BFL, BFD and Stair Master HIIT

by on May 25, 2011

Apparently my life is full of acronyms this week. I’m officially a big fan of the following three:

  • BFL – Body For Life
  • BFD – Breakfast for Dinner
  • HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training

Here’s why:

Let’s start with Body for Life, a 12 week fitness plan written by Bill Phillips. Both Mama Pea and Janetha, two bloggers I know and trust, have posted their thoughts and experiences with the plan and after reading about their results I am ready to give it shot.

The main reasons I really want to try the program are 1.) I want abs! and 2.) I’m in a fitness rut. I’ve always been a cardio lover and never really put a lot of time and energy into strength training. Cardio was a big piece of my weight loss over 8 years ago, but the more I learn about exercise, the more I realize that strength training is what’s necessary to change the way your body looks.

Soo…. I purchased the book, read it cover to cover and decided I wanted to try it out. Isaac wasn’t really game to do it with me so I asked my friend and gym buddy Jess if she wanted to and luckily she did!

The eating program is pretty basic. It recommends six small meals a day, a balance of protein, carbs and healthy fats and at least 10 cups of water a day. There are more details, but that’s the just of it. The exercise program consists of working out six times a week with 20 minutes of HIIT three times week and strength training three times a week, alternating between upper and lower body routines with about 45 minutes per session.

At this point I’m planning to start out following the exercise program pretty strictly with less emphasis on following the eating plan to a T. I am going to increase my protein intake and watch my portions, as suggested by the program, but not stress over having the perfect balance of protein, carbs and fat. I think this will work for me because my diet is already healthy and I’m not trying to lose weight. Plus, whenever I try to be too strict with my diet, it either backfires and I want to eat everything in sight OR I only follow the plan for a few days before getting frustrated/grumpy and giving up. I like to eat the foods I like and for the most part it’s healthy foods so I don’t think this will be much of an issue.

If after doing the program for a few weeks I don’t notice any results I might decide to change my mind about the eating plan but for now incorporating the exercise program is my main goal.

To increase my protein intake I’ve been having protein smoothies for breakfast with 1/2 frozen banana, 1 cup frozen berries, 1.5 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk or water, vanilla Sun Warrior protein powder, mila and a handful of kale for some greens.

smoothie.JPG

The smoothies are filling and perfect for the warm weather we’ve been having lately.

For lunch, dinner and snacks I’ve been increasing my protein intake with hard boiled eggs, fish, Greek yogurt, edamame, tofu and cottage cheese. Of course, I’ve still been eating beans (I love beans!) but I haven’t been making them my go-to source of protein because although they do have protein, they also have a lot of carbs. <– who knew?

Last night we ended up having BFD. I LOVE having breakfast for dinner and this one was packed with protein.

breakfast for dinner.JPG

Isaac and I split a 3 egg omelet stuffed with kale, onions and tiny bit of goat cheese. I had a slice of Ezekiel bread and a TJ’s veggie sausage patty on the side. Isaac had a bagel and a veggie patty. For the record, Morning Star veggie patties are WAY better than the TJ’s brand. :/

And for the exercise piece of things, Jess and I started the plan on Monday morning with an upper body strength training session. I did a 20 minutes HIIT on Tuesday and then we met up again this morning for a lower body workout. I’ve been sore (in a good way) almost all week from the workout on Monday and Tuesday’s HIIT workout kicked my booty. Don’t let the short time fool you – 20 minutes of HIIT on the stair master (the one with the rotating stairs) is intense! Just in case you want to have your booty kicked too, here’s the workout I did:

20 Minute Stair Master HIIT Workout

Level refers to the level on the machine, which goes from 1-20.

201105242326.jpg

I’ll be sure to keep you all updated on the BFL progress but for now, it’s MF (Modern Family) time.

Question for you – Have you ever tried HIIT? If yes, what’s your favorite HIIT workout?

{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Tori (Fresh Fruition) May 25, 2011 at 10:32 pm

I JUST had a TJ’s veggie sausage patty for the first time the other night. I thought it was well spiced and pretty good. I haven’t tried any other brands, though! I’ll have to try Morningstar.

Breakfast for dinner is always a winner! It’s so easy to make and easily customizable to each person, too!

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Brittany May 25, 2011 at 10:37 pm

Let’s talk about Body For Life! I’ve had the book on my shelf for 2 years, and have seriously thought about doing it lately! I want to hear more on your thoughts :)

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Eating Bird Food May 26, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Yes, let’s chat!!

