Bill Phillips had been publishing bodybuilding magazines and marketing nutritional supplements for years when he had a weird revelation at a trade show: many of the most loyal and enthusiastic readers he had were totally out of shape. From that uncomfortable realization came his popular Physique Transformation Contest (top prize that first year: Phillips's own Lamborghini), now world famous, and this book.
The three-times-a-week weightlifting program in Body for Life is deceptively simple. If you've spent any time in the gym, you've already done all the exercises. But Phillips includes a couple of high-intensity sets at the end of each exercise that should compound the training effect on each muscle group. Same goes for the cardiovascular exercise he recommends: just 20 minutes, three times a week. But those 20 minutes are spent jacking the intensity up and down, accomplishing more in less time.
Phillips arranges all this into a 12-week program, along with nutritional and motivational tips. Be warned that the nutritional advice gets a little spacey. For example, he puts "carbohydrates" and "vegetables" into separate categories, and recommends three daily doses of a nutritional supplement called Myoplex, which his company manufactures. (Fortunately, he gives tips on how to make each dose taste different, such as by adding drops of peppermint extract.) Despite this strangeness, Body for Life still motivates because so many others have achieved astounding results in similar 12-week windows, and the pictures and testimonials are here as evidence. --Lou Schuler