Challenge News and Transformation Tips

—-We have extended the date to begin your 12-week program by one week — participants in the Challenge now have until (but no later than) Monday, July 22, to get started.

The game is pretty simple — you start by taking a before photo of yourself from the front with shorts or a swimsuit on (no need to hold a newspaper like the old days). Then write down your starting scale weight and get a measurement of your waist line (around the widest point) and record that also. You do not need to turn this information in until you finish your 12 weeks. After you know where you’re staring from it’s time to set some challenging and specific goals for where you want to be. For example, “Within 12 weeks I will be at least 30 pounds lighter.”

Once you know where you are now and where you want to be in 12 weeks, it’s time to start eating right and working out consistently. You can follow the Body-for-LIFE workout which has worked well for literally hundreds of thousands of people, or you can Click Here to learn about my new 5/25 workout which is designed to help those of us over 40 to get better results faster.

Exercise alone is not enough though. We’ve got to have the “one-two punch” of smart exercise and the right nutrition. Click Here to read a blog I wrote recently which gives detailed information about what works for me (Eating for Life meals, Right Light nutrition shakes, STRONGEVITY Rx anti-aging and cellular energy boosting formula).

Before and Afters

Before and After photos — It’s good to keep it basic and simple, just like these examples.

After 12 weeks, you take another photo from the front, record your new scale weight and waistline measurement. Send me that information, along with a 500-word letter telling me about your experience — how you’ve changed, what you’ve learned, and the difference it’s made in your life and the lives of those around you. Put your photos and letter in an envelope and mail them to me at the address provided in the Rules and Regulations.

(If you are signed up to follow this blog you are entered in the Challenge. You don’t have to participate — it’s completely FREE to join in though. Be sure to Click Here to re-read the Rules and Regulations to learn all the details.)

Fads Come and Go but the Facts Remain the Same

In this blog (below), I am also sharing with you a USA Today interview which was done with a reporter and medical expert for this national newspaper. The advice I give now is essentially the same as I did then (2002 — 11 years ago). Fads come and go but the facts on how to focus your mind, build strength, and lose bodyfat, stay the same. When you read the interview, you’ll see what I mean. The scientific facts show that this approach works and it is timeless. If you want to feel better, look better, have more confidence and energy, just put this knowledge to work — don’t just know it, do it!

If you’ve done it before, you can do it again! And if you are just getting started on your first 12-week health transformation, you will be pleasantly surprised by how well your body and mind respond to my simple (I didn’t say easy) transformation techniques. Always remember… You can do it. You can do it! YOU CAN DO IT! I promise. Just get started and don’t give up! ~Bill—-



USA Today Interview with Bill Phillips

Best-selling author, Bill Phillips knows exactly how to rid you of fat and get you in shape.

But you’ll need to do more than read about it, says author of the best-selling Body for Life: 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strength.

“We’re inundated with more information about nutrition and exercise than ever,” says Phillips, creator of the wildly successful transformation challenge contests. “And yet as a nation we’re still fat.”

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) bear this out. The 1999 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) reveals that more than six out of 10 U.S. adults are either overweight or obese.

It’s not for lack of trying that Americans stay overweight. According to 2000 CDC data, 45% of overweight people are attempting to lose weight. So are nearly two-thirds of those who are obese.

“Clearly, many people know they weigh more than is desirable and they are trying in some fashion to do something about it,” observes Phillips.

Why then, do so many fail? According to Phillips, it’s often because they do not have specific goals and reliable directions on how to get there.

In short, they lack a workable plan.

Location and destination

“Although saying you want to lose weight is a goal in some sense, it is not a specific goal,” says Phillips.

“As an analogy, you don’t think of getting in the car to drive without having a destination,” says Phillips.

“But countless people start on what they consider a fitness or diet regimen without having any idea of where they would like to be.”

Consequently, they never get “there.”

“For most people, where they want to go has something to do with bodyfat,” says Phillips. “It may be a body fat percentage, but it may be something a lot less complicated — like a specific weight or waist size.”

Selecting a specific time period in which to achieve your goals in also essential. Phillips likes a 12-week period and based his initial transformation contest on that time window.

For a 25-pound weight loss that works out to a little more than 2 pounds per week, well within conservative weight loss guidelines.


Phillips emphasizes that creating specific directions to the weight loss goal involves both proper nutrition and exercise.

