’s a workout focused on strength, created by trainer Sagi Kalev. Sagi is certainly an authority figure within the body building community, having won ‘Mr Israeli’ twice and modelling for the likes of Muscle & Fitness, he knows what he’s talking about and has the credentials to prove it. But can we really take a mass gaining workout which would traditionally be performed in the gym and transition to a DVD home workout, given the lack of equipment the average home user will have? In our Body Beast review, we’ll consider who the workout is for, can it achieve its goals and how successful it is.
Body Beast Review: Who’s it really for?
Without a doubt, a strength training workout would normally be marketed to men. But, Beast Body can achieve great results for both men and women. Women should not fear strength training, a common misconception is that if a women starts training for strength they’ll suddenly become butch and start looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger , but this is simply not true. A women can put on significant muscle mass, BUT only if they’re taking supplemental ‘enhancements’. Simply put, the female body is not equipped with the right chemistry to build muscle the same way as men, so unless they can get those chemicals from another source it simply won’t happen for them. Even though this program is sold as a mass gainer, women will get stronger, look leaner, and be toned if they are dedicated to the nutrition and workouts, they won’t bulk up!
Body Beast Review: What do you get?
The Body Beast pack comes with the complete set of 12 DVD workouts, these are then divided into three phases:
- The Build Phase: This phase provides the solid strength foundation with which you will further build upon. The instructor Sagi instructs you on performing Giant Sets and Super Sets.
- The Bulking Phase: The next phase adds in Multi Sets, Combo Sets, Progressive Sets and Force Sets, allowing your body to improve upon the strength and muscle gains from the build phase. This phases is primarily focuses on hypertrophy, which is the term used to describe the increase in size gained from working out. Within this phase there is no cardio workouts.
- The Beast Phase: The final phase is where you’ll unleash the beast. Sagi brings the cardio back into the workouts which are coupled with the bulk and build workouts. In this phase you’ll start to burn away excess fat by performing cardio training, intense workouts and following the nutrition plans. At this point you’ll start to see muscles looking defined and leaner.
The Body Beast workout has two schedules to choose from, Lean Beast and Huge Beast. The two workouts are distinguished by the amount of cardio performed. Huge Beast is primarily focused on increasing size and mass, while Lean Beast works to keep fat gains to a minimum by containing more cardio workouts.
Body Beast Review: Getting Started
I’ve been lucky enough to have been involved with the fitness industry for a number of years and I’m no stranger to the gym, so it was something of a relief to do some traditional moves and exercises. Some of the modern day exercise routines, such as P90X2, like to have some crazy, albeit fun exercises. But it was nice to be back in my comfort zone doing bench presses, curls, squats etc.
Sagi still managed to throw in a form of set progressions which was new to me, which is called Dynamic Set Training.
Dynamic Set Training was created with a specific goal in mind, which is to increase the muscles time under tension, this in turn recruits more muscle fibres into performing exercises and also exhausts the muscles. The sets are also intended to trigger the body into producing more testosterone, which is the body’s natural catalyst for fuelling muscle growth. Simply put, the more testosterone produced the more muscle you’ll make and the faster it will happen.
What does a Dynamic set actually look like? In a traditional workout you might do something like four sets of ten repetitions. In Body Beast you’ll do it a bit differently, you’ll ramp up the weight, while decreasing the amount the reps. For example you might do 15 reps 25 pounds, followed by 10 reps at 30 pounds, and then 6 reps at 35 pounds, you’ll then take a short break and repeat the reps again but this time in reverse. Once completed you might do five sets of five reps with very short breaks in-between each set.
The Body Beast exercises consist of a range of exercise sets and progressions:
- Single Sets: A set consisting of one type of exercise.
- Super Sets: Two exercises which are performed back to back without any breaks in-between.
- Giant Sets: Three exercises which are performed in succession and will target the same muscle groups.
- Multi-Sets: Three separate exercise which target unique muscle groupings.
- Force Sets: Five of Five i.e. five sets of five reps with a very short rest between.
- Progressive Sets: A set which starts light and high reps and works up to a high weight and low amount of reps. The progression is then reversed going back down to low weight and high reps.
- Combo Sets: Any exercise which works multiple muscles and will generally require multiple joints. Think deadlift.
- Circuit Sets: Moving from one type of exercise to the next with very little rest between.
- Tempo Sets: Perform and hold a contraction for a set time.
The idea behind the variety of exercises is to constantly push your body, never letting it get used to one type of exercise. You’ll also find that you’ll have very little opportunity to waste your time, you’ll definitely be sweating by the end of a workout, but that also means that the workouts are relatively short, taking on average 40 minutes.
I personally found the leg dynamic set progressions the hardest by a long shot. They’re exhausting and will have you swearing that you’ll never exercise again, but that’s probably a sign that my legs are not very well developed. The day after my first set of leg exercise I literally couldn’t sit on the floor without assistance…
Body Beast Review: How to Eat – Guide to Nutrition
It’s been said before that muscle is made in the kitchen and Body Beast continues this trend. You can either eat to get bigger muscles or you can eat to just get bigger with no regard for the muscles gained. One way is good, the other is not so good. A problem allot of people will have is eating too much, leading to unmanageable fat gains. It goes without saying, you’ll want to eat at a calorie surplus to get stronger and build muscle. Most people enjoy eating, so it’s easy to use the excuse that you’re bulking to indulge in a bit too much food. This can lead to too much bulking and not enough calorie control, leading to an undesired physique and allot of excess fat to shed, which is not fun at all.