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Lauren May 25, 2011 at 10:43 pm

I’d love to hear more as it goes along! I love my cardio, but I know I should do more strength training. I do HIIT occasionally, and my favorite is running intervals (fast 1 min, jog 1 min) or increasing my speed each minute to a peak.

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Allison @ thesundayflog May 25, 2011 at 10:46 pm

You and Isaac SPLIT a 3 egg omelet??? My boyfriend eats 6 egg omelets on his own (plus 4 slices of bacon) and is still starving. I would kill for a boyfriend who didn’t cost a
Fortune to feed!!!! Everything looks great though!

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Eating Bird Food May 25, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Oh wow! That would definitely get expensive. Isaac eats a lot too but he usually snacks when he gets home from work around 4:00, eats dinner and then has another snack after dinner.

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Brooke May 25, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Love frittata for dinner and make it several times a month! Whenever my veggies look “mature”. :)

I’ve considered BFL but am too much of a cardio junkie… I think I’d have to tweak the program so much that I’d have to change the name! BFL, but with a different exercise and eating plan… er, not so much! :)

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Casey May 25, 2011 at 11:14 pm

I love HIIT! It’s one of the only ways I’ll actually do cardio. I like to go to the track and sprint down one way, then lunge back the other. My legs burn like crazy the next day. I also do this in the pool- freestyle sprint down one way, then casual freestyle back.

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Cara @ EAT. PRAY. RUN. May 26, 2011 at 1:49 am

I’ve never tried BFL but have kept up with Janetha’s blog and it seems like a wonderful program. I too fell into the cardio only trap for years…I always feared weights would make me bulk up too much…especially after I was happy having lost a few lbs due to clean eating! I’ve recently given strenght training and weights another go and I have fallen in love with it! I haven’t bulked up but feel strong and more balanced and it’s really helped my running…why did I wait this long to get into it ;) Hope it goes well for you too, good job uppin’ the protein!

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Eating Bird Food May 26, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Thanks Cara! I think the fear of bulking up is what keeps most women away from weight lifting in general or going beyond 5-10lb dumbbells. It’s a big myth!!

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Sam May 26, 2011 at 5:22 am

I try to incorporate HIIT into my fitness routine at least once a week. I tend to make up my workouts as I go along, so I don’t have favorite workout.

I also LOVE breakfast for dinner, though I can only pull it off when the fianc√© is away. He hates it and always puts up a fight. I’m a breakfast lover and can eat it any time of the day.

Good luck with Body for Life. I’m interested to hear your experience and see your results.

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Cait @ Beyond Bananas May 26, 2011 at 5:28 am

Body For Life sounds awesome! I can’t wait to read more about it.. Hope you will also share some of the strength training routines with us!

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Eating Bird Food May 26, 2011 at 7:49 pm

I will!!

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Lauren May 26, 2011 at 6:50 am

I think its great you are trying BLF. I’ve always wanted to try it but I need to do more research on it. I definitely agree that the amount of protein needed is justifiable if you are strength training that much and I’m constantly looking for ways to add more protein.

Good luck! I can’t wait to see your thoughts and progress.

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brandi@BranAppetit May 26, 2011 at 7:58 am

i’m so excited to hear how you like it! I’ve been thinking of looking into it, too, but doing it similar to how you are (really focusing on the workouts/schedule and just cleaning up my diet a bit without getting obsessive about it).

We love BFD! :)

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Dawn May 26, 2011 at 8:23 am

I’ve had this realization lately too — that cardio isn’t the end-all be-all of working out. I dearly love my cardio, but due to a persistent foot injury, I’ve had to do more low-impact exercises. Including the Core Fusion workouts that you mentioned a while back. I’m glad I picked that up, and I’ve definitely noticed changes in my body. The injury has “forced” me to be more creative about working out, and to focus more on strength training. And I’m realizing it feels just as good as 45 minutes of hard cardio.

Before my injury, I did HIIT — with a rowing machine and a spinning bike. I think with HIIT and strength training that you can’t go wrong!

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Eating Bird Food May 26, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Hi Dawn! I’m glad you are liking the Care Fusion workouts. I’ve been doing them as well and really like them. Have you tried the Core Fusion pilates DVD yet?

