5 Reasons Why Body for Life is Still a Great Program

“When you gain control of your body, you will gain control of your life. No matter who you are, no matter what you do, you absolutely, positively do have the power to change. Focus on progress, not perfection.”

-Bill Phillips, Author of Body for Life

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Body for Life was written almost 20-years ago, but I still believe it is one of the best fitness and self-improvement books ever written. If you want to transform your body and your life, the book’s program will deliver.

Is the program perfect? No, but it is still better than 99% of the current programs in circulation. The most common criticism of the program is its simplicity, but I think too many people make getting in shape overly complicated. Do I agree with every aspect of the program? No. I would have to disagree with a few of the book’s assertions, based on the extensive research I conducted during the writing of my book, The Fat Loss Habit, but these are mostly minor flaws. We shouldn’t devote major time to minor things, so let’s focus on why the program is so effective.

Five Reasons why the Body for Life is still a fantastic program.

  1. The program teaches us “How to cross the abyss.”
  2. The program emphasizes strength training.
  3. The program sponsors a fitness competition that creates a sense of urgency.
  4. The program is simple and effective, with an emphasis on effort and progress.
  5. The program provides all the tools you’ll need to monitor your consistency and progress.

#1 The Program Teaches You How to Cross the Abyss

“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do. There is a world of difference between knowing what to do and actually doing it.” Bill Phillips

The book begins by asking you if you have made a real decision to change. After training thousands of people, Bill struggled to understand why some people made amazing transformations and other’s didn’t. They were all given the same information and tools; so what was missing?

He concluded that what was missing was the person’s ability to “cross the abyss.” Knowledge isn’t power until it is applied. No program will work unless we do the work. Crossing the abyss is when we execute the program. That is why my book focuses on forming healthy habits. We form habits; then they form us.

To help us cross the abyss, he recommends we:

  • Make a decision to change.
  • Identify our reasons to change and write them down.
  • Focus on our future vision.
  • Identify OLD patterns of behavior that may hold us back.
  • Identify NEW patterns of behavior that will help us achieve our goals.
  • Set goals and review our progress daily.

He provides tools for recording your goals and progress on the Body for Life website. We fail to act when our reason for changing isn’t strong enough. If our reason isn’t big enough, our excuses will be.

Before even considering an exercise and nutrition program, I recommend that the person put on some swim trunks and have somebody take a photo of them. Then take a good look and ask yourself: Is this who I really am? If you don’t see yourself as that, you have the opportunity to change it. But you need to change your mindset.” Bill Phillips

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Learn more, Focus on your WHY – It is so much more important than your WHAT & HOW

#2 The program emphasizes strength training.

“If you start an aerobic exercise program shaped like a pear, the most likely result is you wind up looking like a smaller pear – which is fine if that’s what you want. But that’s not what I would call a transformation.” Bill Phillips

When Bill Phillips wrote his book, the mainstream fitness industry was still overemphasizing cardio training over strength training. He was one of the first to popularize High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) over slow, steady-state,” fat burning zone,” cardio training. He understood that cardio alone doesn’t reshape your body. He emphasizes strength training as the best way to transform your body and rev-up your metabolism.

He explains that looking good isn’t a number on a scale. It is a product of our body composition, our ratio of muscle to fat. The best way to improve our body composition is a combination of strength training and cardio training, with an emphasis on strength training.

#3 The program sponsors a fitness competition that creates a sense of urgency

“Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.” Jim Rohn.

To help people cross the Abyss, EAS sports and performance nutrition sponsors the Body for Life competition. In my book, it is one of the three body transformation contests I recommend people participate in to create the necessary sense of urgency around their goals. If you are like me, you had always gotten in your best condition when you had an event or competition you were preparing for. A goal needs to have a deadline. A deadline helps create a sense of urgency. Deadlines help establish priorities and prevent procrastination.

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#4 The program is simple and effective, with an emphasis on effort and progress.

“Focus on progress, not perfection.” Bill Phillips

Some have criticized the program because of its simplicity, but I feel that it is one of its greatest strengths. While planning missions in the military I was taught to keep our plans as simple as possible. We were taught the acronym KISS, “Keep it simple, stupid.” Simple plans are easier to execute. Complexity is the enemy of execution.

It isn’t the complexity of your program that produces results. Complexity is no substitute for effort. Many people endlessly search for better workout programs with the belief that it will help them achieve better results.

Their time and effort would better be spent pouring more energy into setting new personal records following a simple program, like the Body for Life program, or my program, which you can download Free.

The training logs help you track your food intake and workout performance. The program emphasizes setting new personal records, which he calls “High Point” training. Strength training isn’t an endurance sport. Your goal is to get stronger. Getting stronger is the foundation of progressive overload.

The cardio training emphasizes intensity over duration. The HIIT cardio training sessions are relatively short, 20-minutes, with a few one minute’s sprints. This type of training has been proven highly effective at promoting fat loss as well as building cardiorespiratory capacity.

“FOOD is the most widely abused anti-anxiety drug in America, and EXERCISE is the most potent yet underutilized antidepressant.”  Bill Phillips

The program’s diet is also very simple. Instead of counting calories, you count portions. This is a great approach for people that hate to count calories. When he wrote his book, we didn’t have smartphones, with Apps like MyFitnessPal, which make food logging a lot easier so I can not fault him for this approach.

The program uses simple rules of thumb to determine portion sizes; a portion of protein is roughly the size of your palm, and a portion of carbohydrates is what will fit in your cupped hand. Portion control is very effective for people that are overweight or for people on a maintenance diet, but I recommend people who want to take all the guesswork out of achieving a strong lean body log their food. Learn more, If You Aren’t Logging Your Food You’re Flying Blind.

#5      The program provides all the tools you’ll need to monitor your consistency and progress.

“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do. There is a world of difference between knowing what to do and actually doing it.” Bill Phillips

The program provides all the tools you’ll need to set goals and track your progress. These tools are missing from most programs. The Body for Life offers these tools FREE through their website like we do on ours.

“What gets measured gets managed. If you want it, measure it. If you can’t measure it, forget it.” Peter Drucker


Reading an excellent self-improvement book will NOT change your life. Consistently applying its principles WILL change your life. These tools help to bridge the gap, “cross the abyss,” between knowledge and action. Tracking our consistency will make us more consistent. Monitoring an activity increases our awareness of it, and modifies our behavior. Awareness is the beginning of transformation.

Images below contain hyperlinks.

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“Most people are in favor of the change, as long as they can continue to do things the same as they always have.” Bill Phillips

Change your habits, change your life! 

Learn more Why Creating a Sense of Urgency is so Important.

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I encourage you to visit his website, https://www.transformation.com/.

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Book Available on AMAZON [Paperback, Kindle & Audible Audiobook]

Are you ready to reboot and reset your relationship with food and exercise? Most programs focus on the mechanics of weight loss but fail to adequately address the psychology of change required. Most people know more than enough about nutrition and exercise to lose weight, but fail to act. This book takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger. 

The Fat Loss Habit: Creating Routines that Make Willpower and Fat Loss Automatic takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger. The program uses high-impact change strategies that make the process of adopting a healthy lifestyle easier. The nutrition and workout program, like the change techniques, have all been proven effective, and are all backed by research and scientific studies.

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