emily alvers: 2008 Body-for-LIFE grand champion.

by Janetha on November 28, 2010

in meals

hey guys! i am traveling home from california today and so i have a special post for you to read.

as you may recall, i have been planning to interview emily alvers, the 2008 body for life grand champion. i finally stopped dragging my feet and sent em the questions, which she promptly returned to me. she’s amazing like that.

if you are not familiar with the body for life program, you can read my rundown here and you can check out the official website, bodyforlife.com.



in a nutshell, body for life is a 12 week eating and exercise regimin. it requires no fees, product purchases or program charges of any kind. the program, created by a man by the name of bill phillips, is outlined in a book and the rest is up to you. of course, there are lots of online resources to help you along the way.

body for life consists of eating 5 to 6 small meals a day, every 2 to 3 hours, balancing a nutrient ratio of 40% carbs, 40% protein and 20% fat.  the workouts consist of 3 days of 20 minute high intensity interval training and 3 days of 45 minute weight training—alternating upper body and lower body workout days.  one day a week is a rest day from exercise and you can eat whatever you’d like, whenever you’d like. this is called “free day”.  the “challenge” is 12 weeks long, but many people end up making these habits their way of life.

now that you know what body for life is, hear a champion’s answers regarding the challenge and the doors that have opened for her since she was named the 2008 grand champion.

meet emily.


emily has been someone i have looked up to for over two and a half years. i first “met” her in the body for life tracker forums. i asked her for some advice because i saw that she was having great success with her challenge. she was very helpful and quick to answer any questions i shot her way. i eventually started a body for life challenge of my own and joined the same team as emily in the forums i mentioned. our team worked hard at supporting each other every day and motivating everyone on a regular basis. emily is a great example and a great friend.

my questions for emily are in bold, her answers are in regular font below.


Where are you originally from and where are you living now?

I grew up in FL, spent some time in CA, and now live in Austin, TX.

How old are you?

32 years young.

What made you decide you needed to change your lifestyle / lose weight? Was it a snap decision or one you had to work yourself up to? Did you have an “Aha!” moment that prompted you to do something about your situation?

I spent 20+ years yo-yo dieting and in a perpetual state of imbalance, but it wasn’t until I was at my heaviest and almost 30% body fat that I hit rock bottom.

Not long before, I’d lost my step-father and mother to cancer. I was going through a box of my mother’s things, sitting on my bedroom floor sobbing like a baby, when I randomly found the book Body-for-LIFE. I opened it and couldn’t put it down. I felt like it was speaking to me directly, and I was instantly motivated to make a new start. I set a date to begin an official challenge and told everyone I knew. There was no going back once I did that!

The Body-for-LIFE Challenge

How did you discover BFL?

I knew of Body-for-LIFE since the mid 90’s when the book came out and my mom bought it. I thought the before and after pictures in the cover were fake and that it was just another fad diet my mom was trying.

Your 12 week before and after photos are incredibly impressive!


How much weight and body fat percentage did you lose in the 12 weeks?

I lost 21 lbs. and 9.4% body fat. Some people are surprised to hear that losing 21 lbs. produced such drastic changes, but the real transformation happens when you’re able to replace fat with muscle, which weighs more. That’s why the focus should really be on improving body composition (body fat %).

Did you go into the BFL challenge planning to send in an official entry to EAS (the company who sponsors the challenge) or did you decide to send an entry in after going through your transformation and seeing your success?

The book recommends sending in an official entry packet, because it adds a level of accountability. I said I’d do an official challenge from the beginning, and I also really wanted to finish what I’d started the way it was intended. At that point, completing an entry packet became more of a spiritual part of the experience. Anyone who’s done a BFL Challenge knows how life changing it can be…much more beyond what’s apparent on the outside.


Why did you pick BFL? Did you try any other programs or weight loss methods before doing BFL?

I never tried another structured program. I did, however, spend my entire life in a really bad cycle of eating too little all day long, overeating in the afternoons and evenings, bingeing on sugary foods regularly, and working out like a maniac to try to compensate for my binge eating behaviors. Try doing that for 20 years and tell me how exhausted you become!

