As soon as I had doctor’s clearance to resume exercise following my surgery this year, it was an easy decision on what program to use to get back in the gym and back in shape; My Best Body. I have actually attempted this program three times before, but due to my health problems, I wasn’t ever able to move past week 3. This time though, I was able to successfully complete ALL 13 weeks, without ever missing a workout. My results and overall thoughts are at the end of this post, but first the skinny about this amazing program and its creator!

MBB11

What is My Best Body?

My Best Body (gym) was created by Abbie Sterling, and is a 13 week holistic strength-training program that incorporates three stages of training: stabilization/muscle endurance, hypertrophy and power training.

Who is Abbie?

Abbie Sterling is a NASM certified personal trainer in Orlando, Florida, who works as a Personal Trainer at Anytime Fitness Windermere. You can find her on Instagram: @corporate_sneakers to see tons of (FREE) helpful videos, workout tips, adorable pictures of her wiener dog Loki, and just an overall inspiring account. One of my favorite things about Abbie is how genuinely inspiring she is, while remaining REAL. She doesn’t sugar coat or hide her bad days or struggles, and still posts her accomplishments without a ton of photoshop or a professional photographer. She shoots the photos for her home guide in her garage. This girl is as normal as you and me. She still likes to go out and have some beers with her boyfriend, eat delicious carby food, but still works her butt off in the gym. She believes in balanced, sustainable training, and understands the importance of not overtraining, and fueling your body rather than starving it.

Why do You Trust Her to Design a Program?

Abbie not only is a certified NASM personal trainer, she works in a gym teaching group fitness classes, and provides one-on-one training to a growing client base. She ensured that this weight program would be both effective and safe by first testing it herself and then having 10 trial participants test it before it was officially released.

She tells you on the introduction of this guide that it is not a “get abs quick”, “lose 100lbs in 13 weeks” or “earn a front-page-worthy body” program, and it’s not – it is not only about becoming physically stronger, it’s about finding your best self inside of you as well.

She took the necessary time to make it perfect, rather than slapping something together just to get a product on the market, and I assure you, the wait was worth it! Overtraining and injuries are something that she personally experienced (read her blog about overtraining here), so she spent a lot of time creating a program that would avoid these types of problems, while also avoiding boredom by ensuring each workout is unique and challenging.

She also is incredibly active on her Instagram (especially when you consider how busy this girl is with her classes, clients, and running her own business), posting a ton of videos to help with form, stretches, tips to understand the movements in order to do them correctly, and is amazing at answering questions. I’m fortunate that Abbie and I have become friends this year and I can just text her really quickly if I need to ask something (which isn’t often because she has made the guide so clear, I think I SOS’d her once and if I had read her resource guide properly I wouldn’t have needed to), but I know from previous experience that she will always answer comments or DM’s! It may not be an instant response, but I don’t know a lot of trainers who offer this kind of support at all unless you are one-on-one training with them.

Abbie focuses on form over speed, quality over quantity, and offers progressions and regressions for most exercises so that the program is customizable for your own level. It is not a cookie cutter program, and one which she poured a ton of research, science, and her NASM education into in order to allow each person who purchases this guide and follows it to develop their best body.

What Are These 3 Phases in the Program?

Phase ONE: Stabilization & Strength Endurance – 3 weeks
  • focusing on balance, coordination, increasing stabilization muscle strength, and muscle endurance
  • low weight, high rep exercises
  • heart rate tracking should remain in the lower zones
  • significantly fewer calories burnt than other high intensity workout programs
  • 45-60 minute workouts
  • NO CARDIO – this means all the food you eat goes towards building muscles and not being burnt away
    • a lot of people find the lack of cardio frightening and impossible, especially if they are transitioning from cardio based programs…TRUST the plan, because you run your BUTT off later in the program
  • form over speed

The exercise ball is utilized constantly these three weeks – I developed a major love/hate relationship with this thing, because it makes everything SO much harder, but it really helped with my balance later on in the program. There is a lot of emphasis on the core, and since my surgery involved a lot of work in my abdomen, I definitely found these challenging, but so necessary! The core is something that is needed for all movements, both in exercise and day-to-day movements, so this phase of the program really helped me not only ease back into exercise, it made a huge difference in obtaining back some of the core strength that I had lost.