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Veron May 26, 2011 at 9:42 am

Hubby and i tried it like 10 years ago.
It was okay. Just be careful with it…not
sure if it has changed its routines but
I got a persistent shoulder problem
that began with it.

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Alayna @ Thyme Bombe May 26, 2011 at 9:43 am

I’m really interested to see hao you like BFL. I’ve been wanting to start it too for the same reason, abs!

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Eating Bird Food May 26, 2011 at 7:53 pm

I know! I really want abs and after seeing Janetha’s and Sarah’s progress with ab definition after following the program, I knew BFL would help.

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Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers May 26, 2011 at 10:32 am

Good luck with the new plan! I agree, Morning Star patties are the best – I love spicy black bean!

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Valerie May 26, 2011 at 10:56 am

I love BFL, so far. I am on week 4 day 4 and it has been going great. I actually really enjoy HIIT and have been doing my HIIT sessions on the elliptical.

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char @ char on a mission May 26, 2011 at 11:09 am

I do enjoy HIIT training, but never do it enough!! I like to incorporate it with muscular training, like switching leg lunge jumps, or squat jumps, stair jumps, etc. I’m glad you’re feeling the burn. I haven’t had a good burn since last Monday, so I think I, too, need to step it up a notch!

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Jennifer May 26, 2011 at 11:12 am

If you are interested in HIIT then you should check out BodyRockTV.com. Zuzanna will walk you through a HIIT workout that will leave your muscles burning and your lungs gasping for air. The best part is she posts a video of the workout so you don’t have to wonder what exercise she is talking about as well as a photo break down of the whole workout.

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Eating Bird Food May 26, 2011 at 8:10 pm

YES!! I have tried a workout from BodyRockTV before. Zuzanna is awesome and super intense.

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lisa @ early morning run May 26, 2011 at 11:21 am

I love having breakfast for dinner. Actually, breakfast for lunch, too! It’s good any time!

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Holly @ Rust Belt Runner May 26, 2011 at 11:41 am

I’m kinda in the midst of BFL right now. I posted about it a while back on my blog. You can find the post under “BFL” in the word cloud if you are interested.

Anway, I am into it more for the strength training as you mentioned, I’ve never been good at that. The eats have kinda gone by the waste-side. Hmm. Although I’ll say my diet pre-BFL was not much different than the BFL diet. I am trying to drink more water though, that has been the other big change for me since BFL.

I WANT ABS TOO! I think they are starting to make an appearance ;)

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Mary May 26, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Holly- I tried finding the BFL post but couldn’t….help! ;) I’d love to read it!

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Eating Bird Food May 26, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Here’s a link to her BFL posts Mary http://www.rustbeltrunner.com/search/label/BFL

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Heather @ girlyeverafter May 26, 2011 at 12:13 pm

I did HIIT when I had a gym member ship and it was rally intense. Great workout, but I hit a wall so I started mixing up my cardio/weights and got better results that way.

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Steph @ StephSnacks May 26, 2011 at 2:08 pm

I think that it’s great you’re trying a new type of workout and adjusting your diet in different ways (although, as you mentioned, you already eat quite healthy!). I myself have been on the look out for new workout moves as well as cutting back on my carbs a bit.. while it’s slightly challenging, I also feel better :)

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Clare @ Fitting It All In May 26, 2011 at 2:12 pm

I’m so excited to hear how BFL is for you. I did just the weights part a few summers ago and definitely got stronger.

As for HIIT, how is it different than just regular intervals? I run intervals all the time!

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Eating Bird Food May 26, 2011 at 8:32 pm

The only difference is the intensity in which they are performed. HIIT you go at your maximum pace/exertion.

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Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine May 26, 2011 at 2:34 pm

I actually purchased the BFL book not too long ago, and was toying with the idea of following just the workout part and upping the protein just like you, but decided to hold off for a bit until all my vacations this month were over. I’m not sure if I’ll actually do it, but I really do love the program’s balance when it comes to exercise- some cardio is absolutely necessary to maintain a healthy heart, but strength training pays off way more in the long run! I’m interested to hear what you think of the plan as you continue doing it!

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Eating Bird Food May 26, 2011 at 8:40 pm

I’ll definitely let you know how it goes for me Gabriela! Let me know if you decide to give it a try.

