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Dead Man Walking
Weeks 5-8
By Bill E. Branscum   ©2001

It's now been eight (8) weeks and I am two thirds of the way through the Body-for-LIFE "Challenge." I still haven't gotten any taller but it would appear that my knees are growing, or maybe it's my elbows - when I do crunches, my elbows bang into my knees. I never had a problem with that before! LOL!

At this point, I have lost about thirty-nine pounds of fat, gained twelve (12) pounds of muscle and I feel really good. Five gallons of milk weighs about that much; who wants to carry five gallons of milk around with them all the time!

Looking at my back, you can certainly see muscle gain; unfortunately, the biggest difference doesn't show since you cannot see what my legs looked like in the before pictures. Squats, Lunges, Leg Extensions, Leg Curls, and a lot of time on a Treadmill and a Stairmaster have really paid off.

I still have a long way to go, and a brutal four weeks coming up, but this program has become a familiar routine and I feel like I am up to it. By the end of this contest, by December 17, 2001 - Lycra will be my friend! Looking at the pictures we took of my big, fat self just eight weeks ago, who would have ever believed that possible?!

My blood pressure continues to fall like a stone. Eight weeks ago, it was 203/143; four weeks ago, it was 146/115 and now, after just eight weeks and it has dropped to 138/86. Since I have no medical insurance, this is very important to me - more so than how I look.

At 182 pounds, I weigh 12 pounds less than I did four weeks ago but, as we established in previous article, body weight is not determinative of progress. Once again, we go to the bodyfat calipers and do a little math.

Eight weeks ago, 34.1% of the 210 lbs I weighed was fat - my body was 71.6 pounds of fat and 138.4 pounds of lean muscle mass. At the end of four weeks, the calipers reflected that 26.4 percent of the 194 pounds I weighed was fat - that's 51.2 pounds of fat and 143 pounds of lean body mass. Now, at 182 pounds, the calipers indicate that my body fat is 17.7% - that's 32.2 pounds of fat and 150 pounds of lean body mass.

In other words, during the first four weeks I lost 20 pounds of fat and gained 5 pounds of muscle and, during the second four weeks, I lost 19 pounds of fat and gained 7 pounds of muscle. A consistent training regimen produced consistent results - 39 pounds of fat replaced by 12 pounds of muscle. My training team and I are going to do it again next month too.

It didn't come easy - I worked really, REALLY, hard every day, under the close scrutiny of my little team. Meggie, my wannabe Drill Sergeant personal trainer is a preschooler so she dragged me out of my home office to workout, supervised, and counted reps for me. There's no way to cheat when your four year-old knows what you're supposed to be doing.
Saturday mornings are hard for me. There's something unnatural about getting up early and punishing and innocent body but, Cosmic Karma being what it is, the day that I have the most trouble getting up, is the day I have the most help. Some days, I think I must have done something very, VERY bad in a past life.

My seven year old, "the Dookman," clearly understands the concept of inspired motivation! It's been eight (8) weeks, and hundreds of miles, since I had a chance to drink an Icehouse - at about twice the alcohol of a regular beer, one would probably be all it would take!

Since I posted the first month's pictures, the kids and I have received a lot of e-mail. From those who are familiar with Body-for-LIFE, we have received words of encouragement, cute notes to the kids, photographs, testimonials and a number of interesting things people thought the children would enjoy (the collection of optical illusions was fascinating - thanks, Jenny)

From those unfamiliar with Body-for-LIFE, the overwhelming response was, "Wow, does this really work?" Our response, in a word, was, "NO." The Body-for-LIFE program does not "work," it has never "worked" for anyone, and it will not "work" for you. Curious as that may sound to some, the point is entirely clear to those who have read Bill Phillips' book

We answered each and every e-mail we received and made a good faith effort to explain our understanding of the "Gospel according to Bill Phillips." To anyone looking at this hoping that Body-for-LIFE will be that magic, "Silver Bullet," you need to read the book. The best I can tell you is:

YOU will always be unhappy with yourself, unless and until YOU decide that YOU are willing to make the adjustments in your lifestyle and do the work necessary to make the changes you hope to see. There is no magic, there is no free lunch and YOU are NEVER, EVER, going to look like an athlete until you eat right and become more athletic. PERIOD!

When YOU decide that YOU are willing to do the work, this Body-for-LIFE program will show you the fastest and most efficient way to do it through a "less is better" approach to getting the most dramatic results possible from YOUR hard work without over training and working against yourself and they'll provide the supplements necessary to push your body beyond it's normal limits.

