The program that made a Man out of a Parrot.By Jean Paul Fender
Body Beast is the new fitness program by Beachbody and is hosted by Sagi Kalev who is one part man and one part adamantium gorilla ( I hope he doesn’t read that ). Like all reviews at DysfunctionalParrot.com, this will involve myself as the test subject. No here-say reviews at this site kids! That means it’s my skinny systems analyst ass against the Israeli powerhouse. The odds are not in my favour.
Body Beast is a 90 day, 3 Phase program ( BUILD, BULK and BEAST ) consisting of 12 workouts and is designed for one primary purpose…getting you big. The package has the option to include some impressive supplements and 3 bonus workouts, but because nobody out there sent me a bag of cash ( jerks ) I went for the basic package.
Unlike other programs such as P90X or Insanity, Body Beast is strictly focused on muscle growth and this is a good thing because let’s be honest, even Tony Horton and Shaun T spend time pumping serious iron because you don’t get muscles like that otherwise! And really, who of us warm blooded males wouldn’t mind putting on a few pounds of stunning lean mass to impress the wives? Well that’s my goal as this review officially begins and I commit myself to the beast!
Weights and preferably an incline bench, although one guy will always be using a stability ball as an alternative. You can use bands, but come on…you don’t get a program like this and use bands! There is also some use of the pull-up bar.
PHASE ONE: BUILD
CHEST and TRICEPS
Time: 49 minutes
Right away I like Sagi. Although he has a thick Israeli accent, he is still understandable and comes off as very friendly. That is until he says, “BEAST UP!“. Dude scared me so bad I had to change into a second pair of workout shorts. But he’s all business and his two co-stars are also equally friendly. To be honest I was worried this was going to be a “muscle-head douchebag” package. Fortunately, it is nothing of the sort.
This one is straight up chest presses and flyes for the first half, then tricep work for the second. Supersets, Drop Sets and a one minute closeout with abs. That means no alternating between body parts, but instead beating the ever loving crap out of one part then moving on.
I recommend a proper incline bench for doing this to get more isolation in the upper pecs, but a stability ball worked well enough for me. Oh, and you’ll also think Sagi is being a bit of a wuss by grabbing smaller weights on moves you’ve done in P90X with bigger weight. You’d be dead wrong because these moves are slower and therefore have negative reps making them far, far more intense. So for the love of all things holy, take your recovery drink!
Time: 38 minutes
P90X and Insanity are mainly plyometrics, so while you’ll get lean and ripped legs, odds are their size won’t increase significantly on those programs. Not so here because this is lifting iron and that means you’re gonna feel like you’ve been kicked in the ass by Sasquatch.
Sagi wastes no time here. You get about one minute to warm up and then you start lifting. Squats, Alternating Lunges/Step ups, Parallel Squats, Bulgarian Squats ( really messed me up! ), and Calf Raises. All in back to back sets that quite frankly will trash your legs completely. Sagi’s got some antics when dealing with excessive time-outs, like asking if you need to take a “nap-nap!”. That’s code for saying he’ll reach through the TV screen and tear your still beating heart out of your chest if you stop.
My advice with this workout is to take it easy the first time because it works the body in a whole different way that plyo.
Best line: “Do you love it? Do you hate it? IT DOESN’T MATTER!!”
BACK and BICEPS
Time: 50 minutes
I’d rather kick a kitten than move my legs today. Fortunately for the kitty my legs won’t move from yesterdays thrashing. That means I’ll be doing Back and Biceps instead.
Take everything you thought you knew from P90X and put it aside for a moment as this is not the same approach. Each set is done 3 times and finishes with a drop set ( do max, then drop the weight for another set right away ).
The first half is all Back and has traditional moves like dead lifts, pull ups and rows. The second half is Biceps with misc curls that will tear your arms off. You’ll find that Sagi uses the EZ Curl Bar occasionally which seems to work you different than just grabbing a couple dumbbells.
A word of advice when buying a curl bar: Get one with spring collars, not screw collars. I have the latter and it is very inconvenient to change weights on it without falling behind. I’ll definitely have to invest in the proper type as I continue with this program.
Time: 38 minutes
Please Sagi, no more, I can hardly move! I’m also wondering if it’s normal for my muscles to crackle this much with every movement. Man, I must be a mess inside.
There’s not to much complicated going on here. A 3 minute warm up and straight into Presses, upright rows and flyes…the stuff you’d expect from a traditional shoulder routine. There’s a few drop sets to liven things up and a couple abdominal moves at the end to engage the core. Again, this is a solid traditional-style approach to working the shoulders.
Time: 30 minutes
Up until now it has been all weight, so I really had no idea what to expect with Cardio. But I was not disappointed with what Sagi brought to the table! This was hardcore.
It’s squat lifts, jump squats, dumbbell sumo squats, plyo pushups, jacks, isometric holds…AAArrghhh!!! You use weights too, albeit light ones for one minute cardio bursts followed by compound weight moves that took my hide out to the woodshed. The music is also really good and Sagi is yelling at you a lot here! The whole thing actually has an Insanity style feel to it and yes…your heart rate will hit max because Sagi is really riding your ass!
No, it doesn’t have the plyo-focus of Insanity, but using weights actually made it feel harder! Cardio is also optional depending on which path you take with Body Beast. But I’d always find a way to include it just to remain versatile. As a bonus, the DVD has P90X Plyo on it as well which will be a handy addition for many not familiar with that program.
Time: 38 minutes
Straight up circuit training. Total Body is 4 circuits consisting of 4 moves done twice. I’ll be perfectly honest, after doing Beast Cardio yesterday I’m a total mess. Keep in mind, you normally wouldn’t do this as Cardio and Total Body are meant to be interchangeable with each other on the Build Phase. The thing about circuit training is that it might as well double as a cardio workout considering how the blood is moving through you. I got through this, but wow…I’m done like dinner. During the Bulk Phase of Body Beast this workout is not on the schedule.
Thank heavens you get one day off before jumping back in for Week 2. But for the moment, I’m skipping to Phase 2-BULK for the next segment of the review…
Conclusions Thus Far…
Nothing like having your body stuffed in a trash compactor and spit out onto the basement floor. I used to think getting eaten alive by rats was the worst way to go. Nope. It’s Body Beast. Like a hundred angry leprechauns beating you with hammers.
Keep in mind, this program has a very specific goal. If you’re a runner and want to prepare for a marathon then Body Beast is not for you. But if you want to put on some sexy muscle, then oh yeah…you’ve come to the right place. But this was only the BUILD Phase and there’s more workouts in this program to cover as I enter the BULK Phase, so I’ll reserve my final analysis until the end. If I can make it that long…
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