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Danielle May 26, 2011 at 2:57 pm

I would love to see some of your meals that you make that follow BFL. Only because you don’t eat a lot of meat and it would be interesting to see how you eat enough protein. I tried doing BFL before but eating chicken/beef so much didn’t interest me and I ran out of ideas pretty quickly :) Do you think you would do this ?

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Danielle May 26, 2011 at 3:13 pm

i think lunches are the most difficult for me. I am always left feeling so famished if I don’t stuff my face ;)

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Eating Bird Food May 26, 2011 at 8:41 pm

If I come up with any BFL appropriate meals I’ll be sure to post them.

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Sarah May 26, 2011 at 3:41 pm

I love HIIT! I have a few videos featuring different ways to do / use them. Let me know if you ever have any questions. Also, my favorite book for dieting of ALL time is the eat clean recharged with Tosca Reno – although I think she just issues another new version but still the Eat Clean Diet is what I follow typically.

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Eating Bird Food May 26, 2011 at 8:36 pm

I’ll have to check out your videos Sarah. I like Tosca’s Eat Clean plan as well – I think I have at least 3 of her books. :)

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natalie (the sweets life) May 26, 2011 at 4:03 pm

i’ve been doing more HIIT via insanity workout videos and LOVE it!
….just like I love BFD :)

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LauraJayne May 26, 2011 at 8:41 pm

I haven’t tried HIIT (or know much about it), so I’m interested to see how you like it! I have such a “tried & true” eating routine, that I usually don’t like to switch things up – I’m a creature of habit, but I’ve been wanting to work on strength – and maybe I’ll need to mix things up to see any progress! Can’t wait to hear more!

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janetha @ meals & moves May 27, 2011 at 6:02 pm

If there is one thing I love, it is acronyms. You go, lady!

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Eva June 2, 2011 at 12:48 pm

I could not agree more with HIIT. I have been doing this for years and and I ONLY do cardio for 20 minutes (unless I am teaching Zumba which is 60 minutes, but even then I try to vary up the routines from slow(er) to fast) and I get the best results from 20 minutes of intense interval training. Not many of my friends who are newly on the fitness bandwagon can understand how I stay in shape with only 20 minutes of cardio that I have been doing for years. Even on days I do Zumba, which like I said are 60 minutes, I will weigh more the next few days. But the second I do 20 minute intervals, I see a drop in the scale. I love teaching Zumba so I won’t give that up, but just to further emphasize and encourage you that this works! Thanks for posting this and best of luck! Ps – your meals look fantastic!

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Linz August 9, 2011 at 8:53 am

Do you think you can do this HIIT work-out on the stairmill, too? I love the stairmill, not the stair stepper…

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Eating Bird Food August 9, 2011 at 10:09 am

Oh yea, this workout is actually for the stairmill. At my gym it’s called the Stair Master. :)

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Chloe September 22, 2011 at 1:36 am

I have a burning question about HIIT. I’ve been trying to get into it, and I’ve been doing a ton of research, so this may seem pretty darn silly but…
Do you manually change the levels on the stairmaster? Or can you program it? Let me link an image to the stairmaster I have at my gym.. (LA Fitness)

http://static.productreview.com.au/pr.products/62810_stairmaster_stepmill_7000pt.jpg

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Eating Bird Food September 22, 2011 at 8:10 am

That’s the same stairmaster that I have at my gym and I haven’t found a way to program it so I just change the levels myself. I do think there is a interval setting though – maybe you could try that out.

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Shannon April 17, 2012 at 9:46 am

What do you do for your strength training?

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Eating Bird Food April 17, 2012 at 11:55 pm

I switch up what I do for strength training. At the time I wrote this post I was following the Body For Life training program. Now I am doing an outdoor bootcamp and using the Tone It Up workouts for my strength training.

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H December 8, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Just so you know- beans/legumes are pretty high in carbs, but they also have a lot of fiber – because of that fiber content, beans have a slower impact on your blood sugar than other high carb foods. This means they satisfy you and can help stabilize your blood sugar.

(they also have phytonutrients, in addition to protein)

I’m sure you already know all that- I just had to point out that beans can be a good part of diets too :)

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Chris Mosely February 4, 2013 at 6:27 am

That intensity level on isn’t really HIT. It’s too low. It’s just IT (Interval Training). If you’re really doing HIT, you would have to rest after about 20 seconds or so, you wouldn’t be able to continue at such a high level of intensity for more than 20 seconds. It’s supposed to be flat out!

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