Does Body for Life Really Work?

Reviewed on 12/3/2020

What Is Body for Life?

The nutritional and fitness aspects of the Body for Life plan are medically sound for most people in good health, but it may be difficult for people to stick to.
The nutritional and fitness aspects of the Body for Life plan are medically sound for most people in good health, but it may be difficult for people to stick to.

The Body for Life plan is based on the book Body for Life by Bill Phillips, founder of Muscle Media Magazine and former CEO of EAS, a performance nutrition supplement company.

It is a diet and exercise plan that claims if it is followed for 12 weeks, users will have, “the best body that you desire” and people will:

  • Burn body fat
  • Get lean 
  • Build muscle

How Does Exercise Fit into the Body for Life Program?

Unlike many weight loss plans that focus only on diet, the Body for Life program also focuses on exercise

There are four steps to the exercise program: 

  • 3 sessions of cardio per week
    • The plan includes a 20-minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout that can be intense
  • 3 weight training sessions per week
    • The plan emphasizes using weights for 45 minutes, alternating between upper body and lower body to build lean muscle
  • Brief, intense workouts
    • Workouts are 30 to 45 minutes, and should add up to about 4 hours per week of total exercise
  • 1 free day every week
    • One rest day per week is included so people do not get overworked and fatigued

What Foods Do You Eat on the Body for Life Diet?

The Body for Life program suggests dieters eat six small meals each day. Each meal consists of:

  • A fist-sized serving of protein such as lean meats
  • A fist-sized serving of carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, potatoes, and fruits
  • A portion of vegetables (for at least 2 meals each day)
  • Small amounts of certain fats such as unsaturated oils are recommended with each meal

In addition, ten glasses of water are required daily. The program also recommends dieters consume salmon three times per week. 

There is one “free” day each week when dieters can eat whatever they want.

Foods to avoid on the Body for Life program (except on “free” days) include: 

  • Bacon
  • Fatty cuts of beef
  • Hot dogs
  • Deep-fried meats
  • Sugary or processed foods like cookies, cake, candy, white rice, chips
  • Soda
  • Certain fats, such as butter, lard, mayonnaise, coconut oil, and full-fat dairy products 

The plan does not require dieters to purchase any pre-packaged meals, shakes, or bars. 


Weight loss occurs in the belly before anywhere else. See Answer

Does Body for Life Really Work?

The idea behind the Body for Life program is reduced calories and increased exercise, which typically do result in weight loss

Advantages of the Body for Life program include: 

  • If the diet is followed as designed, dieters are likely to lose weight and build lean muscle
  • Eating small, frequent meals can also help lessen hunger which may help dieters overcome cravings
  • There is also a Body for Life app available for users to track workouts and weight loss which can help monitor progress and keep people motivated

Drawbacks of the Body for Life program include: 

  • Dieters must be careful on “free” days not to go overboard and consume too many excess calories, which may reduce some of the weight loss
  • The program can be difficult for some people to stick to
    • The exercise may be intense for beginners or difficult for those with physical limitations or certain medical problems
    • The diet requires time to plan and cook meals which can be a challenge for people who have busy schedules
  • The program may be difficult for vegans to follow, as it requires a reduced amount of carbohydrates, and plant sources of protein such as beans include carbs
  • It is not recommended for pregnant women or children
  • The relatively high protein intake requirements may be harmful for people with certain health conditions

Consult your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program to ensure it is suitable for you. 

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Reviewed on 12/3/2020