The first two weeks also only have 4 workout days scheduled, allowing the body 3 rest days in order to adjust back into a fitness routine, and I definitely needed it since I was working entirely new muscle groups in a much more efficient manner after a long break, so the muscle soreness was intense! Foam rollers and stretching are definitely necessary on these rest days.

phase one sample
Phase 1, Week 1 Workout Split
Phase TWO: Hypertrophy – 5 weeks
  • increasing lean body mass with muscle, allowing the body to better metabolize food and increasing the number of calories your body burns in a day
  • low rep, higher weight exercises
  • heart rate tracking should remain in the lower zones
  • significantly fewer calories burnt than other high intensity workout programs
  • ~60 minute workouts
  • NO CARDIO until week 7, then medium intensity cardio for 2 weeks
  • concentric, isometric, and eccentric movements
  • 1 Rep Max (1RM) tests in weeks 4 and 8
  • form over speed

Each week I found I was able to increase my weights a little more than the last, there was always at least one exercise I had never done before, and the workouts never repeat themselves! 4-5 workouts a day for 5 weeks, and never repeating them ensured I was never bored and always challenged. I REALLY enjoyed this phase, pushing my limits, and learning my body’s capabilities.

Abbie also incorporates plenty of pull-up and chin-up progressions throughout these weeks, and I love that I am able to work on one of my goals throughout her program.

I have a very low resting heart rate, meaning burning a lot of calories for me is extremely difficult, but knowing that it wasn’t the focus of this type of training really helped me to focus solely on form, timing, and gradually increasing the weights I was able to use.

phase 2 sample
Phase 2, Week 5 Workout Split
 Phase THREE: Power Training – 5 weeks
  • burning fat, fat loss, toning, but maintaining the muscles built the past 8 weeks
  • high rep, low weight exercises
  • heart rate tracking should be in the upper zones
  • higher calories burnt than in previous stages
  • shorter workouts than phase 1&2, meaning work HARDER for a shorter period of time
  • sprints, circuit training, plyometrics, HIIT, cardio-based
  • timed Athlete Challenge in weeks 11 and 13
  • mentally challenging

Power training is hard. Really hard. After 5 weeks of hypertrophy, low reps and high weights, moving to workouts with high reps and low weights, as well as incorporating some plyometric movements, fast paced AMRAP’s (As Many Rounds As Possible) with no rests, and a lot more cardio, it was a whole new level of sweat.

I continued to do my workouts after work, but I made sure to not eat a heavy snack beforehand – jumping around or running made my stomach really unhappy if ate too much/too close to my workout time. Others recommend you do this phase in the morning on an empty stomach, but the timing just doesn’t work for me to be able to do this. I did however make sure I did the Athlete Challenges and any longer cardio on the weekends so that it could be the first thing I did in the morning.

This phase is not only physically challenging, but mentally challenging too. These aren’t easy workouts. They are definitely shorter than the first two phases, but you work harder during this time because the breaks are few and far between, whereas in phase 2 you would break between each set. I do love the AMRAP style of workout though, and was able to learn how to properly pace myself throughout the weeks in order to maximize my workout efficiency.

As much as I prefer bulking and hypertrophy, this stage is pivotal for fat loss, and Abbie has ensured she set it up so that you do not lose all the muscle gains you achieved in the first two phases.

phase 3 sample
Phase 3, Week 10 Workout Split

Hang on a second, 1RM Tests? Athlete Challenges? Did You Really Get Stronger/Faster?

I definitely did! The results below should speak for themselves. Abbie recommends you use a spotter for 1RM tests, but I often didn’t have this option so I either used the smith machine (which I could quickly lock into if it was too heavy) and always slowly built up to my new 1RM by increasing the weights 5-10lbs at a time.

The jump rope challenge and athlete challenge are extremely difficult, but so rewarding to see how much you can improve using her training style. I pushed myself as hard as I could during each of these attemps, but you can clearly see that my stamina, endurance, and abilities improved in the two weeks between challenges just by looking at the improvements in time!

1RM Exercise

Week 4

Week 8

Wide Grip Lat Pulldown

70 lbs

90 lbs

Wide Stance Barbell Squat

135 lbs

 175 lbs
Sumo Deadlift  60 lbs  115 lbs
Medium Grip Bench Press  60 lbs  95 lbs

Challenge

Week 10/11

Week 12/13

Jump Rope Challenge  30.43  25.55
Athlete Challenge  18.34  16.35

What’s the Cost & What Do I Get if I Buy This Program?