Phillips says his eating plan is simple. “For a plan to be successful, you have to be able to follow it easily,” he says. Its components:

Small meals six times a day, eaten every 2-3 hours — Each meal consists of portions that can be held in the palm of your hand. This keeps blood sugar levels more constant, deters hunger and binge eating, and “helps convince the body and mind that famine and the need to store calories is not right around the corner.”

A protein and carbohydrate source in every meal — Phillips’ preferred proteins are lean meats and fish. Carbohydrates include starchy vegetables like yams, steamed brown rice, or low-fat yogurt. He avoids processed sugars.

Other vegetables twice a day — He suggests at least two servings of predominantly leafy or green vegetables a day as well. “It’s roughly a 40/40/20 proportion of calories from protein, carbohydrates, and fats,” notes Phillips, who adds that you must never cook or cover your vegetables in butter or fats.

Unsaturated oils — Either a tablespoon of unsaturated oil a day (i.e. flaxseed oil) or three portions of salmon per week.

Water — At least 10 cups of water a day.

Performance-nutrition shakes — Realizing that many do not have the time to prepare 6 meals a day, Phillips suggests nutrition shakes as meal replacements 2 or 3 times a day.

Phillips notes that three other factors are essential to making this work: “You have to plan your meals and grocery shopping in advance so you don’t get stuck or have to guess,” he says. It’s also essential to record everything you eat.

But the third piece of advice is the most unusual. “Once a week you can eat anything you want,” says Phillips. This helps prevent the body from adapting to lower calorie levels and slowing stored fat burn-off.

“It’s also good psychology,” says Phillips. “Looking at three months without pizza or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich can be daunting.”

Phillips’ exercise program is also simple. “It has to be, or people wouldn’t do it,” he observes. It’s a blend of aerobic exercise to burn fat and intense anaerobic exercise that builds muscle — and has also been shown to accelerate fat loss as well.

You need to walk, bike, run, or swim for at least  20 minutes three times a week, advises Phillips. He suggests that varying the intensity from moderate to very challenging in each session four different times also helps.

On three other days Phillips mandates that we lift weights intensely, to keep the metabolism up.

“You don’t have to join a gym,” he says. “Many people don’t have that much time away from home. Just buy a bench and some dumbbells and work out at home as I do, making sure to record everything you do so you have an accurate record of what you are actually doing.”

Sticking points and signposts

Phillips notes that everyone hits sticking points, even with the best plans and directions. Four practices can help you through them.

Focus on progress — “It’s vitally important to realize that none of us are perfect,” says Phillips. “We are all going to make mistakes, so what we need to do is focus on progress rather than perfection.”

Don’t look for the change — “Even a fast transformation is not visible on a daily basis,” says Phillips. “Weekly check-ins can also destroy morale because you’re giving an honest effort, eating right and avoiding French fries and candy bars, and some weeks the scale reads the same.”

That’s a familiar scenario for those who are growing muscle and losing fat stores at the same time — smaller amounts of shapely muscle weigh more than larger globs of accumulated fat.

Find new markers — For more immediate positive feedback, Phillips suggests reviewing your daily activities. “Success may be a day when you ate and exercised right,” says Phillips. “Those are the quiet signals before noticeable visible change and it’s essential to recognize and honor them. But you can’t remember all these small successes if you don’t write them down.”

Be patient — At least for 12 weeks. “Other people are going to notice the changes in you and your body before you do,” says Phillips.


Here are some of my other blogs that can help you successfully transform:


  1. Hi Bill I have a question …the people who started in June do they get more time if the after pics are are due by one set date foe all?

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Lenie Hinze says:

    So glad you extended the entry date – I want in, but is it possible to participate in the challenge if I live is South Africa?

  3. Eli Kince says:

    Thank you

    This so much clearer.

    I really appreciate the clarification.

    eli kince

  4. Hi Bill, I started the challenge Monday and am super excited. I took my before pictures ( after an intense new boot camp I’m doing), but I’m not sure if you want the natural waist or midsection (ie lower pudge) measurement. Could you please clarify?