Trust me when I tell you that if you actually do the work, if you put yourself through this ordeal, if you really and genuinely do what this program calls for and manage to maintain that pace for 12 weeks, you will lose your mind if someone suggests that Bill Phillips "worked" for you.

Personally, I hope to convince readers to listen to what Bill Phillips is saying and forget what the "Greek God" looking guys & gals are saying on the infomercials where hucksters hype false hopes. In a world of silver bullets, magic elixers, electric devices that make your muscles twitch, convenient plastic gizmo's that stow neatly under the bed, hi-tech machines powered by souped up rubber bands and a plethora of pills, Bill Phillips is trying to promote the truth. It's diet and exercise - or be fat.

Unfortunately, although desperate drowning people reach out to anything that gives them hope, they naturally go for whatever seems easiest to get to. Who wants to hear about diet and exercise when so many infomercial cowboys are offering painless panacea, an instant, effortless path to physical perfection? It's a tragedy that so many drowning people are frantically paddling in the wrong direction and inexcusable that people pretending to be rescuers mislead them for their own personal gain.

To people who are in the situation I was in, I am trying to say:

"HELLO!!! - haven't you figured out yet that the Greek God looking salespeople on the infomercials are pumped up prostitutes paid to lie to you? They don't care if you waste precious dollars and a year of your life twitching your muscles with an electric pulse generator, trying to measure portions in perfect "magic ratios," or popping pills waiting for their magic to make you one of the beautiful people too.

These people are professional liars, scumbags . . . (use your own words, this is a family oriented website). The bottom line is, their function in life is to lure you to invest in false promises that will ultimately dump your enthusiasm down the drain. Your despair is irrelevant to them - all they want is your money.

Seriously, if you are really ready to commit yourself to changing your life, give this a good faith effort. Don't waste money and time on things that don't work or use pills that will trash your metabolism to get results you cannot keep."

Thus far, I have followed the Body-for-LIFE Program oulined in Bill Phillips' book, as modified by "April," (BfL Rep., Extension #4504) who adjusted the program to suit my specific needs. All the time she spent with me was via toll free line (800 297-9776) and it wasn't a sales thing - since my first purchase, she has devoted a lot of time to my efforts and she has never pushed me to buy anything. The time has been spent telling me how to maximize the results.

Since I mentioned the help I got from her in my last article, I got a lot of feedback from readers; most indicated that they had benefited from the advice they got from the BfL Representatives they dealt with (kudos to April, Eric & Tate) but a few reported that theirs weren't as much help as they would have liked. If you're doing this program and don't find your Rep is as helpful as you had hoped, you should switch to someone else. This is too important not to.

I was going to include some pics of April but she is involved in a "Challenge" herself and it's not finished yet - I hope to include her before/after pics in the next article.

Although the Body-for-LIFE program allows for a weekly "free day," I didn't do those as I thought I had enjoyed enough of those in my life already. I also wanted to keep my carbs restricted and stay in mild ketosis.

Since the "free day" concept actually serves a purpose related to maintaining metabolic "set point," I did eat more on those days, but I didn't have things like pasta, pizza, beer and ice cream. On my "free days," I had four Myoplex milkshakes instead of two and I added raw egg whites, strawberries and bananas to them. I also ate the same high protein, low fat food I had eaten on the training days. The bananas and berries bounced me out of ketosis but I was right back in it the next day.

One big thing that helped me a lot in this BfL experience, and has helped me a lot financially for years, is the fact that my kids and I enjoy "canning" our own food. I really do believe that "home canning" should be the missing chapter in Bill Phillip's book. If you know how, you can take a chicken breast, a portion of mixed vegetables, cover it with chicken broth seasoned to taste and can it in a special jar where it will keep for ten years without refrigeration.

I was going to go into a lot of detail about this, but I found a "how to" website maintained by the people who manufacture the jars used in the canning process. The website is at:


I have written a little more about canning in an article that will soon post under Ideas and Suggestions called "Home Canning; a Lost Art."

We're into the final round and we're winning, but winning isn't going to be enough for us. Next month, my little angels and I are going to slap my 900 Pound Gorilla upside his ugly head - we're going to knock King Kong off my back and lay that bad boy away forever. (You never heard "Dirty Harry dialogue" 'til you've heard my children get wound up, and that "nose hook" assault of Meggie's is just plain vicious!)

The Body-forLIFE website is http://www.BodyforLife.com
You can call them at (800) 297-9776



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