Luckily enough, the Body Beast workout comes with a Nutrition which is designed to allow you to get the most out of your workouts and avoid eating too much. The ‘How to Eat Like a Beast’ plan is a really comprehensive guide, providing all the information, calorie calculators, portion control charts, food lists and recommended supplements to aid you in your journey to becoming the beast. When you start the program you’ll notice that the nutrition plan changes as you enter into each of the distinct phases. This is of course intended, and means that when we’re gaining muscle and strength we’re eating foods appropriate to that goal and when we’re bringing out the definition in our muscles, we’re eating the rights foods. For example, in the final set of DVDs, the nutrition plan contains fewer calories and increased cardio, resulting in significant fat burn without muscle loss, helping you show of your defined muscles. It’s all very easy to follow and understand and takes the work out of planning your meals for maximum gain.
Body Beast Review: Do you need Supplements?
The Body Beast programme recommend a variety of supplements to be used in conjunction with the nutrition plan.
Beachbody Fuel Shot
The marketing blurb “Kick-start your energy and recovery. Have this energy drink before, during, or after a workout to maximize performance.”
Pre workouts have never really done much for me, making me jittery more than anything else. The effect might be different for you, the only way you’ll know is by trying, so give them a go and see what works. There are of course plenty of pre workouts to choose from, not just from Beach Body.
Beachbody Hardcore Baseshake
The marketing blurb “Maximize new muscle growth, faster. This Base Shake was formulated to help maximize new muscle growth AND reduce muscle breakdown—at the same time.”
Aren’t all protein shakes the same? Yes and no. There’s not a massive amount of difference between a budget My Protein shake and something branded, go with what you have available and tastes good.
Beachbody Max Creatine
The marketing blurb “Get a healthy dose of power and growth. M.A.X. Creatine gives you a blast of extra strength, and builds muscle with the most proven supplement in the industry.”
Creatine works, it’s been proven time and time again in medical and sports studies. Whether one brands creatine is superior to another brands is largely unknown, so until it’s proven otherwise take your pick from whatever is on Amazon.
Beachbody Super Suma
The marketing blurb “Make explosive gains in size and strength. Unleash your body’s own testosterone production and build plenty of lean, hard mass.”
Hard to say if this makes a difference or not, I saw gains and I used it, does that mean Super Suma helped? I don’t know if it’s possible to make that sort of claim without some controlled testing, which I don’t have the capacity to do alone. I would still be inclined to take it if you can, it’s unlikely to cause any issues and there’s a good chance it’ll probably help.
In summary, if you’re on a journey to add more muscle you’ll definitely want to consume more protein. Ideally that extra protein will come from whole foods, but that’s not always practical, so feel free to supplement with your preferred protein powder. I would also recommend creatine, it’s relatively cheap and is known to work, so why not. The rest of the supplements are subjective, you might find they work for you, in which case go for it, just don’t feel obligated to take them if you don’t want to.
Body Beast Review: Additional Equipment
- Good quality dumbbells, my recommended set can be found here.
- Adjustable Bench, you can use a stability ball instead, but I would go for a bench if you can.
Optional Nice to Haves:
Body Beast Review: How much will it cost me?
You can get the very basic set of DVDs with none of the extras for a very reasonable $39.90, which if you run the program from start to finish will end up costing you around $13 a month. It’s even less if you repeat the programme multiple times, which is recommended. You own the DVDs for as long as you want to have them, just like any other beachbody workout, the more you use them the cheaper they will be in the long run.
I would suggest just buying the DVDs if you’re unsure if the workouts are for you or if you already have significant experience with nutrition.
Body Beast Challenge Pack Options
The challenge pack is designed to simplify the whole nutrition and supplement process, it’s a subscription which will send you the meal planners and required supplements every 30 days. You can cancel the subscription at any time, so it’s probably worth trying for the first month, so you can get a feel for the supplements and meal planning.
I would recommend this option for anyone that’s unsure of what they need to get started and what supplements might work for them, it’s perfect for anyone that’s naturally skinny and has never set foot in a gym.
The Body Beast Shakeology Challenge Pack includes all the workouts as well as a 30 day supply of Shakeology, which is a protein shake meal replacement… they taste soo good.
This is great option for those that want to tone and gain muscle without worrying about excess fat gains.
Body Beast Review: Summary and Conclusions
Having run the Body Beast programme from start to finish, following the Huge Beast schedule and carefully planning meals and ensuring I took every supplement, I’m proud to say I’ve added a significant amount of muscle. By my own calculations I have managed to put on roughly 12 pounds of pure muscle and around 9 pounds of fat, which is great in anyone’s books. To put some perspective on it, a body builder would be happy to achieve a 1:2 muscle to fat ratio. My result was closer to 1 1/3 pounds of muscle for every pound of fat, which is nearly unbelievable. I don’t know if it would be possible to do any better following the programme, but I’m going to run it again and see how results compare.
I’m especially proud of the increase in the size of my pecks. I’d always struggled to get any sort of chest definition, but I’m now pretty proud of how I’m looking. Give it another year of running this programme repeatedly and I’m sure the gains would be substantial.
In summary, the programme is not just restricted to men looking to bulk up. It’s for anyone and everyone, including those of us who have never lifted a weight, or women looking to tone up, right through to seasoned lifters looking to try something new. I especially love how the workouts are short but still manage to pack so much into them. I’m no stranger to being in the gym for hours at a time, but I no longer feel that’s necessary, I can pack a substantial workout into 40 minutes and then get on with my day.
You can buy Body Beast from the link below, which gives me a small commission and allows me to keep the site running.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Body Beast review, if you have any questions or observations, please feel free to comment below.