Body Beast has been in the wild for a bit over a year now and continues to gain interest from both the Dudes and the Ladies. I get a lot of questions about it and truth is, I haven’t coached or met anyone who’s started it and hasn’t loved it (myself included).

Of course, the name “Body Beast” conjures up images of hairy, testosterone-fueled manimals huffing and puffing and grunting as they chuck dumbbell equivalents of RV’s and naval vessels but I’m here to tell you Body Beast is nothing like that (as I explained here). And while the Body Beast program does focus on dude-centric hypertrophy (the art of making your shirts look smaller fit better through muscle growth), it’s fantastic for women and not just about picking up heavy things and putting them down until you collapse under their combined weight.

Body Beast is a program constructed around the premise of building and sculpting muscle, adding strength and looking competition/cover shoot awesome. Truth be told, men and women can achieve these goals to different– and equally fantastic– results. But beyond the physical change, you’re sure to find inner strength, accomplishment and confidence as well.

So, you’ve decided to give Beast a shot… here are a few things to consider:

Body Beast Fact 1: You Will Need (Minimal) Equipment

Body Beast is a weight training program and if you only have soup cans and body weight, you may need to do a little “iron” investing in the form of weights. Still, Body Beast is ridiculously simple to jump into and requires the most minimum of fitness equipment: dumbbells and (maybe) a bench. The program uses a pull-up and EZ Curl bar as well as a bench in a few of the workouts but for most of you, that’s already taken care of if you’re any kind of P90X grad. In fact, stability balls are used and demonstrated in the workouts instead of benches. As a note, however, I tend to think stability balls are too unstable and dangerous when you’re hauling 50+ lbs around. A bench will keep things stable.

Equipment Tips

As far as dumbbells go, Bowflex's Select Tech dumbbells allow some space saving as do Power Blocks. Both pieces of equipment can be pricey at the outset (ranging $3-500). Fact is, you can pick up dumbbells to suit your needs in local classifieds, garage sales and your local sports store if you want to go ala carte in picking just the weights you need at the moment. Just make sure you get a decent range of weight and keep in mind you’ll be growing out of the lower weights quickly as the idea is to increase weight throughout the program.

A general rule of thumb on dumbbell pricing is that they run a little over a dollar a pound, so if you’re pushing up into the 70-100 lb range per dumbbell, we’re talking $140-$200 for pairs at the higher weight ranges. But again- that’s brand new. There’s always someone offloading weights somewhere.

Body Beast Fact 2: You MUST Plan on Eating Cleanly… A Lot

While the old-school body-building method centered around the “See Food” diet (I see food, I eat it), this approach generally leads to more work down the road when you wanted to “lean out” to show off the muscle you earned while binging on anything and everything. There is a difference between being just “big” and being “shredded”.

With that in mind, the technique used in Body Beast is a little more in line with the sports science of our time– sure you’ll still need to eat a lot (definitely over your usual maintenance levels) but you’ll do it cleanly to minimize fat gain. In other words, you don’t have to pound a Big Mac a day– you will fill your diet with good fats, good carbs, protein and supplements to help with each in efforts to build muscle without piling on extra fat… fat you need to train off for months leading up to the “showtime” of revealing your new physique.

Yes, you’ll eat more than you’re used to (that muscle needs fuel to grow, after all), but with Body Beast, you’ll eat the food in amounts YOUR body requires to build muscle and you’ll do it cleanly– and it’s all laid out in the nutrition guide “Book of Beast” which comes with the program and includes recipes and a relatively simple way to track your foods.

Body Beast Fact 3: Form & Weight Selection is Key

Building and sculpting muscle isn’t about throwing weight around. Yes, you’ll lift weights and yes, you’ll be exhausted and pumped but Body Beast is about focused training– something you can do without breaking your back or destroying your shoulder trying to lift something too heavy.

Body Beast uses Dynamic Set Training, which means you’ll be lifting varying weights and various reps. Most sets typically begin with 15 reps on a lighter weight. If you start your first rep with too much weight, you’re going to be wasted by the time to you get to the money set of finishing 8 reps heavy… not to mention the additional drop set.

Hint: Pick the weight that allows you to maintain form yet still provides a challenge. You’ll notice most of the Dudes in Body Beast use a lighter weight than you might expect. It’s because they’re using a proper form which will exhaust the targeted muscles and deliver a pump without having to swing weight and open the door to potential injury. Leave the ego at the door and you’ll still get results. Promise.

Body Beast Fact 4: It’s NOT Just for Dudes

I know slogans like “Man Up” might hint otherwise but I keep saying Body Beast isn’t just for guys and there’s plenty of results from women who’ve gone through the program and come out rocking on the other side to prove it:

I’ve said it time and again, but weights are where it’s at for ladies looking to sculpt “sexy”. Don’t let the “Beast” scare you off… it’s for the Beauties as well.

Body Beast Fact 5: You May Put on Weight

Do keep in mind, Body Beast will have you consuming excess calories and while the workout is designed to use those calories to fuel muscle, there’s a chance your body fat percentage will go up. That’s standard. It’s OK. It’s to be expected and it’s in the art of the process and we’re talking a few, if that, percentage points. Your body will utilize most of the calories for muscle growth.

That said, the later phases of the program will work on reducing calories to get you lean and let the new muscle definition show. As is the case in every program you venture into, you’ve got to trust it. Creator Sagi Kalev knows his stuff and has created the physiques you see above time and time again. So, welcome the slight weight (which may vary from individual to individual) and know you’re going to shed it in the later phases. Again… it’s part of the process. You’ve got to eat to grow.