When I read BFL, the light bulb finally went on for me. It helped me understand how eating frequent balanced meals 5-6 times per day would keep my blood glucose steady and prevent afternoon cravings. I realized that if I could get the upper hand on preventing my strong cravings to eat poorly, then I would be able to break the cycle altogether. I liked the fact that it wasn’t asking me to buy expensive food out of a cardboard box or attend meetings. It was just a few simple things I needed to do to that would completely change my lifestyle for good.

What were your eating and exercise habits like before the challenge?

Most days played out like this: Wake up, start making promises to myself about eating well, exercise (combining weights and long sessions of moderate cardio in the same day), eat very little all day long, succumb to temptation and eat poorly (many nights all out bingeing on sugary foods), go to bed feeling guilty and extremely depressed….wake up and do it all over again.

During what I’d consider better times, I would be “good” with my eating all week and then just have a binge fest on the weekends. “Diet starts Monday!” were my famous words. I went through so many ups and downs, but there was always some cycle of poor eating that would overshadow whatever progress I was trying to make in the gym.

What was the hardest part about staying on track during your challenge?

Trying to convince myself that eating more often and exercising less was going to somehow give me better results took a lot of self-convincing. Every bone in my body wanted to revert to old ways of thinking and acting, but I knew I had to stay strong and do it by the book no matter what.

Outside of that, I had to rethink the way my husband and I spent our time. Our nights used to be spent drinking wine and eating on our balcony in South Beach, FL. I’ll come right out and say that we do enjoy a good glass of wine! We’d just moved to Northern CA… wine country of all places! It wasn’t easy to break those nightly rituals, but we made a conscious decision to replace our old habits with healthier activities like hiking, going to movies, and reading.

And the easiest?

I was shocked at how quickly my cravings to binge on sugary foods went away once I started eating more balanced meals frequently and consistently. Sure, I had times when I wanted something unauthorized, but it wasn’t uncontrollable like before. The success I felt from resisting temptations was empowering and made me want to keep making good decisions.

Let’s talk about free day. For those of you not familiar with BFL, the program tells you to follow the guidelines for 6 days a week and then take one “free day” where you don’t exercise and eat whatever you like.

Just how “free” were you? Did your free days change over the course of the 12 weeks? How?

I was really careful not to use my free day as an excuse to revert to old binge eating behaviors. I never kept unauthorized foods in my home and dined out for free meals. I didn’t trust myself to wake up to a carton of ice cream in my freezer the next day.

I looked forward to having one day each week to take a mental break from planning, but made reasonable decisions. I didn’t order 1500 calorie appetizers, fast food, pizza, or huge calorie bombs. I had a few small treats, relaxed a little on the meal timing and water consumption and just took it easy. Halfway through my challenge I had a birthday trip to Vegas and had a few extra free meals as well.

During the last 2 weeks of my challenge I did not take a free meal at all. I always kept a quote from past BFL Champion, Porter Freeman, in my head throughout my challenge. He said, “Your free day is there for you to take. You’re also free not to take it.”

Check out my typical free day meal plan and other FAQ’s on Body-for-Life… http://www.emilyalvers.com/body-for-life_support.html

Did you rely on EAS products daily or did you focus more on whole foods? Do you recommend one over the other?

I took EAS products almost daily, but whole foods were the foundation of my eating overall. Supplements are a great way to get well-balanced nutrition for some meals without any preparation. During my challenge I used them for post-workout recovery and for on-the-go type meals, and I do think that was key to my success. However, I also focused on changing the foods I bought, planning all of my meals ahead of time, and cooking in bulk. I always had both at the ready…protein shakes and also pre-portioned whole food meals.

I don’t recommend that people rely solely on supplementation to reach their goals. You can’t live on protein shakes alone, and if you really want to get results that will actually last, you’ve got to find what foods work best to keep you satisfied and interested and happy. For me that is lots of vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and fibrous carbohydrates.

What supplements did you take during your challenge? How big of a role would you say they played in your overall success?

During my challenge I took EAS Muscle Armor, Whey Protein, EAS AdvantEDGE shakes, EAS AdvantEDGE bars, and Myoplex Carb Sense shakes. I think they played a very real part in my success. Besides the nutritional benefits, working those into my day really helped me to stick with the eating every 2-3 hours consistently until it became a solid routine.

How many hours a week did you spend working out?

4 hours. Outside of throwing a few abs exercises onto the end of a few workouts when time permitted, I did Body-for-LIFE exactly as it’s outlined in the book.


