Why the BODathon Training Schedule Is Designed Like It Is

The first BODathon is happening for me (and any of my customers who want to join me), the weekend after Thanksgiving, Saturday, November 28, 2015 and then again on December 31st.

Beachbody CEO Carl Daikeler asked Steve Edwards (a Beachbody Fitness and Nutrition Adviser) to shed a little light on how he developed the training program for the BODathon and I will share it with you here.

BODathon training is a little different than the standard Beachbody programs you’ve (hopefully) done. The reason is that successfully completing the BODathon is purely performance based, and this requires a slightly different approach than when your goal is only to look good.


Doing this program can certainly get you ripped, as athletes tend to look, well, athletic. But while it’s okay to finish an aesthetics-based training program with only enough energy to make it through a photo shoot, athletic programs require the body to perform at its absolute best. So let’s go through the process so you can not only see what you’re in for, but also why it should work and what to expect.

Goal & Time
Goal: to nail P90X Core Synergistics, Body Beast Total Body, & 21 Day Fix EXTREME Plyo Fix Extreme back-to-back.

When designing a training program, you start with a goal and the time frame you have to reach that goal, and then you work backwards. The BODathon takes place on November 28th and December 31st. Training begins on October 1st,  giving you nine weeks to get ready (but you can jump in anytime and start with that weeks schedule).

This goal is ambitious. You can probably get through the workouts by just following along and not pushing, but the goal is to nail each one, and that, well, that’s not going to be a picnic. These are all advanced workouts, designed to be all that you do on a given day. Hitting them one after another, and pushing as hard as you can, is going to require a higher level of fitness than most of you have now.

Given the event itself is over two hours of all-out effort, a taper is needed. Tapering is when you reduce your training load to allow muscles (particularly fast twitch, which can take two weeks to heal) to fully recover before the event. While training volume will begin to decline for the last couple of weeks, the actual taper will only really kick in during the final week.

Setting Up the Schedule
Nine weeks, minus one to taper, gives us eight to play with. There’s a training law known as The Specificity of Adaptation, which identifies how long your body can adapt positively to physiological stress before hitting an exercise plateau. The goal of any exercise program is to avoid plateaus. They signal a slowing of progress—a metabolic halt—which is frustrating when you’re trying to lose or gain weight and devastating when you’re trying to perform your best.

The biggest question, given the eight week time frame, is whether to progress workouts steadily for eight weeks or to schedule two different blocks of training, with some recovery days in between. If you’ve ever read the P90X guide, this might sound familiar. At 90 days, like P90X, blocks are always most efficient. Over just two months, the schedule can be set up to go either way. According to the law of progressive overload, adaptation can theoretically progress for eight weeks..

When peak performance is needed and training intensity is very high, this starts to become risky. Eight weeks of progressive overload could lead to overtraining your central nervous system, which can take weeks, sometimes months, to recover from. It’s safer to use a two block system, with an active recovery week in between to ensure you don’t overcook your body.

Using this deductive process, the schedule should be a block of progressive overload, followed with an active recovery week, the second of which should finish with a taper. Now all that’s needed is to fill up those days with workouts designed to help you achieve your goal.

Choosing the Workouts
Requirements: Excellent functional strength—particularly core and hip mobility, explosive power, muscular endurance, and recuperative properties.

Training targets: Total body conditioning, focusing on improvements in both power and endurance, along with balance, mobility, and highly-functional core strength.

Now comes the fun part: Picking the workouts. It can also be tricky, especially working with something as broad as the Beachbody catalog. To do this, I worked backwards by eliminating workouts that weren’t focused on the desired goal.

In the requirements and training targets lists above, there are a wide range of fitness parameters that need to be covered. You’ll notice that both hypertrophy (gaining muscle mass) and aerobic conditioning are missing from those lists. This allowed me to drop most of our super-targeted hypertrophy workouts and almost all traditional cardio, dance, and martial arts workouts. Here’s what’s left that do target the end goal:

Plyo Training. This is part of the event, so clearly you need to work on it. Plyometric training takes the longest to recover from, so I started by adding one each week, making them progressively harder over the program..