    Also, what are your thoughts on diet soda and alcohol? Complete no-no’s or moderation? thanks!!! Liz

    Sent from my iPhone

    • With nutrition, it is what we do most of the time, not some of the time, which shapes us. I drink a lot of water each day but have a diet soda from time to time too. I do not drink alcohol (I had enough in my 30s to last a lifetime…) but some people do okay with moderate drinking. We want this to be an enjoyable new lifestyle for you–that is the key to long-term success–you have to like the new habits better than the old ones or you’ll go back to the old ones. IF you can drink in moderation, you should be okay. Keep an eye on it though and be aware of how drinking effects your cravings for sweets and your energy. ~Bill

  5. Michael Turi says:

    Thanks Bill, I felt like you were talking about me. I’ve been trying to win a challenge since you started the challenges and now I’m here to finish it. I always know everything about exercise and nutrition but I never do it.Thank you again for these blogs they are really helping me stay on track and stay the course. Consistency is the key!

  6. hey Bill I just want to say thank you so much for your blog’s I’m in my fourth week now of the challenge and it’s all because you keep me motivated every week. I have tried many challenges and failed at most but I’m ready to get my health my body and my life back. I need to do this for my sons who need me to be there for them. I’m 35 years old and I’m too young to look like I do. up until recently I realized that the biggest key to success is consistency, do the things that matter most every day. Thanks Bill

    PS. I have been writing to you asking you questions on this blog in the comments section and haven’t been getting any answers I realize I didn’t sign up so I apologize if I repeat myself.

  7. Initially, I felt like the challenge rules were a little unclear/confusing. This post certainly clears up the confusion and is a great summary on what to do. I completed a few challenges back in the BFL days and am glad to almost have week #1 of my Transformation Challenge out of the way. My workouts vary based on Y classes but I’m looking forward to trying the 5-25 upper body workout today and 5-25 cardio next. Just hoping this 42 yo body will cooperate and let the fat go!
    Thanks for being such an inspiration. BTW… Eating for Life is the best cookbook I’ve ever owned!

  8. Rochelle Tilton says:

    I completed the BFL challenge in 2002 and did fairly well. Unfortunately, I have since lost my way. I’m ready to get back on track for life this time. But I have one concern. I had miniscus repair surgery on knee about 18 months ago and was doing well until I signed up with a trainer who had me doing step ups with weights. I really injured my knee again and had to go back to physical therapy. Can you recommend some alternate lower body exercises that I can do other than squats and lunges? I would greatly appreciate it.

    • Hi Rochelle,

      Thank you for your question and I’m sorry to hear about your injury. I can relate to what you’re saying because I had double knee surgery the year before last to repair bilateral quadriceps tendon rupture. What works great for me is to do 5/25 High-Intensity Interval Cardio on a spin bike. It ends up being a great leg workout for me as well as an aerobic session. You can work around your knee injury and not let it stop you from getting in great shape. Just do the workouts you can do which don’t cause pain, and eat healthy, consistently, and you’ll be back on track, feeling healthy, within a matter of weeks.

      Lastly, be sure to check with your physical therapist for advice on leg exercises that are safe for you. But remember, as I sad, I do very well with intense spin-bike exercise for my leg workouts. I train all my upper-body muscles with free-weights and I drink a lot of Right Light nutrition shakes to keep my calories down and my nutrients up.

      Hang in there and don’t give up!
      ~Bill Phillips

  9. I took some pics on June can i use those or should I take new ones????? Thanks

  10. clinton morin says:

    bill i am going on vacation/work this week and the hotel i am staying in doesn’t have gym facilities. any reccommedations for workouts i could do. pushups situtups that kind of thing?

    • Hi Clinton,

      Thanks for your question. Just keep moving your body while you’re away on vacation and you’ll be fine. Do 5 sets of 20 reps on push-ups every other day to keep the upper body muscles strong. Climb the stairs at the hotel and then walk back down them; climb them again and again and so forth for 25 minutes and you’ll get a great interval aerobics workout. Most of all, have fun, eat healthy most of the time, and like I said, get in some exercise each day.

      ~Bill Phillips

  11. Lee Atherton says:

    Just wanted to confirm that this means I can start today vs last Monday? I’ll be out one week for sinus surgery so this will help me. Looking forward to this journey. It will be a challenge, but one I’ll embrace!

    Lee Atherton 321.663.0690 c

  12. Clinton Morin says:

    bill i did horrible on my vacation i ate bad and i never worked out i did some walking but not intense. I am full committed to this program and i am back on track and i won’t slip up like that again. i am sorry for being weak and i feel terrible.


  1. […] ANSWER: How exciting! You made it in just in time! Yes, by following this blog you are officially signed up and eligible to win the $10,000 top prize! Just get started today by taking your before photo (which I want you to hang onto for 12 weeks before you send it in — Click Here to see the Rules and Regulations for all the details). […]

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