What was your reaction when you found out you had won the Grand Champion title?

I was pretty shocked! I knew I was being considered and had recently been a featured contestant in a BFL Newsletter, but I had no idea they’d be showing up on my doorstep. Just doing the challenge successfully made me feel like I’d already won no matter what, but being recognized by a community that I respect so much was icing on the cake!

Check out the video footage from my surprise visit from EAS here… http://emilyalvers.com/body_for_life.html

A Little More Personal


Where did you turn for support during your challenge? What/Who kept you motivated and on track?

Having the support of my husband was priceless. I also became involved with the Body-for-LIFE community online. It was a huge help to connect with other BFL’ers who’d already completed a challenge successfully and with those were going through their first challenge alongside me. I also bombarded myself with things to keep myself in a healthy mindset. I made a vision board, subscribed to fitness magazines, posted goal pics, carried motivational quotes with me, and journaled throughout the 12 weeks.

Making a vision board is a great way to stay motivated for fitness and other life goals.


Find out how to make your own… http://www.emilyalvers.com/activating_the_law_of_attraction.html

I know that BFL places demands on food preparation and certain eating and exercise times. How did you work out this change with your husband? Did the change bother him at all? How did you manage to stick to your regimen without causing conflict at home?

Luckily my husband is ultra supportive and went with the flow easily. Even though he wasn’t doing BFL officially, there were sacrifices he made to support me and limit the amount of unauthorized food temptations I had to look at. For years, he always said he couldn’t be a “morning workout person.” When I started doing BFL, we started going to the gym together every morning religiously and it became a routine.


We still go to the gym together most mornings, and he’s actually 20 lbs. lighter now as well.

To this day, I still eat every 2-3 hours and he doesn’t. We have different taste in food as well. We don’t operate on the same schedule. There are challenges, but we both want to make being healthy a priority and so we find ways to make it work and stay sane at the same time, even if we have different approaches.

Sometimes when someone makes a drastic transformation like the one you did, they are criticized or judged by individuals who are likely jealous. Did you ever deal with any of these types of situations? How did you deal with them?

I never encountered that sort of criticism, but I hear the complaint from others who deal with this a lot. Many times it comes from spouses/friends who lack self-confidence themselves. Misery loves company!

For anyone who’s dealing with negative feedback, I would say to just stay strong and continue on with blinders. As you’re changing, the people around you are adjusting to a new you. What might be intimidating to them at first will most likely spark their curiosity a little further down the road and you could very well become a huge source of inspiration for them to follow your lead and start improving their own lives. You’ve got to do this for you! Don’t let the naysayers bother you and continue being a positive example in the world. If you continue to lead with a happy heart, others will follow.

Did you run into people who tried to “bring you down” while you were working so hard at BFL? How did you deal with these people?

Not consciously, but I did have to take a good long look at the types of influences in my life. There are some people who just create drama no matter what is going on in their life, and in the process can bring you down. It’s not easy to close the door on toxic relationships, but that is one thing I had to ultimately do. I started distancing myself from people who I felt were constantly negative or who were headed down a path I didn’t want to follow. In a couple cases, I flat out told a couple of friends that we were just on completely different pages and I needed space. It was hard but necessary, and I don’t regret it one bit.

Learn to clear out the things that are holding you back … http://www.emilyalvers.com/spring_cleaning_your_life.html?r=20101022131427

How have your friends reacted to your transformation?

I’ve had nothing but positive feedback. Most people in this world want to be the best version of themselves, but just aren’t sure on how to get started. To have friends tell me that my story inspired them or a family member to take control of their health is extremely moving. Just yesterday, a friend I hadn’t seen in ages let me know I’d inspired her to do Body-for-LIFE, that her husband was now doing it and loving it, and that her cousin has already lost 40+ lbs. and is still going! It’s amazing how much power each one of us holds to inspire others. It’s exactly the type of chain reaction that is going to help get this country back on two healthy feet.

I understand you had a sugar addiction in the past. How did you cope with this during your challenge? And how do you cope with your addiction now—is it a thing of the past or do you still struggle?