Weight Training. Since you don’t need to gain mass to nail the BODathon, I limited these to a one to two (primarily) full body sessions a week.

Core Synergistics. This basically means full-body training. These workouts help you develop solid fitness in many areas, from mobility to balance to core strength to muscular endurance. While it’s the name of one workout, it utilizes a lot of different styles of training. Yoga, Pilates, complexes, post-activation potentiation, and almost anything using a stability ball will help you train for this.

P90X2_TBB_rumroller_170x100Recovery and Mobility. Rather than give you a rest day to sit around, one day each week is dedicated to active recovery. If you’re never done P90X2 or Tai Cheng, you may not be familiar with foam rolling. You should be. It’s one of the best ways to bring tired, worked muscles back to life. While our workouts always offer alternatives, owning a foam roller will give you most relief.

With the schedule set, all that’s left to do is push play.

Diet. Oh, and one more thing. Beachbody nutrition plans are written for programs that mainly do one workout. Most of those workouts are pretty short. The BODathon is a whole new ballgame. That 1500 calories you were eating for T25 ain’t gonna cut it. You’re going to need to eat smart to survive this. One of the easiest ways to do that is with targeted, supplemented nutrition.

Eat, Supplement, Eat, and Supplement Some More

So you need calories—and you need to be strategic about consuming them. I highly recommend insuring that you get the highest density nutrition by incorporating Shakeology daily with your clean eating menu plan.  Beachbody Performance features a lot of supplements, so it’s tempting to skip a serving here or there if you think it’ll help you lose an extra pound or two. Don’t do that. There’s hard science behind the official recommended dosage and timing of Beachbody Performance supplements. There are ways for athletes to trim down, but skipping feeds that are specifically targeted to enhance both performance and recovery isn’t one of them. Drink that chocolaty Recover after your workout. Drink that vanilla-y Recharge before you hit the sack. You haven’t just earned it; you need it.

Boost With Power Greens (Almost) All Day
A number of your body’s vital processes are dependent on something called the oxidation-reduction (redox) cycle. Free radicals promote oxidation. Antioxidants promote reduction. When the free radicals in your system overwhelm the antioxidants, it’s called oxidative stress—and the punishment your body takes when you work out excessively can drive that oxidative stress through the roof, causing inflammation, pain, and muscle soreness.

The obvious answer is to dial up the antioxidants, but you need to be clever about it. First off, limited, post-workout, oxidative stress plays an important in the recovery process; so that’s not a great time to take antioxidants. Also, isolated antioxidants (like vitamin C pills, for example) aren’t as effective as the antioxidant compounds in whole foods, so you’re better off eating them or using a greens powder.

With that in mind, I recommend sprinkling a scoop of Shakeology’s Power Greens Boost into everything your palette can handle—yogurt, smoothies, Shakeology, whatever. Just don’t do it leading up to or immediately following your workout, as so not to inhibit healthy oxidation.

The BODathon Training Program

The majority of the scheduled workouts can be found in the Beachbody On Demand members library. Please note however that several of the workouts are not included and require purchasing the fitness program that contains them separately from the Team Beachbody store. They will be added immediately upon purchase to the purchased programs section of your library. If you’re thinking “But I don’t want to have to buy additional programs in order to participate in the BODathon.” No worries! Here is the work around: For my customers not ready to add these fitness program to their library I have included substitute workouts alongside the scheduled workouts below that can be found in the members library.


