Fat and Fit: A Plus Size Girl’s Review of the BodyBoss Fitness Guide
Fat and Fit: A Plus Size Girl’s Review of the BodyBoss Fitness Guide
Looking for a review of the BodyBoss Fitness Guide from a plus size (dare I say, FAT?) perspective? Here it is! In today’s post, I’m sharing my experience with the “Ultimate Body 12-Week Fitness Guide” workout program by BodyBoss. I also share some of my thoughts on being fat and fit and what that means in today’s body shaming/body positive culture. Read more >>
Please note: This post is sponsored by BodyBoss and I was gifted a hard copy of the fitness guide in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own.
The multi-billion dollar diet industry wants us to believe that being fat automatically means you’re unhealthy. They view fat is the ultimate enemy and that we should pursue weight loss at all costs – regardless of one’s health status. Women (and men) are pressured to worship thinness and make it their main priority and goal in life. This (in my opinion) is a ridiculous waste of time. Unless your health is at immediate risk, weight loss should not be your ultimate goal in life. How about being a better person, building a successful business or curing diseases? Can we make those the overarching journey of our life instead of dieting and weight loss?
I strongly believe that one’s fat/thin appearance is not an accurate determinate of health (see my last post with research here), and your health is no one’s business but your own and those loved ones you wish to share it with. But research shows that exercise is a good habit for people of all sizes to get into and is beneficial to your health whether you’re fat or thin or in between.
I’d like to change the conversation around exercise to be less fat-shaming and diet-focused and more size-inclusive and body positive. Exercise is not a magic bullet for weight loss and shouldn’t be viewed as such. Exercise/activity is a healthy habit that we should cultivate for its own sake – not because we are trying to create some perfect version of a thin body.
Being active is a huge part of my life and I think it’s important for plus size women to talk about it and celebrate it as a healthy habit – without the emphasis on losing weight. That’s why I’ve started this “Fat and Fit” series, and that – darling – is why we’re talking about exercise. Are you with me? OK, then down to business.
So, as I mentioned in my last post, hiking and running are my two favorite ways to stay active. And I sprinkle in some dancing, yoga and tennis in there as well, along with a random canoe ride or sword fighting class. But while I do exercise fairly consistently, I have never really gotten into weight training or boot camp-style classes – besides a few years of personal training back in the day. These days, I tend to do things that I enjoy and that have an element of socialization.
When BodyBoss invited me to try their 12-Week Fitness Guide, I realized that I could benefit from taking my exercise routine up a notch – especially since it was a DIY style workout that only takes 30-45 minutes. So I decided to try it.
What Exactly Is BodyBoss?
Basically, it’s a book (also available in an online edition) that has 12-weeks of workouts, plus a 4-week pre-training program. The guide book guides you through the workouts 3x per week and it comes with recommended cardio/recovery exercises twice a week. Each day’s workout includes time for warm up and cool down stretching.
I like that very little equipment is needed – just a yoga mat, a timer, some weights and a sturdy chair or bench. That makes it easy to do your workout session wherever you are – in your bedroom or hotel or out in a nearby park.
Break it Down
The program is built around the benefits of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), which involves repeated bursts of brief, intense anaerobic exercise performed at maximum effort, alternated with short periods of recovery. Three times a week, the guide outlines a 7-minute circuit of HIIT exercises that you repeat 2-3 times with 3-minute breaks in between. The other 2 days are pick-your-own cardio.
Each circuit includes 7-8 exercises – and you’re probably familiar with most of them – sumo squats, butt kicks, bicycles, tricep dips, and the like. There are a recommended number of reps for each movement, and you’re supposed to do one full circuit in 7 minutes.
PLEASE NOTE >> This type of training is hard. So if you’re unsure if it’s for you, please seek medical advice before starting the program. I’m not a doctor, so take this review for what it’s worth!
One thing I will note about the language and imagery used in the guide – it is very focused on burning fat, losing weight, getting bikini-ready and creating your “dream body.” While this might be motivating to some, this type of language does not appeal to me and doesn’t inspire me. The text proclaims to come from a “tough love” perspective and tries to motivate participants with a hard line – no excuses – type of approach. And of course, like most exercise-related content – all of the models used in the book were young, tan and thin. A look through the BodyBoss Instagram feed also shows its emphasis on achieving the “perfect body.” But – a marked shift can be seen a few month ago. It looks like BodyBoss is trying to incorporate more diverse bodies into their video and ad content. Even though much of their content is still a little tone-deaf, I give them props for their willingness to change. And I can imagine that their outreach to me is part of their effort to build a more body-positive and size-inclusive brand image.
I read all of the information at the front of the guide – but basically rolled my eyes at a lot of the language and ignored it. I was ready to get started!
I was pretty sure that if I started in on the full program, I wouldn’t be able to walk for a week…so I opted to start with the 4 Week Pre-Training program. This is meant to get your body used to the timed circuits and get your muscles used to the strain of HIIT.
I opted for the physical book, since I don’t like fooling around with my iPad or phone during a workout. The exercises were all very familiar to me – from my old personal training days – but the guide also has easy-to-follow pictures of each of the movements, as well as descriptions in the back of the book. Just by looking at it, I knew I was in for some soreness!
A Week In The Life
Day 1: The first day of the program, I took my time doing the stretching. In fact, I didn’t worry about the time at all throughout the workout. I focused on completing the HIIT circuit and their recommended reps. I knew there was no way I’d be able to do all the reps for all the exercises in the 7 mins! I was a sweaty mess at the end of the circuit and could only complete it once!
Day 2: The second day is a recovery day – and the guide encourages you to get your body moving with walking, swimming or yoga. I was extremely stiff from the previous day’s workout, so I opted for a 40 minute walk around a nearby park.
Day 3: The real soreness always kicks in for me on day 2 after a hard workout, so I was struggling today. Because I knew the drill, I got going a little quicker this time. Although I HATE half burpees! My favorite exercise of this circuit is the high knee skip – can you tell?? LOL I made it through the circuit 2 times, but again, I wasn’t concerned with fitting it into 7 minutes.
Day 4: Cardio Day. I was still really sore, but decided to go for a 20 minute jog anyway. I felt better by the end of it and was pretty energized for the rest of my day.
Day 5: This is a shorter “Power-Up” circuit with only 4 exercises. You only do 1 circuit. I found that this was totally doable for me and I decided to time it. It took me 8 minutes, instead of the recommended 6, but I felt totally bad-ass!
My Progress So Far
This guide encourages you to take measurements, record your weight and take before/after pictures. If that’s what you’re into, DO IT! But again – losing weight, burning fat and getting a “bikini body” is NOT why I exercise or choose to do this program. I want to get stronger and challenge my body in new ways. I want to feel energized – mentally and physically – and exercising is a great way to do that.
So…I’m in my 3rd week of the pre-training program, and I definitely feel stronger. I can get through the circuits quicker, and don’t feel as sore after each day’s activity. I find the program to be easy to follow and love how convenient it is, since I don’t have a gym nearby.
While I am worried that my downstairs neighbor is going to complain about all of the jumping and thumping, I am going to continue the program. After week 4, I’m thinking of repeating the pre-training program again since I am still not able to complete the circuit reps in the allotted time. And that’s OK. I am enjoying the challenge and no one is here to judge me!