For people who struggle with sugar, having a taste can make you want it even more. For me, setting new boundaries on what was actually kept in the house was huge. I still love sweets, but I don’t keep certain foods in the house. There are still times when I struggle more than others, like during traveling. Having frequent balanced meals is key to preventing cravings altogether for me, and so I try to stay on top of my eating schedule no matter where I’m at. That alone is my biggest ally. I’m not perfect, and there are occasions here and there when I’ve taken a free day a little too freely, but I will never give over my control to food and let it become a habit. I’ve learned what my triggers are, what things I can do to set myself up for success, and I’ve finally found a balance in enjoying things in moderation. I have control over the container of peanut butter in my pantry now, and not the other way around.

Maintenance Mode & After BFL

How did your habits change immediately after the challenge?

The weekend I finished my challenge, we took a trip to Napa Valley for the weekend, and it was right back to BFL workouts and eating the following week. I liked my new lifestyle and daily routines, so why change it? BFL just became a way of life for me.


What are your habits now? Do you still eat clean 6 days a week? And exercise 6 days a week?

I still do BFL eating 80-90% of the time and have raised my standards of food quality altogether over the past couple of years. I still take my cooler packed with clean eats almost everywhere. I don’t always decide to have one specific free day. The great thing about BFL is that it trains your body to become more metabolic. You can get away with a more relaxed approach once you’ve lowered your overall body fat%. I still exercise 6 days per week, doing cardio 3 times and strength training 3 times. I’m such a big believer in HIIT cardio and progressive resistance training for long-term weight maintenance and overall health.

Did you gain any weight back after the challenge?

I was 117 lbs. when I completed my challenge and I’ve never gained anything above that. Like any normal person, my weight has had minor fluctuations since finishing. I’ve gotten down to 108 (too skinny in my opinion) but tend to hover between 112-114. I have size 0’s and 2’s in my closet, and have given away anything larger. I have no intentions of ever going back there.

Have you done any challenges since your first one?

I continued to do BFL and lose body fat after my challenge, but I never officially entered another challenge. I still live the BFL lifestyle…I just don’t consider it a “challenge” anymore. It’s just my way of life.

I know you have had several doors opened in the healthy living world since you won BFL. Tell us a little bit about what you have been up to since the challenge.

After winning BFL, I was offered a 1 year contract with Abbott Nutrition as an EAS Spokesperson and had some great opportunities to work with them at fitness events and BFL events, as well as blogging for their website.


Since then, I’ve been a keynote speaker at several offices in the US as part of their annual corporate fitness challenge. I’ve worked as a corporate fitness trainer for Cisco Systems HQ in San Jose, CA and now own my own Austin-based fitness corporation providing personal training and nutrition counseling services.


Upon moving to Austin, I also became involved with the Lance Armstrong Foundation and volunteer at LIVESTRONG HQ weekly and at various events in the community. Outside of volunteering for the non-profit, I’m a freelance health & fitness expert for LIVESTRONG.COM.


Fitness modeling is something that happened unexpectedly.


It’s been an amazing experience to work with Wilhelmina Models and become involved with companies like SHAPE magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Sports Authority, and Suave Beauty.


I’m having fun connecting with people through my website www.EmilyAlvers.com, because it’s allowing me to share my passion in a very personal way. I’m really focused on finding creative ways to help inspire others to make health and fitness a priority, and I try to take advantage of any opportunity that will help me to achieve that mission.


jamie eason & emily – jamie writes a column in oxygen magazine and is a HUGE inspiration for me! (janetha)


emily’s husband, emily, joel osteen

Just for Fun!


What is your favorite type of exercise? Favorite cardio? Favorite weight lifting move?

Cardio is a toss up between running, cycling, and the stepmill. Favorite weight lifting move there’s no contest… Squats….go heavy or go home!


What are your favorite songs to work out to?

My music changes according to my mood, but I love DJ Tiesto, David Guetta and anything that is upbeat and has inspiring lyrics for cardio. For strength training I find rock music or hip hop more motivating….things like Shinedown, One Republic, and Ludacris. I’m always looking for the latest mixes to give me a motivational boost. Music is such a driving force behind staying motivated for me!

What is your ideal free meal?

This is like asking a mother to pick a favorite child! There is something about a scallop seared to perfection and drizzled with a tomato basil butter sauce that can’t be beat. While we’re placing orders I’ll also have some warm bread, a glass of Moet champagne, and a slice of key lime pie for dessert. Mmmmm Smile

What is your favorite food? And favorite beverage?