Click here to download the October Schedule

WEEK ONE (October 1- 4)
Thursday: P90X3′s Eccentric Upper and P90′s Ab Ripper A (or 10 Minute Trainer; 10 Minute Abs)
Friday: FOCUS T25′s Cardio
Saturday: 21 Day Fix’s Yoga (or TurboFire Stretch 40)
Sunday: P90X3′s Eccentric Lower and P90′s Ab Ripper B (or P90X2’s Ab Ripper)

WEEK TWO (October 5 – 11)
Monday: 21 Day Fix EXTREME’s Pilates Fix (or P90X3’s Pilates)
Tuesday: P90X’s Core Synergistics
Wednesday: 21 Day Fix EXTREME’s Plyo Fix X
Thursday: Body Beast’s Total Body and Beast Abs (or P90X3’s Ab Ripper)
Friday: 21 Day Fix’s Total Body Cardio Fix
Saturday: ChaLEAN Extreme’s Dynamic Yoga Flow
Sunday: ChaLEAN Extreme’s Lean Circuit 1 and Ab Burner

WEEK THREE (October 12-18)
Monday: Body Beast’s Cardio (or P90X3’s CVX)
Tuesday: P90X3′s Yoga
Wednesday: INSANITY: THE ASYLUM Vol. 1: Strength and Agility
Thursday: P90X2′s Total Body and X2’s Ab Ripper
Friday:21 Day Fix EXTREME: Cardio
Saturday: P90X3′s Dynamix
Sunday: INSANITY: THE ASYLUM Vol. 1′s Strength

WEEK FOUR (October 19-25)
Monday: INSANITY: THE ASYLUM Vol. 1′s Back to Core
Tuesday: Body Beast’s Build Shoulders (or P90X’s Shoulder and Arms)  and 21 Day Fix EXTREME’s Yoga
Wednesday: 21 Day Fix EXTREME’s Plyo
Thursday: Body Beast’s Build Chest/Tris (or P90X’s Chest and Back) and 21 Day Fix EXTREME’s Pilates
Friday: P90X3′s Complex Lower
Saturday: P90X2′s Mobility
Sunday: Body Beast’s Build Back/Bis (or P90X’s Back and Biceps) and 21 Day Fix’s Yoga

WEEK FIVE (Recovery week, October 26 – November 1 )
Monday: INSANITY: THE ASYLUM Vol 1.’s Game Day and Relief
Tuesday: P90X’s Yoga
Wednesday: P90X2′s Mobility
Thursday: P90X3′s Yoga
Friday: INSANITY: Max Recovery
Saturday: Surprise Workout Du Jour
Sunday: PiYo Live’s Stretch and Flow

WEEK SIX (November 2-8)
Monday: 21 Day Fix’s Yoga
Tuesday: P90X’s Core Synergistics
Wednesday: 21 Day Fix EXTREME’s Plyo
Thursday: Body Beast’s Total Body and Beast Abs and INSANITY: THE ASYLUM Vol. 1 Relief
Friday: INSANITY: THE ASYLUM Vol. 2′s X Trainer
Saturday: P90X2′s Mobility
Sunday: P90X3′s Complex Upper and Ab Ripper

WEEK SEVEN (November 9-15)
Monday: P90X3′s Complex Lower
Tuesday:P90X’s Core Synergistics
Wednesday: Body Beast’s Total Body and 21 Day Fix EXTREME’s Plyo
Thursday: INSANITY: THE ASYLUM Vol. 1′s Back to Core
Friday: PiYo’s Drench and ChaLEAN Extreme’s Ab Burner
Saturday: P90X2′s Mobility
Sunday: P90X2′s PAP Upper

WEEK EIGHT (November 16-22)
Monday: P90X2′s PAP Lower
Tuesday: P90X’s Core Synergistics
Wednesday: Body Beast’s Total Body and 21 Day Fix EXTREME’s Plyo
Thursday: P90X’s Core Synergistics
Friday: INSANITY: THE ASYLUM Vol. 1′s Game Day and Overtime
Saturday: P90X2′s Mobility
Sunday: P90X3′s Complex Upper

WEEK NINE (Taper week, November 23-28)
Monday: P90X3′s Complex Lower
Tuesday:Body Beast’s Total Body
Wednesday: 21 Day Fix’s Yoga
Thursday: P90X2′s Mobility
Friday: REST DAY
Saturday: BODathon (P90X’s Core Synergistics and Body Beast’s Total Body and 21 Day Fix EXTREME’s Plyo Fix Extreme and INSANITY: THE ASYLUM Vol. 1′s Relief for the cool down.)

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