My Best Body (gym) is available for purchase for a one-time fee of $79.99USD. This payment gives you a lifetime access to:

  • 13 weeks of unique, gym-based workouts
  • Instructional photos demonstrating each exercise
  • 4-5 workouts a week (45-60 min. each)
    • 59 workouts in total if you complete all optional workouts
  • Suggested warm-ups with every workout
  • Detailed guidance for each style of training
  • 13 weeks of pep talks from Abbie with post prompts to get you thinking about your journey and help set you up for long-term success
  • An extensive section on heart rate and heart rate monitors
  • Alternatives/progressions/regressions for many exercises
  • My Best Body Resource guide, a 68 page intensive exercise guide which has negated the need for me to ever YouTube an exercise again, as it is filled with:
    • complete text exercise library, for every movement in My Best Body
    • printable daily workout trackers to log all the weights and track progressions
resourceguide1
One of the many exercise explanations available in the Resource Guide

jot it down
Daily Workout Tracker Sample, available in the Resource Guide
As an accountant, you just KNOW I did the math on this. 59 workouts at $79.99 works out to $1.36USD/workout. As a Canadian, at our foreign exchange rate, the cost of her guide is approximately $98.00. This is still only $1.66CAD/workout. I can’t even buy a cup of Tim Horton’s coffee for that price, and I get a full and complete exercise guide, photo instruction, written instruction, a resource guide, and Abbie’s constant support/advice/guidance via social media and email, warm ups, heart rate monitor information, helpful videos and tips, and the ability to actually lift weights safely and effectively, progressing naturally into heavier movements.

I need to pay for a gym membership on top of this, but for my Anytime Fitness membership I pay $39.99/month. For $72/month I am all in on my fitness needs, and as I use the guide more and more, the cost per month for the guide itself decreases since it’s not a recurring fee (think about your return on investment for the nerdy types like me). For someone like me who requires structure, but not the commitment to a personal trainer (who can cost up to $50/half hour), this is definitely exceptional bang for your buck, plus My Best Body is safe, effective, and challenging.

Do I Really Need a Gym Membership?

Yes; this program very specifically requires a gym membership due to the amount of machines needed, cable exercises, and varied weight ranges as you progress through the program. This guide is priced to reflect this additional cost though, and is well worth the investment. If you really don’t want to join a gym, or even work out in a gym, Abbie is releasing My Best Body – Home on October 30, 2017, which can all be done at home with a few pieces of basic equipment.

Still Not Sure?

Good news! Abbie provides a FREE, yes free, 3 week trial program of MBB! This gives you a sample week of each phase, so that you can test out the program and understand how it’s set up, while still getting in some amazing workouts at no cost or commitment from you.

She has both the MBB Gym trial, and MBB Home trial available for download on her website.

My Results

Start
End of Phase 1 (3 weeks)
End of Phase 2 (8 weeks)
End of Phase 3 (13 weeks)
Day 1 vs. Day 91

 Overall Consensus

LOVE this program. Not only am I now confident in the gym, using all the machines, and don’t even think twice when I am the only girl in the gym surrounded by guys, I attained strength, muscles, and did this all without a single injury, unlike my previous workout program I followed where my knees and hips became a constant source of pain and required a lot of physiotherapy visits, which inevitably didn’t solve the problem since it was due to the training style I was following.

Unlike that plyometric, high-intensity, joint-injuring and muscle imbalance creating program which focused solely on speed and identical AMRAP style training and repeating the same workouts every other week which was boring and painful, MBB is stabilization, strength, and power training, cardio conditioning, weights, machines, and a variety of training methods from horizontal loading, to supersets, to trisets, to EMOM’s, HIITs, and AMRAPS. The workouts are never the same style or same movements, which keeps your body guessing, and your muscles growing. Not one single workout out of 59 is the same, and they are designed to create maximum body strength without injury or overtraining.

Cost-friendly, fun, challenging, and discovering strength I didn’t know I had? This is a program I will do again and again.

Interested in another opinion? Check out Jordanna’s MBB review here.

So…What’s Next?

Now it’s time to do My Best Body – Home! I will however be doing this in the gym instead of at home, since I am not one of those dedicated people who can actually work out at home. I need the structure of a gym, where I have no distractions like pets or television. Abbie created such an amazing program, that I can’t wait to dive right back into another beginning October 30, 2017! Time for another 13 weeks of heart pumping, muscle building, death by Abbie.

 

 

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