Water is by far my favorite beverage. I always have 1 L of bottled water with me.

One of my all-time favorite dinners is tilapia with mango salsa, find it here: http://www.emilyalvers.com/tilapia_with_mango_salsa.html


A favorite breakfast is protein packed yamcakes, find it here:



I’m loving these homemade granola bars for on-the-go right now:



What foods do you HATE?

Anything that’s just really poor quality, especially in regards to meat and seafood. I would rather starve than eat ground chuck hamburger meat. I’m grossed out just thinking about it.

In your opinion, what is the best way to spend money?

Good clean eats and a gym membership or anything that helps you stay focused on being healthy: personal training, magazine subscriptions, good running shoes. I don’t have a closet full of designer clothes, but that isn’t at the top of my priority list. My focus on having “things” has shifted to having “experiences” with the people I love. Being healthy is what allows you to enjoy those experiences in the first place.

What / Who motivates you?

Motivating others on a continual basis motivates me to be my best. Hearing stories from people who’ve overcome obstacles despite extremely difficult circumstances inspires me to no end. I love biographies, documentaries, non-fiction books, fitness magazines, and other positive people who work hard to change this world for the better. People like Jane Fonda, Oprah Winfrey, and Joel Osteen.

Any quotes to live by that you can share with us?

"All your life you are told the things you cannot do. All your life they will say you’re not good enough or strong enough or talented enough, they’ll say you’re the wrong height or the wrong weight or the wrong type to play this or be this or achieve this. THEY WILL TELL YOU NO, a thousand times no until all the no’s become meaningless. And YOU WILL TELL THEM YES." – Nike Ad

"No matter how many times you get knocked down, keep getting back up. God sees your resolve. He sees your determination. And when you do everything you can do, that’s when God will step in and do what you can’t do." –Joel Osteen

“If you want something you’ve never had, you must do things you’ve never done!”- unknown (that is one of my favorites! –janetha)

“Exercise should be like brushing your teeth.”- yours truly Winking smile

Questions From meals & moves Readers!

From Lisa:

Do you still use body for life for your maintenance?


What did you change when you went into maintenance phase?

Not much really. My approach is a little more laid back now and I eat slightly more at each meal. It’s easier to maintain my results with a lower body fat %.

What’s your favorite healthy meal? 

I love huge salads filled with tons of veggies and shelled edamame for lunch. For dinner, any type of grilled seafood with lots of steamed veggies.

From Melissa:

I want to know if you stuck to the plan or added extra cardio, etc, etc…I’ve read a lot of interviews where the winners went off the plan and did a more intense routine. I want to know the real scoop!

I did Body-for-LIFE by the book. Outside of doing some extra abs here and there on days when I would be waiting for my husband to finish at the gym (usually after cardio), I did it exactly according to plan. I am 100% a believer in doing it by the book. It works without anything additional needed.


From Gabriela:

What is the hardest part of maintenance? I know after a while healthy habits become second nature, but you must still log some intense workouts!!

Maintenance becomes easier the longer you eat clean and make exercise an automatic thing. I think the hardest part of maintenance is probably just the general lack of healthy foods in this country. I get annoyed that it requires so much hard work on the part of the individual to order everything at a restaurant so specifically. I have to resist the temptation to become negative about it and instead just keep doing what I need to do in order to stay on track. If it means I’m taking a cooler into the movies or taking my own whole wheat tortillas to a Mexican restaurant, then so be it. I really look forward to the day when being healthy is the rule and not so much the exception. Maintenance in regards to exercise is a piece of cake. Doing HIIT and weightlifting consistently has magical powers to keep fat off for good.

From Allie:

Can you share your typical meals as well as any of your “guilty pleasures” and how you maintain balance— or are you just super strict?

I eat a lot of egg whites, oatmeal, wraps made with high fiber tortillas, huge salads, and grilled lean protein with vegetables for dinner.


I maintain a pretty strict policy of not going more than 3 hours without eating to maintain a balance. It’s when I’ve gone too long without eating or I don’t have healthy foods at the ready that I tend to go off course. It’s all about having a plan. Even if my plan is modified, I set limits. If I want a glass of wine or dessert, I allow myself to have one and just get back to plan the following morning. I don’t beat myself up or feel guilty, because that is what living a healthy lifestyle is all about. It doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” thing. Lifelong fitness is about making this something you can live with for life. No one can be perfect all the time. We all deserve to enjoy guilty pleasures, but moderation is key.

From Deb:

Are you serious Emily- 12 weeks from one photo to the next? Really? I want to know how much you suffer to look like that. And I mean that honestly. Do you feel deprived?

I’m flattered at the thought that my transformation was somehow not possible in 12 weeks, but those photo were taken just short of 12 weeks apart. I also had my body composition tested with DEXA scans at Stanford University at weeks 0,4, 8 and 12 to track my progress. It’s real!


As far as deprivation, anyone who completely changes their eating habits cold turkey like I did is going to experience some growing pains. Eating 5 times per day is key to staying satisfied. I definitely wasn’t going hungry. Of course there were a few moment of crabbiness along the way. I remember sitting on the couch next to my husband and smelling his huge bowl of honey nut Cheerios or warm peanut butter toast and getting irked. But I just sucked it up, because I wanted to change my life so badly that nothing was going to get in my way. Plus, each time I made the right decision and the temptation was gone, I felt I’d won another battle. It was empowering. Waking up each day knowing that I’d had another perfect day of eating was empowering. Those feelings were a much stronger force than any temptation, and I didn’t live each day feeling like I was missing out by any means.

From Tamzin:

Can you share a full day menu that you’d typically eat?

M1- ¾ cup liquid egg whites w/veggies + ½ cup (dry measured) oatmeal w/cinnamon, stevia & 1 Tbsp. chopped walnuts

M2- ¾ cup fat free cottage cheese + 1 apple

M3– huge salad loaded with veggies + ¾ cup shelled edamame + ¼ cup fat free crumbled feta cheese w/ Newman’s Own Lighten Up dressing + a few strawberries

M4- high fiber whole grain tortilla + all natural turkey breast + veggies & mustard

M5- grilled Cajun tilapia + ½ sweet potato + steamed veggies w/grated parmesan cheese

You can find my shopping list and other clean eating tips here…


From April:

How many days a week do you work out now and what does your typical workout week look like? (cardio/weight training splits as well as individual muscle splits).

I’ve done all kind of workouts, including CrossFit and training for a ½ marathon. I love trying new things, but I like splitting my cardio and weight training as recommended in BFL. I still do 3 days of cardio & 3 days strength training most weeks. Most times I still do an upper body/lower body split and rotate those days alternately with cardio days. I don’t do the BFL pyramid routine for every strength training workout, but I always come back to it. BFL is a really solid program, and I find that most people who do BFL and then try other programs usually always come back to it.


From Katie:

What suggestions do you have for moderate exercisers who have hit a plateau?

Change it up! Switch your mode of cardio, start doing interval training vs. steady state moderate cardio, change the order of exercises or the exercises altogether. Eating is also at least 70% of the equation. No amount of exercise can make up for a poor diet, so take a good look at what’s going into your mouth.

Feel free to check out my 4 Week Fat Loss Meal Plans for Women here… http://emilyalvers.com/4_week_fat_loss_meal_plan_for_women.html

And the compatible 4 Week Fat Loss Meal Plan for Men here… http://emilyalvers.com/4_week_fat_loss_meal_plan_for_men.html

What are your next physical challenges that you may have? Like new goals?

I just became a certified spinning instructor, which will present some physical challenges. I want to be on the bike with my class vs. just standing and instructing. It’s going to take some re-organizing and planning to still maintain the balance that I like to keep with my own workouts and energy needs. I’m also intent on continuing to improve my golf game. I’d like to get good enough to play with my husband…it’s a work in progress and a test of patience for me!

From Karin:

I was wondering what you do when you are feeling down. How do you prevent falling back into that old pattern again?

In the past, I dealt with emotions by loading up on ice cream, cookies and candy to give me an immediate but temporary boost. Now, I’ll take the evening to play music, light candles, make a cup of tea, and just take a step back. I’ll do whatever I need to find solace and re-charge….it could be searching for new motivational quotes, reading an inspiring article, having phone time with my sister, or getting a manicure. If I can do something to take time out and care of myself, I feel better and can move forward with a renewed spirit.

From Sabrina:

What have you done to keep it off?   Do you ever fall back into old (read: bad) habits? How do you keep the bad habits away?

Having positive pressure at all times is key. Sharing my goals is a big part of that for me, whether it’s sharing those goals with people in the fitness community, with friends, or with family. I also try not to let anything I don’t want in my body into my house. I’m always asking myself the question, “Will doing ‘xyz’ bring me closer to my goals?” If the answer is no, then I think twice before doing it. This one little question helps me stay focused on a daily basis….not just with food but with many aspects of life.

From Jess:

I am so not a weight lifter! I prefer yoga and mat work. But I’m also a tiny girl and think gaining too much muscle would look silly on me. So – how do you keep yourself from looking like beefcake? How do you get motivated to do repetitious weight work?

I hear from women all the time who are scared to they’ll look too bulky. Seeing images of female bodybuilders gives a false impression to those new to weight lifting. It’s important to understand that those women didn’t get that way overnight. It takes a long systematic approach and usually some pretty heavy supplementation to gain that kind of muscle. In other words, lifting heavy weights is not going to make you look like a beefcake.

Music is a must to stay motivated. Outside of that, the feeling I get from it is enough to make it something I look forward to. It’s empowering to be able to feel your muscles growing stronger, and the endorphin rush and stress relief it provides is amazing. You’ll feel your body changing and growing stronger before you’ll actually see it. That feeling alone is pretty addictive. For anyone new to weight training, hiring a trainer can be some of the best money spent. You learn proper form, ways to target your intensity, and you’ll become more confident. There’s nothing wrong with yoga, and if it’s what you love, then do what you love. Just don’t underestimate the need to also find a way to incorporate progressive resistance training. It’s important for strong bones, overall body composition, and to maintain the highest quality of life over a lifetime.

Is there a vegan BFL program??  

There isn’t a formal Vegan BFL meal plan that’s given in the book necessarily. BFL is based on a diet composed of 40% protein/40%carbs/20%fats. It’s more challenging for a vegan to do BFL than it would be for someone willing to eat lean meats and dairy, but there are a lot of great vegetarian and vegan options out there. Considering supplements, like protein powders, and learning to incorporate high protein vegan foods can be key to making BFL work for you.

From Sarah:

Have you done BFL vegetarian or vegan and can you list your daily eats for veggie or vegan meals?

I did BFL as a vegetarian for 30 days once. I was trying out foods I’d never had before, so it was a learning process. You can see what I ate here…


I don’t post to that blog anymore, but kept it up to give vegetarians BFL meal ideas. I’d say my diet now is actually pretty close to pescotarian. I do eat chicken and turkey, but the larger part of my diet is based on seafood, vegetables, whole grains, fruits, eggs, and nuts/seeds.

Last but not Least

Is there anything you would like to add?

Wow. You guys are amazing! People out there reading will definitely benefit from all the great questions.

I want to thank you, Janetha, and also your readers for the opportunity to be part of meals & moves.

To anyone out there who isn’t 100% happy with your body or your life, why not try something new? If you told me 2 years ago that taking a small leap of faith for 12 short weeks would change my life in such profound ways, I probably would have thought you were crazy. I never could have predicted the ways my life has changed since making my health my #1 priority.

Believe me, being healthy does not have to mean giving up your favorite foods. You can have your cake and eat it too…as long as it’s a free day Smile

If you have any questions or comments, email me at Emily@EmilyAlvers.com. I’m always here to listen and provide as much help as possible! Receive new blog notifications from me by entering your email address here… http://emilyalvers.com/blog.html . You’ll be the first to get my workouts, recipes, and blogs on all things health & fitness.



i want to thank emily for taking the time and effort to answer my questions as well as my readers’ questions in such detail! like emily said, we can all benefit from these questions and answers. i know i have.. i already have a new sense of motivation which is MUCH needed here between two of the most calorie-laden, lazy holidays around Winking smile

hope you all enjoyed the interview~ enjoy the rest of your weekend!

xo. janetha g.

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Healthy Coconut December 6, 2010 at 9:58 am

I started reading this last week and finally had time to finished it today. This interview is so inspiring, Emily has a great attitude and so helpful. Thanks Janetha for the wonderful and helpful post :)

Ananda February 24, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Reading some old entries from before I started following your blog…. what a great post. Very inspiring!

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